Kings of War – How To Play Series – Magic

13th Oct 2022

Martin Thirlwell

In a fantasy world, magic is a special element that can help make the world unique and flavourful. In Pannithor, magic has been shaped by the constant struggle and warfare that defines the land. Not only is magic possible to harness by powerful spellcasters, but it has also been injected into Magical Artefacts which imbue their power onto the units that carry them.

The Structures of Magic

In Kings of War, Magic is cast in the Ranged Phase. It follows many of the same rules as Ranged Attacks. Modifiers, number of dice to roll, and target conditions are all stated within the Spell entry itself. These are some ways that magic is different:

  • Spells always hit on 4+ and ignore the normal to hit modifiers that Ranged Attacks suffer, including those from Special Rules, unless specifically stated.
  • Spells have a Target requirement, such as Enemy or Self. Only the units listed under Targets for each spell can be targeted by that particular Spell.
  • Each spell has its own Range requirement.
  • Any modifiers for the spell, such as a different to hit requirement or Piercing will be listed under Modifiers for each spell separately.

In the example below, Drain Life comes from a dark plane of magic. It draws the life force of its target and uses it to restore allies nearby. With a relatively short range, the spell always hits on 4+, must be cast on an Enemy unit, and can be cast into an Engaged Close Combat (CC). The hits that score a success will roll to damage with the Piercing (1) modifier. How many dice are rolled for this attack are listed in each unit’s individual entry.

Spellcasters vary in power. Each unit capable of casting Spells will be given a Spellcasting Tier, with higher tiers signifying more powerful mages. These tiers primarily come into play with Spells from the Library of Arcane Knowledge, allowing the unit to select a power level for these spells.

As with units, some spells are Unique or “Legendary”. These may only be taken once in your army. They are particularly powerful options that provide an edge in battle.

Arcane Abilities and the Library

Normally, spells available to a unit are listed specifically in that unit’s entry. Not every spellcaster can cast every spell after all. Some spells and abilities however are available to all spellcasters. These are found in the Library of Arcane Knowledge. They are purchased with varying Spellcaster Tiers, sometimes giving you the opportunity to cast the spell at different levels. Important to note, spells can always be purchased at a lower Spellcaster Tier, but not higher.

Arcane Abilities are two other ways to enhance your spellcaster. Perhaps you want to spice up your Salamander Mage Priest and bump it from Spellcaster: 2 to Spellcaster: 3 to gain a more powerful version of a spell from the Library? Knowledgeable allows you to increase a spellcaster level by one. If you need to gamble on success, Incantation of the Tempest will give your spellcaster the ability to roll a single die – on a success, you can reroll all misses with you spells. A failure means you must reroll all hits!

The Strategy of Spells

There is a wonderful mix of offensive, defensive, and support Spells available in Kings of War. Oftentimes, the spells available to your spellcasters will reflect the nature of your army. They each have amazing application and it’s up to you to combine them with units that provide the most benefit. Here are some of the game’s most popular:

Bane Chant concentrates energy into the target unit to provide Crushing Strength (+1). If you find you unit facing a high Defence target, this may be exactly the sort of swing you need to win the day.

Heal casts restorative magics onto a friendly unit, repairing broken bones or bringing combatants back to their feet, effectively removing damage previously suffered.

Veil of Shadows creates a 6” bubble of darkness around the target unit giving the Stealthy Special Rule to any units partially inside it. It’s a solid counter to heavy shooting.

Surge is a Necromancer’s best friend. Shambling units have restricted Movement options but are the only type of unit that can be targeted by this spell. Each success rolled moves the unit directly forward 1”. If this movement brings them into contact with an enemy, they will get to attack in the ensuing Melee Phase.

Speaking of the Melee Phase, that’s what we’ve got coming up tomorrow. All the fun and shenanigans of hardcore combat get laid out to bare in the next blog!

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