A Wizard is the leader of an empire in Master of Magic. Each player represents (and controls) a single Wizard, the defeat of whom spells game over for that player. Wizards influence gameplay through their profile traits, and the spells that they can cast, both overland and on the battlefield. However, they may not otherwise have an active fighting role in combat.
In a world filled with the wonders of magic, it is only natural that some individuals will rise to the occasion and try to achieve mastery over this power. Alas, very few are dedicated enough to endure the rigorous study and research involved in understanding even its basics. Fewer still are the ones that also possess the focus and willpower necessary to channel these energies over any appreciable distance. Those that do however, tend to quickly find themselves at the center of attention; both of others looking to follow in their footsteps, and rivals wary, or even outright afraid of their power.
Lesser beings often seek their counsel, inevitably leading to small settlements forming around their dwellings. These grow and mature as the Wizard grows in skill, eventually leading to the founding of a nation of their own. Not many get to see the mighty spellcasters in person, however. Furthering their knowledge requires constant experimentation with the forces that bind the worlds together. Because of this, they almost never leave their fortress towers, often choosing mortal champions to see to the more mundane matters of the land. Nonetheless, their very presence can always be felt across their empire. If not through the beneficial effects of their magic, then through the soldiers and otherworldly beings paid or summoned to enforce their will.
Most Wizards desire one thing above all, however: to become the one, true, Master of Magic.
The presence of the Wizard impersonated by each player has several effects of varying significance on the game. The most obvious of these is the ability to cast spells, albeit some units and Heroes can duplicate this feat during battles. Of similar importance is the fact that defeating their Wizard ends the game for the players. However, profile traits, selected at the start, or acquired during gameplay, also often have a major impact on how the match plays out.
Spells and Spellcasting Edit
Master of Magic features a grand total of 214 spells that a Wizard can learn to cast. These are grouped into 6 Realms: Arcane, Life, Death, Nature, Chaos, and Sorcery. Of these, only the 14 spells of the Arcane Realm are available unconditionally to every Wizard. To learn spells from any of the other Realms (which have 40 each), the Wizard must possess Spellbooks of the corresponding color. A single book allows the acquisition of Common- and Uncommon Spells, two are required to obtain any Rare Spells, while three or more will allow the player to also learn the Very Rare Spells.
Since each Spell Rarity level contains 10 spells from every Realm (except the Arcane), the first books always allow access to more spells than any subsequent ones. This gives a slight advantage to Wizards that take a "multi-color" approach instead of specializing in a single Realm, as the amount of spells known will contribute to the final Score at the end of the game. However, since each is only worth a single point, this difference can usually be offset through the other fields. Regardless, having access to multiple schools of magic increases spellcasting versatility, and enables more spells to be acquired through Diplomacy.
Any Heroes with the Caster ability automatically have access to all of the spells known by the Wizard under whose banner they serve. While they can't cast overland spells, they can make use of any combat ones in the Wizard's repertoire. The same is not true for other spellcasting units however, whom instead base their selection on the magical Realm they are associated with.
Spells are learned mainly through Spell Research, a long process that involves deciphering ancient tomes, and experimenting with the secrets found therein. This is not the only way of acquiring them though. Already deciphered spells can show up in Treasure, particularly in Towers of Wizardry that, in the original game, will always contain a spell, an entire Spellbook, or a Retort (see below). They can also be traded with rival Wizards through diplomatic negotiations. Finally, conquering the Fortress of another Wizard can randomly award up to two spells that they already know, provided that the player is eligible for learning them, and has not yet done so.
Banishment and Defeat Edit
There are two ways of defeating a Wizard: by conquering the Town that their Fortress resides in, or by casting the ultimate Spell of Mastery. While the latter method always instantly wins the game, the former does not necessarily eliminate a Wizard or their player. So long as they have at least one other Town or Outpost, they can choose whether to resign, or attempt to cast the Spell of Return. Should they continue playing, they are considered "banished".
Banished Wizards are prohibited from casting any spells, with the exception of the above mentioned Spell of Return, which they automatically begin channeling if they decide to stay in the game. However, any spellcasting Heroes under their control retain access to the combat spells they know, and can use them even though the Wizard may not cast anything themselves during battles.
In addition, the destruction of their Fortress removes a Wizard's ability to focus and transform Power. This halts all Spell Research, prevents the improvement of Spell Casting Skill, and negates all per-turn Mana income. Because of this, players with 0 remaining at the time they would be banished are automatically defeated instead in the official game, as the Spell of Return has a base Casting Cost of 1,000. However, Mana can still be gained, most commonly through Alchemy or destroying Magical Items; but Encounter Zones may also be plundered in the hopes of finding Mana Crystals in their Treasure. Banishing or defeating another Wizard also appropriates half of their Mana before the Unofficial Patch 1.50, but this is quite the feat to attempt while being banished.
Meanwhile, the player's empire remains fully operational in all other respects. Cities will carry on with their assigned Production, and units don't disband or abandon the banished Wizard. However, keeping Fantastic Units and Enchantments around can become risky, as they put a further drain on the ever-decreasing Mana reserves. Aside from this though, the player's armies can still continue moving, conquering assets, and gathering resources.
Profile Traits Edit
Profile traits can be thought of as the defining characteristics of a Wizard. Most of these can be viewed through the mirror screen, available by clicking on the "Info" button on the top bar, or by pressing F9 directly from the main overland view. A similar display is available for inspecting rival Wizards from the magic screen, but only after having made contact with them or their forces.
- Spellbooks denote the Wizards aptitude in their relevant Realms of magic, in addition to being the source of the spells that they can research. They are illustrated on the mirror screen by a shelf of books, the bindings of which are marked with the symbol of their corresponding color. Each Wizard can possess up to 13 Spellbooks in any given game, which also form the core of their Power income. In addition to setting out the maximum Rarities of the spells that the Wizard can learn from each Realm, a high amount (8+) of books from a single color both enhances Spell Research, and reduces the Casting Costs of the associated spells. They also play a role in Diplomacy, as likeminded Wizards tend to get along better with each other. In fact, the Starting Relations between all of the Wizards are based entirely on the types and amounts of the Spellbooks that they begin the game with.
- Apart from selecting them at the start of the game, Spellbooks may also be found in Treasure, albeit only in the toughest of Encounter Zones. Regardless of the method they are acquired though, they typically also contain new spells for the Wizard to research. Furthermore, Spellbooks picked up during character creation improve the Wizard's initial Spell Casting Skill, and each book above the first in a certain color allows the selection of a Common Spell, that the player will already know, and be able to cast, when the game begins. In fact, choosing to spend all 11 starting "picks" (see below) on Spellbooks of a single Realm lets a player start with two Uncommon Spells and a Rare one, in addition to all of the Common Spells of that Realm.
- Retorts are special abilities possessed by certain Wizards, that can affect many aspects of the gameplay. There are a total of 18 different Retorts in Master of Magic. While most of them are magic-oriented, there are some that enhance economy (e.g. Famous), or military power (Warlord) instead. Each Wizard can have up to 6 Retorts in a single game. They may be chosen at the start of the game, or acquired during the campaign as Treasure from well-defended Encounter Zones. However, some Retorts are deemed more powerful than others, and require multiple "picks" (see below) to obtain at the beginning of the game. This also makes these Retorts much more rare in Treasure, as the encounter itself needs to be capable of rewarding multiple ones to be able to award them at all.
- Fame represents how well-known a Wizard is, an indicator of the overall success of their campaign. Fame is gained by vanquising large armies, Very Rare creatures, or rival Wizards; and by conquering Towns. It may also be lost in much the same ways, should the player find themselves on the receiving end of defeat. In addition, a static increase to this trait can be gained from the Famous Retort, and a transient boost may be acquired by hiring Legendary Heroes, or maintaining a Just Cause spell. Fame decreases the total Gold Upkeep of the Wizard's mundane armies; increases their chance of being approached by wandering Merchants, and Mercenaries or Heroes for hire; and plays a part in the final Scoring. In addition, certain Heroes will only appear at the doorstep of particularly famous Wizards.
Capital Race Edit
- This attribute is not visible in the mirror screen, but has important economical and strategic consequences nonetheless. Since it always matches the Race of the Town that the Wizard's Fortress is (or last was) located, it is possible to change during gameplay via the Move Fortress spell or, under more dire circumstances, through a Spell of Return. Initially however, the capital Race is always the player's starting Race. It determines the base Unrest in every City controlled by the Wizard, which is a function of the racial relations between the capital Race, and the one populating the Town in question. In addition, as there is no guarantee that a Town of given Race will appear on the map at all, selecting it as a starting Race is the only way of ensuring that it will be available in the campaign.
Spell Casting Skill Edit
- Another attribute that is not listed on the mirror screen, Spell Casting Skill denotes the Wizards aptitude at focusing magical energy without becoming exhausted. It determines how much Mana can be channeled into overland spells in a game turn, and how much Casting Cost worth of spells can be cast in a single battle. While these are theoretically the same, in the latter case, the actual Mana spent is influenced by the distance of the battlefield from the Wizard's capital, but this does not actually affect the amount of available Skill deducted for casting the spell. That is, in a battle that takes place far away from the Fortress, the cost of the spell, in Mana, may be up to 3 times as much as the amount of Skill it requires to cast.
- For most Wizards, Spell Casting Skill can only be increased in one single way: by assigning Power income to training it. This is a slow and arduous process, as it takes twice as much Power as the Wizard's current Skill to improve it by a single point. This is why many Wizards direct the majority of their Power into Skill training: both Mana and Research Points can be acquired through other means. Players with access to Death magic have a slight advantage here, as the Life Drain spell can also provide points towards Casting Skill improvement, equal to that of 3 invested points per damage done. This is typically inefficient however, as the spell can only be cast in battle, has to be cast by the Wizards themselves (Heroes are instead healed by it), and will quickly require a disproportionate amount of Mana investment as the battlefield gets farther away from the capital.
- While not a profile trait strictly speaking, it's worth noting that each Wizard's portrait in a game must be different. In practice, this means that no AI Wizard will be created with a portrait that is already in use, either by the human player, or a previously created computer Wizard. This can be exploited to avoid having to face a certain opponent, as choosing their portrait, even for a custom character, will preclude the computer players from selecting that Wizard. Naturally, the AI Wizards will also always be different from one another as a result.
AI Traits Edit
- Computer-controlled Wizards also have two more profile traits that influence their behaviour. These are called "Personality" and "Objective", and are shown among their other traits, when right-clicking their profile gems on the Magic Screen (once contact has been made). These attributes affect mainly the computer's choices for Production, Spell Research, and diplomatic actions. However, as the game's AI is designed to be ultimately probabilistic, rather than deterministic, and because the impact of these traits can vary greatly within each area, their effect may or may not be actually felt in any given game.
Creating a Wizard Edit
When starting a new game, after choosing the world settings (Difficulty, Land Size, number of opponents, and magic strength), the player is prompted to choose or create their own Wizard. At the lowest Difficulty setting ("Intro" in the original game, "Easy" from the unofficial Insecticide patch onwards), the player must always select and play with one of the default Wizards. On all other difficulties though, they are allowed to fully customize the character.
Default Wizards Edit
The "default" Wizards in Master of Magic each represent a certain combination of magical Realms, as illustrated below:
|Life Realm||Nature Realm||Sorcery Realm||Chaos Realm||Death Realm|
|Sorcery Realm||Horus||Raven||Jafar||Lo Pan||Kali|
|Chaos Realm||Sss'ra||Oberic||Lo Pan||Tauron||Sharee|
As seen from the table, the combination of Life and Death is not available. This is because these Realms are mutually exclusive. No Wizard, whether created by the player or controlled by an AI, can ever become proficient in both at the same time. However, the Unofficial Patch 1.50 contains an optional feature file that enables this selection, although there are still no default profiles that possess it.
It should also be noted that all of the single-Realm characters start with at least one Retort. That is, there are no default Wizards with an 11-Book profile. In fact, the only premade character with an all-book profile is Raven - all others have exactly one Retort in addition to their Spellbook selection, which are as follows:
|Merlin||Sage Master - 5 - 5||Sss'ra||Myrran - 4 - 4|
|Raven||6 - 5||Tauron||Chaos Mastery - 10|
|Sharee||Conjurer - 5 - 5||Freya||Nature Mastery - 10|
|Lo Pan||Channeler - 51 - 5||Horus||Archmage - 5 - 5|
|Jafar||Alchemy - 10||Ariel||Charismatic - 10|
|Oberic||Mana Focusing - 5 - 5||Tlaloc||Warlord - 4 - 5|
|Rjak||Infernal Power - 9||Kali||Artificer - 5 - 5|
|1: due to a developer oversight, Lo Pan actually starts with more profile "picks" than the other Wizards. To correct this, starting with the Unofficial Patch 1.50, he only has 4 Sorcery Spellbooks.|
Starting Spells Edit
- The starting spells of default and AI Wizards are pre-set, determined by the number of Spellbooks they own in the corresponding Realms. In the latest official patch, v1.31, these are:
- The unofficial fan patch 1.40n, also known as Insecticide, makes many changes to the above table, resulting in the following instead:
- Additionally, AI Wizards (but not the human player) will always start with at least one common Summoning Spell. This spell is based on the primary magical Realm of the Wizard. This is the Realm that the Wizard has the most Spellbooks in, with precedence descending in the following order in case of a tie:
- On the "Hard" and "Impossible" Difficulty settings, AI Wizards will also always be able to research an Uncommon Summoning Spell in that primary Realm:
Nature Sorcery Chaos Life Death known Sprites Nagas Hell Hounds Guardian Spirit Ghouls learnable Basilisk Phantom Beast Chimeras Unicorns Shadow Demons
Custom Wizards Edit
On all but the lowest Difficulty setting, the player's Wizard can be fully customized. This process is started by clicking on the "Custom" button under the bottom of the second column of premade Wizards. The first step is choosing the portrait which, as mentioned above, will prevent any computer players from using the selected Wizard. After that, the character can be given a custom name, although this defaults to the original name that the selected portrait belongs to.
- The next step of custom Wizard creation is to allocate a total of 11 "picks" into either Spellbooks from any of the non-Arcane Realms, or into special abilities called Retorts. There are only two restrictions here. First, Life and Death books may not both be selected: the player can only choose one or the other, if any. Second, over half of the Retorts are initially greyed out, and may not be picked. This is because these all have some sort of requirement, in terms of Spellbooks being necessary to select them. Clicking on any inactive ability displays a short message revealing these requirements. For example, Archmage and Mana Focusing both become available once the Wizard chooses at least 4 books in any single Realm, while Sage Master requires 1-1 books of two different colors.
- In addition, some of the Retorts are considered more powerful than the rest, and cost two "picks". These are Warlord, Channeler, Divine Power, Infernal Power, and Famous. Furthermore, the Myrran Retort, which enables the player to start the game on the Myrror Plane, with a Myrran Race, even costs 3 "picks". It may be worth noting though, that despite them being more expensive in "picks", these Retorts still only count as single ones towards the Wizard's limit of 6 total per game.
- Unlike default Wizards, custom characters can choose the spells they start with. Within each Realm, every book after the first allows the selection of one Common Spell in that Realm. Should the player decide to allocate all 11 of their "picks" to Spellbooks of a single color, then they may also choose two Uncommon Spells and one Rare Spell, in addition to beginning the game knowing all Common ones. While this requires foregoing any Retort picks, there are a fair amount of Rare Spells that allow for very strong starting strategies, that can quickly overwhelm the computer opponents, even on the hardest Difficulty settings.