In Master of Magic, a Fantastic Unit is one of the three primary unit categories. A Fantastic Unit (sometimes referred to as "Fantastic Creature(s)") is a unit that has been summoned, created, or transformed by magic. This sets it apart from Normal Units, which are produced or recruited by purely mundane means, and Heroes, which are significantly different in mechanical terms.
The game contains 44 different types of Fantastic Units, most of which belong to the Nature, Chaos and Death realms. Although there are plenty of Multi-Figure Fantastic Units, most are Single-Figure Units - and among those are some of the strongest units in the entire game. The strongest Fantastic Units are hard to match in sheer strength, and may even pose a strong danger to high-level enemy Champions. Even low-tier Fantastic Units can be very powerful compared to most Normal Units.
Fantastic Units obey certain rules that strongly distinguish them from other units. Most of the time, a Fantastic Unit is created as a direct result of casting a Summoning Spell. Each Fantastic Unit is associated with a specific Magical Realm, which can have plenty of implications for that unit. Fantastic Units almost always require an Upkeep Cost to be paid in Mana each turn for their continued existence.
Fantastic Units also make up the entirety of garrisons inside Encounter Zones, and such armies can be exceedingly dangerous. These zones may occassionally spew forth a Rampaging Monster army to try and damage nearby empires - and they can be very difficult to stop.
Concept Overview Edit
While the cities and towns of Arcanus and Myrror may produce armies based on individuals recruited from local populations and wildlife, wizards will often use their magic to bolster their armies by pulling creatures out of the Magical Realms into the primary planes. Though much magic may be required to do so (as well as to keep the creature bound to the primary plane), armies bolstered or completely constructed of such creatures can have far superior effectiveness to armies relying on mundane recruits.
Therefore, the more power a wizard has, and the more understanding of the workings and fauna of the external realms, the more potential that wizard has for summoning and binding these powerful creatures. Some wizards may create entire armies built from such "outsider" creatures, while others prefer to focus their magic differently - but Fantastic Units are nonetheless a common sight. In fact, many such creatures can be found in locales that are heavily-influenced by magic (such as Nodes and other encounter zones), and they may even sally forth to raid and destroy settlements on Arcanus and Myrror.
Though some Fantastic Units are fairly common and not quite-so-powerful, there are some creatures whose might is renowned and feared throughout the land. Certain wizards would be willing to spend many resources and a lot of energy to acquire the service of even a single one of these. They are formidable foes, that can annihilate entire armies with little care. However, the magic binding these creatures to the primary planes can be severed in different ways - a weak point that certain wizards have learned to exploit. Furthermore, due to the strong association between a Fantastic Creature and its home plane, certain types of magic may almost be specifically tailored to weakening or getting rid of it.
Rules Regarding Fantastic UnitsEdit
For starters, the method of creating new Fantastic Units is quite different, often requiring the casting of a Summoning Spell. Some Fantastic Units are created in other ways, but they can never be recruited in towns like Normal Units are.
Furthermore, Fantastic Units come from the outer planes, which makes them a little "disconnected" from the planes of Arcanus and Myrror. This means that some kinds of magic are particularly potent against Fantastic Units, and some spells cannot harm such units at all.
Finally, the game has certain rules that apply only to Fantastic Units, as well as rules that do not apply to them at all.
All of these special differences are explained in the sections below.
Unit Creation Edit
Fantastic Units are inherently different from all other units in the way they are created. Fantastic Units cannot be created in a town by investing Production, nor can they be hired as Mercenaries. The only way to acquire a new Fantastic Unit is through the use of some kind of magic. Nonetheless, the creation of different Fantastic Units may require different kinds of magic.
The vast majority of Fantastic Units are created with the use of "Overland" Summoning Spells. There are 38 such spells in the game, most of which belong to the Nature, Chaos and Death realms (though the Sorcery and Life realms possess a few of these as well), and each spell will create one Fantastic Unit of a specific type. The new unit is created at the town currently containing the wizard's Summoning Circle, by default the starting Fortress town.
An additional 6 spells, called "Combat" Summoning Spells, perform the same function but work only during combat. Each of these spells will create a single Fantastic Unit right on the battlefield, under the caster's control. That unit lasts only until the end of the current battle, or until it is destroyed in some way - whichever comes first.
There are also two types of Fantastic Units from the Death Realm that cannot be summoned like the others. Instead they are created with special magic spells that work differently from Summoning Spells. These are the Zombies, which are created through the Zombie Mastery spell; and the Werewolves, which are created by casting the Lycanthropy spell on an existing Normal Unit.
- It is also possible to turn a Normal Unit into a borderline Fantastic Unit, using a variety of different methods. In all three cases, the unit retains its original attributes, but gains some of the benefits (and some of the disadvantages) associated with being a Fantastic Unit.
- First among these is the Chaos Channels spell. This spell turns a Normal Unit into a borderline Fantastic Unit belonging to the Chaos Realm, and bestows a nice bonus to its abilities as well. The Doom Mastery spell performs the same function, except it is a continuous Global Enchantment that will turn every new Normal Unit its caster produces into a borderline Fantastic Unit.
- The Black Channels spell performs a similar function, except it associates the unit with the Death Realm and makes it Undead, with plenty of interesting implications - including a variety of immunities and an extra bonus that lasts as long as Black Channels remains in effect.
- There is also a significant array of other methods to turn a Normal Unit into an Undead unit. Most of these methods involve killing a unit in combat and raising it from the dead, such as through Life Stealing Damage.
- In all these cases, however, the resulting unit can only be partially considered a Fantastic Unit. It now obeys some of the rules outlined in this article, but also obeys some other rules that pertain only to Normal Units. It is important not to confuse these units with actual Fantastic Units, but studying both the similarities and differences can be important.
- There is also one unit that can be considered as being borderline between a Fantastic Unit and a Hero. This is Torin the Chosen, a unique Champion.
- Unlike other Heroes, Torin can only be acquired by casting a Summoning Spell - specifically the Incarnation spell. Furthermore, Torin is directly associated with the Life Realm, requires his Upkeep Cost to be paid in Mana, and is vulnerable to certain spells that only target Fantastic Units. He is therefore very similar to all other Fantastic Units from the Life Realm in these regards.
- On the other hand, Torin is obviously also a Hero, and obeys pretty much all of the rules that only Heroes obey. He can wear Magical Items, gain Experience, and possesses Hero Abilities - none of these apply to any other Fantastic Unit. Therefore, Torin can be said to be both a Fantastic Unit and a Hero at the same time, despite these being two completely separate groups.
Fantastic Unit Upkeep Edit
Like Normal Units and Heroes, Fantastic Units also require an Upkeep Cost in order to stay in the game. This cost must be paid at the start of each overland turn, and failure to pay the cost for any unit will cause that unit to disappear immediately as though it was destroyed.
However, Fantastic Units differ from all other units in that their Upkeep Costs must be paid in Mana, rather than Food and/or Gold. This means that a wizard must increase his/her Mana reserves and income in order to sustain a growing number of Fantastic Units.
The Conjurer and Channeler Retorts are extremely potent in reducing these Mana-based Upkeep Costs. Conjurer reduces all of them by 25%, while Channeler reduces them by a whopping 50%. These bonuses also stack, meaning that a wizard with both Retorts will have virtually free Fantastic Units (in terms of Upkeep Costs, at least), and can maintain vast armies comprised solely of such creatures.
Spells Affecting Only Fantastic Units Edit
Due to the special nature of Fantastic Units, who are not indigenous to the primary Planes, some forms of magic are specifically geared towards attacking the fragile connection holding these creatures in the observable world. Only few such spells exist, but they can be very potent.
To start off, the Holy Word spell is a powerful Combat Instant that will force each and every Figure inside each and every enemy Fantastic Unit to make an immediate Resistance roll at a serious penalty, or else be destroyed on the spot. Though this spell works on a per-figure basis, it stands a good chance of utterly wiping out entire low-tier Fantastic Units, and the fact that it targets all such units on the battlefield simultaneously makes it very cost-effective. This spell also works against Chaos Channeled units, and is even more potent against the Undead (giving them a massive -7 Resistance penalty).
The Banish spell works in a similar fashion, with some important differences. It is also a Combat Instant, but must be targeted at one specific enemy Fantastic Unit on the battlefield. It forces each Figure in that unit to make a Resistance roll or be destroyed. However, Banish inflicts an even larger Resistance penalty on the targeted unit, which can be increased even further by investing more Mana into the spell. It therefore stands a high chance of success, but can only target a single enemy unit at a time.
The Great Unsummoning spell is an overland Instant Spell that will simultaneously attack all of the bonds keeping all Fantastic Units on the planes on Arcanus and Myrror. It forces each unit to make a single Resistance roll at a small penalty, or be destroyed on the spot. This spell is somewhat dangerous, as it also targets the caster's own units, but stands a chance of utterly destroying a large number of Fantastic Units with a single casting. This is a great spell for Wizards who have few Fantastic Units, or only such units that are highly Resistant and thus unlikely to fail their rolls.
Finally, there is one spell that does not attempt to break a Fantastic Unit's connection to the primary planes, but rather to take control of that connection. That is the Creature Binding spell. This Unit Curse attempts to change the allegiance of a targeted enemy Fantastic Unit, allowing it only a single Resistance roll at a small penalty to avoid being co-opted in this manner. If the spell is successful, the unit changes sides and will remain under its new owner's control until the end of battle (or until Creature Binding can be dispelled by the enemy). If the unit is not destroyed during combat, however, it will be automatically destroyed at the end of combat.
Spells Not Affecting Fantastic Units Edit
There are some spells in the game, particularly beneficial spells, that will have no effect on Fantastic Units whatsoever - whether these spells cannot be targeted at Fantastic Units or simply won't do anything to them.
This is because some spells are intended to affect a unit's weaponry and/or armor, and Fantastic Units do not possess what would be considered normal weapons and armor at all. Furthermore, some spells are specifically targeted at the minds of sentient, rational beings - and Fantastic Units are apparently not considered as being sentient, rational, or at least possessing a "mundane" mind that can be affected in the same manner.
The Unit Enchantments Eldritch Weapon, Flame Blade, Holy Weapon and Holy Armor, all of which target "mundane" weapons and armor, cannot be targeted at a Fantastic Unit. Similarly, spells that are designed to bestow the same bonuses to all friendly units simultaneously, such as the Metal Fires and Holy Arms spells, will not affect Fantastic Units either.
Similarly, neither the Heroism nor Possession spells seem to be able to affect the minds of Fantastic Units. Neither of these spells may be targeted at such a unit.
Finally, transformation spells like Chaos Channels, Doom Mastery and Zombie Mastery cannot affect Fantastic Units. These spells are meant to turn a Normal Units into a borderline Fantastic Unit, associating it with a specific Magical Realm. Since Fantastic Units are already associated with certain realms, these spells can have no effect upon them.
Note however that some of the spells listed above can affect units that have been Chaos Channeled or turned Undead, but only when cast on the overland map. This seems to be a bug (or at least an undocumented feature) that results from the fact that such units are not fully "Fantastic" in game terms, and the game becomes confused as to whether or not they are valid targets.
Other Special RulesEdit
As mentioned earlier, there are certain rules that simply do not apply to Fantastic Units. Below is a list of all such rules known. If anything is missing, please add it.
No Experience Edit
- Standard Fantastic Units do not accumulate Experience Points, and cannot acquire Experience Levels. Therefore, the only bonuses to such units will come from external effects, such as Unit Enchantments and so forth. They will not improve over time on their own.
- The exception to this rule are Semi-Transformed Fantastic Units, such as Chaos Channeled units and the Undead. These units will normally retain the Experience Points (and thereby the Experience Level) they had before being transformed, along with any bonuses granted by that Experience. In some cases, they may even continue to accumulate Experience Points per overland turn, though this seems to be a bug rather than an intended feature.
No Weapon Immunity Triggering Edit
- The Unit Ability called Weapon Immunity protects a unit from damage caused by other units' Melee Attacks.
- This immunity is not triggered by the attacked performed by Fantastic Units of any type. These units are assumed to have a non-standard Melee Attack, similar to that performed by Heroes or units with Magical Weapons, Mithril Weapons, Adamantium Weapons. These attacks deliver regular Melee Damage (not Magical Damage as might be expected), but do not trigger Weapon Immunity.
No Leadership Bonuses Edit
- Fantastic Units do not enjoy benefits from Leadership. This Hero Ability normally grants attack bonuses to units accompanying the Hero into battle, but will only apply to Normal Units and other Heroes.
No Unrest Reduction Edit
- Fantastic Units stationed inside Towns will not contribute to the reduction of Unrest within that town, as other units would.
- Therefore, even Wizards relying solely on Fantastic Unit armies may still have an impetus to recruit Normal Units in order to reduce Unrest within particularly unruly towns.
Neutral Fantastic Units Edit
These units are the garrisons of the various Encounter Zones strewn throughout both planes. Lairs, Towers, Nodes and other such locales are protected by these creatures, who will fight to the death to defend them.
The number and type of units defending each such location are randomized at the very start of the game, based on difficulty parameters and random chance. The final values also determine the rewards given for defeating all of these units; the tougher the creatures guarding a zone, the better the rewards for defeating them. Fantastic Units killed during battle inside an Encounter Zone are never replaced or replenished, though injured units that were not killed are immediately restored to full health when the battle ends - assuming the attacker fled or lost the battle.
In addition to a zone's native guardians, there is a random chance each turn that one of the Encounter Zones on the map will spawn an army of Rampaging Monsters. This army, comprised of a randomized set of Fantastic Units, will head straight for one of the wizard-owned Towns in an attempt to demolish that town. The composition of said army does not have to match the composition of the spawning zone's guardians, but will match their Magical Realm. In higher difficulty levels, the Rampaging Monsters will always head for one of the Human player's towns, and may be comprised of extremely difficult units.