The Caster ability gives a unit its own Mana pool, as well as the ability to cast a certain variety of spells during combat. If the unit also has a Magical Ranged Attack, it will use its own Mana as ammunition to fuel this attack.
The size of the unit's Mana pool is noted in parentheses after the name of the ability, e.g. "Caster ( 10)". Fractions are possible, but they are rounded down automatically whenever the unit is in combat, and are only mentioned for completionism. Thus "Caster ( 7.5)" becomes "Caster ( 7)".
There are a total of 20 units in the game that possess Caster by default. The majority (17) of these units are Heroes, while 3 are Fantastic Units. The repertoire of spells available for each of these units is different.
Most units that possess the Caster ability also have a Ranged Attack and many of those units have a Magical Ranged Attack, meaning that they use Mana to fuel these attacks. Units that possess the Caster ability, but do not have a Magical Ranged Attack are: the Arch Angel, Rakir, Valana, Torin, Alorra, and Marcus.
All Heroes' Mana pools increase in size with each Experience Level. They gain an amount of Mana equal to the amount they had at level 1 ("Hero"). When starting a new game, Heroes may occasionally use up some or all of their Random Abilities to increase the size of the original pool, and thus gain more Mana with each level.
Wizards are not the only ones who can cast spells. There are many magicians in the game, some of whom are limited to a single spell, and others capable of casting a whole variety of spells. The Caster ability refers specifically to those units that have access to a number of spells.
For such units, the Caster ability also indicates the amount of power they can muster. Similar to a wizard's Spell Casting Skill, it dictates the maximum strength of the spells they can cast, and the number of such spells they can cast in each battle. For the majority of Casters, Mana availability also dictates how many Ranged Attacks they can perform during each battle.
The Caster ability is perhaps the most unique - and most complex - ability in the game. Describing it is simple: Caster gives a unit its own Mana pool, and allows it to cast spells. Understanding what this means for a unit is significantly more difficult.
There are three aspects that must be discussed separately regarding the Caster ability:
- The size of a unit's Mana pool.
- Spellcasting itself, and the repertoire of spells available to the unit.
- The use of Mana as ammunition for a unit's Ranged Magical Attack.
- Using Caster Heroes to increase a wizard's own Spell Casting Skill.
The first two points are almost entirely different from one unit to the other.
Mana Pool Edit
First and foremost, the Caster ability gives the unit its own Mana pool. As explained below, this Mana behaves like a wizard's own Mana and Spell Casting Skill combined: the unit can use its Mana to cast spells, and is limited in both the strength and number of spells it can cast based on its available Mana. In addition, Mana determines how many Ranged Magical Attacks the unit can perform each combat turn.
The size of the unit's Mana pool is determined by the strength of the Caster ability, as well as the unit's Experience Level. Of course, Fantastic Units have no Experience, and thus will have the same Mana pool for the duration of their existence. Heroes, on the other hand, have a Mana pool that grows in size with each level they gain.
For Heroes, the amount of Mana they have at level 1 ("Hero") is the exact amount by which their Mana pool grows with each additional level. Thus, if the Hero had 5 to start with, he'll get +5 with each additional level, up to 45 at level 9 ("Demi-God").
Note that for many Heroes the Mana pool and the bonus acquired at each level may contain fractions, such as 12.5. If this is the case, then the fractions are ignored - they're only important whenever they add up to whole numbers. Thus, a Hero's details panel will show the rounded-down value.
Mana Pool Modifiers Edit
- A wide variety of Magical Items can be imbued with bonuses that directly increase the size of a Hero's Mana Pool, whenever they are worn. This bonus may be imbued into any weapon and any Jewelry piece. The bonus is actually called a "Spell Casting Skill" bonus, which is somewhat appropriate given that, for a Hero, Mana and Spell Casting Skill are the same exact thing.
- The maximum bonus to be found on a Sword, Mace, Axe, Bow or Wand is +10. The maximum on a single Jewelry piece is +15, but many Heroes can wear two of these simultaneously for a total +30. Staves can grant +20.
- This bonus is a completely "flat" bonus: The Hero's Mana pool is increased by exactly the amount listed in the bonus, regardless of the Hero's current Experience Level. If the item is ever removed, the Hero's Mana pool is reduced back to its "normal" size.
- A Hero unit knows (and may cast) any spell known by its controlling Wizard, and may also know up to four other spells.
- A Fantastic Unit knows (and may cast) any spell in the same Realm as the unit. Note that the realm of an Undead unit is Death, whatever it was in life.
To cast spells with a Caster unit, the unit must have at least 0.5 Movement Points remaining. Select the unit, and click the "Spell" button. In most cases, a list will pop up allowing you to select whether you'd like to cast a spell yourself (using Spell Casting Skill and your own wizard's Mana pool), or whether you wish the selected unit to cast a spell.
If the unit is chosen from this list, the game opens a spellbook showing all spells available to this specific unit. As normal, spells for which the unit does not have sufficient Mana to cast are greyed-out and cannot be selected. Other spells are available, and the number of realm icons underneath the spell's name indicate how many times the unit could cast this spell before it runs out of Mana.
Once the unit casts the spell, its Movement Points are immediately reduced to 0 and it cannot perform any other action (or cast any more spells) until the next turn begins.
Remember that the unit expends its own Mana to cast the selected spell. Therefore, the wizard's own Mana and Spell Casting Skill are untouched. Furthermore, because the Caster is on the battlefield, he/she does not suffer any Spellcasting Range penalties - they pay only the spell's basic Casting Cost. Also note that the wizard's own Retorts do not alter this Casting Cost in any way.
Finally, note that Caster units cannot cast any overland spells. There is no method by which to do so. They can only cast spells during combat.
Mana as Ammunition Edit
You'll note that none of these units have an Ammunition count, which often appears in the details panel of Ranged Attack units. This is because Casters expend their own Mana in order to perform such attacks - and thus are limited by the amount of Mana they have remaining.
Each Ranged Magical Attack costs exactly 3 Mana to perform. When the attack is made, the Caster's Mana pool is automatically decreased appropriately. If the unit has fewer than 2 remaining, it may not make any Ranged Attack for the remainder of the battle.
As a result, Caster units must decide whether to expend their available Mana on Ranged Attacks or on casting spells. In some situations it may be better to opt for direct damage with Ranged Attacks. In others, spell-casting may be more important.
- Torin the Chosen, Rakir the Beastmaster, and Valana the Bard are the only Heroes that have Caster but absolutely no Ranged Attack of any kind. In addition the Arch Angel unit does not possess a Ranged Attack. Thus, they can spend all of their Mana on casting spells.
- Marcus the Ranger and Alorra the Elven Archer only possess a Ranged Missile Attack. They have an Ammunition x8 ability, meaning that they can only make 8 Ranged Attacks per battle. These attacks do not draw any Mana from their pool, allowing them to spend it all on spell-casting.
Casters at the Fortress Edit
A Hero possessing the Caster ability does not have to be sent out to battle in order to make use of that ability. By leaving such a Hero at home, in the empire's Fortress town, the Hero contributes to his/her employer's own Spell Casting Skill.
Whenever a Hero with Caster is inside his/her employer's Fortress town, the employer's Spell Casting Skill is increased by half the size of the Hero's Mana pool. For example, if a Hero has 60, his/her employer's Spell Casting Skill is raised by 30 points as long as that Hero remains in the Fortress town. If the Hero moves out of the Fortress town, the bonus is immediately lost.
This extra Spell Casting Skill allows the wizard himself to cast more spells each turn, and/or to finish casting overland spells faster than normal. This is the same as any Spell Casting Skill points acquired by the normal means (through investment of Power).
Thus, if there is no current war or a need for expansion or conquest, Heroes with the Caster ability can be recalled to the Fortress town, to help cast spells more rapidly. Any Caster Hero whose combat prowess is lacking for any reason can simply be left at the Fortress, giving a non-combat contribution that can be of great strategic assistance.
Improvement Table Edit
The table below shows the exact size of a Caster Hero's Mana pool at each Experience Level, based on the amount of Mana he/she has at level 1 (this is the "strength" of the Hero's Caster ability). Remember that for Fantastic Units possessing Caster, the size of the Mana pool will never change.
Units with Default Caster Edit
There are exactly 20 units in the game that possess Caster by default. 3 of these are Fantastic Units, but the majority are Heroes. The table below lists the default Mana pool available for each of these. Remember that Heroes' Mana pool will increase with level (see above).
|Arch Angel||Caster 40|
Aerie the Illusionist
Alorra the Elven Archer
Aureus the Golden One
Elana the Priestess
Greyfairer the Druid
Jaer the Wind Mage
Malleus the Magician
Marcus the Ranger
Morgana the Witch
Mystic X the Unknown
Rakir the Beastmaster
Ravashack the Necromancer
Reywind the Warrior Mage
Serena the Healer
Torin the Chosen
Valana the Bard
Warrax the Chaos Warrior
Yramrag the Warlock
Zaldron the Sage
Acquiring and Upgrading Caster Edit
There are no ways in which a unit that does not possess Caster can acquire that ability. However, 12 out of the 18 Heroes listed above can upgrade their default Caster ability by picking it as one or more of their Random Abilities. This is done completely at random just before a new campaign begins. The maximum number of times a Hero can upgrade his/her Caster ability is only limited by the number of Random Abilities the Hero may pick.
Each time a Hero picks the Caster ability, he/she gains +2.5 to his/her starting Mana pool size. As explained earlier, the pool increases with each Experience Level the Hero gains, by an amount equal to the size of the initial pool. Therefore, with each additional Caster pick, the Hero also receives +2.5 for every Experience Level he/she gains. This is described in the Improvement Table section above.
The table below shows the default starting Mana pool of each Hero, and the maximum Mana pool he/she may have if all Random Abilities were invested into upgrading the Caster ability. Remember that due to the random nature of the picks, it is unlikely for a Hero to pick this ability more than twice (if at all). It is, however, statistically possible.
|Portrait||Name|| # of|
|Aerie the Illusionist||2||10||15|
|Alorra the Elven Archer||3||5||12.5|
|Aureus the Golden One||2||5||10|
|Elana the Priestess||--||12.5||12.5|
|Greyfairer the Druid||--||7.5||7.5|
|Jaer the Wind Mage||1||7.5||10|
|Malleus the Magician||1||10||12.5|
|Marcus the Ranger||--||5||5|
|Morgana the Witch||2||10||15|
|Mystic X the Unknown||5||5||17.5|
|Rakir the Beastmaster||--||5||5|
|Ravashack the Necromancer||2||12.5||17.5|
|Reywind the Warrior Mage||1||5||7.5|
|Serena the Healer||1||7.5||10|
|Torin the Chosen *||2||15||20 *|
|Valana the Bard||--||5||5|
|Warrax the Chaos Warrior||3||10||17.5|
|Yramrag the Warlock||1||15||17.5|
|Zaldron the Sage||--||7.5||7.5|
* Torin may occasionally reach 20, which is the largest possible starting Mana pool of any Hero.
Each Caster has a certain repertoire of spells he or she may cast. This depends entirely on the specific unit or Hero - with almost every unit having a slightly different repertoire. Spells that are not in a unit's repertoire cannot be cast at all.
The rules on which spells are included in a unit's repertoire are simple:
- Fantastic Units with Caster may cast any spell belonging to the same Magical Realm as the unit itself. This often includes spells that are currently unknown to the unit's employer, or spells what are too expensive to be cast by the unit.
- Heroes can cast any spell that their employer can cast.
- Many Heroes have additional spells that they can cast by default, whether or not these spells are known the employer.
The table below lists each Caster and the details of its repertoire. Note that for Heroes, rule #2 above always applies, so the list only shows extra spells that the Hero always has access to, if any.
|Arch Angel||All spells from the Life Realm|
|Djinn||All spells from the Sorcery Realm|
|Efreet||All spells from the Chaos Realm|
* Note: If any of these units is turned into an Undead, it will henceforth only be able to cast spells from the Death Realm, instead of whatever spells it was previously capable of casting.
Note: Always remember that some spells, despite being in a unit's repertoire, may or may not be available for casting until the unit can somehow acquire sufficient Mana to cast the spell (usually only Heroes can do this, see above).
Spell Save Penalties Edit
A large variety of spells, particularly Combat Instants and Unit Curses, force their target to make a Resistance roll. If the target fails the roll, it will suffer part or all of the spell's effect. Some spells also apply a Resistance Penalty on the target, making it harder to avert the spell's effect.
When a Hero is capable of casting such a spell, he/she can get an advantage that a Wizard cannot. The Hero may be equipped with a Magical Item containing a Spell Save penalty, which further reduces the target's Resistance score, making it even harder for the target to escape the spell's effect.
Caster Heroes who have access to a wide variety of such spells can be equipped with several "Spell Save" items (hopefully with large Spell Save penalties on them). When such Heroes cast the appropriate spells, the target may have little or no chance at all to avert the ensuing effects - often leading to serious harm.
Remember that only Heroes can acquire Spell Save penalties, and that the penalties only apply when the Hero casts a spell that can benefit from them.
|Spells using "− Spell Save"|
|Petrify||Banish||Disintegrate||Dispel Evil||Black Sleep|
|Creature Binding||Warp Creature||Weakness|
|Vertigo||Word of Death|
In the unofficial patches 1.40 and 1.50, "Spell Save" will also affect Life Drain, Holy Word and Death Spell. So, every spell that requires a resistance check and that is not a Combat Enchantment will profit from "Spell Save" there.
Known Bugs Edit
There is a bug in the game code that prevents certain extra spells from being added to Heroes' repertoire, as the list above indicates they should.
As a result, all extra spells that have internal number bigger than 127, are dysfunctional. This concerns all Death and Life realm spells, apart from these life spells (Bless, Star Fires, Holy Weapon, Healing, Holy Armor). All other spells are fully functional.
The problem has so far been observed with the following Heroes:
From this list, Torin and Elana have Healing and Torin has Holy Armor. Everything else is lost.
Note that these Heroes can still cast spells, and have access to the entire repertoire of their employer wizard - but with no additional spells. Thus, if the Wizard learns the spells that they should've gotten "for free", those Heroes would be able to cast them. Still, this is a problem given that Morgana in particular is valued mostly for her Possession spell.