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-   -   Guide: LA Man - Death and Taxes (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=40965)

AreaOfEffect October 22nd, 2008 06:02 PM

Forward:
---
While reading your Dominions handbook, you might come across the description of Man, Towers of Chelms. Under the strengths and weaknesses section you'll note that they have no weaknesses. This is untrue. Do they have weakness? Yes. Yet that is true of any nation. The question is what is Man's strength and how can it be used to compensate for their weakness. Let's address the strengths of Man first.


The First Strength of Man: Money
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Man is good at making gold. Almost any faction can take great scales and have a respectable and reliable flow of money, but Man does it better then any other late-age faction I know of. This is a good thing as they will need lots of money to exploit their next strength.

How can Man make lots of money? Well, for starters, you need the right scales. Order 3 is the no brainer. Growth 3 is also required and anything less will be below optimal. Production, believe it or not, is an option left up to you. While we are on the subject of scales, tolerance to drain is a national advantage of Man's mages and can be used to help pay for the 240 point investment. Taking some misfortune is also not out of the realm of reason. We'll talk more about pretenders later, all you really need to know now is Order 3 and Growth 3 is optimal.

Yet, as I said, it is more then just a matter of scales. The missing piece is the judge. It may not seem like a particularly stellar commander, but it is the most cost efficient patrolling unit in the late age. It's only rivals in my opinion is the Eunuch and Eye of the Lord, both units of the middle age only. At the low cost of 50 gold the unit can single handedly patrol as if it were 21 units. This is enough to tax all of your provinces at 120% while quelling all unrest with only one commander in each province. Only really high populations, like your capitol, might need some additional assistance.

Now, both overtaxing and patrolling kill population, that doesn't mean that doing so lacks sustainability. It just so happens that overtaxing to 120% while maintaining 0 unrest kills off almost exactly the same percentage of population gained from growth 3. For all provinces above roughly 7,000 population, the loss will be around 10 people. That is the least amount of population you could ever lose. Even your capitol, with over 30,000 should only lose 10 pop per turn. Population in the 7,000 and below range should lose nothing at all. The loses are virtually negligible when all told. The gain is that you just converted the population growth from growth scales, which is only part of the scales benefit, into three additional ranks of order scales. Further more, the benefit from taxing like so is compounded by the benefits of order. Unless my math is wrong, you will make roughly 151% income from order 3, growth 3, and 120% taxes. In addition you still have increased supplies and you've mitigated some of the disease chance on your old age commanders.

There will be a small amount of management as you need to hirer judges, deploy them to provinces, and manually control the tax rates. However, the management is no where near as bad as blood hunting or managing fever fetishes in my opinion. Learning to use the nation overview by pressing F1 will make the task even less bothersome. Provinces recently conquered are best to set to 100% immediately. They will have unrest, but there should be a judge on the way to punish the unruly subjects. If it is any consolation, 100% taxes will still allow unrest to drop 1 point per turn and won't kill population. Finally, an investment in a lot of judges in the early game will keep your upkeep down and your treasury stocked.

Now, this isn't without a draw back. The largest hit will be to your early game research. Deploying judges away from your capitol will mean that your not making researchers who stay home and study spell books. The first year will see little in the way of magical advancement, unless you use your god to compensate for this. Now, some judges will have magic paths, but even still I prefer to deploy them as the benefit of doing so will eventually pay off.

Money in-of-itself is useful but, as the AI proves over an over again, it will not win you the game. You still need to use that money in a way that benefits Man most, which leads me to the second strength of Man.


The Second Strength of Man: Forts
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If you want to play Man, you have to get use to the idea that you're playing a faction who lives and breaths the stink of castle walls. Building forts for Man is not like building forts for any other nation. Other nations build forts to build more units, protect choke points, and to secure important magic sites. For Man, building forts is a matter of terraforming the landscape in order to give them a strategic advantage. While other factions are given forest survival and wasteland survive, Man was given the supreme advantage over provinces with a castle. While other factions must choose which castles to save and which ones to sacrifice to invading armies, Man can choose to save them all while pressing an assault into enemy territory.

This ability of Man is almost exclusively the responsibility of one versatile commander. The magister. For 70 gold you get a stealthy unit who, for the purposes of sieging and being sieged, counts as 16 units. To top it off, the unit can also be a caster with skill in air, earth, and astral. Being Man's most cost effective researcher, there is virtually no struggle between choosing research or maintaining your castle superiority. Oh, and I here they double as spies too. Trust me, being a spy is their least useful ability, which should say a lot. Their ability to sneak is basic at best, yet a basic ability to sneak still allows the unit to travel in and out of castles that are under siege.

One of the big concerns of Man is that they have few measures to counter a sacred rush. Even a well planned armored elephant rush can succeed against them, spite their ranged fire power. The normal answer to this is to use an awake SC god. Yet, why are early rushes so effective? They are effective because once the enemy has your capitol and has crushed your main forces, their is virtually nothing you can recruit that will help you dislodge them. This is most true in the late age given the quality of the indies. Building additional forts as early as possible will slow these rushes and give you options. Slowing the pace of a rush is always to your advantage as it allows you to continue to buy national units, progress your research, and gain time to change the diplomatic landscape.

Yet, how fast can Man build castles? Both in test games and in real multi-player games, I have averaged 3 new castles in the first year with 3 new castles on the way. That's around 6,000 gold in castles, all while recruiting expansion armies, PD, and several indy commanders. My first castle is always started on turn 4. That includes games where I didn't expand on the first turn and didn't use an awake SC pretender. As long as you know how to expand with Man's troops, their is no need for an awake god. If you do use an awake god, then you can expect to see even better growth by spreading your good dominion faster and by taking more provinces in initial expansion. Tips about expansion can be found further in the reading.

An additional bonus to creating forts in mass is that it feeds back into Man's first Strength, money. Provinces gain a percentage of additional income based on the administration of the fort that occupies the territory. The increase in percentage is exactly half the administration. Administration also increases the amount of resources you can pull in from neighboring provinces. However, you cannot pull in resources from a neighboring province which you don't own or provinces with their own fort. Clearly it becomes helpful to know which provinces give you optimal administration. For Man, the highest administration comes from Fortified Cities (50 admin), which can only be made on farmland provinces. Though the 1200 gold cost of a fortified city, plus the 5 turn building time deters me from choosing farmlands some of the time. Instead I prefer Citadels (40 admin, 1000 gold, 4 turn build time) to fortified cities, which Man can build as their 'default'. As long as it isn't a forest, mountain, swamp, or farmland, Man will build a citadel. This includes border mountains and wastelands. The citadel also has a higher defense then a city. It's only weakness in is food supply, which Man doesn't need a lot of if they plan to defend their walls with magisters. Avoid forests if you can as they net only 20 admin for the same price, time, and defense as a citadel. Mountains are really good for holding a province indefiniately as the fort it produces has an amazing 700 defense but an even poorer admin of 15. Swamps are the only place where you can build a 800 gold and 3 turn build time fort and aren't bad places to stack an adjacent castle as they steal no resources away from surrounding areas and are likely not to have many resources of their own. It's just a fast way to produce more commanders and hold a line.

Money and Forts, those are the strengths of Man. Now let's see how this can help them overcome their weakness.


The First Weakness of Man: Province Defense
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Man has very poor province defense. Reading the book you'll see that you get 1xSpearmen and 2xMillitia for the first 20 points. This isn't entirely accurate. Man actually gets 1xSpearmen, 1xMillitia, and 1xSlinger. That's still bad, even worse if your enemy uses any sort of fear effects. The first 20 PD of any nation establishes the basics of whether their PD is good or not. Though in some cases the PD above that might make up for the loss. Mictlan, for example, gets sacred jaguar warriors at 20 and above. This is not the case with Man. Man's PD at 20 and beyond is longbowmen and tower guards. Now Man's PD is likely bugged as the tower guards are leftovers from the middle age era. They don't have crossbows and use regular shields as opposed to kite shields. Some factions, like Abysia, get mages to back up their PD. In Man's case, they might get a mage, though more often then not they just get a frail unarmored commander. This PD doesn't impress me at all.

The one thing about the strengths of Man is that you don't need your PD as much when you have a fort defending the province. By the end of the game, PD gets rolled over so easily that it doesn't matter anyhow. Forts on the other hand forces the enemy to always fight for the province in a way that forces them to take time. This is true at any stage of the game. Also, if you don't like enemy scouts in your lands, 10 PD and a patrolling judge is much better then 20 PD at finding scouts. If you want to support your PD with more reliable magic, you can choose to send a judge with magic levels rather then a plain judge. It may not improve your chances in normal situations, but scripting Dust to Dust (Thuamaturgy 1) on a judge with death magic will stop black servants from being cheap raiders and might even put some real hurt on an enemy's PoD/Bane Lord.


The Second Weakness of Man: The Research Curve
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As mentioned before, the only real problem with deploying judges early in the game is that your early game research doesn't go anywhere. At the same time, I would argue that if Man doesn't take the hit early in the game, they will be far behind the research curve by the mid and late game. The magister is a quality buy with just the castle bonus and stealth alone, yet, as an added benefit they are also your most cost effective researchers. The problem is that the level of research they grant may not be enough to keep up with other nations. It is not a matter of money. Clearly Man should be swimming in money. It is a matter of keeping pace.

The problem is that the magister averages below 3 research points a turn. Your chances are 1:16 for 5 research, 5:16 for 4, 7:16 for 3, and 3:16 for no research at all. That places the average research at 2.875 points per magister. Now most other factions have their own cost effective researchers. Atlantis, C'tis, Argatha, and Caelum, just to name a few, all have sacred commanders with 4 points of research. If those factions build two additional forts, they can average 12 points of research a round. If Man wants to beat that curve, they need to be making five magisters a round. The only way to do that is to build twice as many forts as the enemy, or to use precious gems to construct research items.

Man's drain tolerance makes drain seem like free points. Knowing your research will be roughly the same whether you have drain 3 or neutral magic scales makes taking magic 1 seem like it costs 160 design points rather then the usual 40. Most other factions will get magic scales and pay for them with heat or cold scales. If Cealum gets magic 1, then their cost effective researchers go from 4 to 5. With only 40 design points, Caelum now forces Man to buy yet another castle in order to match their research. That's 5 castles to their 2.

Personally I think this is okay. Man should build more castles and be making more magisters anyhow. Even those magisters without any magic skills are a great resource. Besides, Man's best researchers only require a castle. No lab and no temple. Simply build a castle in walking distance to the nearest laboratory and start the research machine. If done right, the slow beginning that Man suffers, and the national research disadvantage they have, should be countered by their massive commander output.


The Third Weakness of Man: Magic Skill
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When it comes to Magic, you must get use to the idea of doing a lot with very little. You will have a lot of judges and magisters and likely a handful of magister arcanas. It would be nice to have a lot of mages like the magister arcana, but they are in many cases a huge liability. They are old, frail, slow, and have a large upkeep for very average research. To top it all off they are easily killed off with Magic Duel (Evocation 3). 7 out of 8 magisters will have just enough astral to engage in a duel with the least possible chance of winning. For me, every time I make a magister arcana it becomes a big deal as I just sunk 250 gold into a unit that might get instantly killed in battle or who might just up and die on his own. Magisters and judges on the other hand are cheap and should be in abundance. The problem is none of these plentiful mages will have more then one skill level in any magic path. Aside from forming a massive communion (Thuamaturgy 1), your spell options will be very limited. Finding mages for a communion is also problematic as only 1 in 4 magisters can actually participate.

What about boosting? Well the paths on the magisters and judges are so low that battlefield boosting is extremely limited. Judges can't cast Phoenix Power (Conjuration 3) without a fire gem and there is no magic spell for boosting death. As for the magister, they can't use Summon Earth Power (Conjuration 3) without an earth gem, they can only boost air during a Storm (Evocation 5) with Storm Power (Conjuration 3), which runs counter to longbow and crossbow effectiveness, and though they can use Power of the Spheres (Conjuration 3) to boost all their paths, the wasted round, gems, and fatigue does make it very unappealing. If your casting Power of the Spheres, you are likely to be unable to cast anything else. You could scrape together a communion and then apply the boosting spells. In truth though I don't think that Man can afford to field several dozen communion mages with every army.

The real problem is that Man's strength doesn't really offer an easy solution to this problem. Instead I would say that this problem falls on your god and your research more then it does on anything else. As Man you have to choose your research path carefully and go immediately for army killing spells. Spells like Earthquake, Wrathful Skies, and Rain of Stones (Evocation 5, 6, and 7 respectively) can be cast with just one magister arcana and a handful of magisters in a communion. The trick is that you'll need to guard these mages from their own spells either with items or with buffing spells. Buffs cost rounds and items cost gems, but both cost additional research. 1 in 8 magister arcanas can cast Seeking Arrow (Enchantment 3). Yet, as far as assassination goes, seeking arrow might be the weakest ritual one could cast. Enhanced with a Crystal Coin and Starshine Skullcap (Construction 4 and 6 respectively) 1 in 8 magisters can Mindhunt (Evocation 6 and Thaumaturgy 2/5). Against a handful of thugs you can cast Aim (Alteration 1) and Gifts from Heaven (Evocation 5). If you need a lot of artilary you can improve everyones aim with the classic Man spell, Wind Guide (Alteration 4).

In truth the magister arcana in a communion can cast a great number of spells, but, as I said, large communions are difficult with this nation and so it is best to stick to spells that you only need to cast once or twice so you can keep the communions as small as possible. The one agreement I have with the book is that the magister arcanas are versatile. Yet, as I' have explained, they are more often then not a liability. They also aren't nearly as good on their own. This starts to show when you face up against nations like Vanheim. You've got archers and knights and they generally have skinshifters. You cast Aim and they cast both Mist (Evocation 3) and Storm. Try to match them Thunder Strike for Thunder Strike (Evocation 4) and you will lose. If their units close with yours, you will generally lose. This is just a fact of Man. In my opinion it is better to have your main force side-step nations like Vanheim, have a small communion meet them on the defense,and cast rain of stones several times and retreat.

In my opinion Man needs to play dirty. They need to avoid confrontation and deal with problems using battlefield damage spells and army killing ritual spells. Man's primary forces, after side-stepping, should strike at unprotected provinces and use sneaking magisters to help capture forts quickly. The one helpful thing about the strength of Man is that you can afford to let the enemy stomp around in your own lands more then he can allow you to stomp around in his. This allows you more time to devise a solution to the problem. Even Ermor is limited in what they can do. Though they can still create ghouls, raise taxes, patrol, and preach their dominion in a province with your castle, what they can't do is pillage, which is the fastest way to ruin your province's population with an army.

There is some other good news, magisters and judges are not completely useless. In my opinion, magisters with air or astral, and judges with death are your best support mages. Magisters with air can cast lightning orb (Evocation 5) for short range AN damage support. The astral mages can buff mounted knights with Body Etheral (Alteration 3) and Luck (Alteration 4). The judges with death magic can spam Frighten (Thuamaturgy 1) against regular units and Dust to Dust against the undead. They can also stop most anything else with enough castings of Ghost Grip (Conjuration 5). The magisters with earth can also lend support with short ranged debuffs like Earth Grip and Armor of Achilles (Alteration 1 and 2 respectively). Though I prefer to have them remain as researchers. The judges with fire magic can eventually be real useful once Blindness (Alteration 6) has been researched. If you manage a judge with both fire and death, then you can use a Skull of Fire (Construction 6) to boost a judge to fire 2. After casting Phoenix Power (Conjuration 3) and using 2 fire gems, Man can naturally cast Flamming Arrows (Enchantment 4). If you manage a magister arcana with fire magic, then you can do the same or communion to cast the powerful archery buff spell.

The remaining options that Man has in order to deal with invading armies is mostly left up to their god.


Continued in next post...

AreaOfEffect October 22nd, 2008 06:02 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Pretender Design
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I'm not one for telling people what they should use as their god. At the same time I understand that some people just want to be told what works. The book has suggested that Man can use a stationary god if given good scales. I personally think that Man benefits best from a god that is mobile. The more mobility the better. The reason is that Man's god should add battlefield options that don't come naturally to the nation. Spells that your magisters can cast won't always do the job or the enemy might have powerful astral mages and can pick apart your communioned magister arcanas. Now a stationary god can support by casting some of the nasty army killing spells from afar, but, more often then not, it becomes more cost effective on your gem income to show up and cast spells in battle. I will continue to insist on taking Order 3 and Growth 3, yet that's because I prefer to take the money aspect of the strategy to it's extreme, thus taking the castle aspect as far as it can go.

A rainbow god, or simply a god with a few strong magic skills, is what Man really needs in my opinion. This means avoiding gods like the Wyrm and Manticore. I generally avoid designing a bless around Man's sacred units. The wardens are great at stealth raiding, but they are also slow and capitol only. You could amass a lot of the sacred hounds, but I'm not a fan of the bless options for these units and I think the gems could be spent elsewhere more effectively. Death and nature gems are always in short supply and could be used to make powerful magic items and powerfully diverse mages to supplement your national ones. Yet, while I'm talking about nature and death, I will say that I am in favor of a small bless that aids your magister arcanas via Shrouds of the Battle Saint (Construction 4). A nature and death bless, even at it's lowest levels, are both a great boon to the magister arcana. The nature bless can help them avoid getting diseased and thus extend their usefulness. The death bless is the only bless capable of adding effectiveness to damage spells by having them cause greater affliction. A death bless can make Rain of Stones horribly effective against unarmored opponents and even a ritual like Seeking Arrow can be transformed from a lame assassination spell into a reliable long range affliction spell usable on any SC.

It would likely be wise to place some nature magic on your god anyhow as independent nature mages can sometimes be hard to find and most aren't capable of much. Man is probably the only nation that gets gem income that doesn't correspond to the magic skills that have available. Nature is also a good magic paths all around. An once of air magic combined with death magic could also provide greater mobility via Cloud Trapeze (Enchantment 4) and increase the number of effective battlefield spells your god can have at his/her disposal. If your desire is to bolster the magister arcana and keep them from being Magic Dueled to death, you could also take a powerful, yet mobile, astral god. Every magic skill has something to offer, but I think it best to focus on ways your god can cripple invading armies and bolster your national mages.


Tips on Expansion
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Now I've said that production, as a scale, was an option. By the mid-game you will have an abundance of castles and, therefore, little need for high levels of production. As you fight off other factions you will want to exercise the full spectrum of your units, and so you shouldn't always be buying the highest resource units anyhow. That said, their is no doubt in my mind that some level of production will speed up early game expansion and remain helpful later on. An expansion army of a dozen or more defenders, backed by just a few longbowmen will defeat almost any indy province. The late age variety of indies is bland. Barbarians are easy to deal with and the defender can hold a line against heavy cavalry and win. Just remember to place your defenders in the middle, place your longbowmen behind them and your commander out of harms way.

Your starting army will not have any defenders in it to start with. I find that for this army it is best to hold a turn, declare the Castellan your prophet, and hire as many longbowmen as you can. For the first few rounds you should target lightly armored provinces. Place the longbowmen a bit back and have the spearmen hold and then attack from midfield. Finally I just script the prophet to smite every round. This army should only need to be supported once during expansion. Just have a judge deliver several defenders in a round or two and have the remaining spearmen take the flank.

Expansion should flow smoothly barring any disaster. You can always average 12 provinces before the first year is through. MP games have proven to me that 12 provinces by turn 9 is not all that difficult with only 2 levels of production. In my opinion, that's good for any human faction who doesn't expand on the first turn and who doesn't use an awake god.


Tips on Stealth Raiding with Man
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I have argued that the wardens aren't ideal for a strong bless because they are slow and national only, that of course doesn't make them useless. In fact, they might become your most useful secret weapon when done right. You still need your normal forces in order to defend yourself, but I prefer to use them as rouse. Your big army is a distraction from what they should really fear in my opinion. A small number of wardens, lead by lord warden make great PD killers. This is true even without a bless. Once I have researched some construction I find it helpful to forge Bows of War (Construction 6), and other cheap magical ranged weapons in order to increase their effectiveness. They can also be supported by magisters and thus gain magical support. Magisters with astral magic can help the stealth army avoid Mind Hunts as well

If you need more power behind your stealth army, you can have them attack the current province while you Cloud Trapeze in mages. Normally a stealth army will attack the current province in normal attack rounds, but if a unit of yours starts a battle in the post ritual round, they will participate and you will have a fight before the unit can normally move. This is especially helpful when you need to support your magisters long enough for them to cast Gifts of Heavens against an SC.

There is no doubt that Man has great options for surprise assaults and for exercising 'dirty tactics'. With enough judges casting frighten you can make a more powerful army run away while your wardens capture the surrounding provinces. The warden and the lord warden are your only national units, so you shouldn't be conflicted about purchasing them almost every round. Use them and abuse them is what I say. I would not place Man as the best stealth nation in the late age, but they are certainly not the weakest.


Conclusion
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Given the proper investment in judges, magisters, and national troops, Man can grow, expand, and build like no other nation. They can hold any province indefinitely and tear down the enemies infrastructure in a matter of turns. Invited into the cold arms of Man, every army that enters never leaves. If someone survives, they retreat only into lands no longer theirs. Lands thought to be safe from the enemy are instead assaulted by crossbows and great swords. Bit-by-bit the world is consumed by the agents of Man. Each province is processed to maximize profits. For Man, there is no excuse for an unprotected temple to their god. The dominion of their god pushes wide and far. In the end, Man pulls the world into their reality. A reality where nothing is certain, except for death and taxes.

konming October 22nd, 2008 06:29 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
I would like to point out an otherwise under used spell - Gift of Nature's Bounty - can be very useful to greatly boost Man's gold income even more.

OmikronWarrior October 22nd, 2008 09:12 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Two things off the top of my head.

1) Owl Quills are an obvious investment for Man to help boost research.

2) I do not think Magisters can cast Wind Guide. No mage can use more gems to cast a combat spell than they have level, so Magisters can only use one Air gem barring an Air Booster. Unless they summon storm power first, I guess.

3) Man has everything needed to get a great blood economy going (judges, growth), except for Blood Mages. I think Man has more incentives then most non-blood nations to break into it, such as protecting those oh so old Magister Arcanes.

4) Defenders should almost always be left to "fire," not attack. They'll keep shooting as the enemy opponents approach. When they arrive, the front will step forward to engage in some hand to hand while the rest of the block fires AP bolts at the front lines. With 12 base presicion boosted by crossbow's 2 bonus, they'll have very good accuracy. Even shielded heavy infantry will wither infront of that kind of assault.

Nice work over all, though.

AreaOfEffect October 22nd, 2008 10:27 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
1) If Man can keep up on research without resorting to using owl quills, then that is the path I will always favor. Quills don't provide enough research to compensate for the opportunity cost. Air gems are just too useful for so many other rituals and items.

2) Your right. I'll fix that.

3) I don't exclude blood as an option. I was tempted to talk about blood and mention that it would bring hardy mages and magic diversity, but I knew that starting down that path would lead to talk about what every other skill can bring to the table, and you don't need me to tell you that.

4) I agree. The only time I mentioned anything about battle commands was with expansion. The only unit I said not to fire with were the starting spearmen, who can't fire anyhow.

Thanks.

JimMorrison October 22nd, 2008 11:06 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Awesome and inspiring work!

chrispedersen October 22nd, 2008 11:53 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Great stuff.

A few codicils.

Man magisters make one of the *best* mage assassins in the game.
Body ethereal, luck stone/iron skin, IronWill/Resist Magic

Perhaps farstrike. And all the while your opponent will suffer the effects of drain while you will not - if you are projecting dominion.

OmikronWarrior October 23rd, 2008 04:33 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AreaOfEffect
Thanks.

My comments were less criticisms (except for the Magister one) and more caveats to supplement the guide for future readers.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrispedersen (Post 647492)
And all the while your opponent will suffer the effects of drain while you will not - if you are projecting dominion.

Do you mean just the research penatly? Because I believe Man has the same fatigue penalty on the battlefield as everyone else.

Natpy October 23rd, 2008 06:41 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Awesome guide, AOE. You jast read my minds :)

Meglobob October 23rd, 2008 07:31 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Great guide AoE, with many good ideas. La Man a nation of tax inspectors and paving over nature, who ever would have thought it? Looks around at the modern day world...

AreaOfEffect October 23rd, 2008 04:14 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OmikronWarrior (Post 647515)
My comments were less criticisms (except for the Magister one) and more caveats to supplement the guide for future readers.

I misread. Thanks once again. By all means add your imput. There is so much I wanted to add, but restrained as some of it didn't pretain directly to the strategy, some of it wasn't exclusively about Man, and I suppose the guide was long enough already.

ano October 23rd, 2008 06:47 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Well, what I want to say is that it's one of the best guides I ever read and I read many.
First, LA Man is an easy nation in no way, moreover, it is considered the weakest in LA by many and that is not far from true. That's why seeing such deep and bright thoughts on such a nation impresses.
Second, I have nearly nothing to add because everything is in the right place. It is rare:). The only thing I probably wouldn't do is taking Prod2 because most of Man national troops will become useless quite soon. But that's only my playstyle.
You are, probably, a very interesting opponent to meet in the game, AoE. I'd really like it one day;).

Horst F. JENS October 24th, 2008 02:21 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Thank you for this excellent guide.

Addition: The Forester is an cheap sharpshooter with very good precision, light armor and stealth. On top of that, he has patrol bonus 5, Forest Survival and Ambidextrous 2.
While i'm not sure how to make use of his dual-wield skill (black heart?), i feel that this unit begs for a forged ranged weapon.
Good movement and stealth let you sneak him into important battles and castles to help out with magic bombardment. While not fighting, he can help with patrolling or scouting.

ano October 24th, 2008 06:07 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Bow of Botulf + Eye of Aiming is the most obvious solution. Total precision will be 22 in that case or 27 with Aim/Wind Guide. That means he will be a true wyrm killer.

Tifone October 24th, 2008 06:14 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Well, as Wyrms often come without paths, the feebleminding Black Bow of Botulf is more useful against enemies with some magic - like a Cyclops, say :)

ano October 24th, 2008 08:27 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tifone (Post 647736)
Well, as Wyrms often come without paths,

I wouldn't call it wise.
Quote:

the feebleminding Black Bow of Botulf is more useful against enemies with some magic - like a Cyclops, say :)
Yes, unless he has a decent shield or air magic.

Tifone October 24th, 2008 08:47 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Not wise? The Wyrm comes without paths and adding one costs 50 pts. Taking it up will cost a fortune in pts and not be useful in the early game, when ou don't have proper research but instead you want your Wyrm to shine. If you spend points on Dominion 10 instead, you have the immediate benefit of Awe -2, which synergizes very well with the base Fear, and with makes him, along with the double attack, the strong regen and the high HPs, an excellent early supercombatant which by the way you don't mind too much losing (except for the afflictions of course) because he will not lose any magic power.

Taking paths on a Wyrm would be sacrificing good scales or the optimal dominion for very little gaining IMHO.

Horst F. JENS October 24th, 2008 09:12 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Did anyone found a use for the Forester's amidextrous skill ? He wields an axe and a dagger (together with the bow) out of the box; do you think that is just flavor or is there some way to make use of this skill ?

AreaOfEffect October 24th, 2008 09:19 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Believe it or not, people still invest magic paths into the wyrm. A little air often goes a long way. So it's still not a bad example.

I would like to thank everyone for the positive responses. Some of your comments are quite flattering and I am honored to receive them. Ano, I would love to play a game with you some time. In the future though, I'm at my limit with three so far.

ano October 24th, 2008 09:37 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Quote:

Taking paths on a Wyrm would be sacrificing good scales or the optimal dominion for very little gaining IMHO.
You will gather a lot of afflictions really fast - that's the price. Take astral and indies will hardly ever strike it both with bows and swords and it will be able to teleport. Take earth and its regen level will allow you to ignore those scrathes while fatigue will never be more than 0. Taking air is also viable. Wyrm without magic will allow you to expand fast but will be killed really easy by a decent opponent while wyrm with magic will be a serious force up to the very late game. So in most cases I wouldn't take wyrm without magic if I don't have healers and\or strong and cheap priests.
Quote:

Ano, I would love to play a game with you some time. In the future though, I'm at my limit with three so far.
And I'm at my limit with one;).

Tifone October 24th, 2008 10:03 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Yep, sorry for the OT, AreaOfEffect, I too wanted to say that your guide is very interesting and deep :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by ano (Post 647772)
Take astral and indies will hardly ever strike it both with bows and swords and it will be able to teleport. Take earth and its regen level will allow you to ignore those scrathes while fatigue will never be more than 0. Taking air is also viable.

Well if you're planning to put up to three magic paths into a Wyrm you probably won't use it awaken, which is what I've been thinking. S3 for teleport is 90 points. Summon Earthpower (you were thinking about its +4 reinvig, as the Wyrm has encumbrance 3?) is E2 for another 66 points. Air 2 for Mistform, another 66.
I prefer to use different chassis, less expensive chassis types to go for the buffs. But I admit I am a n00b too :D

vfb October 24th, 2008 10:50 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
I like pathless wyrms. If I have an astral caster, I'll follow the wyrm, cast body ethereal, and retreat. Low astral on a wyrm is just setting it up for the bad end of a magic duel. Pathless wyrms are supposed to be killable. I'll call it back when it dies.

Oops, sorry, I am OT too.

Amorphous October 24th, 2008 11:56 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Excellent guide and very interesting strategy.

Delaying research is something I seldom consider as I often need a couple for emergencies, but this certainly sounds like it might work.

On another note - has anyone found any good ways of utilizing the Bean Sidhe?

She is a decent assassin, I suppose, but I keep wanting to use her for more. Having her running around with a pack of Barghests presents a rather fitting image, but it does not seem very efficient.

OmikronWarrior October 24th, 2008 12:28 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ano (Post 647772)
You will gather a lot of afflictions really fast - that's the price.


And that's perfectly acceptable for the pathless wyrm. He's there to get your expansion going fast and early (which he does fine with just dom-10), and anything beyond that is gravy. At the end of the day, not a lot of afflictions are going to diminish Awe+Fear plus Regen. Possibly a valid option for the otherwise hard to get out of the gate LA Man (see, I'm not off topic).

ano October 24th, 2008 01:53 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Not an option really for magically weak Man. In most cases PoD will be better than wyrm but though the times when I thought that astral wyrms are uber have passed, if I decided to take wyrm as my pretender I would think of adding some magic. In most cases earth is the best option because you get reinvigoration which guarantees that he will not be swarmed and when you later add four other artifacts your wyrm will remain a force and probably won't gather many wounds. I don't think that a pretender should take only an initial expander role. It is just too narrow.
Once again, it's my vision of this game aspect. If you have another one, just use it.
Let's stop the OT with this;)

AreaOfEffect October 25th, 2008 10:49 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
I will make one addendum to the discussion of Man's limited magic skill.

It occurs to me that you can in fact boost magisters with earth and judges with fire in an interesting way. Supplying either with a corresponding gem allows them to cast one spell at a skill level higher. If you use that gem to cast Summon Earth Power or Phoenix Power, then you can boost their magic skill for the duration of the battle. This can really open up some of your battlefield spell options for very little fatigue.

If you follow up the empowering spells with a another use of a gem, you can cast spells requiring earth 3 or fire 3. A judge with two fire gems can cast falling fires once and follow up with some fireballs. A magister with earth and air and three earth gems can cast Summon Earth Power followed by Rain of Stones. Sneaky.

Endoperez October 26th, 2008 05:11 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AreaOfEffect (Post 648157)
If you follow up the empowering spells with a another use of a gem, you can cast spells requiring earth 3 or fire 3. A judge with two fire gems can cast falling fires once and follow up with some fireballs. A magister with earth and air and three earth gems can cast Summon Earth Power followed by Rain of Stones. Sneaky.

The mages might decide to use two gems on Earth/Phoenix Power, though, so you'd need to give them some spare ones, and they would always spend those before the battle ends.

Meglobob October 26th, 2008 05:29 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Endoperez (Post 648189)
Quote:

Originally Posted by AreaOfEffect (Post 648157)
If you follow up the empowering spells with a another use of a gem, you can cast spells requiring earth 3 or fire 3. A judge with two fire gems can cast falling fires once and follow up with some fireballs. A magister with earth and air and three earth gems can cast Summon Earth Power followed by Rain of Stones. Sneaky.

The mages might decide to use two gems on Earth/Phoenix Power, though, so you'd need to give them some spare ones, and they would always spend those before the battle ends.

No, the mages will only ever use 1 gem because at the time of casting have only 1 skill in that path. I have used this tactic many times of making a 1F or 1E mage to 2F or 2E.

AreaOfEffect October 26th, 2008 03:10 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Indeed. I have tested it. The best part about the tactic is that you know exactly how many gems will be used. It didn't occur to me before because I generally only use gems to cast spells that require them. Even if they could use more gems they wouldn't likely do so anyhow as the spells you're scripting only cause about 10 to 20 fatigue, not the usual +100.

Festin November 5th, 2008 11:51 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
I have recently tried using the tax strategy in SP(setting taxes to 120 and patrolling with a Judge), and even with Growth 3 population is still dying faster than it is replaced. Am I doing something wrong?

vfb November 6th, 2008 12:47 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
In your capitol? Did the full growth scales propagate to the province? Do you have enough base pop in the province to produce enough new peasants to balance taxes and patrolling?

AreaOfEffect November 6th, 2008 01:25 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
The majority of the time, the results of 120% taxes + growth 3 + patroling = minimal pop loss. That said, it is always important to remember that dom3 style randomness is a factor.

On occasion above average unrest will occur. On occasion below average potrolling performance will happen. There are also a ton of unrest events and indy attack events which will complicate the results. You also need to be shore that your dominion has spread to the zone and established your good growth scale.

Also remember that what I outline is my approach to overtaxing Man. You need not follow it to a tee. You can choose to be conservitive and average 110% taxes. Some player are use to controlling death scales and might decide that the quicker and less sustainable 130% tax rate is good for them. A sound tax strategy would be to start high and then lower taxes in an attempt to jump-start Man. I personally don't hesitate to lower taxes to 100% when hit with high unrest.

What I outline is basic starting point for a wealthy nation of Man. I'll let you take it from there.

Edit: I must admit, I don't have confidence that one judge will handle the unrest from 130% taxes in most provinces.

Horst F. JENS November 6th, 2008 02:00 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
i used the strategy with taxes on 110% and patrolling. Population increased. Maybe 120% is a bit too much.

Ironhawk November 7th, 2008 07:39 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
This was an interesting read but I wouldnt say that its an excellent guide. It covers the unique patrolling mechanic, but IMO, falls down in terms of strategy advice. What are good compositions and tactics for your armies? What should you summon?

A couple of points like stealth and good BE spells for LA Man are talked about in passing, but no cohesive strategy for how to carry out a war...

AreaOfEffect December 23rd, 2008 05:51 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Before I respond to the above I just want to make a comment about drain scales. After experiencing the effects of Drain 3 a bit more, I'm willing to swear against it. Even with complete drain tolerance I find the last 40 points not worth it. The chances of getting a magic fading event at the wrong time, or any time for that matter, just isn't worth risking. In one game I've received the magic fading event 6 times. That's with order 3 and a misfortune 2.

You could potentially protect yourself by storing your gems on commanders, but it won't protect gems you've receive from allies in the same turn. Storing gems on commanders produces another level of micromanagement that you don't need. Furthermore, it isn't entirely safe as an assassination attempt or well placed falling fires could ruin your day.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ironhawk (Post 650982)
This was an interesting read but I wouldnt say that its an excellent guide. It covers the unique patrolling mechanic, but IMO, falls down in terms of strategy advice. What are good compositions and tactics for your armies? What should you summon?

A couple of points like stealth and good BE spells for LA Man are talked about in passing, but no cohesive strategy for how to carry out a war...

I can understand your criticism. There was a great deal of things I left out of this guide that I originally meant to include. I did this because I wanted to focus on one very important thing, where to start? How does someone take the 'weakest' nation in late-age dominions and place oneself into a good position for the middle and late game? I also felt that I couldn't speak from a position of experience to write anything further.

Now that I have had the time to experience my version of Man in a late-game struggle, I will soon write a companion guide. Hopefully this will have the information you've been seeking.

JimMorrison December 24th, 2008 05:26 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AreaOfEffect (Post 661826)
In one game I've received the magic fading event 6 times. That's with order 3 and a misfortune 2.


Drain + Misf is a brutal combination. You can make it quite awhile with no problems, but in one game I got magic fading twice in 3-4 turns, and lost probably 200 gems that I was stockpiling for empowering and globals.

Baalz December 24th, 2008 09:25 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Is not the problem misfortune rather than drain? Rather than shifting from drain 3 to magic 1, why not from misfortune 2 to luck 2?

Misfortune + drain is a bad combination, just like misfortune + death...

AreaOfEffect December 24th, 2008 10:35 AM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
My claim is that drain 3 is not worth it. That doesn't imply taking magic 1 instead. As far as I've tested, moving to drain 2 makes a dramatic difference. My original impulse was to blame misfortune, but I'm not sure that solves the problem. Feel free to avoid misfortune if it makes you uneasy.

Zeldor December 24th, 2008 04:53 PM

Re: LA Man - Death and Taxes
 
Baalz:

I never had any bigger problems with Drain2 + Misf2. Most of bad things are usually indie attacks or unrest events.


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