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-   -   MA Ulm using Blood Magic (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=38166)

AreaOfEffect March 26th, 2008 12:02 AM

MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Foward
The next time you go to play a MA game, please consider Ulm. Don't consider it for any of the changes made to it recently. Honestly, I'm not big on the new stuff. Nothing I'm about to say includes the use of anything new to Ulm. In my opinion, mages with earth 2 and a forge bonus, 5 earth gems a turn from your capital, and an awakened blood god is everything you need to make a powerful late game MA Ulm.

Before We Begin
I'm not about to advocate using blood spells without national blood mages. That is not what the blood god is for. Don't try to make devil commanders, or spawn swarms of vile creatures. MA Ulm doesn't have it's own blood economy outside of a pretender. Personally, I advise you to not research blood magic with MA Ulm... ever. Instead I advise you to research Construction.

The Gist of Things
Specifically, I advise you to research construction 4. The center-piece of Ulm with blood magic is the production of blood stones. Blood stones do two things for Ulm, the first is that it increases the effectiveness of their mages by granting a bonus to earth magic. The second thing it does is it grants an earth gem a turn. Surprisingly this amounts to a huge advantage for Ulm by widening it's selection of battle spells and in allowing them to amass a huge army of constructs. Construction 4 is also enough to get you earth boots and dwarven hammers, both are essential to boosting your magic levels and earth gem supply.

The Plan
The plan is to create a blood stone factory as soon as possible. The steps are listed below:
Step 1) Start with an awakened blood god. Ulm has the advantage of being able to choose the blood fountain, the most economical pretender aside from the oracle. The blood fountain can be substituted for another god with decent blood, but it will start to get expensive. I say blood 4 is a minimum.
Step 2) Begin your research. Even without the aid of your god and full drain you can reach construction 4 by the early part of the first year. If you feel another path is needed to be researched so that you can survive then by all means do so, but construction 4 should be a priority.
Step 3) Construct a couple of dwarven hammers. You can do this when you reach construction 2 if you have an earth 3 pretender or if you get a random earth 3 master smith. Otherwise you'll need to forge a set of earth boots after you reach construction 4.
Step 4) Begin to collect slaves so that when you get to construction 4 you have collected 112 slaves. Use the slaves to empower a young master smith to blood 2. Use the remaining 25 blood slaves to forge a brazen vessel. The remaining 7 is to forge your first blood stone. From now on your god should collect slaves as needed.
Step 5) Give the empowered Master Smith the brazen vessel and a dwarven hammer. What you created is a blood stone factory that uses only 5 earth gems a turn. With a decent blood god, you will never run out of blood slaves to feed the machine and still have turns to use your god for other tasks.

The problem of this strategy is that it requires a huge starting investment of blood slaves. I've tried the variant of the strategy that uses the pretender god to make the stones. The problem is that you constantly have to stop making blood stones in order to scrounge up slaves. Your god ends up being so busy that it can't do anything else. Also, if you choose to save on points and go with a blood fountain you can't even equip a dwarven hammer, which means you use more gems and you get less out of the strategy. However, by only needing 7 slaves a turn via an empowered master smith, your god can go on to do other things and only needs to collect slaves once in a while. You could also go all out and work on a second blood stone factory or a companion slave hunter.

The Conclusion
The inclusion of blood into Ulm isn't to diversify the Ulm strategy, but rather to intensify it. The blood slaves are magically transformed into earth gems. The earth gems allows Ulm to recreate their army. With 10 gems and 140 gold, you can produce a fire 1 earth 4 mage who can use Earth Power in order to reach earth 5 in battle. The gem output of the blood stones allows your battle mages to never run out of gems to power the best earth spells in the game. The randoms the master smiths get can grant you a mage capable of casting Rain of Stones. Every battle mage can fall back on Petrify when the gems are gone, a spell that immobilizes super-combatants even when they make the save versus death. Take earth magic to the max and run with it I say. You could of course ignore my plan and do whatever you like. Either way, good luck.

Micah March 26th, 2008 12:25 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
just blood hunt with indy scouts (or commanders), no need to base an entire pretender for a side-strategy.

AreaOfEffect March 26th, 2008 07:14 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
First, I don't really consider it a side strategy. Second, I find blood searching with non-blood mages to be highly unreliable. I've had dozens upon dozens of commanders searching before and turned up nothing. In my experience, using non-blood mages as a source of reliable blood slaves is like using luck 2 as a reliable source of water gems.

With a blood god you can reliably shell out a magic site a turn around turn 16. That means that by the fifth year you are outputting 50 gems a year from your capital and blood stones alone. That's 1525 Earth gems generated by turn 60 minus the cost of construction, which is only about 261 gems (including the cost of one pair of earth boots and 2 dwarven hammers). 1200+ gems is not a side strategy, it's a winning one, particularly with dozens of earth 4 mages running around and increased gem income from site searching .

CUnknown March 26th, 2008 12:26 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
I agree with you both. Totally, AoE, bloodstones rock! It's not a bad call to make your pretender based on that, it could pay off as you say.

But, at the same time, I would probably just use scouts as Micah suggests. If you have enough scouts (~20), it is actually a reliable source of blood slaves. then you use your first 50 to empower a smith, then he can make a divining rod and search for his own.

Of course this method gets the bloodstones going a lot later than your method does. For Micah and I, it is only a side-strategy.

thejeff March 26th, 2008 12:43 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Finding scouts, at least in numbers enough to have 20 to spare from actually scouting, can be a gamble too. In the MA game I'm in, I've only got 1 scout province at turn 40.

A non blood fountain with just a couple points in blood may be able to blood hunt a few turns to get the 50 slaves to empower a smith. Slightly longer startup time than a dedicated pretender, but you can have a more effective pretender. Either a Rainbow type which would fit the blood well and which Ulm really needs, or an SC, which doesn't fit the blood so well, but which Ulm really needs.

Baalz March 26th, 2008 01:20 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Yes, I did exactly this strategy to good effect using, as suggested, indie scouts. This is almost as effective as a side strategy and then you can use your pretender for whatever else you want (best if you've got a little blood magic on your pretender, but for boosters, not blood hunting).

1) Start very early and aim for 2-3 provinces with 8-10 scouts/commanders blood hunting.
2) Won't take too long to get 50 slaves, empower smith #1.
3) Smith #1 forges a sanguine rod and starts blood hunting
4) You pretty quickly are able to empower smith #2 who blood hunts (with a sanguine rod) until he can empower 3 more times (1-2 times if your pretender can forge a blood booster for him)
5) smith #2 cranks out blood stones
6) As your nation expands, set up another province or two for scout blood hunting
7) New blood stone forgers are now cheaper because you only need to empower them once, smith #2 can forge cheap boosters for the rest of the way
8)Site search everything for earth using gnome lore.
9) By year three you've had 2-3 guys churning out blood stones every turn for awhile and an absurd earth income
9) Stop forging blood stones for a few turns, stockpile all your earth and blood income - have your forgers bloodhunt
10) Use your big pile of earth gems to put up the forge of the ancients while the same turn you empower as many smiths to level one blood as you can
11) Distribute the blood boosters that your original blood stone forgers were using to your new blood guys, you only need B2 to forge blood stones and now you've got 5-6 guys cranking out blood stones.

Now, if you planned ahead and have the right path boosters ready, and one of the smiths you empowered in blood had an air random, turn one of having the forge up you can forge:
a robe of the magi
rings of sorcery (several, depending on how many boosters/astral random smiths you've got)
5-6 blood stones
one lightless lantern for each fire gem you have (each smith can forge them for 1 gem without a dwarven hammer)
All the other junk you want to forge that requires level 2 in paths smiths get randoms in - starshine caps, chainmail of displacement, crystal coin, etc.

The beauty of this is that your forge has paid for itself even if it's dispelled after one turn...and you can easily put it back up in 5 or 6 turns after you've saved up enough gems/slaves for another mass forging.

Sombre March 26th, 2008 03:52 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Nice idea if you could actually make it out of the early game when you're devoting income, mages and a pretender to a strategy that doesn't pay off until quite a bit later. I know I'd rush an Ulmish build like that.

thejeff March 26th, 2008 03:54 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
And when would you know you were facing an Ulmish build like that?

Especially if it wasn't the Blood Fountain version?

Sombre March 26th, 2008 03:57 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
The fact that they're blood hunting is something you might not pick up on I guess, though the scouts hanging around in the open in their provinces would be a give away. That said it's sort of irrelevant because I'd rush almost any MA Ulmish build. That one would just be easier.

This doesn't denote that I think MA Ulm is weak (though I do), just that I think rushing it is generally a sensible strategy.

Baalz March 26th, 2008 04:05 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Well, without getting into a tangential argument about Ulm surviving an initial rush, as I pointed out this is a total side strategy with a cost of a couple mages, a couple low income provinces, and the upkeep on 20 scouts. Ulm is seldom pinched for gold and also generally has an abundance of the cheap smiths. This is totally something you can do in addition to whatever your main strategy is and doesn't make you noticeably more vulnerable to a rush.

Renojustin March 28th, 2008 02:24 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
People think MA Ulm is vulnerable to a rush but they have a lot of things going for them for use against one. Great troops, great PD and uh... well, great troops. Troops that become of less and less value as the game goes on. So while unsuited to rushing on their own, they are fairly well equipped to handle an incoming one.

The only thing you'd really have to put special effort against, even specialize against, is tramplers. If they do that, you have to go with massed crossbowmen, research Earth Bind and immobility spells, probably take an awake SC pretender from the start as many will say is necessary with MA Ulm.

Love your bloodstone factory, AOE. Great strategy post.

Endoperez March 28th, 2008 09:56 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
The Thaumaturgy spell Bonds of Fire is also good against tramplers, especially Elephants. It's tests against morale, not strength, so even if it's not AoE it will last much longer.

Baalz March 28th, 2008 10:00 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
FYI here's a looooong discussion about Ulm beating back rushes (which is why I didn't want to get into it again).

http://www.shrapnelcommunity.com/thr...;Number=586724

AreaOfEffect March 28th, 2008 01:28 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Indeed, thank you Baalz. The 'rushing against Ulm' topic is more appropriately discussed their. Here I would rather focus on Ulm's best uses of blood magic. Also, thank you Renojustin. Your the first person so far to compliment me on these forums. I value that.

Renojustin March 29th, 2008 05:01 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
It's a way of playing MA Ulm that I've never heard or considered. Having just learned the uses of bloodstones myself, it was pretty nice to see a strategy for them. Sacred mages, cheap, and E2 can be a real powerful combination with bloodstones. I see Pangaea can make very good use of this as well.

What are some of the more powerful Earth spells that cost gems that you can access with E4? (Smith + Earth Boots + Summon Earthpower) Because that's going to be your bread and butter with this strategy. Think of some specific combinations and let me know what you come up with? I know about Rain of Stones, which can be devastating...

AreaOfEffect March 29th, 2008 06:03 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Petrify - E5 - 0 gems One of my favorite spells. It's an AoE 1 death effect that paralyzes those that make the save. I can't stress how devastating this spell is. The only way around it is to be one of the few creatures that are immune by virtue of being stone already. This spell doesn't need gems.

Army of Gold - E4 - 3 gems This is a nice spell for your army in general. However, I generally don't script it unless I'm facing off with someone using a lot of fire magic, like Abysia.

Army of Lead - E5 - 3 gems A much better spell for Ulm then army of gold. It's an earth spell that grants MR and more protection. A good spell to script.

Earthquake - E4 - 3 gems Here is a good spell to cast and retreat with in my opinion. It's a defense check to avoid the AP damage so your regular troops will be at a disadvantage.

Tempering the Will - E3 - 0 gems I know this isn't a 4+ Earth spell but it's worth noting that a smith with boots + stone + earth gem can cast this at the start of battle and get an additional point of penetration before you even cast Summon Earthpower. Stack on a Spell Focus and the spell really becomes worth it as a first round spell.

Belac December 12th, 2009 07:22 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
To follow up on this with another angle...

I've designed an Ulmish rainbow pretender which has 26 points left over. My choices are to take a negative scale and use the 66 points for something or to take Blood2. Would this be worth it just for random searches and a possible side strategy? OTOH, since 25 of those points come from the cheaper cost of the Great Sage in the CBM, and now blood stones are apparently unique items, does that sufficiently weaken the strategy?

EDIT: Another pretty unrelated question, but it's about Ulm so I will ask it here: Ulmish troops are cheap. Is it a viable strategy to go Turmoil/Luck, or just Turmoil and use the points for other things?

Trumanator December 12th, 2009 07:33 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
No bloodstones pretty significantly weakens the advantages of blood for Ulm. As for T/L, you're going to want to spam castles and mages like crazy, so probably not.

rdonj December 13th, 2009 01:14 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Every player here will tell you to always take order, unless maybe you're playing with pangaea. There are times when productivity can really shine though, especially if you can afford to take it on top of order. I would argue that MA ulm is one nation where it makes at least a moderate amount of sense to take productivity, as they have the amazing sacred-killing guardians, which are cap only and take quite a few resources. Productivity is also very useful for kicking off your starting expansion if you don't have a good bless strategy or early recruitable thugs.

People will tell you that resources become useless when you have a certain number of forts and to an extent that is true, because once you are hiring 4+ mages a turn you probably will not have lots of spare money. But early in the game, the resources and the GOLD that you get by not taking sloth can really help sometimes. And if you're planning to mass a cap-only recruitable... well, more castles are really not going to help. You should still almost always take order first though.

For the record, I hate playing under turmoil. If you're not very lucky with gold events you will be much poorer than you would be with order. However, if you can find the points, I have found order-0 luck-3 to be tolerable to play under.

vfb December 13th, 2009 06:58 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Who? Me? No I will not tell you to take order! :) Every player here except me, maybe.

theenemy December 13th, 2009 11:29 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
All of your opinions are invalid because Dom3 is a random force of the universe.

AreaOfEffect December 16th, 2009 10:00 AM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Wow, Belac. Way to dig up one of my oldest threads ever. This is so old I didn't even get a notice someone posted to it. I must not be subscribed to it because it was before the forum upgrade.

Anyhow, if your playing CBM, this strategy is dead. However, if CBM comes up with another earth booster, then I would suggest gearing Ulm in doing whatever it needs to do in order to shell them out in mass.

I always liked blood stones over all of the other gem gens, because unlike clams, they are a tool and not a treasure. Clams are lame cause all you do is stick them on researchers walled up in lofty towers. Your mages just hold them close to their chests at night and whisper, "my precious". The clam then bits their nose off and spits out a pearl.

The fact that blood stones boosted earth magic was always their better aspect. Ulm's mages are weak if you don't boost them. My point was that if you took advantage of earth boots, blood stones, and summon earth power, you exponentially increased your battlefield options. However, having the extra gems transported directly to the field was also a big plus.

Belac December 16th, 2009 12:41 PM

Re: MA Ulm using Blood Magic
 
Thanks, Areaofeffect.

MA Ulm is a favorite nation of mine, and I always take a rainbow pretender. While trying things out in the CBM, I had just enough points left over for Blood2, so I figured it might be worthwhile in case I happened to conquer any blood sites or blood mage indies.


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