|Upkeep Cost||5 per turn|
|# of Figures||1|
|Hit Points per figure||45|
The Floating Island is a type of Fantastic Unit featured in Master of Magic. Floating Islands belong to the Sorcery Realm, and may be summoned using a Summoning Spell of the same name. The Floating Island is a non-combat unit designed entirely for carrying other units across ocean tiles. It may carry up to 8 units at a time, moving at the basic rate of 2 per turn. Unfortunately, the Floating Island never appears during combat, and will automatically lose when engaged by enemies if it is not carrying any other units.
The Fantastic Unit
The Floating Island is exactly what it's called: a large, flat mass of land suspended in mid-air a short distance above the ocean's surface. It is massive in size - large enough to carry an entire army.
The Floating Island is designed to carry other units across Ocean tiles. It is essentially a very large troop ship.
When a unit is placed in the same tile as the Floating Island and set to "Patrol", or moved directly into the Ocean tile containing the island, the Floating Island is then said to be carrying that unit. Subsequent movement of the Floating Island will take the carried unit with it.
Units may be off-loaded by activating them (removing "Patrol" status) and then moving them away from the Floating Island's tile. Note that Walking units may only move off to a land tile - they may not split off from the Floating Island's stack while in the ocean.
If the Floating Island is somehow removed from the game while carrying units across an Ocean tile, any Walking units in its stack are immediately destroyed due to drowning. This is only averted if the stack contains at least one more transport capable of carrying at least some of the walking units in the stack. Any units that do not fit on other the transport(s) will drown.
Lack of Combat Properties
The Floating Island is a decidedly non-combat unit. Whenever a stack containing a Floating Island is engaged in battle, the Floating Island itself will not appear at all. This is just as well, since the island has no Melee Attack, Ranged Attack, nor Defense properties.
If the Floating Island is not carrying any units (or is stacked only with other Floating Islands), it will lose the battle immediately, being destroyed on the spot.
If the Floating Island is carrying combat-worthy units, only those units will appear during combat.
If the Floating Island's stack is engaged over an Ocean tile, Walking units in the stack will indeed appear during combat, but cannot move at all. They may still attack enemies in either Melee or Ranged combat (as well as Counter Attacking when appropriate), but they simply cannot move.
The Floating Island has a Resistance score of 10, making it immune to many ill effects that require a Resistance roll (but not all of them). This helps prevent the island from being banished while carrying other units over the ocean (which would cause them to die instantly).
The Floating Island also possesses Stoning Immunity, Poison Immunity and Death Immunity, rendering it invulnerable to a few specific spells. However, these immunities are generally useful only in combat, and as explained above a Floating Island never participates in combat to begin with.
The Floating Island is a great way to transport an army across an ocean. This is important for wizards who rely on Walking units. The spell's low Casting Cost and early availability makes it a good early-game alternative to constructing warships.
Naturally, abundant availability of Flying units or related magics can render the Floating Island spell less useful for some wizards.
Enemy Floating Islands
Floating Islands will only ever appear as summoned units under the control of one of the wizards - never as Rampaging Monsters or any other kind of Neutral combatants.
As explained above, enemy Floating Islands never appear during combat. Attacking a lone Floating Island or an army stack comprised of nothing but Floating Islands gives the enemy wizard one turn of spellcasting, and then grants victory (the islands are destroyed automatically). Be careful sending units to attack a Floating Island if the enemy wizard can destroy one or more of the units with a single cast. Also, avoid sending units if the enemy wizard can remove their ability to fly or swim - killing a Floating Island and then drowning is a rather Pyrrhic victory.
A good way to destroy an entire enemy army stack is to somehow dispel or banish the Floating Island carrying that army while it is over an Ocean tile. Any unit in that stack which cannot Fly, Swim or be loaded into another transport already present in the same stack is immediately destroyed!
- This unit cannot be hurt by Poison Damage. It will automatically pass any Resistance roll to avert such damage.
- This unit cannot be petrified, whether by Stoning Damage attacks or the Petrify spell. It ignores the Stoning effect entirely.
- This unit cannot be affected by any spell or ability that causes death or fear, including most of the combat spells from the Death Realm.
The Summoning Spell
Floating Island may only be cast on the overland map, for the base Casting Cost of 50. Unlike other Summoning Spells, it does not automatically place the new unit in the Town containing the Wizard's Summoning Circle. Instead, the casting wizard must choose an ocean tile on either of the two Planes that does not presently contain any enemy units. The Floating Island will be created on that tile.
The new unit is created with full Movement Points, and may move immediately as necessary.
To keep the Floating Island in play, it is necessary to pay an Upkeep Cost of 5 per turn. This is drawn automatically from the caster's Mana pool each turn. Failure to pay the required costs due to lack of Mana in the pool will lead to the Floating Island being immediately destroyed, along with any Unit Enchantments currently affecting it.
If the unit is destroyed in combat (which, by the way, automatically happens if it is not carrying any combat-worth units when entering combat mode), then it is gone from the world entirely, and there is no further need to pay its Upkeep Costs.
You can also dismiss the Floating Island voluntarily. To do this, right-click the unit's icon and then press the red "Dismiss" button on the bottom right corner of the unit's details panel. A dismissed unit is gone forever, but of course you can always cast the Floating Island spell again to get a fresh new one. The primary reason to dismiss a Fantastic Creature would be to remove its Upkeep Cost (conserving Mana as a result).
Due to the high relative Upkeep Cost it is often best to dismiss the Floating Island when it has completed its task. The relative Upkeep Cost of this unit is 10% of its Casting Cost, one of the highest relative Upkeep Costs in the game. In other words, if you assign the Floating Island to patrol for 10 months you will spend as much Mana as if you dismissed the unit and Summoned it again when needed. Opponent Wizards will often Summon a number of Floating Islands that remain in the same spot for much of the game ("Thank you, can I have another?!").
As a Common Sorcery spell, Floating Island may become available to any Wizard who possesses at least one Sorcery Spellbook. However, its availability during the game is not guaranteed unless the Wizard acquires at least 7 Spellbooks.
Customized Wizards possessing up to 10 Spellbooks at creation time may choose this spell as one of their default spells before starting the game, in which case the spell will already be researched and available for casting immediately on the first turn. Wizards with 11 Spellbooks are guaranteed to have this spell available for casting as soon as the game begins.
Wizards with 6 or fewer Spellbooks who have not chosen Floating Island as a guaranteed spell have a random chance of being able to Research it. The chance for this spell to appear increases with the number of Sorcery Spellbooks the Wizard possesses or obtains during gameplay. With -3 Spellbooks, the spell is guaranteed to appear for Research if it is not already available for casting.
Floating Island has a base Research Cost of 60.
With at least 1 Spellbook, the Floating Island spell 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.