This Retort provides many bonuses to a Wizard specializing in Chaos magic: it reduces the Spell Research time and Casting Cost of Chaos spells by 15%, while at the same time making these spells harder to counter or dispel. Additionally, the Wizard obtains twice as much Power from each Chaos Node they control.
Studying the spells associated with Chaos magic is one thing, but having a true affinity to the Chaos Realm is quite another. It is not always enough to have knowledge of this type of magic, some Wizards actually tap directly into the Chaos Realm to draw their power, and become masters of its secret arts.
The Chaos Master has made such a connection, and therefore finds it easier to manipulate Chaos magic in all its forms. Spellcasting becomes easier, and the study of new spells from this Realm comes naturally and effortlessly. Furthermore, as the Chaos Master's spells have a stronger bond to the Chaos Realm, those bonds become much harder to break.
Whenever a Chaos Master locates and liberates a Chaos Node, this literal aperture into the Chaos Realm can be exploited much more readily, expanded and utilized to release a truly vast amount of magical energy - which the Chaos Master has no problem absorbing. These focal points become important strategic assets in the Wizard's quest for domination.
Chaos Mastery is one of the color-specific Retorts available in Master of Magic. Any Wizard possessing this Retort receives four special benefits that will positively affect them for the duration of the game. Provided, of course, that they wield Chaos magic. If they don't, then its only effect will be the increased Power gain from Chaos Nodes.
Improved Research Edit
The Chaos Master has a much easier time studying Chaos spells of all kinds. Whenever they are conducting Spell Research into one, the amount of Research Points they accumulate each turn is increased by 15%. For example, a Chaos Master who normally gets 20 every turn will get 23 if they are researching a Chaos spell. This is cumulative with a similar bonus rewarded for having 8 or more Spellbooks in the Chaos Realm. For example, a Wizard with 10 and Chaos Mastery gets a +45% bonus ( 15% from Chaos Mastery, and 30% from the Spellbooks).
Casting Cost Reduction Edit
Furthermore, the Chaos Master has a reduction of 15% on the Casting Cost of all spells that belong to the Chaos Realm. This allows the Wizard to cast more Chaos spells in combat, and cast them faster on the overland map. If the Wizard uses mostly or only Chaos spells, the Mana saved due to these lower costs could also be quite significant. This effect also stacks with Casting Cost reductions gained from possessing 8 or more Chaos Spellbooks. The same Wizard from above, with 10 and Chaos Mastery, would also get a -45% off the Casting Cost of their Chaos spells.
Spells Harder to Dispel Edit
Any and all Chaos spells cast by the Chaos Master are harder to both dispel and counter, regardless of what effect is making the dispelling attempt. The spells are considered to have twice their base Casting Cost against all such attempts. For example, a spell with a base Cost of 25 has a 50 / ( 50 + 25) × 100 = 66.66% chance of being removed by a full strength Dispel Magic. However, if this is a Chaos spell cast by a Chaos Master, this chance is only 50 / ( 50 + 2 × 25) × 100 = 50%.
Naturally, the more expensive the spell, the greater this benefit becomes. This makes it far easier to keep Global Enchantments in place, but it also helps prevent the enemy from removing other important enchantments, especially during battle. It's worth noting though, that due to a design flaw in the game, effects that counter spells in combat actually work off the effective Casting Cost of spells. This means that Chaos Mastery's cost reduction also works against the player here, and negates some of its own benefit in this case.
This effect is cumulative with that of the Archmage Retort. Should a Wizard possess both, their spells will be treated as having three times their Casting Cost for the purposes of dispelling or countering them.
Chaos Node Power Output Edit
Finally, any Chaos Node that is under the control of the Chaos Master will generate twice as much Power as it would for other Wizards. This is exclusive to Chaos Nodes though; other types of Nodes will still yield their normal amount of Power. The bonus also only applies while the Chaos Master is in control of the Node: should they lose it to another Wizard, the Node will resume generating its basic amount of Power.
Chaos Mastery together with the Node Mastery Retort provide double the bonus. In such a case, a Chaos Node would provide four times its base Power output - potentially up to 100 per Node on the Myrror Plane!
Costs and Prerequisites Edit
When creating a new Wizard, it is only possible to pick the Chaos Mastery Retort if the Wizard already possesses at least 4 Chaos Spellbooks. Otherwise, this Retort is not available. The Wizard may have any combination of other Spellbooks or Retorts beyond this required minimum. Selecting this Retort also consumes 1 pick. This means that a Chaos Master cannot have 11 Spellbooks at the start of the game, and thus is trading the benefits of having that many Spellbooks for the bonuses listed above.
Chaos Mastery may be acquired during the game, as Treasure for clearing out difficult Encounter Zones. In this case, it may be awarded even if the player does not meet the requirements that apply during Wizard creation. That is, no Spellbooks are necessary to pick it up this way. However, considering the amount of randomness involved, this is absolutely not a reliable way of obtaining this Retort.
As mentioned above, starting with Chaos Mastery means that the player cannot have 11 Spellbooks at the beginning of the game. This means trading away a significant benefit bestowed by starting with 11 Spellbooks in one color - opening the game with two Uncommon- and a Rare Spell already known and ready for casting. The Spell Research time and Casting Cost reductions of an 11th Chaos book are matched, and even exceeded by Chaos Mastery's own. On the other hand, since it may take some time before the Node Power bonus or the dispel resistance become really useful, this essentially becomes a choice between a long and a short term benefit.
However, it is much easier to acquire Chaos Spellbooks during an ongoing game than it is to pick up this Retort. In fact, targeting Chaos Nodes above all other types of Encounter Zones yields an even greater benefit this way, as these sites will always award Chaos books, if any. Considering that Spellbook rewards are three times as common as Retorts, it is very much possible to try and "farm" these out with a fairly high success rate. The same can not be said about Chaos Mastery, which typically requires a large amount of reloads of the same Special Treasure to get, although at least it can be found in any site that features such.
Combined with Conjurer and a full shelf of 13 Chaos Spellbooks, Chaos Mastery allows the player to cast Summoning Spells for free. Naturally, this also makes them instant casts on the overland map. However, this set of profile traits is actually quite difficult to achieve. Normally, starting with 9 and the two Retorts would set the player up perfectly for it, as the remaining books should be possible to get as described above. The problem comes in the form of an unfortunate combination of two bugs in the official game. The first one is a mismatch in the amount of researchable spells that the Wizard gets if they start the game with 10 or more Spellbooks of a single color, versus the 10th book being found in Treasure. In the latter case, their library will be short of 2 Very Rare Spells.
This, in turn, can trigger another bug. Namely, that finding any Spellbook of a color that the player already has more than 10 of, will mistakenly convert that book into a Nature one, if the player has any Very Rare Spells from that Realm missing from their library. Starting the game with 10 or more eliminates this problem, but then one of the Retorts has to be gotten through a lucky Treasure roll, before the Wizard's profile is filled up with the maximum possible of 6. The only other option is to somehow obtain the two missing Very Rare Spells between picking up the 10th and 12th books. The Unofficial Patch 1.50 also fixes the bugs, but at the same time it greatly reduces the chance of Special Treasure appearing in Encounter Zones. This makes it possible that there simply won't be enough sites capable of consistently awarding the missing 4 Chaos books.