- This article pertains specifically to the Nature Node, and explains only how it is different from other Nodes. For information about how Nodes work in general, see Node.
A Nature Node is a type of Terrain Special, and one of 3 different types of Nodes in the game. It is a superior type of Terrain Special, acting simultaneously as a Power source, an Encounter Zone, and a special terrain type.
Initially, Nature Nodes are guarded by a contingent of Nature Fantastic Units. Once these have been removed, any Wizard may send a Magic Spirit or Guardian Spirit to Meld with the Node, thus acquiring a constant input of Power based on the Node's coverage area. A Nature Node on the Plane of Myrror (which can have a 10 - 20 tile zone of influence) produces more Power than one located on Arcanus (that can cover between 5 - 10 tiles), but is usually also protected by much more powerful Nature creatures.
Typically, several Nature Nodes are placed randomly around the map at the start of the game, and cannot be removed or added. The terrain under a Nature Node is always changed into a special type of Forest tile, which in many ways acts as if it contained Wild Game in terms of its benefits to nearby Towns.
The presence of the Nature Node itself causes oddities in the magical field. It is much harder to successfully cast non-Nature spells during combat at a Nature Node. Also, the output of Nature Magic from the Node boosts the abilities of all Nature Fantastic Units during any battle within the Node's area of influence.
Nature Nodes react to several types of "Conjunction" Events. During a Nature Conjunction, the Node produces twice as much Power as normal. During other Conjunctions, it may produce half, or no Power at all.
This seepage of energy causes a glowing Forest to grow around the Node itself. Also, creatures from the Nature Realm may cross through from their native Plane into the material Planes, and will aggressively protect the Node against anyone who dares approach it.
On the overland map, Nature Nodes appear as a mass of glowing green trees. They are fairly easy to spot on the dank landscape of Myrror, but blend somewhat into the green terrain of Arcanus.
Distribution and Terrain Edit
The game will randomly generate Nature Nodes on the map when creating the world for a new campaign. The number of Nature Nodes appearing on any map and the locations of these Nodes are both random. It is thus possible to get a map with very few Nature Nodes on either Plane. While it is also theoretically possible to have no Nature Node on one of the Planes, the probability of this is extremely low in game versions v1.1+ (the general article on Nodes explores Node generation in more detail).
The terrain underneath a Nature Node is shown as a Forest when examined using the Surveyor (F1) tool - and will also behave as a Forest for the purposes of both determining unit movement speeds through this tile, and enabling Town Buildings with wood resource requirements (i.e. Sawmill and buildings requiring it). However, as explained below, it is more beneficial to nearby Towns than a regular Forest tile.
It is not possible to alter the tile underneath a Nature Node with terrain-altering spells like Change Terrain or Raise Volcano. Building Settlements on top of a Nature Node is also prohibited. It is, however, possible to build a Road or Enchanted Road across the Node.
Terrain Bonuses Edit
On the surface, a Nature Node grants the base attributes of a Forest tile to any Town that has one in its catchment area. Namely, a Production bonus of +3%, a simultaneous boost of +0.5 to the Town's Base Food Level, and the ability to construct a Sawmill. At least these are the numbers that the Surveyor (F1) will show when mousing over the Nature Node.
However, the Surveyor (F1) is actually incorrect in this case with regards to the Food Availability of this tile: in practice, Nature Nodes increase the Base Food Level by 2.5 rather than 0.5, which puts them on par with a Forest containing a Wild Game special. This makes Nature Nodes the second best terrain type in terms of supporting high-population Towns. While tiles bearing a Wild Game enjoy the added benefit of +2 Food output added directly to the Town's (which is not true in the case of the Nature Node), they are also susceptible to Corruption and may even be destroyed completely.
Base Food Level affects both the Town's Maximum Population (and thus also Population Growth), and its Food production efficiency treshold (the point from where Farmers can only harvest half of their normal amount). Unlike Wild Games (before the Unofficial Patch 1.50), the Maximum Population contribution of Nature Nodes does get properly factored in by the Surveyor (F1) when surveying the land for founding new Outposts. This is in direct contrast with the same tool listing the tile's Food bonus itself incorrectly.
Encounter Zone Edit
- Main article: Encounter Zone
When initially created, every Nature Node designates an Encounter Zone. That is, a randomly generated group of neutral creatures defending some sort of Treasure. The value of this Treasure is inexorably tied to the strength of its guardians, i.e. the stronger the monsters, the better their Treasure (on average at least, considering that it is ultimately random). The following sections explain how the game chooses these creatures and the rewards for defeating them.
Each Encounter Zone can contain up to 9 defending units. These are always Fantastic Creatures, and any single Nature Node can feature up to two different types of them. However, they will always be of the same magical Realm (matching that of the Node itself).
The exact types and amounts of the guardians are determined through several steps, the first of which is setting out an "encounter budget", which defines the total possible value of the defending units. For a Nature Node, this is determined randomly using the formulae listed below. "Tiles" represents the size (in tiles) of the Nature Node's area of influence:
|Magic Setting||Budget Formula||Budget Range|
|"Weak" / "0.5"||Arcanus||(Random(11) + 4) × Tiles2 × 0.5||62 - 750|
|Myrror||250 - 3,000|
|"Normal" / "1.0"||Arcanus||(Random(11) + 4) × Tiles2||125 - 1,500|
|Myrror||500 - 6,000|
|"Powerful" / "1.5"||Arcanus||(Random(11) + 4) × Tiles2 × 1.5||187 - 2,250|
|Myrror||750 - 9,000|
|"2.0" (v1.40+ only)||Arcanus||(Random(11) + 4) × Tiles2 × 2||250 - 3,000|
|Myrror||1,000 - 12,000|
|"2.5" (v1.40+ only)||Arcanus||(Random(11) + 4) × Tiles2 × 2.5||312 - 3,750|
|Myrror||1,250 - 15,000|
This base budget is then adjusted for the campaign's Difficulty Setting, in +/- 25% increments (using "Hard" as the baseline), depending on the game version. The "Intro" Setting is only available in the official game, and is replaced by an "Extreme" Setting (which is in a different location on the Difficulty scale) in Insecticide and later.
At the same time, the game typically also needs to choose the magical Realm from which defenders will come, however this is a given for Nature Nodes, as they will always match the Realm of any Node type Encounter Zone. The cost of each individual creature is listed in the following table, with changes introduced by the Unofficial Patch 1.50 (if any) highlighted under the originals (which also still apply in Insecticide):
If the encounter budget is insufficient for any creature, the Nature Node has no defenders and the encounter is defeated the first time any unit attempts to enter the square. Otherwise, the game divides the final budget by a random integer in the range of 1 - 4 (or 1 - 6 in patches v1.50 and later), and selects the most expensive unit which costs less than this value. This will be the "primary" creature featured at the Nature Node. If no monsters qualify, a new random number will be chosen, repeating the process up to 200 times to ensure that if the budget is high enough to afford any creatures, there will be some.
Once the primary creature type 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 Nature Node. However, this will never be more than 8 (or 6 in the v1.50+ patches), 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.
The type of the primary creature(s) guarding the Nature Node can be revealed by any scouts that move onto its square. This information will then subsequently be available through the Surveyor (F1) tool. Insecticide also vaguely denotes the amount of these creatures by adding the word "many" to the dialogue if there are 4 or more. The Unofficial Patch 1.50 takes this a step further, using "few" for 3 or 4 units, and "many" for 5 and 6 (the maximum amount in this patch) instead. Neither patch carries these quantities over into the Surveyor (F1) however, which is thus limited to showing the creature type in all game versions.
Secondary Creatures Edit
Finally, the game calculates the remaining budget by subtracting (number of primary monster) × (cost of primary monster) from the initial budget. If this is sufficient for any creature other than the primary monster, it will then proceed to add "secondary" defenders to the Nature Node. These units won't show up in the scouting dialogue, but if a battle is initiated at the site, their type will be displayed by the Surveyor (F1) afterwards (provided that any of them survives).
Similar to the primary guardians, secondary monsters are also chosen using a divisor roll which, just like for primary defenders, can be rerolled up to 200 times to ensure that as long as the budget is high enough for them, secondary creatures will also be present. However, the range for this random number is not pre-set, as it is for the primary guardians. Instead, the game subtracts the amount of primary monsters already added to the Nature Node from 10 (or 9 in v1.40 and later), and uses this value as the maximum range of the random function. For example, if the Nature Node already has 3 primary creatures, the secondary divisor will be in the range of 1 to 7 (or 1 to 6 in v1.40+).
Again, the most expensive unit (other than the primary monster), which costs less than the remaining budget divided by the random number, will be selected. The rest of the encounter is then populated with this creature, up to the maximum of 9 total units (including the primary monsters), or until the remaining budget is exhausted. That is, the amount of secondary monsters will be the lower of either (9 - amount of primary monsters), or (remaining budget) / (cost of secondary monster).
Multiple Battles Edit
If, during an assault on a Nature Node, 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 Nature Node's defenders with several subsequent battles, instead of trying to kill all of them at the same time.
However, any guardians 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.
- Main article: Treasure
The rewards for conquering a Nature Node 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. The game decides the types of Treasure that will eventually be awarded immediately after setting out the monsters, meaning that conquering the Nature Node in multiple battles will not reduce the Treasure found inside. On the other hand, because Treasure specifics are only chosen at the time of the victory, saving before the (final) battle can be useful for rerolling them.
Treasure Budget Edit
- To determine the base value of the Treasure, the game first tallies up the guardians. The full cost of the primary monsters is converted into Treasure "points", while secondary creatures only contribute half of their cost. Thus, the formula is (cost of primary monster) × (amount of primary monster) + (cost of secondary monster) × (amount of secondary monster) / 2. In v1.50 or later, the cost of the secondaries is no longer halved, and the full creature cost is used as the base Treasure "budget" instead.
- In v1.31 and v1.40 (but not in v1.50), this base "budget" is then put through what is essentially a reverse function of the Difficulty adjustment used to scale the creature budget (see above), so that Treasure value is more or less unaffected by the Difficulty Setting (as in the original game Difficulty is only supposed to scale down monster strength). That is, unless the game is played on the "Impossible" Setting, for which the Treasure is not adjusted downward, meaning that the higher creature budgets here result in more valuable Treasure than on any other Setting.
- Finally, the budget receives a percentage adjustment. In the official game and Insecticide, this modifier is random depending on the Plane where the Nature Node is located: on Arcanus, the final budget will be 50% - 125% of the previously obtained value, while Myrran sites will have between 76% to 175% of that. v1.50 uses flat values instead of the random percentages: Arcanian Nature Nodes in this patch will have exactly their total monster value to spend on Treasure, while those on Myrror receive 125% of this. However, as this patch also deals with Encounter Zones that have no guardians differently than the original game, the final budget is further increased by 30 in v1.50, and by 75 in v1.51+ (note that the v1.50 value can occasionally result in no Treasure being found).
- In the official game (and also in Insecticide), if the Nature Node contains no creatures, or if their total cost is below 50, the Nature Node's Treasure budget will be set to exactly 50, which allows for a single Treasure roll (see below). This can yield either 10 - 50, 10 - 50, or a single spell with a default Spell Rarity of Common. Unfortunately, spells can no longer be found in empty sites starting with v1.50.
Treasure Types Edit
- Once the budget is calculated, the computer starts rolling imaginary 15-sided dice to select the basic types of loot found in the Nature Node's hoard. For each roll, if the remaining treasure budget is less than the "Qualify" value (or the "Cost" in v1.50+); or the maximum number of that treasure has already been created; the die is rerolled. Otherwise, the "Spend" value (or, again, the "Cost") of the Treasure is subtracted from the budget, and the selected Treasure type is added to the pile. As long as there are at least 50 points left, the die is cast again to try and add more Treasure.
v1.31 / v1.40 Treasure v1.50+ "Qualify" "Spend" Distribution Type Max Distribution "Cost" 10 (1) 200 2 in 15 Gold Coins - 3 in 15 50 - 1000 10 (1) 200 2 in 15 Mana Crystals - 3 in 15 40 (1) - 800 300 400 (2) - 3,000 5 in 15 Magical Item 3 3 in 15 200 (3) - 5,100 400 1,000 1 in 15 Prisoner Hero 1 1 in 15 400 3 in 15 Spell 1 (4) 4 in 15 50 50 Common Spell 150 200 200 Uncommon Spell 600 450 450 Rare Spell 1,350 800 800 Very Rare Spell 2,400 1,000 all
2 in 15 Special
(Spellbook / Retort)
1 (4) (5) 1 (6) in 15 800 (1) : The 50-point minimum to generate any kind of Treasure still applies. (2) : If the remaining budget is lower than 400, the amount spent can be reduced below this. (3) : Magical Items still require 300 points remaining to be added to a hoard even in v1.50. (4) : Spell and Specials are mutually exclusive. (5) : Specials may only be added once, but the amount of picks added (up to 2) depends on the remaining budget. (6) : There is a further 45% chance that this Treasure type is rerolled regardless of remaining budget.
- As noted in the table, Special Treasure can only be added once to a hoard (removing any Spell in the process). When this type comes up on the roll, if the budget is sufficient, the game checks whether it is also enough for 2 "picks". This requires 2,000 points in the original game, and respectively 1,600 in v1.50+. Should this be the case, both "picks" are added, otherwise only one. In the official game and Insecticide, adding a Special also means that all other Treasure is ultimately discarded from the pile.
- For Treasure types that have a value range, these are tied to the budget and will be determined at the same time. While this means exact amounts for Gold and Mana, for Magical Items it is a maximum value instead (which, in v1.50+ will actually be 120% of the Treasure points spent).
- In the case of Spell rewards, another random roll is made to determine a default Spell Rarity between 1 and 4 (Common through Very Rare). "Qualify" and "Spend" values are used according to this rarity. However, versions 1.31 and 1.40 will actually add up multiple "Qualifying" rolls of this type, up to the maximum spell rarity of 4 (Very Rare Spell), at which point any further Spell type results of the d15 are immediately rerolled instead. v1.50 removes this behaviour altogether, and can not overwrite an already set rarity with another. Neither version will try to award a lower default rarity if the original roll does not "Qualify".
Treasure Specifics Edit
- Gold and/or Mana Crystal piles can appear multiple times in the Nature Node's Treasure, and their amounts are determined at the start of the game (added together).
- 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 Nature Node. Full lists of pre-fab items and their arbitrary rank requirements can be found here, in the article on Treasure. The articles on Magical Items and Encounter Zones also examine in detail how the items are actually chosen.
- A Prisoner, a most uncommon find, might also be held at the Nature Node. 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. The captive V.I.P. 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). Before v1.50 however, 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.
- For Spell rewards, the game will first enumerate the Realms available to the Wizard based on their Spellbooks, and choose one randomly out of these. The Arcane Realm was supposed to always be valid for this for any Wizard, however a bug in the program (before v1.50) only allows these spells to be found if the player possesses either of the (completely unrelated) Alchemy or Warlord Retorts. A random spell is then chosen from the selected Realm matching the default Spell Rarity set out at game creation (see the Spell section of the Encounter Zone article for exceptions). If this spell is already known, the game will sequentially try to award all other spells of the same Realm and rarity. If that also fails, it increases the rarity (wrapping around from Very Rare to Common), and checks each spell in succession until it finds one that is not yet known. Only if all spells of the chosen Realm are known will MoM pick another color to try. There is no replacement reward for Wizards who already know all of the spells available to them based on their books.
- When a Special is generated, there is a 74% chance that it will be a Spellbook, and a 26% chance that it is a Retort. 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 Nature Node will always be Nature. Because a Wizard cannot possess more than 13 Spellbooks and 6 Retorts in a single campaign, any Special reward above these will instead be replaced by a Magical Item with a maximum value of 1,200 (or 2,000 per "pick" lost in v1.50+).
Rampaging Monsters Edit
- Main article: Rampaging Monster
Any Nature Node 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||~1/30 turns|
|Average||Turn x 0.4-1.2||~1/20 turns|
|Hard||Turn x 0.4-1.6||~1/14 turns|
|Impossible||Turn x 0.4-2.0||~1/10 turns|
Starting from turn 50, there is a chance for Rampaging Monsters to be generated from a random still-populated nonlife Encounter Zone; although only Nature Nodes that are on the same continent as a Town controlled by any player are valid for this procedure. Both the frequency of this event, and the strength of the monster group created, are random, with limits controlled by the game's Difficulty Setting. The frequency is also increased if the only remaining Neutral Cities are not on the same continent as any Wizard's Towns (resulting in the failure of creating Raiders).
The Realm of the Rampaging Monsters will always match that of the source Encounter Zone, and the process uses a creature "budget" similar to that of generating site guardians. This budget is determined by the turn number and Difficulty and, in the original game, is halved if the Rampaging Monsters are spawned on the same continent as an AI wizard's Fortress (provided that the human player's capital is not also on that continent). The Insecticide patch increases the budgets by 25% in general, and provides a new option to further double them ("Monsters Gone Wild").
Unlike site guardians, the process used for generating Rampaging Monsters does not use divisors, and is not limited to 2 types of monsters. The game will simply select random monsters one by one from the matching Realm until it uses up the allocated budget.
Combat in a Nature Node Edit
Whenever combat occurs within the same tile as a Nature Node, or even within its vicinity, special rules come into effect that may alter the outcome significantly. Generally-speaking, Nature-wielding wizards will have a relatively easier time doing battle in this area, whereas other wizards may encounter considerable difficulties. As a result, the Nature Node can also be a strategic asset.
- During battle inside the Nature Node's own tile, the node is capable of dispelling any non-Nature spells as they are being cast.
- During combat on any of the tiles in the Nature Node's area of influence, all Nature Fantastic Units receive powerful bonuses to their combat stats.
Both of these effects are visible when clicking the "Info" button during battle. This is a good way of telling whether combat is taking place within a Node's area of influence (and is the only way of doing this if the Node has not yet been Melded with).
Nature Node Dispelling Aura Edit
The massive output of Nature energy from the Nature Node interferes with the casting of combat spells. During battles that take place on the same tile where the Nature Node itself is, any attempt to cast a combat spell of any kind that is not from the Nature Realm (including Arcane spells) must face being countered by the Node.
This "dispelling attempt" occurs immediately upon selecting the spell for casting - before any target can be chosen. If it succeeds, the spell will fizzle and have no effect. The strength of the dispel is equal to 50, which means that the formula for calculating its success is as follows:
Chance = 50 / (50 + TSCC) × 100
Where "TSCC" is the total (modified) Casting Cost of the spell which the Node is targeting.
For example, if attempting to cast a Dispel Magic spell with a total of 25 invested (with reductions, if any), the chance of it being countered is as follows:
Chance = 50 / (50 + 25) × 100 = 50 / 75 × 100 = 0.66 × 100 = a 66% chance to counter this spell as it's being cast.
Nature spells of any kind will bypass this effect entirely. They will never be dispelled by the Nature Node regardless of their type or Casting Cost. The Node Mastery Retort also allows a Wizard (and any units under their control) to cast spells from any Realm inside any Node, without being subjected to its dispelling effects. Such Wizards possess a clear advantage in Node combat.
Nature Node Unit Bonus Aura Edit
Although the enhancement to Melee- and Ranged Attack Strength only applies if the unit possesses such an attack by default, the Ranged Attack bonus applies to all types of Ranged Attacks, including short-range ones (i.e. the hidden Physical component of some Gaze Attacks).
These bonuses are extremely potent, and have several strategic implications. For starters, this means that the original creatures guarding a Nature Node (which are all from the Nature Realm by definition) are much harder to defeat than similar creatures encountered in other locations. Furthermore, the fact that this effect also applies in the vicinity of the Nature Node means that the entire area is a great place for Nature creatures to mount a defense or an attack. An army comprised mostly or entirely of Nature creatures has a considerable advantage inside this aura. Assaulting an enemy army made up of such creatures, while it is in the vicinity of a Nature Node, is thus typically a bad idea, and should be avoided if at all possible.
Finally, this means that any Nature-wielding Wizard is encouraged to build Towns within the area of influence of a Nature Node, and protect those Town with garrisons of Nature creatures. This will make these Towns much harder to conquer.
Controlling Nodes Edit
The process of controlling and Melding with a Nature Node is identical to that of any other Node. Successfully accomplishing this reveals the Node's entire area of influence as glowing tiles around it, that sparkle with the color of the controlling Wizard. The Node then generates one point of Power every turn for each such tile, adjusted by the game's Magic Intensity Setting (half if "Weak", 150% if "Powerful" - Insecticide and later patches replace these option names with simply the Power multiplier value instead).
There are several Retorts available that will boost the amount of Power acquired from each of a Node's glowing tiles. For Nature Nodes, the two Retorts that affect this are Nature Mastery and Node Mastery.
With either of these Retorts, each glowing tile produces twice as much Power as it would otherwise. For example, when playing in a "Normal" Magic Intensity world, a Wizard with Nature Mastery will get 2 Power from each glowing tile belonging to a Nature Node.
The effect from these Retorts is cumulative. Therefore, a Wizard possessing both Nature Mastery and Node Mastery will get 4 times as much Power from each Node tile! This can amount to a massive boost of Power, and encourages such a Wizard to gain control of as many Nature Nodes as they can, as early as they can.
Random Effects on Node Output Edit
As with any other Node, the Power output of the Nature Node is mostly static, and will remain the same throughout the game. The exceptions occur, as explained in the article on Nodes, through the use of the Warp Node spell, through acquisition of new Retorts, and as a result of "Conjunction" Events.
The most common effect on a Nature Node's Power output is a "Conjunction" of magic: a random Event which affects the power output of all Nodes simultaneously, for a short period of time.
Conjunctions are one of the most common random Events in the game, mainly because they are actually a group of multiple similar Events. There is a chance that such an Event will occur on the start of any given turn. A Conjunction will always last for at least 5 turns, after which it will have a cumulative 5% chance of ending naturally every turn.
There are three types of Conjunctions that affect Nature Node. Of these, Nature Conjunctions are obviously best. When these are in play, each tile within each Nature Node's area of influence produces twice as much Power as normal for its controlling Wizard (cumulative with the Retorts above, although all roundings are separate and downward). Naturally, if no Wizard is currently in control of a Nature Node, that node produces no Power for anyone anyway.
Conjunctions of Chaos and Conjunctions of Sorcery, on the other hand, will halve all Power output of every Nature Node while they are in effect. Wizards with many Nature Nodes under their control but few other types are therefore in trouble, having a greatly reduced income of Power. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the end of a Conjunction.
During a Conjunction of Nature, empires with plenty of Nature Nodes under their control will usually go on the offensive, or use magic to develop their assets to terrifying strength. During other Conjunctions, such empires are weak and make good targets for a sudden invasion. Paying attention to the types of Nodes controlled by enemy Wizards may thus present strategic opportunities to capitalize on a Conjunction.
Although not a "Conjunction" strictly speaking, Mana Short also does fall into this Event category and abides by the same rules as "regular" Conjunctions. During a Mana Short, all sources of Power are negated, and thus the Nature Node will cease to provide any, regardless of any other effects. Once the Event ends, Power output will immediately return to normal.