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Chaos Node

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This article pertains specifically to the Chaos Node, and explains only how it is different from other Nodes. For information about how Nodes work, see Node.
TerrainSpecial ChaosNode
A Chaos Node is a type of Terrain Special, and one of 3 different types of Nodes in the game. It is a superior type of Terrain Special, acting simultaneously as a Icon Power.png Power source, an Encounter zone, and even a Mineral of sorts.

Initially, Chaos Nodes are guarded by a contingent of Icon Chaos.pngChaos Fantastic Units. Once these have been removed, any wizard may send a Magic Spirit or Guardian Spirit to meld with the node, thus acquiring a constant input of Icon Power.png Power based on the node's coverage area.

Several Chaos Nodes are randomly placed around the map at the start of the game, and cannot be removed or added. They are always placed in Volcano tiles - though these behave more like Mountain tiles in terms of the benefits to nearby towns.

A Chaos Node in the plane of Myrror produces more Icon Power.png Power than one located on Arcanus, but is often protected by much more powerful Icon Chaos.pngChaos creatures.

The Chaos Node itself causes oddities in the magical field. It is much harder to successfully cast non-Icon Chaos.pngChaos spells during combat at a Chaos Node. Also, the output of Icon Chaos.pngChaos Magic from the node boosts the abilities of all Icon Chaos.pngChaos Fantastic Units during any battle within the node's zone of influence.

The Chaos Node reacts to any type of Conjunction event. During a Chaos Conjunction, the node produces twice as much Icon Power.png Power as normal. During other conjunctions, it produces no Power at all.

Description Edit

The Chaos Node is a location where the barrier between the primal planes (Arcanus and Myrror) and the Icon Chaos.pngChaos Realm is weak, allowing Icon Power.png Power to seep through in great quantities.

This seepage of energy causes a Volcano to rise around the node itself. Also, creatures from the Icon Chaos.pngChaos Realm may cross through from their plane into the primal planes, and will aggressively protect the Node against anyone who dares approach it.

On the overland map, Chaos Nodes appear very similar to regular Volcanoes, but have a wide, gaping caldera that glows with red energy. Volcanoes are generally rare to begin with, so Chaos Nodes should be easy to spot on either Plane.

Distribution and Terrain Edit

The game will randomly generate Chaos Nodes on the map when creating the world for a new campaign. The number of Chaos Nodes appearing on any map and the locations of these Nodes are also randomly generated. It is thus possible to get a map with few or no Chaos Nodes whatsoever.

When a Chaos Node is created on the world map, it will always be resting on top of a Volcano tile. It is treated as a Volcano tile for all purposes of calculating movement speed through this tile. However, as explained below, the tile acts as a Mountain for purposes of benefiting nearby towns.

It is not possible to alter the Terrain underneath a Chaos Node in any way, including with spells like Change Terrain or Raise Volcano. It is not possible to build a Settlement on top of a Chaos Node. It is, however, possible to build a Road or Enchanted Road across the node. The Icon Nature.pngNature spell Gaia's Blessing may alter the appearance and some benefits to a Town by turning the Volcano tile into a Hill tile while leaving the properties of the Chaos Node unchanged.

Mineral Bonuses Edit

When using the surveyor tool, the Terrain below the Chaos Node will show up as a "Volcano", a barren type of tile that does not produce any benefits. However, the Chaos Node itself rectifies this to some extent.

When a Chaos Node tile is within the catchment area of a town, that town's Icon Production.png Production rate is increased by +5%. This is identical to the bonus given by simple Mountain tiles.

In other words, the total Icon Production.png Production of the town's citizens is boosted by 5%, rounded down. For example, if all of the town's citizens yield Icon Production.png 20 together, each Chaos Node in the town's vicinity will increase output by Icon Production.png +1. This speeds up construction of any Town Building or Normal Unit in this town by a small amount.

Therefore, the Chaos Node should be treated as a Mountain when considering whether or not to settle in its vicinity.

Encounter Zone Edit

Encounter ChaosNode Dialog

An example of the Chaos Node scouting dialog.

A Chaos Node is initially an Encounter zone. It may contain up to 9 different Fantastic Units of the Icon Chaos.pngChaos Realm, chosen semi-randomly from all possible Icon Chaos.pngChaos creatures.

The DefendersEdit

When initially created on the map, a Chaos Node will contain Fantastic Creatures that defend the Chaos Node. To determine exactly what creatures the Chaos Node contains, the game goes through the following procedure:

Determine Realm and Possible DefendersEdit

First, the game needs to determine the magical Realm from which defenders will come. This will determine what monsters are available to fill the encounter. For a Chaos Node, the possibilities are as follows:

Realm Possible Defenders
Icon Chaos.png100% Unit Unit Icon HellHounds Transparent Unit Icon FireElemental Transparent Unit Icon FireGiant Transparent Unit Icon Gargoyles Transparent Unit Icon DoomBat Transparent Unit Icon Chimeras Transparent Unit Icon ChaosSpawn Transparent Unit Icon Efreet Transparent Unit Icon Hydra Transparent Unit Icon GreatDrake Transparent
Cost 40 100 150 200 300 350 400 550 650 900
Icon Death.png{{{death}}}% Unit Unit Icon Skeletons Transparent Unit Icon Zombies Transparent Unit Icon Ghouls Transparent Unit Icon Demon Transparent Unit Icon NightStalker Transparent Unit Icon Werewolves Transparent Unit Icon ShadowDemons Transparent Unit Icon Wraiths Transparent Unit Icon DeathKnights Transparent Unit Icon DemonLord Transparent
Cost 25 30 80 80 250 250 325 500 600 900
Icon Life.png{{{life}}}% Unit Unit Icon GuardianSpirit Transparent Unit Icon Unicorns Transparent Unit Icon Angel Transparent Unit Icon Archangel Transparent
Cost 50 250 550 950
Icon Nature.png{{{nature}}}% Unit Unit Icon WarBears Transparent Unit Icon Sprites Transparent Unit Icon EarthElemental Transparent Unit Icon GiantSpiders Transparent Unit Icon Cockatrices Transparent Unit Icon Basilisk Transparent Unit Icon StoneGiant Transparent Unit Icon Gorgons Transparent Unit Icon Behemoth Transparent Unit Icon Colossus Transparent Unit Icon GreatWyrm Transparent
Cost 70 100 160 200 275 325 450 599 700 800 1000
Icon Sorcery.png{{{sorcery}}}% Unit Unit Icon PhantomWarriors Transparent Unit Icon Nagas Transparent Unit Icon AirElemental Transparent Unit Icon PhantomBeast Transparent Unit Icon StormGiant Transparent Unit Icon Djinn Transparent Unit Icon SkyDrake Transparent
Cost 20 120 170 225 500 650 1000

Determine Mana BudgetEdit

Next, the game determines the basic mana budget; for a Chaos Node this is: 5-15 * (aura tiles)2 * (Magic Strength). Note that this basic value is what is used for rewards. Then, the game adjusts for difficulty; this is the value used to generate monsters.

Intro Easy Average Hard Impossible
-75% -50% -25% +0% +25%

Determine the First Monster TypeEdit

If the mana budget is insufficient for any creature in the chosen Realm, the Chaos Node has no defenders and is defeated the first time any unit attempts to enter its square. Otherwise, the game divides the base budget by an integer in the range of 1-4, and selects the most expensive monster which costs no more than this value, or the first monster if no monsters qualify. This will be the monster your scouts will see when you visit but do not enter a Chaos Node.

Next, the game divides the budget by the cost of the chosen creature, rounding down, to determine how many of those creatures will actually be in the Chaos Node; this will never be more than 8. If this is more than 1, there is a 50% chance that it will be reduced by 1.

Determine the Second Monster TypeEdit

Subtract (number of first monster) * (cost of first monster) from the budget to determine the remaining budget. If this is insufficient for any creature in the chosen Realm other than the first monster, there is no second monster. Otherwise, the game divides the remaining budget by a random integer in the range 1 to (10 - number of first monster) and selects the most expensive monster, other than the first monster, which costs no more than this value. The number of the second monster will be equal to (remaining budget) / (monster cost), with a maximum of 9 - (number of first monster).

Multiple BattlesEdit

In the wake of a battle, the original units defending the node are never replenished. If, during an assault on a Chaos Node, the invading army manages to kill a defending unit but then loses the battle or retreats, that unit will not be restored unless it has the Regeneration ability. This means that it is possible to "whittle down" the node's defenders with several subsequent battles, rather than trying to kill all of them at the same time.

Note several caveats to this:

  • All of the defenders who were not completely destroyed are fully healed at the end of the battle, and will have all Icon Figure.png figures restored to life appropriately. Thus, it is not possible to kill one unit by injuring it repeatedly in each battle - you must completely kill a unit in order to ensure that it does not reappear in the next battle.
  • Fleeing is often disastrous. Units fleeing a battle are 50% likely to be slain, regardless of their speed and defenses. At the Normal difficulty setting and above, fleeing Heroes also have a 25% chance of being slain. Only go in for partial engagements if you can wait out 50 turns, magically recall your forces, or afford to lose the fleeing units.
  • Killing the defenders in piece-meal fashion is likely to generate less Icon Fame.png Fame for the Wizard, and certain to generate less Icon Experience.png Experience for Normal Units and Heroes present in the battle(s), when the invasion finally succeeds and all defenders are subdued. Experience and fame are not awarded after retreats or defeats. Only the enemies present in the final engagement will contribute to these rewards. The fewer battles it takes to clear a Chaos Node , the better.

Nevertheless, any strong Chaos Node whose defenses can be whittled-down perhaps should be whittled-down. In particular, Icon Fame.png Fame is only granted by Very Rare creatures or defeating 4+ defenders, so a Chaos Node defended by a mix of Common, Uncommon, and Rare creatures can be whittled down to 4 Common creatures with little penalty.

Treasure Edit

Main article: Treasure

The rewards for taking a Chaos Node rise proportionally; the stronger the creatures guarding it, the better the treasure; supreme rewards such as new Spellbooks or Retorts are only found behind the strongest defenders.

Treasure Types Distribution Qualify Spend Max
Magical Item 5 in 15 300 400-3000 3
Spell (Roll 1d4) 3 in 15 1
* Common Spell (25%) 50 50
* Uncommon Spell (25%) 200 200
* Rare Spell (25%) 450 450
* Very Rare Spell (25%) 800 800
10 - 200 Icon Gold.png Gold Pieces 2 in 15 50 200
10 - 200 Icon Mana.png Mana Crystals 2 in 15 50 200
Special 2 in 15 1000 3000 2
Prisoner 1 in 15 400 1000 1

When the game begins, the program assigns each Chaos Node a treasure budget of either 50-125% (Arcanus) or 75-175% (Myrror) of the base budget (before adjustment for difficulty) used to generate monsters; this is increased by 25% if playing at Impossible, and has a minimum of 50. It then rolls imaginary 15-sided dice to select the basic types of loot found in the Chaos Node's hoard (see chart). If the remaining treasure budget is less than Qualify or the maximum number of that treasure has already been created, it rerolls; otherwise, it subtracts the cost of the treasure from the budget and rolls again. If a Special is generated, all other rewards are discarded and the process ends. The program only determines particulars about the treasure when a Wizard successfully conquers the Chaos Node. If you reload the session and fight the Encounter repeatedly, you will obtain the same basic types of loot every time, but the exact spells, items, and specials will vary.

General Notes Edit

The weakest Chaos Nodes might only be able to afford a small pile of Icon Gold.png Gold or Icon Mana.png Mana Crystals. Due to the probability distribution, Chaos Nodes whose budget endowments allow a Magical Item or Spell are more likely to contain these instead. Multiple Magical Items and multiple piles of Icon Gold.png Gold and Icon Mana.png Mana Crystals can appear in some hoards. Only one Spell may appear at a time, but the 1d4 rolls from multiple Spell results are added together to determine Rarity (maximum 4).

The quality of a Magical Item reward is supposed to scale with remaining treasure points, but in version 1.31, the program only manages to constrain the item's quality in the case of a "Failed Special". Typically, then, the wizard only needs the Spellbook ranks that an item demands, for it to be eligible to (randomly) appear in a Chaos Node. Full lists of pre-fab items and their arbitrary rank requirements can be found here in the article on treasure.

A Prisoner, a most uncommon find, might be held at a Chaos Node. This individual will be one of the 25 non-champion Heroes in the game, drawn at random from those who are not already in your service or defeated. These captive V.I.P.s will offer to join you at no charge out of gratitude for being rescued. Beware: if your army stack is 9 units deep, or you control 6 heroes, "Absolutely Nothing" will appear in the Prisoner's place.

Specials Edit

When a special is generated, there is a 74% chance that it is a Spellbook, 26% chance that it is a Retort. If the remaining treasure budget was 2,000 or higher two specials will be generated, otherwise only 1. Retorts that cost 2 picks can only appear at a site with 2 specials and cost both specials; Myrran cannot appear, all other prerequisites are ignored. Spellbooks for a Chaos Node will be Icon Chaos.pngChaos.

A Wizard cannot possess more than 13 Spellbooks and 6 Retorts; if this occurs, the reward is instead a Magical Item with a maximum value of 1,200.

Rampaging MonstersEdit

Main article: Rampaging Monster

Any Chaos Node that has not yet been cleared of defenders is a possible source for Rampaging Monsters.

Difficulty Budget Frequency
Intro Turn x 0.4 1/50 turns
Easy Turn x 0.4-0.8 1/33 turns
Average Turn x 0.4-1.2 1/25 turns
Hard Turn x 0.4-1.6 1/20 turns
Impossible Turn x 0.4-2.0 1/17 turns

Starting at turn 50, and again every frequency turns, Rampaging Monsters are generated from a random still-populated nonIcon Life.pnglife Encounter; the procedure is similar to defenders, but Realm will always match the source, and budget is determined by the turn number and difficulty. The budget is halved if Rampaging Monsters are generated on the same continent as any wizard's Fortress.

Combat in a Chaos Node Edit

Screenshot ChaosNode

A Chaos Node as it appears during combat, and a few defending creatures.

Whenever combat occurs within the same tile as a Chaos Node, or even within its vicinity, special rules are in effect that may alter the outcome significantly. Generally-speaking, Icon Chaos.pngChaos-wielding wizards will have a relatively easier time doing battle in this area, whereas other wizards may have problems doing so. As a result, the Chaos Node can also be a strategic asset.

During battle inside the Chaos Node's own tile, the node is capable of dispelling any non-Icon Chaos.pngChaos spells as they are being cast.

During combat inside the Chaos Node or any of the tiles within its area of influence, all Icon Chaos.pngChaos Fantastic Units receive powerful bonuses to their combat stats.

Both effects are visible when clicking the "Info" button during battle. This is a good way of telling whether you are within a node's area-of-influence.

CombatEnchantment ChaosNodeDispelAura Chaos Node Dispelling Aura Edit

The massive output of Icon Chaos.pngChaos energy from the Chaos Node interferes with the casting of combat spells.

During combat that takes place in the same tile as the Chaos Node itself, any attempt to cast a combat spell of any kind that is not from the Icon Chaos.pngChaos realm must face an immediate dispelling attempt by the Node.

The dispelling attempt occurs immediately upon selecting the spell for casting - before any target has been selected. The strength of this dispelling attempt is equal to Icon Mana.png 50. The formula for calculating its success is as follows:

Chance = 50 / (50 + TSCC) * 100

Where "TSCC" is the total Casting Cost of the spell which the node is targeting.

For example, if attempting to cast an Ice Bolt spell with a total of Icon Mana.png 12 invested, the chance of it being dispelled is as follows:

Chance = 50 / (50 + 12) * 100
= 50 / 62 * 100
= 0.80 * 100
= an 80% chance to dispel this spell as it's being cast.

Icon Chaos.pngChaos spells of any kind will bypass this effect entirely. They will never be dispelled by the Chaos Node regardless of their type or casting cost.

Note that the Node Mastery retort allows a wizard to cast spells from any realm inside any node without being subjected to its dispelling effects. Such wizards have a clear advantage in node combat.

CombatEnchantment ChaosNodeBonusAura Chaos Node Unit Bonus Aura Edit

During combat inside the Chaos Node's tile or on any tile that is inside the node's area of influence (see below), all Fantastic Units from the Icon Chaos.pngChaos realm receive a set of very important bonuses.

The bonuses are:

  • Icon Melee Normal.png +2 Melee Attack Strength
  • Icon Ranged Bow.png +2 Ranged Attack Strength
  • Icon Defense.png +2 Defense
  • Icon Resist.png +2 Resistance

Note that the bonus to Melee Attack and Ranged Attack applies only if the unit possesses the appropriate attacks by default. Also note that the Ranged Attack bonus applies to all types of Ranged Attack.

All Fantastic Units from this realm are affected, regardless of their owner. All other units are unaffected in any way.

These bonuses are extremely potent, and have several strategic implications. For starters, it means that the original creatures guarding a Chaos Node (which are all from the Icon Chaos.pngChaos realm by definition) are much harder to defeat than similar creatures encountered in other locations.

Furthermore, the fact that this effect also applies in the vicinity of the Chaos Node means that the entire area is a great place for a Icon Chaos.pngChaos-wielding creature to mount a defense or an attack. Bring an army comprised mostly or completely of Icon Chaos.pngChaos creatures, and your chances of success are considerably higher as a result. Similarly, assaulting an enemy army comprised of such creatures while it is in the vicinity of a Chaos Node is a bad idea - assuming you can wait for it to come out of the area at all.

Finally, this means that any Icon Chaos.pngChaos-wielding wizard is encouraged to build towns within the area-of-influence of a Chaos Node, and protect that town with Icon Chaos.pngChaos creatures. This will make the town much harder to conquer.

Controlling Nodes Edit

The process of controlling and Melding with a Chaos Node is identical to that of any other Node. There is, however, an important effect that may be extremely relevant to some wizards: the effect of the Chaos Mastery Retort, which is explained below.

Retorts Edit

There are several Retorts available that will boost the amount of Icon Power.png Power acquired from each of a node's glowing tiles. For Chaos Nodes, two Retorts affect this: Chaos Mastery and Node Mastery.
With either of these Retorts, each glowing tile produces twice as much Icon Power.png Power as it would otherwise. For example, when playing in a "Normal" magic world (see above), a wizard with Chaos Mastery will get Icon Power.png 2 Power from each glowing tile belonging to a Chaos Node.
The effect from these retorts is cumulative. Therefore, a wizard possessing both Chaos Mastery and Node Mastery will get 4 times as much Icon Power.png Power from each node tile! This can amount to a massive boost of Icon Power.png Power, and encourages such a wizard to gain control of as many Chaos Nodes as he can.

Random Effects on Node Output Edit

As with any other Node, the Icon Power.png Power output of the Chaos Node is mostly static, and will remain the same throughout the game. The exceptions occur, as explained in the article on Nodes, through the use of the Warp Node spell, through acquisition of new Retorts, and as a result of Conjunctions.

The most common effect on a Chaos Node's Icon Power.png Power output is a Conjunction of magic: a random Event which affects the power output of all nodes simultaneously, for a short period of time.

Conjunction Edit

The random event of Conjunction is one of the most common Events in the game. There is a chance that such an event will occur on the start of any given turn. A Conjunction will last until the game randomly decides to end it (a 5% chance at the start of each turn while the Conjunction is in effect).

There are three types of Conjunctions, and each affects the Chaos Node in a different way.

Chaos Conjunctions are obviously best. When these are in play, each tile within each Chaos Node's area-of-influence produces twice as much Icon Power.png Power as normal for its controlling wizard. Naturally, if no wizard is currently in control of a Chaos Node, that node produces no Power for anyone anyway.

Nature Conjunctions and Sorcery Conjunctions, however, will completely shut down all Icon Power.png Power output of all Chaos Nodes while they are in effect. Wizards with many Chaos Nodes under their control but few other types of nodes are therefore in trouble, having a greatly-reduced income of Power. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the end of the Conjunction - you can only wait until it passes.

During a Chaos Conjunction, empires with plenty of Chaos Nodes under their control will usually go on the offensive, or use magic to develop their assets to terrifying strength. During other Conjunctions, such empires are weak and make good targets for a sudden invasion. Pay attention to the types of Nodes controlled by your enemies, and look for strategic opportunities to capitalize on a Conjunction.

Spawning Rampaging Monsters Edit

Main article: Rampaging Monster

While a Chaos Node still contains one or more of its original garrison units (see above), it may occasionally spawn a group of Rampaging Monsters.

There's a small chance each turn that one Encounter zone anywhere on the map will create a new Rampaging Monster stack. The game randomly selects which Encounter zone does so, and may occasionally choose a Chaos Node as the source of such a stack.

The Rampaging Monster army created from a Chaos Node is comprised of one or more units, whose types are selected at random from the various Fantastic Creatures from the Icon Chaos.pngChaos Realm (see list above in this article). The types of creatures defending the Chaos Node itself is not important; a node containing a pair of Hell Hounds can end up spawning half a dozen Hydras, given the right circumstances.

Rampaging Monster groups are often small, and their composition is often more varied than that of the creatures guarding the Chaos Node itself. Note that Rampaging Monster stacks may and often do contain creatures that are not normally found outside of combat, such as Fire Elementals.

The strength of the Rampaging Monster stacks that are generated by a Chaos Node will constantly grow as the game progresses. By the late game, it is not uncommon to see exceptionally powerful creatures leading these groups, especially on higher difficulty settings.

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