One thing I’m really enjoying about Dominions IV is the randomness. It’s one of those games that really has no story (aside from lore about each nation), but that allows you to generate one as you play. Random events, battles, and interactions with enemy nations and neutrals fuel this element. There’s also a huge amount of flavor added by simple ingredients like huge spell lists and simple text-based descriptions and notifications. A lot of cleverness in both writing and design.
Now, normally when you end a turn, the computer takes a few moments to calculate the enemy moves and random events, and then it presents you with a sort of briefing screen where you can review what’s occurred between your turns.
Last night, as I was playing, I was treated to this screen after ending a turn but before getting my briefing:
“A dire portent,
At the beginning of this month Python, the Bloodlusting Lord, the Divine Smith, Patron of Soldiers cast a great enchantment upon the sky, an enchantment that holds the seed of the omniscience reserved for he that is to rule all. That which is hidden has been revealed to Python, that which is forgotten will be found.
You are being watched. Your servants are being watched. Your slaves are being watched. The unblinking eye of the lord of Hinnom is ever watching your moves, peering over your shoulders, glaring at you from the sun, watching you from the shadows. By taking the first step towards omniscience Python has set himself upon a path, that if not blocked, will lead him to ascension. Obviously there is only one fitting punishment for this grotesque arrogance, you must blind these everpresent eyes.”
Dang. My blood chilled slightly upon reading as I tried to figure out what the hell it meant in terms of the game. But then I remembered having seen a spell in the research tree called Fate of Oedipus. Its description said something about blinding anyone who dared to cast the Eyes of God spell. That sounded kind of like what was going on. What exactly does “Eyes of God” do, though?
“This enchantment enables the mage to see all provinces in the world. Dominions can be seen in great detail and so can discovered magic sites, but income cannot be determined exactly. Inside the God’s own Dominion troop movements can be seen in great detail and enemy illusions and phantasms are dispelled. Patrolling units will find it much easier to detect enemy scouts and to quell unrest. The historic records for all nations can also be accessed.”
Dang. So it’s a super-scry spell. Anyway, no biggie. Just so happens I had researched Fate of Oedipus. One nice thing about magic research in this game is that unlocking levels of magical disciplines usually grants you access to oodles of various spells, as opposed to having to study spells one by one. That’s a great vehicle for this kind of counterspell, which really only serves to cancel out one other particular spell.
Anyway, I put a swift end to that shit on my next turn.
So Asmodai is now blind. I was wondering at first why this particular spell would be called “Fate of Oedipus.” Then I realized it must be a cute way of calling your enemy a motherfucker as you flip him off.
What a great game.