Many times I try to engage in diplomacy and the 'numbers' make it impossible. A comparably-sized faction will value a non-aggression pact from me at 150, and from themselves at 1500. If they already have materials and metal, then unless I'm willing to fork over 1350G, it's not gonna happen. And guess what - I'm rarely in a position to fork over 1350G.
You can gather diplomatic capital from scenic outlooks or the embassy building. It can be used instead of Gildar, and is always a 1:1 valuation (at least that I've seen).
In Elemental, you have to have a magic user physically present to use magic, and magic users are few and far between (you have to weaken one to make another). That sort of sucks.
Your dynastic offspring will be natural spellcasters though. To be honest the problem here isn't so much the lack of magicians, but that magic is a damp squib. Limited spell casters is good in theory, it makes knowing where to deploy your limited casters an important decision. It only works however if magic is a potential tide turner in battle, at present you can get better results by equipping your sovereign with a bow than you can chucking lightning bolts around, which is silly.
[BAD] Champions are pretty useless except if you imbue them, and then they're only marginally less useless.
They're not that bad, just don't expect them to solo an army right off the bat. Given a lord hammer and legendary plate however and you'll hit an attack and defence in the 40's before anything else is taken into account, which is enough to take on the lower level group units. I like the idea of having champions more in a supporting role than as mincing machines, it lends an epic feel to using them to hunt down enemy champions for single combat.
[UI] I can't talk to even level 1 champions early in the game; I think it's because I haven't researched enough adventure tech (but nothing in the game explains that to me). Since I was trying to avoid the wilderness being full of gigantic creatures I can't defeat, I saved researching adventure until late in the game.
You can only talk to them if you have the Gildar on hand to recruit them. If you select the NPC and then the action tab and hover over the greyed out diplomacy icon it'll tell you why they won't listen.
That said there are some champions who are always hostile. I'm not sure if this is intentional or a bug - they have "creature" on their card so I wonder if they're supposed to be evil champions or someone just forgot to set their faction alignment properly.
I researched 'teleport friends' late in the game because I wanted to be able to move stacks of armies that were not co-located with my sovereign. I then realized that it doesn't do that - instead, it does exactly the same thing as Teleport, only it took me 8 zillion turns to research and costs 15 mana instead of 5. Fail.
There's a couple like this. I'm not sure if it's a bug or intentional - Fallen sovereigns don't start with teleport so it is necessary to research it for them.
Is there a substantial difference between blunt weapons and bladed weapons and such? I haven't used the Unit Creator, so I research these things and am offered (as noted above) a number of identical-statted units that may in fact use different weapons. If they do, I'm not sure why I would pick one or the other, or research both, except for cosmetics.
Generally, blunt type weapons have higher damage but a combat speed penalty. Sword type weapons do lower damage but either no penalty or sometimes even a bonus to combat speed. Combat speed determines how many actions a unit gets in tactical combat. Note that most of the heavier mundane armours also penalise combat speed.
I think the other factions researching Adventure can also affect my game, because I played a game where I deliberately did not level adventure until later, and I kept seeing higher-level champions, plus more resources and higher-level goodie huts randomly appearing. I believe Janusk also informed me that there were higher level monsters roaming around.
Yup, I think the message occurs every time an AI levels adventure - I saw references to Morrigan's dungeon at some point so I suspect it meant one of the Fallen factions had researched Morrigan's notes.
For the effect you need to read the tech description in the window. There's basically three trees though and they're obvious for the Kingdoms - Recruit spawns and allows you to recruit higher level champions, the explore (Lost Maps) reveals new resources, and the final (whose initial tech I can't remember - it's the dungeon delving one) increases your quest and notable level. Both the resources and the quest level techs spawn more powerful creatures. Not sure if the recruit tree does.
[UI/??] Love roads, not so much how they are inextricably linked with caravans. Also, what is with the defenseless micro-caravans running on the road all the time after I set up a trade route? The enemy factions seem to mostly ignore them but rampaging marauders will kill them from time to time. Do I have to re-build them? I don't know.
Yup, as it tells you in the pop up, if they're wiped out the caravan is destroyed. The road remains, but you won't be trading along it. You need to build a caravan and send it along the road to restart the trade route.
Also if you click on those caravans it tells you what you're trading and the bonus it gives.
[BALANCE?] Food is awfully precious for a market (which does +25% Gold) to use 1 of. Also, what is up with this +20%, +25% stuff? Most of my cities, unless they are sitting on two gold mines, put out like 1-2G per turn. Do I actually get 1.25 or 2.50G? Not worth it for permanently consuming 1 food. Irrigation systems also give you +25% food, when most cities are only putting out 1-2 food. Do I get 1.25 food?
As I understand it, it adds all the resources generated together, then applies the multiplier. So if you have a mine which gives 5 gold, and a merchant which gives 1 gold, you'll put out 6 gold. If you build a market it will add 25% of that, or an extra 2 gold. It's useful because anything which creates additional gold output increases the bonus. With a single gold mine, merchant, palace and building the gold generators like the market you can be hitting 40 Gildar from a single city once you add the +% buildings.
[UI/BALANCE?] When I take over an enemy city, it is often full of cool-looking buildings that seem to do cool stuff, but they don't have basic buildings like Study and Arcane Lab, which I then build. Are these Fallen buildings? Do I get their benefit even though I didn't/can't build them? I've only played Capitar so far.
Fallen have similar buildings, for example they get a money changer rather than a merchant. Not sure if you still benefit as a Kingdom though.
[BUT] I have yet to be able to make use of it. It seems that the best way to do it is to research enough adventure early in the game to talk to low-level girls, and then marry one right away. I have had a number of children with them, but they are young for so long that I've only had one game where they got old enough to actually marry off. And unfortunately I had 5 boys in a row, and my remaining opponents were either childless or had all boys also. They seem to have passed Proposition 8 in Elementia, so that was pretty useless for me.
Heh, I got three daughters and a single son, so ... The only thing to remember is that the children will tend to inherit the traits of your spouse, so if you marry a farmer all your kids will also grant +20% food production to a city too. So you can tailor your dynasty to boosting an economic area, or look for one of the adventurers with a useful special ability and try for that.