Spell Casting Skill is one of the primary attributes of a Wizard in Master of Magic. This numerical value represents the Wizard's ability to expend magical energy. It behaves differently during combat and on the overland map, but generally works to prevent wizards from casting powerful spells quickly (or at all) until they have developed their magical abilities.
On the overland map, Spell Casting Skill determines how much Mana can be used for spellcasting each turn. If the cost of a spell exceeds the wizard's total Spell Casting Skill (or the amount of it left after another spell had been cast in the same turn), that Wizard will have to continue casting the spell in his/her subsequent turn(s).
In combat, Spell Casting Skill limits the total Casting Cost of spells cast within the entire duration of the battle. Even if the Wizard has ample Mana reserves, Spell Casting Skill limits the number and combination of spells that can be used, and may even prevent some powerful spells from being used at all. Therefore, having more Spell Casting Skill allows casting stronger spells, and/or a larger quantity of spells, in combat.
Spell Casting Skill may be increased by investing Power into its improvement. For every X points of Power invested this way -- where X equals double the wizard's current Spell Casting Skill -- that wizard's skill goes up by 1 point. Spell Casting Skill may only be reduced due to malicious use of Death Magic by an opponent.
A Wizard's Spell Casting Skill represents his/her ability to transform available Mana (assuming it is indeed available) into applicable magic. Mana itself, being a stored form of magical energy, has to be carefully released from its containing crystals and shaped into its final form - a process which takes time and effort. As a Wizard becomes more masterful of the skill of spellcasting, the required time and effort are reduced. Thus, wizards with a higher Spell Casting Skill value can cast spells more often - and take far less time casting complicated and powerful spells.
Power and Skill Point SummaryEdit
Using your displayed Spell Casting Skill in the magic screen, you can estimate your "lifetime total," using the equation below. The game is doing it the other way around, plugging the "lifetime total" into the quadratic rearrangement (second below) to obtain your nominal Spell Casting Skill.
|Total Power invested as a function of current skill|
|Spell Casting Skill as a function of invested Power|
Each Spellbook rank taken at the start contributes an initial endowment to the "lifetime" total, as if enough power points had already been invested to advance the wizard +2 Spell Casting Skill Points.
The Archmage Retort adds +10 points to Spell Casting Skill which are not incorporated in the above formulas in any way; therefore, the bonus does not slow down your advancement. To the turn-by-turn Power spending, the retort quietly adds 50% more than is displayed, rounded down to the nearest whole integer.
- For instance, let us say a wizard starts up with 8 spellbooks, in any combination. The game knows she should begin with 16 Spell Casting Skill, and therefore gives her an initial endowment of
- If she commits 7 towards skill, this lifetime total rises to 248. As an Archmage, the only differences will be that this total rises to 251 instead, and that her nominal casting skill is going to be 10 points higher at all times.
Note: In the case where you start with no spellbooks and have no power invested, the game just declares the Spell Casting Skill to be zero (rather than attempting to take the square root of a negative number in its formula!). Getting the first skill point costs exactly 1.
During combat, a Wizard can cast any combination of spells so long as the sum total of their base Casting Costs does not exceed that wizard's Spell Casting Skill. This assumes, of course, that the Wizard has sufficient Mana available to cast those spells.
At the start of a battle, the game sets a value called "Remaining Spell Skill". This value is initially equal to the wizard's current Spell Casting Skill. It is displayed in the small magic information window, just to the right of the control buttons. This value is tracked throughout the battle in order to enforce the Spell Casting Skill limit.
Each time a spell is cast, the "Remaining Spell Skill" value drops by an amount equal to the Casting Cost of that spell (Spellcasting Range is ignored for this purpose). For example, if a wizard has 50 Remaining Spell Skill at the start of a battle, and then casts a spell whose base Casting Cost is 10, the Remaining Spell Skill value immediately drops to 40.
Before any spell can be cast, the game first compares the "Remaining Spell Skill" value to the Casting Cost of the desired spell. If the Remaining Spell Skill is lower than the spell's Casting Cost, that specific spell may not be cast anymore during the current battle.
With this system, the game limits the number and strength of spells a Wizard can cast during any battle. It forces the wizard to decide whether to cast several cheap spells, a few powerful spells (or just one), or any combination of these - so long as the total Casting Cost does not exceed his/her Spell Casting Skill.
Furthermore, this system ensures that a Wizard may not cast very powerful combat spells - even if they are researched and plenty of Mana is available - until the Wizard can improve his/her Spell Casting Skill sufficiently. For example, a Wizard with 20 Spell Casting Skill may not cast a powerful combat spell costing 50 even once during any battle, since the Casting Cost exceeds the Spell Casting Skill limit for that wizard.
Spells that are invalid for casting due to exceeding the Remaining Spell Skill limit are greyed out in the spellbook interface. All other spells are marked with the corresponding Magical Realm icons. The number of icons displayed next to the spell's name represents the number of times that particular spell may be yet be cast during the current battle, before hitting either the Spell Casting Skill limit or the Mana reserve limit. For example, a spell marked with may only be cast three more times.
Spellcasting Range Edit
When determining the Casting Cost of a spell in order to check if it exceeds the Spell Casting Skill limit, and when deducting its Casting Cost from the "Remaining Spell Skill" value as explained above, the game completely ignores the Spellcasting Range multiplier. That multiplier applies only to the amount of Mana actually required to cast a spell during combat.
For example, a Wizard with 20 Remaining Spell Skill may cast a spell that has a base Casting Cost of 20 Mana, even if the current Spellcasting Range multiplier is as high as 3x. However, that wizard does still need 60 Mana on hand in order to cast that spell ( 20 x 3 = 60) due to the high multiplier.
This means that distance from the Fortress does not alter the strength and number of spells that can be cast, unless there is actually insufficient Mana to cast them. If plenty of Mana is available, a wizard should be able to cast the same combination of spells regardless of the battlefield's location.
Heroes possessing the Caster Hero Ability may also cast spells during combat, but their spellcasting does not lower the wizard's "Remaining Spell Skill" value nor his/her Mana reserves. These Heroes function separately, using a much simpler limiting system: Their own Mana pool and Spell Casting Skill are always the same value, and they are never affected by Spellcasting Range, meaning that the only limit they obey is the limit of remaining Mana.
On the overland map, a Wizard's Spell Casting Skill determines the total maximum amount of Mana he/she may spend on spell-casting per turn. However, due to the process of multi-turn casting, the process of enforcing that limit becomes significantly more complicated.
Unlike in combat (see previous section), a Wizard may cast spells on the overland map even if they exceed his/her Spell Casting Skill and/or the current Mana reserves. When a spell hits either of these limits, it will continue to be cast during one or more subsequent turns until the spell is either completed or canceled. This is called "Multi-Turn Casting", and occurs only on the overland map.
Once again, the game automatically tracks how much Mana has been spent on spell-casting during the current turn. It increases that value each time a spell is cast, by the Casting Cost of that spell (including any extra Mana paid for variable-cost spells). If the spell being cast exceeds the limit set by the wizard's Spell Casting Skill, then that spell will continue to be cast during subsequent turns.
When the casting of a spell is completed (whether or not it took several turns to do so), the Wizard may immediately begin casting another spell - but the "remaining" amount of Spell Casting Skill for this turn may or may not be too low to allow the new spell to be cast immediately (otherwise, it will have to continue to the next turn(s)).
Of course, the wizard's available Mana is also an issue. If a spell requires more Mana than is currently available, the game will attempt to spend as much Mana on that spell as possible right away, and will continue to cast that spell in the next turn(s) as Mana becomes available for it. However, once again, the game will never spend more Mana during a turn than the wizard's Spell Casting Skill allows.
When opening the spellbook to select a spell to cast, each spell will show the number of turns it would take to complete casting that spell. This is shown by a series of Magical Realm icons next to the spell. The number of icons displayed shows the number of turns it would take to complete the casting process, including the first turn. However, if the spell can be completed this turn (no multi-turn casting involved), the book will simply display the word "Instant" next to that spell. Note that the calculation of turns does not take Mana income into account, and is inaccurate in several other ways too.
- A Wizard's Spell Casting Skill is 20. He has 250 Mana on hand, and is making an additional 1 each turn.
- This wizard decides to summon a unit of Cockatrices. This summoning spell costs 275 to cast.
- When this spell is selected for casting, the game will spend as much Mana as possible right away. The wizard has plenty of Mana, almost enough to cast the entire spell in one go, but his Spell Casting Skill limits Mana expenditure to 20 per turn. Therefore, the game immediately draws 20 from the wizard's reserves, and puts the Cockatrices spell on multi-turn casting mode.
- The wizard may cancel the Cockatrices spell at any time before it is fully cast. So long as he does not do so, the game will continue to automatically spend 20 - or as much as there is in the wizard's Mana Pool, whichever is lower - at the start of each turn, until the spell is completed.
- Therefore, the game will continue drawing and spending 20 Mana on the Cockatrices for 13 turns (including the first turn), spending 260 in total. Remember that our wizard continued to accumulate 1 per turn as this was happening, so by this point he has spent 250 from his original pool, and 10 more points off the additional Mana gathered in the meanwhile.
- At this point, the Wizard only has 3 left in his pool. Therefore, on the 14th turn, the game may only spend this much Mana on continuing to cast the spell, at which point the Wizard has run out of Mana and naturally cannot spend anymore, despite being allowed to spend 20 per turn based on his Spell Casting Skill limit. There is simply no more Mana to spend.
- Assuming that the Mana income remains the same, the game will continue to spend that 1 Mana point gathered each turn on continuing to cast the Cockatrices spell. This will go on for an additional 12 turns until the spell's entire Casting Cost ( 275) has been paid. At that time, the wizard's pool would be empty. The wizard may immediately select a new spell for casting, but will again only be able to spend 1 Mana each turn because that is the current size of his Mana income per turn.
Example #2 Edit
- At the start of her turn, this wizard has just finished casting a Guardian Spirit spell (costing 80), which has taken her several turns to finish casting. On this particular turn, she has spent 15 to finish casting the Guardian Spirit.
- The wizard may now select a new spell, and chooses to immediately start casting another Guardian Spirit. The wizard's Spell Casting Skill indicates that she should be able to spend 20 per turn, but she has already spent 15 to complete casting the previous Guardian Spirit. Therefore, she may only spend 5 now on the new spell, and would need to spend another 75 to complete that spell.
- Assuming Mana doesn't run out (which it shouldn't, since this wizard has plenty of it to spare), it will take an additional 4 turns to finish casting the new Guarding Spirit, spending 20 Mana for three turns, then 15 on the final turn.
Additional Notes on Multi-Turn Casting Edit
There are several things to note about Multi-Turn Casting and its relation to Spell Casting Skill that were not mentioned above.
For one, a wizard's Spell Casting Skill value is calculated at the very start of a turn, before any automatic multi-turn casting takes place. This has several implications:
- For one, if Spell Casting Skill was increased (or decreased) through investment of Power, the wizard's Spell Casting Skill for this turn will be appropriately increased.
- Moving Caster Heroes in or out of the Fortress during a turn does not change the available Spell Casting Skill for that turn. It will only be changed on subsequent turns as appropriate.
- The Death spell Cruel Unminding, which reduces a rival's Spell Casting Skill, will only affect their Mana expenditure limits in subsequent turns.
You can, however, determine how much Mana still needs to be spend to complete the spell you are currently casting. This amount is written next to the spell's name in your spellbook, instead of its total Casting Cost.
Finally, a note on the way the game calculates how many turns are required to complete a spell (as displayed in the spellbook by a series of Magical Realm icons): It normally estimates remaining casting time as (Casting Cost - Remaining Spell Skill) / Base Casting Skill, rounded up. This changes (in a very inaccurate way) if your Mana reserves are very low. If this computed time is 0, the spell shows up as Instant.
Modifying the Spell Casting Skill Edit
There are multiple ways to increase one's Spell Casting Skill, and doing so is of paramount importance to any Wizard who has a strong emphasis on magic-use. Though some Wizards can get by with little or no improvement, they rely on specific other strategies. Most wizards will become virtually impotent by the mid-game without at least some improvement to this attribute. In particular, the most powerful overland spells in the game (i.e. most of the Very Rare spells) have such a high Casting Cost that it would take ages to cast a single one without significant Spell Casting Skill improvement.
It is also possible for any Wizard to temporarily augment his/her Spell Casting Skill by hiring Caster Heroes and placing them at the Fortress Town. While this "wastes" a Hero slot, some wizards prefer this over sending Heroes to battle, and may rely only on Heroes of this type.
The only way to lose Spell Casting Skill points is through the Death Magic spell called Cruel Unminding. This spell will cut a rival's Spell Casting Skill by a significant but random percentage.
Finally, the Death Magic combat spell called Life Drain may result in a small (but significant) increase in Spell Casting Skill, when the spell is cast by a Wizard and successfully injures an enemy target.
This is done on the "Magic" overview screen. One of the three bars controlling Power distribution is labeled "Skill", and you may adjust this bar to influence the percentage of Power points invested into improving the attribute.
Power is converted into "Spell Skill Improvement Points" at a ratio of 1:1. However, the actual increase in Spell Casting Skill is not so simple, becoming less and less efficient as your Spell Casting Skill goes up.
In short, to increase Spell Casting Skill by a single point, a Wizard must accumulate an amount of "Spell Skill Improvement Points" equal to exactly 2x his/her current Spell Casting Skill. Therefore, to go from a Spell Casting Skill of 10 to a Spell Casting Skill of 11 requires exactly 20 of these "Improvement Points". Going from 37 to 38 requires exactly 74 points, and so on.
Note: It's unnecessary to micromanage Spell Casting Skill training. Skill is re-calculated each turn, using the Wizard's lifetime investment of power in this endeavor. It is possible to gain two or more skill points in a single turn, assuming a sufficiently large investment of power occurs all at once, and all overflow is properly credited towards reaching the next level of Spell Casting Skill.
The Archmage Retort is specifically geared to help the Wizard increase his/her Spell Casting Skill at an alarming rate, by making all increases from Power investment (see above) be significantly more effective. It also gives a significant boost to the Wizard's initial Spell Casting Skill.
For starters, a Wizard who possesses this Retort has a conversion ratio of 1:1.5 between Power invested and the resulting "Spell Skill Improvement Points". For example, if he/she invests 30 Power into Spell Casting Skill improvement, he/she will gain 45 Improvement Points per turn, whereas a "normal" wizard would get only 30 points. This essentially means that Archmage Wizards improve their Spell Casting Skill 50% faster than non-Archmage Wizards. Naturally, this still means that the Wizard must invest Power this way, but gains a much larger benefit.
Furthermore, the Archmage Retort provides the Wizard a +10 bonus to his/her initial Spell Casting Skill level at the very start of the game. This bonus is permanent. To make the deal sweeter, these extra 10 levels are not taken into account when calculating the number of "Improvement Points" required to rise in Spell Casting Skill levels. Therefore, an Archmage with 50 Spell Casting Skill is considered as having only 40 Spell Casting Skill when the game wants to figure out how many Improvement Points are needed to get to the next level. This Wizard only needs 80 Improvement Points (40x2=80), rather than 100 (50x2=100). A good formula for determining the necessary amount of Improvement Points for an Archmage is as follows:
Req. Improvement Points = (Current Spell Casting Skill - 10) x 2
As a result of both these bonuses, Archmages may quickly reach Spell Casting Skill levels that other Wizards may not reach even by the end of the game. Such Wizards have an appreciable advantage in spellcasting frequency, and will more quickly reach a stage where they can cast very powerful overland spells within manageable timeframes ( Mana permitting, of course).
Caster Heroes Edit
Aside from the methods of acquiring permanent Spell Casting Skill described above, any Wizard can potentially augment his/her Spell Casting Skill temporarily by recruiting a certain type of Hero, referred to on this wiki as a "Caster Hero".
These are Heroes who possess the Caster ability. Aside from their ability to cast spells during combat, these Heroes may be used to augment your Spell Casting Skill level. To do so, all you have to do is place the Hero at your Fortress town. From the start of your next turn, and for as long as the Hero remains at the same town as the Fortress, your Spell Casting Skill is increased by an amount equal to 50% of the Hero's current Mana pool.
The Hero's Mana pool may be inspected by opening the Hero's details panel. It is shown next to the Caster ability icon. The size of the Mana pool is directly related to the level of the Caster skill, at a ratio of 5 Mana per Caster level, or 7.5 per Super Caster level (rounded down after totalling). Since the Hero contributes only half this amount to your Spell Casting Skill level, we can say that he/she gives 2.5 Spell Casting Skill per level of Caster, and 3.75 Spell Casting Skill per level of Super Caster.
Again, this boost applies only as long as the Hero and Fortress remain in the same place. If the Hero moves out of the Fortress Town, the Wizard's Spell Casting Skill will drop appropriately at the start of the subsequent turn unless he moves back in before that happens. Similarly, users of the Move Fortress spell need to remember to move all their Caster Heroes to the new location of the Fortress after casting this spell.
The extra Spell Casting Skill levels given by Caster Heroes are displayed separately from your "actual" Spell Casting Skill. In the "Magic" screen, the first number shows the effective Spell Casting Skill level including all Caster Hero bonuses. The second number, in parentheses, shows the Wizard's "base" Spell Casting Skill.
Note: There are several non-Hero units who possess the Caster ability, such as Djinns. However, they do not augment your Spell Casting Skill even if they are placed in the Fortress town. Only Heroes can do this.
Cruel Unminding Edit
The only method in the game to reduce a Wizard's Spell Casting Skill is to cast the Cruel Unminding spell on that Wizard.
Cruel Unminding is a Very Rare Instant Spell from the Death Realm. Cast only on the overland map, for the rather high Casting Cost of 250, this spell must be targeted at one of your rival wizards. That wizard will instantly lose anywhere between 1% and 10% of his/her Spell Casting Skill, with a minimum loss of 1 Spell Casting Skill level.
This allows competent Death Wizards to cut their opponents down to size rather easily, especially when the Random Number Generator works in your favor and cuts large percentages off the competition's Spell Casting Skill. With a rough average of 5% per casting, it is quite possible to totally cripple an opponent's spellcasting abilities this way with only a few castings of the Cruel Unminding spell.
Points lost to Cruel Unminding can only be re-acquired by the other methods described in this chapter.
Life Drain Edit
The final method to acquire Spell Casting Skill levels is relatively effective during the early game, but is available only to a handful of Wizards. It involves the spell called Life Drain.
Life Drain is a Common Combat Instant belonging to the Death Realm, and thus can be acquired relatively easily. It can only be cast in combat, and must be targeted at an enemy unit on the battlefield. It forces the target to make a Resistance roll. If the target fails its roll, it suffers damage based on how badly it failed.
When this spell is cast by a unit on the battlefield, the unit will regain lost Health based on how much damage was done to the target. If, however, a Wizard casts this spell, he/she stands to gain exactly 3 Spell Casting Skill Improvement Points (see above in this chapter) for each point of Damage done to the target. For example, if the target suffered 3, the casting Wizard gains 9 Improvement Points immediately.
These "Improvement Points" accumulate towards increasing the wizard's Spell Casting Skill, but more and more such points are required as the Spell Casting Skill goes up. Therefore, as the game progresses, the benefits of Life Drain become less and less significant - unless you can reliably increase the damage done by the spell. In the early game, however, copious casting of this spell against low- Resistance targets can very rapidly give the wizard a surprisingly high Spell Casting Skill score that other Wizards may take a long time to reach.
A major downside that also appears during the later game is that the target must fail its Resistance roll in order to suffer damage from this spell, which becomes a problem when units with higher Resistance scores begin to appear. However, the casting Wizard may invest additional Mana into the spell in order to inflict Resistance penalties on the target, making it easier to damage pretty much any target in this manner. The spell's default Casting Cost is 10, and Wizards may add up to 40 more, with every 5 inflicting -1 Resistance penalty on the target.
Improvement Points gained through Life Drain are identical to those gained through Power investment, and accumulate in the same pool.