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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:19 PM

dirtywick dirtywick is offline
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Default Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

Note that this guide was written with CBM 1.41 active.

Beginner's Guide to MA C'tis

C'tis in the Middle Era is thematically interesting, and the gameplay more tactical than many nations. Though this guide focuses on SP play, some of the principles would probably apply though may need to be modified. Though not weak at any point in the game, they have some definate strengths and weaknesses.

Strong in Nature, Death, and Water, weak in Astral, and no access to Air, Earth, or Fire are what you deal with when playing them, as well as their unique dominion effect, Miasma. What it does is diseases units/commanders without, it appears, either swamp survival or cold blooded, or any effect that would otherwise prevent disease such as undead or lifelessness, which makes shoring up magic paths a bit of a chore. Their unique dominion effect has both positive and negative effects for you in game. Other less pressing concerns are a lack of missile troops and inexpensive scouts; though neither are difficult to find as indie recruits, ones that won't die shortly after hiring them from disease are more difficult to come by. In any case, let's cover the units:

Note that all national troops have swamp survival, cold blooded, and poison resistance (50), and better MR, prot, and hp but generally slightly worse morale than human troops

Militia 5G 2R - Armed with a spear and bad stats. No shield. Slightly cheaper than standard militia, though that's not saying much. Wouldn't advise purchasing these under any circumstances. There's even better chaff around.

Light Infantry 8G 5R - Better chaff than the militia. Slightly more expensive, but not much. At least they have a javelin. In fact, this is the only missile troop that's not cap only, and they're not particularly effective, especially considering the usual spells available to increase a javelin's effectiveness aren't easy to find with C'tis. Still, chaff with a missile is better than without.

City Guard 10G 10R - Pound for pound the best standard troop investment C'tis has available. Average medium infantry, they have a shield and some armor, so can absorb arrows. There's better infantry available, but they all have map move 1 as opposed to this map move 2. Better on larger maps where you can move them around in half the time.

Heavy Infantry 10G 15R - Good infantry for the cost compared to other nations heavy infantry. Not really mind blowing though, and map move 1 I find to be a hindrance.

Falchioneer 12G 15R - Good attacker with two falchions and map move 2. Vunerable to arrow fire, but packs some punch. They should find some use fielded in mixed units with shields in smaller numbers, but there is generally a better option.

Slave Warrior 12G 2R - Don't really bother with these guys. Two attacks, better morale than average, awful protection though. They just don't stand up well in a fight.

Elite Warrior 12G 9R - Not bad for the price, 2 map move. They have slightly better stats than the average, but again no shield. Should be used as a replacement to the Falchioneer for offense.

Runner 11G 2R - They're like cavalry that dies a lot. No protection to speak of, but they're fast and can flank.

Sacred Serpent 19G 1R - Sacred, so they can be blessed, and recruitable anywhere. They have a poisonous bite. Good morale and attack skill, and standard special ability. Wouldn't be bad to mix these in with other units for the standard ability to shore up the slightly lower morale. Not really good enough to build a bless strategy around though.

Swamp Guard 13G 21R - Really tough heavy infantry. Better stats than most troops in almost every way and armed with a falchion and shield, but map move 1, tactical move 6, and encumbrance 8. They take forever to get somewhere and get there really tired. I don't really care for them much.

Poison Sligher 15G 1R - Capital only. Their slings produce poison clouds. I recommend using these guys as often as possible to cover the battlefield in poison clouds. Difficult to get around in larger maps though.

Commanders

Task Master 20G 2R - Pointless unit, don't recruit.

Commander of C'tis 25G 15R - Better than Task Master, still pretty pointless.

Lizard Lord 40G 21R - Heavy infantry, 80 Leadership. I suppose if you really need a commander to move troops around and can't spare much, this is the best option. Still though, don't expect to see to many of these.

High Priest of C'tis 100 G 1R - 2H Priest. I don't find much use for these myself, there's better.

Hierodule 35G 1R - 1H Priest. Probably the cheapest priest in the game. I haven't found a good use for them compared to other options, but that's kind of noteworthy I suppose.

Shaman 110G 2R - 1S1N 4R These guys are really common in indie provinces so you've probably used them to jump into astral in other nations. They have a number of uses in practice as the most reliable way to get access to astral. You'll probably end up purchasing several at some point, especially early when you want to get some astral income to manually search or do some forging. Also good communion slaves for the occasional Marshmaster with an S pick.

Tangle Vines and Curse are dangerous against large or particularly strong opponents. Body Ethereal, Resist Magic, and Luck for Buffs, and basically Vine Arrow for damage though that is probably the weakest use of them. Forging a Banner of the North Star and giving it to one and having a few others on the field opens up a lot of options, such as Mind Burn/Paralyze spam, and having them take part in communions greatly increases their usefulness.

Lizard King 260G 5R - 3H Priest. These guys have huge leadership, 120, and can cast all of the useful H spells out of the box, including Divine Blessing, Smite, and Sermon of Courage (which the slightly lower morale of C'tis uses well). These are the go to guys to lead standard troop armies, they're a lot more useful than other commanders both in the field to build temples and preach and in battle to spam H spells. Smite is almost always better than giving them a bow or spell casting item.

Marshmaster 220G 1R - 1W2D2N?1(WSDN 100%, 10%) 8R This is the best unit C'tis has to be recruited. They can be recruited anywhere with a lab and fort, and really should be every turn everywhere with few exceptions. They get a really nice variety of paths and good research for the price, and some of the combos allow for some really good spells both on and off the battlefield, as well as a lot of key items. 4N, 4D, 2S, 3W are all possibilities you're likely to see at some point with the sheer volume of them you'll be recruiting. 4N, 4D are the two you should keep an eye out for a protect them, they'll open up some nice spells later. The ones with S can be parts of a communion.

There's a big variance in picks from these guys, so largely what they're doing depends on the picks. A N3 or D3 Marshmaster should be given some boosters/Ivy Crown and stick to the lab doing some summoning/rituals. Once that is covered, and with the right picks most of these are available out of the box in one way or the other, Foul Vapors, Howl, Quagmire, Undead Horde, and Creeping Doom are all worth scripting. Spamming Raise Dead, Wild Growth, Encase in Ice, Tangle Vines/Eagle Eyes/Storm of Thorns, Ghost Grip, Sleep/Poison Cloud, Numbness/Dessication/Curse of the Desert, Swarm, and Panic/Terror are all good for disabling armies. For doing damage, Eagle Eyes and Shadow Bolt/Blast, Breath of the Dragon, Nether Bolt/Darts, Sailor's Death, and Ice Strike. Straight killing with Cloud of Death, Frozen Heart, Bone Melter, and Disentegrate. Finally, buffing is Protection, Moss Body, Mass Protection, Wooden Warriors, Elemental Fortitude, Poison Ward, Quickening, Body Ethereal, Resist Magic, and Luck. Always check the precision of a spell, and if it's not 100 script Eagle Eyes first, as that will greatly increase the chance of the spell going where you want it to.

Empoisoner 110G 3R - 1D1N 4R Cap only. Stealthy and assassins. One of the few spellcasting assasins in the game. It's not hard to find a use for them, but giving up a Marshmaster to recruit them isn't often advisable. Some simple scripting for them is giving them a Skull Talisman and spamming Raise Skeleton, or a few Death Gems and casting Lammashtas.


Nation spells

Contact Sirrush - Conj 5 1S1N 15 S Gems/1 - Lots of HP, sacred, immune to Miasma. Astral Gems aren't always in huge abundance here though, and there's better uses. It's a good unit though.

Summon Monster Toads - Conj 5 2N 6 N Gems/3 - Decent HP, bad protection and defense, sacred, tramples, poison cloud. There's little these guys can't steamroll and they're easy to mass for C'tis.

Contact Couatl - Conj 7 1N1S 40 N Gems/1 - 3S3N Commander with a head and two misc slots. Best bet at getting pretty deep into Astral, very worthy investment, and it's castable by a mere Shaman. Good in communions also, and can spam Soul Slay.

Summon Scorption Man - Conj 8 1F1E 15E Gems - Very difficult to cast for your national mages. Either a pretender or spectre basically. Not good to build a strategy around.

Devourer of Souls - Conj 9 6D 20 D Gems - A national mage with the right picks and boosters can cast this. Excellent unit, great fear aura, but most importantly it's one shot one kill attack.

A quick overview of our available recruits shows us a few things. First is there's a severe lack of viable missle troops, and the usual protections against missles simply aren't readily available. But the positive things is a relatively low resource and gold cost across the board, with our best mage being only 220G, whereas many nations best mages are much, much more expensive, and they're not even close to suffering from Old Age like many powerful mages. However, they're not sacred so upkeep will take it's toll and they're available everywhere so you'll have many. Slightly lower morale at a tradeoff for higher MR is

a good deal, especially with standard bearing sacreds everywhere. Either way, standard troops aren't the real strength here. The heroes are also nothing to write home about, there's nothing they have you can't get elsewhere, though the 3S3N Shaman gets you an early Couatl if you're lucky. Keeping that in mind, here's a few options for pretender design:

Green Dragon, Awake
9N
Dom 6 Turmoil 2 Sloth 2 Heat 2 Death 1 Luck 3 Magic 3

Good SC out of the box with little preparation for fast expansion. Benefits from Construction 2 for a Horned Helm, Pendant of Luck, and a Bearclaw Amulet and Enchantment 2 for Personal Regeneration increased survivability against, basically, anything playing at indie settings of 7. Set to cast Personal Regen, fire, fire, fire, Attack Rear. There's not much that will stand against that. Later can cast some important spells and rituals, and the bless benefits the Monster Toads and Sirrush by giving their big HP units some regen and beserk. Only drawback here being it's not helping with missing paths and casting other important rituals that require high magic and a lack of slots later. I'm also a fan of turmoil/luck for increased gems possibilities.

Master Lich, Dormant
F3A3E4S6D6
Dom 8 Order 2 Sloth 2 Heat 2 Death 1 Misfortune 1 Magic 1

Good scale setup for C'tis and mass producing Marshmasters early. Enough magic to cover the weaknesses of the national mages and open up some paths and push your hazardous dominion out, though you may want to adjust the F and A magic down to 2 and just use remote searching spells instead and use those points elsewhere. Can forge all of the important boosters and find most of the good sites, as well as cast some of the better spells. Have to delay all that until it wakes up and use the national troops and some summons for expansion, which isn't so fast as they're not all that great. Probably have a stronger end game than with the dragon above though.


Lord of the Summer Plague, Awake
F4D6N9
Dom 5 Turmoil 1 Sloth 2 Heat 2 Death 1 Magic 1

Possible SC with some gear. Dominion somewhat low to avoid spreading it if you feel it's necessary to do so, good bless for your summons and strong magic with access to fire. Awake for immediate researching boost and possible battle after some forging. Sort of a middle ground between the Dragon and the Lich, not as good as either at what they're designed to do but competent enough in both.


Anyway, with these suggestions, there are some running themes. C'tis likes Heat 2, and I think they benefit from Sloth 2 also, anymore is punishing yourself too much; they're troops simply don't require a whole lot of resources. I also don't think Order is so important as the relative cost of the Marshmasters isn't very high and with enough luck events you should be able to keep a good supply of them around. Death is also fine as Old Age is practically a non issue in all but the longest games. They're magic diversity and access to Death means you can kit out a lot of thugs and SCs, so the gems from Luck events really pay off. May meet more success with other set ups, but these will get your feet wet using some of the lesser used pretender chassis (chassii?).

General Tactical Strategy

Because of the Poison Resistance of all of your troops and national summons, and the dominion, almost all of the units you'll use will be immune to poison in one way or the other. However, all of the recruitables are only 50% immune, meaning you can't mix them in well with poison cloud units, so as you gather more diverse armies you'll end up using them at some point, positioning is very important. Don't mix your mages in with poison cloud units, or they'll die shortly into the battle. This is especially important during sieges, because there's not enough room on the right side of the battlefield and a lot of units will get pushed into the center, so plan around that or lose all of your mages!

For initial troops, slingers set to fire closest and melee/javelins on hold and attack works well. Make your enemy wade through poison clouds so they're weakend when they clash with your melee troops. Eventually they'll start dying before even being struck if you make them wade through enough poison, but beware because your slingers get absolutely slaughtered by troops of middling competence in melee. Don't be afraid to send some of your troops into the poison though, they are slightly immune and will last twice as long, hopefully long enough for the battle to be over before they start dropping also.

General Strategy

Depending on your pretender, the first thing to do is expansion. A good mix between Heavy Infantry/Swamp Guards, Poison Slingers, and a few Falchioneers/Elite Warriors mixed in will do for standard armies, led by your starting commander and eventually Lizard Kings will do. You'll lose a few of all so don't be afraid to go back for reinforcements. I usually try for Farmlands first, then Mountains or Forests or both for more and better troops, then Swamps around the capital, for income, resources, and magic sites respectively. With swamp survival disease and supplies aren't really an issue. A good sized force should carry you through most indies with few exceptions. Knights can be a problem, though poison wears them down, elephants less so. It's important to pick a site for your next fort and grab it so you can start churning out Marshmasters there, they're the backbone of basically all your magic,

research, and forging. Grabbing income granting farmlands is the fastest way to get the income to afford it. Eventually when your empire starts getting bigger, I switch off of the map move 1 infantry over to the map move 2 infantry. Besides the basics of expansion, most of what you're doing depends on magic and research, especially summons.

Your PD is awful also. I'd invest 1 in every province to see what your opponent is attacking with, but other than that, even a weak force will quickly overwhelm the mageless, priestless, heavy infantryless PD you're stuck with.

Another concern is fire heavy nations. You don't have any realisitic means, until late in the game, to protect against it, and some of your Nature buffs actually weaken you against it, not to mention your thugs/SCs won't have any chance to gain that protection unless you find a lucky indie mage and don't mind diseasing it or your pretender is equipped for that. Evocation 2 Rain will help, but even still, it could be a huge problem.

Finally, protection from missiles is also a problem. A Faerie Queen can get you access to air, but that's a ways off. Be ready to eat some arrows until then. An Air bless will mitigate that some on some units, however I prefer not to have it when going with a N bless because it often triggers berserk on many units, which is something I want to happen more often than not.

Continued
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:20 PM

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Default Re: Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

Magic and Magic Items

Depending on your pretender, the magic you pursue will be different. As stated earlier, with the Dragon I go Enchantment 2 for Animate Skeleton, Animate Dead, and Personal Regeneration. The two former are good spells for some mage support, sort of, and Personal Regeneration keeps afflictions off the dragon and the hp high. Then Construction 2 for some minor items to increase it's effectiveness. Other paths to consider are Enchantment 3 for Dragon Master, Raise Dead/Skeletons, then Conj 2 for Tangle Vines and a good deal on Ice Drakes if you get a lucky pick on a Marshmaster. Construction 4 for good boosters is good also as it opens up quite a bit, Enchantment 4 for Behemoths and Quagmire, a powerful battlefield spell that turns the battlefield into a swamp to your benefit, and Enchantment 5 for Foul Vapors. Thaumaturgy 2 for site searching is also a priority as well as communions, but beyond that there's not much for you unless you're fighting a lot of undead besides Gift of Reason, which you really don't need until you have something worth using it on. Evocation doesn't really shine either until 4 for Nether Bolt and Breath of the Dragon, with Rain at 2 being situational. Later Nether Darts, Storm of Thorns, shadow Blast, and especially Ice Strike are great spells I script frequently when I get that deep into the tree.

The best paths to prioritize though are Conjuration, Alteration, Construction, and Enchantment for some key spells. Conjuration 1 early will net you Black Servant, probably your only real option for a scout. Conjuration 3 and Construction 2 will let you set up some Vine Ogre factories, they're immune to poison and good arrow catchers/bodyguards, although Miasma effects them just the same their high hp and relative low individual value makes this trivial. Once you hit Conjuration 4 and start summoning Bog Beasts, the Vine Ogre hordes will begin to shine mixed with them. Conjuration 5 is big, as it gives you Sirrush and Monster Toads who mix well with the Vine Ogres and Bog Beasts. It also gives access to Naiads, as W3 is somewhat difficult to come by without boosters as well as commanders that lead underwater, but beware as they aren't immune to Miasma, though a Snake Ring appears to fix that handily for some reason. Conjuration 5 also gives you access to the Spectre, which can help round out your missing paths if you're patient, or lucky, and have gems to spare. Another common thug is the Bane Lord available at 5. Finally, you get Ghost Grip, a nice spell for fatiguing opponents, especially on an Empoisoner in conjunction with Tangle Vines. Conjuration 6 gives Lamia Queen and Sea King's Court, both worthy units to pursue; the Lamia Queen can get blood and makes a good thug when you get Soul Vortex, Sea Kings Court gives a bunch of units vunerable to Miasma but strong in the water where your dominion probably isn't as strong, so get them down there quickly or don't bother. Level 7 is even better with Catoblepas, another poison cloud trampler with a death gaze ranged weapon and you get Couatls and Wraith Lords, both great spellcasters and the Wraith Lord a good SC. Level 7 also gives Mound Fiends, not that you need the death access but the Reanimation may be worth looking into, though it is late in the game and probably not worth the time. Level 8 gives you Fairie Court, not especially good as she's not immune to the Miasma, though recuperation should solve that, but seems to stave off disease well and give you good access to Air. I'd recommend at least one of these for some forges, especially a Storm Staff. Level 9 the Tarrasque, another strong poison cloud unit that unfortunately isn't tripled by Dragon Master, as well as Tartarians and Ghost Riders.

One of the more interesting strategies with the Dragon and Lord of the Summer Plague is to mass Vine Ogres, Bog Beasts, Sirrush, Monster Toads, Behemoths, and eventually Catoblepas and Tarrasque and mix them into a huge wall of giant sized monsters surrounded by poison. Early, just the Vine Ogres and Bog Beasts are enough to tie up most smaller troops and let the poison do the killing, especially if you bring some Poison Slingers along. Once you start mixing in Behemoths and Monster Toads, you can start moving deep into armies rapidly by trampling your way there and let the Bog Beasts hang back and spit poison, all the while poisoning everything around. Bringing a Lizard Lord to Divine Bless the Monster Toads, and the few Sirrush you'll likely have, will make them go berserk and regenerate, increasing their staying power and keeping more of the army trapping in poison clouds. This can carry you late through the early game and well into the middle game. The easy counter is Serpent's Blessing, but that's pretty deep into the Enchantment tree, and even still stopping a horde of berserk tramplers isn't easy.

Moving along to the other trees, Alteration is important to prioritize early. Eagle Eyes is good later when you have some high level Evocations to increase their effectiveness, but level 5 gives Bone Melter (which seems terribly innaccurate unfortunately) and Wooden Warriors for some low protection units, but most importantly Mother Oak. Lots of nature gems works really, really well with massing the above Ogres and Toads and forging a lot of valuable thug/SC equipment, and putting out Couatls. Soul Vortex and Frozen Heart at 6, Mass Protection at 7, Quickening and Disintegrate at 8 can all wait until you're ready to unleash some Wraith Lords, though Frozen Heart and Disentegrate may find priority if you're pressed by a big threat.

Enchantment 4 gives Poison Ward, useful for protecting yourself if you want to mix your armies a bit with the poison cloud units as well as the Behemoth, useful to mix into your poison clouds. Level 5 gives a very important spell, Foul Vapors, which releases poison clouds into the whole battlefield, most likely effecting your enemy more than yourself, as well as Gift of Health, something you'll want up for Tartarians and general use. Relief at 6 is also nice for expected long battles and communions, though not something I'd inherently pursue above a lot of other options, as well as Hidden in Snow, which may help gain access to some paths.

Construction should be obvious for kitting out units with items, especially if you are pursuing Conjuration at any length. Nature, Water, and low Astral give a lot of good items for keeping thugs/SCs alive, as well as path boosters. I'd recommend hitting 4 before summoning Bane Lords, and 6 for Wraith Lords. Frost Brands, Rime Hauberks, Vine/Eye Shields, Horn Helmets/Horror Helms, Hydra Skin Armor, Boots of Quickness, Ring of Regen, Amulet of Luck, Amulet of Antimagic are all readily available. With a Couatl, Robe of Shadows. Boosters of all types are also available, Thistle Mace, Water Bracelet, Robe of the Sea, Moonvine Bracelet, Astral Skullcap, Skull Staff, Skullface, etc. Also, a Banner of the Northstar and a bunch of cheap Shamans opens up some options on the battlefield, such as Mind Burn and Paralyze. And of course, a pretty good chunk of your Marshmasters can forge Clams, and Skull Mentors are a really good research aid easily available. Finally, supplies are almost a non-issue between Cauldrons and Endless Bags of Wine. This is one of the few nations where even the standard troop commanders don't benefit from a bow or spell casting item; the mages all have better things to do and the Lizard Lords can cast Smite.

Other paths are less valuable; you're not a Blood nation so I won't bother with that. Evocation isn't useful before level 4 except situationally, so investing heavily early isn't a good idea until you can practically skip those levels when you're bringing in hundreds of research a turn. Alteration is about on the same scale, though early Mother Oak is very important, there's not much else before that worth investing the points into when more attractive options in Conjuration, Construction, and Enchantment exist.

Closing

Basically, once you have your early expansion done, it's really all about what you want to do with your Marshmasters and how you want to research. Your conventional armies will only take you so far, but further with some buffs. You have a wide variety of summons, from more standard fare to giant, poisonous, trampling armies. Later, they can cast some of the most powerful evocations or communion into powerful battle magic.

Have fun.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:21 PM

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Default Re: Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

Haven't written one of these in a long time. Got back into messing around with Dom 3 earlier this week. Hope you all enjoy.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 11:30 PM

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Default Re: Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

Unless I misremember seasonal heat variation, I do believe taking heat 3 rather than 2 is a worthwhile proposal:

While at heat 2, your provinces will vary between 1 and 3 depending on season, for an average of 2, a maxed-out heat will see it varying between 2 and 3, with an average somewhere around 2.66 - in essence, giving you the full point value for a lesser increase in heat. (It also leaves you more resistant to the province-chilling ritual, which is handy for your cold-blooded forces.)
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Old May 28th, 2009, 01:47 PM

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Default Re: Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

For cold-blooded troops and magi you want H3, as there's no way to get rid of the Cold-blooded encumbrance penalty (save turning into undead).
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:08 PM

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There's logic to that. I agree. I guess the only contention I'd have to that is how it effects income in the core of your empire where your dominion is high, however combat effectiveness is probably a lot more important.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 04:07 PM

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Default Re: Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtywick View Post
There's logic to that. I agree. I guess the only contention I'd have to that is how it effects income in the core of your empire where your dominion is high, however combat effectiveness is probably a lot more important.
yes, but effects on neighbors are worse....
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Old June 5th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

Well, as only one candle in ennemy territory will pass for a war declaration, you can go for H3, they'll hate you any way...
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Old June 7th, 2009, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

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Originally Posted by dirtywick View Post

Light Infantry 8G 5R - Better chaff than the militia. Slightly more expensive, but not much. At least they have a javelin. In fact, this is the only missile troop that's not cap only, and they're not particularly effective, especially considering the usual spells available to increase a javelin's effectiveness aren't easy to find with C'tis. Still, chaff with a missile is better than without.
imho, chaff with javelin are very effective(as chaff) for the sheer number of them.
100 human militia sounds easy, but 100 javelin flyng to you are not
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Old June 9th, 2009, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Beginner's Guide to C'tis MA

If you're going to employ the javelin troops, they're best put off to the side. Deploy your heavy infantry front and center. Then place the javelin troops to either side, back some. Set them to fire closest. If you time it right, they should throw their javelins right as your heavy infantry collides with the enemy, then they'll move in on the sides and flank. This lets them provide the extra "damage" as they wrap around the enemy, while your heavy infantry takes the blows.

This works really well agaisnt low protection troops.

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