- Can trigger random natural disasters (Forest Fires, Volcanic Eruptions, Dust Storms, Blizzards and Floods) on tiles near the unit. Natural disasters triggered by Soothsayers cannot fertilize affected tiles (except Forest Fires).
- Can sacrifice friendly units to an active volcano to earn score for the Appease the Gods Competition.
- Produce 50 CO2 when causing a disaster.
- Produce 30 CO2 when sacrificing a unit.
Soothsayers get one random promotion by getting a Gold or Silver Tier reward from the Appease the Gods competition.
|Incantation||+1 Charge. Adjacent units gain +5 Combat Strength.|
|Inquisitor||+1 Charge, gains Stealth (only adjacent enemy units can reveal this unit).|
|Messenger||+1 Charge, +2 Movement.|
|Plague Bearer||+1 Charge. Adjacent enemy cities are automatically Besieged.|
Soothsayers are quite handy for creating misfortune for rival nations without the action being traced back to you, and without a single Soothsayer even having to cross their borders. For example, placing a Soothsayer beside a river (ideally on a Floodplains tile) that one or more rivals have cities on or near, and triggering its ability will create a flood that will generally devastate the area around those cities. The flood will also damage City Centers that don't have defenses or other protection against such disasters, making those cities easier to conquer. However, the flood will also damage your cities, so you may want to reconsider causing a flood if you have many valuable cities on the river you are attempting to flood.
Additionally, a less offensive possible use for this ability lies in the unexpected synergy it has with the Great Bath, thanks to being able to more or less create floods on demand for whichever of your cities hosts this wonder. However, it should be noted that the floods caused by Soothsayers will not fertilize tiles.
Forest Fires caused by Soothsayers are the only disasters that can fertilize the land. Use them in heavily forested areas that you plan to settle later on. Be wary of starting a fire that will spread to your cities as you will lose 1 population for every affected tile. Cities with Preserves and Natural Parks are especially vulnerable.
If you have a lot of coastal cities with lowland tiles you might want to avoid overusing Soothsayers due to their climate change impact, at least until you have access to Flood Barriers.
In times of crisis, people have long turned towards those that promise some form of deliverance. As the natural, political, or economic order breaks down, soothsayers emerge that might provide people a way to stave off disaster, to survive it, or to inflict it on one's enemies. While the Soothsayer unit here is not meant to reflect any particular culture or historical moment, we can find similar turns towards such figure across the world and across history, from the Mesoamerican reaction to the arrival of the Spanish, to European millennial cults, to present-day groups like Heaven's Gate.
For instance, at the turn of the 20th century, across Lao-speaking parts of Southeast Asia, new prophets emerged, the "holy men." They promised Lao people - who had seen their territory divided between French and Siamese forces, new systems of taxation, and the destruction of the city of Vientiane - that worse things were to come. Cows and pigs would transform into demons. Money would become worthless, while currently worthless gravel would become gold. A great wind would sweep through the land and carry with it anyone who would not hold on to a clump of lemongrass. Many believed those soothsayers, collecting gravel and killing their own animals, all awaiting the great change that was to come.
Soothsayers rarely end up well. The Lao movement was suppressed by Siamese troops, Aztec prayers did not stop Spanish conquest, and the end times seemingly never come.