Casting Cost is one of the basic attributes of a spell, directly indicating the quantity of Spell Casting Skill used to cast the spell, and indirectly indicating the quantity of Mana consumed by casting the spell. Many spells actually have two Casting Costs: Overland Casting Cost and Combat Casting Cost.
Combat Casting CostEdit
Combat Casting Cost directly indicates the amount of Spell Casting Skill or Caster ability required to cast a given spell in combat, and partially determines the quantity of Mana required. As a rule, a spell's base combat casting cost is one-fifth of its normal casting cost overland, if applicable.
Wizard Combat SpellcastingEdit
At the start of any combat, a wizard starts with his full Spell Casting Skill and whatever Mana is in his reserves. In order to cast a spell, the wizard must have the following:
- Spell Casting Skill equaling or exceeding the Casting Cost of the spell.
- Mana equaling or exceeding the Casting Cost of the spell, multiplied by modifier for range to the wizard's Fortress, as follows:
Caster Unit SpellcastingEdit
Units with the Caster property may also cast spells in combat. To do so, they must have remaining MP from their Caster ability equal to the Casting Cost of the spell, and on actually casting a spell, they lose that quantity from their Caster MP. No Mana is deducted from the wizard's reserve, no range modifier applies.
Variable Cost Combat SpellsEdit
Some spells have variable cost; for example, Fire Bolt has a listed cost of 5+. This means that, when you cast the spell, you may choose to increase the Casting Cost of the spell by any amount up to 4x the base Casting Cost of that spell, with additional effects that depend on the spell. The variable cost combat spells are Dispel Magic, Disenchant Area, Ice Bolt, Counter Magic, Psionic Blast, Banish, Dispel Magic True, Disenchant True,Fire Bolt, Lightning Bolt, Fireball, and Life Drain.
Overland Casting CostEdit
Overland Casting Cost indicates the quantity of both Spell Casting Skill and Mana required to cast a spell on the overland map; unlike Combat Casting Cost, distance to the wizard's Fortress has no effect. Also, in overland casting it is possible to cast a spell with a cost exceeding your Spell Casting Skill or your current Mana; every turn you may spend Mana up to your Spell Casting Skill, and the spell completes when its entire cost has been spent.
Spells that can be cast in both Combat and OverlandEdit
Most Unit Enchantments can be cast in either combat or overland; the combat version only lasts until the end of the current combat, the overland version costs 5x as much and lasts as long as it is maintained. In addition, the special spells Disenchant Area, Word of Recall, and Disenchant True may be cast either combat or overland, with no change in Casting Cost.
Effects that modify Casting CostEdit
There are a number of effects that can change the cost of casting spells:
- 8+ Spellbooks of the same Realm as the Spell: -10% per Spellbook in excess of 7.
- Conjurer: -25% to all Summoning Spells.
- Chaos Mastery: -15% to all Chaos spells.
- Nature Mastery: -15% to all Nature spells.
- Sorcery Mastery: -15% to all Sorcery spells.
- Runemaster: -25% to all Arcane spells.
- Artificer: -50% to Enchant Item and Create Artifact
All such modifiers only apply to Wizards; units with the Caster ability always pay full cost. All modifiers are cumulative, so it is theoretically possible to cast a Chaos, Nature, or Sorcery summon for 0 by having 13 Spellbooks (-60%), Conjurer (-25%) and the appropriate Mastery. Doing this requires 4 specific Treasure Specials on top of your starting selections and is therefore very unlikely.
There are a few prominent strategies that involve lowering the Casting Cost of certain spells, but first, we should examine why lowering Casting Cost might be a very strong influence on your Wizard. When throwing spells overland and in battle, keep in mind that two resources are spent: Mana and Skill. A modifier to Casting Cost cuts both of these expenses down with one stroke. A 10% discount on a spell's cost is like having 10% more mana reserves and 10% more spellcasting skill points.
Neither Mana nor Spell Casting Skill points are infinite, but if one of them should become more plentiful than the other during the campaign, your Casting Cost discounts always serve as a hedge against the limiting one. Mana Focusing and Archmage, by contrast, heavily rely on a bounty of skill and mana (respectively) to be useful. Lowered Casting Costs are always useful.
To balance this, obtaining a reduction to spells' Casting Cost tends to force your Wizard to jump through some hoops with his starting picks.
Example Wizard ProfilesEdit
- This popular strategy hinges upon the 75% discount on the two Item Crafting spells.
- 11-Book Strategy
- The true strength of taking 11 books in one color generally lies in the guaranteed Rare Spell chosen, but the profile also grants a 40% discount on all spells in the realm, making the wizard extremely adept with the color.
- Conjurer / Mastery
- This combination snags a 40% discount on Summoning Spells in any Mastered realms and keeps the wizard's profile fairly open. He is not forced to use so many of his initial picks picks purely to meet requirements.
- Free Sky Drakes
- This is not a starting strategy, but a variant of the above that can eventually result in Summoning Spells having -100% Casting Cost (!!!). Start the game with Conjurer, Sorcery Mastery, and 9 Books (or a corresponding Chaos or Nature build, if desired), and obtain 4 more spellbooks of the realm by attacking and looting its appropriate Nodes. All overland and combat summons will be free.