In the Early Age, some of the primal Abysians - large magmatic humanoids - are still around and the Warlocks have yet to create the Humanbreds. Early Abysia does not have Demonbred mages, only assassins and the misshapen Misbreds.
In very short, Abysia Children of Flame has:
- Extra nation points from the +3 heat scale.
- A survival skill (they ignore the death scale).
- Excellent mage/priests.
- Excellent Heavy Infantry (but expensive).
- The best assassins of the game.
- Extra income source with alchemy (fire gems can be turned into 75 extra gold/turn, or more in an alchemist lab site).
But Abysia lacks:
- Easy to build light troops.
- Missile units.
- A large spectrum of magic.
It is not a good nation for novice players (or the AI) as the harsh finances can stunt Abysia's growth unless monitored closely.
Last strategic information: it seems that when 2 or more nations attempt to invade the same province, Abysia always goes first. Expect to be the defender in meeting engagements.
Abysia has powerful Fire mages and can sacrifice blood slaves to pump its dominion. Fire spells are harder to cast when it is raining, or under a Storm spell. To avoid the fatigue from rain, expand your dominion (it is normally not raining in deserts), give some gems to your spell casters (they'll use them to reduce fatigue) or forge fire items (like Sceptres of Authority or Wands of Wild Fire).
This nation takes a lot of micro-management. Soon you will mix your fire troops with non-fire troops and you have to be very careful where everything starts and where they go. Blood slaves for instance will suffer if they stay close to their fiery master. Try to keep a non-fiery commander on the field that you can use to "store" blood slaves on (it doesn't have to be a mage). You just have to replenish the supply between attacks.
Unfortunately, you don't have an easy access to your special Smoulderghosts: you need Fire/Death mages and death gems, something you don't have.
- Abysian Infantry (battleaxe)
- Gold 20, Resources 26
- These Abysian Infantry are very powerful. They don't carry a shield, but instead carry heavy battleaxes. They're very similar to the Abysian Infantry with flails, but have a higher defense skill and their weapons do more damage, and as such they are superior for the same price. I like to keep these guys out of arrow fire and put them on attack rear to flank the enemies front lines.
- Abysian Infantry (flail)
- Gold 20, Resources 26
- These guys are nearly identical to the battle axe infantry, but are armed with a flail which gets two attacks at a reduced damage and a lower defense skill. I don't think they're worth it when you could recruit the battle axe users, but I have a feeling that there's a certain defense/protection point where one will do better than the other. Not worth splitting hairs over though, you could go either way and probably won't notice much of a difference.
- Abysian Infantry (shield and axe)
- Gold 20, Resources 27
- This one carries a shield, which automatically earns it a place at the front of the army. They're high protection and hit points and moderate defense skill makes it an all around good heavy infantry. Additionally, it has a higher defense skill than it's counterpart with the morningstar and the axe is more powerful. It's a slightly better unit.
- Abysian Infantry (shield and morningstar
- Gold 20, Resources 28
- This unit is about the same as the one with the axe, except it has a higher attack skill. Generally, though, I don't choose this infantry to kill, but rather to hold the enemy in place and let units better at killing to handle that, so I almost always choose the one with the axe. But, again, we're splitting hairs as they're really similar and the difference is negligible.
- Gold 60, Resources 1
- The Salamander is a magic creature, so ordinary commanders can't lead them, which is a negative. Their stats are also pretty bad overall, and they die easily to normal troops if you don't shield them with your heavy infantry. But, their attack effects a whole square and does 20 armor piercing damage, so they do take down tough enemies quickly. Also, with Abysia, you're bound to run into times when you have an odd number of resources left, and filling the rest out with these guys isn't a bad idea if you can afford it as their cost adds up quickly.
- Gold 20, Resources 5
- Misbreds are fragile but they fly and are stealthy. Build some when you need a fast and mobile reinforcement army (a Demonbred with a Sceptre of Authority can lead 25 of them).
- Burning One
- Gold 65, Resources 41
- Burning Ones are best used when flanked and backed by Abysian Infantry, to reach a mass effect. They attack twice, turn berserk when wounded and have elite morale. But they are larger (size 3) and so do not exactly count as 2 HI each in battle since you can only place two of them where you could place 3 HI. Of course they are an excellent base for a bless strategy. Like most expensive units however they lack efficiency when facing spells, since the loss of a single unit is a loss of greater value.
- Gold 80, Resources 10
- The slayer is a pretty good assassin, not the best by any means though. They have poison daggers, so if they hit the target just once the target is done for even if he kills the Slayer. Later, I like to give them a Heart Finder Sword to make sure the job gets done right. They're not invincible and tend to be spotty. I've seen them take out a Trog Chieftain one turn and lose to an indy commander the next, but they're effective enough for the price where you don't want to ignore them as useless.
- Gold 60, Resources 38
- The Warlord is a standard commander. It has 2 map movement and a leadership of 80. They're tough enough to wade into battle on the front lines, and with a few minor magic items they fare well.
- Beast Trainer
- Gold 75, Resources 41
- The Beast Trainer can lead up to 10 magical troops and 10 regular troops, meaning it can lead Salamanders or summons, but other than that there's no reason to recruit them. Avoid them if you can get afford a mage instead.
- Anathemant Salamander
- Gold 130, Resources 1
- 2F 1H:
- I generally don't use these guys much except to lead Salamander groups, casting Augury, and to do blood sacrifices. They can cast a few useful combat spells, like Fireball, Rage, and Bonds of Fire. They're inferior in every way to the Anathement Dragon, but substantially cheaper and don't always start with old age.
- Anathemant Dragon
- Gold 230, Resources 2
- 3F 2H:
- This is a great unit, and makes a good prophet. They can also cast Flare, Falling Fires, Fire Cloud, and later Pillar of Fire which are excellent spells. If you make it a point to recruit a lot of cheap indy archers, you can cast Flame Arrows easily and the Abysian only spell Inner Furnace which increases the range of the radiant heat of all Abysians, and coming up with the fire gems to do that should be easy. They can also do blood sacrifices and preach to useful levels of dominion. They also have a high leadership so they make good army commanders if you give them a few bodyguards. It's a good unit that you can recruit from any castle you own. Anathemant Dragons suffer from old age.
- Warlock Apprentice
- Gold 80, Resources 1
- They're capital only, so it's difficult to get them to where you need them quickly, so they don't find much use in my armies. However, they have a lot of uses on the map screen. They make good and cheap blood hunters and can forge Sanguine Dowsing Rods for themselves. You can use them to set up Sabbaths which is beneficial as the more effective blood spells cost a lot of fatigue.
- Gold 140, Resources 1
- 1S 2B 0? (FESB 10%):
- This capital only mage is a bit more useful in battle than the Apprentice, depending on the picks. They can cast support spells like Luck and Body Ethereal but not much more. Warlocks are able to cast Arcane Probing, so you might get some for sitesearching, as they are EA Abysias only Astral Casters. Warlocks suffer from old age.
- Anointed of Rhuax
- Gold 440, Resources 1
- 4F 1E 3H 0? (FESB 10%)
- The Anointed of Rhuax are your best casters, but as they are very expensive you might use the Anathemants for battle casting. They are your only unit that is able to cast Divine Blessing, so if you are using sacreds you need them for your armies.
- Gold 100, Resources 14
- Everything said about the Slayer does also apply to the Demonbred but Demonbreds are just a bit better (More HP, better Stats) and as a nice addition they are flying, so they can enter close combat in the first turn and are able to slay strong mages before their defences are up. Slayers can fly over heavy patrolled chokepoints to prevent detection by patrollers and enter your enemies backyard directly.
Early Era Abysia gets only one hero : Malphas the Warlock. Malphas is a strong mage with Fire-3, Astral-2 and Blood-4. With Bl-4 he is able to forge the +1 Blood items. Keep him safe, as he might be the only Bl-4 mage you'll see in a game (unless you take a Blood Pretender or you sacrifice tons of slaves for empowerment).
- Gems z
Abysians prefer very warm weather: Heat +3 (what means 120 extra nation points). Their income and supply are not dependent on trading or farming: you have no economic benefits or penalties for the Growth/Death scale and your soldiers are not affected by the supply bonus/penalty. So you can take also Death +3 (what means 120 *more* extra nation points) and it also will make you a difficult target, as invaders will suffer supply and income penalties in your lands... And it hasn't the same effect diplomatically as if you were Ermor (population still dies, but so slowly it isn't a concern to your neighbours). However, if you pick a Death scale, you will slowly lose population like everyone else. Any nation that takes a +3 Death scale really has to keep expanding, as a nation that takes Growth +3 versus a Death +3 will have about 20% more population in just 20 turns (*and* will also make 10% more gold from the start). And if you need blood slaves, you'll just be depopulating your provinces faster. So you better take a neutral growth to remain competitive for long and/or large games.
(Warning: there is a known bug in ver. 3.06, the death/growth scale DOES affect the gold production of Abysia !).
On the other hand, Abysia needs a strong economy (Order is not an option, obviously, to build expensive troops) and a strong dominion (at least 6 candles), knowing that its troops have bonuses inside very hot domains and will get penalized in income for every shift of the scale towards cold (thus if you take a province from Caelum with Cold +3 your income will be reduced by 30% there). Even newly conquered temperate provinces will bring reduced income for several months. Remember to push your dominion by blood sacrifice when necessary.
Production: you should consider a positive Production scale too, to be able to build a lot of heavy troops.
Abysia is very specialized in Fire magic and has a limited access to Astral and Blood (and only 10% to get Earth 1). Even Blood is limited to level 3 and you need a level 4 mage to forge the +1 items! So if you really want a broader range of magic (or Blood 4+), you need it on your pretender.