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Old March 26th, 2008, 12:02 AM
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Default MA Ulm using Blood Magic

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.
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