Roads expedite troop movements and trade between Cities. A network of connected cities can work together, and faster, to accomplish the Wizard's objectives. Unlike road tiles in many Civilization-style games, roads in Master of Magic do not improve the yields on individual land squares; instead, a continuous road network increases revenues in connected cities. But most importantly, a road maximizes ground movement speeds for military units.

As roads require Engineers to construct, road-building is unfortunately not a talent available to every Race. Any player in control of a race that cannot produce Engineers should consider seeking out and capturing the city of a race that can. While roadbuilding is useful on Arcanus, it is considerably more urgent and rewarding to lay roads on the plane of Myrror, where they are inherently Enchanted.

Description Edit

History Edit

Roads Description

Unenchanted Roads. Opportunistic Gnolls poised to take advantage of a neutral road network.

So far, Roads have been a rare sight on either world in Master of Magic. They are grand public projects, only accessible to races with a civil service culture and the willingness to perform skilled labor in wild conditions. These races have the sense to know Roads are a proper "exclusive good" only when guarded, and a dangerous weapon against them when not (see picture). So, few such projects have ever come to pass.

It is acknowledged that Dwarves, with their superior work ethic and innate mastery of engineering techniques, are twice as effective building roads as any other race, but again, they have shown themselves extremely reluctant to build connections to their neighbors.

Construction Edit

Arcanian Roads are paths through the back-country that have received attention from civil engineers. The paths are first cleared wide and dug down to bedrock. Sterile native clay and gravel are packed tight to fill the course nearly back to ground level, whereupon stones and mortar are laid to give the new Road centuries of protection from regrowing foliage and erosion. Footmen, beasts, and vehicles can travel these routes at their respective full speeds, regardless of the underlying terrain.

Myrran Roads are an entirely different affair. No matter the particular methods employed by the builders, any road built on the surface of this world will come to life and begin pulsing with magical energy drawn up from the planet's crust. Some Sorcerers can simulate this process on Arcanian roads with an Icon Sorcery.pngEnchant Road spell. Travelers can move to any destination along these magic highways in moments, gaining an effectively infinite overland movement allowance, as long as they stay on the road.

Movement Effects Edit

Normal Road Movement Edit

Non-flying, non-sailing units can enter an unenchanted Road's map tile at a cost of only Icon Movement Ground0.5 Moves. Typical walkers with Icon Movement Ground1 may thus travel 2 tiles per turn, while a speed of Icon Movement Ground2 permits 4 moves along the road, and so on.

Icon Movement AirFlying units accompanied by a walking unit may also make use of the road. They also only spend Icon Movement Ground0.5 Moves per tile while doing so. Whenever fliers split from the group and resume flying, they are once again subject to their normal rule of Icon Movement Air1 across any kind of terrain.

Wind Walkers, on the other hand, gain no benefit from a normal Road. Even when accompanied by ground units, their entire stack is considered to be in flight.

Enchanted Road Movement Edit

An Arcanian Road hit by the Uncommon Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery Spell Enchant Road, or any road constructed on Myrror, is enchanted. These roads are readily identified by their pulsing gold animation overland. Icon Movement GroundMovement across their map tiles is free and unlimited to any Corporeal being.

Group a Non-Corporeal creature with a corporeal companion to allow it to make use of the enchanted road. Remember in particular that Magic Spirits and Guardian Spirits are non-corporeal. They should use the road network to reach and meld with a liberated Myrran Node as fast as possible.

Units pay their normal Icon Movement GroundMovement costs when exiting the enchanted roads. Entering combat always consumes all of a unit's overland movement and ends its turn.

Finally, if a unit is ordered onto a square with units that are Done (ended their own turns), that also consumes all of a unit's overland movement and ends its turn. However, the unit is allowed to pass through such a square without impediments— just as long as it is not ordered onto that particular tile, it can keep going.

Roads in Combat Edit

Should combat take place on terrain with a Road, the road appears in the combat screen and allows units to use it at a cost of Icon Movement Ground0.5. Enchanted roads do not allow infinite movement in combat.

Road/River/Ocean Gold Edit

The commercial value of Roads is more complex and obscure than the strategic benefits. Though if the game goes long, and your towns get large, their effect can become dramatic.

Towns can achieve a "foreign trading" bonus topping their Tax and Mineral earnings. This is a dynamic percentage boost referred to in the Town Information screen as Road/River/Ocean Gold. It works like the Marketplace, Bank, and Merchants' Guild structures, except that its strength varies. Roads play a role in this. Every unit of population located elsewhere, but connected by a continuous road to the town, raises the town's trading volume by a small amount. Enchanted roads have no additional effect; all that matters is for towns to be connected by a continuous stretch of road. For perspective, these are the various Road/River/Ocean Gold boosts possible:

  • +0.5% - per unit of population connected to the town via Roads, when that population is of the same race
  • +1% - per unit of population connected to the town via Roads, when that population is of a different race
  • +10% - if town is located adjacent to Shore
  • +20% - if town is located on River
  • +30% - if town is located on River and diagonally-adjacent to Shore, or on a River Mouth
  • +50% - if town is Nomad

While these boosts may seem profound at a glance— the Nomad's bonus alone would look as if a second marketplace were sitting there— the Road/River/Ocean Gold bonus is capped, harshly, by the town's size. The cap is 3% per unit of population residing in the town. Thus a town situated on a River Mouth will never draw a 30% Road/River/Ocean Gold bonus until it reaches size 10. Beyond this size, Road connections will come into the picture.

In short, Road/River/Ocean Gold always lies somewhere between zero (complete isolation) and 75 percent (size 25 and plentiful trade), depending on which is smaller: the sum of the effects described above, or the size of the town.

Example Edit

Roads GoldBonusEx

The Surveyor reveals the Icon Gold.png Gold Bonus accrued by population, Road connections, and buildings.

The Halfling city of Honeypool is currently at size 21. It has a Marketplace, but is not situated on the nearby River, nor against the Shore. How does the game compute the effect of its Road connections and marketplace, as shown here by the Surveyor (F1)?

The Marketplace is a constant 50%. The maximum Road/River/Ocean Gold attainable by any size 21 city is

21 * 3% = 63%

Currently the city has uninterrupted Road connections with many other towns on its landmass, forming links with exactly 50 non-Halfling townspeople and 10 fellow Halflings. The Roads thus provide a trade bonus of

(50 * 1%) + (10 * 0.5%) = 55%

Honeypool is then not yet able to reach its maximum Road/River/Ocean Gold of 63%... at least not until some of the other towns grow. Its total Icon Gold.png Gold Bonus comes down to its marketplace and the present strength of its road network, which together, add up to the 105% displayed by the surveyor.

Worldgen Roads Edit

The world generator places a total of 15 neutral cities on Arcanus and Myrror. Neutral cities within 10 tiles of each other might be given a road connection. So, most roads will have to be built as the game progresses, by engineers in a Wizard's employ.

Note that in the case of worldgen roads, the resulting movement cost of the tile (0.5 or 0) is considered to be its default movement cost, and will not increase if the road is removed.

Construction Times Edit

Engineers build roads using their Construction Ability while stationed on an overland map tile. Take care: while this is going on, the engineer cannot perform any other action. It is possible to cancel Construction before it's done, but this wastes any effort and time already invested.

Arcanus and Myrror's diverse topography will place variable demands upon your engineers as they connect roads across your territory. The time required to complete one section of road normally depends on the Terrain type of the tile in question and the number of units simultaneously performing Construction there.

Below is a table detailing the number of turns it takes to construct a road section based on the above factors:

Turns to Construct Road, by terrain type:
Terrain Number of Engineers
1 2 3 4 5+
Terrain Arcanus Grassland Terrain Myrror Grassland Grassland 3 1
Terrain Arcanus Desert Terrain Myrror Desert Desert 4 2 1
Terrain Arcanus River Terrain Myrror River River 5 2 1
Terrain Arcanus RiverMouth Terrain Myrror RiverMouth River Mouth 5 2 1
Terrain Arcanus Forest Terrain Myrror Forest Forest 6 3 2 1
Terrain Arcanus Tundra Terrain Myrror Tundra Tundra 6 3 2 1
Terrain Arcanus Hill Terrain Myrror Hill Hill 6 3 2 1
Terrain Arcanus Swamp Terrain Myrror Swamp Swamp 8 4 2 2 1
Terrain Arcanus Mountain Terrain Myrror Mountain Mountain 8 4 2 2 1
Terrain Arcanus Volcano Terrain Myrror Volcano Volcano 8 4 2 2 1
TerrainSpecial ChaosNode Chaos Node 8 4 2 2 1
TerrainSpecial NatureNode Nature Node 5 2 1
TerrainSpecial SorceryNode Sorcery Node 4 2 1

The base formula for calculating the number of required turns is simple: Take the number of turns to build a road in the tile with just one unit of Engineers (first column in the table above), divide by the number of Engineers working simultaneously, and round down. Note that the result can never be less than 1.

Build time for engineers is determined by the number of engineers present in the tile at the time the build order is given, even if only one unit of Engineers is actually given the build command; once this has done, the build time is not modified even if the other Engineers are moved out of the square. This allows two or more engineers to tag-team across terrain, finishing roads faster than should be possible. In order to take advantage of this it is necessary to build roads one square at a time, adding considerable micromanagement.

To demonstrate how to exploit this, consider two engineers building a road across forest. Normally, if they are building together, on turn 1 both move into the forest square, on turn 2 they get a build order, on turn 5 the road is done and they move to the next forest square, and on turn 6 they can begin the second road. If instead you give them single build orders, then on turn 2, one engineer gets a build order and the other engineer should move on and wait in the second square; on turn 5 the first engineer moves into that square and the second engineer, already waiting there, begins building. On turn 6 the first engineer should then move on to the third square and wait there. This leap-frogging method saves one full turn of transit time per tile.

Be aware that any units which activate, awaiting your orders, while sharing their map tile with an Engineer engaged in ongoing Construction are at risk of grouping those Engineers and canceling the project if you misclick. It is actually possible to cancel a road even on the turn it's supposed to be done.

Dwarf Engineers Edit

The Dwarves have a racial advantage that allows them to construct roads at twice the normal rate. This allows Dwarf Engineers to quickly form a network of Roads across their entire empire.
To calculate the number of turns it'll take Dwarf Engineers to complete a single road, check the table above and divide the result by 2, then round down. Again, the final result can never be less than 1.

Engineer Teams Edit

A team of 5 Engineers, or 3 such units of Dwarven stock, will be able to fully construct a road on any sort of terrain in 1 turn. Stacks of Engineers are an expensive proposition in terms of Icon Production.png Production, Icon Gold.png Gold, Icon Food.pngFood, and time itself. These opportunity costs, and the dominant terrain along a route, are well worth considering in determining how many Engineers to deploy.
Owing to Engineers' Icon Movement Ground1 Move allowance, either magic or Draconian Engineers are required to reach a point where a team can complete one road square each and every turn.

Speeding up Construction with Magic Edit

Magic can be used to build Roads faster. In addition to its advertised effect of allowing the target 1 extra Icon Movement GroundMove, the sense of holy purpose imparted by an Endurance Spell doubles the power of the Construction ability itself. A project that would normally take a unit of Engineers 5 turns to complete will only require 2 turns. Dwarf Engineers with Endurance see their Construction ability increased by 50% overall; that is, they become the functional equivalent of 3 normal units of Engineers.

Road anim

A group of Dwarf Engineers covering three tiles per turn using a simple combination of Endurance (for faster movement and construction) and War Bears (to gain Pathfinding).

Enchantments in other Realms, such as Path Finding, Flight, Chaos Channels, and Wraith Form, may enable a unit or stack of Engineers to enter any map tile and begin work immediately — if used appropriately. These units need to be guided by hand. Automated continuous build orders do not capitalize on enchantments. On the turn an Engineer makes an automated move in route construction, it is assumed to have spent all its moves, and does not in actual fact contribute that turn to road construction. It resumes work on the following turn. Engineers with moves left over by these enchantments should be re-activated by hand and instructed to build, or simply avoid continuous build orders altogether, if these unit enchantments are to have any effect.

When issuing either a single-tile or continuous (multi-tile route) build order, the building time is calculated depending on the number of engineers present on the first tile, not the number of engineers who actually receive the order. If you intend to split a stack of engineers in multiple directions, this phenomenon causes the engineers to report a deceptively short amount of time required to complete the roads lying beyond the first tile.

The table below summarizes how the effects of these spells can speed Engineers. Also be aware that some spells are early and cost-effective, while others should probably only be used if there is no recourse.

Enchantment Effect
Icon Sorcery.pngFlight Allows an Engineer to enter a tile and immediately begin construction there, when guided by hand (not automated).
Icon Death.pngWraith Form
Icon Chaos.pngChaos Channels (Demon Wings)
Icon Nature.pngPath Finding Allows multiple Engineers to be carried onto a tile and immediately begin construction there, when guided by hand.
Icon Sorcery.pngWind Walking
Icon Life.pngEndurance Increases the speed of the road construction ability, both when guided by hand and when under continuous build orders.

Strategy Edit

Where to Lay Roads Edit

Roads are strategic assets, chiefly, meaning that they expand your military's power. It takes a very long time for the economic benefits to have an impact on the map. The following items are ideal strategic waypoints and destinations for Roads:

  • Town - these obviously need to be garrisoned (meaning that they could benefit from an inbound route), and unit-producing towns need outbound routes. These routes will only begin to contribute significant amounts of Icon Gold.png Gold to your treasury when the connected towns grow large.
  • Tower of Wizardry - rival wizards will attempt to garrison these strongholds after they are liberated. A road to the tower increases your ability to move between the planes and may aid defense.
  • Node - rival wizards will summon and dispatch a spirit to any undefended, liberated node. Depending on their personality and random chance, they may even try to wrestle a garrisoned node away from you. A road may aid defense.
  • Sites - a road passing through a potential city site expedites the eventual settler and garrison.
  • The Front - roads also boost offense. Roads connecting the Fortress to the edge of your territory allow your newest, best units to reach battles quickly, be they at lairs or rival empires.

Usually, the earlier you start building roads, the better. Enchanted Roads in particular drastically alter the game's pace. They allow a set of points to be defended by a single army. Long distances become moot. Access to them (either by being Myrran or having the Enchant Road Spell) makes road-building a correspondingly higher priority. On Myrror, road construction should usually begin shortly after annexing a race that can train Engineers. Empires relying on Normal Units might also set to road-building early, as the majority of normal units are slow.

Arcanian wizards with access to high-mobility spells, heroes, summoned creatures, and racial units may not feel so hard-pressed to build roads quickly. Before committing precious early-game resources to Engineers, consider all of your capabilities and needs, and let them decide when you need to make this commitment, and where.

Bottlenecking AI Traffic Edit

The presence of Roads encourages AI-controlled units to move along predictable paths, as they prefer the fastest route to their destination. Enchanted roads are particularly enticing to them. A dedicated road builder can direct enemy units from multiple tiles to a single, heavily-defended, crossroad. This may even change the location of a war altogether, making the battlefront small and manageable and maximizing the exposure of your best troops. Placing Invisible units on crossroads is also a nice way of area control.

Removal and Disenchantment Edit

Roads are a more-or-less permanent fixture once they're in place. Overland spells of disenchantment do not dispel the effects of the Enchant Road Spell nor the inherent magical nature of roads on Myrror, and there are no built-in unit abilities that remove roads from a map tile. Nor will Change Terrain or Raise Volcano alter a road in any way. These constraints are only bent under certain unusual circumstances, described hereafter.

On the plane of Arcanus, a new road built over an existing enchanted road will revert that road section to an unenchanted state. While this could be used to sabotage enemy enchanted roads, this occurrence is usually an accident to be avoided. Be vigilant when assigning automated build orders to Engineers, and block enemy engineers from mindlessly mowing through your own enchanted roads. Ideally, you should strive to capture a rival's enchanted roads intact, rather than sabotage his routes.

The only known way to remove roads entirely from a map tile is to build a Town there and either rush Settlers or let enemies raze it. The underlying road will disappear. Yet if the town was originally present on the map when the game began, not even this method works; no road will be visible but units may still pass through the tile as if a road were present. Considering the costs, there is virtually no strategic use for removing roads.

Known Bugs Edit

Enchanted Roads, Pathfinding, and Water Walking Edit

Enchanted roads do not appear to read the Non-corporeal flag. Instead, any unit or stack with both the Pathfinding and Water Walking icons for movement do not receive the unlimited movement benefit of enchanted roads, regardless of the source(s) of this combination.

Enchanted Roads inside Towns Edit

Normally a Myrran city gets a "free" enchanted road underneath it, just as Arcanian cities receive a normal road. However, these sections of enchanted road will sometimes give Icon Movement AirFliers trouble.

Road Enchanted Bypass

Formerly-neutral town. A bypass was constructed.

A flier traveling along an Enchanted Road might spend Icon Movement Air1 when entering a town, even if ground units spend Icon Movement Ground0 entering the same tile. The cause of this is not known. It may pertain to whether that town and/or the underlying road were generated at the beginning of the game, and possibly behave differently, as is the case when the player Razes these sites. Roads beneath captured neutral cities and original Fortress sites on Myrror often lack the characteristic pulsing gold animation of Enchanted Roads (see picture).

Ordering an engineer to construct a road section right inside the town may resolve the problem. The forceful solution is to construct a small bypass that keeps the road continuous without the town.

Building Roads over Water Edit

Using various Plane-Shifting mechanics, Roads may be constructed on Shore and Ocean tiles if the corresponding map squares on the opposite plane are land. What's more, these roads may actually be used by land-bound units, with the caveat that they will instantly Drown if attacked.

Engineers assigned to build a continuous Route appear to show great enthusiasm for the task— they will proceed on the route even if their current plane of existence changes, and even if the route now leads directly over water. For unknown reasons, the means of building across water tiles generally require at least two Engineers grouped together, or one Dwarf Engineer unit.

Some distinct methods of shifting the Engineers to the other plane while they build a Route— thus allowing Construction of roads overseas— are detailed below.

TerrainSpecial Tower ­ Tower of Wizardry
The most generally-available method, this only allows Routes to be constructed from the Tower's map tile. From the Tower, order the engineers to build a route across land. Switch the overland map (P key) to view the desired plane prior to their activation on the next turn, and they will automatically continue on the route on this plane instead, even if it now proceeds over water.
Ability PlaneShift­ Plane Shift (Spell)
An easy, direct method. Cast Icon Life.png Plane Shift on a group of engineers engaged in Route Construction. They will continue building the route, but now along the corresponding tiles on the other plane. If the engineers are already enchanted to be seaworthy, this spell can even transport them directly onto an ocean tile. It is also possible to construct oceanic roads with less than 2 engineer units this way, but only on tile-per-tile basis, without the continuous build order.
UnitEnchantment PlanarTravel ­ Planar Travel
Roads PlanarTravelEngineer
This method is economical if mastered and used extensively. The goal is to get engineers with Planar Travel to be engaged with Construction but fully-activated at the same time, as seen on the right, at which point they may switch planes and continue their build order uninterrupted. Activating and switching away from engineers without canceling their build order is tricky, though. It requires a second unit to end its turn (Done) at the engineer's position. On the following turn, the second unit groups the engineer together with it; this group can safely be ordered to move (at which point only the second unit moves), or the second unit may be Dismissed or simply Plane-Travel alongside the engineer, if it can.
CITYSCAP-085-GATES-astral gate-anim ­ Astral Gate
This works in a similar manner to the method described above for Planar Travel. Though an Astral Gate is, of course, stationary.
SpellIcon SummoningCircle ­ Word of Recall
This method bypasses Planar Seal and is native to Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery, which conveniently has Enchant Road. The Summoning Circle needs to be located somewhere on the plane in which road construction is to take place. Order continuous Route Construction along desired coordinates on the opposite plane, and cast Word of Recall on all engineers. On the following turn, the engineers will teleport directly back to those coordinates, but remain on the Summoning Circle's plane.
Flying Ships
If you start building a road, which must be on land, with an engineer on a flying ship, and then direct the ship so that it uses up all of it's movement points at the end the turn, the engineer will keep building the road after the ship has moved. This allows building roads on all water squares.

Strategy Edit

Since land units may use oceanic Roads, this glitch presents an extremely dubious means of bridging entire landmasses and rendering navies nigh obsolete. As Master of Magic is a single-player game, it is entirely up to the player whether or not to exploit these possibilities.
Note that an oceanic bridge will not group cities on different landmasses together for the purpose of computing their Road/River/Ocean Gold.

Enchanted Road Trap. Enemy units will attempt to pass through the roaded Shore tile, where a friendly Icon Movement Air/Icon Movement Water unit (such as the Magic Spirit pictured) may be stationed. Icon Movement GroundWalking units will immediately drown once the combat on that tile begins. This trap can greatly weaken or even wipe out entire sieges without any strong units. This is especially helpful with Raiders and Nature attackers, as most of them are Icon Movement GroundWalking. A trap like this can be built without the use of water, simply to force enemy units to go pass through a particular tile. Invisible units are particularly efficient here. As they ignore enchanted roads, Non-Corporeal stacks will tend to ignore this trap.