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Magic Sites

Magic Sites are present across the map from games start. Most sites are initially hidden, though there are some that are revealed as soon as a province is taken. Sites are revealed by using the "Search for Magic Sites" action of mages or through the use of remote site searching spells (e.g. Dark Knowledge).

Most sites provide their owner with gem income, though they can also provide recruit-able units/commanders, bonuses to ritual spells, spreading disease, and other effects on a province. Diligent site searching can greatly increase your gem income and let you break into magic paths that your nation may not have.

Other than their effects magic sites have a rarity, level, and set of terrains. The rarity controls how likely a site is to spawn, with rarity 0 being the most likely and rarity 2 being the least likely. The level determines how skilled a mage needs to be to find the site. The set of terrains controls where the site can spawn and if the site is unique. Mixed terrains appear to be able to spawn any site available to any of their individual terrain types.

Some site effects apply even before the site has been discovered. These include:

Site Searching Strategy

The information below is taken from this analysis of magic sites. Please visit this guide if you are interested in the full numbers and a more detailed explanation than those below.

Element Breakdown

Ideally search with a fire 33 mage everywhere (on land), though a fire 22 is not much of a downgrade and it is likely not worth the turn to re-search a province that has already been searched by a fire 22 mage. Underwater a fire 22 mage is sufficient.
Waste and Deep Sea have the best return, so it may be worth remote searching for F in deep sea if you can't get a mage down there easily.

Ideally search with a level air 33 everywhere (on land), though a air 22 is not much of a downgrade and it is likely not worth the turn to re-search a province that has already been searched by a air 22 mage unless it is a cave.
It is barely worth searching sea provinces. If you do a air 11 search is sufficient.

Ideally search with a water 22 mage underwater and in caves, though a water 11 mage doesn't miss much and it may not be worth going back over later.
Above ground a water 33 mage should be used as there are a significant number of gems in level 3 only sites (three rarity 0 ones are available for above ground provinces).

A earth 33 mage is recommended for Caves and Deep Sea. Elsewhere it is nice to have but earth 22 also covers most things and it is likely not worth going back to search with a earth 33 mage later.
Caves and Deep Sea have huge expected returns but are relatively rare. It is likely worth remote searching if you can't get a earth 33 earth mage to your deep sea provinces.

The presence of the Unfound Door site (level 4, rarity 0) makes searching with a astral 44 actually beneficial over a astral 33, but the expected income difference is so low that remote searching is rarely worth it unless you only have level 1s (and even then the return on Arcane Probing is very low as the example below shows).
Wastelands, Deep Sea, and Caves can't have this site so cap out at astral 33 like the other gem types. Once again though astral 22 searches are likely sufficient in these locations.

The Well of Pestilence site (level 3, rarity 0) makes a death 33 search for death worthwhile. As this site is usually easy to detect without searching (due to diesease and death scales) it is only worth searching to death 22 above ground unless you suspect a well.
Caves and seas are likely only worth searching at death 22 (no well), and for deep sea death 11 is sufficient.

It is worth searching to nature 33 if possible but as always if you have searched to nature 22 the extra level may not be worth the turns. Caves and seas cap out at nature 22 and deep sea caps out at nature 11. Sea provinces can contain the Kelp Fortress site, which gives a free fort (level 1 rarity 0). You should search nature 11+ ASAP to save yourself on infrastructure costs if possible as an UW nation.
Forests and seas have significantly better gem returns than the other terrain types so you should search these first.

Not worth searching for gem income alone but you likely want to search to blood 33 eventually if you are using blood for the chance of getting the summoning circle site (30% blood magic bonus). The second gate at level 2 and first gate at level 1 also have a blood bonus but are unique, so are probably less likely to be in your territory in any given game despite having a lower rarity.
Obviously don't search for blood underwater.

Despite the presence of the Ancient Temple site holy searching gives a very low return. The underwater version gives 1watergem1astralpearl so is definitely worth searching for religiously. Luckily most nations have priest mages or cheap priests so the search is 'free'.
While holy 22 and holy 33 have some good sites (the Records of Mankind in particular) there are so few and almost all unique so finding them is very unlikely.

Remote Site-Searching

Each magic path contains at least one ritual spell for finding magic sites. Casting a remote site-searching spell on a friendly province reveals all sites of the targeted path, regardless of level. The spells are:


Path: fire 22
Cost: 2firegem
Range: 5

Locates all Fire sites.


Path: air 22
Cost: 2airgem
Range: 2

Reveals all Air sites. Cannot target sea or target provinces across the sea.

Voice of Apsu

Path: water 22
Cost: 2watergem
Range: 3

Finds all Water sites. Can target enemy-held provinces, but cannot target underwater provinces. Other nations with commanders in the province will also be notified of the discovered sites.

Voice of Tiamat

Path: water 22
Cost: 8watergem
Range: 4

Finds all elemental sites, but can only target underwater provinces. Other nations with commanders in the province will also be notified of the discovered sites.

Gnome Lore

Path: earth 22
Cost: 3earthgem
Range: 3

Locates all Earth sites. Can be cast underwater

Arcane Probing

Path: astral 11
Cost: 3astralpearl
Range: 4

Reveals all Astral sites. Can be cast underwater.

Acashic Knowledge

Path: astral 33
Cost: 25astralpearl
Range: 10

Finds all sites, but is very expensive. Can be cast underwater.

Dark Knowledge

Path: death 11
Cost: 4deathgem
Range: 3

Locates all Death sites. Can be cast underwater.


Path: nature 22
Cost: 2naturegem
Range: 3

Reveals all Nature sites. Can be cast underwater.

Bowl of Blood

Path: blood 11
Cost: 5bloodslave
Range: 5

Reveals all Blood sites. Can target underwater, even though there are no Blood sites underwater.

Remote Site Searching Payoff

On the whole the return on investment of remote searching spells is very poor if you have consistent access to the path and are not concerned about turn economy. If you have multipath mages for that element then even the turn economy benefit is mostly lost.

For example remote searching astral as LA Pan (only S1 access) will give a return of 0.164 pearls per turn on average for a plains province (assuming two sites on average). This takes 19 turns to repay itself and is close to the best example for the standard remote searches.

Voice of Tiamat is potentially an exception here. If you haven't searched a province at all it has a return of 0.894 gems per turn/cast/site freq. in deep sea and 0.523 in normal seas. This gives a positive expected return in 5 and 8 turns respectively assuming 2 sites per province, though if you can already search for water and fire up to level 2 this decreases sharply. Being able to search for gems in paths you don't yet have access to is likely valuable beyond what the raw numbers would indicate though, so it may still be worthwhile depending on your circumstances.

Expected gem income

The following pictures show expected gem income when sitesearching provinces with only one tag in Early, Middle and Late Age at default site frequency settings.

Site Generation procedure

Based on large numbers of experimental analysis, it has been possible to gain a rough understanding of how magic sites are generated on the map. Each province has a magic site frequency, which is the sum of the global site frequency (determined at game creation) and a terrain specific modifier. Generally (but not all the time), the most positive terrain modifier takes precedence in the case of provinces with multiple terrains.

Terrain Modifier
"Many Sites" map editor flag
Kelp Forest
Deep Sea
Farmland -20

Higher site frequency is associated with more magic sites: specifically, data has suggested that site generation may be modelled by 8 independent rolls for each of the site "slots", each with a probability of succeeding roughly equal to (global site frequency + terrain frequency modifier)/225. Additionally, sites have an assigned rarity, which is detailed in the inspector tool. Experimentally, the odds of each rarity site spawning following a successful roll are as follows:

Rarity Probabilty
0 3/4
1 9/40
2 1/40

Certain rarity 5 sites may spawn naturally. The odds of these spawning is currently unknown, but they do appear to be rather rare. These sites have unique independent pretenders which are always present guarding the site. The list of rare independent types lists these, along with other special independent spawns.

Additionally, some sites are flagged as unique, in which case the game can only place one of them.

magic-sites.txt · Last modified: 2021/04/08 18:16 by naaira