Part 11: Nation Overview: EljudnirEljudnir
Unlike the previous nations we've looked at, Eljudnir is much more representative of the "typical" dominions mod nation. There's a good amount of national spells and items, some broken mechanics, some dumb mechanics, and some powerful (-ly underpriced) mages.
The Wraith is the "default" Eljudnir troop. They have low protection and fire vulnerability but also cold protection and cold power. They're pretty scary to fight in cold 3 and aren't even too pricy - getting even cheaper in death dominion. Their stats in general are nothing special but it's their weapons that are the important part. First off is your standard life drain attack which takes HP from the target and gives it back to the Wraith. Secondly though is Blade of Woe which is part of a class of weapons that Eljudnir has which all apply the effect Touch of the Netherrealm on hit. Touch of the Netherrealm means that in addition to the weapon's normal damage, it also deals a bunch of armour piercing magic damage with has a chance to raise killed enemies and has strength added to its damage so it's actually just a double damage modifier. It can be negated with a hard magic resistance check but this mechanic catapults Eljudnir from having reasonable troops to having some very scary ones. If they had some massable sacreds that could get double effect from a strength bless they'd be terrifying but luckily that's not the case.
There's also a few variants of these guys that get shields instead of the lifedrain, all with slightly different weapons but that apply Touch of the Netherrealm
There are recruitable ghost troops, the Sanctified Dead but I'm not sure I'd recommend them. Like most ghosts they're ethereal and floating and can't actually directly hurt people, instead causing fatigue and fear in enemy soldiers.
Finally for non-cap troops there's the Nighthaunt but I don't see much use in these guys either. They are stealthy which is nice but assassin doesn't do anything for troops. Instead of having Touch of the Netherrealm they cause disease so I guess you could use them as "assassin" squads that try to strike if your opponents are moving vulnerable mages around without troop support?
Their cap only sacreds are a real house with high defense and both cold and death power. In province with cold 3 and death 3 they have twenty four defense! In contrast Vanheim's Vans have a "mere" 19 (but have glamour admittedly).
Overall Eljudnir's troops are deceptively good. If you try to fight them in their cold dominion and don't bring a bunch of fire mages you're going to have a real bad time. Thankfully with their sacreds being cap only (or there is a conj 7 summon) I wouldn't put them into the crazy strong category.
The Shadow is Eljudnir's "scout". They're very scary assassins because they have 2 weapons and each applies Touch of the Netherrealm which once again has strength added so they effectively are attacking for 4x12 damage per round. Add this to their cold power for +3 attack and defense and flying to bypass defenders and you have a pretty lethal assassin if it's cold. They were actually only 1 recruitment point in the base mod but our mods game tend to make all assassins a 2 rec point minimum.
Next is the Unholy Announcer. At first these look just like generic commanders with 80 undead leadership and they can also summon allies to get a few skeleton troops a round including horses and bone horrors. Then you look at their ranged weapon. Yes that is a 100 damage AoE 5 weapon that has magic resistance negates easily and raises killed units as skeletons, what the fuck! These guys expand really well with just a few of them and are great supporters to regular troops since their weapon can't even friendly fire fellow undead. They certainly drop off against players pretty quickly since there are ways to boost magic resistance but holy shit.
You can see what one single fire of their weapon can do:
The Revenant is a pretty standard dominions mage by comparison with 1 water 1 death and then a random of 1x water or death. Cold power, cheaper in death, you've seen this before but in death 3 they cost only 95 gold for 11 RP! That's a really good rate and gives Eljudnir some pretty strong research. The ones that get the death random are pretty good in a fight too with the classic horde of skeletons and they're not affected by rigor mortis either.
The Ancient Lich is the pricier option but is accordingly more powerful - for only 180 gold in death 3 scales you get water 2, death 2, and a random of air/water/death. The air magic is key for this nation because it means you can cast arrow fend later on and then your troops won't just get invalidated by, say, a hail of thunder weapon rifle bullets or strength 30 pies.
In the cap you get the Dread Lord who is notable for actually having decent armour (22 in cold 3) and also causes fear but is honestly seems a bit useless to me. Their weapon causes a fear effect instead of Touch of the Netherrealm which is worse because it doesn't have strength added. As an aside this proves that the modder knows that you don't have to add strength to weapon effects so Touch being so good is an intentional choice.
The cap mage is the terrifying Dread Lich who has 1A 3W 3D and a random of one more of those for a mere 320 gold in death 3. They passively summon some chaff too but it's reasonably rare so not a huge deal. These guys are terrifying thugs with a built-in banefire shield (2 AP damage every time you take a swing at them) and access to mist form, soul vortex, and liquid body/skeletal body.
The items aren't really anything special: a few start of battle spells, an armour that gives +3 cold protection and cold power that stacks, one which turns living commanders into undead ones (by killing them and summoning the commander). The spells seem cool though! In addition to the anti-thug affliction causing one posted previously there's also Blizzard at only evocation 3 that deals 3+DRN cold damage in AoE 15, with fear damage and doesn't affect undead either.
There's a fairly forgettable remote attack spell that summons 20 of these guys:
You can summon these guys with banefire decay bows 20 at a time for 10 death gems:
You can (and should) spend 25 death gems on one of these per province. They have inspiring research 1 (which doesn't stack with multiple), spread dominion and also summon skeletons a few per turn.
They start with a hero that at first is fairly poor but has about 30 promotions and after a few years in game becomes this beast if you can manage to avoid getting them killed:
To summarise Eljudnir are great and probably better than the modder actually intended them to be. They have some pronounced weakness in that their troops become fairly shit if you managed to push back their dominion with your hot one but once they start spamming battles with horde of skeletons and rigor mortis even that becomes a tricky proposition. They're not as great offensively for this reason too but I would not like to be the one trying to storm that capital. They actually also can summon some homesick cap only troops to make taking it even harder but they're not massively relevant so I haven't shown them here. Eljudnir and Anglia are both examples of how undercosted mages can take nations up a tier even when their troops are a little tired.
Also just like how Light Artillery should not have full slots, Touch of the Netherrealm really should not have strength added. Luckily there's not too much in the way of sacreds to break this in half but even as-is it's very powerful.