A stronghold is the headquarters, base of operations, and staging ground for a faction. Strongholds can only be entered by members of the faction that own it, and it provides much more safety and security for those within than most other locations would.
Faction members with the rank of Leader or Lieutenant may invoke the stronghold. To invoke a stronghold is to plant the faction's Standard in the location and cause the stronghold to form there.
Leaders and Lieutenants may also revoke their stronghold. To revoke a stronghold is to remove the faction's Standard from a location and thus cause the stronghold to dissolve.
Creating a Stronghold
Factions may create a Stronghold provided the following are true:
- The character trying to invoke the Stronghold must have either the Leader or Lieutenant rank in the faction.
- The faction must have existed for at least 24 hours.
- The invoking character must be inside a viable location that can be turned into a Stronghold.
- The character must have 30 Action Points and 20 Magic Points to spend on the invoking process. Note that a character cannot go into negative Action Points or Magic Points by using this ability.
- If the faction's Alignment is Good, the character setting up the stronghold cannot be of Evil Morality.
- If the faction's Alignment is Evil, the character setting up the stronghold cannot be of Good Morality.
- A character cannot invoke a Stronghold during the cool down period.
- The character must be at least level 10.
If all the conditions are met, the character will be able to invoke the Stronghold on the location. The Stronghold comes into being with a maximum-strength factional ward.
Setting up or revoking a stronghold is a painless experience (bar poisons, lingering fire, etc..) for characters whose Morality matches their faction's Alignment. This means that a Sorcerer with an MO of 25 (Good) will not suffer damage when establishing or revoking the stronghold of a Good faction. Having a morality that is one "step" away from the faction's alignment (e.g. having Neutral morality in a Good faction) does not disqualify the character from setting up or revoking the stronghold, but does make the process painful - the character takes unsoakable damage:
- For a Good faction, the damage is equal to twice the distance of their current morality score from 40
- For an Evil faction, the damage is equal to twice the distance of their current morality score from -40
- Members of Unaligned factions will never take damage based on their morality, as their patron Elder Powers do not care about moral status.
Viable Stronghold Locations
Only certain kinds of locations can be turned into a Stronghold. A location must meet the following criteria:
- It must be in a location that has an inside.
- It cannot be the Stronghold of another faction.
- It cannot be a Resource Building.
- It cannot be a large building -- a building that takes up more than one tile on the game map.
- It cannot be an Exploration Badge site in Laurentia, although this restriction does not apply to other Planes.
The Cool Down Period
The cool down period lasts 24 hours. Once the Stronghold has been destroyed (by taking the flag or revoking the stronghold under attack) the faction enters the 'cool down period' and is unable to invoke their Stronghold again until 24 hours have elapsed. This period can be reduced to zero by retrieving one of the factions' lost standards. This can be performed by the faction or one of their allies. If a flag has not been retrieved in this time, all faction members will receive a notification when the cool down period has ended.
If a faction revokes their stronghold while not under attack (when their ward is at maximum strength) they will not experience a cool down period, and may set another stronghold immediately.
Revoking a Stronghold
Only characters with the Leader or Lieutenant rank may revoke a Stronghold. Revoking a Stronghold requires 30 Action Points and 20 Magic Points, and similar to invoking a Stronghold a character cannot go into negative Action Points or Magic Points when revoking. Additionally, the revoking character must be inside the Stronghold before it can be revoked.
A Stronghold cannot be voluntarily revoked for the 24 hour period following when it was invoked. In other words, if a faction's Stronghold is invoked at 4 pm on Monday, it cannot be revoked until after 4 pm on Tuesday. Additionally, a Stronghold cannot be voluntarily revoked within 24 hours of its faction successfully capturing the Flag of another faction's Stronghold - inasmuch as this word can be used in the Nexus, revoking is a "peacetime" action.
If a Stronghold is revoked, the faction may set a new Stronghold immediately. However, if a Stronghold is revoked during a siege (defined as a time when the Stronghold Ward is at less than full strength) there is a 24 hour period in which a new Stronghold cannot be placed.
A Leader or Lieutenant takes damage according to their Morality when compared to the faction's alignment, as described in the "Creating a Stronghold" section.
All strongholds a protected by a factional ward which prevents non-members from entering. This ward cannot be dispelled; it can only be attacked and destroyed by non-members. The ward's strength varies from 100 to 1000 HP depending on the number and strength of the faction's members.
If the faction has no level 20+ members, the ward uses the lower value of:
- 500 HP
- (Level 10+ characters) x 100 HP
If the faction has at least one level 20+ member, the ward uses the lowest value of:
- 1000 HP
- (Active members) x 200 HP
- (Level 20+ characters) x 100 HP + 500 HP
Or in simpler terms:
With no active level 20 characters in the faction:
- 100 hp per Level 10-19 member with a maximum value of 500 hp
With at least one active Level 20+ character:
- 200 hp per active roster members up to a max of 600 hp. Then +100 hp for every additional Level 20+ character after the first one with a maximum value of 1000 hp
Factional wards have 0 soak, -25% defense, and the following special vulnerabilities:
- Characters of level 9 or lower deal double damage to stronghold wards (round down).
- Characters of level 10-19 deal 150% normal damage to stronghold wards (round down).
- Holy attacks deal +5 damage to evil and neutral factional wards (applied after multipliers for tier).
- Arcane attacks deal +5 damage to good and evil factional wards (applied after multipliers for tier).
- Unholy attacks deal +5 damage to good and neutral factional wards (applied after multipliers for tier).
Take note that the last three only apply to a character that is a member of a faction.
At each Game Tick, a damaged factional ward will regenerate 200 HP until fully healed. Factional wards with at least 80% of their total HP act as a Glyph of Slowing and Glyph of Sapping to all non-members inside the stronghold. This effect does not stack with existing Gylphs.
Inside the stronghold, faction members can build fortifications for additional protection. Fortifications provide +1 Soak per 50 HP (round up), up to a maximum of 500 HP and +10 Soak. This stacks with all other forms of soak, such as that provided by Armor or Potions. Invaders can destroy these fortifications via normal attacks; forts have 0 soak and -25% defense. However, dealing damage to fortifications is tied to the same limitations as capturing a Stronghold Flag - the attackers must have been in a faction for 24 hours, and that faction must have a standing Stronghold and hostility to the target Faction. If these conditions are not met, Fortifications will have substantial soak. Like stronghold Wards, Tier 1 characters will do double damage to fortifications and Tier 2 characters will do 150% damage.
Any faction member may build 5 HP worth of fortifications for 1 AP. The skills Strength, Tattoo of Strength, Fiendish Bulk and Cloak of Earth each increase the amount of fortifications built per AP by 5. In addition, the Structural Engineering doubles the amount of fortifications built (after all this has been taken into account).
Strongholds and Morality
There are two things of note when considering Morality and a character inside a Stronghold.
- When attacking a character inside the victim's own stronghold, the faction morality may override the victim's morality for the purposes of shifting the attacker's morality. Good or Unaligned characters in Evil factions are counted as Evil. Evil or Unaligned characters in Good factions are counted as Good. (Active and immediate association with a Good or Evil faction overrides a character's personal morality concerns).
- This means that, for example, the Lightspeaker's pets will not attack Good characters in an Evil stronghold because they are only counted as Evil for purposes of shifting your morality should you manage to attack them.
- Morality shift in a character's own stronghold occurs if the shift in morality is "in tune" with the faction's alignment. Positive morality shift in Evil strongholds and negative morality shift in Good strongholds are normally impossible, and only morality shifts that take the character towards 0 morality are allowed in an Unaligned stronghold.
- The ramifications of this are intentional design choices. The most common are that healers in an Evil or Unaligned stronghold cannot easily get a Good morality, readers cannot go lose or gain morality against their faction, and Angelic defenders will not lose their powers for killing Good characters in self-defence.
- An exception to morality shifts is made in the case of a character attacking a member of their own faction. When directly attacking a faction-mate (not when using a pet or Area of Effect attack), the character's morality shifts as normal, even if it is in opposition of the faction alignment. This functionally allows a Balance Nexus Champion and Good characters to stay in their preferred moralities in Evil factions, and vice versa.
After the stronghold has been destroyed by a raid, it is common for members of the faction to return directly to the site after respawning. The player could have a number of motives for this - ranging from helping any of their factionmates who already or who may soon return (by killing hostile pets, hidden enemies, healing friendly faces, etc), to simply spending the night there in the hope that by the time the character wakes up a Leader or Lieutenant would have rebuilt the stronghold. Without the protection of a ward or the fortifications they are vulnerable to attackers.
However, slaying a character who is sleeping in the ruins of their own stronghold is called "vulturing" and is sometimes frowned upon by the playerbase. Some factions have informal agreements in which their members do not "vulture" another faction (killing their members who are sleeping in the ruins) and in exchange are not "vultured" themselves, an agreement which can spare a great deal of trouble. In general, it is wise to ask your own faction leaders for their stance on the matter before wandering into an enemy's ruined ("downed") stronghold and beating everything to death.
As the term "vulturing" is strongly linked to the idea of interfactional diplomacy it follows that unfactioned characters, especially those with an evil streak, may feel free to commit frequent bloody murder whenever and wherever the desire takes them - including inside of a downed stronghold. Characters are therefore encouraged to protect the ruined stronghold using a variety of means.