.com.unity Forums
  The Official e-Store of Shrapnel Games

This Month's Specials

The Falklands War - Save $7.00
War Plan Pacific - Save $5.00

   







Go Back   .com.unity Forums > Illwinter Game Design > Dominions 3: The Awakening

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old June 19th, 2008, 01:17 PM

SsSam SsSam is offline
Corporal
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 81
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
SsSam is on a distinguished road
Default The pythian prescription

The Pythia prescription.
Dominions can be a bear to learn. Browsing the forum and reading the tales of veteran players can make you wonderÖĒHow do they do that?Ē Iím hoping that this guide can help new player bridge SOME of the gap between the tutorial in the manual and the experience of a multiplayer veteran. Itís designed to show you some of the holes in the CPs (computer players) game and some of the things you are likely to run into when you play in a multiplayer game.
This prescription is for a specific nation in a specific age. It isnít going to work with every nation and every age. I chose Pythia because they have broad access to many magic paths as well as some very nice early expansion and late game thugs. Please be aware that it is certainly possible that this prescription can fail. Thatís the nature of the game.

Game Creation and Pretender Creation

Use the Cradle of Dominions Map. Select the Middle age. Set the first empire to be Pythia under human control. Use four CPís Ulm, Arcoscephale, Tien Chi and Marignon. The cradle map is big enough that you have a playground. I think itís the standard that all other dominion maps are measured against. It provides terrain that focuses and channels attacks without forcing everything along the same lines. You can use any nations as the CPís. I think for this map and this illustration you probably want to stay away from water nations and probably Ermor. The CP doesnít play Ermor well. If you are feeling brave crank the difficulty. Youíll survive.
To create your pretender, use a dormant Crone. For magic use 1-Fire 1-Water 4-Earth 1-Astral 3-Death and 4-Nature. Use a dominion (the candles) of four and scales of 3-Order 1-Productivity 1-Heat 3-Growth.
This pretender is a rainbow mage meant to supplement magic paths that your nation usually has trouble getting into. Thatís exactly whatís been built here. Broadly there are three types of pretenders. The first are pretenders meant to act as tanks in the early expansion part of the game. Middle age Pythia already has some units that fill that role quite well. The second type of pretender is the Bless pretender whose magic paths bestow special bless powers on sacred troops that have received a blessing in combat. The sacred units that pythia starts with are light unarmored troops that cannot take much damage. Going with a Bless pretender and Pythia is a stretch. The rainbow pretender is the third type of pretender, (although there is slight bless here for later in the game). Very heavy scales allows for tremendous income. A side advantage to the extreme Growth scale is that it should help reduce the old age afflictions that Pythiumís best mages suffer from. The slight negative from the heat scale isnít going to hurt you.
Set the Special Site Frequency to 75. Set the supply multiple to 300. The special site frequency controls the number of gem producing sites. Setting it to an artificially high number does cater to this strategy, but this is meant as a play game. The same strategy will work with fewer magic sites. When playing the CPís, setting the supply multiple to 300 gives them a slight boost.

Early Game. Expanding your second castle - Hydraís the secret to early expansion

Hopefully now you are looking at your map. I always like to go to Map Filters and turn on Neighbors. That helps me to understand where on the map you can move to from each province. Look around the map.
Most dominion games are decided by two things, who expands the fastest at the beginning of the game and who has the best troops at the end of the game. For multiplayer games with other humans you can add in diplomacy as the third deciding factor, but since youíre playing against the computer, you donít need to worry about that. Right now, letís focus on who expands the fastest (you) and how you are going to expand the fastest.
For Pythia (and many other nations) building a second castle allowing you to build two mages a turn (or a mage and something else) is the first goal of early expansion. So where should you build it?
Look at the provinces that are two moves away from your home. Look for a land province that is two moves away from your home province and connects to a lot of other provinces. You want the target province to connect to a lot of other provinces so it will gather a good number of resources. If the target province is a forest or swamp province, thatís even better because that means the fort constructed there will be cheap to build. Remember the purpose behind this second castle isnít about dominating the landscape, itís about being able to recruit more national mages/scouts/commanders faster.
Perhaps you have more than one province that looks like a decent target. Thatís OK. That means you now have the location for your third(and perhaps fourth) castle. What you want to do is build an interlocking supporting network of 4-5 castles as quickly as you can.
Now that you know where you want to go, you need to decide how to get there. There are a couple ways to fuel early expansion. Thereís a pretender SC or blessed sacred units with a bless that will overpower independents. You spend money to recruit expendable mercenaries. You could try throwing your initial army and hope that works out. You could build an army of Princepes.
Or you can go the easy way. See those big units at the end of the list? Those expensive Hydras? Thatís your boy. They emit a poison cloud that kills most indies and better yet, they regenerate, so most damage will heal and they will be ready to go next turn. They donít cost anything in the way of resources, but the down side is that they are expensive to recruit and expensive to support. With your initial allotment of money, you can only recruit one Hydra! Youíll need five in order to get going, but by the time you wait five turns to recruit what you need, you wonít be leaping out to an early expansion lead. What to do? Set your starting army on patrol and crank your tax income to 200%. Send your initial scout out towards your target province. Add together your expected income from next turn and what you have right now. To construct your hydra army you will need 1290 gold pieces. If you will have enough gold to buy your hydra army on turn two and buy a second scout now, go ahead and do it. If you canít, donít. Press next turn.
Send your first scout to your target province. Recruit your Hydra army of five hydraís and a hydra tamer. If you have a second scout. Send him out exploring. Press next turn.
Go to army setup. Form the five hydraís in a squad under the hydra tamer at the front of the battle field and set them to attack closest. Put your hydra tamer at the back of the battle field and set him on hold/hold/hold/hold/hold stay behind troops. Send them on a line towards your target second province. AVOID provinces with heavy cavalry or elephants (truly strong indies), provinces with flyers (they may kill your commander which will route the hydras), provinces with shamans (curses), but this force will take out pretty much anything else AND be ready to do it again next turn without reinforcing.
Buy an arch-theurg. (You can make either this guy or your second scout your prophet) Buy a few standards and a couple princepes to bulk up your initial army.
When your hydra force conquers your target province, you should have the cash available to start building your second castle. Your hydra tamer doesnít stick around to build the castle, thatís the scoutís job. The hydras are out clearing indy provinces around your home castle making a path for castle 3. At this point you can probably lower your tax income to lower levels which will release your patrolling army (which youíve added a couple units to in turn 3 and 4) to take on other weak indies nearby. This second army will require a bit more care, but youíll get the hang of it.
Each turn you should be recruiting an arch-theurg and princepes. On turn 8 or so, build a theurg to move to your target province and build a lab and a temple in your second castle.
Things to think aboutÖmaybe building a second force of Hydraís to double your expansion rate. Build a 4-5 castle supporting network. You will want a legatus legionus or an emerald lord, but for the most part you can usually scrounge commanders from indy provinces, building scouts and mages at your castles.
Your mages want Evocation-2 (Arcane Probing), Thaum-2 (communion master/slave, Auspex) Conj-3 (Voice of Apsu) Alteration level 3 (mistform/Body Ethereal) and depending on threat levelThaum-4 (Paralyze).
If you encounter CPís, donít provoke them. If they decide to declare war. Have them meet your Hydraís.

Mid Game- Site searching - Forging

If you played your cards right in the early game, you should be %50 or so larger than anybody else. Consolidate your gains without losing momentum. Remember that most dominion games are decided by two things, who expands the fastest at the beginning of the game and who has the best troops at the end of the game. By know you have a prescription for expansion, continue following it without provoking the computer players. Weíre going to focus on also having the best troops at the end of the game.
Around turn 12 your pretender comes on line. Attach a couple of troops as bodyguards. Set her to retreat and send her out searching for magic sites. As soon as you get Arcane Probing, Auspex and Voice of Apsu, find a mage that can cast them and use shift m to have them autocast them. Gems are the key to having the best troops at the end of the game. Gems turn into spells cast, units summoned and items forged. You want to research Alteration 3, Construction 6 and Conjuration 6. At that point, you have effectively won the game. The computer players just donít know it yet.

The End fun things to do.
if you have been recruiting an arch-theurg every turn, several of them are probably suffer afflictions and a couple are diseased, wasting away a hp each turn. If you happen to like the magic paths on those arch-theurgs, after construction 4 have one of them build a Shroud of the Battle Saint and put it on the diseased arch-theurg. This halts the disease and your arch theurg isnít going to die. This is a nice side effect of your pretenderís weak regenerating bless from her N4 path.
At Conjuration 6 Pythia has a national spell to contact a harbinger. Youíll need to find an astral 4 mage to cast it, but if you have been recruiting an arch-theurg every turn that wonít be a problem. Also forge the following items a Frost Brand, a Lucky Coin, A Dragon Helmet, ChainMail of Displacement, Birch Boots or Brimstone Boots, An Amulet of antimagic, and an Amulet of missle protection.
Set these items on your Harbinger. Script him to start near the back. Cast Mistform, Mirror Image, Blessing, and attack rear. You can also use Boots of quickness, Spirit Helm, Cat Charm, Rings of protection, Ring of water breathing and several other items and combinations. There are few Computer Player armies that will be able to stand against him. Script and kit him a bit different and human players will not much care for him either. Fly him around solo and watch him beat up on stuff. Play around have fun.
You should have plenty of air/water and astral gems by now. Hopefully your pretender has found fire/earth/death and nature sites to really set you lose. If you have the ability to recruit a nature-1mage and an income of 2 nature gems a turn, you can forge a thistle mace and to give to the nature-1 mage and have them cast haruspex. Likewise if you can recruit a death 1 mage (or have your pretender summon a spectre) and have an income of 3 death gems, they can cast dark knowledge. Earth 1 mages are a bit harder to find, but your pretender can forge earth boots and the Troll Kingís court is within reach. Fire will require some luck with indy mages, empowerment or a flaming skull from higher up the construction path and an Arch-theurg with a fire path.
Pythia is rich in astral mages. Astral and Blood mages have access to the powerful Communion spells. Get a communion going and watch what these guys can do. Experiment around. You can run communions to enhance a couple of masters to cast insanely high level spells OR you can run a communion to buff a bunch of slaves who become impossible to hit on the battlefield because of all of the buffs theyíve received. Either way, when youíre in Pythia, youíll want to experiment with this technique on the battlefield.
Non-pythian things to try.
FAM Ė F*in Air Magic. Pythia has nice access to air magic. Put some air mages with an army. Script them to cast Lightning, Orb Lightning and Thunder Strike. Air 3 mages are just deadly.
Skelly Spaming. Get a trio or more of death 2 mages. Set them to cast Raise Dead and Raise Skeleton. Enough Death 2 mages and your opponent wonít stand a chance.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old June 19th, 2008, 02:21 PM

Ironhawk Ironhawk is offline
General
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,011
Thanks: 0
Thanked 45 Times in 35 Posts
Ironhawk is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

SsSam, clearly you've put a lot of work into this post and I do have to say that the level of detail is good for some of the newer players... But your choice of nation is quite strange. Pythium's power comes from it's magic diversity and its ability to form communions - both fairly advanced subjects from the perspective of a new player. The general consensus is that rookie players should play nations which are very simple and have only a few magic paths so that they do not get swamped by the vast array of decisions and choices that dom3 has to offer. Perhaps you should consider writing about Ulm, Marignon, or Man? Those are fairly uncomplicated nations.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old June 19th, 2008, 02:58 PM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
Major General
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Seattle
Posts: 2,497
Thanks: 165
Thanked 105 Times in 73 Posts
MaxWilson is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

Still, as far as communions go, isn't it pretty simple to say "toss in a few communicants, 2 boosts your level by +1, 4 boosts by +2, etc., and they also share fatigue"? At least with communicants you don't need to learn the (semi-) arcane formulas for adjusting slave fatigue based on effective path level.

-Max
__________________
Bauchelain - "Qwik Ben iz uzin wallhax! HAX!"
Quick Ben - "lol pwned"

["Memories of Ice", by Steven Erikson. Retranslated into l33t.]
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old June 19th, 2008, 03:05 PM

thejeff thejeff is offline
General
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,327
Thanks: 4
Thanked 133 Times in 117 Posts
thejeff is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

Sure it's easy to say, but harder to arrange so they don't all die of exhaustion.

How many masters are safe? What's useful to cast through a communion?

I'd assume that kind of communion isn't really useful to spam evocations, since you won't have enough masters, but would be used to cast battlefield spells above the master's level. Which means communicants aren't that useful early on.

It's not at all obvious how to make communions useful as opposed to just doing one because that's what Pythium does.


(But I've rarely played with Pythium, so take all of that with a large grain of salt.)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old June 19th, 2008, 03:17 PM

LDiCesare LDiCesare is offline
Captain
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: France
Posts: 820
Thanks: 4
Thanked 33 Times in 24 Posts
LDiCesare is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

The proposed settings are interesting to play with all these concepts. The map is almost empty and you get 4 times as much money as you usually get. So it's quite affordable to play with communions or thugs and SCs until you get some right.

One thing I like to do with Pythium is bring some theurgs/arch theurgs, like say 10 of them, one casts communion master then power of the spheres and hold or retreat, the rest casts slave, hold, enslave mind. If one of them carries a banner of the Northern Star it's even better, and astral gems and +penetration items are welcome.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old June 19th, 2008, 03:18 PM

SsSam SsSam is offline
Corporal
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 81
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
SsSam is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

Yes. I do agree the communion section could be fleshed out.

My goal was to race new players straight to a large slice of the province pie, equip them with an SC chasis that could keep that slice of land safe and then point them in the direction of fun things to try.

At that point, hopefully they see how quickly you can grow into a huge empire( which is something I'm still not sure how to do without an SC pretender or something like they Hydra's in my playbook) and they'll feel comfortable enough to start playing around with the different magic paths.

From that point of view, Pythia's magic diversity is an asset for new players, because they've got a playground of things to try. It certainly isn't the most efficient path, but then that's a different goal.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old June 19th, 2008, 03:55 PM
JimMorrison's Avatar

JimMorrison JimMorrison is offline
Lieutenant General
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Utopia, Oregon
Posts: 2,676
Thanks: 83
Thanked 143 Times in 108 Posts
JimMorrison is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

Quote:
LDiCesare said:
The proposed settings are interesting to play with all these concepts. The map is almost empty and you get 4 times as much money as you usually get. So it's quite affordable to play with communions or thugs and SCs until you get some right.

One thing I like to do with Pythium is bring some theurgs/arch theurgs, like say 10 of them, one casts communion master then power of the spheres and hold or retreat, the rest casts slave, hold, enslave mind. If one of them carries a banner of the Northern Star it's even better, and astral gems and +penetration items are welcome.
If your "master" just has a ranged weapon, he can be set to fire after casting, and not need to run away while letting the others cast.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old June 19th, 2008, 04:05 PM

thejeff thejeff is offline
General
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,327
Thanks: 4
Thanked 133 Times in 117 Posts
thejeff is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

Or if your "master" is last in order he can continue to cast.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old June 19th, 2008, 04:18 PM

LDiCesare LDiCesare is offline
Captain
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: France
Posts: 820
Thanks: 4
Thanked 33 Times in 24 Posts
LDiCesare is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

Quote:
thejeff said:
Or if your "master" is last in order he can continue to cast.
Yes, but that one's cheesy as masters and slaves are not supposed to be able to cast spells together. I'm not sure whether slaves are supposed to be able to cast spells at all, but I believe they are.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old June 19th, 2008, 04:48 PM

Sombre Sombre is offline
BANNED USER
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,463
Thanks: 165
Thanked 324 Times in 190 Posts
Sombre is on a distinguished road
Default Re: The pythian prescription

I hate using communions because of the order thing - where the slaves can or cannot cast spells based on unit ID order. That just makes it far too complex.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:36 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1999 - 2017, Shrapnel Games, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.