Spellcaster University Guide

Introduction to Spellcaster University

This is the long version, for the quick answers, I have added a bullet point guide to Spellcaster University cards.

This is more of a guide than a review, but I found the perfect game review on GOG, so, take it away, Igasho:

Hours of Fun and Unique

“Spellcaster University” is unlike any game I’ve played before. It starts off like a card game. Randomly draw three cards. You might get a school pet, a decoration, a classroom for your magic university… etc. You use these cards to build your school and watch it come alive like an aquarium simulator, BUT a highly interactive one.

Constant notifications will pop up from the King, the neighbouring peasants, the Orc tribe, etc… It’s not a game that you can just have on in the background. It will pause itself to give you time to make a decision. You know, actually, play the game! You cannot directly move students, but you can control what types of classes they will take, and you can take 4 that you select out on dungeon missions, which resembles more like a card game.

Even though a lot is randomized, the game does require you to think. You get money from students in the school, and you get various types of energy from various types of classrooms. For example, An alchemy classroom will generate alchemical energy. You use these energy points to draw a card from the alchemy-themed deck. Or perhaps an event is going on- which requires you to pay in alchemy points. If you don’t have any type of alchemy classroom in your school then you won’t be generating any alchemy points.

The notifications can get a little repetitive, but the randomization of the cards, and buffs and debuffs of different areas (and for finishing a level) keep it interesting. Sometimes it’s just not possible, or the most beneficial option to pay your hard-earned points to keep a small skeleton horde from attacking your school.

Posted on GOG by Igasho, (July 2, 2021 )

The trailers employ a lot of zooming in to the action for effect and while you can do that – and it’s fun – it’s not generally how you play the game as there’s a lot going on. I spent most of my time jumping between pause and 1x, 2x, 3x game speed. Each to their own. Play at 1x and you can indeed explore and play the game up close.




Quick Play: The neverending story

This is the ultimate exploration mode for the game. No evil army attack, no pressure, time to explore, but not endlessly! Once you plonk a room down, it is fixed. If you put something like a gazebo, observatory, pig chamber or greenhouse in the wrong place, it can cause a lot of problems as you can’t build directly on top of them. Gazebos are particularly problematic.

Dungeon exploration was a one-time, one-shot event, but v1.10 added an update for new dungeons to be available over time.

I use ‘quick play’ with ‘Endless game’ and ‘Spell books’ enabled. Game length is set to ‘shortest’ (learning rate +20%) and difficulty is set to ‘novice’ (needs slow 30% slower).

As at v1.01, ‘General Statistics’ lists 156 possible graduation futures. However, curiously, the Headmaster’s futures list contains 165 possible futures, so something needs updating.

There is no achievement for this, but I fancied the challenge, so set out to get all possible futures. In campaign mode, each area lasts about 12 years; my attempt took me 135 years, during which reached 1,243 prestige points and trained nearly 5,000 students (4,817 to be precise). Of these, 416 were Archmages (and many archmages more were rerolled attempting to the last two futures).

Some rooms were over level 100, with at least 1,000% bonus to efficiency. Top students studied for up to 11 years (or more) and graduated with level 5 in every magic discipline. The last career path I required was Deepfolk ‘Great Old One’. It took me another 35 years to achieve it!

{ Clear Cthulhu reference with the Great Old One future }
{ Spellcaster University v1.01, all futures found (perhaps) }
{ Exploring the Archmage’s Tower with maxed students }

The above was an exploration in ‘endless’ mode’. You cannot do so well in campaign mode!

There appears to be no end to the event, challenges simply get incrementally harder until they are impossible to beat. I got to around 138 hostility before leaving. The loot included 85,000g and over 50 cards from that run! I might do the other ‘dungeon’ instances later, if there’s time or interest.

{ Spellcaster University overachiever }

Graduation: Your future in the cards

Returning to campaign mode, the aim of the university, besides hopefully defeating evil, is to churn out graduates. Their studies determine their possible futures. This, in turn, reflects back on the university. I was going to do this myself but it’s a lot of work and the Fandom based Spellcaster University Wiki offers a sortable list of future.

What is important to note is how complicated it is. Sure, if you just want graduates, you can churn them out, but if you want a specific future, it can get complicated very fast. As well as an exacting education and qualification, race and traits come into play, with positive or negative requirements need for some. My video (above) lists them all, along with the requirements.

For example:

Grandma eater
This future rewards the university by increasing the efficiency of your bright staff refectory by 1%.
It only needs a level 2 assassin, which is easy enough. However, they have to be a werewolf, one with a negative bully trait.
So, you need to pay attention to all your werewolf recruits, look for a bully, make sure you assign him or her to shadow and hope that nothing removes his negative trait.

Grand Disciplinary Master
This will then earn you 20 light mana each time you interact with the headteacher.
Requires they study light and shadow to gain Demonology and Sacred Magic to level 4.
But also have both the wise and the unshakable traits.

Elf King
Reward: You gain +15% prestige from events.
Requires an elf with Druidism 5, Sacred Magic 4 and Temporal Magic 4

RNG rears again
As if that wasn’t testing enough, unless it’s a 100% chance, you might have four (elves), or a deepfolk with over a dozen potential futures on graduation, and you only get one reroll, which can drop you as easily as it raises you.

{ One reroll to rule them all and in darkness mind them? }


(Wearable) Equipment

{ Students sporting the latest wearable sorcerous accessories }

Equipment cards can be bought with gold, mana, or received as a reward from messages etc.

Each further card will lower the requirement(s) by one level.

Drop the card onto the school to apply it, allowing all students majoring in those disciplines to equip them for the bonuses.

Note that several cards are dual discipline, e.g. the ‘Sign of the Eldest’, which requires training both arcane portal magic and shadow demonology.


Base

(None)


Alchemy equipment

Alchemist Talisman
Requires Enchantment and Runes at level 1
With it, students produce 30% more Alchemy mana while studying.


Arcane equipment

Arcane Crystal Staff
When a student has at least Elementalism level 3 and Enchantment level 2, they can receive the Arcane Crystal Staff, allowing them to learn all the magic 25% faster.

Arcane Amulet
When a student has at least Elementalism and Portal Magic at level 1, they can receive an Arcane Amulet, producing 30% more Arcana mana.

Sign of the Eldest
When a student has at least Demonology at level 3 and Portal Magic at level 2, they can receive the Sign of the Eldest.
From now on, upon receiving a future, the Lord of Evil is repelled by 1%.


Light / Sacred Equipment

Flower Crown
When a student has at least Herbalism at level 3 and Sacred Magic at level 1, they can now receive the Flower Crown. With it, they are unaffected by boredom.

Sacred Halo
When a student has at least Sacred Magic level 3, they can receive a Sacred Halo. With it, their hunger increases 75% less quickly.

Wings of the Archangel
When a student has at least Sacred Magic level 4 and Heroism level 3, they can receive the Wings of the Archangel. With this equipped, they produce 125% more Light mana.


Natural / Sylval / Druidic Equipment

Autumn Shoulderguards
When a student has at least Druidism and Herborism at level 1, they can receive the Autumn Shoulderguards. With this, all their Life gains are doubled.

Horns of the Forest King
When a student has at least Druidism level 3, they can receive the Horns of the Forest King. Wearing these, their Tiredness increases 75% less quickly.

Shaman Staff
When a student has at least Druidism level 2, they can receive a Shaman Staff. Using this, they produce 30% more Nature mana while studying.

Wolf Tooth
When a student has at least Beast Magic and Herbalism at level 1, they can receive a Wolf Tooth. With this, they can move 20% faster.


Shadow Equipment

Demonic Horns
When a student is at least level 3 in Demonology, they get Demonic horns. They now deal twice as much damage in combat.

Infernal Wings
When a student is at least 4 in Demonology and level 3 in Necromancy, they get Infernal Wings. They now generate 125% more Shadow Mana.

Necro Staff
When a student is at least 2 in Necromancy, they receive a Necro staff. They now produce 30% more Shadow mana.

Wild Breast Plate
When a student is at least level 2 in Assassination and level 1 in Druidism, they get a Wild breastplate, They now gain 1 reputation point with the Orcs each time they gain a Shadow magic level.


The Big Book of Spells

A choice of these is optionally free in quick play, but must be earnt in campaign mode, which is why it’s important to aim for three achievable quest tasks (the gold stars).

(In fast play mode, you have the option of getting them for free. This option allows your six books in all, two from levels 1, 2, and 3 respectively.)

Campaign mode also throws in curses, again, you are asked to pick one in campaign mode, but not in quick play.

There are a number of these books, and you are offered a choice from three, advancing with your progress. Some are a lot better than others.

Note that as the game (currently v1.0) is being added to and edited, these options may change over time.

{ Gold star for you! Quest objectives book rewards. }
{ The reward above helps take the sting off your curses in Campaigns }

Tier 1 tomes include:

Druidism for Dummies
Start each level with a random Nature card.

Magical Beast Encyclopedia:
Gain 3 prestige each time you play a creature card

Mason Spell Book:
All rooms on the ground floor are 10% more efficient

Occult Accounting:
Reduce staff salaries by 10%

Postumus’ Wisdom:
Each artefact increases the efficiency of its room by 5%

The Sacred book of Inquisition
The reputation with the Inquisition deteriorates 30% less quickly.
(Can pay 50 less gold during “Tithe”, additional option in “You can’t learn anything from books!”)

The Secret Life of Orcs
Increases reputation gains with orcs by 25%.
(A good option in campaign mode as you can keep sending them to push back the Lord of Evil)

Scrolls of Seductions:
Increases the number of students interested in the university by 10%

Ten easy tips to get rich:
Start each game with an additional 400g

Warrior codex:
Improves students and teachers combat level by 20%
(Meh!)

Tier 2 tomes include:

Blacksmith Master Spellbook:
Start game with two random equipment cards

Book of Wealth:
The wealth of students is always one level higher

Codex of Alchemists
Increases the speed of alchemy learning by 15%.

Draconic Legends:
Start the game with a turquoise dragon (reduces tiredness etc in teachers)

Dragon Prophecies:
Start the game with a red dragon (reduces tiredness etc in all)

Great book of Purity
Your reputation with the Inquisition decreases 30% slower.

Home Magic:
Start the game with a janitor card

Hymn of Light
Light rooms increase the efficiency of adjacent rooms by 5%.
(Additional option in “You can’t learn anything from books!”)

Lord of Evil Biography:
Increase all Lord of Evil reputation gains by 50%

Magical Cooking Book:
Students in the refractory slowly improve in a random magic category

Map of Telluric Lines:
Increases the efficiency of rooms adjacent to arcane rooms by 10%

Punishment Guide:
Lowers students need to misbehave by 10%

Tier 3 tomes include:

Architect Codex:
Room efficiency is increased by 1% per floor.
(There does not appear to be a limit to the height of your university, but remember some rooms cannot have a roof, several don’t have vertical exits. It’s probably possible to reach 100+ levels, but your university would look like an impossibly tottering Jenga tower! Probably stacks with the Big Book of Runes too.)

Big Book of Dreams
Dormitories and Private rooms also slightly reduce Hunger and Boredom.

Big Book of Runes
Runic scriptoriums increase the efficiency of all rooms in the same row by 30%.
(Start each level with a Runic scriptorium)

Elder Codex:
Teachers pedagogy is always one level higher than usual (e.g. good rather than mediocre)

Eternal Encyclopedia:
The cost of cards increases half as fast after purchase (i.e., repeats cards cost less mana)
(Good to have)

Higher Magic Spellbook:
Lowers the level requirement for wearing equipment pieces by 1 for all students
(Useful for campaigns, useless in endless mode)

Necronomicon:
Increases rooms efficiency by 3% any time there is an explosion or a portal is opened by a student

Sports Almanac:
Each year generates a card that gives 700 gold pieces
(This is arguably the most powerful and useful book of all. The annual cash injection is incredibly powerful, particularly for the last area.
Not needed, but easily guarantees the 10,000g quest)

University Archives:
Start each game with two house creation cards and two student recruitment cards
(Another of my favourites, gets you up and running fast)


Teachers and improving the faculty

{ Faculty staff comprising teachers, a psychologist and a janitor }

Drop these (fixed) cards onto the appropriate rooms.

Don’t forget the moveable cards like the magical hat (pushes teacher to excellent) and crystal ball (removes negative traits). Paying attention to these can make a difference in your game. If a teacher is ‘excellent’ they don’t need the other, a ‘bad’ teacher will, similar is the teacher is purged of bad traits, another will want it.

Mentor
(Alchemy mana card)
This teacher’s pedagogy becomes excellent and they receive three random positive traits.

PhD in Theoretical Magic
(Arcane mana card)
When teaching, this professor generates a large amount of mana of the type of his course.

Priesthood
(Light mana card)
This teacher is never hungry or tired.

Warden
(Nature mana card)
This teacher becomes able to make critical hits while teaching, which gives a big knowledge bonus to the students.

Infernal Pact
(Shadow mana card)
This teacher is not paid and can improve your reputation with the Lord of Evil while teaching.

Base…
(There is no base card for teachers)


Student diversity: the race is on!

The first requirement is extra Houses, especially if you want to focus on certain skillsets, such as “ambition and alchemist”. These can be bought with gold as ‘base’ items

New house
Play this card to create a new house in your school.

Why enrol non-human students?
Well, besides the obvious benefits given below, fay creatures lend themselves better to some careers, while others – such as pack leaders – are exclusive to a race.

Further, if you are exploring caves, towers etc., having the right members in the group can give you more options, helping you progress further in safety – before the inevitable retreat or defeat.

{ Non humans in Spellcaster university }

Adventurer’s Guild recruitment
Provided you have 3 dormitories and enough reputation, one of the rare encounters with the adventurers guild will offer you 3 student recruitment cards comprising:
New Students, New Werewolves and New Deepfolk.

Deepfolk:
Can be recruited with Arcane mana.
The ‘Grotesque Statue‘ relic increases the change of a new recruit being deepfolk.
Deepfolk cannot be readily recruited from factions (as at v1.01)
(There are available from the peasants as a rare occurrence (requires a medicine cabinet)

Deepfolk repel the Lord of Evil by an amount equal to the prestige obtained by their future, and eat 30% slower.

 

Elves:
Can be recruited with Light mana.
Elves can also be recruited from the Shifty merchant camp (requires psychologist (5 elves) or fairy dragon and a potted unicorn (2×5 elves).
The ‘Vase of Eternity‘ also increases the chances that new students will be elves.

Elves learn magic 30% faster in high rooms (4th floor and up) and will only select from the 4 best futures.

 

Half-orcs
Can be recruited with Alchemy mana.
The ‘Ritual Orc Painting‘ also increases the chances that new students will be half-orcs.
Half-orcs cannot be recruited from any faction (as at v1.01)

Half-orcs learn 40% faster in rooms with a familiar and all their needs grow 20% slower. They are slightly better behaved on average.

 

Vampires:
Can be recruited with Shadow magic
Students who sleep in Coffins (beds) have a small chance of becoming a vampire. (It is unclear if this is limited to human students).
If your reputation is high enough with the Lord of Evil, he may offer you Vampire recruits when you contact him.

Vampires sleep in the day, study at night, learn all magic 30% faster and generate twice as much Shadow mana.

 

Werewolves:
Can be recruited with Natural mana.
Werewolves cannot be recruited from factions (as at v1.01)

Werewolves hit twice as hard, recover health over time, and intimidate other students, which reduces their tendency to misbehave. you can think of them as classroom monitors or prefects. They are also immune to aberrations.


Pushing back the evil army

There are many ways to push back the army of evil. One of the best is to stay on the good side of the Orc horde and be prepared.

Remember as well, Deepfolk repel the Lord of Evil by an amount equal to the prestige obtained by their future.

{ Sometimes the Orcs can give the evil army a good shove back }

It’s not cheap, and requires enough reputation to deal, but it’s good to be prepared and put gold aside in case the Adventurers Guild show up in your hour of need.

{ If you are lucky, and rich, the Adventurers Guild can help push back the evil army }

Developer notes

Changes I believe will improve the game.

1. Fix gender pronouns. (Fixed in 1.01)
There was a problem where, on the drawn cards, all the students were referred to as ‘he’. Given the school can be male-only, mixed, or females only, something of an oversight.
Seems corrected in v1.01.


2. Highlighting slotted as well as available slots for improvement items (e.g. artifacts, relics).

This can be done or drag and or by adding improvement items to the ‘filters’ bar on the righthand right.

Reasoning: as the game processes you are likely to want to swap items around, or if all the slots are taken, remove them altogether.
For instance, a room with a poor teacher greatly benefit from a ‘Magical Hat’, whereas an excellent teacher would be better suited ‘Criticality Prism’ or other relics.
Rinse and repeat for decorations, artifacts etc.


3. New and updated factions.

Add the option to recruit half-orcs from the Orc horde faction.

Also, add a new water faction, one that allows you to recruit Deepfolk.

Perhaps consider adding dwarves as a new non-human student race, with an associated faction.

This could also help fill another gap in the game, especially when comparing the main factions:

The royal court and village relate to gold and gold savings
Orc horde: Nature mana
Inquisition: Light mana
Lord of Evil: Shadow mana
Adventurers guild: Arcane mana

Where’s the faction focused on Alchemy?


4. Futures disparity.

Under General Statistics, they are 156 possible graduation futures for students. In the headmaster’s futures, there are 9 more.


5. Class size

Apply bonuses and penalties according to class size. Suggested:

1-12 (one row): 10% bonus to learning

12-24 (two rows): no bonus or penalty applied

25-36 (three rows): 10% penalty to learning

37-48 (four fours): 25% penalty to learning

48+ capped (or increasingly harsh penalties)


6. Improved room information

It would be extremely helpful if, on clicking on a room, the information included details about the filled and available Improvement Items.

For instance, in the side panel for a Refectory you could add something like this:

Utility (cauldron): Multi-function Cauldron
Utility (cauldron): World Tree Wood Table Set
Artifact (sword): Alembic
Decoration (painting): School coat of arms
Decoration (painting): Student of the month portrait


Links

 


Sneaky Yak Studio and Spellcaster University

  • Spellcaster University on GOG
  • Spellcaster University on Steam
  • Sneaky Yak site
  • Sneaky Yak Studio on Facebook
    “We’re not done with Spellcaster University yet, more new features will come later.”
  • Spellcaster University Wiki links:
    (Not fully up to date when I last looked)


    Ack

    Been playing with computers since the stone age, online since the '80s, and developing websites since the '90s.

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