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Special abilities (Rome: Total War)

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Most units in the game have a special ability of some sort or another, utilised correctly these can give a special little boost to your troops that can be the difference of a close defeat and close victory. Ignore these at your peril or utilise them well for huge advantage in both the singleplayer and multiplayer mode.


Special abilities are always activated by pressing "F" or by clicking the button on the game display during battle mode.

Universal abilities.Edit

Rallying call Edit

Your general can perform a special rallying call to boost morale for nearby troops and (sometimes prevent friendly units routing).

Phalanx FormationEdit

Some forms of tightly packed spearmen can present a fearsome row of points front on against an enemy. Rows further back in the formation thrust their spears vertically in readiness to bear on the enemy, and with the added effect of providing additional protection against arrows.Of course if you would like one could use short pike formation it's much more flexibile and reliable than it's former father.

Cantabrian circleEdit

Most missile armed cavalry can perform the cantabrian circle. In this formation the riders will ride in a large circle at the edge of their range from their enemy, firing their missile at the point closest to the targeted unit.

This keeps additional pressure on the targeted unit and breaks morale faster, however leaves the unit open to a cavalry charge.

Flaming shotEdit

Most siege bows, catapults and archery units can use flaming shot instead of the normal shot for greater damage and fear factor. This also has the added benefit of leaving charred corpses instead of normal corpses and demoralising enemy units. Using flaming shot does reduce accuracy however. If using onagers or ballistas, the best target for flaming shot is a tightly packed mass of men, such as a phalanx or testudo. The extra damage from the exploding firepot more than makes up for lack of accuracy.

Wedge formationEdit

Most melee cavalry can form themselves into a wedge to drive deeper into an enemy unit when they charge and increase the impact and charge bonus. This is however only really useful if the cavalry unit has a large charge bonus.

Put down siege equipmentEdit

Any unmounted unit can use siege equipment to assault a city with, and this order simply tells the men to cancel that and leave the engine where it is, either to abandonment or for another unit to pick up and take to the fray.

Faction/Region specific abilities.Edit

Some abilities only occur in units from certain areas of the campaign map.

WarcryEdit

Many barbarian melee infantry can perform the warcry. A simple blood-curdling shout that stands to raise that units attack stat for a short while. The warcry can only be engaged when the unit is not fighting, and the unit does not already have it active. Whilst the warcry button is active the button will remain highlighted.

When Berserkers (Germania) use the warcry ability the unit will "go berserk" with massively increased attack, charge and defence stats. However the men will be caught in a bloodlust and will be completely uncontrollable, and will attack the nearest enemy to them, charging all the way. Zoom in to hear the berserk laughing of these men and the shrieks of their enemies!

Druidic ChantEdit

Britannia and Gaul can recruit druids who can perform a constant mystical chant to raise nearby troops morale and have the adverse effect on nearby enemies.

ScreechEdit

Germanic screeching women can perform a special ability which has a similar effect to druidic chant, boosting nearby units and demoralising nearby enemies.

Sacrifice unit (Elephants only)Edit

When elephants are scared by either speartips or fire they can run amok, attacking friend and foe alike in an uncontrollable panic. If they are near some of your best troops they could cause battle turning damage to them, and to save yourself the trouble you can order the elephant drivers to drive a chisel into the animal's brain, killing the animal and the riders, but also any nearby men the elephant happens to fall onto.

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