|Spell Type||Town Curse|
|Target enemy Town's Food output is reduced by about 50%, and Unrest is increased by 25%.|
Famine is a Rare Town Curse belonging to the Death Magic realm. For 200 it will cause the food stores in a targeted enemy Town to rot, halving the output of Food from all the town's citizens and buildings. Normally this will cause the town to stagnate, becoming unable to grow, and force most or all citizens to be automatically assigned to Farmer just to feed the population - resulting in greatly-reduced Production. Coupled with other Food-decreasing effect, this can cause a town to shrink over time (negative Population Growth).
To maintain Famine over a town, an Upkeep Cost of 5 must be paid at the start of each turn.
Famine rots away half of the Food stores produced in a targeted enemy town. As a result, the town's population must dedicate itself almost entirely to Farming, produces virtually no surplus to feed its owner's armies, may be unable to construct anything, and may actually decrease in size. Furthermore, Famine increases Unrest by 25%.
Halved Food Production Edit
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For all Races except Halflings, each Farmer normally produces 2, so Famine reduces this to 1 per Farmer. Because each citizen also consumes 1, the primary result is that all citizens in the town are automatically and permanently relegated to Farmer duty by the game just so that the town can keep feeding itself.
This means that the town produces no surplus Food, thus reducing the maximum potential size of its owner's armies (at least, armies comprised of Normal Units, who require Food as part of their Upkeep Costs). Furthermore, because it is not possible to convert Farmers to Workers, the town will yield a very low amount of Production, and thus will take many turns constructing the simplest structures and units.
Some Town Buildings produce extra Food, but not much. Their production is also halved while Famine is in effect. Such structures may still raise Food output enough to enable a few citizens to either produce a little surplus Food, or to become Workers and make some Production, but only the largest towns will enjoy this.
Negative Food Production Edit
Most commonly, Famine will not push a town to starvation. While under Famine a town should be able to produce roughly as much food as it consumes - given that all citizens are automatically converted into Farmers. So while it stops surplus Food yield and any significant Production here, Famine will not actually degrade the town, only stagnate it.
However, it is quite possible to force a town to shrink due to starvation if extra measures are taken to further reduce its Food output or Population Growth. This mostly involves the use of other spells to affect the town or its environs.
The most suitable spells for this are all in the Chaos realm. Corruption, Raise Volcano, Great Wasting and Armageddon are good for destroying the area around a town so that Maximum Population (and vicariously Food production) is lowered, resulting in negative Population Growth. Call the Void is similarly useful, though it can destroy half the town's population by itself anyway, rendering Famine slightly moot (perhaps useful for keeping the town from growing back).
Destroying religious buildings, in particular, will raise the town's Unrest levels. The Rebels this creates may cause food output to drop sufficiently in order to create a food shortage. Removal of Food-producing structures, like the Granary, can cause similar effects.
Halfling Towns Edit
Casting Famine on a halfling town does not cause it to stagnate as it does to other towns. While Food production certainly does drop, Halfling Farmers normally produce must more Food than other Farmers, and so can take the "hit" to their production without the city becoming completely preoccupied with making enough food to survive.
Halfling Farmers normally produce 3 each. With Famine, they produce 1.5 each. Each halfling citizen still consumes 1 like any other race, but this means that for every 2 Halfling Farmers it's still possible to maintain 1 extra citizen - who can be assigned to Farming or Working duties.
Usage EditFamine may only be cast on the overland map, for the base Casting Cost of 200. It must be targeted at an enemy town that does not already have a Famine spell affecting it.
Upon casting the spell, the game automatically opens the target town's details panel. A few moments later, the land beneath the town will turn pale brown, indicating that it is now under the effect of this Town Curse.
The effects of Famine are applied immediately on the start of the town's owner's next turn, and will continue to apply while the spell exists. Famine cast on the player's town will show a visible change in the amount of Food produced in the town. It is not possible to see the actual effect on enemy towns, but the overall affect on the enemy's economy is noticeable in the long run - assuming the curse is not dispelled.
At the start of each turn, the casting wizard must pay an Upkeep Cost of 5 to keep Famine active. Failure to pay this cost due to lack of available Mana will cause the spell to dissipate immediately.
If you've placed Famine on a town, you may remove it by examining the town's details and clicking the text reading "Famine" in the town's Enchantments list. The primary reason to do this would be in order to remove the spell's Upkeep Cost, thus conserving Mana for other spells.
As a Rare Death spell, Famine 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 Famine 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.
Famine has a base Research Cost of 1,600.
With at least 2 Spellbooks, the Famine 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.
Famine is an economic-attack spell whose effects can be difficult to discern. What it usually does is to cause a targeted town to stagnate, rather than causing any actual damage to it. The town's citizenry will all become devoted to Farming, and will yield few or no benefits to its controlling wizard. Famine can stop a town from providing surplus Food for the enemy's empire, or it can stop a production center from creating any more Normal Units (or at least, slow production down considerably).
The effect itself is hard to discern, especially because the game offers no tools to examine enemy town statistics in detail. However, the economic damage done to the enemy should be noticeable overtime - particularly a drop in the size of the enemy's Normal Unit quantities as he becomes unable to feed and/or produce them.
Famine should be cast on the largest enemy towns first. The larger the town, the more potential damage this spell can cause to the enemy economy. Also, casting this spell on most or all enemy towns can bring a rival empire to a standstill in terms of production and army size. This is a great advantage that should be capitalized upon as soon as possible.