Item Power
ItemPower Wand Chaos
Cost Icon Mana.png 800
Icon Book ChaosIcon Book ChaosIcon Book ChaosIcon Book ChaosIcon Book Chaos
Weapon Armor Piercing

"Lightning" is an Item Power associated with the Icon Chaos.pngChaos Realm. It may be added to Magical Weapons created for Heroes via Create Artifact, and makes any attack delivered by this weapon Armor Piercing. Some of the 250 premade Items possess this power, and these can be found mainly as Treasure during the campaign.

Effect Edit

A weapon enchanted with the power of "Lightning" produces an aura of surging electrochemical potential. The weapon discharges violently against any dense, mineral-rich armor plating and renders the target vulnerable.

"Lightning" causes the type of attack for which the host weapon is designed to deliver Armor Piercing Damage. These attack types are, respectively:

  • Bow: Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attack
  • Staff, Wand: Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attack
  • Mace, Sword: Icon Melee Normal.png Melee
  • Axe: Icon Melee Normal.png Melee and Icon Thrown.png Thrown Attack (if applicable)

Ability ArmorPiercing
AP Damage is an ability modifier to a unit's attack. Its purpose is to halve the enemy's Defense score, rounding it down, late in the defense computation routine. Certain immunities will override this penalty; see Defense for details. Units with the innate armor-piercing Ability have the big, gold armor-piercing icon (pictured) in their query screen and deliver general AP Damage with any sort of attack they make; whereas, this item power only applies to weapon-appropriate attacks as listed above.

Hero Gunthar
First example: Gunther the Barbarian is a melee-focused hero who can equip magic Axes, Maces, and Swords. He has a Icon Thrown.png Thrown Attack ability like others of the Barbarian race; it fires before melee begins whenever he is voluntarily attacking. An "Axe of Lightning" will cause both his melee and thrown attacks to deal AP Damage. Whereas, a Sword or Mace of Lightning will only affect the melee attack.

Second example: Yramrag's Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attack looks like the lightning bolt pictured on the right, but is entirely conventional Magical Damage which, like the majority of ranged magic attacks, is a physical attack that happens to have an (undocumented) alignment with the Chaos Realm. When he is equipped with a Lightning Wand or Staff, however, any ranged magical attacks he makes will then do AP Damage. The AP Damage will halve his targets' defense, including that granted by certain buffs like Elemental Armor and Bless which trigger against Chaos. His melee attacks will continue to be normal, as these are not fortified by any properties on a wand or staff.

"Lightning" rounds the victim's defense score down in fractional calculations; i.e., Icon Defense.png 3 goes down to Icon Defense.png 1. In the case of ranged attacks, it does not halve the Icon Defense.png 50 granted by Magic Immunity or Missile Immunity. Trivially, "Lightning" does not function against Weapon Immunity, either, since heroes' attacks automatically negate that ability.

As in the example given above, some magical discharges fired off by heroes in combat might look like an element, such as a flying fireball or icy shard resembling those produced by a Wizard's Fire Bolt or Ice Bolt spells. They are nevertheless generic "Magical Damage" and will only be blocked by Magic Immunity— not Fire or Cold Immunity. Again, a lightning wand or staff will assist augment these attacks with Armor-Piercing as described.

Strategy Edit

"Lightning" is one of several item powers which enable a hero to pierce through an enemy's defenses, and while it is by no means cheap, it is somewhat easier to qualify for and far less expensive than its closest relatives, Chaos and Phantasmal. These three properties have a tendency to overlap one another's effects completely, so it is not necessary in practice to select more than one of them when creating an artifact.

Halving an enemy's Icon Defense.png Defense score obviously scales up in effect with the magnitude of that score. The tougher the enemy, the more valuable this effect. As such, "Lightning" is an item power tailored towards survival and victory in fights where the hero's life is in the balance, rather than enabling him to simply crush inferior units even harder than usual.

"Lightning" is most useful in two circumstances. First, when the hero is engaging a heavily-armored Icon SingleFigureUnit.png Single-Figure unit— like a Great Wyrm with its defense of Icon Defense.png 14 in Nature Nodes. Second, when the hero is engaging a Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figured unit that will make successive Icon Defense.png Defense rolls as he kills off figures in the unit— like with a Hydra, where each of the creature's heads bears up Icon Defense.png 6 in Chaos Node combat.

"Lightning" is decidedly unhelpful when there's no armor to pierce. Enemies with a mountain of health and negligible defenses, such as a Phantom Beast, require a different approach.

Acquisition Edit

The three heroes below deliver Armor Piercing attacks by default and get no benefit from a "Lightning" weapon. That these are top-tier champions should nevertheless give some indication of the desirability of an Armor Piercing attack.

Since Illusion Damage supersedes AP Damage, Aerie the Illusionist will only get the benefit of this item power against targets that are immune to her illusions.

All other heroes will gain the full benefit, dealing AP Damage in attacks made with the lightning-enchanted weapon.

Create Artifact Edit

Main article: Item Crafting

With Icon Chaos.png5, "Lightning" may be added to a weapon of your own design through Icon Arcane.pngCreate Artifact. Making strong Items through this spell is an incredibly expensive and time-consuming process. Its cost is reduced by the Artificer and Runemaster Retorts. Artificers with the requisite spellbooks have this item power available at game start.

Casting Cost Structure for "Lightning"
Base Runemaster Artificer Both
Icon Mana.png 800 Icon Mana.png 600 Icon Mana.png 400 Icon Mana.png 200

Overland Edit

Main article: Magical Items in Treasure

The game data files contain 250 pre-defined Items. Of these, eleven possess the "Lightning" power. This power causes a prefab item to variably demand that the Wizard have particular Spellbooks in order to appear in a Treasure hoard, and the requirements are irregular. Oddly, the wizard needs to have a strong line of Life spellbooks to find most prefab "Lightning" items in loot.

There are three different ways by which you can acquire one of these pre-defined items:

It is often better to acquire items in these ways, as it means you do not need to spend any time or Icon Mana.png Mana to create them. Still, the items thus found are in no way guaranteed to exactly suit your needs.

The table below lists the pre-defined Items with this power.

Premade Items with "Lightning"
Icon Mana.png Item Attributes Realm Powers Required Ranks
1200 Item Sword 1 Mae Govannon Icon Melee Magic.png 1 Icon Defense.png 1 Icon Mana.png 5 Lightning

Icon Life.png5
1450 Item Wand 1 White Lightning Icon Melee Magic.png 1 Icon Mana.png 5 Icon SpellSave.png -2 Lightning

Icon Life.png5
1600 Item Mace 11 Storm Mace Icon Melee Magic.png 3 Icon Mana.png 5 Lightning
Icon Life.png5
2200 Item Mace 9 White Lightning Icon ToHit.png 3 Icon Defense.png 2 Lightning

Icon Chaos.png5
2350 Item Sword 4 Sting Icon Melee Magic.png 3 Icon ToHit.png 3 Icon Defense.png 1 Lightning

Icon Life.png5
2700 Item Bow 4 Silver Shortbow Icon Melee Magic.png 5 Icon ToHit.png 3 Icon Defense.png 1 Lightning

Icon Life.png5
3100 Item Staff 3 Staff of Pain Icon Melee Magic.png 6 Icon ToHit.png 3 Lightning

Icon Chaos.png5
2950 Item Mace 4 Thors Hammer Icon Melee Magic.png 4 Icon ToHit.png 3 Lightning
Holy Avenger
Icon Chaos.png5 Icon Life.png3
1900 Item Bow 1 The Devils Instrument Icon Defense.png 2 Icon Mana.png 5 Lightning
Magic Immunity
Icon Chaos.png5 Icon Life.png5
Merchant Only
Icon Mana.png Item Attributes Realm Powers Required Ranks
3700 Item Sword 8 Sword of Pendulum Vampiric
Power Drain
Icon Nature.png5 Icon Sorcery.png5 Icon Chaos.png4 Icon Life.png6
5200 Item Sword 1 Blade of Blood Vampiric
Icon Nature.png5 Icon Sorcery.png5 Icon Chaos.png6 Icon Life.png7

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