The strategic layer of Dominions 5 features a random event system, adding an element of unpredictability and uniqueness to each game. All nations use the random event system and there are various ways to manipulate the system to your own ends.
Each nation can experience up to 4 random events each turn, which occur within a particular province. You will be notified of these with a message at the start of your turn - usually written as "An unexpected event has occurred in…"
The frequency of these events is determined by a variety of factors such as luck, turmoil, order and misfortune scales, as well as the game's global event frequency setting.
There are thousands of events, and which ones you experience also depends on various factors, including:
All of this adds up to mean that it is very difficult to predict exactly what events are likely to occur. You can increase or decrease the likelihood of certain events - such as by making sure you avoid certain scales - but you usually can't decide exactly what happens.
Some events can lead to other events. For example, if an event triggers which puts a cult leader into one of your provinces, you might experience further events where the cult preaches in secret, causing your dominion to reduce.
Some of these chains are known as "story events", with long, branching chains which can change depending on what you decide to do. For example, you might have the option of rooting out the cult with an army, of infiltrating it with one of your own mages, or converting the heretics with a high level priest. The event will generally tell you what the options are, so make sure to read it carefully. Usually simply having the correct unit(s) in the province will trigger the next step, but in some cases they might require you to issue a special order to a commander.
Story events can be disabled in the game's setup options; this is common for multiplayer games due to the impactful rewards or penalties these events can offer.
Events can have all sorts of effects. Most commonly, you may experience the following:
Some rare events might give you free provinces or even claim Thrones of Ascension for you.
The fortune teller unit ability has a small chance to cancel out the effects of negative events. The turn's messages will display when this happens.
Some magic spells allow you to cause certain provinces to experience a particular event. This is usually negative and directed at one of your foes. For example,allows you to inflict a natural disaster on a targeted province, causing population death and unrest. The unfortunate victim will see this reported as a normal random event, although if it happens too frequently they are likely to become suspicious, especially if their scales would not normally allow said event.
Certain units, such as those created with thespell, have a small chance of forcefully creating an event in a province in addition to those which naturally occur. Each unit with this ability has its effect rolled independently of each other, which can cause large masses of these units to generate many additional events in a single province.
Some random events are global and effect everyone, rather than a specific province. Most commonly this will be the announcements for the Arena Deathmatch and People's Deathmatch, as well as global scale changes due to Thrones being claimed. You will see a ? icon next to global events. Some choices of the wish spell generate events of this type.
Units with the fortune teller ability have a small chance to offer their player advance warning for events of this type.