|As of Master of Magic v1.31, Evil Presence is known to be malfunctioning in at least one way. Please read the Known Bugs section below.|
|Spell Type||Town Curse|
|The Shrine, Temple, Parthenon and Cathedral in the enchanted town, if any, cease producing Power.|
Evil Presence is a Rare Town Curse belonging to the Death Magic realm. It may only be cast on the overland map, and must be targeted at an enemy Town. Sadly, Evil Presence has almost no actual effects in the game.
Based on in-game and external data, Evil Presence's effect is to stop all output of Power from the town's Shrine, Temple, Parthenon and Cathedral (assuming any of them exist in this town). This should then cause a drop in the town's owner's Power, resulting in less Mana generation, Research, or Spell Skill improvement for that wizard.
In practice however, the spell does nothing of the sort. It seems to affect only the visual aspects of the game, and does not change actual Power output in any way! The town's controller receives no penalty for having Evil Presence active in any of his towns, so the only wizard "losing out" on this spell is Evil Presence's own caster - who has wasted Mana on casting it.
Furthermore, Evil Presence continues to demand an Upkeep Cost of 4 from its caster. This actually works in favour of the human player, whose computer-controlled opponents do not know that the spell has no effect, and waste their on Mana on casting and maintaining it.
Bogus Effects Edit
Due to the extremely-bugged nature of this spell, it is not possible to discuss its effects without explaining how they are malfunctioning. This section explains what the spell's effects should have been (they are not).
Both the game's manual and the in-game tooltip text for this spell describe a rather straightforward effect:
By tallying the values above, we can deduce that casting this spell on a town containing all 4 buildings would cause it to lose -10 off its Power production. As a result, the town's controlling wizard receives -10. Depending on the wizard's Power distribution choices, this could translate into loss of Mana production, slower Research speed, and/or slower Spell Skill increase.
With more and more Evil Presence spells targeted at various towns belonging to said wizard, he/she would gradually begin to stagnate in their progress towards becoming a mightier wizard - giving an advantage to all his/her enemies (whose magic properties keep steadily increasing in the meanwhile).
At least, that would've been the case if Evil Presence worked at all.
Actual Effects Edit
When Evil Presence is cast on a targeted town, the only effects it has are visual. For one, there will be special icons appearing on the town view to show that the spell is in effect, as well as its name appearing properly in the town's "Enchantments" field.
Furthermore, if you click on the row of Power icons visible in the town details screen, the resulting breakdown of Power generating will show Evil Presence there! However, it will actually state that Evil Presence is having the opposite effect to what it's supposed to do; it is shown generating an extra amount of Power, equal to the amount being generated by the religious buildings listed above.
But in truth none of this has any relevance, because testing reveals that Evil Presence has absolutely no impact on Power production in the enchanted town whatsoever. It does not nullify the Power production of any buildings, nor does it generate extra Power. It is in fact doing nothing.
This can easily be observed by checking the player's own Power income when Evil Presence is cast on one of his cities. The income does not change when the spell is cast, and does not change when the spell is removed. The same holds true for enemy wizard power production, as gleaned from the save-game data.
Usage EditEvil Presence may only be cast on the overland map, for a basic Casting Cost of 100. It may be targeted at any enemy Town which does not already have a Evil Presence spell effecting it.
When the spell is cast, the game automatically opens a town-information window showing the contents of the target town. A few moments later, assuming the town has any religious buildings whatsoever, the image of a glowing-eyed demon silhouette will appear over each of them (except for the Cathedral, due to what is apparently another bug in this already-buggy spell). This indicates that the town is under the influence of this spell. The silhouettes will remain visible in the town's information screen as long as the spell remains in effect - and as long as the town still contains any religious buildings.
Evil Presence requires an Upkeep Cost of 4 to be paid at the start of each and every turn. This is drawn automatically from the caster's Mana pool. If there is insufficient Mana in the pool, the spell will dissipate automatically.
If you've placed Evil Presence on a town, you may remove it by examining the town's details and clicking the text reading "Evil Presence" in the town's Enchantments list. Since there is no real reason to cast the spell in the first place, if you have cast it by mistake it is imperative to remove it as soon as possible, to avoid wasting any further Mana on its Upkeep Costs.
As a Rare Death spell, Evil Presence may become available to any Wizard who possesses at least 2 Spellbooks. However, its availability during the game is not guaranteed unless the Wizard acquires at least 10 Spellbooks.
Customized Wizards possessing 11 Spellbooks at creation time may choose this spell as one of their default spells before starting the game, in which case the spell will already be researched and available for casting immediately on the first turn.
Wizards with 2 to 9 Spellbooks have a random chance of being able to Research Evil Presence during the game. The chance for this spell to appear for research increases with the number of Death Spellbooks the Wizard possesses or obtains during gameplay. With 10 or 11 Spellbooks, the spell is guaranteed to appear for Research at some point, if it is not already available for casting.
Evil Presence has a base Research Cost of 1,040.
With at least 2 Spellbooks, the Evil Presence spell may be acquired as a reward for winning encounters in creature Lairs, Towers, et cetera, or when conquering the Fortress of a rival wizard who has already researched this spell.
Casting Evil Presence is a complete waste of time and Mana, since the spell has no effect whatsoever. It will drain your own resources (through its Upkeep Costs), but provide no advantage in any way.
Some players have pointed out that enemy wizards will occasionally waste time and Mana attempting to dispel Evil Presence from their towns, since they do not realize that it is not doing any harm to them. This is probably not a good-enough reason to cast Evil Presence on anybody however.
Note that if an opponent casts Evil Presence on one of your towns, you can safely ignore it. The spell will suck 4 out of the Mana Pool of its caster each turn, so it is actually better to let the spell stay - it drains resources from its caster, who is your rival, but not from you!