Part 69: Fire: And Why Does It (What's the Word?) Burn?Fire: And Why Does It (What's the Word?) Burn?
Time to distract from my ship wrecker debacle. LETS TALK ABOUT BLESSES HA HA
For 1 fire bless point your units receive an improved morale boost. ANY bless at the VERY least gives all your sacreds +1 morale. If you take one point of this bless you get another +1. And you can keep taking it over and over if you want. It isn't terrible. Morale is important to keep your troops from breaking and fleeing, and making sure they attack the targets you scripted them to. That said I wouldn't build around it. If you have a spare fire point there you go it is literally the only one fire point bless.
Minor Fire Resistance
Okay now for 2 fire bless points you can get 5 points of resistance to fire damage. Fire is probably the most common non physical damage type flying around and sports some real nasty field-clearing spells like firestorm. This is probably why it costs 2 unlike all the other minor elemental resistances thus far which were 1.
Major Fire Resistance
For 3 fire bless points you get 10 fire resistance and you can stack it with minor fire resistance for 15 total. Besides being straight up lit on fire you also might just pass out from heat auras or suffer extra battlefield encumbrance because most people do heat scales. Well good news fire resistance prevents most of that too. 15 fire resistance isn't going to save you if like a chaos power Azi breathes fire on you but hey what are the odds of that happening?
Also 3 fire bless points, this gives you +2 attack skill which makes it easier to hit enemies and repel attacks. Much like the defense bless it mirrors in water this is just blandly low-key useful as even a small difference between attack and defense can make a big difference. If you are a madman you can take this multiple times but it is so expensive don't you want something else?
For 4 fire bless points your sacred commanders passively grant a +1 morale bonus to all the troops they command and also can lead 30 more troops in general (you can take this more than once but there must be a better use for 8 fire bless points). This is another blandly good but spendy option. This does give your non sacred troops the morale bonus too perhaps obviously, so long as their leader is sacred.
Ha ha ha I love this. For 5 bless points this incarnate fire bless makes your troops e x p l o d e o n d e a t h. It was even recently patched to make the AoE on the explosions bigger if your unit is a larger size (AoE 4+unit size) for 10 fire damage give or take. This is fun as hell but you have to make sure you don't self-own spectacularly and also think tactically about what your sacred are doing. I have seen many a Goofus Marignon, dazzled by the thought of expendable and cheap sacred flagellants pick this only to have their entire backline of sacred mages go up like a string of firecrackers off a stray arrow. You want to pair this with fire resistance. You REALLY want to. My favorite Gallant move here is picking it on a nation with flying sacreds, set them to hold->attack rear and watch them go. They attack backline mages and if they die, they take swaths with them. It's great and I won a game as EA Caelum doing this.
For 5 fire bless points and an incarnate god you can get an exhausting heat aura. This grants heat aura(3) and like the chill aura that rating goes up or down in relation to the temperature scales. It is also my understanding that the heat aura bless doesn't function under water while the chill aura one does. Alas. On the upside the heat aura sometimes lights enemies on fire and that is great. Heat aura doesn't kill your enemies fast, but will eventually fatigue out your foes. It's pretty good on thugs or other tanky troops that can last long enough to make it meaningful. As a bonus you get 10 points of fire resistance on top of the aura so you don't kill yourself with it. How thoughtful!
For 6 fire bless points this incarnate bless grants blessed sacreds a fire shield more or less per the fire shield spell. Anyone taking a swing at you takes damage, around 6 or so I think give or take depending on weapon length. It's a pretty good bless, especially on troops that can tank well. Or troops you can mass well. I had a good game with Marignon flagellants combining luck, bless and blood vengeance. A recent update made the spell fire shield not work underwater and that may also now be the case for the bless too but maybe someone can confirm there. Messed up if so!
For also 6 bless points and also incarnate this gives your sacreds flaming weapons. This is just sort of blandly good all around. It's an extra 6 armor piercing damage to all attacks (except like mind blasts and breath weapons). Fire damage is pretty good all around and some nations are even vulnerable to it (Niflheim and Lanka come to mind). Sometimes it even lights a guy on fire and that's good for a laugh. Also if your enemy has ethereal troops at least the fire will hurt. An honest, workman bless.
For 7 fire points and also incarnate we have Awe. Awe is a very powerful effect that I kind of don't like paying for because it never works on what you want it to. Any time a unit takes a swing at a unit with Awe they have to make a morale check. If they fail they don't even make the attack. This can let you overwhelm many troops. But it is a morale check and it doesn't work on ranged attacks or spells. Undead never fail morale checks. Berserking units never fail. Gods and prophets have tons of morale, basically anything really dangerous probably has a high morale because being awesome is good for your self esteem.
Fire is a sort of blandly good bless path for the most part. Everything in there is kind of useful and a few (fire shield mostly) can force your enemy to rethink their approach to fighting your sacreds which is always good- people hate having to think. Several nations- Abysia and Marignon come to mind, have bonus bless points too if you go fire, so you will have more points to work with. You can solve a lot of problems by setting them on fire.