Initially, Chaos Nodes are guarded by a contingent of Chaos 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 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.
The Chaos Node itself causes oddities in the magical field. It is much harder to successfully cast non-Chaos spells during combat at a Chaos Node. Also, the output of Chaos Magic from the node boosts the abilities of all Chaos Fantastic Units during any battle within the node's zone of influence.
This seepage of energy causes a Volcano to rise around the node itself. Also, creatures from the Chaos 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 Nature 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 Production rate is increased by +5%. This is identical to the bonus given by simple Mountain tiles.
In other words, the total Production of the town's citizens is boosted by 5%, rounded down. For example, if all of the town's citizens yield 20 together, each Chaos Node in the town's vicinity will increase output by +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
When initially created at the start of the game, a Chaos Node will usually contain Fantastic Creatures that defend it, and any Treasure stashed inside. To figure out exactly what creatures the Chaos Node contains, the program goes through the procedure outlined below.
First, the game determines the basic mana budget that it will use to "buy" creatures from in order to populate the encounter. The basic formula setting out the monster budget for a Chaos Node is: 5-15 * (aura tiles)2 * (Magic Strength). This is then adjusted for the campaign's Difficulty setting:
At the same time, the game also needs to choose the magical Realm from which defenders will come. This sets out the monsters available to fill the encounter with. For a Chaos Node, the possibilities are as follows:
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 a random integer in the range of 1-4, and selects the most expensive unit which costs no more than this value; or the first monster on the list if no creatures qualify. This will be the monster seen by any scouts that visit (but do not initiate combat at) a Chaos Node.
Once the "main" creature is chosen, the game divides the budget by the cost of this unit, rounding down, to determine how many of these monsters will actually be in the Chaos Node. However, this will never be more than 8, and if it is more than 1, there is a 50% chance that it will be reduced by 1. These limitations significantly increase the likelyhood of encounters featuring more than one type of monster.
Finally, the game calculates the remaining budget by subtracting (number of first monster) * (cost of first monster) from the initial budget. This may then be used to "purchase" a set of secondary creatures, which will always match the Realm of the primary monster. Only if the remaining budget is insufficient for any other creature than the first monster, will there be no second monster.
Otherwise, the game divides the remaining budget by a random integer between 1 and (10 - number of first monster), and selects the most expensive unit (other than the primary monster), which costs no more than this value. The rest of the encounter is then populated with this creature, up to the maximum of 9 total units (including the first monsters), or until the remaining budget is exhausted. That is, the amount of secondary monsters will be the lower of either (9 - number of first monster), or (remaining budget) / (cost of second monster).
In the wake of a battle, the original defending units 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" a Chaos Node's defenders with several subsequent battles, instead of trying to kill all of them at the same time.
There are several caveats to this:
- Any defenders that are not destroyed completely are fully healed at the end of each battle, and will have all figures restored to life appropriately. Thus, it is not possible to kill one unit by injuring it repeatedly in each battle - it must be killed completely 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. Partial engagements are likely only worth it if the battle can be drawn out to 50 turns, the attacking units can be magically recalled, or the loss of any fleeing units is affordable.
- Killing the defenders in piece-meal fashion is likely to reward less Fame for the Wizard, and is certain to generate less Experience for Normal Units and Heroes. Neither of these are awarded after retreats or defeats: only the enemies present in the final engagement will contribute to either. 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, Fame is only granted for defeating Very Rare creatures or 4+ defenders, so a Chaos Node guarded by a mix of Common, Uncommon, and Rare creatures can be whittled down to 4 Common creatures with little penalty.
- Main article: Treasure
The rewards for conquering a Chaos Node depend largely on its defenders: the stronger the creatures guarding it, the better the treasure. Supreme rewards, such as new Spellbooks, or Retorts, are only found behind the strongest monsters.
|Magical Item||5 in 15||300||400-3000||3|
|Spell (1d4 for rarity)||3 in 15||1|
|* Common Spell||50||50|
|* Uncommon Spell||200||200|
|* Rare Spell||450||450|
|* Very Rare Spell||800||800|
|10 - 200 Pieces||2 in 15||50||200|
|10 - 200 Crystals||2 in 15||50||200|
|Special (Book / Retort)||2 in 15||1000||3000||2|
|Prisoner||1 in 15||400||1000||1|
When the game begins, each Chaos Node is assigned a treasure budget of either 50-125% (Arcanus), or 75-175% (Myrror), of the base (before adjustment for difficulty) mana budget used to generate the inhabitants. This is further increased by 25% on the "Impossible" Difficulty setting, and has a minimum value of 50. The computer then rolls imaginary 15-sided dice to select the basic types of loot found in the Chaos Node's hoard (see chart).
For each roll, if the remaining treasure budget is less than the "Qualify" value; or the maximum number of that treasure has already been created; the die is rerolled. Otherwise, the cost of the treasure is subtracted from the budget, and, if there are at least 50 points left, the die is cast again. If a "Special" is generated, all other rewards are discarded, and the process ends.
This initial randomization only sets out the type of the treasure that will be awarded for defeating each encounter. The particulars are instead determined "on the fly" when a Wizard successfully conquers the Chaos Node. Thus, reloading the session and fighting the Encounter repeatedly will yield 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 Gold or Mana Crystals, and nothing else. Due to the probability distribution, Chaos Nodes whose budget endowments allow a Magical Item or Spell are more likely to contain these instead. Both multiple Magical Items; and multiple piles of Gold and/or Mana Crystals can appear in some hoards. On the other hand, only one Spell may ever be awarded at a time, but the d4 rolls from multiple Spell results are added together to determine Spell Rarity (up to a maximum of 4, yielding a Very Rare Spell).
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 the Wizard's service or defeated. These captive V.I.P.s will offer to join for no initial cost, out of gratitude for being rescued (however, their upkeep won't be free unless they bear the Noble trait). Beware: if the victorious army stack is 9 units deep, or the Wizard already controls 6 Heroes, "Absolutely Nothing" will appear in the Prisoner's place.
When a special is generated, there is a 75% chance that it will be a Spellbook, and a 25% 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 will cost both specials. The Myrran retort cannot appear in Treasure, and the prerequisites for all other retorts are ignored. Spellbooks found in a Chaos Node will be Chaos.
- Main article: Rampaging Monster
Any Chaos Node that has not yet been cleared of defenders is a possible source for Rampaging Monsters.
|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 nonlife 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 EditWhenever 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, Chaos-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 combat inside the Chaos Node or any of the tiles within its area of influence, all Chaos 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.
Chaos Node Dispelling Aura Edit
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 Chaos 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 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 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.
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.
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 Chaos realm receive a set of very important bonuses.
The bonuses are:
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 Chaos 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 Chaos-wielding creature to mount a defense or an attack. Bring an army comprised mostly or completely of Chaos 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 Chaos-wielding wizard is encouraged to build towns within the area-of-influence of a Chaos Node, and protect that town with Chaos 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.
- There are several Retorts available that will boost the amount of 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 Power as it would otherwise. For example, when playing in a "Normal" magic world (see above), a wizard with Chaos Mastery will get 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 Power from each node tile! This can amount to a massive boost of 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 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 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 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 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 Chaos 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.