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EA Ulm, Enigma of Steel

Lore

Ulm is a nation that goes through major changes with the eras. In early times it is a barbarian nation. Think Conan! Or at least, think of the first five minutes of Conan, the Barbarian, when Conan's family is slaughtered by Thulsa Doom and the young boy is brought to slavery. Think of fur-dressed shamen and warrior smiths speaking of the Enigma of Steel. Then think of the German tribes described by Caesar in The Gallic Wars, the Roman disaster of the Teutoburger Forest, and the pagan temple at Irminsul. Ulm in the early era is an Ulm before the arrival civilization.

Ulm of the later eras is inspired by, amongst others, Teutonic Knights and German Landsknechts. Late Ulm is an intended shift of style towards central and eastern Europe, southern Germany/Bavaria, and Transylvania. One of the classic ingredients of gothic novels is tainted bloodlines. Another feature common amongst the traditional, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, gothic novel is that it takes place in some part of Catholic Europe, so making a Goethicized fantasy “Bavarian” Ulm is a natural step, I think.
- Illwinter

Ulm is a land of cold mountains and dense forests. These wild lands were settled by proud and fierce barbarians in ages past. Their ancestry has made the inhabitants of the forests stronger and more resilient to the cold climate than ordinary men. Upon becoming men, youngsters are given a single knife and left in the forest at first snowfall. Those who survive the winter are allowed to return to their family. The barbarians of Ulm live in small settlements ruled by chieftains and warrior-smiths who search for the Enigma of Steel. Steel is a sacred metal and its maker is as well. Smithing has become the equivalent of making a sacrifice to the Lord and no other culture has developed such skill in forging magical items. Horses are rare and those who use them in warfare are held in contempt. Sneak attacks, on the other hand, are common, and many warriors use stealth to engage opponents in hand-to-hand combat.

General Overview

EA Ulm has amazing cold resistant murder machine troops, a broad selection of magic cross paths, scouts recruitable out of any forest or mountain province, discounted magic items, and the ability to create entirely stealthy armies (if not completely stealthy doom stacks). Warrior Smiths and Shamans are versatile mages with perfectly reasonable price tags, but the real stars of the nation are the troops. EA Ulm's cost efficient, dual-wielding, high strength troops ensure a strong expansion and early game, and take buffs extremely well. They are noted for being a very good match-up against giants, which are prevalent in the early era. EA Ulm solves problems with cold steel and stealth, and no opponent should discount them.

While their troop lineup is above average, EA Ulm's mages suffer from a lack of depth in a way that no other nation in the early era does. The nation struggles to achieve magic paths above X2 outside of Earth and Nature. Ulm's most powerful and expensive mage is only a 220 4-path mage, which would not look out of place on most nations' any-fort roster. This lack of powerful and focused mages makes it difficult for EA Ulm to cast important mid- and late-game spells, globals, and battlefield wipes. This focus on physical might over magical power extends to the troop lineup as well, as the entire nation suffers from lower than average magic resistance.

EA Ulm's sacred two-handed greatswords are dangerous units who deal and take damage at prodigious rates, much like your other troops. Their high attrition rate and slow recruitment due to being capital-only means they are not usually heavily blessed. Ulm's generic troop lineup is already strong enough to dissuade most rush nations, and it is more common to see the nation played in a manner that maximizes scales. However, because the easiest way for EA Ulm to access higher level magic paths and boosters is through their Pretender, the nation has been known to run unusual blesses. It should be noted that most of Ulm's troop lineup are ambidextrous , which dramatically increases damage output per square but leaves them without shields and thus unusually vulnerable to archer fire. Ulm's only shield users are the aptly named Shield Maidens.

EA Ulm is a fun and rewarding nation to play, and a player who is mindful of their weaknesses can leverage their strengths to pull ahead of the pack early and maintain that position even into the late game.

National Features

EA Ulm has a temperature preference for +1 cold, and receives +25% resources in forts. EA Ulm also has access to national longdead skeletons kitted with Ulmish gear. These are well liked because they are more dangerous and often better armored than generic longdead. These national longdead can be most easily accessed though the Enchantment 1 ritual spell Reanimation, but also show up at a lower frequency in battlefield spells such as Horde of Skeletons.

Special Race Attributes Military Magic Access Priests Buildings
Barbarians!
Prefers Cold Scale +1
Partial Cold Resistance (5)
Snow Move
Mountain Survival
Forest Survival
Strong Medium Infantry
Powerful Offence
Stealthy Infantry
National Longdead
earth 22(uncommon 3)
nature 22(rare 3)
fire 11(uncommon 2)
air 11(uncommon 2)
water 11(uncommon 2)
death 11(uncommon 2)
Weak Priests (holy 11) Standard Forts (fortress)
Forts produce +25% resources

"Uncommon" is 1-in-32; not ideal for massing, but you'll get those paths eventually. "Rare" is 1-in-40.

Capital Special Sites

The Wheel of Pain Irminsul

Enables recruitment of Steel Warriors

Enable recruitment of Antlered Shaman
Produce 1deathgem2naturegem3earthgem per turn

National Units

Commanders

EA Ulm only has 5 national commanders. Unlike most nations, each one is worth recruiting.

EA Ulm only has access to 3 different mages, however one of these is recruitable out of any forest or mountain. Ulm's mages tend to be more random than reliable, and offer a broad variety of tools at the expense of consistency.

Img Unit Name —-SpecialAttributes—- Comments
Warrior Scout
25
10
1
Stealthy(40)
Ambidextrous(1)
Warrior Scouts and Warrior Chiefs are recruitable in all forests and mountains, meaning that EA Ulm will never have a shortage of scouts or stealthy leaders.

With their 80 leadership, Warrior Chiefs also make efficient, formation-capable commanders.
Warrior Chief
75
17
1
Stealthy(40)
Warrior Smith
110
13
2
earth 11random2100%
50%
9
Resource Bonus (5)
Forge Bonus (1)
Warrior Smiths are your only national access to Air and Water magic.
They can vary wildly in value from almost worthless to amazing depending on the random magic paths they get.
Shaman
130
5
2
earth 11holy 11random2100%
50%
7
Sacred
Stealthy (40)
Inept Researcher (2)
Unlike Warrior Smiths, Shamans are also holy 11, have inept-researcher 2, and cost 20 more gold than your Warrior Smiths.
Even though they have a research penalty, making them less efficient researchers for their turn and upfront gold cost, being sacred makes them more efficient than Warrior Smiths in terms of upkeep.
As battle mages they tend to be outclassed by Warrior Smiths, however the Shaman's saving grace is his stealth—the ability to provide mage support to stealthy armies can be invaluable.
Antlered Shaman
220
5
4
Capital Only
earth 22nature 22holy 11random010% 13
Sacred
Stealthy (40)
Supply Bonus (20)
Antlered Shamans are EA Ulm's biggest and most powerful mages with 4 magic paths on average. They cost 220g, are slow to recruit, and capital only.
As Ulm's most reliable nature 22, the Antlered Shaman will often act as a stealthy support mage for Ulm's armies, dropping nature buffs such as Wooden Warriors and putting up spells like Howl.

Troops

EA Ulm has access to a range of troops best characterized as moderately armoured with a focus on offense. These troops come in male and female varieties and with a broad selection of gear to fit every situation.

Sprite Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Warrior
10
10
9
+Forest Rec
+Mountain Rec
Stealthy (40)
Ambidextrous (1)
Skirmisher
Basic Ulmish warriors come in two flavors and they only differ slightly, the chief
difference being trading two throwing axes for two points of defense.

These warriors have great stats for only 10g, are stealthy, and come with two weapons. They
are useful for stealthy raiding and providing mass to your armies.

Warriors appear to have low attack skill but they also get two attacks each so they harass
enemy defense skill down enough to more than make up for it.
Axe Warrior
10
10
9
+Forest Rec
+Mountain Rec
Archer
10
6
9
+Forest Rec
+Mountain Rec
Skirmisher Archers and Warrior Maidens are EA Ulm's dedicated ranged units.
Warrior Maidens are similar to Archers but with better stats, gear, and a
price to match. Warrior Maidens are generally not worth their cost without
a specific reason to justify their cost.
Warrior Maiden
12
13
14
Stealthy (40)
Skirmisher
Forest Warrior
12
16
14
+Forest Rec
Ambidextrous (1)
Skirmisher
Forest Warriors and Mountain Warriors are the elite versions of normal Axe Warriors
and Warriors respectively. They cost 120% what regular warriors do, and have slightly
superior stats and armor. Unlike their lesser counterparts they are not stealthy.
Mountain Warrior
12
16
14
+Mountain Rec
Ambidextrous (1)
Skirmisher
Shield Maiden
13
13
16
Stealthy(40)
Skirmisher
Shield Maidens are EA Ulm's only shield users. They cost a lot and don't have amazing
stats to justify it but they are better than indies and they have shields so if you enemy
is using archery to great effect you want them and if not then you don't. Simple as that.
Iron Warrior
14
13
18
Skirmisher Iron Warriors cost a wopping 14g each, lack stealth, and only have 1 weapon (and it
only does 25% more damage than a basic warrior's axe). They have great stats to be
sure but unless you are facing statues or a monolith you probably shouldn't bother
with them.
Steel Maiden
14
13
18
Stealthy (40)
Ambidextrous (1)
Skirmisher
Steel Maidens cost 14g each just like Iron Warriors but unlike the Iron Warriors they
are worth it. They are stealthy, have two weapons, and stats that are almost as good.
They suffer for lack of damage output relative to your other units, doing only 80% of
the damage per hit your other troops' axes do but are still very good when fighting
anything with high defense such as elves or horsemen. Being stealthy means that
they are an option for stealth raiding unlike their Forest and Mountain Warrior
competitors.
Steel Warrior
28
17
31
Capital Only
Sacred
Skirmisher
Steel Warriors are best described as sacred Iron Warriors, they have a single high
quality attack and a very high cost. They are discussed in depth at the beginning of this
article.

Heroes

Sprite Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Eburhart - Guardian of the Tree earth 22nature 33holy 33 15
Cold Resistance (5)
Poison Resistance (5)
Stealthy (40)
Supply Bonus (+30)
On top of being your best Nature Mage, Eburhart serves as an additional Throne-claimer.
Athalwolf - Maker of Heroes earth 11astral 22death 22nature 11holy 22 17
Cold Resistance (5)
Stealthy (40)
Supply Bonus (+10)
Old Age (88/75)
On top of being your only Astral Mage, Athalwolf has good side-paths as well.
With just him and an earth 22 Mage, you can reach astral 44.
He can also craft your missing Nature booster, if Empowered.
Warenheris - Son of Steel Cold Resistance (8) This guy has a really good sword, and powerful offensive stats.
He can also use your Bless.
…Neat, right?

All three Heroes have Mountain Survival, Forest Survival, Snow Move, and Sacred status.

Magic

All three iterations of Ulm are characterized by thin magic access with cheap Items, and Early-Age Ulm is no exception; in fact, it's the only Ulmish nation to not have native access to Communions.

Magic Access

EA Ulm can access the following paths on their recruitable mages, without counting 10% randoms;

earth 33, nature 22, fire 22, death 22, air 22, water 22

Path access is split almost evenly; Warrior Smiths have E/F/A/W crosspaths, while Shamans have E/F/D/N crosspaths. Approximately 1/3 of all EA Ulm's mages will be earth 22 or earth 33. Approximately 1/3 of EA Ulm's mages will have fire 11 or fire 22, which may overlap (ie an earth 22fire 11 mage, which may be either a Shaman or a Warrior Priest). All other X2 paths appear at a rate of only 1/32 mages, but since both any-fort recruitable mages are fairly cheap EA Ulm can expect to be producing many of them, and by the midgame should have access to all of their crosspaths. If you are unlucky and do not have many nature 22 Shamans, it may be worth recruiting a couple of Antlered Shamans, which guarantee N2 and have a small chance (1/40) of randoming nature 33. This is the only way Antlered Shamans can contribute to your path access.

With earth 33 mages Ulm can reach earth 44 by forging Earth Boots; this is one level too low for the most major Earth rituals, but is enough to summon Troll Kings, Fall Bears, and Living Statues - all useful units - as well as create Wizard's Towers, and forge all Earth items except artifacts. In order to summon the Earth Kings or cast Forge of the Ancients or Earth Blood Deep Well, EA Ulm will need to empower, bring a pretender god with earth 55 (or earth 44 and a usable foot item slot), or somehow acquire a Blood Stone, Staff of Elemental Mastery, Ring of Wizardry, or Robe of the Magi. In battle high-level Earth mages can Summon Earthpower to increase their path level again, making all combat Earth spells potentially accessible.

Ulm's other paths can be boosted as follows, using only nationally-accessible items, spells, and summons;

nature 33 (Thistle Mace) /nature 44 in combat (Thistle Mace + Strength of Gaia - needs nature 22earth 11 mage)

fire 33 (Skull of Fire) /fire 44 in combat (Phoenix Power)

death 33 (Skull Staff)

air 22

water 77 (Water Bracelet + Robe of the Sea, summon Sea King, summon Queen of Elemental Water - needs UW province)

Any further boosting requires empowerment, items EA Ulm cannot nationally forge, or higher-than-national paths on a pretender god.

National Spells & Summons

Combat

  • Enchantment 1 Reanimation
    Effectively a national spell, as the only troops it will generate are Ulmish national longdead. These longdead are considerably superior in both damage output and armor, and are often used to supplement Ulm's non-stealthy armies.

Ritual

  • Conjuration 3 nature 22 for 8naturegem: Sloth of Bears
    Underwhelming way to convert valuable N gems into high HP/low MR bears. Primarily used for quickly generating siege strength.

Notable Generic Magic

Magic Items

Strategy

Power Curve

Ulm is generally considered to have a rough late game, due to the low skill ceiling of its Magi. On the other hand, its multi-attacking troops are rather good for expansion, and it can match most of its opponents' middle-game plays with sheer versatility; enemy thugs and elites can be met with dirt-cheap counter-thugs, while threatening enemy armies can simply be played and raided around with stealthy hordes. The low Magic Resistance of Ulm's troops is one of its biggest concerns, and should certainly not be ignored when fighting Astral foes.

Expansion Strategies

Example Pretender Builds

Keeper of the Bridge
EA Ulm does quite well with an expansion titan, it helps them kick start their troop expansion and gets them lots of land early on to pull ahead with; you don’t want to be playing EA Ulm from behind anyway. Their miserable sacred troop makes the choice to not take even a small bless very stomachable. This bad boy right here can cloud trapeze in to kill anything that you can’t just throw more forest warriors at and anything which can handle this titan in a fight will probably die to a sufficient volume of forest warriors.

Chassis: Awake
Keeper of the Bridge
Paths: air 22water 11earth 22nature 22
Bless: None
Scales: Dominion strength5Order0Productivity1Cold3Growth3Misfortune2Magic3
See The Virtues of Expansion Titans

See More

ulm-ea.txt · Last modified: 2022/05/10 05:31 by fenrir