A Pretender is the god you are using for your nation, and are the first things you create at the beginning of the game. They count as three temple check a turn, and one of those checks is always successful. As well, any battle a pretender is in, sacred units of the pretender automatically get the pretender's bless. It is worth noting that the pretender never gains the benefits of their own bless. Designing a pretender involves selecting you starting dominion strength, scales, and the pretender's paths which determine bless.
To gain extra points during pretender design, one can choose for your pretender to be Awake, Dormant, or Imprisoned.
An Awake Pretender appears on your first turn, and gains no extra points during design. These pretenders are typically chosen to help expansion during the early turns by taking provinces, and the best example is probably the Earth Serpent. Uncommon, but still viable, are pretenders chosen to jumpstart research, such as the Neteret of Many Names, or the Sage, both of which are very good at researching.
The Dormant Pretender gains 150 design points, and shows up 10 to 13 turns into the game. This is chosen for pretenders that need to sitesearch, research, or craft fairly early on, but not so early as to give up some scales or magic paths. A dormant pretender isn't typically chosen for its ability to expand alone like an Awake pretender. A typical sitesearching dormant pretender is a Sage or Enchanter with multiple magic paths at 1 or 2, and is used primarily to find magic sites and increase magic diversity. A forging pretender is one that might use a Master Forger pretender to forge things on the cheap for the nation in question, such as a Cyclops. There also exists the possibility of a pretender being used to cast a Global Enchantment, a spell that typically requires some research not available until turn 10 or so and high magic paths.
Imprisonment on a pretender nets you 250 design points, but consigns your pretender to showing up 28 to 42 turns into the game. This is generally used when you need a heavy bless or want strong scales. A nation going with two or even three heavy blesses wants an imprisoned pretender, such as EA Mictlan or MA Ermor. On the flip side, some nations that don't need heavy blesses can go imprisoned and get fantastic scales, such as EA Ermor or EA Ctis.
Pretenders also let you set your starting dominion. Each point of Dominion costs 7 points times the number of times you're improving your dominion. So to increase your dominion by one cost 7 points, by two 14 points, by three 21 points, etc. A dominion of 9 gives you Awe (1), which forces units to pass a morale check in order to hit you. Dominion 10 gives you Awe (3). While building temples does increase your dominion, it will never get you these awe effects after initial pretender design.
For each level of friendly dominion in a province a prophet and/or pretender gains +1 strength, +½ magic resistance point and +20% hit points.
For every level of enemy dominion in a province, a prophet and/or pretender loses –1 strength, –½ magic resistance point and–10% hit points. Of Course, Hit points cannot be reduced to zero.
Magic Paths Edit
A pretender gets the opportunity at the beginning of the game to increase any magic paths it has. At skill level 4, 6, 8 and 10, magic paths give you a minor bless, and at level 9, they give you a major bless. As well, magic paths give you some bonuses to your pretender. The following are the effects your pretender will get per level in each path. Each point of magic costs 8 points times the number of times the magic path has already been increased. So to increase a path by one costs 8 points, by two costs an additional sixteen, etc.
- Air: Shock Resistance +2, Magic Leadership +5
- Astral Magic: Leadership +10
- Death: Undead Leadership +30, +1 to existing Fear, Fear at Skill Level 5+, undead creatures have their maxage increased by 50% per point of Death magic.
- Earth: Protection +1, Magic Leadership +5, inanimate creatures have their maxage increased by 50% per point of Earth magic.
- Fire: Fire Resistance + 2, Leadership +5, Magic Leadership +5, Max Age is reduced 5% per point of Fire magic.
- Nature: Supply Bonus +10, Magic Leadership +5, Poison Resistance +2, Supply Bonus +10, everyone has his or her maxage increased by 50% per point of Nature magic.
- Water: Cold Resistance +2, Magic Leadership +5.
- Blood: Undead Leadership +5, Magic Leadership +5, demons have their maxage increased by 50% per point of Blood magic.
Calling your God Edit
If a Pretender dies, you can eventually call it back using your priests. A priest assigned to the order "Call God" contributes a number of points equal to their priest level every month, so a level 1 independent priest only contributes 1 point every month, while a level 3 prophet will contribute 3. Once you reach 50 points or so (the number of points being intentionally left ambiguous by Illwinter but probably involving a DRN), the pretender god shows up at the nations capital, regardless of who owns it. A Pretender called back in this way loses one skill level in each magic path they have, and may retain any wounds or horror marks they died with, though the horror marks do degrade with time. An Immortal Pretender only dies if it is killed in enemy dominion. Ur, an Early Age nation, is especially adept at calling a god back from death, meaning that their pretender doesn't lose magic path levels from dying, and it takes half the priest levels to call it back.
Of note, in a Disciples game, both the Pretender (the captain) and the disciple can call back either one's Pretender.
When playing in the Disciples Multiplayer mode, pretender design works a little bit differently. The Pretender's dominion is used for all nations on his team, and only the Pretender's scales and bless are used for the Disciples. The Pretender's pretender is typically relegated to whatever chassis are at least dominion 3 or higher, and defines the dominion effects, the starting dominion, the scales, and the bless.
The Disciple's pretender choices consist of pretender chassis that have 2 dominion or less, and have less design points, but doesn't have to pick scales. A Disciple's pretender comes online in half the time a Pretender's pretender does. So a Pretender in a team game that Imprisoned their Pretender would have the Disciple's pretender show up 14 to 21 months, while if the Pretender had chosen to make their pretender dormant, the Disciple's pretender would show up 5 to 7 turns.
The Pretender of the team is also the one that sets the Dominion Effects, so a team of EA Arcoscephale as the Pretender and EA Therodos as the disciple would mean that they could scry wherever they had candles, but wouldn't kill population within their dominion.