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 at the start of the game, a Monster Lair will usually contain Fantastic Creatures that defend it, and any Treasure stashed inside. To figure out exactly what creatures the Monster Lair 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 Monster Lair 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:
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 Monster Lair, the possibilities are as follows:
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 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 Monster Lair.
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 Monster Lair. 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).
In the wake of a battle, the original defending units 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" a Monster Lair'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 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 Fame for the Wizard, and is certain to generate less 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 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 for defeating Very Rare creatures or 4+ defenders, so a Monster Lair guarded 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 conquering a Monster Lair 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.
|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 Pieces||2 in 15||50||200|
|10 - 200 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 Monster Lair 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 Monster Lair'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 Monster Lair. 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 Monster Lairs might only be able to afford a small pile of Gold or Mana Crystals, and nothing else. Due to the probability distribution, Monster Lairs whose budget endowments allow a Magical Item or Spell are more likely to contain these instead. Both multiple Magical Items; and multiple piles of Gold and/or 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 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 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 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.
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 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.