Entities that can move on the strategical map, or which appear as defenders when a city is attacked are called units.
These can be divided in heroes, sidekicks, trained units, allies, and militias.
Heroes are your sovereign and the champions you hire or recruit while questing.
Sidekicks are hero-like units that follow rules slightly different from the ones for heroes. They are race specific, and include Altar's henchmen, Imperial scions, etc...
Trained troops are units that you build in your cities, from existing blueprints or your own designs. Their power and type varies greatly with your race and with your researched technology.
Allies are monsters that have joined you because you tamed, bribed, charmed, or rescued them.
Militia are city defenders that only appear when a city is attacked.
Sometimes the lines blur. Sometimes you receive an ally who is just a trained troop that you did not train, and sometimes, you train a troop that is just a monster that was created by you.
There is another type of entity, which I can a monster. It can be any of the above, even militia. It is not under your control, nor under the control of one of the other AI nations. It's part of the environment, and will love to kill you. These are vastly different in power, characteristics, behavior, etc...
When you kill enemy armies, you get experience. You can also get experience from completing or even advancing quests, from city buildings, from books you find in your adventures, from magic spells, etc...
As a rule, combat brings the most of your experience. The stronger the army you defeat, the more experience you earn. Big monsters bring in more experience than trained troops
Depending on the experience provenance, it is allocated between your units in a different way.
Experience from spells benefits only the targeted hero.
Experience from books benefits only the hero who reads the book. Once the book is read, it is gone.
Experience from quests is given to every hero in the army that is advancing the quest. The number of heroes does not reduce the experience each get.
Experience from combat is split between units in the victorious army according to some rather complex rules:
The total experience worth of the defeated army is divided by the number of heroes and is modified by all 'army-wide' experience bonuses from all the heroes and sidekicks. Lets call the resulting experience the 'share'. Each hero applies his personal experience bonuses to the 'share', and receives the resulting amount. Sidekicks, troops, and allies apply their own bonuses to the share, and receives one half of the resulting amount.
Confused? Here is a not-so-quick example.
Alisa, Badra, Alex, some spearmen, and a skath kill a big bag dragon.
Alisa is a heroine with Potential II (which means she also has Potential I) and Trainer I.
Badra is a heroine with Trainer II (which means she also has Trainer I)
Alex is a sidekick with an ability much like Trainer I.
The spearmen are an ally who came from a quest with Potential III.
The skath is an ally who got tamed with a collar.
The big bad dragon is worth 100 xpt.
100 xpt is dived by two, and modified by Trainer I (Badra), Trainer I (Alex) and Trainer II (Badra). Lets say this gives us 67 xpt.
Alisa gets 67 xpt modified by Potential I and II. (about 95)
Badra gets 67 xpt modified by Potential I. (about 78)
Alex gets 67 xpt divided by 2. (about 33)
The spearmen get 67 divided by 2, and modified by Potential I,II & III (about 53)
The skath gets 67 divided by 2. (about 33)
Whew. Do you need to know that? Probably not. Remember that more heroes means less experience, that army wide bonuses stack, and that sidekicks are treated as non-hero units.
Experience lets your units advance their level, which brings us to...
Level are an indication of the power of a particular unit.
Depending on the type of unit, levels bring different benefits.
All units gets hit points, accuracy and spell resistance from levels. These effects are rather minor by themselves.
Any unit can have traits. Some of these traits give benefits per level. When an unit has one of these traits, it can benefit a lot more from levels. Every unit gets 2 hit points per level, but traits can give additional 3, 5 and even more hit points per level. Other traits give benefits to stats that levels usually do not affect, like dodging.
Units composed by multiple individuals get more hit points per level, because each individual gets the respective amount.
Some units have weapons, armor and spells that receive a bonus from the unit's level. Those can be significant, leading to spells that wipe whole armies, and weapons that do unexpected damage.
Heroes and sidekicks get the most from levels, because they get to choose an extra trait every level, and some of these traits are quite powerful, including once that give heroes and sidekicks new spells and combat moves. Heroes and some sidekicks also are allowed to used better equipment as their level rises.
All that said, comparing levels is an extremely poor way to judge units' relative power. A level 30 wolf is about as threatening to a level 15 dragon as a level 3 wolf. It will just take longer to succumb. A level 30 great wolf is a totally different beast from a level 5 great wolf, though, and could lead four level one archers to a victory against some dragons.
4. Unit statistics
Every unit is associated with numerical values that describe it. These are the unit's statistics.
The easiest way to check them is to select the unit, and click on its picture in the low left hand corner of the screen. The window that comes up is called the Detail screen, and displays most of the statistics. Note that some of the values can be further examined by hovering over them. In many cases, this will bring a tooltip with valuable information.
Here is a brief discussion of the statistics on that screen:
Hit points: how well the unit can survive damage. Hit points are reduced every time the unit takes damage, and when they go down to zero, the unit is incapacitated. Trained troops and allies die when incapacitated. Militiamen only die if the city they come from is lost. Sovereigns and champions only die if the faction to which they belong has no more settlements.
When you hover over the 'hit points' value, you can see where the unit's health is coming from: there can be a base value, a level bonus, and bonuses from traits, equipment and enchantments.
Initiative: how often the unit acts in combat. An unit with high initiative moves more often in combat. One way to think about initiative is this: In order to move in combat, every unit has to top its energy tank. Initiative is the amount of energy the unit gets every 'tick'. So an unit with 20 initiative will top its tank twice more often than a initiative 10 unit, and will thus move twice as often.
When you hover over the 'initiative' value, you can see how it is computed. Every unit has a base initiative, which can be increased or decreased by traits, encumbrance, equipment, army wide bonuses, etc...
Moves: tiles the unit can cover in one turn/round. Every game turn, the unit can move across a number of plains/desert tiles on the strategic map. Every combat turn, the unit can move across a number of squares on the tactical map. These two numbers are the same, and are called the 'moves' of an unit. Note that depending on terrain types and roads, the actually distance an unit moves on the strategic map varies, and that some combat spells can reduce the tactical range.
When you hover over the 'moves' value, you see how it is calculated. Every unit has a base move. Equipment, mounts and enchantments can add to it.
Accuracy: chance of hitting the target. Accuracy is the chance, in percents, of hitting a 0 dodge target, with a caveat: the chance to hit is never lower than 3% percent or higher than 97%.
When you hover over the 'accuracy' value, you see how it's computed: there is a base value, a level bonus, bonuses from equipment, bonuses and penalties from skills, etc...
Dodge: chance of avoiding an attack. Dodge is the chance, in percent, of dodging an 100 accuracy attack. The difference between the attacker's accuracy, and the target's dodge is the actual chance, in percents, that the blow lands, with a caveat: the chance to hit is never lower than 3% percent or higher than 97%.
When you hover over the 'dodge' value, you see how it's computed: equipment, enchantments, army wide bonuses, and certain skills can increase and decrease dodge.
Critical chance: chance of a successful hit dealing critical damage. When the unit successfully lands a hit on on enemy, there is a chance that the attack will deal critical damage. The 'critical chance' value is that chance, in percents, unless the target is immune to critical hits, or is under a spell that turns every hit critical.
When you hover over the 'critical chance' value, you see how it's computed. Most units have a base value of one, which can be increased by traits, the equipped weapon, etc...
Unfortunately, the actual critical damage, which can also be influenced by the unit's traits and weapon, is nowhere to found on the detail screen.
Attack: damage the unit can inflict. Attack is the maximum damage that an unit can inflict with a noncritical hit on an unit that's not especially vulnerable to its damage types. The attack statistic can used by skills that deal non-physical damage: i.e. a dragon's flame breath may have the strength of its physical attack, despite dealing fire damage.
When you hover over the 'attack' value, you can see a breakdown of the sources of the damage, as well as the damage types. Damage can be physical (blunt, cutting, piercing) elemental (fire, frost, shock) and even other (poison, non-specified)
Defense: resistance against physical damage. Defense reduces the damage taken when you are hit by a melee weapon or by a sword, as well as damage from some special attacks like sweep or double attack. It does not help at all against elemental or poison damage, and can be partially negated by abilities like Shadow Strike I/II/III and some weapons like Druss blades or most spears. The actual damage reduction will be discussed elsewhere, but as a rule of thumb, if the defender's defense matches the attacker's attack, damage is halved.
When you hover over the 'defense' value, you will see where the unit's defense comes from: innate ability, equipment, enchantments, army wide bonuses, not acting in a combat round, etc... You will also see your defense specifically against blunt and cutting damage.
Spell mastery: chance that a spell cast by the unit is not resisted. Spell mastery is the chance that a spell cast on an unit with 0 spell resistance takes full effect. Not all spells can be resisted; such spells always take full effect. As for spells that can be resisted, the chance they take full effect is always between 3% and 97%. If they are resisted, they either have no effect whatsoever, or inflict reduced damage.
When you hover over the 'spell mastery' value, you will see where it comes from: all units have a level bonus, which can be modified by a base value, equipment bonuses, and traits.
Spell resistance: chance that a spell cast on the unit is resisted. Spell resistance is the chance, in percents, to resist a spell cast by an unit with 100 spell mastery. The difference between the caster's spell mastery, and the target's spell resistance is the actual chance, in percents, that the takes full effect, with a caveat: it is never lower than 3% percent or higher than 97%.
When you hover over the 'spell resistance' value, you will see where it comes from: all units have a level bonus, which can be modified by a base value, equipment bonuses, traits, and enchantments.
Cold, Fire, Lightning, Poison resistances: percentage by which elemental damage is reduced. These are rather straightforward. Before elemental damage is applied, it's reduced proportionally to the relevant resistance - the number is treated as a percentage. When the resistance is 100 or more, the unit is immune to that element. When the resistance is below zero, the unit takes extra damage equal to proportional to the absolute value of the statistic.
When you hover over the resistance values, you see where it comes from: innate ability, equipment, enchantments, etc...
Fallen enchantress has a number of resources. There are a few main types, and I will try to say a few words about each.
Basic resources: gildar, iron, horses and wargs
Gildar are gold coins. You get these from mining the metal, taxing cities, defeating humanoids, completing quests, selling items, trade and diplomacy, and even from merchant heroes. You can use them to buy items, rush production, bribe and placate opponents, trade for other resources, pay wages, etc...
Iron is what you use to forge mundane equipment, like chain armor and swords. It is also required for some construction projects. You get it from mines, from defeated iron monsters (iron golems for example), and from trading with opponents. You can trade it to your opponents for a lot of gold, but you may come to regret that once your have the tech to forge great equipment, but not the iron to equip any number of troops.
Crystal is what you use to construct magic equipment, like amulets, cloaks and even magic weapons. It is also required for some construction projects. You get it from mines, from defeated crystal monsters, and from trading with opponents. Even more than iron, you should think very carefully before you trade it away.
Horses are what you give your soldiers to make them faster, and less encumbered by heavy armor. You get them by building stables and ranches on tiles where wild horses are found, or by trading for them. You usually either have none, or more than enough, so except for the first few turns after you find them, you can safely trade some away. Of course, by doing so, you allow your opponents to field cavalry.
Wargs are another type of mount. They acts faster in combat, dodge better, but do not move as far, and they do not help with heavy armor. Mages and archers may be better off on a warg, unless you do not want the lower strategical speed. You get them by developing tiles where wild wargs are found, and of course everything else about horses applies.
Advanced resources: mana, grain, materials
Mana is mostly used for casting spells, on both the strategic and tactical map. You get it from your sovereign, heroes, city buildings and enchantments, and by building altars, shrines, and temples on Life/Death/Air/Earth/Water/Fire shards. It's what fuels the spells of your heroes and sidekicks, and you really need it if you rely on magic in combat, or even on the strategical map. Note that some spells have a maintenance cost, i.e. that for as long as the spell is active, mana is spent every turn.
Grain allows your cities to grow. It is tied to food, and will be discussed at length further in the guide. Basically, each city receives a certain amount of food per unit of available grain. You get grain from a city's original tile, from grain fields, orchards, pastures that you need to develop, and from city buildings and enchantments.
Materials allows your city to build things. They are tied to production, and will be discussed at length further in the guide. Basically each city receives a certain amount of production per unit of available material. You get material from a city's original tile, from clay quarries, and from city buildings and enchantments.
Not quite resources: essence, influence, prestige, research, etc...
There are a few concepts in Fallen Enchantress that are not quite resources but are similar enough so I'll mention them here.
Essence is a measure of the ambient magic in a location. It only matters when you settle a city in a particular tile. Every city enchantment needs to be fueled by one unit of essence. You cannot have more enchantments active at the same time than you have essence, but on the other hand, once a city enchantment is in place, the essence keeps it going with no mana maintenance cost. Essence cannot be traded, transferred between cities, etc... The only ways to increase the essence available to a city is to build a scrying pool (granted by the Enchanters race trait) or by choosing the Oracle upgrade when you level a Conclave.
Influence grants you the respect of your opponents, as well as the allegiance of some neutral creatures. When you have a lot, they will like you more, be less likely to attack you, and you will get better deals from them. You can also trade influence away, or you can try to buy it for resources, but neither is recommended. Losing influence can lead to your friends turning on you, and purchasing influence is insanely expensive. Some races have specific uses for influence: some can recruit monsters as allies, Altar can train sidekicks, Kraxis can charm cities and units away from their original side. Influence can be gained by exploiting prestigious locations, constructing specific city buildings, declining other rewards from quests, etc...
Prestige has one main function: it increases the growth of your cities: every city gets a growth bonus equal to your prestige divided by the number of your cities. For a significant number of your cities, this will be the only source of growth for the length of the game. For many strategies, this is the primary source of city growth. Prestige is gained as your sovereign levels, as you research specific technologies, as enemy sovereigns swear allegiance to you, and as you construct some important buildings in your cities.
Research is a measure of the ease with which you master new technologies. It is generated by some heroes, city buildings and enchantments. It can be increased with technology treaties with other nations, and it can be even found and traded. You usually set a research target, and most acquired research goes towards that target. There are exceptions.
Cities are your main source of research, your safest source of income, and the way you develop and exploit resources. There are very few strategies in Fallen Enchantress that do not rely on having a number of well developed cities which control as many well developed resources as possible.
Your capital is founded by your sovereign. Settling other cities is done by a trained troop, the pioneer. You can produce these in your cities, or get them from quests. You can also capture cities from the enemy. Emperor Karavox can charm cities by using influence.
A city can work on a building that gets added to the city, a trained troop that can fight for your cause, or an improvement over a tile that is considered controlled by that specific city. Only one of these can be constructed at any time, and the time of completion depends on the city's production value. The production is usually wasted when the city is not working on anything, but some cities get bonuses to income, research or both when they idle.
Cities can also benefit from city enchantments. These vary greatly. They could produce mana, enhance city production, add to research, help with city growth, reduce unrest, enhance any trained troops produced in the city, etc...
But mostly, cities benefit from buildings.
Buildings are constructed in cities, and like enchantments, buildings can have different effects. Unlike city enchantments, building often have Empire wide effects. There are a few main types of buildings:
Productivity buildings: these increase production per unit of material, or even add materials to the city's pool.
Income buildings: those produce taxable income, a percent of which you can divert for yourself with taxes.
Growth buildings: these either increase the growth rate, or allow higher population by increasing the food supply per unit of grain.
Training buildings: these improve the troops trained in the city.
Government buildings: these reduce unrest. Unrest is explained later, but basically it decreases research and production, and reflects the population's unhappiness.
Specialty building: these can have other effects, like giving experience to troops in the garrison, increasing the the power of a magic path, etc...
Note that some buildings can combine more than one type and that not all buildings are available in every city, due to requirement for city level and type.
Cities can level up and specialize. There are four types of cities in the game, and their type defines what can be built in them.
Non-specialized (level 1) cities: This is what every city starts as. They allow the construction of all troops and resource improvements, most production and government buildings, as well as some growth, research and specialty buildings. Buildings allowed in non-specialized cities can be built in all city types.
Towns: These cities specialize in producing taxable income, and in helping the growth across the whole Empire. On leveling, they have upgrades that can increase units' health, decrease unrest levels, etc... These cities allow the construction of all income buildings and most production buildings.
Conclaves: These cities specialize in producing mana and research. On leveling they have upgrades that can increase research, mana or essence. They allow all research buildings, and even some magical based income and production buildings. Surprisingly enough, they are sometimes a good place to produce some specialty units.
Fortresses: These cities specialize in producing units. They allow training buildings that grant better armor and accuracy, lower cost, shorter training, etc... to troops and sidekicks. They have few other uses, which is why their numbers are usually lower compared to the number of towns and conclaves.
8. Population, food, and growth
Cities have population. As the number of citizens reaches some specific values, the city level increases. These values are 50 for level 2, 200 for level 3, 400 for level 4, and I have to admit, it's been a long time since I've had a level 5 city.
Population grows at the end of every turn. The increase is determined by a lot of factors. The one that is always present is the faction's prestige, divided by the number of cities in the faction. Some buildings add growth to the city they're in, for example the tower of dominion, the well, the inn, the festival. Other buildings, like the prison, reduce the growth of a city. Heroes can add growth to a city if they have chosen the path of the administrator. Enchantments and wilderness trophies can also increase a city's growth.
Growth is not enough by itself, though. In order to grow, a city also needs food. Food comes from the grain a city controls. The original tile yield, enchantments, grain fields, apiaries, etc... all these can add grain to a city. The number of grain units is then multiplied by the food-per-grain coefficient, which is different from city to city.
The food-per-grain coefficient starts at 20 food-per-grain when you found your capital, and mostly grows from there. It can be increased by buildings and enchantments in the particular city, as well as Empire wide factors like buildings and researched technologies.
You should also keep in mind that if a city's food supply goes below the amount needed to sustain the existing population, the extra citizens die or leave. This will not lower the level of the city, but will certainly make it hard to reach the next level.
Lets have an example:
My Empire has a prestige of four and two cities: Atlanta and Boston. Atlanta was settled on a 3/2/-, Boston on a 2/4/1 tile.
Atlanta has built a granary, a well, a tower of dominion, and a prison. Boston has built a garden, a brewery, the Great Mill, and a festival. There's a apiary near Atlanta. Boston has a "Sovereign's Call" enchantment.
Atlanta has 4 grain units: 3 (tile) + 1 (apiary)
Atlanta's food-per-grain coefficient is 85: 20 (base) + 25 (granary) + 40 (Boston's brewery)
Atlanta's growth is 2 per turn: 2 (prestige / cities) + .5 (tower of dominion) + .5 (well) - 1 (prison)
It can only grow to 340 population: 4 x 85
Boston has 2 grain units, all from the tile.
Boston's food-per-grain coefficient is 75: 20 (base) + 15 (garden) + 40 (brewery)
Boston's growth per turn is 5: 2 (prestige / cities) + 2 (festival) + 1 (enchantment)
It can only grow to 187: 2 x 75 x 1.25 (25% bonus from the Great mill)
If you take anything from this example, let it be the fact that just because a city can grow fast does not mean that it will grow big, and that just because a city has enough food to become huge, does not mean it will get there in a reasonable amount of time. I.e. you need both food and growth.
9. Production and Materials
Production is a measure of how quickly a city can construct buildings, develop resources, and train troops. In nearly every strategy, city production is very important. Even if a city will mostly sit idle and generate research (common for Conclaves) it still has to be able construct the buildings that improve research generation. There are ways around this, but they are much harder, and not always effective, or even available.
Production is the product of two factors units of material available to a city and the production-per-material coefficient, with a bonus for cities of level two and above. Some building, like the Great Mill, can grant a percentage bonus.
The materials available to a city come from the original tile's yield, nearby cray quarries, enchantments, and some advanced buildings. The original tile yield is usually the source of most of the materials, so the it is very important where your city is founded in the first place.
The production-per-material coefficient starts at 6, and can be increased through a number of means, which include city buildings, researched technologies, enchantments, and well as buildings in other cities.
In addition, some buildings like the Great Mill give a percentage bonus to production.
To make things more complicated, there are buildings like the mason and the training yard that reduce the cost of construction or training.
So, lets have an example:
Boston was settled on a 2/4/1 tile, near a forest and a river. It's late in the game, so Boston is really well built up. It has a mill, a timber mill, a water mill, and the Great Mill. There's a clay quarry nearby, and "Enchanted hammers" has been cast on the city. And to top things off, the Labor Guild resides in a city our side has occupied.
Boston is a level three town, and has 6 units of materials available: 4 from the tile, 1 from the quarry, and 1 from the enchantment
The production-per-material coefficient is 19: 6 (base) + 2 (from the 'Mining' and 'Guild' techs) + 3 (mill) + 3 (timber mill) + 3 (water mill) + 2 (Empire wide bonus from the Labor Guild)
A city size bonus of 4 is added, and the great mill grants a 25% bonus.
So eventually, Boston has about 147 production ((4 + 6 x 19) x 1.25)
So how long does it take Boston to build a Brewery, which needs about 1400 labor? Only about 8 turns, because in addition of everything else, the mill reduces construction costs by 20%. Note that a trained troops that cost the same 1406 labor would take the full 10 turns.
If you take anything from this example, let it be that production bonuses come from many sources, but even with an extremely well developed city, construction can take a long time.
10. Research and Technologies
Research allows you to (re)discover new technologies. While the game can be won without ever researching anything, practically all but one of the strategies rely on research. Magic spells, infrastructure, better gear, more diplomacy options... the list of what technology brings is a long one. That said, a well developed hero with looted gear has a chance to prevail against an army using advanced warfare technology. Just not a very good one, usually.
You can get research from trade, 'Scholar' heroes, and caches of ancient writings, but first and foremost, research comes from cities.
A particular city generates research from many sources: its size, its buildings, and the active enchantments. The result can be modified by empire-wide bonuses from race, technology or buildings. In addition, some buildings give significant research bonuses if the city is otherwise idling, i.e. not producing anything.
In most cases, all research goes towards a goal that you have selected, and is lost if there is no such goal. There is at least one exception: when you trade for research, the research credit is randomly spread across the respective tree, i.e. if you were to receive "Civilization" credit from trade before you ever did any research in that tree, the credit may go to "Civics", "Knowledge", or "Restoration", independent of what your research goal is.
Technologies are divided in three trees. "Civilization" allows you to develop infrastructure and improves your diplomacy, "Warfare" teaches you how to train your troops and how to manufacture most weapons, and Magic unlocks spells, enchanted gear, etc...
Those divisions are pretty broad, though. There are exceptions. For example, "Civilization" increases troop size, "Warfare" improves lumber processing buildings, and some of the advanced buildings in the "Magic" tree grant more materials to a city. Furthermore, technologies in one tree can have prerequisites in another tree.
As a rule, most strategies involve developing some infrastructure before everything else, i.e. concern themselves with the "Civilization" tree first. Of course, it's perfectly possible to focus on troops first, or to start forging enchanted hammers before bothering with wooden spears.
11. Taxes and taxable income
Gold is useful in many ways, and fortunately can be acquired is many ways as well. Some strategies rely exclusively on loot and trade, but those are the exceptions. Most players will get a significant portion of their income from taxes.
It is very important to understand one thing about gold income in Fallen Enchantress. All city gold income is through taxes. If your taxes are at None (0%) none of your cities is paying you a single coin. Furthermore, even improvements like gold mines and apiaries are tied to cities, so without taxes, none of their gold output ends in your coffers.
Does this mean that you have to tax your subjects from the get go, and tax them heavily?
No, absolutely not. When you raise taxes, people become unhappy, which results in unrest, which can reduce your research and production. Furthermore, when your empire is just a collection of huts around a big firepit, there's not much taxable income anyway. Specifics will be discussed in the strategy section, but it's a hard and fast rule that the first thing you should do, even before your sovereign takes a step on the first turn, is to suspend taxes (and choose a research topic)
Later in the game, as your Empire expands, and your cities construct markets, tax offices, docks, gold mines, etc... you probably want to raise taxes. When you do so, you get a percentage of the taxable income. And remember, all the Gildar values you see in the building descriptions are taxable income, not gold going into your coffers.
The most straightforward source of taxable income is the city's base income, defined by its size - bigger is better. There are many buildings that increase that base value, and they do so in different ways. A gold mine or a merchant will just add a specific number of Gildar to the taxable income. A tax office will do that as well, but will also apply a 25% bonus. The Treasury Vault will also give a bonus if the city is idling, and even pay interest on the amount left at the end of the turn. And then we have buildings and enchantments that give Gildar per material, per essence, per food, etc...
Time for a very simple example.
The city of Carlsbad is a level 2 conclave. It has built a merchant, and there is a developed gold mine nearby.
Its taxable income is 14: 6 (level 2 conclave) + 2 (merchant) + 6 gold mine.
When the taxes are at "None", you see none of that Gildar.
If collect "Low" taxes, you will get 40%, or about 5.6 Gildar.
If you raise the taxes to "Normal", you will pocket 50%, or 7 Gildar.
How does one decide how much taxes to collect? It depends on how badly you need cash, and on what buildings you have that reduce unrest or its effects.
Unrest is a measure of the number of happy citizens in a particular city. In general, their unhappiness makes them unproductive, and research and production is decreased proportionally to unrest. There are ways to reduce unrest, and even to negate the effect of unrest on research and production.
Unrest comes from multiple sources.
The first one that you will encounter is taxes. The higher the taxes, the higher the unrest. Even when you set the taxes to 'None', there is some unrest, representing the people who believe that government should provide services even when it's not collecting taxes.
The second source of unrest you are likely to encounter is due to a city's zone of control not being connected to your capital's zone of control. You can expend the cities' zones of control until they merge, or you can use outposts to link the zones.
The third more common source of unrest is the occupation penalty. When you conquer an enemy city, you receive get 50% unrest. After a few turns, it start going down, but it still takes about 15 years (60 turns) for the city to fully accept its new sovereign.
There are other sources of unrest: buildings like the black market, sovereign traits like 'cruel' or race traits like 'rebels', hostile enchantments, etc...
Reducing unrest can be done in a number of ways. The most straightforward is to construct buildings that reduce unrest, like the tower of dominion, the town hall, the prison, the cleric, etc... There are also city enchantments, like "Oppression", that reduce unrest. And, often overlooked, heroes reduce the unrest in a city just by garrisoning it. Sovereigns and governors are best at this, but of course, it's may not the best use of their time to stay in a rioting city.
There are also buildings that make a city's production or research immune to the effects of unrest, like the slave pen or Tenfell university.
And, as usual, an example:
Ahilga used to be the capital of Yithril, with a tower of dominion, a bell tower and a cleric, but your sovereign Karavox just took it over. You have not extended your dominion from your capital yet, but your level 4 governor Janusk is with Karavox. Ahilga has 2 essence. Your taxes are low.
Ahilga has 22% unrest from taxes, 50% unrest from being occupied, 15% unrest from being cut off from your capital, and 5% from Karavox's cruelty.
Ahilga's unrest is reduced by 10% by the tower of dominion, 10% by the bell tower, 10% from the cleric, 10% by Karavox, 5% by Janusk as a hero, and 15% by Janusk as an administrator.
Ahilga's present unrest is 32% (50+22+15+5-15-10-10-10-10-5), which means that research and production are decreased by nearly a third.
You could further reduce unrest by upgrading the town hall or cleric, casting "Oppression", or linking Ahilga to your dominion.
13. Dominion and zones of control
As soon as you found your capital, you can see that a region around it is marked with your faction color. This represent the area where your sovereign's word is law. The area around a specific city or outpost is called its zone of control. The collection of such zones is called your sovereign's dominion. The land under your dominion is your territory.
Dominion is spread by cities and outposts. When a city grows to a town, builds a town hall, or erects a monument its zone of control extends. An outpost's zone of control can be extended with the "high tower" upgrade.
Dominion has various benefits.
The one you are most likely to encounter first is that resources within your dominion can be exploited by building an improvement over the specific tile. When your dominion extends over a resource developed by one of your opponent, you will begin exploiting that resource instead of the previous owner, as long as you have the right technology. Even if you do not, you are still denying it to anyone else.
The second benefit of dominion is that some spells, like Tremor or Freeze can only be cast within your dominion. Other spells, like "Raise land", can be cast on neutral tiles, but not in enemy dominion, which means that your territory is safe from some enemy spells.
There are more benefits to dominion and zones of control: contiguous dominion reduces unrest in your cities, enemies cannot use roads that are under your dominion, outposts upgrades can significantly improve the speed/defense/etc.. of your units.
It is worth noting that where the zones of control of various opponents intersect, only one actually prevails. As a rule of thumb, the closest outpost establishes its zone of control when a tile is between two outposts, and a city zone of control trumps an outpost's zone of control .
When a city's zone of control actually covers an outpost, the outpost and all resources surveyed by it come under the control of the city's owner.
When two enemy cites are close enough for their zones of control to intersect, the more powerful usually establishes its influence.
Outpost are structures which can be erected even where cities cannot be, and which have no population or production of their own. You erect an outpost using a pioneer unit that is consumed in the process, or the "Arcane Monolith" spell which is available to races with the Decalon trait.
At any time, each outpost is associated with the nearest friendly city. If a new city is built, or the associated city is destroyed, the outpost switches to the currently closest city. The associated city is important in two ways: all upgrades to the outpost are constructed using its labor, and upgrades from the outpost can benefit the city.
An outpost can receive various upgrades, which increase the size of its zone of control, improve friendly units in the zone of control, give growth bonuses to the associated city, etc...
Note that just because an outpost is associated with a city does not mean that the resources controlled by the outpost benefit that city. Resources can be closer to a different city than the outpost.
Outposts can be conquered by an opponent, and when this happens, they switch allegiance, taking with them the controlled resources. They can also be destroyed by the player, an AI, or a monster. In this case, all resources it surveyed lose their improvements, unless they come under a sovereign dominion before the beginning of the next turn.
'Snaking' is a term used to describe the manual placement of city buildings in order to achieve specific outcomes. In order to use snaking, you have to enable "Manual Improvement Placement" in the advanced options. Once you have done so, you can choose where your next building will be constructed, within limits, and thus pursue the following goals:
You can snake your city to include nearby developed resources within the city walls. In this manner, wandering monsters cannot destroy the improvement without first overcoming the city garrison.
You can snake your city to extend your zone of control in a specific direction, in order to extend your dominion over resources, convert enemy outposts, or link to a friendly city's zone of control.
You can snake your city in order to completely block a mountain pass, a land bridge, or an important choke-point, and prevent enemies, and even more importantly, neutrals and allies from going where you do not want them.
You can snake your city to allow extremely fast travel across your empire. Traveling from one end of a city to another takes no move. By carefully extending your cities toward each other, you are creating fast routes between important destinations.
You can snake your city towards a promising, resource rich spot that lacks fertile land. The proximity of your city may revitalize the land, and allow settling.
Note that snaking will not allow your city to construct buildings that were not available to it at the time of settlement. If your original city tile was not next to a river, snaking to a river will still not allow you to build a pier.
Snaking a city has its drawbacks. By snaking too aggressively, you can get too close to a fertile patch, and make expanding a new city from that patch impossible, as you cannot construct new buildings too close to the original city. Snaking also generally increases the zone of control beyond the one resulting from auto-placement, which may awaken monsters you are unable to handle. Also, aggressive snaking may bring your borders to close to an enemy, and precipitate war. But in general, snaking is a valuable tool that you should use despite its drawbacks -after all, wars are an inevitable part of all but a few strategies.
16. Victory conditions
There are four ways in which you can win a game of Fallen Enchantress: Conquest, Diplomatic, Master quest, and Spell of Making. All but conquest can be disabled when you start a game. As soon as a side achieves an enabled victory condition, the game is over and that side has won.
Lets look at each victory condition in more detail.
Conquest: be the last side standing. Either force sovereigns to surrender and swear allegiance to you, or defeat sovereigns when they have no more cities to retreat to. This is probably the most straightforward way to win, and you need military might to achieve it. What form that military might may take is up to you. Parties of heroes and henchmen, hordes of tamed beasts, hosts of summons, or just plain old armies of trained troops - they all work. You can choose to assimilate your conquests or just raze cities as you conquer them. You can pick your enemies or just attack everyone you meet.
Diplomacy: be allied with every surviving side. Also pretty straightforward, with the caveat that if you are the one responsible for starting most of the wars and destroying most of the defunct sides, the survivors may be wary of you, especially if you have attacked people on your side of the kingdom/empire divide. When you have gotten a reputation as a warmonger, you will have to dominate the survivors pretty thoroughly in order to convince them to ally with you. Thus, if you are aiming for a diplomatic victory, it is best to be lenient in victory, and make peace with the enemy instead of finishing them off. Chances are someone else will do that for you, and you will not get the bad reputation. It's even better if you cordon off a reduced enemy in a corner of your empire, and strong arm or bribe them into a ceasefire, then force trade, technology and economy treaties on them. Not only will you avoid the reputation hit, not only will you get a boost to your economy, but you may even be able to get the former enemy to ally with you. And if you can't, you can always end their misery once you have allied with everyone else.
Spell of making: cast a spell that gives you control over the world, turning you into a physical god. You have to research the Book of Mastery in the Magic research tree, construct a number of buildings required to power the spell, acquire five kinds of different shards, and have your sovereign send a few years in one place casting a spell. You may want to have an army guarding the sovereign during that period.
Master quest: a quest to rule them all. If a master quest victory is enabled, somewhere in the world there will be a quest which, if followed to its end, will allow you to rule the world. Have fun finding out by yourself. Instead of spoiling it for you, I will say a few words about quests in general.
As you wander the world, you will notice tiles marked by a golden scroll. If you move a hero to the tile, you will be presented with a text window that will inform you of what your hero finds, and sometimes present you with multiple choices of action. Congratulations - your hero just started a quest.
When a quest location has been visited, it may disappear if the quest takes you somewhere else, or the scroll can turn white, indicating that the location may still need to be visited later. Usually, another quest location will appear, marked by a golden scroll. Of course, once a quest has been completed, the quest location may disappear, or at least turn into something else - a wandering enemy, an ally or an exploitable resource.
There are dozens of quests in Fallen Enchantress, and they vary widely in difficulty, complexity, and time required for completion. Rather than try to find common characteristics, I will try to describe how quests can differ from each other.
Most quest locations have a difficulty rating: weak, medium, strong, deadly, epic. These denote the highest challenge this quest may turn out to be, i.e. a quest marked deadly may turn out to involve no danger whatsoever, but the risk was there - instead of being handled a new spell, you may have ended up fighting a Death demon.
That said, quest difficulty ratings are approximations. In theory, if your army rating matches the quest rating, it should be able to handle it. In practice, depending on your army makeup, a lower rated quest can be impossible to complete, or you maybe able to breeze through a quest two or three levels higher than your army's rating. In the latter case, the rewards may give your empire an amazing boost, or conversely, your heroes may be too low level to use their new artifact.
Some quests release monsters into the world. Those may be a minor nuisance, or a plague that will devastate a few of your cities.
Fortunately, many quests will warn you of what you're about to face, and give you a chance to come back later when you are stronger. Others will give you a chance not to get involved, but you will not be able to come back to an inn on fire or a monastery about to be invaded by a mob with pitchforks. And finally some quests will not give you a chance to back out at all - you will have to fight.
When you fight a quest battle, and you lose, you may fail the quest - the bandits abscond with the girl, the demon goes back to its plane, the ogre eats its victims. Other times, you will lose the battle, but the enemies will remain on the world map, to wait for you to come and defeat them... or to devastate your empire until you stop them.
Some quests are completed as soon as you visit their original location. Other send you somewhere, and you have to bring something back. And then there are a few quests that send you on long trips back and forth, make you visit different locations, collect items from monster lairs, etc... As a rule of thumb, these are well worth doing.
18. Monsters and monster Lairs
When your sovereign sets out to conquer the world, groups of monsters are everywhere. Some randomly move around, while others remain in their starting locations until disturbed. The homes of the latter groups are called monster lairs, and their tiles often sport a distinctive object - a cave, a brush, a caldera, etc...
The monsters which start on such tiles will usually stay there a while. Some humanoid armies, like mites, darklings and brigands will start wandering without provocation, but most monsters will not leave their starting location unless something disturbs them.
Example of disturbances are player or AI armies ending the turn right next to the lair, a sovereign's dominion covering the lair, or even a weak army venturing inside a specific range. When this happens, the monsters will target the offending army or just leave the lair and start moving around. Wandering monsters are very dangerous to AIs and players, and may sometimes threaten cities and improvement quite far away from their original lair. Thus, it is important to avoid disturbing monsters before you can safely handle them.
That said, even monsters that do not leave their lair without provocation may spawn a group of less powerful monsters that will start wandering away from the lair. For example a single pack drake may venture away from a drake's army, or a single umberdroth may leave the pack. When this happens, the original army stays in the lair, and may even become stronger - some monsters level, others add similar but smaller beasts, and some are actually replaced by more powerful creatures. As the game progresses, the lair guardians grow much more powerful, and the spawned armies become stronger and more frequent.
Thus it is a good idea to be aware of the monster lairs within and around your territory, and have plans for dealing with their occupants when they become active. Dealing usually takes three forms: luring the monsters away, immobilizing them, or killing them. Leading them away is risky and prone to failure, and immobilizing them can lead to a large mana expenditure. While killing them has no immediate drawbacks, it may be easier said than done.
In any case, when a monster army has left the lair or has been destroyed, most lairs can be looted, which usually destroys them. There are exceptions - for example, once they have been cleared, mercenary camps and ogre lairs can be developed and their inhabitants can be recruited. One can also leave a monster lair intact, and use the spawned monsters for training new recruits. But usually monster lairs are cleared as soon as the nation can handle them, and left alone before that.
Some monsters and their lairs are part of larger areas that obey different rules and are called wildernesses.
As you explore the world, you will encounter large areas under a dominion that belongs to neither you or the AIs. These are called wildlands, and each has clear borders, a particular theme and a way to be pacified and open for colonization.
Wildlands vary widely. Some, like the Pits of Namtur, are completely safe unless you go looking for trouble. Others, like the World's End, can be a menace for everyone who wanders or settles nearby. Some have to be cleared completely before they can be colonized. Others become open for colonization when a specific location is explored or settled, or a specific enemy defeated. Some bring no reward apart from a trophy of situational value, others allow you to develop valuable resources, and one grants you the final victory once you conquer it.
When you first enter most wildlands, you get a splashscreen and a short briefing about its history, denizens, and the way to pacify it. Pay attention. You will receive a short description of the task in the quest section of your Empire tree, but it's better if you remember some of the information from the briefing - it may come in handy.
When the wildland's task is completed, its quest is removed, and the dominion over its territory disappears. At this point, you can build cities and outposts and develop its resources.
There is no hard and fast relationship between a wildland's challenge and its rewards. As a rule, you do not need to ever deal with a wildland unless you are aiming to achieve a Master Quest victory, and even then, you only care about one specific wildland. Whether you venture into any other wildland is up to you, but if you settle near one, be prepared to deal with whatever wanders out.