Characters have abilities which can help their chances of success in attempting actions. You don't necessarily need skill in an ability in order to attempt an action related to that ability. For example, you can attempt to steal even if you have no Thief ability. The two exceptions are using archery and casting spells, which require the Archery ability and Magical abilities respectively. Abilities of characters are as follows:

[4.1] Martial Abilities

Martial abilities aid a character in moving armies, fighting battles and fighting in personal combat. There are 5 Martial abilities:

[4.11] Tactical (TA)

Tactical ability increases strength of the land and air armies led by the character by 20% per skill level. If the character is at level 1, the strength of his troops would increase by 20%.

[4.12] March (MA)

The March ability allows a character to move a land army further than the number of provinces given in the Army Table. Also, when invading an enemy province, the character with Forced March ability has a better chance of uniting with another character invading the same province for the battle against the defenders. The March Table gives further details on these benefits. March ability applies to units moving from one land province to another.

Extra moves for...Contingents Unify %
Distance to 2nd force:
Ability levelSpeed 1 - 2Speed 3+012
000805020
101906030
2111007040
3121008050
4221009060

Eagles and Dragons are not affected by March ability.

Contingent Unify shows the chance that two leaders invading a province will join together for the battle, depending on whether they invade from the same province, adjacent provinces or non-adjacent provinces.

[4.13] Naval (NA)

Increases the strength of the fleets led by the character by 20% per level and the speed of naval movement by 1 province per level in a manner similar to March ability. Also, when invading a province, the character has a better chance of joining with another character who is invading the province for the battle with the defenders. Naval ability applies to moves to or from a Sea province.

[4.14] Archery (AR)

This ability allows a number of free attacks equal to the level of the archer. For example, a character with an Archery skill of 2 gets 2 free attacks. The base chance to hit is 30%, plus 10% per Archery level, and the damage is 1-6 hit points. Monsters sometimes get free attacks because of archery or other missile weapons.

[4.15] Melee (ME)

In melee combat, this ability increases the character's chance to hit and decreases the opponent's chance to hit by 10% per difference in level, and increases or decreases the damage by 1 hit point per difference in level. Example: if your skill in Melee is 3 and your opponent's skill is 2, you have a 60% chance to hit and +1 damage, and he has a 40% chance to hit and -1 damage.

[4.2] Magical abilities

Every Magical ability has five basic spells. A character with a skill of one or higher in a Magical ability knows those spells. A character may use a Magical ability to cast one Action spell per game turn (at level 3, this increases to two Action spells, and at level 4, three Action spells). A character with skill in two or more Magical abilities may use each ability to cast spell(s) in a game turn. A character may use a Magical ability to cast one Combat spell per encounter (at level 2 this increases to two Combat spells).

The same Combat spell cannot be cast more than once in an encounter.

The spellcasting limits for Action and Combat spells are separate.

A character may cast a spell in a Magical ability only if he has a skill level of 1 or higher in that ability. The chance that an action spell will succeed is 15% plus 15% per level. Combat spells have a 30% + 15% per level chance of success. If the spell fails, nothing happens.

Combat spells work exactly as described, with no other major effects. For example, the Psychic Blast spell does not increase your chance to hit in melee, nor does it allow you to flee the combat.

A Pagan kingdom, whose leaders possess minds which are especially sensitive to magical forces, is aided by an Order of Magicians. All Pagan characters controlled by the King have a +10% modifier to their spellcasting attempts, except for White Magic spells.

[4.21] White Magic (WH)

The player may cast these White Magic spells:

  1. Resurrect character (RE) (Action spell)

    A spellcaster in the same province as a deceased character may attempt to bring the character back to life. If the spell is successful, the character returns to life with all of his former abilities, but not his former possessions, and becomes employed by the King who resurrected him. A character may be resurrected at any time after his death. When a Divine king resurrects a hero, his alignment becomes Good, thus enabling the King to gain a character at reduced pay. A Divine King can cast resurrection on one of his own living heroes to turn him into a Good character. Undead characters can be resurrected if they die, in which case they become the same alignment as whoever resurrected them (except for an Undead King.)

    After your King dies, you can cast a Resurrection spell on your Royal Heir and get your old King back (you're actually casting the spell on the bones carried around by the Heir.) If another player casts a Resurrection spell on your Royal Heir, you still get your old King back. But as soon as you assign your Heir his new skill levels, or improve any of his abilities by practice or experience, you lose the resurrection option. If the Heir dies, his abilities don't replace the abilities of the dead King for the purposes of this rule.

  2. Part Sea (PA) (Action spell)

    A sea province is transformed into a plains province for the rest of the turn. Fleets or Whales may not enter or leave but land units including Mermen may. Only the province the caster is in, or an adjacent province, can be affected.

    Land units may only enter the Parted Sea from an adjacent land province or Parted Sea. They may leave the Parted Sea only to an adjacent land province or Parted Sea. A land unit which entered a Parted Sea in a previous game turn will find that the Parted Sea must be re-parted in order for the unit to move.

    "Part Sea" cancels the effects of "Flood", and vice versa.

  3. Bless Province (BL) (Action Spell)

    The tax base of any one province is increased by 60% for one turn. Multiple Bless spells have no cumulative effect.

    A Bless spell can remove buried skeletons permanently (the chance is (White-skill x 10%) + 10%.)

    Armies "Paroled into population" in a battle are not eligible to become skeletons.

  4. Holy Symbol (HO) (Personal Combat spell)

    The Holy Symbol invokes Divine protection. It reduces an opponent's chance to hit in archery or melee by 10% per skill level. For example, at skill level 1 an opponent with a 50% chance to hit will have his chance reduced by 5% (50% x 10% = 5%).

    When used against an undead character or monster such as a vampire or ghost, or an anti-holy monster such as a Demon, the spell reduces its chance to hit by 20% per skill level and inflicts 1-4 damage points per skill level.

  5. Spiritwrack (SP) (Personal Combat spell)

    The caster utters holy words which cause the spirit and body of his opponent to undergo weakening convulsions. The victim can't cast spells or use archery, and the damage he does in melee is reduced by 1/2 hit point per level of ability of the caster, rounded up or down randomly. The spell does not work against undead monsters or characters, or mechanical monsters because they have no spirit, and its effects are halved against monsters with animal intelligence.

[4.22] Psychic Magic (PS)

Allows the use of spells having to do with powers of the mind:

  1. Charm (CH) (Action spell OR Personal Combat spell)

    When cast on a Hero in the same province who leads no armies, allows the caster to hire the Hero at no cost (however, maintenance costs must still be paid.) Otherwise, it allows the caster to befriend his opponent and escape from combat unharmed.

    When cast by an Undead character, the Charm spell is a Necromatic spell (not a Psychic spell.) When an Undead King (not a hero) Charms a hero (as an action spell only), he also turns Undead. An Undead King may Charm his own heroes in an attempt to turn them to undead. Heroes with advanced skills are more resistant to being turned undead (although the cast chance itself is not lessened.) For these heroes, corruption occurs gradually: alignment will change by 1-3 steps per spellcast.

  2. Oratory (OR) (Action Spell)

    The caster may cast the spell on himself or a co-located character. All armies that travel with him are heartened by the oratory and have their quality increased by one level for the rest of the turn. Green armies become Average, Average armies become Veteran, and so on. Casting this spell more than once does not produce a cumulative effect.

  3. Clairvoyance (CL) (Action Spell)

    The spell is cast on a character in any province in the world. Everything that happens to that character for the rest of that turn becomes known to the caster. A character can only cast one Clairvoyance spell per game turn. A subsequent Clairvoyance spell will nullify the one currently in effect.

  4. Psychic Blast (PS) (Personal Combat spell)

    The spellcaster projects a blast of mental energy which stuns the enemy and allows the caster 2-5 free attack rounds.

  5. Telekinetic Storm (TE) (Personal Combat spell)

    The caster creates a telekinetic storm centered close to the victim which seizes small objects and whirls them in all directions at great speed. The spell does 4-16 hit points to the monster, and some objects will also strike the caster. If he is at melee range, he takes 4-16 hit points; at bow range, 2-8 hit points; and at spell range, 1-4 hit points. This spell does not work against underwater monsters.

[4.23] Illusory Magic (IL)

Allows the spellcaster to become invisible or change the appearance of terrain or his armies.

  1. Illusory Terrain (IL) (Action spell)

    The spellcaster causes the province he is in (or an adjacent province) to appear to be of a different type of terrain. You select the terrain the illusion will mimic. The illusion has a 15% chance of dissipating per game turn. The spell only affects someone viewing the province from an adjacent province. Someone who enters it will detect the illusion, but it will still affect armies somewhat: the strength of armies will be halfway between their strengths for the real terrain and the illusory terrain.

  2. Phantasmal Armies (PH) (Action spell)

    This spell causes armies of illusory soldiers to travel with the spellcaster (or co-located character) for the rest of the turn, which increases the strength of the armies he directly leads at a battle by 15% per level of the spellcaster. Casting more than one Phantasmal Armies spell does not have a cumulative effect.

  3. Hide Feature (HI) (Action spell)

    A specified feature in the province occupied by the character becomes invisible to any explorer, although a King who already knows the feature is there will not be fooled by the illusion, nor will the Heroes in his employ be fooled. The illusion has a 10% chance of dissipating per turn.

    If a monster is currently raiding one of your provinces, then casting this spell on his feature will stop him for as long as the spell lasts.

  4. Invisibility (IN) (Personal Combat spell)

    The spellcaster becomes twice as hard to hit by archery or melee attacks for the duration of the combat. If you cast an Invisibility spell in your encounter plan before you steal, it's worth a +15% modifier to the stealing attempt.

    The Invisibility spell also allows a +30% chance to Flee an encounter.

  5. Mirror-Image Phantasm (MI) (Personal Combat spell)

    The caster creates a mirror-image illusion of his opponent and sends the phantasm into combat. To his opponent, the phantasm is real and initially has exactly the same characteristics as when the spell was cast. The two mirror images then fight it out, while the caster must concentrate on his illusion, performing no other actions. If another Mirror-Image spell is cast while the illusion is fighting, both illusions will dissipate.

    Before each combat round, there is a chance that the victim will disbelieve the illusion, in which case the illusion loses its power. The chance of disbelief for each type of intelligence level is listed below. 15% per level of the spellcaster is subtracted from the listed chance.

    Divine or Superhuman120%
    High Human100%
    Medium Human80%
    Low Human60%
    Animal40%
    Mechanical20%

    If the mirror image loses, the caster must continue the fight at the current combat range. If it wins, the real monster is mentally slain and falls to the ground. The illusion then turns on its master, who is in such a deeply involved trance-state that his own sense of reality is distorted. The illusion must be disbelieved (at a bonus of 25% above Medium intelligence) or slain. If the illusion wins, it fades out, and the real monster revives and slays the fallen illusionist. If the illusion loses, the caster automatically finishes off the mentally-slain monster and claims the treasure.

[4.24] Elemental Magic (EL)

Allows casting of spells which draw on the four elements of fire, air, water and earth:

  1. Flood Province (FL) (Action spell)

    This can only be cast on a co-located or adjacent non-mountain land province. It immobilizes all land armies in it for the rest of the turn. No land armies may enter the province. Naval and air movement and transport is unaffected.

  2. Tornadoes (TO) (Action spell)

    When cast against an enemy province which the caster is in or adjacent to, each army there has a 10% chance per level of being sucked up and scattered to the four winds.

  3. Earthquake (EA) (Action spell)

    Wipes out the tax base of an enemy land province adjacent to or co-located with the spellcaster for the current game turn.

  4. Fireball (FI) (Personal Combat spell)

    When used in personal combat, does 1-8 hit points of damage, plus 1 hit point per level. The spell does not work against underwater monsters.

  5. Ice Suspension (IC) (Personal Combat spell)

    The caster may suspend the victim in a magical shell of ice, or at least slow it down for a few rounds. The caster may suspend a monster which has up to 4 remaining hit points per level of the caster in Elemental Magic.

    If the spell successfully suspends the victim, the caster will gain whatever magic items are not being carried by the victim, and may choose between fleeing (with automatic success) or waiting for the ice to melt enough for the victim to start breaking out, in which case the caster will gain 3 free attack rounds (starting at whatever range is best for his next combat tactic.)

    If the spell is not completely successful, the caster will gain 1-3 free attack rounds, depending on the percentage of the monster encased in ice. For example, if the victim has 16 remaining hit points and the caster has a skill of 1 in Elemental Magic, he gets 1 free attack (4/16 hit points, multiply by 3 maximum attack rounds and round up, and you get 1 round.)

    Of course, this spell does not work against ghosts, demons and similar creatures which exist only partly in the material world. Also, it works differently against flying monsters. If the spell is cast on a flying creature, it will do 5-10 hit points of damage when the creature crashes into the ground, and gains the caster 1-3 free attack rounds.

[4.25] Necromancy (NE)

Allows casting of the following Black Magic spells:

  1. Skeletal Army (SK) (Action spell)

    If the character is in a province where a battle was previously fought and some armies were destroyed, he may recruit a horde of skeletons who rise from their graves and pick up the weapons they perished with on the battlefield. One army per level of ability can be raised, provided that enough armies have perished on the battlefield on previous turns. There is no recruiting cost, but maintenance costs must be paid at the end of the turn. The caster has no control over which army type will answer his call. There is a limit of 350 armies allowed in the game (both dead and alive) so after the first few turns, about 10% of the previously destroyed armies will rot away each turn. The oldest destroyed armies will rot away when the 350 army limit is exceeded.

    The Skeletal Army is identical in all respects to whatever army was defeated on the battlefield, and has all of its movement points. Skeletal armies controlled by an Undead Kingdom have a 100% chance of fanaticism. An Undead King also starts the game with one of his armies being Skeletal. A Skeletal Army can be raised in an enemy-controlled province, which will provoke a fight with whatever forces are defending the province. If a character tries to leave the Skeletal Armies or transfer them to another character, other than an Undead character, they will dig their own graves and go to sleep once again.

    When a Skeletal army dies (but not a non-skeletal army), it is reduced in quality by one level.

  2. Kill Enemy (KI) (Action spell OR Personal Combat spell)

    In order to cast this spell, the necromancer and his victim must be in the same province. The spell may not be cast on a monster guarding a feature except as a Personal Combat spell. The caster makes a figurine of the opponent he wishes dead, then "kills" the figurine by a method such as sticking pins in it. If the spell is successful, the victim is killed in the same way the figurine was destroyed. If the spell is unsuccessful, the intended victim will attack the caster with a Berserk temper, tracking him down that very phase if necessary.

    This spell does not work against undead monsters or characters, ghosts, demons and similar creatures which exist only partly in the material world. Also, it has half the normal chance of working in an encounter in a feature or against a Hero who leads an army because there is so much guesswork in making the figurine. A necromancer can't use it to defend himself in an encounter because of the time needed to prepare the figurine. Kings are invulnerable to this spell.

    If you cast a Kill Enemy spell as an action, the victim may instead “fall into a deathly coma and become an imbecilic shadow of his former self” with no skill levels and no chance of rising in skill. In this case, a resurrection spell can restore the skills.

  3. Plague (PL) (Action spell)

    The caster names a province to be afflicted. it must be the same province the caster is in or an adjacent province. If successful, each army in the province has a 10% chance of being destroyed, plus 10% per level of the spellcaster.

    If a unit survives a plague, it's immunized from dying in future plagues (it may instead drop a level in quality.)

    Only the four humanoid races are affected.

    Be careful! The next phase, there is a 15% chance per adjacent province that the plague will spread, and it can spread further each phase after that. Casting more than one Plague spell does not have a cumulative effect.

  4. Hand of Death (HA) (Personal Combat spell)

    The caster makes squeezing motions with his hand, which magically causes his opponent to feel his heart (or other organ of the caster's choice) being squeezed to a pulp. The caster may not cast spells or attack while using this spell, and defends in melee at his Necromancy skill level, not his skill in melee. Each attack by the caster does approximately 1 damage point plus 1/2 damage point per level of ability. The victim can't cast spells or use archery, and his chance to hit in melee is halved. When the caster is hit in melee, his concentration is broken and the spell ends. The spell has no effect against undead characters or monsters, or mechanical or anti-holy monsters.

  5. Control Undead (CO) (Personal Combat spell)

    The caster may control any undead monster or character with this spell for enough time to drive a stake through its heart (or otherwise incapacitate it.) Unfortunately, the consequence of failure of this spell is the instilling of a maniacal rage in the intended victim, which has the effect of increasing its hit points by 50-100%.

[4.3] Special Abilities

[4.31] Sage (SA)

The Sage is a historian, scientist, and engineer. The Sage ability allows discovery of new devices. When a Practice Sage Ability action is performed, there is a 5% chance per level of inventing or discovering a useful device. You might discover the compass, which will help your Explorer ability, or create a mighty war engine to help you in battles. Some devices aren't really scientifically possible, but are included just for fun. If a level-4 Sage practices Sage continuously, he will make a discovery an average of once a year.

[4.32] Druid (DR)

Druids specialize in attaining harmony with all other natural life forms. With each level, Druids gain the ability to lead armies of races other than their own, as listed in to the Druid Table. If a character attempts to lead an army when

If a character attempts to lead an army when he has insufficient Druidic ability, the quality of the army suffers a decrease equal to his shortfall in Druidic ability. For example, if a character with no Druidic ability attempts to lead an army of Whales, which requires a Druidic skill of 2, the quality of the army is reduced by two levels (from Average down to Depleted, or from Veteran down to Green, etc.).

If a unit is under the garrison commander of a province, and is of a different race than the King, then the King's druidic ability is used when figuring the unit's modified quality.

With regard to the Talk tactic in encounters, some monsters can only be conversed with by Druids. Monsters with at least human intelligence and a humanoid voicebox, and also dragons, can be Talked to by anyone. Druids gain additional Talking abilities at each level according to the Druid Table.

Druid LevelGains ability to lead armies of...Can talk to...
1Humans
Elves
Dwarves
Orcs
Mermen
Werebeasts
Avians
mammals
2Whales
Trolls
Reptilians
sea creatures
3Eagles
Ents
Insectoid monsters
4DragonsAll monsters

[4.33] Spy (SP)

The spy is capable of compiling reports on the strength and disposition of enemy forces and characters, and spying out the inventions used by other Kingdoms. On game turns when a character at some point performs a Spy or Trail action, the character has a reduced chance of being noticed by other Kingdoms throughout that entire game turn. The Spy ability gives you greater success when performing the Spy action, and if a character has a Spy ability of at least one, he may contribute something to your General Intelligence report even if you don't order him to spy.

The Spy ability also determines the chance of success when Trailing or Pursuing another character. See the Spy Table for more details.

Spy levelChances of Escaping NoticeMargin of Error of Spy ReportsChance to Pursue or Trail
00%70%50%
150%55%100%
275%40%150%
388%28%200%
495%15%250%

Note: The chance to Pursue or Trail is multiplied by two if the target leads an army. The chance to pursue is then divided by the distance (in number of provinces) between the two characters.

If the pursued character is of the same Kingdom as the pursuer, then the chance of success is 100%.

[4.34] Explorer (EX)

Increases the amount of province explored in one Exploration action by the Basic Exploration Number per level. Basic Exploration percentages are shown in the Terrain Table.

[4.35] Thief (TH)

Increases chance of success when stealing by 15% per level. Also, a Thief has the Spy's ability to escape notice when he attempts thievery in a game turn.