Edain Mod 4.5: The Spellbook of Imladris
Greetings, companions of Edain,
You have not heard from us for a while, but in no way does this infer that we're idle! As long as our real life permits us to, we have stuck to the development of the 4.5 version. Be sure to check out the update next week, where we will discuss a few vital things and give you a short team-update.
Today, we would like to present to all of you the next overhauled spellbook:
SPELLBOOK OF IMLADRIS
Progress goes forward with the Last Homely House, east of the sundering seas of Arda. Much has happened here. A total amount of 5 spells has been superseded, while 4 new concepts have been added, although we did rework the remaining spells at their fundamental roots equally. We sought to explore the iconic atmosphere and antique lore of Rivendell in better ways, and, on the other hand, we wanted to emphasise the faction's own mechanics, as we did with the other spellbooks; in this case, the focus is to be on what renders this faction the ultimate elite faction by definition.
You can read more about the new spellbook structure in general, including the new long-term and short-term strategic trees, in our first The Road to Edain 4.5: The Spellbook
THE FIRST ROW
Imladris is the only faction which retains the classic healing spell. Being the faction with the smallest, yet most expensive, armies in the game, Rivendell suffers the loss of any soldier more than the other factions. We have therefore deemed the healing spell the most appropriate option to rescue soldiers in hazardous situations, should the worst befall. Most importantly, lore-wise, this is a perfect reference to Elven healing arts of which Elrond is an unquestionable master. Thanks to the suggestion of the user Hal9000, we have renamed the spell Miruvor, which is a cordial said to be used in Valinórë itself, during the many festivities that occur. The relative passage from The Fellowship of the Ring:
Elrond gave Gandalf some Miruvor before the Fellowship left Rivendell. Gandalf then passed this on to the members of the Fellowship as needed - first on Caradhras, next when they stopped to rest, and lastly just inside the gates of Moria.
The very spell has not changed. As a direct and immediate enhancement for the units affected, it suits its purpose well, while other factions boast bonuses like horns.
No longer shall Elven Wood or the horn of the Noldor be counted among the features of Imladris. Elven Wood was simply much more in tune with Lothlórien, whose reworked spellbook we are to present in a future update. The horn of the Noldor had to leave space for alternatives of a different kind, for we wanted to move away from the prospect of multiple factions disposing of replicas of the same iconic spell.
Instead, next to the Miruvor spell, we now have Breeze of Manwë, which has slipped up from the second row. The combined nature-themed aspect of the spell and the memory of Manwë Súlimo, the sole King of Arda and most authoritative one of the Valar, could not fit better in the spellbook. We believe that the spell, now part of the first row, is finally made more serviceable in the game, given that it was usually considered quite weak as a second-row feature. Worthy of a single point and available very early, the spell fares efficiently, in order to disrupt opponents continuously for the entire duration of the game. Furthermore, it offers defensive options in equal terms, as it allows an escape via a skilful deployment of units or may even neutralise potential attacks from your flanks. The reason why the spell itself is located on the left side of the spellbook.
THE SECOND ROW
The second row did not match Imladris properly. There were a passive spell, two summoning ones and Breeze of Manwë, which has been moved to the first row. In spite of being historically connected to Rivendell, said spells did not have any clearly defined role or major peculiarities, whereas uniqueness was and is still the founding premise of this spellbook overhaul.
We thought that the faction ought to keep a summoning feature in the early game. The already-existing Summon Hobbit Allies spell had its sound logic due to Rivendell being the closest realm to the Hobbits. It is in fact in the initial phase of the game that the faction is in dire need of short-term troops and combat strength, to cope with the pace of the game. Now, Hobbits are definitely not naturally-born warriors and should not simply bring raw strength to the battlefield either. That's why we came up with some special additions for the spell:
Summon Hobbit Allies: Summon three groups of Hobbits.
These have the possibility to change weapons.
Melee: In melee, Hobbits deal 3% more damage for any other Hobbit nearby.
Stone Throw: In ranged combat, Hobbits attack slowly, causing minor damage, but from the third throw towards the same target, their attack speed increases drastically.
The courage of the Hobbits now rekindles valour in their allies' heart, rendering them fearless, as long as they find themselves in the near vicinity.
Both strategically and historically, the spell makes much more sense than it previously did. Even though the Hobbits' readiness to fight is not to be doubted, its strength rests confined within precise boundaries, which is the reason why its core value cannot be excessively high. Not only does their braveness and defiance inspire other Hobbits, but also all the Free People involved in the strife.
The weapon change acquires a more concrete role as well. In melee, Hobbits are overall apt for countering small groups of enemies; fact that makes it possible for the player to make up for the initial lack of troops of the faction, thus balancing disadvantages. Were you to slay many Hobbits quite rapidly, playing as an opponent, the power of Hobbit reinforcements would decline and plummet accordingly. As for ranged combat, it's the other way round: initially, Hobbits deal less damage, but, after a few attacks, their effectiveness soars.
Strategy-wise, it means that there is a just reason to protect Hobbits adequate manners, and not to sacrifice them as a worthless decoy. This seemed quite significant to us, as the Free People send them to battle. Moreover, the spell benefits the player in the late game too. Henceforth, Hobbits fit clearly in the right, more offensive and short-term, side of the spellbook.
On the other side of the row, we have crafted a new spell dealing with a pivotal motive for the Elves of the disenchanted Third Age. The spell works as explained below:
Journey to Valinor: Summon a resting camp. Enemies in the nearby area receive no experience or gold for killing allied units. Allies in the vicinity get +30% speed and become fearless.
Depending on the position of the resting camp, several camps may be accumulated in time, covering broad areas of the very map. Surely, a very relevant of an implication from whence the inevitable dilemma arises: you might either risk a more 'offensive' placement or place the camp in defensive focal points that can be more easily safeguarded and patrolled.
The spell suits also the left side due to its lasting effect, which increases its own influence progressively, via the gradual accumulation of resting camps.
We are quite satisfied with the fact that we could devise a spell that embodies such paramount events in the lore of Middle-earth, whilst the feature caters well for defensive situations and requires some thorough thinking about where to place the resting camp in the first place.
THE THIRD ROW
In the third row, there were two spells shared with too many other factions and they didn't have such strong characterisation, in relation to the core essence of Rivendell in the Edain Mod. The summoning of the Eagles is justified in the proper context of Gondor, if we consider its connection with Gandalf and with the grand deeds in front of the Black Gate. We also wanted to cut out the number of unimaginative weather-related features in the game, for the general idea was too much pervasive to guarantee a fair amount of differentiation. We thus removed Light of Aman from the spellbook.
We have instead opted for the creation of a new spell and for the readaptation of two others. The leftmost spell has been slightly modified: Influence of the Evening Star.
Elessar was an Elven magical stone, known also as Evening Star, tied intrinsically to Arwen and to Imladris as a whole. It's said to have been endowed with healing properties and all who look through it see things young and vivid anew. Later, Aragorn himself was entrusted with the jewel and his royal name derives from it.
Currently, the spell grants increased regeneration and reduced recharge time for any hero in the surroundings of Arwen. We decided to give the concept a more specific shape and so we have chosen the following effect:
Influence of the Evening Star: As long as Arwen fights, she and surrounding heroes are continuously healed. The closer the heroes to Arwen, the stronger the effect.
The condition of Arwen being in combat and the increasing effect, dependent on how close heroes are, makes the spell a good deal more challenging to use. It's no longer possible to exploit the spell by hiding Arwen behind heroes or troops, in safety. The spell thus rewards whom gets to play with Arwen in the best of the ways, so that the spell may be of significant avail. Given the prominence of healing, whoever struggles with managing heroes in Rivendell should definitely try to put forward coherent strategies that are centred around Influence of the Evening Star.
To the right, we now have a much redesigned flood spell. We were compelled to change the previous spell, lest Rivendell had ended up with having two ultimate spells which would have clearly belonged to the offensive tree. Both the flood and Last Alliance were offensive features. We therefore deemed those flood horses not so viable. After all, their purpose in the lore was the utmost defence of Rivendell and its adjacent borders. That's why they were given a new function:
Protection of the Bruinen: The selected building will be invulnerable for a minute. In addition, a flood originates from the structure and hits near enemies.
The beneficial role of the spell is apparent, as protecting your own strictures and repelling enemy forces might result in being really critical during the game.
Whoever misses charging water horses at the enemy, shouldn't be dissapointed, since Elrond still has has level 1 ability.
On the right side of the third row, we find two spells with which we are well acquainted. Let us begin with Song of Lúthien Tinúviel: Lúthien is the daughter of Melian, a Maia of Valinor, and of Elwë, forefather of the Teleri and ruler of the millenary woodland kingdom of Doriath. As usual, the Elf-maiden is summoned to the selected area and, remaining motionless, starts singing a harmonious melody. The song's effect is steadily increasing, reducing both the speed and the armour of whom falls prey of the incantation. Power that has been reasonably moved to the third row.
Tom Bombadil could not be imagined being left out from Rivendell's spellbook, because he could not go anywhere else. He used to be a summoned hero who was particularly effective against masses of weaker units. The foremost reason for an overhaul was that such aggressive mass-slayer role did not match with his peaceful soul. Also, a spell against large armies is not necessary anymore, having Imladris enough valiant troops and heroes in its government. Thus, Tom Bombadil is given a new supportive role, portrayed by his abilities:
Master of Wood, Water and Mountain (Passive): Tom dances unstoppable through enemy units, throwing them around. It also reduces the damage of near units by 90% for 10 seconds. His melee attacks have the same effect, along with affecting monsters and heroes too.
Long Step: Tom teleports to the selected destination.
Merry Song: Tom's singing bewilders all evil in a line. Affected enemy units, monsters and heroes cause 90% less damage for 30 seconds.
His new abilities speak themselves for his character: he comes to the aid of Rivendell troops, in the same way he had rescued Frodo and his companions. He now deals less damage, albeit being well capable of withstanding open clashes anyway. There is also a stark contrast to Lúthien, whose song renders foes more vulnerable and still. Dynamism, opposed to stillness.
THE CENTRAL SPELL
During their long and eventful life, the scholars of Rivendell have gathered immense knowledge of the world, and both Elrond and Arwen are able to foresee what is to be. Feeding from this recurrent theme, omniscience appeared to be a sound concept for the central spell of the faction.
Omniscience: The scholars of Rivendell are granted omniscience by the Valar. Libraries reveal the entire map permanently.
Under a strategic perspective, the spell should not be underestimated. Disposing of perfect knowledge, a good player can react to every opponent's move. Imladris remains also loyal to its iconic principle of quality over quantity: while other factions generally purchase their central spells for four or five points, Imladris must buy its for seven.
It was quite hard to conceive a 100% fitting feature for Rivendell, but we are pleased to have crafted a simple yet proper solution.
THE FINAL SPELLS
In line with the aforementioned statements, we have moved the flood of Bruinen to another place. On the left, a new ability takes its place:
Formation of the Firstborns: The chosen training building now recruits experienced standard units, equipped will all relative upgrades.
Only by these means can Rivendell's focus on elite warfare reach its glorious apex. The faction therefore gets an easier access to the game's strongest units, more than anything else. However, a word of caution: the enemy shall nullify the very purpose of the spell by aiming for the said chosen building. It's consequently imperative that the affected structure be defended properly from possible menaces!
On the right, we deemed it wise to keep the Last Alliance spell. Nevertheless, we agreed that, as for the other summoning features, it had to be informed by a more defined role. Ultimate spells are customarily meant to help destroy the enemy base and end the game quickly. This applies to the Last Alliance spell more than you might think: after all, it was an invading host. The Free People marched unto the heart of Mordor, treading the venomous ways of the Land of Shadow with indomitable courage, and eventually besieged Sauron's mighty fortress: Barad-dûr. Heroes now boast new abilities that represent this fundamental passage of the lore.
All heroes share the following passive ability:
March into the Black Land: As long as a commander of the Last Alliance lives, all Last Alliance forces will receive +50% armour against arrows, building arrows, siege weapons and elemental damage.
Individual heroes have also specific abilities:
Anárion: Besieger of Barad-dûr: Anárion can attack enemy gates.
Elendil: Conqueror of Mordor: Enemy buildings in Elendil's vicinity have 50% less armour.
Gil-Galad: Power of Vilya: Gil-Galad unleashes the full potential of his ring of power in the target area and deals high damage to buildings.
Isildur: Critical attacks (passive): Isildur attacks ruthlessly and deactivates buildings for 5 seconds.
The heroes feature now abilities that help thee enormously in a siege. They may still be used for open combat, although one should judge carefully whether it is worth using a 10-point spell for this purpose. The spell is primarily meant for siege, which is why we felt like placing it in the right column with a decent degree of certainty.
We hope that you like the update and we're looking forward to your precious feedback.
Your Edain Team