Now that we are starting to look beyond simple stability issues and into the new 1.1-1.2 horizon, it's time to start digging around in all the various systems to balance and polish them up.
Tactical Spells is one of these areas that needs help, particularly in terms of damage.
Let's look at the Three primary main book spells; Arcane Arrow and Spell Blast
-Arcane Arrow; Range; Infinite, Cost; 8 Mana, Damage; 50% Int
Consider that most people with any desire to cast spells are going to start with 10 Int (5 Damage), and in my own case, I generally put 2 int per level into my sovereign. By level 5, that's 20 Int (10 Damage) for 8 mana.
Spell Blast; Range Infinite, Cost; 27 Mana, Damage; 30% Int, Radius Spell
Again, people who want to make magic a priority are going to go Int-Heavy and it is really not difficult to get your sovereign above 20, where they do 6-8 damage to everything in the area of effect of this spell for 27 Mana.
Touch of Entropy; Range; 1, Cost; 64 Mana, Damage; 30 damage
A little spendy, perhaps, but 30 damage, bang, no resist, nor reduction is pretty powerful.
I am of the opinion that these spells are actually pretty well balanced for what magic is supposed to be and do
Other spells, however, are pretty off kilter balance wise. They require tech to unlock the book for research. They all require at least one shard. Shards are supposed to be the fonts from which magic enters this world, they are the drivers of all arcane power, and add 3 whole damage to blizzard spells (what?!?).
Fire Spells You would think that fire would be the most damage intensive element. It does have the most options, including two over world spells, but I would never cast any of them.
Burning Hands; Range 1; Cost; 1 Mana; Damage 8 - Requires 1 Shard
Yeah, so its a touch spell. It's dirt cheap, and does 8 Damage. By the time you get the fire book and research this spell, you can probably also have a war staff (and definitely a spear) which will put you into about the same damage range, and you aren't limited to one spear attack per turn.
(50% Int*1/Fire Shard) for 1 mana and we can talk.
Flame Dart; Range Infinite; Cost; 8 Mana, Damage; 5 Requires 1 Shard
So, this spell takes time to research the book, time to research the spell, requires one fire shard to cast, and is only worth casting if your Int is 10 or less. It costs the same as Arcane Arrow, requires more, and damages less.
Fireball; Cost; 12 Mana, Damage; 8 + 4 per Shard
Considering that the caster of this spell has to have 1 shard to cast it, you are looking at at least 12 Damage per cast, which is pretty good until your sovereign gets Int 24 or better (which again, is pretty easy, and more universally worth it since you already have Arcane Arrow Researched, right?), and is less valuable once the sovereign gets Int 20 because of diminishing returns with mana expenditure.
It could scale well with the shards, but how often to you have more than 1 fire shard? Maybe one game in 3?
Air Spells Lightning! Sounds pretty sweet, doesn't it?
Storm; Range; Random, Cost; 27 Mana, Damage; 5-8 +2/Shard - Requires 1 Air Shard
For the exact same cost as a spell blast, you get to hit one random enemy, once, for at least the damage of an Arcane Arrow cast by someone with Int of 14. All for the low, low cost of 3.5 times as much Mana, and additional Tech research.
This spell has good cost, and decent damage for the concept, but really needs to have a duration with several random bolts over time if it is to retain the same numbers.
Water Spells This one is really the icing on the cake, as it were.
Blizzard; Area Effect; Cost; 64 Mana, Damage; 3-5 +3/Water Shard - Requires 1 Water Shard
This guy does damage equal to an Int 18-24 Spell Blast at over twice the cost. If it had an additional effect like making the area it is cast on slow movement across it, or the possibility of effected units losing a turn it might be worth it's cost/damage.
In short, we need these spells which have additional requirements to obtain (spell books), and additional requirements to cast (elemental shards) to be worth our time to use. They should be at very very least slightly more powerful than our standard "combat" book spells in their basic incarnation, and dramatically better if we are fortunate enough to have a second or (however improbable) third shard of a given type.