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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning


Lt. General
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Mar 5, 2008
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Hello there,

I've been playing Warlock-MotA a lot over the years, and game obviously lacks a bit of balance- and is way too easy without some house rules. I've written them for myself, and use them with success- but I'd be interested about house rules that other players use, and to have a discussion about it. There will be a wall of text here, because I use no less than ~17 rules, and also want to add some explanation, and reasoning behind them. I play with all DLC, base game (not-Armageddon), hardest difficulty, mid-sized, single continent map (because AI often bugs out and does not expand in maps with more water), with maximum number of AI mages and portals. So here it goes:

1. A player is allowed to have only Capital + (n/10) cities in game. So, having a second city is allowed only from turn 10, third city- from turn 20, and so on. Conquering or building more cities than that is allowed- but player must get rid of the extra cities before pressing his 'End turn'. The rule is obviously meant to limit overly fast expansion, and works to make the player gain cities at similar pace to AI.
2. A tough one: damage to towns (with any HP) and fortifications is only allowed with siege weapons (units that have demolisher perk- Ballistas, Trolls, Flying Galleus, and Sky Carveil). This rule is to give underused siege weapons a proper good relevance in the game. It works very well- but Undead player must be aware- Flying Galleus requires a Harbor in the city- so you must find a body of water fast! The exception is- Great Ogre is not allowed to attack fortifications- he is already plenty useful.
3. Another tough one: any loot on land can only picked up by scouts, which is another class of severely underused units. Non-scout is allowed to pick up loot only when that loot is adjacent to scout unit, or if loot is spawned in players territory. Scouts are these units: ratmen with all their upgrades for Monsters, and Rat Prince; rogues-> cutthroats->assassins for Humans, bats and dracolich for Undead, and Arethi spearmen/elven temple spirits for the Elves. This rule makes player to build and use scout units very early, making early game more interesting and a bit less gold-rich.
4. Similar rule on water: ships are underused, so any fighting in the main world seas, and picking up loot on water can only be done by naval ships (transports can only carry troops, but are not at all allowed to explore, loot or fight). This, and few other rules, make real ships relevant for loot-hunting, versus just building cheapest land units, turning them into naval transports, and exploring the seas with those.
5. Attacking of enemy transports and ships can only be done by towns and towers. Archers, are not allowed to attack ships. This is to make towers more relevant in game, and naval invasions- scarier, not completely easy to deal with.
6. Limit on the number of weak units. AIs can easily be overpowered with hordes of weak units, especially hunters with 'silver weapons', or elven archers. So the rule is to force smaller, more balanced and advanced armies. So: no more than 6 archers can be owned by the player- after that- their number must be equaled by the same number of warriors. No more than 6 unupgraded ships can be owned- after that- their number must be balanced with upgraded ships.
7. Limit on the resource node units, and other strong units: one node can only be used to hire 2 units (like Halberdiers from a town with 1 Halberdier Guild). To own- no more than total of 4 (from several towns) of the type at any one time. Only total of 2 of these are allowed to be upgraded to next level, like to Royal Guardsmen and such. Similar rule to temple units: only single one can be gained (by upgrade, advisor quest, or hiring) from each node with a Temple. For remembering- it is easy to mark town names that have their quota of units produced.
Out of each race own buildings- every unit can be hired in any number.
Exceptions to these rules: liches are not allowed to use their area attack- they are overpowered with it. Only a single unit of Court Werefulves is allowed- and if more are hired- then their Acid area attack is forbidden. Only total of 2 are allowed for stubborn knights (including the Grand Stubborn Master hero), and total of 2 dwarves- and single Dwarven Overcomer.
8. Summoning: it is allowed to have summoned only a limited number of units. Basically, every unit in Wikia has a level of it's strength, which are: weak/common, advanced, elite, and temple/supreme. So player can only summon 1 unit each of each of the highest unit grade summoning spell he owns, 2 for lower tier summons, 3 for lower than that, etc. For example- if player has no better summoning spell than summon rats (weak/common)- then he can have actively summoned 1 of each weak troop. If he gets 'summon bears' (advanced fighter)- then he can summon 1 unit each of advanced unit (bears), and 2 each of rats and other weak units. Summoned units are only allowed to exist in view of real units/towns, or must 'vanish'. This rule is to limit mass-summoning, especially when summoning food-consuming units with Undead castle- effectively making their upkeep free.
9. Exploration with living flying units: only 1 at a time is allowed to explore freely (outside of view of land party/town) on medium maps, and only two free fliers- on large maps. The rest of the fliers have to finish their turn within visual range of other owned units, or adjacent to ships as their 'night base'. Living fliers always must finish their turn on land!, or adjacent to a ship- otherwise they 'drown'. This is to limit rushing towards bats, and then picking up all the loot on the map. Also- fliers are not allowed to use their vision for summons, only for scouting. The exception to all this are dragons, mechanical fliers, and units with levitating spell/artifact.
10. Terraforming: Greater Land Raising is allowed only with a 50 turn wait between casting, and can not be used to totally block off a pass to an enemy- only to narrow it. Small Land Raising- every 30 turns for the same task. However- Small Land Raising can be used freely for tactital/economical purposes, like draining a swamp, or if Capital does not have enough tiles required for it's population, or for lifting a tile for better defense of a future city, or to give defense bonus to your troop.
11. Diplomacy. Another difficult rule here: if any AI unit ends his turn in your territory- you must declare war at once. No peace can be made as long as there are AI units on your land. This rule is because AI likes to keep lots of his units in player cities, with no way to eject them.
12. No other diplomatic actions may be initiated by the player- only by AI :)
13. In negotiations with AI- it is possible to gain crazy amounts of mana/gold for next to nothing. So the rule is- if AI agrees to give gold/mana- you can not take significantly more than this much: (Turn/2) * the last digit in turn number (for some randomness). So generally- 0 to ~225 at turn ~50, and 0 to ~450 gold/mana at turn ~100.
The rest must be gifted back to the AI the very next turn.
14. When creating a mage- I like to dedicate up to 4 points to great perks, the rest to bad. Or something like 6 to decent perks, and 4 to not useful. This is to make me choose and try all the different abilities- good and bad in games, and not just stick to the best ones.
15. No cheap cheats- like cheating with spells on transports, or destroying/rebuilding weakened city in the same turn to regain it's health, or placing weak fliers to defend tiles that strong enemy melee are then are not allowed to access.
16. Mage mass area damage spells are allowed to be initiated only on 'Holy days', which are turns that end in 5 and 0:) That is including the cheap and powerful Lightning Combo.
17. For heroes, only one of each class (Fighter, Archer, Caster, Healer) is allowed at a time. This forces more interesting combinations of owned heroes.

So- these are rules used by me to make the game challenging, interesting, and much more balanced. I do not follow them all all the time, but play around with new ideas as well. So, I'd be happy to hear any constructive input, questions, suggestions for changes, and your own house rules. I love this game- so it would be great if with some player help and adjustments it continued to be played just as long as, for example, Heroes3 is, and enjoyed by many.