|As of Master of Magic v1.31, Rampaging Monster is known to be malfunctioning in at least one way. Please read the Known Bugs section below.|
Rampaging monsters are aggressive battle units spawning occasionally from a not yet defeated Encounter Zone; once spawned, they will head for a nearby non-neutral city and attack it. Other than the fact that they will always come from the same magical Realm, rampaging monster spawns are totally unrelated to the contents of their source site -- a Nature Node filled with Great Wyrms might spawn a single unit of Sprites, a Dungeon containing a single unit of Skeletons might spawn a half dozen Zombies and a Demon.
Generating Rampaging Monsters Edit
The game determines whether it should attempt to create a group of Rampaging Monsters by implementing a global accumulator that is increased by a certain amount at the end of each turn. When this accumulator reaches a pre-defined treshold, it is reset, and MoM will try to create a monster group. If the process fails at any time after this, then the chance is wasted and no creatures are spawned. The first reason why this could happen is if the game has not commenced to Turn 50 yet, which is the pre-set delay for activating this feature. However, by that time, the accumulator is likely reset multiple times, meaning that there is no way to predict when the first instance of Rampaging Monsters will spawn (except for maybe the "Intro" Difficulty, see below).
Rampaging Monsters can be generated from any Encounter Zone containing Chaos, Death, Nature or Sorcery Fantastic Creatures that is on the same continent as a non-Neutral Town. MoM will try up to 1,000 times to pick a random Encounter Zone that matches these criteria. Sites created with no monsters inside (i.e. only Treasure) are exempt, but otherwise it's safe to assume that if there are any valid sites, the game will find one.
The frequency of Rampaging Monster spawns depends on the rules governing the accumulator which, in turn, are set out by the game's Difficulty. Both the per-turn increments and the spawn treshold are Difficulty-dependent, and the increments also involve a random factor when playing above the lowest Difficulty ("Intro"). Essentially, it is the maximum increment that is defined by the Difficulty, while the actual value will vary from turn to turn. This is illustrated by the table below:
|Intro||1||1||50||1 / 50 Turns||Turn × 0.4||Turn × 0.4|
|Easy||1 - 2||1.5||45||1 / 30 Turns||Turn × (0.4 - 0.8)||Turn × 0.6|
|Normal||1 - 3||2||40||1 / 20 Turns||Turn × (0.4 - 1.2)||Turn × 0.8|
|Hard||1 - 4||2.5||35||1 / 14 Turns||Turn × (0.4 - 1.6)||Turn × 1|
|Impossible||1 - 5||3||30||1 / 10 Turns||Turn × (0.4 - 2.0)||Turn × 1.2|
There is also another factor that can independently increase the accumulator for Rampaging Monsters. Similar to this mechanic, Raiders can also spawn from Neutral Towns, except these are always Normal Units from the Town's Race, rather than Fantastic Creatures. If the game fails to create Raiders when their own accumulator fills up, despite there still being at least one Neutral City on the map, it will instantly increase the Rampaging Monster accumulator by 15 instead. This generally happens when the only remaining Neutral Towns are on continents that have no non-Neutral ones (or the only ones that share a landmass have no garrisons). This circumstance makes Rampaging Monsters much more frequent, and may be especially noticeable on the lower difficulties.
Monster Stack Contents Edit
When a unit of Rampaging Monsters is generated, the game starts by selecting a mana budget with which to buy creatures. This budget is determined by the Difficulty level and game turn, as is shown in the last two columns of the previous table. These ranges are achieved by generating two random numbers in the same range as the accumulator increment, adding them together, multiplying the result with the turn number, and dividing by 5. Perhaps a better illustration is to provide some example budgets. The next table shows the average budget values for a given turn (highlighted in italics are the values that coincide with the average monster spawn frequency from above):
The budget is halved if the Rampaging Monsters are on the same continent as an AI Wizard's Fortress, except if that continent also houses the human player's Fortress (in which case the game retains the original budget).
Once a budget has been generated, the game starts picking random Fantastic Creatures from the same Realm as the monsters in the source Encounter Zone, one at a time, until its budget is used up. The algorithm used is different from the one generating the Encounter Zone guardians. No divisors are used, the program simply tries 2,000 times to choose a random creature, and adds it to the group if it satisfies the criteria (i.e. it is of the correct Realm and its cost is lower than the budget). Once the budget falls under 25, the process is aborted before another monster is picked. The possible creatures and costs, by Realm, are as follows:
It's worth noting that the cheapest creature (Phantom Warriors) costs less than treshold for aborting the monster selection. This was likely done to further delay the first appearance of Rampaging Monsters on the "Intro" Difficulty, which will never have a sufficient budget to spawn creatures from any site on Turn 50 this way. Disregarding the accumulator increases from failed Raiders generation, the first instance of Rampaging Monsters on this Difficulty should then occur on Turn 100 or 150 if a non-Nature spawn site is chosen, and Turn 200 from any Encounter Zone. The earliest that a single unit of Zombies can show up is Turn 70, but this can only happen if both preceding attempts at creating Raiders were unsuccessful (on Turns 30 and 60 respectively).
|Easy||Turn × 0.5||Turn × 0.5|
|Normal||Turn × (0.5 - 1.0)||Turn × 0.75|
|Hard||Turn × (0.5 - 1.5)||Turn × 1.0|
|Extreme||Turn × (0.5 - 2.0)||Turn × 1.25|
|Impossible||Turn × (0.5 - 2.5)||Turn × 1.5|
- The unofficial Insecticide patch makes several changes related to Rampaging Monsters. The introduction of a new Difficulty Setting, and removal of the previous lowest one, shifts the rampage accumulator rules accordingly (the Difficulty system itself remains intact). However, in terms of base creature budget, Insecticide uses a divisor of 4 instead of the original game's 5, resulting in 25% higher budgets overall, as illustrated by the table on the right.
- Insecticide also introduces a new option in the Game Settings: "Monsters Gone Wild", created specifically to enhance Rampaging Monsters. Enabling this has two distinctive effects:
- All Rampaging Monster budgets are doubled.
- Monster budgets on AI-only continents are never halved either.
- In addition, the patch also lowers the minimum budget that adding a creature may be attempted with to 20, thus enabling Phantom Warriors to again be added to a stack if the remaining budget is below 25, but still enough for this unit.
Rampaging Monster Behavior Edit
One turn after they spawn, Rampaging Monsters will head towards a Town they can reach. This is not always the closest settlement, and be aware that most Sorcery stacks can cross water to reach a destination. If they are not destroyed before arriving at the Town, they will attack and, if victorious, will do one of two things (with a 50% chance for either):
- Rampage through the town and vanish into the wilderness: the owner loses Gold and Fame based on the size of the Town, and the Rampaging Monsters vanish.
- Raze the Town: the owner loses Gold and Fame based on the size of the Town, and the Settlement is turned into a Ruins with a garrison of the Rampaging Monsters and a treasure of the Gold lost in the conquest. Before the Unofficial Patch 1.50, this option will never be chosen if the attacked City contains a Wizard's Fortress. This not only means that Rampaging Monsters are incapable of banishing or defeating a player, but may also provide an "easy way out" of having to deal with them (see below), which is likely why it was removed in v1.50. In all versions of the game however, this is the only circumstance in the game with the potential of creating a new Encounter Zone outside of the world generation process.
It's also worth noting that even if the game is set to display enemy moves, it will not show the spawning of these monsters (i.e. they don't move out of the Encounter Zone they are created from). This means that unless they are spotted directly, the player will only become aware of their presence a turn later, when they actually start moving.
Strive to obtain something positive from these encounters whenever possible. As with any battle, defeating four or more units awards a Wizard 1 Fame, and defeating a Very Rare Creature does likewise. Any Normal Units or Heroes participating in the victory also pick up 2 for each vanquished foe.
Rampaging Monsters can be a substantial irritant throughout the game, even in the official version where they can not kill or banish players; while they are not enormously strong, maintaining a garrison in every Town which would be sufficient to deal with them is usually an impractical expense. Some alternate methods are available under duress, however.
Combat Spells Edit
As long as there is at least one unit in a Town, combat spells may be cast during an assault. Even a unit of lowly Spearmen will do the job. If there are several units available, they can attack the Rampaging Monsters one at a time, allowing the use of a full Casting Skill's worth of spells every time.
Overland Spells Edit
Unlike the guardians inside the Encounter Zone, Rampaging Monsters have left the hard-coded protection of their lair and are open to whatever overland hate a Wizard can throw at them. The following Instant Spells may be particularly useful for this purpose:
The creatures are now also subject to the effects of global spells such as Death Wish, Great Unsummoning, or Meteor Storm. Rampaging Monsters that sustain injuries will heal (or fail to heal) as units of their kind ordinarily do, rather than following the instant post-battle healing routine of lair guardians.
Clear Encounters Near Your Towns Edit
Only live Encounter Zones can generate Rampaging Monsters, so eliminating them eliminates their threat and makes it more likely that the Rampaging Monsters will be generated near some other Wizard. It is particularly worth focusing on sources of Death creatures, as they can produce very dangerous stacks very early -- four Zombies and a Demon is the same cost as two Sprites.
Enchanted Roads Edit
Enchanted Roads can be both a benefit and a liability: while they allow a player to instantly get a strong garrison in place to stop Rampaging Monsters, they also serve as an equally efficient conveyor for the Rampaging Monsters themselves. The closer any inhabited Encounter Zones are to the roads, the more frequently they should be monitored for these events. There is only a single turn to spot the enemy spawns before they begin moving toward their target city, and they will make use of roads to get there, if they can.
Leaving units on the roads in places that the monsters would need to pass through can give the player an extra warning; again, a weak unit is sufficient, since all that may be needed is to stop the Rampaging Monsters for one turn to get more forces into position.
Attacking with a weak unit will halt the monsters for 1 turn (the monsters will not move during their next turn if attacked during the player's). Additionally, combat spells may be cast to weaken the monsters in preparation of the next battle. Bear in mind however, that this is likely the result of a bug, and is fixed in the Unofficial Patch 1.50.
It is also possible to strategically place an "undefeatable" unit in the path that the creatures are expected to take. If the Rampaging Monsters move on the tile of a flying or invisible unit that the monsters can't attack or see, then they will give up the battle. As a result, they will disappear from the global map (which means they are defeated without bloodshed).
Box In Nearby Sites Edit
Rampaging Monsters have an internal limitation: they can only spawn on land tiles. Even if they could otherwise fly or swim, they still have to be created on a land tile. Furthermore, they can't appear on tiles occupied by a Town, another Encounter Zone, or even a unit of any kind! This means that if a site is surrounded by, for example, single units of Spearmen on every side, the monsters will have nowhere to spawn and, if the random generator does pick this zone, the process is aborted without generating any monsters, or even choosing another location. This may be useful earlier in the game to prevent stronger Encounter Zones (that are yet too powerful to clear) from spawning monsters, especially if they happen to be on a shoreline, or where the adjacent land tiles are otherwise limited.
Let Them Go Through Edit
Sometimes, the best option is to just move the garrison out of the way and let the Rampaging Monsters win undefended; there's a chance they'll just rampage through the Town. This is especially true in v1.31 and Insecticide, if the monsters' target is the capital City. The Fortress there will prevent them from setting up a Lair, and they always have to satisfy themselves with whatever they can loot or pillage. Wizards with the Alchemy feat may even convert all of their Gold into Mana on the preceding turn, and limit their loss to mostly just Fame.
Known Bugs Edit
If Rampaging Monsters reduce an Outpost to ruins, the Outpost gets destroyed twice, resulting in the destruction of the newest existing city in the game along with it. This bug is fixed in the Unofficial Patch 1.50.