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Global map movement
All units without exceptions spend move points while moving on global map. Movement cost is influenced by terrain, map objects, unit skills and unit effects.
Energy points define unit's fatigue level. They are spent on global map (e.g: while moving) and in combat(e.g: attacking with weapon). Note, that unit's move points are spent only on global map.
Humanoid units such as men, dwarves, orcs and trolls have to eat. Each unit carries small amount of food in his backpack. Every turn unit eats some food according to his appetite or, better say, ration. As you can imagine, Troll needs more food than human does. When unit has nothing to eat he begins to starve. Continuous starving will eventually lead to death. While starving unit will lose hit points, morale and has a chance to become ill. Not every unit needs to eat though. Let's say, undead. They definitely care little for food.
Each unit has a body (surprise!). Body is represented by six parts. These parts are divided into three logical groups: legs, torso and head. Each body part may have it's own damage modifier. However, typical set of modifiers would be: legs take reduced damage (by 2), torso takes normal damage, head takes increased damage (by 2).
Armour is also divided into 3 categories: greaves (leg protection), mail (torso protection) and helmet (head protection). Only second category (mail) is significant when calculating unit armour type (light, heavy or very heavy). Armour could be pierced or shattered. Armour highly increases unit's chances for survival. But armour protection does not come for free, heavy units will spend more energy in battle and may become tired faster than light units (but still probably live longer).
Light Infantry
Notion of light infantry is all about absence of full torso protection. Absence of mail (and Wear Armour skill) makes unit light infantry. All units that fall into light infantry category, have these skills: Negate Terrain Move Cost, Negate Terrain Danger. These skills make light infantry very mobile and being capable to outmaneuver heavy infantry and cavalry on any hard terrain.
Flying is allowed only for units with Flying skill. Fliers travel at the same speed on any terrain. Hence, no terrain penalties (and bonuses!) are applied to their movement. Flying negates traps and terrain danger, but there's a price for that: Staying over water or swamp at the end of turn will cause unit to have less movement next turn. All units that fall into category of fliers, have Scout skill.
Swimming is allowed only for units with Swimming skill and only in shallow water. Staying in water at the end of the turn can lead to death, unit may drown.
Living and Undead
All living units have moves and energy. But undead does not care for energy. Their movement and actions are limited only by move points. Undead have no critical or less critical spots, so no body damage modifier is applied to body parts. Undead are immune to fear, but suffer from the Banish Undead spell. Undead can not stack with living creatures with the exception of Higher Undead species which have almost all attributes of the living beings.
Mounted and Dismounted Combat
Mounted combat is not possible in structures, in castle assaults and on some terrain. When dismounted unit loses battle speed, hit points and energy bonus and sometimes changes his weapon. If he survives the battle, old stats return. All mounted units can trample units that are smaller in size.
Terrain influences unit's movement speed. Gives different possibilities for concealment. Some terrain may allow for ambushes. Not all terrain allows mounted combat. Certain structures may exist only on certain terrain types, e.g: gold mines can be found only in hills. Some terrain may be impassable and some terrain may be dangerous, units may die while moving on it(e.g: swamp).
Skills are unit's abilities to do something. Skills are not designed to represent unit's state, but rather his properties. Skills adhere to the following rules:
  • Skills divide into battle and global categories.
  • Skills can be passive or active. Active skills need user interaction to be used, passive skills live on their own. Hence, all battle skills are passive by nature.
  • Skills may consume energy and/or moves.
  • Skills may have a cool down (at the turn based level).
Magical abilities are represented by spells which are in a way similar to active skills. They are also triggered by the player. In addition to cool down restrictions, spells require mana points. Usually spell casters can cast only one spell per turn. Players for the sides of Men and Dwarves do not have global magic, each caster has his own points. In general magic plays only supporting role for these two races. The economy of the Dark side however is mostly based on global mana pool with both income (portals) and upkeep (creatures). Dark Ambassador, the master of the Dark side, is not only the strongest warrior, but also the most powerful spell caster in the game. Dark Ambassador can use all of the global mana, though other dark casters have their own points. Moreover if Dark Ambassador is killed, all mana is lost and all demons and undead units perish at once.
There are certain objects that need special protection in the game. Good examples are supply wagons and catapults. Both of them are easy targets as they are operated by single unit only. There is a special concept in the game used for their protection. When such objects are attacked, the enemy is intercepted by the strongest army positioned near the object being attacked. Only one army can intercept. If it is defeated, the enemy advances even if there are other armies that could intercept. Intercept also works for some static objects such as villages and orc huts.
Invisibility applies both to armies and static map objects. An army becomes invisible when all the units in the army are invisible. There are 3 levels of invisibility though. With the exception of an ambush, armies always have the first level which is revealed in detect range. Besides usual range parameter all units and structures in the game also have detect. Second level is usually given to static map objects. Detect parameter has no power to reveal it, instead such an object is seen only when standing on a nearby cell. The third level can not be revealed at all unless you accidentally step on the containing cell. Dwarven guard lair, for example, has this level of invisibility.
Each player has a reputation which may in different ways affect how the game will interact with him. Some of the actions and choices players make during the game affect their reputation. In other words by doing good or bad, players can craft their long term gameplay. In particular reputation will affect units with alignment which may or may not join the player. Actually reputation consists of two dimensions. In addition to good or bad, there is also noble and mean. Reputation is also divided into global and local scopes. For example each and every castle has its own reputation for all players, so the events that happen in the neighbourhood will change both global and local reputations. Among other things global reputation affects the chance of hero emerge and local castle reputation - accedence periods for knights.