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RELOAD-011-NATURE
This article pertains specifically to the Nature Node, and explains only how it is different from other Nodes. For information about how Nodes work, see Node.
TerrainSpecial NatureNode
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 Icon Power.png Power source, an Encounter zone, and even a Mineral of sorts.

Initially, Nature Nodes are guarded by a contingent of Icon Nature.pngNature 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 Icon Power.png Power based on the node's coverage area.

Several Nature Nodes are randomly placed around the map at the start of the game, and cannot be removed or added. They are always placed in Forest tiles. A Nature Node in the plane of Myrror produces more Icon Power.png Power than one located on Arcanus, but is rarer, and often protected by much more powerful Icon Nature.pngNature creatures.

The Nature Node itself causes oddities in the magical field. It is much harder to successfully cast non-Icon Nature.pngNature spells during combat at a Nature Node. Also, the output of Icon Nature.pngNature Magic from the node boosts the abilities of all Icon Nature.pngNature Fantastic Units during any battle within the node's zone of influence.

The Nature Node reacts to any type of Conjunction event. During a Nature Conjunction, the node produces twice as much Icon Power.png Power as normal. During other conjunctions, it produces no Power at all.

Finally, when the Nature Node is in the vicinity of a Town, it will increase that town's Maximum Population by +2.5 - thus being the most beneficial Terrain tiles in terms of increasing a town's Population Growth, Icon Food.pngFood production, and potential size.

Description Edit

The Nature Node is a location where the barrier between the primal planes (Arcanus and Myrror) and the Icon Nature.pngNature Realm is weak, allowing Icon Power.png Power to seep through in great quantities.

This seepage of energy causes a Forest to grow around the node itself. Also, creatures from the Icon Nature.pngNature Realm may cross through from their plane into the primal 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 also randomly generated. It is thus possible to get a map with few or no Nature Nodes whatsoever. It seems, however, that Nature Nodes are more common on Arcanus than they are on Myrror.

The Terrain underneath a Nature Node is shown as a Forest when examined using the surveyor tool - and will also behave as a Forest for purposes of determining unit movement speeds through this tile. However, it is more beneficial to nearby Towns than a regular Forest tile. It is not possible to alter the Terrain underneath a Nature Node in any way, including with spells like Change Terrain or Raise Volcano.

It is not possible to build a Settlement on top of a Nature Node. It is, however, possible to build a Road or Enchanted Road across the node.

Mineral Bonuses Edit

The Nature Node acts as an abnormal type of Mineral, giving a considerable bonus to any town built close to such a node.

When a Nature Node tile is within the catchment area of a town, it grants the base attributes of a Forest on the surface; namely, a production bonus of Icon Production.png +3%, a simultaneous boost of +0.5 to the Maximum Food threshold and Maximum Population of the town, and the ability to construct a Sawmill.

Yet this is not all. The Nature Node further increases the Maximum Food and Maximum Population by an additional +2 beyond a mundane map tile, for a total of +2.5. This makes a Nature Node superior even to Grassland, which only gives +1.5.

The resulting increase in Maximum Population allows the town to have 2 or 3 more citizens (assuming the town manages to grow to its maximum size at all). Remember of course that a town may never have more than 25 citizens (25,000 people), regardless of the surrounding terrain. Increased Maximum Population also boosts the Population Growth of such a town by a small but significant amount. The exact bonus depends on a lot of factors, including the town's current population size and its Race.

As to the higher Maximum Food threshold, this means that more citizens can be assigned to Farmer duty before the output of each Farmer begins to drop. As a result of all this, the Nature Node is almost as beneficial to a town as the Wild Game special.

Note: The Surveyor Tool will not show the full bonus from Nature Nodes, instead marking its output as identical to a regular Forest. They do, however, increase Maximum Population by +2.5 as explained above.

Encounter Zone Edit

Encounter NatureNode Dialog

An example of the Nature Node scouting dialog.

A Nature Node is initially 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.

DefendersEdit

When initially created at the start of the game, a Nature Node will usually contain Fantastic Creatures that defend it, and any Treasure stashed inside. To figure out exactly what creatures the Nature Node 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 Nature Node is: 5-15 * (aura tiles)2 * (Magic Strength). 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 Nature Node, the possibilities are as follows:

Realm Possible Defenders
Icon Chaos.png{{{chaos}}}% 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{{{death}}}% 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{{{life}}}% 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{{{sorcery}}}% 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 Nature Node 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 Nature Node.

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 Nature Node. 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 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 Ability Regeneration Regeneration ability. This means that it is possible to "whittle down" a Nature Node'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 Nature Node, the better.

Nevertheless, any strong Nature Node 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 Nature Node 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 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.

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 Nature Node 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 Nature Node'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 Nature Node. 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 Nature Nodes 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, Nature Nodes 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 Nature Node. 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 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. 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 Nature Node will be Icon Nature.pngNature.

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 Nature Node 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.

Combat in a Nature Node Edit

Screenshot NatureNode

A Nature Node as it appears during combat, and a few defending creatures.

Whenever combat occurs within the same tile as a Nature Node, or even within its vicinity, special rules are in effect that may alter the outcome significantly. Generally-speaking, Icon Nature.pngNature-wielding wizards will have a relatively easier time doing battle in this area, whereas other wizards may have problems doing so. 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-Icon Nature.pngNature spells as they are being cast.

During combat inside the Nature Node or any of the tiles within its area of influence, all Icon Nature.pngNature Fantastic Units receive powerful bonuses to their combat stats.

Both effects are visible when clicking the "Info" button during battle. This is a good way of telling whether you are within a node's area-of-influence.

CombatEnchantment NatureNodeDispelAura Nature Node Dispelling Aura Edit

The massive output of Icon Nature.pngNature energy from the Nature Node interferes with the casting of combat spells.

During combat that takes place in the same tile as the Nature Node itself, any attempt to cast a combat spell of any kind that is not from the Icon Nature.pngNature realm must face an immediate dispelling attempt by the Node.

The dispelling attempt occurs immediately upon selecting the spell for casting - before any target has been selected. The strength of this dispelling attempt is equal to Icon Mana.png 50. The formula for calculating its success is as follows:

Chance = 50 / (50 + TSCC) * 100

Where "TSCC" is the total Casting Cost of the spell which the node is targeting.

For example, if attempting to cast a Fire Bolt spell with a total of Icon Mana.png 12 invested, the chance of it being dispelled is as follows:

Chance = 50 / (50 + 12) * 100
= 50 / 62 * 100
= 0.80 * 100
= an 80% chance to dispel this spell as it's being cast.

Icon Nature.pngNature 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.

Note that the Node Mastery retort allows a wizard to cast spells from any realm inside any node without being subjected to its dispelling effects. Such wizards have a clear advantage in node combat.

CombatEnchantment NatureNodeBonusAura Nature Node Unit Bonus Aura Edit

During combat inside the Nature Node's tile or on any tile that is inside the node's area of influence (see below), all Fantastic Units from the Icon Nature.pngNature realm receive a set of very important bonuses.

The bonuses are:

  • Icon Melee Normal.png +2 Melee Attack Strength
  • Icon Ranged Bow.png +2 Ranged Attack Strength
  • Icon Defense.png +2 Defense
  • Icon Resist.png +2 Resistance

Note that the bonus to Melee Attack and Ranged Attack applies only if the unit possesses the appropriate attacks by default. Also note that the Ranged Attack bonus applies to all types of Ranged Attack.

All Fantastic Units from this realm are affected, regardless of their owner. All other units are unaffected in any way.

These bonuses are extremely potent, and have several strategic implications. For starters, it means that the original creatures guarding a Nature Node (which are all from the Icon Nature.pngNature realm by definition) are much harder to defeat than similar creatures encountered, say, in a Lair.

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 a Icon Nature.pngNature-wielding creature to mount a defense or an attack. Bring an army comprised mostly or completely of Icon Nature.pngNature creatures, and your chances of success are considerably higher as a result. Similarly, assaulting an enemy army comprised of such creatures while it is in the vicinity of a Nature Node is a bad idea - assuming you can wait for it to come out of the area at all.

Finally, this means that any Icon Nature.pngNature-wielding wizard is encouraged to build towns within the area-of-influence of a Nature Node, and protect that town with Icon Nature.pngNature creatures. This will make the town 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. There is, however, an important effect that may be extremely relevant to some wizards: the effect of the Nature Mastery Retort, which is explained below.

Retorts Edit

There are several Retorts available that will boost the amount of Icon Power.png Power acquired from each of a node's glowing tiles. For Nature Nodes, two Retorts affect this: Nature Mastery and Node Mastery.

With either of these Retorts, each glowing tile produces twice as much Icon Power.png Power as it would otherwise. For example, when playing in a "Normal" magic world (see above), a wizard with Nature Mastery will get Icon Power.png 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 Icon Power.png Power from each node tile! This can amount to a massive boost of Icon Power.png Power, and encourages such a wizard to gain control of as many Nature Nodes as he can.

Random Effects on Node Output Edit

As with any other Node, the Icon Power.png 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 Conjunctions.

The most common effect on a Nature Node's Icon Power.png 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.

Conjunction Edit

The random event of Conjunction is one of the most common Events in the game. There is a chance that such an event will occur on the start of any given turn. A Conjunction will last until the game randomly decides to end it (a 5% chance at the start of each turn while the Conjunction is in effect).

There are three types of Conjunctions, and each affects the Nature Node in a different way.

Nature Conjunctions are obviously best. When these are in play, each tile within each Nature Node's area-of-influence produces twice as much Icon Power.png Power as normal for its controlling wizard. Naturally, if no wizard is currently in control of a Nature Node, that node produces no Power for anyone anyway.

Chaos Conjunctions and Sorcery Conjunctions, however, will completely shut down all Icon Power.png Power output of all Nature Nodes while they are in effect. Wizards with many Nature Nodes under their control but few other types of nodes are therefore in trouble, having a greatly-reduced income of Power. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the end of the Conjunction - you can only wait until it passes.

During a Nature Conjunction, 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. Pay attention to the types of Nodes controlled by your enemies, and look for strategic opportunities to capitalize on a Conjunction.

Spawning Rampaging Monsters Edit

Main article: Rampaging Monster

While a Nature Node still contains one or more of its original garrison units (see above), it may occasionally spawn a group of Rampaging Monsters.

There's a small chance each turn that one Encounter zone anywhere on the map will create a new Rampaging Monster stack. The game randomly selects which Encounter zone does so, and may occasionally choose a Nature Node as the source of such a stack.

The Rampaging Monster army created from a Nature Node is comprised of one or more units, whose types are selected at random from the various Fantastic Creatures from the Icon Nature.pngNature Realm (see list above in this article). The types of creatures defending the Nature Node itself is not important; a node containing a pair of Sprites can end up spawning half a dozen Behemoths, given the right circumstances.

Rampaging Monster groups are often small, and their composition is often more varied than that of the creatures guarding the Nature Node itself. Note that Rampaging Monster stacks may and often do contain creatures that are not normally found outside of combat, such as Earth Elementals.

The strength of the Rampaging Monster stacks that are generated by a Nature Node will constantly grow as the game progresses. By the late game, it is not uncommon to see exceptionally powerful creatures leading these groups, especially on higher difficulty settings.

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