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Darkness
CombatEnchantment Darkness
Realm Icon Death.pngDeath
Spell Rarity Common
Spell Type Combat Enchantment
Combat Cost Icon Mana.png 25
Research Cost Icon Research.png 250
Effects
All Fantastic Units of the Icon Death.pngDeath Realm receive Icon Defense.png +1, Icon Resist.png +1, and a universal Attack Strength bonus of +1, while those of Icon Life.pngLife suffer equivalent penalties of -1.

Darkness is a Common Combat Enchantment of the Icon Death.pngDeath Realm. For Icon Mana.png 25 it may be cast during battles to both enhance Fantastic Units of the Icon Death.pngDeath Realm and hinder those of Icon Life.pngLife. This manifests as bonuses of Icon Defense.png +1, Icon Resist.png +1, and a +1 to all non-spell Attack Strengths of Icon Death.pngDeath and UnitEnchantment Undead Undead units; and respectively penalties of the same magnitude for Icon Life.pngLife ones. The effect lasts until the end of the battle, or until dispelled by the opponent.

Effects Edit

Darkness covers the battlefield in infernal energy. This increases the combat prowess of all Icon Death.pngDeath creatures, while simultaneously reducing that of all Icon Life.pngLife units.

Death Creature Bonuses Edit

While Darkness is in effect over the battlefield, each and every Fantastic Unit of the Icon Death.pngDeath Realm, including all UnitEnchantment Undead Undead units, will receive the bonuses outlined below. The spell doesn't care about the unit's allegiance though, so it will affect enemy Icon Death.pngDeath creatures as well as friendly ones.

Attack Strength Bonus Edit

Darkness grants a universal Attack Strength bonus of +1 that applies to nearly all Conventional Damage attacks that the affected units make, with the exceptions being those that deal Icon Ranged Magic.png spell damage. It improves Icon Melee Normal.png Melee Strength, Icon Ranged Bow.png / Icon Ranged Magic.png / Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Attack Strength, Icon Thrown.png Thrown Attack Strength, Icon Breath.png Breath Attack Strength, and even Conventional Gaze Attack strength. It does not affect Special Damage attacks (such as Touch Attacks and most actual Gaze effects), Ability Immolation Immolation, or any spells cast by these units.
This increases the amount of dice used during Attack Rolls by one which, in turn, improves the average "raw" Icon Damage.png damage output of the affected attacks by Icon Damage.png 0.3 plus Icon Damage.png 0.1 for every additional Icon ToHit.png +10% To Hit that the unit has over the baseline. Since this applies on a per-attack basis, Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure Units naturally benefit more from it than Icon SingleFigureUnit.png Single Figures, as do units that can utilize multiple different Attack Types.

Defense Bonus Edit

Darkness improves the Defense of the affected units by Icon Defense.png +1. As a result, they can use an extra die on their Defense Rolls when trying to mitigate Conventional Damage, which increases their average reduction by Icon Damage.png 0.3. Although Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure Units can be said to receive more of a benefit, this is only true if, after a first Defense Roll, an attack still inflicts at least as much Icon Damage.png damage as they have Icon Hits.png Hits per Icon Figure.png figure - the condition for triggering another roll.

Resistance Bonus Edit

Darkness also improves the Resistance of the affected units by Icon Resist.png +1. This makes them harder to affect with Unit Curses and most forms of Special Damage. Any unit that reaches Icon Resist.png 10 thanks to this bonus is now immune to all ill effects that don't impose a Resistance penalty, as they can no longer fail their checks against them.

Life Creature Penalties Edit

While Darkness is in effect over the battlefield, each and every Fantastic Unit of the Icon Life.pngLife Realm will receive the penalties outlined below.

Attack Strength Penalty Edit

Darkness reduces the Attack Strength of nearly all Conventional Damage attacks made by the affected units, with the exceptions being any attacks that deal Icon Ranged Magic.png spell damage. In practice though, for Icon Life.pngLife units, this will actually only be their Icon Melee Normal.png Melee Strength, as none of these units have any other conventional Attack Type in the original game. This penalty means that they will use one less die on their Attack Rolls, which translates to an average "raw" Icon Damage.png damage loss of Icon Damage.png 0.3 per attack, plus another Icon Damage.png 0.1 for every Icon ToHit.png +10% that the unit has over the base chance Icon ToHit.png To Hit. This effect is stronger against Icon Life.pngUnicorns than other Icon Life.pngLife units, as they are Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure, and can thus perform multiple attacks with a single combat action.

Defense Penalty Edit

Darkness inflicts a Defense penalty of Icon Defense.png -1 to the affected units. As a result, they will have one less die to use on Defense Rolls when trying to mitigate Conventional Damage. This decreases their Icon Damage.png damage reduction by an average of Icon Damage.png 0.3 (or Icon Damage.png 0.4 if they are under the effect of Icon Life.pngPrayer of Icon Life.pngHigh Prayer).

Resistance Penalty Edit

Darkness also inflicts a Resistance penalty of Icon SpellSave.png -1 on the affected units, which makes them slightly easier to affect with Unit Curses, and more prone to suffering Special Damage.

Darkness vs. True Light Edit

Darkness and Icon Life.pngTrue Light are designed to be identical and opposite. Darkness gives bonuses to Icon Death.pngDeath creatures and penalizes those of Icon Life.pngLife, while Icon Life.pngTrue Light exerts the exact same effect the other way around. The two spells are not mutually exclusive on the battlefield. Therefore, it is possible to have both spells affecting the battle simultaneously. Because they are equal and opposite effects, they essentially cancel each other out.

Cloud of Shadow, Eternal Night Edit

There are two overland spells that can also activate a Darkness effect automatically, without having to cast the spell in battle. Icon Death.pngCloud of Shadow is a Rare Town Enchantment that triggers this effect every time the enchanted Town comes under siege by an opposing army; while Icon Death.pngEternal Night, a Very Rare Global Enchantment, will enshroud any battlefield where the caster's units are engaged, whether they are the offending or defending force.

Neither of these spells indicate their effect in the combat enchantment windows, where Darkness would normally be shown. Instead, they are both listed in the combat information window, invoked by pressing the "Info" button during battle. Even though they are named differently ("Cloud of Darkness" and "Eternal Night" respectively), they do in fact apply the same Darkness effect, to the point of preventing this spell from being re-cast as a Combat Enchantment by the same party.

Usage Edit

Darkness may only be cast during combat, for a basic Casting Cost of Icon Mana.png 25. If the casting is successful, the spell's icon will appear in one of the enchantment windows at the bottom of the screen, underneath the name of the Wizard whose side has cast the spell (left or right depending on whether it is cast by the defending or attacking force). Darkness will then start exerting its effect immediately, and remains active until the end of the battle, or until it is dispelled. Since it does not carry over to the overland map, the spell has no Upkeep Cost.

Acquisition Edit

As a Common Spell of the Icon Death.pngDeath Realm, Darkness may become available to any Wizard who acquires at least Icon Death.png1 Spellbook. With none, the spell can naturally not be learned during the campaign. This is the minimum requirement for it to be traded for, appear in Treasure, or be found in the spoils of victory when conquering the Fortress of a rival Wizard who already knows it.

The base chance for Darkness to be researchable (at some point) in the campaign is roughly 30% (with Icon Death.png1 book), which gradually increases with the amount of Icon Death.pngDeath Spellbooks possessed or found during gameplay. With Icon Death.png7 or more, the spell is certain to show up sooner or later, unless acquired from another source. It has a Research Cost of Icon Research.png 250, although its research is quicker for Wizards possessing the Sage Master Retort, or a bookshelf containing Icon Death.png8 or more.

Darkness may also be selected as a starting spell by any Wizard with at least Icon Death.png2 books. In this case, it will be available for casting as soon as the game begins.

In addition, Darkness is available as a Hero spell. It is known by Morgana the Witch, although it's worth noting that this feature is bugged in the latest official version of the game, and Darkness is one of the few affected spells. This means that Morgana will likely not be able to actually access this spell unless the player installs one of the unofficial patches. Even then, she can't cast it at her initial level either. She needs to become at least a Icon ExpLevel 2.png Captain (level 3), become a Icon ExpLevel 1.png Myrmidon (level 2) if one of her Random Abilities is extra Icon Mana.png Mana, or otherwise equip Magical Items to gain enough Icon Mana.png Mana to use Darkness.

Strategy Edit

Darkness is an excellent spell to empower an army made up primarily of Icon Death.pngDeath and/or UnitEnchantment Undead Undead units. Naturally, the more such units are in an army, the more cost-efficient the spell becomes, especially if many of them are Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure Units, as they get a noticeably bigger boost to their offensive power. Darkness is also one of only a handful effects capable of enhancing Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attacks, including the Conventional Damage components of Gaze Attacks (hidden or otherwise); and can be used to offset a penalty applied by Icon Life.pngTrue Light.

It may be worth noting though, that casting Darkness may be counter-productive when trying to rely on the Ability LifeSteal Life Steal ability to create UnitEnchantment Undead Undead, particularly with small groups of Icon Death.pngWraiths. Although it does increase their survivability, it also shifts their Icon Damage.png damage ratio towards more Conventional- and less Life Stealing Damage, ultimately reducing the chance of slain enemy units being turned. While this can be partially offset by Icon Death.pngBlack Prayer, if available, to maximize the chance, it is typically better to not cast Darkness unless the units take too much of a beating without it.

Alternatively, Darkness can also be used to hinder an opposing army that is comprised primarily of Icon Life.pngLife units. Although such stacks are not commonly seen being used by AI Wizards, and there are no Icon Life.pngLife Rampaging Monsters in the original game either, the spell can occasionally come in handy nonetheless, when trying to clear Encounter Zones featuring Icon Life.pngLife creatures.

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