|Spell Rarity||Very Rare|
|Spell Type||Town Curse|
|Each turn, the game rolls a random number between 1 and 10. If the targeted town's Population is greater than the random number, it is reduced by 1. The town's Unrest level also rises by +2.|
Pestilence is a Very Rare Town Curse belonging to the Death Magic realm. For 350 it may be cast on an enemy town to begin reducing that town's Population. At the start of each overland turn, if the targeted town's population exceeds 10, then it is reduced by exactly 1 citizen (1,000 people). If the town's population is 10 or less, the game instead rolls a random number between 1 and 10. The town's population is then reduced by 1 only of it currently exceeds the random number.
To maintain Pestilence over a town, an Upkeep Cost of 5 must be paid at the start of each turn.
Pestilence infects the inhabitants of a targeted enemy town with a deadly disease, which will kill by the thousands. Large towns will lose 1 citizen (1,000 people) at the start of each and every turn. Smaller towns have a certain chance of losing a citizen each turn; the smaller the town, the smaller the chance.
Population Death Edit
While Pestilence is affecting an enemy Town, that town has a certain chance of losing 1 citizen each turn.
If the Town has a Population of at least 11 citizens at the start of the turn (10,000 people or higher), then it will lose exactly 1 citizen (1,000 people) from its Population.
If the Town has a Population of 9 citizens or fewer, the chance to lose a citizen is random, and proportionate to the size of the town. The game rolls a random number between 1 and 10, and if the town's population exceeds that number, the town loses 1 exactly citizen (1,000 people). Therefore, a town with 5 citizens has a 40% chance of losing one. A town with only 1 citizen will never lose that citizen, as it cannot exceed the randomly-rolled number.
If Pestilence is left to run long enough in a specific town, it will eventually reduce that town to 1 citizen - little more than a Settlement. Pestilence cannot completely destroy a town, since a town with 1 citizen in it is technically immune.
The smaller the town, the lower the chance of citizens being killed off - though even a town with 2 citizens has a 10% chance of losing one of them. It is unlikely for a town to actually grow while affected by Pestilence, and if it does grow that only increases the chance of it losing its new citizens.
Note that Pestilence specifically targets the town's inhabitants. It will cause no damage to any units garrisoned in this town.
Pestilence may only be cast on the overland map, for the base Casting Cost of 350. It must be targeted at an enemy town that does not already have a Pestilence spell affecting it.
Upon casting the spell, the game automatically opens the target town's details panel. Strangely, no visible effect is shown, as would happen with other Town Curses and Town Enchantments. The only way to ascertain whether the spell is actually in effect on a town is to examine the town's "Enchantments" window, which will show the word "Pestilence" in it. The color of this word indicates the color of Pestilence's caster.
If you've placed Pestilence on a town, you may remove it by clicking the word "Pestilence" in the town's Enchantments list. The primary reason to do this would be in order to remove the spell's Upkeep Cost, thus conserving Mana for other spells.
The effects of Pestilence are applied immediately on the start of the town's owner's next turn, and will continue to apply while the spell exists. If one of the player's towns is affected by Pestilence, any civilian deaths will be reported in a scroll message at the start of his turn.
At the start of each turn, the casting wizard must pay an Upkeep Cost of 5 to keep Pestilence active. Failure to pay this cost due to lack of available Mana will cause the spell to dissipate immediately.
As a Very Rare Death spell, Pestilence may become available to any Wizard who possesses at least 3 Spellbooks. However, its availability during the game is not guaranteed unless the Wizard acquires at least 10 Spellbooks.
Pestilence may not be acquired at the start of the campaign regardless of how many Spellbooks the wizard possesses. It must either be Researched during the game, or acquired through other means.
Wizards with 3 to 9 Spellbooks have a random chance of being able to Research Pestilence during the game. The chance for this spell to appear for research increases with the number of Death Spellbooks the Wizard possesses or obtains during gameplay. With 10 or 11 Spellbooks, the spell is guaranteed to appear for Research at some point, if it is not already available for casting.
Pestilence has a base Research Cost of 3,500.
With at least 3 Spellbooks, the Pestilence spell may be acquired as a reward for winning encounters in creature Lairs, Towers, et cetera, or when conquering the Fortress of a rival wizard who has already researched this spell.
Pestilence is possibly one of the most effective Town Curses in the game. Within a span of a few dozen overland turns it can transform a thriving capital town into little more than a settlement. A town with few citizens can contribute very little to its empire's war efforts and general progress.
Naturally this means that the best targets for this spell are the largest enemy towns. Production centers for enemy Normal Units are a good target, as they will eventually be incapable of any sort of rapid production whatsoever. Even towns with plenty of Town Buildings that accelerate production can do very little with no actual population to utilize them.
One of the main advantages of Pestilence is that it leaves the enemy town intact. This means that if you invade and conquer the enchanted town, you don't have to rebuild it from scratch. Of course it will take some time before this town can resume proper production - seeing as it has lost most of its citizens - but this is sometimes preferable than the more destructive methods that other wizards (particularly Chaos-wielding wizards) have for neutralizing an enemy city.
If you cast Pestilence on an enemy town, remember that other Town Curses may quickly become useless. For instance, once a large enemy capital has been reduced to just a few citizens, spells like Famine or Cursed Lands are no longer useful there. If you've cast such spells on the town as well, remove them to conserve Mana.