|Spell Rarity||Very Rare|
|Spell Type||Global Enchantment|
While Time Stop is in effect, all rival wizards skip their turns.
Time Stop's caster may cast spells and move units as normal each turn. However, Production in Towns, consumption of Food, as well as generation of Mana and Research Points stops entirely.Time Stop's caster does not pay any Upkeep Costs for anything - except Time Stop's own 200 per turn.
Time Stop is a Very Rare Global Enchantment belonging to the Sorcery Magic realm - and is widely considered one of the most powerful spells available in the game, other than the Spell of Mastery. For 1,500, Time Stop may be cast on the overland map to prevent all rival wizards from taking their turns, allowing only Time Stop's caster to move his units or cast spells at all. Furthermore, every turn-based action except unit movement and spellcasting is also halted, including all production in Towns, all Research and Mana generation, etcetera.
Time Stop's caster does not need to pay any Upkeep Costs for any assets while this spell is in effect. Time Stop itself, however, continues to charge its massive Upkeep Cost of 200 per turn. Since Mana generation is completely halted, this means that the casting wizard will probably run out of Mana eventually and have to cancel the Time Stop. There are, however, ways to work around this.
Time Stop radically alters the turn-based system upon which the game works - primarily by preventing all other wizards from taking their turns. In addition, it halts much of the casting wizard's own economy. On the other hand, Time Stop's caster only needs to pay the 200 Upkeep Cost required to maintain the spell itself.
Disabling Rival Wizards Edit
From the moment Time Stop is cast, until the moment it dissipates, Time Stop will prevent all rival Wizards from taking their turns.
In other words, when the turn of Time Stop's caster ends, he/she immediately gets to take another turns, and another, and another - for a potentially limitless number of consecutive turns! No Rival Wizard gets to move or in fact do anything until Time Stop dissipates. Even enemy units stop to heal.
Note: Some Global Enchantments and Curses cast by rival wizards do continue to work. Many spells that give a continuous effect, such as Unit Enchantments, continue to modify their targets' stats. Other permanent spells, such as Armageddon, will not perform their normal "per-turn" actions. The game seems to handle each permanent spell differently in these regards.
Suspended Production Edit
Even Time Stop's caster's own turns are not handled normally. Most importantly, all production across the wizard's empire ceases immediately, and does not continue until Time Stop is removed.
Towns will not generate Gold, Food, Research Points, Power, or indeed any Production!
This means that towns cannot build anything, neither Town Buildings nor Normal Units, while the spell is in effect. In fact, even if you spend Gold to purchase a unit or building, it will not be constructed: the production menu shows that the unit/building is going to take 1 turn to complete, but actual completion will happen only once Time Stop is removed.
Suspended Upkeep Edit
On the other hand, while Time Stop is in effect, the casting wizard's assets cease to demand any Upkeep Costs of any kind!
So what can be done? Edit
While Time Stop is in effect, its caster may freely cast any spells and move any units. This is done in exactly the same way as normal (i.e. the same as when Time Stop is not in effect).
Units spend the same number of Movement Points when moving, and have to end their turn when they run out of points. Orders to "Patrol", "Build" and "Meld" may be issued as normal, and will work as normal.
Spells of any kind may be cast. There is no difference in their Casting Costs, but as mentioned above you do not need to pay any Upkeep Costs. Fantastic Creatures may be summoned, and may be ordered around as normal. Most Enchantments will work as normal, though as mentioned above some Global Enchantments may not work properly until Time Stop dissipates.
Combat as Normal Edit
While Time Stop prevents other wizards from acting on the overland map, it does nothing to prevent them from defending themselves during Time Stop. Therefore, when a battle is initiated between your troops and a rival wizard's stack, the rival's units will fight normally.
The main exception to this is that while spells may still be cast by rival wizards during battle, and draw Mana normally from the wizard's Mana Pool, there is no source replenishing Mana for any player. Therefore, combat spellcasting can rapidly deplete a wizard's Mana pool. Of course, Time Stop's casting wizard is constantly losing Mana ( 200 per turn, to pay for Time Stop itself)...
Neutral Monster Creation Edit
Every few turns, there is a random chance for a Neutral town or Encounter zone to spawn an appropriate stack of units, with orders to advance on one of the nearby wizard-owned towns in the world. This is a common occurrence that happens whether or not Time Stop is in effect.
The only difference is that during Time Stop, Neutral army stacks do not move. Therefore, they will stay where they were spawned until Time Stop dissipates. Once the spell does dissipate, all of these Neutral stacks will start moving towards their designated targets simultaneously.
This can be somewhat dangerous - it means that the longer Time Stop has been in effect, the more neutral stacks will be charging into your empire simultaneously. In the turns immediately following the end of the Time Stop, expect to come under attack by several of these stacks.
Ending the Spell Edit
Time Stop will end if its caster ever runs out of Mana to pay for its Upkeep Cost. However it is often wiser to end the spell by canceling it yourself, to stop the Mana draining away.
There is no other way for Time Stop to be ended. Rival wizards may not end it, as they don't get to do anything (and thus can't cast Disjunction). It must be the player himself who, deliberately or otherwise, ends the spell.
Time Stop may be cast only on the overland map, for the extremely-high Casting Cost of 1,500. To keep it in effect, the casting wizard must pay an Upkeep Cost of 200 per turn! Failure to pay this cost due to lack of Mana will cause Time Stop to dissipate.
After casting the spell, its name will appear on the "Overland Enchantments" list in the Magic menu. The color in which the name is printed indicates which wizard controls the spell. If the player controls the spell, he or she may cancel it manually by clicking the name of the spell. The primary reason to do this would be in order to remove the spell's Upkeep Cost before it drains out your entire Mana pool.
As a Very Rare Sorcery spell, Time Stop may become available to any Wizard who possesses at least 3 Spellbooks. However, its availability during the game is not guaranteed unless the Wizard acquires at least 10 Spellbooks.
Time Stop may not be acquired at the start of the campaign regardless of how many Spellbooks the wizard possesses. It must either be Researched during the game, or acquired through other means.
Wizards with 3 to 9 Spellbooks have a random chance of being able to Research Time Stop during the game. The chance for this spell to appear for research increases with the number of Sorcery Spellbooks the Wizard possesses or obtains during gameplay. With 10 or 11 Spellbooks, the spell is guaranteed to appear for Research at some point, if it is not already available for casting.
Time Stop has a base Research Cost of 6,000, making it the most expensive Sorcery spell to research.
With at least 3 Spellbooks, Time Stop may be acquired as a reward for winning encounters in creature Lairs, Towers, et cetera, or when conquering the Fortress of a rival wizard who has already researched this spell.
Time Stop is exceptionally powerful. While it is in effect, you are the only wizard who is actually doing anything, so you have pretty much free reign in assaulting enemy forces and towns. The enemy, being barred from taking its turns, may not replenish lost units, cast new overland spells, not create new towns.
Therefore, the simplest application of Time Stop would be to buy time for a strong stack to make its way straight to the enemy's Fortress capital and take it - without the enemy being able to do anything to stop you from getting there.
Do remember that while the spell is active, you may not create new Normal Units or improve your towns - nor do you gain any Gold or Mana (in fact you lose Mana at a staggering rate each turn). If you need to increase the size of your forces, you must cast Summoning Spells.
Oddly, the in-game date advances normally, at one month per turn, under the effects of Time Stop. Technical game turns that elapse while the enchantment is active will affect your Score in the end. Since it halts city growth and spell research during these turns, Time Stop shouldn't be used solely with the intention of boosting score, but rather for gaining a relative edge over the enemies.
Always remember to turn off Time Stop when it is no longer required. The Mana drain is too great to be left unchecked. Also, as mentioned above, make sure to be ready for an onslaught of Neutral armies when the spell ends.
Making Time Stop Last Longer Edit
Time Stop is designed in a way that's supposed to make it the only permanent spell that may not be maintained indefinitely. It takes out 200 from your Mana Pool each turn, and disables almost all Mana-generating sources. Therefore, you will eventually run out of Mana and the spell will dissipate on its own - if you don't cancel it yourself before that happens.
Over the years, players have come up with various ingenious ways to create Mana to pay for the spell.
Please add any such strategies you are aware of to the list below.
Artificer Runemaster Edit
However, the normal ratio is that for every 2 spent on creating an item, only 1 will be obtained when sacrificing that item. Therefore, if an item cost 200 to make, it will only give 100 when sacrificed.
On the other hand, the Artificer and Runemaster Retorts will both act to decrease the casting cost of the Enchant Item and Create Artifact spells. Each of these Retorts alone does not change the ratio significantly enough, but with both Retorts together the cost to create a new item drops so sharply that the final ratio is reversed: for each 1 paid to create an item, you will receive 2 for sacrificing that item.
To exploit this with Time Stop, the wizard also needs to have a Spell Skill of at least 200.
Each turn while Time Stop is active, cast either Enchant Item or Create Artifact to make an item whose total cost is at least 200, but lower than or equal to your current Spell Skill. This allows the item to be created instantly.
Rinse and repeat.
Naturally, this works even better when your Spell Skill is higher than 200. Then you can create even more expensive items, and thus make a profit of Mana each turn, allowing you to cast more spells (esp. Summoning Spells) with the excess Mana!
Razing Conquered Cities Edit
The resources gained in warfare may be enough to pay for the maintenance of the Time Stop spell. Conquering Towns yields a part of the enemy's Gold reserves which can be converted to Mana via Alchemy. Additional Gold can be acquired by razing towns - towns don't have that much value as long Time Stop is in effect. Banishing a Wizard also yields the half of his Mana reserves.