Combat is what happens when two discovered enemy forces occupy the same location on the map. If one force or both forces are undiscovered, no combat will occur. Thus, a stealthy force may move right through an enemy and not trigger combat.
Thus, both forces are not discovered. Two forces which are both discovered may occupy the same province, but one might be in a fortress which has not yet been breached. In this case, the forces are in different locations (one in the fort, the other besieging in the province). When one army is in a fort and one army besieges, the province is owned by the besieging player and the fort is owned by the besieged. This situation is known as partial ownership of the province. When the same player owns both fort and province, the situation is known as full ownership. Full and partial ownership of a province have certain effects in-game (e.g. some events cannot happen in a partially owned province because they require full ownership as a precondition to happening).
Once combat occurs, units move according to their tactical movement allowance on a grid placed over the map. You can toggle this grid by hitting the [g] key or the [w] key.
Players can find battles overwhelming. This can easily happen if you try to follow every swing of every weapon. It’s not necessary.
It is important to understand that battles in Dominions are not fought to the death. They are fought until one side loses its nerve and routs. As will be explained in the section to follow, routing is based on losses and morale. This allows small units of elite troops to hold off masses of undisciplined barbarians.
Here are some basic points to understand about combat. Details will be discussed later on in this section.
From the tomes of the lore of Dominions
Raterik is a strange and secretive knight. As a youth, he befriended a black unicorn and the magical steed gave the peasant boy the opportunity to join the Black Order. Several of the older members of the Order complained about the peasant, but so far he has not failed in his tasks. Raterik has proven himself a resourceful and able commander. Hildegard was the only child of the late Hochmeister of the Black Order. Her father taught her how to fight and wanted her to join the Order, but she was a strong-willed woman who didn’t like the Order’s strict hierarchical organization. She decided to become a freelance warrior and as such, she has become known and respected. During her more adventurous years, Hildegard befriended a unicorn who still accompanies her.
- Units are deployed on the battlefield corresponding to the Army Setup screen under Position squads.
- The attacker is on the left, the defender on the right.
- Units move across the battlefield in accordance with the instructions in
- When units move adjacent to an enemy, they halt due to a “zone of control”
- Once units are adjacent, they attack each other every turn.
- The chance of scoring a hit in melee depends on the difference between attack and defense values
- The chance of scoring a hit with missile weapons depends on the number of units in square the missile hits, and how good the target’s shield is (if it has one).
- The chance of doing damage after scoring a hit depends on the attacker’s strength and weapon damage versus the defender’s protection.
- Magic in combat works a lot like missile weapons.
- Morale is calculated for each squad. A squad takes a morale check when it suffers enough casualties.
- A squad routs when it fails a morale check.
- Battles are fought until one side routs off the map: the other side is said to have won the battle
- Troops will rout when all of their commanders have been killed or routed. The entire army will rout when their side loses 75% of its total hit points
So if you kill or rout all of an army’s commanders, the whole army will rout. It does not matter how big it is. The biggest army in the universe (of Dominions) will rout if it is led by a single commander, and he is killed or routed.
(For this reason, there is no “attack commanders” order. You will have to figure out how best to do this yourself!)
When you get a report on a battle, you can click on the message “There was a battle in ”. This gives you the battle summary with the casualty lists. Clicking the “View battle” text will take you into the battle replay.
The battles in Dominions are actually very detailed tactical resolutions fought at the level of the individual fighters, mages, and priests. Each unit has its own equipment and abilities. They move and fight according to these parameters, according to the battle sequence. When you watch the battle replay, you can see what happened with various degrees of detail. There is a box in the upper left which describes the action. You can change the level of detail in this box by hitting the number keys:  for least detail, [2-3] for more detail, and  for most detail.
Other useful keys when viewing battles are:
|for scrolling around the map
|for adjusting the camera height
|for pausing the action
|for toggling colored squares for the teams
|for toggling grid
|for toggling the wire frame grid (battlefieldgraphics disappear from view)
|to quit out of the battle replay
|speed up battle replay to fast speed
|speed up battle replay to fastest speed
|switch battle replay back to normal speed
|while viewing a unit, this key will show itscombat log
|slow motion replay (useful when using greatest amount of detail to see what happens andwhen)
|Obtain a list of all the units
|View current weather and dominion scales
|View the available hotkeys
|1 / 2 / 3 / 4
|adjusts the level of detail in the battle log(upper left text box describing the battle action)
|scroll the battle log
When combat is started, the attacker is placed on the left side of the screen and the defender on the right. All units are placed on the battlefield according to their setup. They will then proceed to follow whatever orders they have been given (attack, cast spells) until they rout or the battle ends.
Units in Dominions 6 are placed into squads, which are under the leadership of a commander. A single commander can lead up to five squads.
The total number of units a commander can lead is designated by the Leadership rating found in the unit abilities. Clicking on this rating gives further details of the commander’s leadership limits, such as how many magical beings or undead may be led. This is important, as not all commanders have the skill to give orders to magic monsters.
And undead and demons don’t take orders from just anybody either.
Squad limits related to leadership values:
- Leadership 10: automatic -1 to morale for a single squad. An additional -1 to all squads for every squad beyond the first (so five squads = -1 base penalty and -4 for four extra squads = -5).
- Leadership 50: No morale penalty if leading one or two squads. -1 penalty for every additional sq.
- Leadership 100: +1 morale for all squads if three or fewer. -1 penalty to morale for every squad above three.
- Leadership 150: +2 morale for up to 4 squads, -1 penalty to all if fifth squad added.
- Leadership 200: +3 morale for all five squads.
The morale effects of leadership rating are based on the base leadership rating of the commander. Commanders gain more leadership with experience, so a highly experienced commander with a base leadership of 50 might be able to lead up to 175 units or more, but the morale bonuses still stay the same.
|Poor Leaders (ldr 10)
Other effects on morale:
- Mixing undisciplined units with normal makes entire squad undisciplined and hits them with -1 morale
- Mixing undead with living gets a morale penalty of -1
- Mixing demons with normal units gets a morale penalty of -1
Each unit is placed on the map in a grid square. A single grid square can hold a total of ten size points of units. For human-sized units (size 3), this means three units can fit in a grid square.
Unassigned units (those in the garrison box at the top of the Army Setup screen) are formed into one large squad. They begin at the center of their side’s army.
Formations are the patterns used to deploy units of a squad onto the map. There are five types of formations, some of which can only be used by good leaders.
A box formation deploys your units in as close to a square as possible. For example, a squad of 36 Infantry of Ulm (size 3) deployed in a box formation would be placed with four squares frontage and three squares deep, yielding 12 squares of three units each.
A line formation deploys your units in a straight line facing the enemy. This formation is only available to good commanders.
A double line is the same as a line except half the units are placed in a rank immediately behind the first line. This formation is only available to good commanders.
A sparse line formation is identical to a line, except that an empty square is inserted between each square of units. This doubles the length of the line. It carries a -1 penalty to the squad’s morale. This formation is only available to good commanders.
Skirmish formation forms a box-like checkerboard formation which separates each square of units from its neighbors with an empty square in four directions, as above. It has a -1 penalty to morale.
Undisciplined squads automatically use the skirmish formation and cannot use any other. Adding an undisciplined unit to a squad makes the whole squad undisciplined.
The ability Tight Rein negates the undisciplined trait of a commander’s units, enabling other formations as well as giving specific orders to undisciplined units.
The Skirmisher ability negates the -1 morale penalty when the unit is deployed in a skirmish or sparse line formation.
From the tomes of the lore of Dominions
Bandar Log is a very hierarchical society. Markatas are the smallest of the monkey people and their intellect is barely above that of simple beasts. Markatas are small, noisy, and annoying, especially when met in large numbers. If alone, they can be used as scouts, but when in greater numbers, they quickly become bored and start to make noise and play with each other. They are generally despised by the larger monkeys and apes. They are sometimes given small bows. This pleases them no end, but they still are not very useful soldiers.
The ability Formation Fighter allows you to fit more units in a square.
Each unit in combat has combat speed. A move of one square on the battlefield costs roughly one point of combat speed, unless it is diagonal in which case it costs 50% more.
When units move adjacent to an enemy, they become locked in a “zone of control” which remains as long as the enemy persists. However, fleeing units do not care about zone of controls and just run regardless of danger and nearby enemies.
Usually there can only be 10 size points in a single square and a unit is unable to enter a square if that results in the square being too full. However, giants or other monsters that are considerably larger than the other units will be able to enter the square by displacing the smaller units. The large unit must be at least 3 size points larger than any displaced unit and it will cost one extra point of combat speed.
Note that trampling units will never try to displace anyone as long as they are not routing, as that would cause damage to the friendly units.
Each unit moves individually, and has a cooldown at the end of each action. After a unit moves one step or strikes, it must cool down a while before it can perform its next action. A long cooldown is one round (after a strike) and a short cooldown comes after a move. There is some small amount of randomness to this cooldown value, but when moving it is mostly determined by the unit’s combat move, so faster units will wait a shorter time before taking the next action. If two units are adjacent, the unit that finishes its cooldown first will get to strike next.
Melee combat is the act of one combatant (soldier, priest, monster, or divine being) physically striking another combatant in some way. At its heart, it is very simple.
The attacker makes an attack roll. The defender makes a defense roll. These are compared. If the attack roll (with modifiers) is greater than the defense roll, it hits. If not, it misses.
The attack and defense rolls are modified by a random number (which is added) and a fatigue penalty (which is subtracted).
- Attack roll: attacker’s Attack attribute + DRN – Fatigue penalty
- Defense roll: defender’s Defense value + DRN – Fatigue penalty
Once a hit is scored, a similar calculation is done to determine how much damage is done. This involves the attacker’s damage roll minus the defender’s protection roll.
- Damage roll: attacker’s Strength attribute + weapon Damage attribute + DRN
- Protection defender’s Protection attribute + DRN (+ shield roll: Protection if it is a “shield hit”)
If the defender has a shield, the hit is a shield hit unless the attack beats the combined value of the target’s defense and the shield’s Parry value plus the random roll. If a hit is scored as a shield hit, the shield’s Protection is added to the defender’s protection roll.
Example: A Heavy Infantry unit has a broad sword, chain mail hauberk, half helmet and shield. It has a base defense of 10, gets a defense bonus of +1 from the sword, a defense penalty of -2 from the armor, and a defense penalty from the shield of -1. The shield’s Parry value is 4. The actual defense is 10 +1 -2 -1 = 8. With the shield’s Parry value, the unit’s total defense is 12.
The Heavy Infantry is attacked by a Vanjarl of Vanheim, which has attack 14. Neither unit has any fatigue yet. The Vanjarl rolls a 6, for a total attack value of 20. If the Heavy Infantry rolls a 7 or less, it is a clean hit and the shield offers no protection. If the Heavy Infantry rolls an 8 through 11, the Vanjarl scores a shield hit and the Heavy Infantry can use its shield’s protection value in the damage calculation. If the Heavy Infantry rolls a 12 or higher, the Vanjarl misses entirely.
The Protection value used is the target’s listed Protection value, unless it is a head hit. In case of a headshot, the target’s helmet Protection value is used instead of the main Protection value. However, if it is a shield hit, the shield Protection is still added. The blow is assumed to have glanced off the shield and hit the target in the head.
If the damage roll is greater than the protection roll, the difference is subtracted from the target’s hit points. If the protection roll is equal to or greater than the damage roll, there is no effect.
Armor Defeating Hits
A low protection roll may result in an armor defeating hit that bypasses 25% of the protection. This in addition to the protection roll being very low is likely to result in a serious wound.
Fatigue plays a large role in enabling armor defeating hits and units that are immobilized or unconscious counts as having 100 fatigue for this purpose.
- Protection roll of 2 always results in an armor defeating hit
- Protection roll of 3 results in an armor defeating hit against targets with 50 or more fatigue
- Protection roll of 4 results in an armor defeating hit against targets with 100 or more fatigue
Note that it is very hard to score an armor defeating hit on an unfatigued and not immobilized unit.
Shield hits can damage or destroy the shield. A shield has a Resistance, which is the same as its shield protection value, +5 if the shield is a magic one. The attack has a Break value, which is equal to the damage of the attack before any Protection. Slashing attacks add 50% to damage when calculating break value, and blunt attacks add 25%.
If the Break value is >= 3x the Shield Resistance, the shield is damaged. If the Break value is >= 5x the Shield Resistance, the shield is broken.
An already-damaged shield which is damaged again has a 25% chance of being broken.
A damaged shield has -20% Protection, a broken shield has -50% Protection.
A magic shield (a real, equipable one) that is damaged will repair itself after the battle. If a magic shield is broken, it will be permanently destroyed and the commander will revert to his or her standard shield if he or she had one. Damaged or broken mundane shields will be repaired when they are in a province with enough spare production resources.
Dominions 6 uses anatomical locations to determine where an adversary was struck. An attack has a 50% chance of striking the adversary in the torso, 20% chance to strike the arms, 20% chance to strike the legs, and 10% chance to strike the head. Certain hits can cause afflictions, such as losing a limb. If someone loses a limb, it will be the one which was hit. This can be an arm, leg, or head. Losing your head is usually instant death, but this is not always true, for example in the case of undead and certain kinds of regenerating monsters, or those with multiple heads. Other types of afflictions include losing an eye, which can only happen on a head hit.
In order to score a hit on a certain part of the body, however, the attacker must be able to reach it. To score a head hit, attacker size + weapon length must be equal to target size. This requirement is one less to hit the torso and two less to hit the arms. Thus a human (size 3) wielding a mace (length 1) could hit a size-7 creature only in the legs!
Some monsters have their heads located lower than their size would indicate and therefore anyone attacking them will get a bonus to their reach. Lizards and dragons are very low and are two steps easier to hit when striking anything higher than the legs. Most four-footed beings like elephants and wolves are slightly lower than a humanoid would be and are one step easier to reach. Their lower stature does not mean they are more likely to be hit in the head (or any other hard-to-reach location). It is still only a 10% chance, but attackers with shorter weapons might be able to reach and hit them in the head in situations where their size might otherwise prevent it.
Also, some monsters lack certain hit locations. For example, a dragon has no arms and a gelatinous cube has no arms, legs, or head.
A significantly larger unit that attacks a smaller one will have an increased chance of hitting its target in the head and a lower chance of hitting it in the leg (20% head, 10% leg).
To be considered “significantly larger” it must be 2 sizes larger (if mounted the mount’s size is used).
Melee weapons in Dominions 6 come in three different types: slashing, piercing, and blunt. Each type has different effects when calculating damage. These are all calculated after the Damage vs. Protection calculation above, except for Piercing weapons which reduce Protection prior to the calculation.
Blunt weapons do 25% more damage when scoring head hits before the Protection value is deducted. They score 25% more damage toward shield destruction.
Slashing weapons do 25% more damage after Protection is deducted. They do 50% more damage toward shield destruction. If a slashing weapon scores a leg, arm, or head hit that costs a target greater than or equal to 50% of its hit points, that body part will be chopped off. If a head is chopped off, this will kill the target if it had a head that was required for it to stay alive. (For example, a hydra does not fit that description.)
Piercing weapons reduce Protection by 15% prior to any calculation. This is the same mechanic as the Armor- Piercing ability, except that Armor-Piercing reduces Protection by 50%. The Armor-Piercing ability stacks with the piercing weapon type for a total of 65% reduction in armor.
Two-handed weapons add 125% of Strength to damage.
- Slashing and blunt weapons have an attack penalty equal to weapon length underwater, while piercing weapons do not. If a weapon does both piercing damage as well as another type, the underwater penalty is halved. Flails have an additional penalty of -1.
A weapon may be able to inflict more than one type of damage. If so, it has an equal chance of doing each type of damage, but will only do one of them during that attack. For example, the short sword does both slashing and piercing damage. It has a 50% chance of doing one of these. If it does not do piercing, it will do slashing, but never both.
Note that these weapon types apply to all sorts of weapons, not just maces, swords, and spears. A spider’s venomous fangs can do piercing damage, for example.
In addition, weapons may have additional special effects, such as doing additional fire damage when it hits someone.
Damage is displayed in colored numbers above the unit that suffered the damage. Pale red is normal damage, dark red is bleeding, green is poison, etc. This can be very helpful in determining the effectiveness of your units and tactics.
Every time a unit is attacked, it gets a point of harassment penalty. Each point of harassment penalty reduces the unit’s defense by 1. It is then reduced continuously by a percentage, so it goes down quickly if it is high and the unit is no longer being attacked.
For cavalry units only the unit attacked (the rider or the horse) will be affected. I.e. an attack against the rider will not give any harassment penalty to the horse.
A weapon with multiple attacks inflicts 1 point of harassment penalty for each one of its multiple attacks.
Only directed melee attacks will result in harassment penalty, ranged and AoE attacks do not incur any penalty.
Fatigue is affected by a unit’s encumbrance value. The more encumbered it is, the more fatigued it will become during combat. Each time it attacks, it gains Fatigue equal to its current Encumbrance value. Fatigue affects units as follows.
Defense penalty for fatigue
- For each 10 points of fatigue (rounded down) a unit has its defense reduced by 1.
Attack penalty for fatigue
- For each 20 points of fatigue (rounded down) a unit has its attack reduced by 1.
A unit falls unconscious when it reaches 100 fatigue. Each turn it is unconscious it regains 5 fatigue until it become conscious again (i.e. fatigue drops below 100). A unit with 200 fatigue starts to take hit point damage from exhaustion instead of fatigue when additional fatigue damage is taken.
Repel is how Dominions represents the effectiveness of long weapons, such as halberds, pikes, and the like. If a unit attacks an enemy who has a longer weapon than the attacker, the defender may actually repel the attack and prevent it from happening. This occurs as follows:
Any defender that has a longer weapon than the one used by its attacker makes a repel attack automatically upon being attacked. Attack and defense rolls are made. If the result is a hit, the attacker must pass a repel morale check or immediately abort his attack. If the attacker passes the repel morale check, he may make his attack, but the defender’s attack then generates damage and protection rolls. If damage is inflicted, the attacker takes one point of damage and continues his attack.
Repel morale check
- Attacker morale check: morale + DRN + (attackers size – repellers size)
- Repeller check: 10 + DRN + (the number by which the defender won the repel attack) / 2
This simulates the defender successfully placing his longer weapon between himself and the attacker. All of this occurs before the attacker’s strike is resolved. Note that units with low morale are more likely to be repelled, and thus using long weapons against low-morale troops is very effective. Also, units with claws and bites (weapon length zero) are easier to repel.
The repelling unit gets a lingering -2 to its Repel roll which is gradually removed over a short period of time. So it’s harder to repel attacks when they come in quick succession, and easier if they are spaced out in time.
Giant sized units (size 6+) wield longer weapons than normal humans. The length of their weapons are 1 point longer than ordinary human weapons. So a giant wielding a mace (length 2 for giants) would be able to repel humans with ordinary maces.
Some units have multiple attacks. This may be due to multiple weapons, or just multiple methods of attack like biting, clawing, or many tentacles.
Multiple attacks can target different units as long as there are many in reach. Some rare weapons (e.g. flail) have more than one attack, these attacks always target the same unit and if he dies on the first attack the second one is wasted.
Attackers with multiple weapons have their attack skill reduced by the sum of their weapon lengths. Thus, it is much easier to fight with two daggers than with two swords. The Ambidextrous ability reduces this penalty by the amount of the Ambidextrous skill. Some weapons are considered intrinsic to a unit and do not cause multiple weapon penalties for the attacker. These are called bonus weapons.
For example, some lizardmen of C’tis might have both a trident and a bite attack. This bite is considered a bonus weapon because it is not a wielded weapon and it will not result in any multiple weapon penalty.
Units with multiple wielded weapons also get one point of extra encumbrance for each weapon after the first.
Melee Attack Resolution
There are many special abilities that can affect units that are fighting in melee and the order in which they take effect can be important. Here is a list of when most abilities take effect when doing a melee attack.
Determine which unit in the square will be the target. This will be a single unit or mount.
Early strikeback effects
This is certain longer range defensive abilities of the defender, e.g. Awe and the Gorgon’s petrifying gaze. If the attacker ends up immobilized for any reason the attack is aborted now.
Check for repel and abort the attack if it is repelled.
This is effects like Slimer, Sight Vengeance, Horror Mark Attacker and many others. If the attacker ends up immobilized for any reason the attack is aborted now.
Attack and Defence rolls
The attacker rolls his attack value and the defender his defence value. If the attack missed completely it is aborted.
Damage and Protection rolls
Rolls for damage and protection are rolled now. Protection from shields will be added if the previous step indicated a shield hit.
Here abilities like Mirror Image, Protective Force, Luck, Mossbody and many more take effect and may reduce damage or negate the attack completely.
If the attack hit an arm or a leg (or a head in the case of a certain beings that can live without those), the damage will be limited to at most half of the maximum HP.
If the defender has Damage Reversal, Blood Bond or Blood Vengeance it will take effect now and maybe shift the damage to other targets or maybe even kill the attacker. Killing the attacker in this stage will not negate the attack.
Deal damage to the target as well as any shields that might have been hit.
Some magic items like the Dancing Trident or the Stone Birds will float around their wielder and attack nearby enemies. These weapons attack independently of their owner and do not incur any multiple weapon penalty or fatigue. They will cause harass penalty to whomever they attack, just as normal attacks do. These weapons strike at different times in the combat round and when or if their owner is attacking does not matter.
Dancing weapons cannot be repelled, but they can repel attacks aimed at their owner if they are longer than the attacking weapon. Dancing Weapons with more than 2 attacks per round get one point of repel attack bonus per number of attacks over 2. Dancing weapons also get an increased repel penalty if they try to repel repeatedly in a short time, but the penalty is only half of that for a normal repelling unit.
Some combat units like cavalry and chariots are formed from two or more separate units combined as a single entity. These are referred to as mounted units.
The individual parts of a rider and its mount can be targeted and wounded separately and if one dies the other will remain on the battlefield. A horse without rider will rout from the battle, but some monsters like the gryphon will stay and fight even if its rider perishes.
Hitting Mounted Units
When a mounted unit is attacked either the rider or the mount is targeted. The chances of hitting the rider vs the mount is based on the difference of their sizes and the reach of the attacking unit. If a mount has multiple riders, the size of the largest rider will be used. The reach of a unit is its size plus the length of its weapon.
First of all, mounts that are much larger than its rider have an extra chance of getting hit according to the following table.
|Chance of Targeting Mount
If the mount wasn’t large enough or the attack didn’t target the mount, the attack will choose a target according to the following rules instead.
- Missile attacks have 50% chance of targeting the mount
- If the mount’s size is 2 larger than the reach, the mount will be targeted
- Otherwise chance of targeting mount is 30% + 10% * mount’s size – 10% * reach. (Chance cannot be lower than 10%).
Some attacks work a bit differently and target one specific unit or both units.
- All AoE attacks will target both rider and mount.
- Lightning will target both rider and mount.
- Trample will always target the mount.
Mounted Units and Magic Items
It is possible to put a single magic saddle or barding on a commander’s mount. If the mount should be a commander for some reason it can have its own misc items too, but that is rare and usually only a single magic saddle or barding is allowed. However, it is possible for the mount to take advantage of some of the rider’s magic items as well as certain items will bestow some or all of their effects to the mount as well. This is indicated in the magic item information if that is the case.
It is very cumbersome to use two-handed weapons while mounted and doing so will result in a -3 attack penalty.
Some riders are exceptionally skilled and have the Skilled Rider ability. This ability will increase the Morale and Defence Skill of the mount. The defence increase is most effective on lightly armored horses as it is reduced by the encumbrance value of the mount’s armor.
Mounted Units and Morale
Unnatural fear effects (e.g. Fear auras or Terror spells) will usually target both the rider and the mount. If the rider is routed he will leave the battle together with his mount. If only the mount is broken, the rider is thrown to the ground and the mount routs from battle, but the rider fights on. If both are broken by a fear effect, the rider will be thrown off and then both will retreat separately.
Falling off a mount deals a size difference open ended roll of AN damage. Falling of a chariot does not result in any fall damage however.
Normal rout checks that affect the entire squad or army will only affect the rider. When the rider flees this way he will flee together with his mount.
Rerecruiting Mounted Units
When a rider loses his mount he will need to get a new one. If there are riderless mounts of the appropriate type that survived or fled the battle, the rider will claim one of these and remain in the army. If on the other hand there are no surviving mounts to claim the rider will leave the army and return to his home province. This might take a few turns if the rider is far from home. The traveling rider will not be affected by province ownership, but he will need to roll morale checks every turn. A failed check means the rider has deserted, lost his way or been killed. If the rider arrives in his home province a new mounted unit can be recruited at half cost. A small blue number next to the unit icon in the recruitment screen indicates how many available returned riders are present. When rerecruited this new unit retains his identity including experience and battle afflictions.
Normal mounts do not return to their home province, but mounts with the tag ‘Smart Mount’ will. Just like returning riders they will add to the number of available half-cost recruits that are available. Smart mounts, like riders, retain their experience and afflictions.
Mounted commanders do not return to their home province if left without mount. If there are regular units with the appropriate mount they will just claim one of these and force the rider of that mount to return home instead. If there are no appropriate mounts the commander will remain in the army without mount. However he can spend a month and use the order ‘Reclaim Mount’ to get a new mount.
A few types of riders will automatically regain their mounts.
Missile combat is different from melee combat in that it doesn’t use defense values. Instead, the game determines which square a missile hits, depending on a unit’s Precision, and the range of the attack. If there are units in the square, they may be hit, whether they are friendly or enemy.
Missiles can’t distinguish friend from foe.
If the range from attacker to target is greater than Precision/2 – 2 (half the Precision, minus 2) then the missile will deviate from the target. The amount of deviation is equal to the range x 1.25 / Precision.
The game will randomly determine whether the missiles deviate long or short, left or right, or some combination. The actual distribution is a bell curve – most projectiles will fall within the middle of the deviation range, but some will land at the extremes.
Once the game decides where a missile lands (even if it is far away, that square is affected), any unit in that square may be targeted. The size of the units relative to one another influences who will be hit. If a square with a giant of size 6 and a human of size 3 is hit, the giant will be struck two times out of three. Once the target has been decided, there is a hit calculation that uses the following values:
- Attacker: DRN + (Size points in the square)/2 +2 if magic weapon
- Defender: DRN + (shield parry value x2) – (Fatigue / 20)
If the attacker’s roll is greater than the defender’s then a hit is achieved. Damage is calculated identically to melee combat (see above). Most missile weapons add one-third of the unit’s Strength to the weapon damage value (plus a random number). Crossbows and some other weapons are armor-piercing, meaning that only half of the defender’s Protection value is used. Some spells can even be “armor-negating,” which means that armor affords no protection. Lightning spells are armor-negating. Fire spells are armor-piercing.
Precision values greater than 10 count double for the amount above 10. Thus, a Precision value of 12 is actually calculated as Precision 14.
Thus, the more units in a square, or the bigger the units in a square, and the more tired they are, the more likely someone is going to be hit by a missile weapon landing in that square.
While it may seem that missile units can’t shoot very far without having their shots deviate hopelessly, in practice massed units can deal severe damage to an enemy simply due to the number of projectiles in the air. Everything that goes up has to come down somewhere!
Some types of damage can cause the target to sustain additional damage. Others inflict their damage gradually, or increase fatigue instead of reducing hit points. These include fire, cold, poison, fatigue, paralysis, and drain.
Some units are not as susceptible to certain kinds of damage. In Dominions, this is represented by the concept of resistances. This works similar to protection, but damage is also reduced by a percentage after the resistance is deducted from the damage. The reduction is equal to twice the resistance value. This means that a unit with fire resistance 50 is completely immune to fire damage.
Example: A Pillar of Fire spell with 35 fire damage hits an unarmored unit with 15 fire resistance and an armor with protection 10. The damage DRN is 11 resulting in a total of 46 fire damage. Pillar of Fire is armor-piercing, so the armor only gives protection 5, but the fire resistance gives its full value of 15. The protection DRN is only 6 and results in a total protection value of 26. The difference is 20 points of damage, which is reduced by 30% (twice the fire resistance value). In the end the target suffers 14 points of damage.
Elemental resistances give double protection against attacks that cause fatigue damage. So Shock Resistance 5 would reduce fatigue effects from thunder by 10. Shock Resistance 15 would thus give protection of 30 from the fatigue damage of a Thunder Strike.
Fire is generally armor-piercing, which means that a unit only gains half its normal benefit from Protection. In addition, a unit may catch fire, which will subject it to additional burning damage until the fire goes out. Fire fatigue damage only counts as 1/3 when determining the chance of catching fire.
Chance of catching fire
- Fire damage before protection x 4%
A unit that is burning takes (1d(size))/2 damage each turn until the fire goes out. In other words a die with a number of sides equal to the size of the unit and with the result divided by 2 (rounded up). So for a size 8 unit it would be (1d8)/2). This damage is halved for units with 5 or more points of Fire Resistance. The chance of the fire going out is:
Chance of putting out fire
- 25% + (fire resistance) + (cold scale x5) + (100% if raining)
All fire have a minimum 1% chance of being extinguished. Fire vulnerability counts as negative fire resistance. Units with 10 or more fire resistance, units with chill auras, units with mistform and ethereal units, cannot burn.
If the province has heat scales instead, this is treated as negative cold.
A unit suffering cold damage may freeze. It will then take additional fatigue damage until it thaws.
A unit that is freezing takes 2d6 additional fatigue points of fatigue damage each turn until it thaws. The chance of thawing is:
Chance of thawing
- 25% + (cold resistance) + (heat scale x5)
There is always a minimum of 1% chance of thawing each round. Cold vulnerability counts as negative cold resistance. Units with 10 or more cold resistance, units with heat auras, and ethereal units will never freeze.
Cold scales work like heat scales for burning: if it’s cold in the province, the chance of thawing is reduced by the scales.
A unit suffering from profuse bleeding suffers 10 fatigue and takes HP/20 damage each round. The chance of the bleeding stopping in a round is:
Chance to stop bleeding
- 10% + (regeneration value)
The chance to stop bleeding is halved when fighting underwater.
Poison works differently than fire or cold. If a unit takes poison damage, that damage will be suffered over multiple rounds, which is the amount of time it takes the poison to have its effect. This damage is spread out as evenly as possible. First, a total amount of damage taken is calculated, just like with any attack. Then, each combat round, a unit will take 10% of the remaining damage.
In addition to taking damage a unit that is under the effect of poison will also have reduced attack and defence skill. The skill penalty depends on how much poison is still remaining in the unit. The penalty is 25% for every dose equal to the unit’s full amount of HP, capped at a maximum of 50%.
So if a unit with 10 HP (when uninjured) takes 15 points of poison damage, it will take 2,2,2,1,1,1,1,1,1,1 points of damage (each number is in one round). In the first three rounds it will take 2 points per round, and in the last seven rounds it will take 1 point per round. In addition to taking damage the units attack and defence will be reduced by 37.5% as soon as it gets poisoned, this penalty will then decrease by time as the remaining amount of poison is reduced.
Poison resistance has no effect on the duration of damage. Once the poison has taken hold, there is no additional benefit to poison resistance. It is useful only in reducing the total amount of damage initially.
Shock damage can Stun a target. The chance of getting stunned is:
Chance of getting stunned
- 5% + (percentage of hit points lost from this hit) / 2
Stun prevents the affected unit from taking any action for one round.
Acid damage can inflict Rust.
Chance of equipment rusting
- Acid damage before protection x 4%
Only units with iron weapons or iron armor can be affected by Rust.
Rusty armor can be damaged if it takes a hit in combat.
Chance for Rusty armor to be damaged = damage inflicted (before armor protection, but after shield protection) * 2%
Rusty weapons have a 25% chance of being damaged when they inflict a hit on something. Damaged weapons have their damage reduced by 2, except for blunt weapons which have their damage reduced by 1.
Life Drain Damage
Life Drain damage is not extra damage, but instead is a way for the attacker to restore his or her hit points and fatigue by damaging an enemy. Once damage has been calculated (if the target is a living unit), the attacker with life drain receives the following:
Benefits from life drain
- Increases hit points with damage / 2
- Reduces fatigue by damage x 2
Weapons with partial life drain are less potent, and only the first 5 points of damage dealt are treated as drain. The remainder are considered normal damage only.
Life Drain cannot increase a unit’s hit points above 150% of its maximum hit points +10.
Lifeless units only take 25% damage (after Protection) and the damage will not heal the attacker in any way. Lifeless units with a life drain attack or weapon will receive the full benefit from it.
Paralysis is a type of damage based in part on the victim’s size. It, as you might have guessed, paralyzes the target. The number of combat rounds the paralysis lasts (the duration) is determined by the number of paralysis points done.
- Duration = (Damage – victim’s Size) / 2
If that is all the paralysis damage taken, then the target is only paralyzed for that many rounds. However, if the target takes additional paralysis damage, a new duration is calculated, and the target takes half as many points of damage as the lesser of the new or old duration. In other words
If already paralyzed, Damage = (minimum of old and new duration) / 2
This damage can never exceed 5 points.
The new duration will be the greater of old and new duration (not cumulative), so if the new attack has a longer duration, the target will be paralyzed longer.
Fatigue damage adds to a unit’s fatigue rather than subtracting from its hit points. Units fall unconscious when they reach 100 fatigue. No unit can have more than 200 fatigue – each 25 fatigue points inflicted once a unit has reached 200 inflicts 1 point of hit point damage. If fewer than 25 fatigue points are inflicted, the chance of taking 1 hit point of damage is (the number of fatigue points inflicted x 4)% except that a single fatigue point will never result in any damage.
Illusions as well as most spells from the path of Glamour will only cause false damage. The false damage is kept real in the mind of the victims with the help of glamour magic. If all enemy glamour mages die, the false damage will quickly dissipate (2 points / round) without leaving any scars on the victims.
The false damage feels real enough that someone taking damage + false damage equaling his total HP will die instantly. False damage will never cause any afflictions, apart from death.
False damage is shown as light purple numbers and dots in the battle.
False damage will not trigger certain effects like Damage Reversal, Blood Vengeance and Blood Bond. Also regeneration, life drain and healing spells will not heal false damage.
Certain beings, spells and attacks create battlefield clouds.
E.g. a Hydra is surrounded by a poison cloud, a Fireball will leave a lingering heat cloud where it strikes and an attack with the magic Ice Mist Scimitar will create a large frost cloud when it is swinged.
Battlefield clouds will dissipate quite fast if not replenished, having their strength reduced by about 1 level per battle round until it disappears. Multiple clouds of the same type cannot overlap, if there are many units spreading the same type of cloud they will simply spread the cloud further away instead. However clouds can sometimes increase the level of a cloud square by at most one level instead of spreading further away.
Damage from clouds is always armor negating. The different type of clouds and their effects are listed in the following tables:
|4 fatigue, 1 damage
|5 fatigue, 2 damage
|6+ fatigue, 3+ damage
|(damage is capped to 1 unless unit is frozen)
|4 fatigue, 1 damage
|5 fatigue, 2 damage
|6+ fatigue, 3+ damage
|disease (easy MR)
|disease (easy MR)
|1 fire fatigue + 1 poison
|1 fire fatigue + 1 poison
|2 fire fatigue + 1 poison
|2 fire fatigue + 2 poison
|3 fire fatigue + 2 poison
|3 fire fatigue + 3 poison
|4 fire fatigue + 3 poison
|(poison is capped to 1 point of damage)
|1 damage (MR)
|2 damage (MR)
|3+ damage (MR)
|Shimmering Light Cloud
|1 capped false damage (easy MR)
|1 capped false damage (MR)
|2 false damage (MR)
|3+ false damage (MR)
|weakness (easy MR)
|weakness (easy MR), 1 damage (easy MR)
|weakness (MR), 1 damage (easy MR)
|weakness (MR), 1 damage (MR)
|(weakness decreases Str by 1 permanently)
|(all damage is capped to 1)
|sleep (easy MR)
All type of clouds range from level 1 to 7. Sometimes the effects of the different levels are the same and higher level clouds will only last longer. All damage from clouds is armor negating.
Monsters that spread clouds, e.g. Hydra and Ghost, spread level 1 clouds. As they are spread at level 1 they can accumulate to at most a level 2 cloud. Spells and magic items can create clouds at higher levels.
Heat Clouds and Frost Clouds cancel out each other and it is not possible for both of them to be in the same square.
Morale and Rout
Morale is a measure of how likely a squad is to keep fighting after taking casualties. Each unit has a morale value, but the morale value that is checked is the morale level of the entire squad. Each squad has a morale level, which is the average of all the morale ratings of the members of the squad.
A unit can have a number of modifiers to its morale. For example, Sacred units can be blessed, which increases their morale by 1. In addition, all units can gain the following bonuses:
- +1 for fighting in friendly dominion
- +1 for fighting in a unit’s home province (the province where it was recruited)
- +x for a commander’s leadership bonus (click on Leadership attribute) This is further modified by the formation in which the unit is fighting, how many squads the commander is leading, etc.
- +1 for every level of the Inspirational ability the squad’s commander has (can also be negative)
- +x if there is a unit with the Standard ability in the squad, where x is the bonus from highest Standard
Morale, Magic Bonus
Many magic effects can modify a unit’s magic bonus to morale. This bonus can go from -10 to +1. Units with fear will lower this bonus and priests can increase it with the Sermon of Courage and Fanaticism spells. Most combat spell that causes some kind of fear effect will also modify this bonus.
The morale magic bonus will increase by 1 about every 2 rounds if it is negative. A positive bonus will last the entire battle if left to itself.
During combat, squads will have their members killed and wounded, and eventually they will take flight from the field. This is called routing, and happens to the entire squad.
Rout is normally checked by squad. A squad which fails its morale check routs. A squad will check morale if:
In a few rare cases a unit routs independently from its squad. This might happen if a mount loses its rider.
- The squad has suffered “heavy losses” since the last morale check, and its overall casualties are at least 20%
- The squad has four or fewer units left in it and at least one of the units has taken damage this round
- The squad is near a monster causing Fear (e.g. an Abomination)
- The squad has been subjected to a spell causing Fear (e.g. Terror). Note that the spells causing Frighten do not apply.
- The entire army has taken 50% or more of its total hit point value in casualties. In this case, morale will be checked every turn for the remainder of the battle. Retinues are excluded from this “greater than 50% of army hit points” if there is nothing more than one creature and its retinue. This is a special case.
“Heavy losses” is one wound for every two members of the squad. A “wound” is simply 1 or more hit points of damage that reduces a unit to 80% or less of its normal hit points. So a unit with 25 hit points that is undamaged and suffers 4 points of damage does not count as having suffered a “wound” for these purposes. The next point of damage, however, will reduce him to 80% of normal, and every hit thereafter (even if for 1 point) will continue to satisfy these criteria. Units are very enthusiastic at the beginning of battle, but less so after taking damage.
No matter how many times the above conditions are satisfied, a squad cannot have its morale checked more than once a turn.
Once an army has taken 75% of its total hit point value in casualties in a battle, it will automatically rout.
Mounts only have 25% of their HP count towards the army’s total HP. Any units from the Province Defence also only have 25% of their HP count, they are expected to run. Slaves are also expected to run and only have 50% of their HP count.
A morale check consists of two numbers, the morale roll and the fear roll. If the fear roll is greater than the morale roll, the squad routs. If not, the squad keeps fighting. Although it is called the “fear roll,” it applies to anything that checks morale, not just fear.
- Morale roll: squad morale + DRN + survivor bonus
- Fear roll: 14 + DRN
The survivor bonus ranges from 0-5, depending on how many of the squad’s original members are still alive. The smaller the proportion of survivors, the smaller the bonus. An intact (or almost intact) squad will get a bonus of 5. A squad that has been almost wiped out gets no bonus.
A routed unit will use all of its action points each turn to move towards its own side of the battlefield and off the friendly edge.
A routing unit suffers a -4 penalty to its defense skill. Fast units can be very effective at picking off enemy units that are routing, as they have a better chance of catching them before they exit the map.
Once a routing unit reaches the map edge, it is safe, and on the turn after the battle will appear in a province adjacent to the battle. If a unit retreats to an enemy province, it is destroyed. A routed army may scatter to multiple provinces after a battle, requiring a commander to go collect it. Routed units suffering from profuse bleeding, poison, burning, decay or other special damage will have the remainder of that damage applied once they get off the map edge and may not survive. This represents the unit successfully fleeing the battle but expiring of its wounds before finding help.
Units in a victorious army can rout off the map as well, since a squad can rout while others are winning the battle. If the battle ends before the routing units exit the map, at the end of the battle they remain with the victorious army. If they rout off the map before the battle ends, they scatter to adjacent provinces.
Mindless units need to be under the control of a commander. If there are no unrouted commanders on the battlefield eligible to command mindless units, remaining mindless units on the field are automatically subject to mindless dissolution.
If all eligible commanders (i.e. commanders who can command mindless units) have been killed or routed, the mindless beings become immobile and have a 33% chance each turn of dissolving and vanishing from the battle. They will not move, but will attack adjacent units.
Magic Beings and Undead
These units have special leadership requirements, such as magical leadership or undead leadership. If such units are on the battlefield without proper leadership, they will rout. If a unit is both an undead and a magic being (such as the manikins of Asphodel), it requires undead leadership to lead. Demons require undead leadership to lead.
Magic Fear Effects
There are two types of magic fear effects: fear and frighten. Fear is the most severe and the most common one, it can decrease morale by up to 10 points. Being subject to fear will also force the entire squad to make a morale check at the end of the round, failure means it will break. Units hit by magic fear effects may also break individually if they fail an easy morale check.
Breaking individually will make the unit flee while his companions stay and continue to fight. This can only occur due to magic fear, normally the squad will always break and flee together.
Frighten is much less severe. It can lower morale by up to 5 points, but does not force any automatic morale checks.
Long Lasting Battles and Twilight
If a battle goes on for too long the sun sets. This will have profound effects on the remainder of the battle. Battle enchantments and other spells will end and the battlefield will be affected by Twilight, as per the spell. Berserking ends and berserkers cannot go berserk again.
|Twilight: All enchantments, temporary magic effects andberserking ends, Twilight effect (-2 prec, +1 glamour magic).
|Nightfall/Daybreak: Attacking units rout, Darkness effect(-3 att/def/prec), or return to daylight in case of a night time battle.
|Defending units rout.
|Any units left on the battlefield are killed.
Note that mindless units cannot rout and will dissolve instead of routing.
Whenever a unit is struck in battle, it may suffer an affliction. The chance of this occurring is simply the % hit points lost in the blow. So if a normal 10HP soldier receives two 4HP blows, he would have a 40% chance and then another 40% chance of getting an affliction. What type of affliction is suffered depends on which part of the body was struck.
It is possible to get more than one affliction if the damage exceeds 100%, e.g. a single blow dealing 15HP damage on a 10HP soldier would result in one affliction and then a 50% chance for an additional one. Of course the soldier would be dead afterwards, so the extra affliction would only matter if he was raised from the dead somehow.
There are major afflictions and minor afflictions. The chance of an affliction being major is affliction chance / 1.5, or at most 33%. Where the hit occurs determines which kind of afflictions may be inflicted. The game will randomize from all afflictions available for that level (major or minor) and that body part.
|Lost an arm
Profuse Bleeding is the only affliction that is not permanent: it will disappear during or after the battle. While a unit bleeds, it loses 5% of its hit points and gains 10 fatigue per round of combat. The bleeding has a 10% chance of stopping per round. Being underwater halves this chance and regeneration increases it.
Limp will cause commanders to suffer a -4 map movement penalty. Non-commander units do not lose any map movement points, but whenever their army marches more than one province in a month, they will have a 25% chance of becoming crippled.
Cripple will cause commanders to lose 75% of their map movement speed. Non-commander units do not lose any map movement points, but whenever their army marches, they will have a 35% chance of dying, or a 70% chance of dying if marching more than one province.
Fortresses must be reduced before they can be stormed. To reduce a fortress, its Defense value must be reduced to zero. Each turn, the total reduction strength of the besiegers is compared to the total repair strength of the defenders.
Reduction strength = unit strength squared
- Flying units are doubled
Repair strength = unit strength squared / 2
- Flying units are doubled
- Mindless units are only worth 1/8th of calculated value
- Animals (not monkeys!) are halved
- Undisciplined units are halved
The difference is subtracted from the fortress defense value if the Reduction strength is greater. If the fortress has been damaged, and the repair strength is greater, the difference is added back to the defense value, to the maximum of the original value.
That’s why you get the message sometimes when you’re the besieger, that “the enemy is repairing the walls faster than we can destroy them. We need more men.” This means the repair value is higher than the reduction value, and the besieged units are actually fixing the walls. There is no way for the besieger to know exactly how close a fortress is to being breached (although you will get hints). The defender, however, can click on the fortification location button in that province, and the current defense value will be displayed. Fortresses which are damaged but not besieged are automatically fully repaired.
Supply During Sieges
When a fortress is besieged, it provides its supply value to the defenders, divided by the number of turns of the siege. So on the first turn of a siege, a fortress with 300 supply provides 300 supply points on the first turn of the siege, then 150, then 100, then 75, then 60. Units which are unsupplied suffer the starvation effect, and units which starve for two consecutive turns can become diseased.
Diseased units will then start to slowly get more afflictions and eventually die.
Storming a Castle
When the fortress’ wall integrity value is reduced to zero it can be stormed. Commanders besieging the fortress can choose to ‘Storm Castle’ or ‘Maintain Siege’. If one or more commander storms the castle a battle at the gates of the fortress will take place. Inside the walls are the defending units and outside the walls are commanders with the ‘Storm Castle’ order along with all units under their command. If a commander set to ‘Storm Castle’ is killed before the battle at the fortress takes place, units under his command will not participate in the battle. The storming of the castle takes place after any other battle in the province, so it is possible to fight off or decimate the besieging army before they storm the castle.
All forts have some additional units that will aid the defender in the battle.
The weather for any land battle is usually clear skies and during the day. But the weather can also be rainy or snowy at random times, unless the battle occurs in a wasteland or in a cave.
Snowfall can only happen if the cold scale is 1 or more and rain can only occur if the heat is 0 or greater.
- Cold scale * 15%
- Growth scale * 10% + 10%
Global enchantments can also affect the weather in many ways. Assassination battles are special and often occur indoors where there is no weather and have about 50% chance of occurring at night. If they occur outdoors they use the same chances for rain and snow as other battles.
If units retreat from a battle, they will go to an adjacent province, or perhaps a friendly castle in the same province. To do this, a commander must be smart. Each commander will undergo a check and has a 75% chance of making a “smart” retreat. (If a unit is in native terrain, it will get a second chance to be smart at 50% if it fails its first check.
A smart leader will:
- Retreat into a fort in the same province if there is one
- Move to a random friendly-controlled adjacent province if no fort is present
A not-so-smart leader will:
- Move into a random adjacent province, even if not friendly controlled.
Troops will follow a leader under whose command they are when they retreat, if they pass a morale check. The squad morale bonus counts double for this, undisciplined units suffer a -3 penalty, and the squad morale penalty for skirmish formation also applies.
Troops that have lost their leader or who fail a check to follow their leader will individually check for being smart or not (with only a 50% chance of success, although the 50% second chance for natives still applies) and then retreat accordingly.
A unit or commander that retreats to an enemy province is killed.
Retreating when Besieged
Units or commanders that retreat while defending their castle during a siege battle will retreat and hide deeper in the castle. If the battle was won and they were “smart” they will reappear in the castle, if the battle was lost they will all be killed. Units that were not smart will be killed instead.
Commanders are always smart and lone units have an extra 50% chance of being smart when retreating in a fight where they are defending their castle.
When battle results are reported, you can see the relative effectiveness of the units present by seeing which units were responsible for the most kills.
They will of course be affected by your tactics, formations, and magic. The summary will show you how many units started the battle, how many kills they scored, and how many of them were killed by the enemy.
Killed mounted units are shown with two numbers divided by a ‘+’. The first number shows killed riders and the second number shows riders that were left without a mount after the battle.