Types of Spells
Spells are divided into two basic categories: Rituals and Battle Magic.
Battle magic can only be cast during a tactical battle. These spells have battle effects like inflicting damage, granting increased protection, reducing fatigue, or some similar effect which only makes sense in the context of the battle mechanics. Battle magic can be scripted into a mage’s list of battle actions using Set battle orders. If a battle spell requires gems, that mage must have those gems in his inventory before the battle begins.
Some battle spells affect the whole battlefield and are termed battle enchantments. Some of these last the length of the battle. A battle enchantment is dispelled if its caster dies.
Interrupts Spells have to be prepared for a while before they can be cast. During this preparation time, the caster can be interrupted if he is damaged. The preparation time is about half of the time required to cast the spell. The other half of the time is spent recovering after the spell has been cast. The casting time for most spells is one combat round, but battle enchantments and spells that cost magic gems often take longer.
The chance of being interrupted when damaged while casting a spell is expressed as a percentage of your full hit points caused by the damage, plus 25%. Thus, a strike that inflicted half of a spell caster’s full hit points in damage would have a 75% chance of interrupting the spell being cast.
Units with the “combat caster” ability (such as the paladin) are half as likely to be interrupted as a normal unit. Mindless units are also half as likely to be interrupted as a normal unit would be.
Some monsters are innate spell casters. These monsters do not require any preparation time for their spells and do not care about different casting times.
Battle Magic mechanics The method for resolving battle magic is very similar to that for missile weapons. Mages have a Precision attribute just like archers do. Spells have a Precision rating, also. For the purposes of calculation these two are added together. Some spells (like Acid Bolt) are armor- piercing. This means Protection against them only counts for half, just like armor-piercing missiles. Some other spells (like Orb Lightning) are armor-negating. This means they completely bypass Protection, and the target’s only defense is the die roll.
In some cases, instead of Protection, though, some spells check a target’s Magic Resistance. It actually is protection. Protection from magic! Magic Resistance is most often binary in nature, it either protects the target or it does not, with nothing in-between. Against some spells a successful resistance check merely means crippling injuries rather than instant death.
Some spells (mostly Astral) require the caster to defeat the target’s Magic Resistance before the spell can take effect. If a spell description states that “Magic resistance negates” then the following check is made:
Caster’s Penetration roll: 10 + DRN + (additional skill in spell path) / 2
Target’s MR roll: Magic Resistance + DRN + (skill in spell path) /
The caster wins ties. Note that not all targets will have any magic skill, much less skill in that spell’s path, so often the target will simply add Magic Resistance and the DRN.
If a spell description states that “Magic resistance negates easily” then the caster suffers a –4 modifier to his or her penetration roll. This is the same as “easy to resist.” “Hard to resist” gives a +4 to penetration roll.
Just like attacking in combat, casting spells in battle costs fatigue. Each spell has a listed fatigue cost which a caster incurs when casting that spell. For each skill level in the required path that the mage exceeds the minimum, he incurs 1 / (1 + (mage skill – minimum skill) of the listed spell fatigue. In other words, having an extra skill level means the mage suffers only 1⁄2 fatigue, two extra skill levels means he suffers only 1/3 as much, three extra is 1⁄4, and so forth.
Spell casters also incur fatigue equal to their base Encumbrance value + 2x Encumbrance value of any armor worn for each spell cast. This is not subject to reduction by skill bonuses. It is harder to make magical gestures in heavy armor. Everyone knows this from armor class days.
Fatigue is very important for spell casters. It is often the limiting factor in combat, and higher-skill mages thus have an advantage in that they incur less fatigue. Spells that reduce fatigue, like Reinvigoration or Relief, can be very useful as well.
Rituals are spells which have an effect on the world map, and take an entire month (game turn) to cast. Thus, mages which are to cast a ritual have to be given that order as part of the turn. If a ritual requires gems, the mage may only use gems from a laboratory and rituals can only be cast in provinces with labs (assuming the national pool has enough gems of the required type). The gems will be withdrawn from the national inventory automatically.
Some rituals affect the entire province that they are cast in. Some of these (but not all) last longer than one turn. These are termed local enchantments. An example of such a spell is Dome of Air. Once the Dome of Air is cast, it persists in that province until dispelled. The spell is dispelled if the caster dies. Local enchantments are also dispelled if the province they affect is conquered by an enemy. The exception to that is that local enchantment powered by Blood magic will persist even if the province is conquered. They must be dispelled instead.
Rituals can be automated to be recast each month by the same mage using the [Shift]+[m] shortcut when selected and in a laboratory province. The mage will cast the spell as long as he has enough gems.
If you try to cast a spell and it doesn’t get cast, the most likely problem is that you don’t have enough gems of the correct type.
Global enchantments are rituals. These are very powerful spells that affect the entire world of Dominions 5. They often cost a lot of gems and have severe effects. Only five such spells can be in effect at any one time. You can find out which global enchantments are in effect at any point of a game by clicking on the Global Enchantments button in the main screen, or just hitting [F6].
When casting a global enchantment, you have the option of adding more gems to the spell than are required. This is because the more gems you use to cast a spell, the harder it is to dispel it.
The maximum number of gems a mage can use to cast a ritual is his or her path level x 100. So a skillful mage casting a simple global enchantment can put very many extra gems into it if he or she wants.
Just like local enchantments, global enchantments are dependent on their caster. If the caster dies, the global is dispelled. This can be because he died of old age, or because some clever enemy realized it was easier to assassinate him than to try to dispel the massive global spell he had put 200 extra gems into. Extra gems don’t protect mages against assassination.