Bless refers to the special bonuses and/or stat boosts a nations sacred units can gain based on the starting paths of a pretender. When blessed, the candles of the "sacred" candelabra icon is lit, and the unit gains benefits. A blessing can be applied through the use of Holy spells, and is automatically applied to the prophet and any unit in the immediate presence of the pretender.
A blessing is useless if you don't actually apply it. Only a sacred unit can have the effect, although one unit of any type may be made sacred by declaring him your prophet. The effect can be applied a few different ways.
The usual method of applying a blessing is through holy spells.
- Blessing The level 1 spell that you use if you have no other options. This has an area of effect and you'll need several of them.
- Divine Blessing Your go-to for most nations. This will bless all sacreds on the battlefield.
- Unholy Blessing The specialized blessing for Ermor, Scelaria, and Lemuria. It has three flavors, at level one it's single-target, at level 2 it's equivalent to a normal bless, and at level 3 it's equivalent to Divine Blessing. Note: Unholy Blessing ONLY affects undead sacreds.
When a pretender is in battle in friendly dominion, all sacred units under its control are automatically blessed. The pretender does not count as a sacred unit, and thus never gains any of the abilities of its bless.
The Prophet is always blessed. If it wasn't sacred it becomes sacred. Uniquely, the prophet remains blessed even out of battle. Because the prophet is also always capable of Divine Blessing, he can be an important boon for bless strategies.
Shroud of the Battle SaintEdit
This is an item (Const 4, Path 1S, Gems 1S) which applies a bless to any commander that wears it. Though not particularly expensive, it uses up an armor slot. It can be worthwhile for thugging but is rarely enough to build a bless strategy around. Of interest, it does cause the bearer to be blessed outside of combat as well.
The magic paths the pretender, during design, has determines the bless effects. It is crucial to note that after pretender design is finished, a pretender's bless never changes, so one cannot empower a pretender to add a bless, nor does one lose a bless if a pretender loses magic paths. Thrones, however, can add a bless. A Throne's bless is available as long as control over the throne is maintained.
When discussing a pretender's bless, it is typically subdivided into minor and major. A Minor bless is a numeric effect unlocked when a pretender's magic path hits 4, and incremented every two levels. A Major bless is added when that magic path is at 9.
At Fire 4, the bless provides +2 attack skill. This improves by +1 at 6, 8, and 10. This makes it easier for sacred units to hit other units in melee, and is beneficial for sacred units focusing on offense that have many attacks and/or high strength, but may not have high enough strength to fully leverage them. Mictlan is a good candidate for this bless.
At Fire 9, sacred units get Flaming Weapons. This adds +6 armor piercing fire damage to all attacks, and is especially useful for sacreds that get multiple attacks, or ones that only deal damage that magic resistance might negate or that plain don't deal damage. Middle Age Nazca Supayas can benefit from this bless, as can Early Age Tien Chi's ancestor spirits. Armor Piercing means that it only counts half of the units protection when determining damage, but because it is a separate instance of damage from the original attack, it is not effective against units with high protection. It also is entirely negated by fire resistance. It counts as magic for its own hit with ethereal and invulnerability, but it doesn't make the main weapon a magic weapon. It does pop fog warriors.
At Air 4, blessed units get Precision +2 and +20% increase to Missile Range. The precision increases by +1 and the increase to Missile Range by +5% at 6, 8, and 10. The bonus to range and precision is beneficial to both sacred archers and most mages, allowing them both more range and higher accuracy with projectiles and/or spells. Most nations with sacred mages can make use of this bless, such as MA Marignon, as well as any nations with sacred archers, such as LA Caelum.
Air 9 gives your sacred units a Wind Shield (80) which prevents 80% of all mundane projectiles from dealing damage, such as plain crossbow bolts, arrows, boulders, darts, etc. It doesn't effect Area of Effect mundane projectiles. This does not affect spells that use magic projectiles, such as fireball, but does affect spells that use mundane projectiles, such as Bladewind. .
Water gives a defense bonus of +2 at 4, which increases by +1 at 6, 8, and 10. This is helps prevent a unit from being hit, and generally does stack with the spell "Quickness" and other defense increasing spells. It is best put to use with nations that already have units with defensive abilities - as in those that allow them to evade attacks. This may include high natural defense, ethereal, or glamour. EA Tien Chi's Warriors of the Five Elements are a common recipient of this bless.
Water 9 provides limited quickness. This works a little bit different from the spell of the same name. Your blessed units get 50% more action points, allowing greater movement and more powerful charge damage. It also provides an extra attack round every other battle-turn, effectively multiplying the attacks a blessed troops makes by 1.5. The increased amount of attacks per turn does not stack with regular "Quickness." This makes water an excellent offensive bless, synergizing with the other offensive abilities effectively.
The Earth blessing at skill level 4 provides reinvigoration 2, which increases by +1 every two levels the pretender has in Earth. Reinvigoration reduces Fatigue by the stated amount every turn every battle, and is especially useful for sacred troops with high encumbrance and spell casters. Any nation with sacred mages can make use of this bless, such as MA Sceleria, to insure more spells are cast every battle. Sacred Units with high encumbrance are improved with this bless, such as the sacreds of LA Agartha and Abysia. Finally, it has great utility for defensive sacreds alongside regeneration, such as the sacreds of Niefelheim, who survive by being hard to kill; this also makes it one of the better blesses for sacred thugs.
At skill level 9, an Earth Pretender grants its sacred units Natural Protection +5. A bless that effectively prevents the first five points of all damage that is dealt to any sacred units has many uses, but is usually used with a nature bless due to the synergy with regeneration. The formula for how this protection is added is natural+armor-(armor*natural/40), so it does not improve protection by as much for already armored sacreds.
At level 4, Astral provies +1 Magic Resistance, which increases every two levels by +1 to +4 at skill level 10. It should be worth noting that this only increases Magic Resistance to a max of 18, so nations with high Magic Resistance, or taking the Drain Scale, might not receive the full benefit. This is especially useful for nations with undead sacred units, such as MA Sceleria or MA Ermor, that might need added protection against Banishment spam. This bless should be avoided for some nations, such as EA Abysia, which have national spells useful for their troops, Inner Furnace that have Magic Resistance Negates. It is generally encouraged that, should you take Astral on your pretender, you go for a high cvalue (not less than four or five) to protect your pretender from being mind hunted by enemy astral mages.
At level 9, your pretender grants your sacred troops the Twist Fate ability. The first successful strike against the caster is negated. It doesn't stack with the astral spell of the same name. It is of some use to nations with low hp, low protection sacreds, such as MA Sceleria, EA Tien Ch'i or MA Mictlan. It also has synergy with glamour, as glamour makes units harder to land the initial blow on, and twist fate prevents the initial damage that would ordinarily pop glamour.
An astral bless is often considered to be one of the weaker blesses for combat. This is acceptable because astral is a path which it is particularly useful to have a single high-level caster.
At magic skill level 4, Death starts giving you Undying +5, which increases every level by +1, to a maximum of +11 at magic skill level 10.Undying gives your sacred units a number of negative hit points equal to its level, during which the unit will not die in combat. After combat, a living unit will die but an undead one will continue on. A living thing with Undying +5 can be in combat after its Hit Point to zero, and can last until its hitpoints are at -5, after which point it dies. This gives some living sacred units some staying power, even if it means they still die. Further, at the end of combat, a unit with regeneration can gain back a bunch of hp, but if it still ends up in the negatives, it still is counted as dead. However, undead sacred units, such as Shadow Vestals of MA Sceleria or Lictors of MA Ermor, treat undying HP as normal, and will not die even if the only remaining HP they have is undying HP. A Death minor bless is best for nations with sacred undead units, like MA Ermor, Nazca or Sceleria, but also has utility for nations that simply want sacreds to last longer in battle, or have regeneration.
The death major gives Death Weapons, which is a secondary effect to all of your weapons that does +2 Armor Negating damage that can be resisted with magic resistance. This attack is magical (bypasses ethereal) but like the fire bless, it does not make the weapon itself count as a magical attack. In addition to damage, the target unit is diseased, which can also be resisted by magic resistance.
The Nature bless improves hp, as at level 4 you get +3 extra HP while blessed, and this increases every level to a max of +9 hp at nature level 10. This bless can nearly double the available HP of some of the frailer sacreds, including most humans. Since the +HP applies for each wounded shape, it is excellent for units with multiple forms, such as Mictlan's Jaguar Warriors.
Nature 9 grants true regeneration, restoring 10% of maxhp every round during combat, rounded up, and reduces afflictions. This regeneration will work on any sacred unit, including undead or lifeless ones, but because the improvement is based on maxhp, it's particularly potent on units which already have high HP, such as the sacreds of Niefelheim. This one of the most accessible and broadly useful bless for most nations, but is most beneficial for sacreds with high protection, as it makes each additional hp last longer. However, because it is a defensive bless excellent for outnumbered enemies, it is the best giant bless, disciple bless (as in, it benefits combat disciples in a disciple game), and thug/SC bless.
The blood minor bless gives +2 strength at level 4, +3 strength at level 6, +4 strength at level 8, and +5 strength at level 10. This is a direct increase to all melee damage, and also increases the range of certain thrown objects. This is useful for offensive sacred units, which typically means those with many attacks. Some examples are Seirrim, Eagle Warriors, and Ozelotls. Blood can also be used in a quirky strategy with sacred units that get increased range from higher strength, like the EA Agarthan Stone Hurlers.
Blood 9 provides Blood Vengeance, which can mirror damage received unto enemies - at any range. If a blessed unit takes damage, it rolls the value of blood vengeance(0 with bless) + 10 + DRN versus the MR + DRN roll of the unit dealing the damage. This is most useful for nations that can generate very many sacreds, as Blood Vengeance wipes out evocation-using mages easily. B9N9 is the prototypical bliss for EA Mictlan, and is also pretty useful for MA Ermor. Blood Vengeance does not activate when a unit is damaged by trample or poison, and will hurt enemy summons - it will not carry through to the summoner.