|Req. Town Buildings||Shrine|
|# of figures||4|
|Melee Attack per figure||2|
|Ranged Attack per figure||2|
|Defense per figure||3|
|Hit Points per figure||1|
Shamans is the name of a Normal Unit Archetype. It is a template defining the baseline attributes and abilities of 6 Normal Units, all of which are called "Shamans". Each of these units is a variant of the basic Shamans archetype, and is produced by a different Race. The archetype is discussed in this article, and each variant has its own, separate page.
Shamans may be built by the Barbarians, Halflings, Lizardmen, Orcs, Draconians and Trolls. Other races have no access to Shamans by default, though a few races can produce stronger units with a somewhat similar role, called "Priests".
Shamans are primarily support units, not meant to participate (or at least contribute much) to actual combat. They are useful for Purification of Corrupted land tiles, and can join an army in order to boost that army's natural healing rate by a significant amount. However, if caught in combat, Shamans will be hard-pressed to cause much damage, and may not be able to defend themselves properly. Thus, Shamans are often kept out of combat, at least after the early stages of the game.
In many religious societies, spirituality is seen as inextricably tied to concepts of medicine and care-giving; those who have access to spiritual influence can use it to benefit their community just as easily as to harm other communities. Those learned in the ways of the spirit world can thus serve as healers, and many have over our long history and pre-history. Shamans, as they are called today, are those who combine their spiritual skills with rudimentary (and occasionally potent) medicinal skills.
This is even more true in the world of Master of Magic, where divine energy can demonstrably be channeled into productive uses - healing included. The Shamans are those who have mastered that skill, turning their gods' own power into useful applications for their people - or harmful applications to be used against their peoples' enemies.
Baseline Properties Edit
The following section describe only the "baseline" properties of the Shamans archetype. In the case of Shamans, all of the actual units produced will have innate racial bonuses that deviate from this baseline template - there is no unit that matches this template precisely. Read the section on racial variants below for more information.
Attributes and Abilities Edit
To produce Shamans, a town only needs to have a Shrine. This means that Shamans can be built fairly-early on. The baseline production cost is 50 per unit, making Shamans some of the more expensive starting-troops, but any empire should be able to get one or two Shamans out before long. Once under your employ, a unit of Shamans requires an Upkeep Cost of 1 and 1 each turn.
A unit of Shamans contains 4 figures by default. It may never have more than 4 figures. This low figure count puts them at risk of being quickly annihilated by any strong attack. Each Shaman lost reduces the unit's damage output by 25%, so it is important to keep this unit healthy if possible.
Shamans may be used for combat early in the game, but will quickly become a liability - contributing little to a battle and being constantly at risk of destruction. Shamans possess a weak Melee Attack of strength 2, and a similarly-weak Ranged Attack of strength 2 as well. With only 4 figures in the unit, neither attack is very likely to inflict damage on any but the weakest opponents.
Fortunately the Shamans' defensive capabilities are a little better, with 3 Defense and 6 Resistance, granting some protection from combat damage and various ill effects - but not nearly enough to keep this unit alive in any serious combat. Shamans have only 1 Hit Point per figure, and can be wiped out instantly by almost any powerful attack.
Instead, Shamans generally serve as support units, thanks to their surprisingly useful non-combat abilities. For one, the very presence of Shamans in an army stack on the overland map boosts the "natural" per-turn healing rate of all units in that stack by a very large amount. An entire army containing just one unit of Shamans can be restored to full fighting strength within a very short period of time (usu. no more than 4 turns regardless of the severity of the injuries).
Furthermore, Shamans have another important strategic role of Purifying land tiles that have been corrupted by Chaos effects such as the Corruption spell, Great Wasting and so forth. The Purification process is faster the more Shamans are simultaneously attempting to Purify the same tile, so it is recommended to have entire groups of Shamans (and/or Priests) moving and working together in this role.
Basic Tactics Edit
During the very early portions of the game, an empire that can produce many Shamans can use them in combat as Ranged Attack troops, with reasonably good results - particularly against early enemy Normal Units. However, once the early stage is past, Shamans become almost entirely unsuitable for combat. They'll struggle to injure any enemy units, and are constantly at risk of being destroyed themselves - particularly by enemy Ranged Attacks and direct-damage spells.
Instead, Shamans are often kept right behind a main advancing army. They do not move with the army, to avoid being caught in combat and destroyed. Instead, whenever units in the main army are damaged, such as right after a battle, the Shamans will join the army in order to speed up its recovery time. Once the army is back at full health (remember, this should never take more than a few turns!) the Shamans can move out and return to their safe tailing position.
Shamans are quite cheap, especially when compared to Priests. Thus it is often Shamans who get the duty to clear any Corruption that occurs within your empire. A stack of 4 Shaman units should be able to clear Corruption very quickly from any tile, so it is important to keep such a stack in reserve while Chaos-wielding rivals are still around, and they can quickly tackle the problem and restore your economy. Several such stacks may be necessary, when playing at higher difficulty levels or against powerful Chaos-wielding wizards. Again, since Shamans are cheap to recruit and maintain, it may be a good idea to try to acquire some even if your empire has access to Priests.
Only 6 different Races have access to their own Shamans units. Each Race produces a different type of Shamans unit, which not only looks different but may also have different properties compared to the "baseline" template described above.
List of Variants Edit
|Barbarian Shamans||50||1||4||1||2||2||3||7||1||Ranged Attack x4, Healer, Purify|
|Draconian Shamans||75||1||4||2||2||2||4||8||1||Ranged Attack x4, Healer, Purify|
|Halfling Shamans||75||1||4||1||1||2||3||8||1||Ranged Attack x4, Lucky, Healer, Purify|
|Lizardmen Shamans||60||1||4||1||2||2||3||6||2||Ranged Attack x4, Healer, Purify|
|Orc Shamans||60||1||4||1||2||2||3||6||1||Ranged Attack x4, Healer, Purify|
|Troll Shamans||180||1||4||1||4||2||3||8||4||Ranged Attack x4, Healer, Purify, Regeneration|
- Barbarian Shamans are closest to the "Baseline" template, deviating from it only by having a slightly-higher Resistance score, which confers a very small amount of protection - primarily from enemy spells. This doesn't make Barbarian Shamans much more useful than described above.
- On the other hand, Barbarian Shamans are the cheapest of all Shamans, both to produce and to maintain. Thus, non-Barbarian empires may want to acquire them (by conquering Barbarian towns, hiring Mercenaries, and so forth) to serve as Purifiers. In this task they fare just as well as any other Shamans, and it doesn't cost much to keep them on the payroll for good!
- The Halfling Shamans' primary advantage is their racial Lucky ability, which is primarily good for defense: It gives the Halfling Shamans a 40% To Block chance by default, and raises their Resistance quite high - coupled with an innate +2 Resistance bonus! Thus, Halfling Shamans are somewhat less at risk when entering combat.
- This makes Halfling Shamans a good army-support unit. It can follow armies around to improve their healing rates, as described earlier in this article, and are not at too much of a risk if the army they're healing suddenly enters combat.
- Furthermore, for Halfling empires, it should be no problem to maintain plenty of Halfling Shamans, and thus have them following each and every army. Non-Halfling empires may or may not be able to enjoy this benefit, but any Halfling Shamans acquired will still usually be put to use near the front lines.
- Also, the Lucky trait gives Halfling Shamans a +10% To Hit bonus, which improves their Damage output by a small amount. On the other hand they get -1 Melee Attack strength, and thus rely much more on their Magical Ranged Attack.
- Halfling Shamans are also 50% more expensive to produce than the "baseline" template, and have an Upkeep Cost of 2 per turn. Again, Halfling empires can often afford to maintain many of them. However, the increased production cost delays their initial appearance by a little bit.
- Lizardmen Shamans make both good army-support troops and good Land-Purifiers. This is thanks to their Swimming ability, which allows them to cross Oceans and other bodies of water with ease. A single unit of Lizardmen Shamans can sometimes simultaneously service two or more armies fighting along the coastline.
- Furthermore, Lizardmen Shamans have much better survivability during battle, thanks to 2 Hit Points per Figure. Though powerful attacks can still bring them down very quickly, they can withstand some light combat as long as they manage to maneuver well on the battlefield.
- It is also much easier to keep Lizardmen Shamans out of combat in the first place. While escorting an army, Lizardmen Shamans can swim out to the Shoreline, staying close to the army but out of the reach of most enemy surprise attacks. Whenever the army needs assistance it can move to the shore to meet the Lizardmen Shamans, or the Shamans can move inland to meet the army.
- Fortunately, Lizardmen Shamans are not much more expensive than the "Baseline" template either, costing only 20% more to produce and 2 per turn to maintain. Lizardmen empires can expand very rapidly thanks to these cheap Shamans, and other empires may want to acquire them for the tactical capabilities they offer.
- Like most Orcs, Orc Shamans deviate very little from the "baseline" template (see above). In fact, they only get a disadvantage in this case, as they cost 20% more to produce than "baseline" Shamans and 2 per turn to maintain. This is not a serious problem, but Orc Shamans have no advantage with which to mitigate this disadvantage. They are thus less useful than the "Baseline" template describes.
- Draconian Shamans are the epitome of mobile support. They are 50% more expensive to produce than "baseline" Shamans, and have a slightly higher Upkeep Cost, but have many advantages that are certainly worth the price.
- Draconian Shamans are Flying, and have a Movement Allowance of 2. This is a major advantage both on the battlefield and on the overland map.
- Overland, Draconian Shamans can quickly move between armies, retreat from enemies, and even scout around to spot enemies in advance. Flying gives a Sight Range of 2, and thus Draconian Shamans can double as scouts!
- When they do go into combat, Draconian Shamans are still Flying, and cannot be attacked by most Melee Attack units at all. When attacked, Draconian Shamans possess 4 Defense and thus are somewhat harder to kill. Some spells and Special Attacks are also less effective against them, thanks to an elevated Resistance score. If the Draconian Shamans are threatened, they can easily keep their distance from most enemies, and rely on their defense to keep them alive.
- Draconian Shamans are therefore top-notch Shamans for both support and purification, and are well worth the price paid for them. They rival other races' Priests in usefulness and survivability.
- Unlike other Shamans variants, Troll Shamans are quite dedicated combat troops. This is thanks primarily to the main innate bonus of the Troll race: Regeneration, but this is definitely not the only advantage.
- With Regeneration, Troll Shamans no longer need to avoid combat, they travel within the army stack that they are servicing. While with a large army, preferably one constituting of many other Trolls, Troll Shamans are normally safe: as long as the army keeps winning battles, the Troll Shamans will constantly be restored to life and fully healed - even if the unit is destroyed during combat.
- Strangely enough, this is also the reason why Troll Shamans are far less useful as support troops. Since most Troll units can Regenerate during and after battles, Troll Shamans are not required for their healing abilities. Instead of providing support off the battlefield, Troll Shamans provide it during combat.
- Other than Regeneration, Troll Shamans also possess a Melee Attack of considerable strength, equal to that of Cavalry units. They are actually expected to advance and engage the enemy after expending their Ranged Attacks. Further assisting their survival is a whopping 4 Hit Points per Shaman, and very high Resistance to enemy magic. Both of these will serve to keep the Troll Shamans advancing and pounding their enemies.
- Thus, with no other Ranged Attack troops in their ranks, Trolls use Troll Shamans as combat troops. They may also come in handy when non-Troll units are mixed into the army.
- On the other hand, Troll Shamans are extremely expensive, at 3.6 times the cost to produce compared to the "baseline" Shamans, and an Upkeep Cost of 4 per turn. Most empires cannot afford produce them early on, and may not be able to keep many of them. If possible, Troll empires tend to acquire Shamans from other races to handle any Purification duties and/or service smaller armies.