Undead Upkeep

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Undead Upkeep

This topic contains 47 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  Fenraellis 6 years, 11 months ago.

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    I haven’t really dived into the search function to see if this has been discussed yet or not but it’s a puzzling question to me as to why do we have to pay upkeep for ghouls?

    They don’t sleep, they don’t eat, they don’t drink, they shouldn’t even need to rest, they are ghouls, detached from anything mortal, even death, because let’s be honest, they’re already dead, the only thing that compels them to do anything other than be dead is the voice of their necromander.

    So why do we pay upkeep for them? Short of balancing issues, there’s really no sense to it, it’s not like they’re going to take their hard earned money and go to a tavern to drink, they don’t drink and there’s most likely no tavern that would acknowledge their existence without some fire and steel.



    I haven’t really dived into the search function to see if this has been discussed yet or not but it’s a puzzling question to me as to why do we have to pay upkeep for ghouls?

    Ghouls have mentaity as living, I think. It does not need to rest, but need to eat and cloth. So, we must pay for it.



    And i suppose some of that money goes to keep them “fresh”


    Well aside from from undead healing you need a massive amount of magical duct tape to keep those bones together!



    Ghouls are ghouls, they don’t have a mind to think, they simply follow orders of their master, they certainly don’t need to eat and they wear the armour they had when they died, it may be damaged or decayed but it’s held together with magic.

    I’d be more comfortable if ghouls upkeep were mana based and not gold based, it makes more sense, since they’re held together with magic.


    As I said magic duct tape! It is quite expensive importing it from you closest Wizard Home Depot.

    But seriously, I jut wonder why this seems to be an issue now and never seemed to be an issue with Archons and wraiths?
    Simplest explanation: build it -> pay it with gold; summon it -> pay it with mana

    As you usually bought them with gold in a city, just immagine that you do not pay the gold to them but to your local embalmers guild for their loyal service of being around and glue those bones and tissues together.



    It’s an issue with all undead really, they’re not all intelligent undead, specially the ghouls, they’re not leaders or heroes.

    I don’t know about you but if I was a necromancer, I wouldn’t be paying my undead army, there’s absolutely no reason to do so, short of the heroes I recruit, they become liches which are intelligent undead, I could get behind paying the gold upkeep on Death Bringers and maybe Reanimators, them being slightly above average and mediocre intelligence.

    I mean think about it, you ghoul soldiers in the field, would you start paying upkeep for them for absolutely no reason?



    I view the upkeep as needing to be mixed gold and mana. They need mana supplied to them to keep the things animate but they need gold for other things. An example is the need for the various measures and things for embalming and preserving the corpses assuming the magic doesn’t just keep them intact.

    Then there’s the gear, sure you can argue they have what they died with, but it still requires some maintenance. Even discounting the need to keep swords sharp and rust free to preserve effectiveness, you’re going to need arrows, spell components, etc. You’ve also got the armor and such, various pieces of armor can have surprising amounts of maintenance needed. Chain mail loses links which need to be replaced to stop it from collapsing, plate can potentially get penetrated and needs repairs, leather can get torn or punctured.

    Even if you don’t particularly care about them you still need to keep better than a 1:1 casualty rate to make your undead army self-sustaining assuming a perfect conversion rate. It just makes sense to keep them at least decently outfitted and use a level of tactics. Throwing more soldiers at a problem until it breaks is all well and good, but it isn’t sustainable. Only really works if you need a rush victory like the heroes are about to get the artifact they need to annihilate your army and you need to get to them before they can activate it so you don’t have time for anything fancy.

    As you may be able to tell, I’ve actually thought about this kind of thing before.



    Those that don’t get ghouled have their gear taken, stripped for others, effectively eliminating the need for upkeep entirely, not only that, but to keep weapons sharp and armour strong, you don’t need upkeep for that since ghouls would do it for free and anything they don’t have they take for free, you’re not paying living beings to keep everything in ship shape.

    They are ghouls after all, they’ll do everything you say for free and that includes keeping their gear in good condition.

    The fact that the necromancer is paying them at all would lead one to believe that the necromancer isn’t inherently evil, but the play style says otherwise, I’ve got nothing against a good necromancer but it’s gameplay just isn’t fit for it.


    Because balance guys, I mean seriously.



    The balance behind upkeep could be sorted out by weakening ghoul units, it’s that simple, one other game has done it and the undead in that game are really hard to play but they’re so good once they get on a roll.



    Yeah, I see it as payment toward whatever supply train is assumed to be traveling with them. In the Necromancer’s case – embalmers, maybe grave-diggers to keep spare parts coming steady; smiths and smithing materials to arm those ghouls and undead units that use arms and armor… and maybe they need to eat living flesh, so the supply train may include wagon loads of mortal cattle.

    What happens in-game if you can’t pay upkeep on your undead units? And units in general? Do they desert? I’m actually asking, since I’ve never gotten into that situation before. If they do, then I guess they need something more than just the Necro’s marching orders. I wouldn’t mind if some or all of their city-trained units had a portion of their upkeep as mana, but I wouldn’t care if it wasn’t changed.



    I’m guessing that not everyone is a mindless undead given that they can keep functioning after you’re in the void. So it can be assumed that you have some if not mortal, intelligent, servants who posses a modicum of power. They’ll want some things to at least keep themselves entertained which could very well take the form of mortals to do various things to and you don’t want them to just up and die because they lack trivialities like “food” and “water” do you? I mean, you may be a hideous abomination of unlife that flies in the face of everything good and natural, but does that mean you need to be a jerk about it?

    Do cadavers require upkeep? If they don’t, then that explains why others need upkeep, to prevent decay. If cadavers do require upkeep, I think they shouldn’t because they aren’t exactly spamable without massive reanimator support and they aren’t really that big a threat without a bone collector that they give a one battle boost to.

    Undead are unaffected by moral and I think not paying just drops moral out the whazo so I don’t think undead will just leave which only happens if moral has hit the lowest possible level.



    Sub-intelligence should rarely be considered intelligence, even if there were such creatures among the army of the dead, there certainly wouldn’t be many, very few to be sure and they’re most likely not physical beings, meaning no food or water requirement.

    Undead cities are unaffected by morale, units however are affected by some, I’ve played games where undead halflings had 800 morale bonus, I’ve had to fight against them as well, it’s not fun fighting a Halfling death bringer with super high morale.

    I’ve never experienced undead units deserting.

    Also how do the living function when their leader is gone? No other leader is chosen in their place for the time being, they’re essentially functioning from orders given from the void, if anything if your leader dies and you have no heroes to take place till they return, you shouldn’t have control over your people.



    I haven’t really dived into the search function to see if this has been discussed yet or not but it’s a puzzling question to me as to why do we have to pay upkeep for ghouls?

    They don’t sleep, they don’t eat (snip)

    They probably do eat. They’re ghouls. Ghouls eat the dead. It’s kind of their entire thing. They can be anything from zombies to hyena people to malevolent jinn, but they always eat dead bodies.



    Ghouls don’t eat to sustain themselves.



    In real life, military expenses aren’t just salary for the soldiers. You have to pay for and maintain their weaponry, shelter, food and water supply, and medical.

    There’s a funny article on Cracked.com about why an undead army in particular would probably be hugely expensive to maintain: http://www.cracked.com/article_18683_7-scientific-reasons-zombie-outbreak-would-fail-quickly.html



    Yes we do pay our living military, but there are no undead militaries out there in the real world are there?

    That article is also based on the possible real life scenario of the dead coming to life and killing people, not this game.

    A better comparison would be Game of thrones, both fantasy, do the white walkers pay their wights? No. Do wights eat people to sustain themselves? No.

    They are undead, they work for free and their job is to make more undead to continue the ever growing chain of death.


    Lord Impactedge, let the local evil mastermind and genius explain you what this is all about.

    Ghouls themselves don’t need upkeep, the people working on the background providing logistics and support need to be paid, and don’t start telling me that the ghouls can do that themselves, they don’t have the practical knowledge to do such a task efficiently also the necromancer (the mind of the ghouls) shouldn’t be bother by such trivial tasks (he got a land to conquer).

    Also don’t forget that upkeep is also the metal and other recourses you spent on crafting weaponry and armor. you can scavenge broken shit from fallen corpses (every race and class can do that) but if you want to have a successful armor you need to repair the broken equipment and provide your soldiers with the strongest weaponry viable.

    (don’t forget that when you build ghouls in your cities you actually have to provide the gear to your units)



    Okay sure, forget the fact that they know how to put armour on, know which direction to swing a sword, know how to ride mounts, know how to march, attack, defend, ambush, etc.

    There are absolutely no living units within the ghoul ranks, short of the heroes and leader until archlich is researched. There are ghouls and then there are lost souls, since lost souls are not physical beings enough to get paid and ghouls have no reason to be paid since they require nothing to sustain them. Ghouls work the mines, they work the forests, the roads, boats, armouries, weapon smiths, the works.

    You ghoul the city, you ghoul everything you touch, nothing is alive, nothing requires pay, the necromancer doesn’t need to continuously issue orders to the ghouls, it merely commands once and the ghoul does it until told otherwise or is killed.

    The number one thing I like about the necromancer is that everyone dies, because let’s be honest, there’s no greater alliance than the unity provided by death.



    Why isnt the base gold, income of undead cities replaced by mana. You could also make it more likely to spawn magical nodes instead of gold mines nearby undead starting locations.

    this way you could replace the gold upkeep of the undead by mana upkeep which would remove this inconsistency. Although it would require some tweaking to be balanced with the other races and classes.


    fool! we are not talking about a necromancer who is going to camp with his ghoulish friends, every non optimized factor in your army is a bigger chance on defeat.

    we talking about military grade logistics and background support, ghouls don’t know how to ambush, ghouls don’t know how to ride a mount, they get ordered to go there and kill that, and that is what they do, you can order a ghoul to put a box somewhere else but they cant think what the most efficient way is to put that box in that spot.

    for a successful military campaign you need extremely well organized logistics and support. and ghouls cant provide that. thus the necromancers has units with enough intellect to do this, whom (undead or not) need to get money.

    also even if you have a robotic race of self repairing and thinking robots they need to use recourses. those recourses are known as upkeep, what have to be “paid”. simple as that.



    Ghouls do know how to do all of that, if they didn’t, then there would be living people amongst ghoul cities, however there are not, meaning ghouls are fully capable to do what you consider to be complicated tasks.

    What you seem to believe is that there are a chosen few that were allowed to live amongst those that were horribly slaughtered to fuel the undead plague, this belief is shattered by the fact that a necromancer is so prone to death and ghouling everything that they’ll even ghoul themselves in the process.

    A robotic race is completely different from an undead race, one is mostly technological while the other is mostly supernatural.


    sight, I have to praise you on your spirit and stubbornness.

    still the fact that there are undeads that are smart enough to think for themselves should be enough to know that they also want to gain something in the process.

    Even if there is not a single living person you still got your recourses to pay for and distribute among your troops, you got a X amount of recourses and you have to distribute it to a X amount of troops, everything you have left goes in a stockpile to be used in later moments, here it is only shown as gold but doesn’t change the fact that you need to “finance” the ghouls with pre gathered recourses.

    the robotic race was just to show something “similar” (race without a “self”) that also should need upkeep.



    Why shouldn’t ghouls eat to sustain themselves? Monstrous, unending hunger for carrion is the only consistent trait between the various depictions of ghouls. If you don’t feed them, they should rip eachother apart in their hunger. It seems you have your own idea of what a ghoul is with little to no connection to any ghouls in mythology or popular culture that I can think of. Ghouls eat.



    Undeath is different in each different fictional universe. My impression of the AoW universe is that the undead ARE intelligent. They’ve always demanded pay even in earlier instalments of the series, when they were an actual race.

    AoW3 actually makes this make sense. Given that vassal cities often willingly convert to ghouls, and that the act of ghouling a city is neutral, I have always assumed that ghouls are not entirely mindless extensions of the necromancer’s will. Otherwise it’s enslavement which is both evil and not something vassals would happily embrace.

    Mechanically I like the way it works, but in the end it’s really about balance. Making it a mana based economy would be chaotic and would risk making the necromancer more sorcerer than the sorcerer.

    If you must have an answer then… Ghouls need to eat gold. It’s a sad side effect of the process. It’s either that or brains, and gold is easier to come by, as these forums will attest. 😉



    Upkeep pays for equipment, ammo and such.

    Either Ghouls are inteligent and require upkeep to maintain their decorum, or they are uninteligent and require logistics behind the scene to maintain them because they cannot do it themselves.

    And besides all that they need to eat.

    Plenty of reasons to justify their gold cost, and to justify not messing up the entire balance just to satisfy a personal gripe.



    And also ghouls have equipment of their living equivalent. You have to pay to keep their armors and weapon intact.


    I think we have enough proof to show you why ghouls need upkeep Lord ImpactEdge, of course it would be interesting what points you are going to bring against the multiply options why ghouls should need upkeep.

    just don’t turn this discussion in a endless loop and actual understand (so not just scanning the text) what the other people are saying.



    So why do we pay upkeep for them? Short of balancing issues, there’s really no sense to it.


    The thing is for peoples enjoyment of the game there does need to be some kind of balance. Im a big fan of necromancer, don’t get me wrong ;). In fact its probably my most played class at the moment. Having said this, I don’t feel necromancers need any more late game bonuses, Age of Death is already exceptional. I personally find the idea that through the multiple ways of ghouling even prior to AoD, being able to have free upkeep ghouls is nothing short of stupidity. Even decomposing cadavers cost 2 mana upkeep for balance reasons. To add to this, after Harbringers of Death is researched which units upkeep will you be paying for exactly? I don’t think I’ve ever come across a topic suggestion that would destroy balance more catastrophically.

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