|Races||All except Halflings and Dwarves|
Stables are a type of Town Building. It can be constructed in any town belonging to any race except the Halflings and Dwarves. A town must contain a Smithy before it can construct Stables. The Stables' base construction cost is 80.
The Stables has no effect of its own, but in conjunction with other buildings it provides access to some very important units. For several races, having both a Stables and a Barracks in the same town allows recruiting Cavalry, which perform an important function in most armies. Other races can build various types of "non-standard" cavalry units, such as the Horsebowmen and Wolf Riders. In a well-developed town containing both the Stables and the Armorers' Guild, some races acquire very powerful high-tier Normal Units, such as the Stag Beetle and Dragon Turtle.
Stables conform to our basic understanding of the word. They are structures meant to house horses or other riding animals, and provide these animals with a wide pen in which to run around and be trained for the eventuality of being used in warfare. It is essentially a place to breed, raise, and train combat mounts.
In-game, the Stables is represented by a large barn-like structure, painted red, with a large wooden doorway and a small hayloft window. A wooden fence extends out the back of the structure, and a horse can be seen grazing on some hay in this enclosure - regardless of the types of mounts the building actually provides.
Races and Construction Edit
Stables are available to each race in the game except for the Halflings and Dwarves - neither of which has a strong affinity to animal mounts. Halflings are mostly farmers and are only large enough to ride very non-combatlike ponies, while Dwarves prefer fine-tuned machinery over reliance on inherently unpredictable animals.
A town requires a Smithy in order to construct Stables. If a Smithy does not exist in a town, Stables cannot be built there. In fact, if the Smithy is lost or sold off while the Stables are still in construction, the project will be canceled prematurely and cannot be restarted until this required building is rebuilt.
Construction of Stables costs 80. It is cheap enough to be constructed in any town fairly early on, though some races will only construct it in unit-production centers. Other races may require the Stables in every developing town, as it allows access to the Animists' Guild.
Continuous Effects Edit
Unlocked Town Buildings Edit
For nearly half of the game's Races, the Stables marks the end of a development branch, as it unlocks no further construction.
About half of the races however will be able to construct both the Stables and Temple in order to unlock the Animists' Guild. The Stables provide the elementary knowledge of animals and natural studies, while the Temple provides the religious foundation out of which worshippers of natural deities will spring.
The Animists' Guild is usually well-worth the effort, as it provides several powerful bonuses to any town, including reduced Unrest, increased Food production, and faster healing rate for all units garrisoned here. This may result in every developing town receiving its own Stables - only to provide access to the Animists' Guild.
Unlocked Normal Units Edit
On their own, Stables do not unlock any new units. However, when combined with either the Barracks or Armorers' Guild, Stables can produce very useful Normal Units - or even extremely powerful ones. The variety is quite large.
With the Barracks Edit
When a town contains both Stables and Barracks, it can begin to produce basic Cavalry units, for those races that have access to them. Furthermore, several races can produce non-standard types of cavalry-like units, some of which are significantly stronger.
Basic Cavalry is available to the Barbarians, High Elves, High Men, Orcs and Dark Elves. Cavalry is both fast and strong, but normally relies on its ability to strike the enemy first - killing several enemy figures before they even get the chance to retaliate. This is thanks to the Cavalry's First Strike ability. Cavalry do not last very long in straight-up combat.
The Gnolls produce Wolf Riders instead of normal Cavalry. These units lack the ability of First Strike, but make up for it with greater strength and significantly-faster movement speed. They are used for controlling the battlefield, and are great at killing enemy Ranged Attack units early in the battle.
Horsebowmen and Centaurs, available to the Nomad and Beastmen races respectively, combine fast movement speed with a basic-but-useful Ranged Attack. They can safely move in close to their targets before firing these attacks, thus negating any To Hit penalties usually suffered by other units for firing at a distance. They are, however, less useful in Melee combat.
Doom Drakes are the Draconians' cavalry - but are significantly stronger than any cavalry unit. They are essentially mid-sized, fire-breathing, Flying dragons, capable of causing severe damage to a wide variety of units. They are also very fast, allowing them to easily pick and choose their targets.
With the Armorers' Guild Edit
The combination of Stables and Armorers' Guild is important only to a few races - namely the Klackons, Lizardmen and Trolls - but to them it is one of the most important combination in the game. It allows the production of the Stag Beetle, the Dragon Turtle, and the War Mammoths - respectively to the races listed above. All three units share similar characteristics in terms of their use: fast-moving, hard-striking units, similar in some ways to cavalry, but powerful enough to take on very strong or heavily-armored opponents.
With this combination, Klackons can produce the Stag Beetle. This creature has one of the highest Melee Attack scores of any individual creature in the game, at least as far as Normal Units go. This allows it to cause damage through heavy armor. A Fire Breath attack precedes its Melee Attack, allowing extra damage to less-armored units as well.
The Lizardmen may acquire the Dragon Turtle. This creature also has a strong Melee Attack score, but is much more notable for its high Defense, allowing it to survive battle against very dangerous enemies. It also breathes fire, and has the added common Lizardmen advantage of being able to swim as easily as it can walk.
Finally, Trolls produce the War Mammoths. While these lack the Regeneration abilities of their kin, they are nonetheless very heavy cavalry-like units, who can take out weakened enemies without fear thanks to a First Strike. They are also heavy enough to bring down enemy City Walls, making them an important tool on the battlefield.
Depending on a town's Race, construction of a Stables may be anything from needless to extremely necessary. Some races need it to build new units, others need it to unlock new structures, some need it for both reasons, and some do not even have access to it at all.
For races that have access to Cavalry, Stables should be constructed early on at a unit-production center, allowing access to these fast-moving units. Cavalry tends to improve the usefulness of any Normal Unit army, is relatively cheap, and improves fairly well with Experience too. Cavalry also make good scouts, meaning that it's usually a good idea to get them early.
Other races like the Draconians get their most powerful units here - the Doom Drakes. For such races acquiring the Stables early on can allow creating powerful armies with which to dominate the surrounding area. Again, only unit-production centers need Stables for this purpose, but the imperative to build them early is even greater, thanks to the power of the units it unlocks.
For some races like the Lizardmen, it will take a while for the Stables to have any real use, since they will only unlock new units once the expensive and hard-to-build Armorers' Guild is in place. This means that construction of the Stables can be put off until absolutely necessary.
Any race with access to the Animists' Guild will strive to build this structure in any town destined to grow and prosper. If the town is not also a production center, construction of Stables for this purpose can usually wait until a Temple is already in place. After all, the Stables would serve only as a stepping-stone towards the Animists' Guild, so it's better to leave its construction until it is absolutely needed. Note however, that an Animists' Guild is recommended in any large-enough town for such races.
If a race has no access to the Animists' Guild, Stables are generally not necessary in any town that does not regularly produce units. It would be a waste of construction effort, and would then charge its Upkeep Cost every turn without any real benefit.