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Magic

Magic is a key component of Dominions. It is one of the main articles of differentiation between nations, and is crucial to success beyond the early game. It is powerful, varied, and pervasive.

Classifications / Overview

Dominions 5 and its predecessors have eight paths of magic, subdivided into the four Elemental paths (the first four) and the four paths of Sorcery (the last four):

Mages will have certain levels of skill in one or more paths; for instance, a Marignon Witch Hunter has Fire 2 Astral 1, while a lich has Death 4. To cast a spell, a mage must have sufficient skill in all of its required paths to cast it. Thus the Marignon Witch Hunter could cast Fireball (requiring Fire 2), but not Astral Fires (requiring Fire 1 Astral 3).

Each path contains many spells, divided into seven schools of magic:

Each school has nine levels; mages set to research will allocate their research points to the schools you choose, and eventually unlock higher levels of magic.

For instance, the spell Blade Wind is an Evocation 4 spell that requires Earth 3 to cast. Once your nation has reached Evocation 4 research, any mage with at least 3 levels in the Earth path can cast Blade Wind.

There are also Holy spells, which have their own path (Priest levels) and school (the Divine school), and are exceptions to most general rules.

Gems are the magical currency required for performing rituals and forging magic items. They can also be used to perform more potent combat magic, as well as reduce spellcasting fatigue in combat and cast spells with a higher path requirement than a mage might normally be able to. In practice, they are a critical resource for leveraging research into actual progress in a game.

Strategy

Magic is the heart of Dominions 5, and the player who uses their nation's mages most effectively has a large advantage. Mages are required to research higher-level spells and to cast spells in combat, so mage count determines both a nation's current and future power. Typically in any successful Dominions game a player will:

  • Recruit a great many mages, typically one per fort per turn if gold allows
  • Identify key schools to research that contain strong spells of your nation's paths (Fire nations like Evocation, for instance)
  • Use these recruitable mages in combat to win battles; an army without magical support will generally be crushed by one with it
  • Search for sites to increase gem income
  • Forge booster items which increase mages' levels in their paths, unlocking access to more powerful items and spells
  • Use these boosted mages to cast the most powerful rituals and battlefield spells

Since a nation's pretender will likely be a very powerful mage in its own right, a high-path pretender can often cast spells unavailable to a nation's mages. (Consider that the strongest spells require 6 to 9 levels in a path, but no nation can reasonably recruit mages with more than 4 in a path, and most nations don't even have these). Typically the most powerful spells and the most versatile booster items are cast and forged by pretenders, with a few exceptions.

Additionally, empowerment is an option to increase a single mage's paths, however due to its high gem cost it is generally an inferior option to forging or trading for booster items.

When designing a pretender, it is often useful to ask yourself "What rituals would I really like to cast, but I can't with my national mages alone?" For instance, MA Agartha would really like to cast Earth Blood Deep Well, requiring E6, but its national mages only have E4 access. There are three reasonably accessible booster items that boost Earth: Earth Boots (requires Earth 2), Blood Stone (requires Earth 2 Blood 3), and Staff of the Elements (requires Earth 4 Air 4, or Water 4 Fire 4). Agartha can forge Earth Boots, but has no Blood or Air, and no way to get to Water 4 Fire 4.

In order to cast Earth Blood Deep Well, an Agartha player can either take a pretender with Earth 5 or better (who will wear Earth Boots to get to E6), or one capable of forging a Blood Stone or a Staff of the Elements (which can take one of its E4 national mages up to E6 along with Earth Boots).

Magic Paths

An individual mage's access to magic depends on his paths. He will have one or more paths each at a given level, and all spells require a certain level in at least one path.

Having a path which exceeds the one required by the spell will decrease the fatigue necessary to cast a spell in combat, and may cause other aspects of the spell to increase, depending on the spell in question.

Indirect Magic

Indirect Magic represents the arcane knowledge a mage possesses about any magic path in which he has skill, which lets him gain side effects just from being knowledgable in that type of magic. Each path has a small effect on the stats of the unit in addition to access to magic.

  • Air: Shock Resistance +5 (level 3+), Magic Leadership +5
  • Astral: Magic Leadership +10
  • Death: Undead Leadership +30, +1 to existing Fear else Fear +5 at Death 5.
  • Earth: Protection +1 (if at least level 3), Magic Leadership +5
  • Fire: Fire Resistance +5 (level 3+), Leadership +5, Magic Leadership +5, Reduces Max Age
  • Nature: Supply Bonus +10, Magic Leadership +5, Poison Resistance +2, Increases Max Age
  • Water: Cold Resistance +5 (level 3+), Magic Leadership +5
  • Blood: Undead Leadership +5, Magic Leadership +5

Some of these matter more than others. Of particular note, the undead provided by death magic is a key component of undead armies, and the protection provided by earth magic can be used to create an awake expander.

Max age changes are done in 50% increments of the default max age, and depend on the type of creature: undead are affected by Death magic, inanimate creatures by Earth magic, demons by Blood magic and all others by Nature magic, in that order of priority. If your age is affected by Nature magic, every point in fire magic reduces your max age by 5%.

Note that while most of these give a bonus per level, there are exceptions. Elemental resistances give no benefit for the first two levels, regardless of how many levels are present. Protection applies to all levels, but only if there are at least three levels, or else it doesn't apply. Fear functions similarly to protection, kicking in all at once at level 5, with the exception that it will always add to fear if the unit already has fear.

Distribution

A breakdown of the magical paths available to each nation, and the number of nations with access in a magical path (in parenthesis a number of nations with a maximum access of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

These lists do not account for summonable units or include random paths with a 10% chance of occurring.

Early Ages

  • Fire access: 17 (4, 6, 6, 1)
  • Air access: 19 (5, 7, 5, 3)
  • Water access: 22 (5, 7, 5, 4, 1)
  • Earth access: 25 (7, 6, 8, 4)
  • Astral access: 15 (5, 6, 2, 1, 1)
  • Death access: 20 (6, 4, 6, 4)
  • Nature access: 23 (4, 9, 5, 5)
  • Blood access: 11 (1, 4, 5, 1)
Nation Total
Arcoscephale2322204015
Ermor3111231012
Ulm2223023014
Marverni0024402012
Sauromatia0010142210
T'ien Ch'i2232212014
Machaka3003033012
Mictlan2020202311
Abysia400111029
Caelum141102009
C'tis001014208
Pangaea0022004210
Agartha2024020010
Tir na n'Og0421003010
Fomoria0411031010
Vanheim1303010210
Helheim1303030111
Niefelheim0140233316
Kailasa0044202012
Lanka0300033312
Yomi3103041012
Hinnom3203312317
Ur0233024014
Berytos3332100315
Xibalba3102042416
Mekone211200006
Atlantis2044100011
R'lyeh0051511013
Pelagia0241302012
Oceania0132004010
Therodos1233014014

Middle Ages

  • Fire access: 19 (6, 8, 4, 1)
  • Air access: 16 (6, 4, 3, 3)
  • Water access: 22 (7, 8, 4, 2, 1)
  • Earth access: 23 (7, 7, 8, 1)
  • Astral access: 17 (4, 4, 5, 4)
  • Death access: 15 (2, 5, 7, 1)
  • Nature access: 18 (3, 5, 6, 4)
  • Blood access: 6 (0, 4, 1, 1)
Nation Total
Arcoscephale2022401011
Ermor2112140011
Sceleria011033008
Pythium1320400010
Man1312004011
Eriu0421003010
Ulm210310007
Marignon410130009
Mictlan2220303012
T'ien Ch'i2232202013
Machaka3003023011
Agartha101402008
Abysia3001300411
Caelum1430110010
C'tis002013309
Pangaea0013004210
Asphodel0012034010
Vanheim1403010211
Jotunheim0030233314
Vanarus2321022214
Bandar Log001140309
Shinuyama3023032013
Ashdod3003330012
Nazca2203231011
Xibalba0143022214
Atlantis2052200011
R'lyeh0022421011
Pelagia1242202012
Oceania013100409

Late Ages

  • Fire access: 15 (4, 8, 3)
  • Air access: 13 (5, 4, 4)
  • Water access: 17 (3, 8, 1, 4)
  • Earth access: 19 (7, 8, 3, 1)
  • Astral access: 21 (3, 13, 4, 1)
  • Death access: 18 (3, 8, 5, 2)
  • Nature access: 14 (4, 7, 3)
  • Blood access: 11 (2, 6, 2, 1)
Nation Total
Arcoscephale2022212011
Pythium2021223113
Lemuria011034009
Man130122009
Ulm110221119
Marignon3221200313
Mictlan2040202212
T'ien Ch'i0222222012
Jomon2223203014
Agartha2023130011
Abysia3001320413
Caelum1312030010
C'tis200114109
Pangaea011210308
Midgard0302221212
Utgard0030332314
Bogarus2201310211
Patala0044202012
Gath2002222212
Ragha3320220214
Xibalba0143032215
Atlantis1141230012
R'lyeh0022421011
magic.txt · Last modified: 2020/10/02 21:41 by fenrir