TerrainSpecial Keep An Abandoned Keep (or just "Keep") is a type of Encounter zone.

Abandoned Keeps are among the easier Encounters (relatively speaking). They are guarded by Icon Nature.pngNature Fantastic Creatures. Depending on the location of a Abandoned Keep (i.e. on Arcanus or Myrror), it may contain anything up to and including Great Wyrms. Some Abandoned Keeps are empty (containing no monsters).

The rewards for defeating a Abandoned Keep's garrison are random, and vary based on the strength of the creatures found within. They range from nothing all the way up to new Spellbooks and Retorts. If the randomly-selected treasure is one or more Spellbooks, the book will be a book of Icon Death.pngDeath (cannot get if you already have Icon Life.pngLife).

Unconquered Abandoned Keeps may occasionally spawn new Rampaging Monster groups, consisting of Icon Nature.pngNature Fantastic Creatures, whose strength increases as the game matures. These will head straight for any nearby town controlled by one of the Wizards. On higher difficulty levels, they will head straight for the human player's towns.

Description Edit

A Abandoned Keep is the domicile of a Icon Nature.pngNature Fantastic Creature and possibly additional creatures allied with it. These creatures defend their homes ferociously.

As with other basic Encounter zones, the Abandoned Keep can appear on almost any type of land terrain (excluding Rivers, River Mouths, Tundras and Volcanoes).

The Encounter Zone Edit

Encounter Keep Dialog

As long as a Abandoned Keep appears on the map, it designates an Encounter zone. It may contain up to 9 different Fantastic Units of the Icon Nature.pngNature realm, chosen semi-randomly from all possible Icon Nature.pngNature creatures.

Normal/Weak Abandoned Keeps Edit

Each Abandoned Keep is discreetly assigned a relative toughness out of two choices: it is either "Weak" or "Normal". Weak Abandoned Keeps are more common (on either Plane).

This choice is made randomly at the start of the game, and will determine the relative strength of the Abandoned Keep's defenders, as well as the value of the reward for defeating these defenders.


When initially created at the start of the game, a Abandoned Keep will usually contain Fantastic Creatures that defend it, and any Treasure stashed inside. To figure out exactly what creatures the Abandoned Keep 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 Abandoned Keep is: Arcanus: 10-100 if Weak, 100-1,500 if Normal, Myrror: 10-200 if Weak, 200-2,500 if Normal. This is then adjusted for the campaign's Difficulty setting:

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

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 Abandoned Keep, the possibilities are as follows:

Realm Possible Defenders
Icon Chaos.png% 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% 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% Unit Unit Icon GuardianSpirit Transparent Unit Icon Unicorns Transparent Unit Icon Angel Transparent Unit Icon Archangel Transparent
Cost 50 250 550 950
Icon Nature.png100% 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% 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

If the mana budget is insufficient for any creature in the chosen Realm, the Abandoned Keep 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 Abandoned Keep.

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 Abandoned Keep. 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).

Multiple BattlesEdit

In the wake of a battle, the original defending units are never replenished. If, during an assault on a Abandoned Keep, 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 Ability Regeneration Regeneration ability. This means that it is possible to "whittle down" a Abandoned Keep'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 Icon Figure.png 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 Icon Fame.png Fame for the Wizard, and is certain to generate less Icon Experience.png 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 Abandoned Keep, the better.

Nevertheless, any strong Abandoned Keep whose defenses can be whittled-down perhaps should be whittled-down. In particular, Icon Fame.png Fame is only granted for defeating Very Rare creatures or 4+ defenders, so a Abandoned Keep guarded 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 conquering a Abandoned Keep 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.

Treasure Types Distribution Qualify Spend Max
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 Icon Gold.png Pieces 2 in 15 50 200
10 - 200 Icon Mana.png 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 Abandoned Keep 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 Abandoned Keep'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 Abandoned Keep. 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 Abandoned Keeps might only be able to afford a small pile of Icon Gold.png Gold or Icon Mana.png Mana Crystals, and nothing else. Due to the probability distribution, Abandoned Keeps whose budget endowments allow a Magical Item or Spell are more likely to contain these instead. Both multiple Magical Items; and multiple piles of Icon Gold.png Gold and/or Icon Mana.png 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 Abandoned Keep. 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 Abandoned Keep. 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 Ability Noble 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.

Specials Edit

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 Abandoned Keep will be Icon Death.pngDeath (cannot get if you already have Icon Life.pngLife).

A Wizard cannot possess more than 13 Spellbooks and 6 Retorts; if this occurs, any special reward will instead be replaced by a Magical Item with a maximum value of 1,200.

Rampaging MonstersEdit

Main article: Rampaging Monster

Any Abandoned Keep 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.

Defeating a Abandoned Keep Edit

When a Abandoned Keep has been defeated, it is removed from the map.

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