A Monster Lair (or just "Lair") is a type of Encounter zone.
Monster Lairs are among the easier Encounters (relatively speaking). They are guarded by Nature Fantastic Creatures. Depending on the location of a Monster Lair (i.e. on Arcanus or Myrror), it may contain anything up to and including Great Wyrms. Some Monster Lairs are empty (containing no monsters).
The rewards for defeating a Monster Lair'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 a random type (cannot get Life if you already have Death, or vice versa).
Unconquered Monster Lairs may occasionally spawn new Rampaging Monster groups, consisting of Nature 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.
A Monster Lair is the domicile of a Nature Fantastic Creature and possibly additional creatures allied with it. These creatures defend their homes ferociously. The Monster Lair appears on the map as a brown dome with a hole in its side. They appear identical to Mysterious Caves, and behave identically in every way. If you wish to know whether a brown dome represents a Monster Lair or a Mysterious Cave, use the surveyor tool. As with other basic Encounter zones, the Monster Lair can appear on almost any type of land terrain (excluding Rivers, River Mouths, Tundras and Volcanoes).
The Encounter Zone Edit
As long as a Monster Lair appears on the map, it designates an Encounter zone. It may contain up to 9 different Fantastic Units of the Nature realm, chosen semi-randomly from all possible Nature creatures.
Normal/Weak Monster Lairs Edit
Each Monster Lair is discreetly assigned a relative toughness out of two choices: it is either "Weak" or "Normal". Weak Monster Lairs 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 Monster Lair's defenders, as well as the value of the reward for defeating these defenders.
When initially created on the map, a Monster Lair will contain Fantastic Creatures that defend the Monster Lair. To determine exactly what creatures the Monster Lair contains, the game goes through the following procedure:
Determine Realm and Possible DefendersEdit
First, the game needs to determine the magical Realm from which defenders will come. This will determine what monsters are available to fill the encounter. For a Monster Lair, the possibilities are as follows:
Determine Mana BudgetEdit
Next, the game determines the basic mana budget; for a Monster Lair this is: Arcanus: 10-100 if Weak, 100-1,500 if Normal, Myrror: 10-200 if Weak, 200-2,500 if Normal. Note that this basic value is what is used for rewards. Then, the game adjusts for difficulty; this is the value used to generate monsters.
Determine the First Monster TypeEdit
If the mana budget is insufficient for any creature in the chosen Realm, the Monster Lair has no defenders and is defeated the first time any unit attempts to enter its square. Otherwise, the game divides the base budget by an integer in the range of 1-4, and selects the most expensive monster which costs no more than this value, or the first monster if no monsters qualify. This will be the monster your scouts will see when you visit but do not enter a Monster Lair.
Next, the game divides the budget by the cost of the chosen creature, rounding down, to determine how many of those creatures will actually be in the Monster Lair; this will never be more than 8. If this is more than 1, there is a 50% chance that it will be reduced by 1.
Determine the Second Monster TypeEdit
Subtract (number of first monster) * (cost of first monster) from the budget to determine the remaining budget. If this is insufficient for any creature in the chosen Realm other than the first monster, there is no second monster. Otherwise, the game divides the remaining budget by a random integer in the range 1 to (10 - number of first monster) and selects the most expensive monster, other than the first monster, which costs no more than this value. The number of the second monster will be equal to (remaining budget) / (monster cost), with a maximum of 9 - (number of first monster).
In the wake of a battle, the original units defending the node are never replenished. If, during an assault on a Monster Lair, 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" the node's defenders with several subsequent battles, rather than trying to kill all of them at the same time.
Note several caveats to this:
- All of the defenders who were not completely destroyed are fully healed at the end of the 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 - you must completely kill a unit in order 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. Only go in for partial engagements if you can wait out 50 turns, magically recall your forces, or afford to lose the fleeing units.
- Killing the defenders in piece-meal fashion is likely to generate less Fame for the Wizard, and certain to generate less Experience for Normal Units and Heroes present in the battle(s), when the invasion finally succeeds and all defenders are subdued. Experience and fame are not awarded after retreats or defeats. Only the enemies present in the final engagement will contribute to these rewards. The fewer battles it takes to clear a Monster Lair , the better.
Nevertheless, any strong Monster Lair whose defenses can be whittled-down perhaps should be whittled-down. In particular, Fame is only granted by Very Rare creatures or defeating 4+ defenders, so a Monster Lair defended 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 taking a Monster Lair rise proportionally; the stronger the creatures guarding it, the better the treasure; supreme rewards such as new Spellbooks or Retorts are only found behind the strongest defenders.
|Magical Item||5 in 15||300||400-3000||3|
|Spell (Roll 1d4)||3 in 15||1|
|* Common Spell||(25%)||50||50|
|* Uncommon Spell||(25%)||200||200|
|* Rare Spell||(25%)||450||450|
|* Very Rare Spell||(25%)||800||800|
|10 - 200 Gold Pieces||2 in 15||50||200|
|10 - 200 Mana Crystals||2 in 15||50||200|
|Special||2 in 15||1000||3000||2|
|Prisoner||1 in 15||400||1000||1|
When the game begins, the program assigns each Monster Lair a treasure budget of either 50-125% (Arcanus) or 75-175% (Myrror) of the base budget (before adjustment for difficulty) used to generate monsters; this is increased by 25% if playing at Impossible, and has a minimum of 50. It then rolls imaginary 15-sided dice to select the basic types of loot found in the Monster Lair's hoard (see chart). If the remaining treasure budget is less than Qualify or the maximum number of that treasure has already been created, it rerolls; otherwise, it subtracts the cost of the treasure from the budget and rolls again. If a Special is generated, all other rewards are discarded and the process ends. The program only determines particulars about the treasure when a Wizard successfully conquers the Monster Lair. If you reload the session and fight the Encounter repeatedly, you will obtain the same basic types of loot every time, but the exact spells, items, and specials will vary.
General Notes Edit
The weakest Monster Lairs might only be able to afford a small pile of Gold or Mana Crystals. Due to the probability distribution, Monster Lairs whose budget endowments allow a Magical Item or Spell are more likely to contain these instead. Multiple Magical Items and multiple piles of Gold and Mana Crystals can appear in some hoards. Only one Spell may appear at a time, but the 1d4 rolls from multiple Spell results are added together to determine Rarity (maximum 4).
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 Monster Lair. 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 Monster Lair. This individual will be one of the 25 non-champion Heroes in the game, drawn at random from those who are not already in your service or defeated. These captive V.I.P.s will offer to join you at no charge out of gratitude for being rescued. Beware: if your army stack is 9 units deep, or you control 6 heroes, "Absolutely Nothing" will appear in the Prisoner's place.
When a special is generated, there is a 74% chance that it is a Spellbook, 26% 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 cost both specials; Myrran cannot appear, all other prerequisites are ignored. Spellbooks for a Monster Lair will be a random type (cannot get Life if you already have Death, or vice versa).
- Main article: Rampaging Monster
Any Monster Lair 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.
Defeating a Monster Lair Edit
When a Monster Lair has been defeated, it is removed from the map.