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Lords of Magic was a computer game distributed by Sierra Entertainment. The game played some familiar tropes and also decided to play some in ways that really are not seen all that often.
The game made it interesting with each class getting their own special units from the temples, each with unique abilities that corresponded to their element and Legendary creatures of which you could only recruit one of, except in the case of water which could build multiple, however, soon as you built them the first time you couldn't build any more, each legendary creature was so powerful that you had to meet a series of requirements in the game itself to be able to recruit them. The game alternated between Turn based strategy, where the majority of the game took place; Diplomacy screens, which allowed you to improve relations with other factions through your choice of bartering; and a combat screen that allowed you to either fight as if you were in a Real Time Strategy game or Turn based strategy game if you decided to pause combat. The game also had an online multiplayer aspect. In the game you had to gather resources to build more units, you did this by capturing structures. If you captured a gold mine you got a set amount of gold each turn, the same holds true with the crystal mines; Breweries gave you ale, which was the games way of saying food for the troops; in addition capturing towers, statues and other great temples that had yet to be liberated would give you fame, which would help provide you with followers so you could build most of your troops. Each individual unit had an upkeep cost, which meant you lost that much of resource every turn they were on the board.
Some examples of tropes are:
- A Commander Is You:
- Earth: Unit Specialist, leans towards brute force. Mostly focused around infantry, with some odd spells from their magees. Infantry is very tough and powerful, but the faction is the slowest in the game.
- Air: Ranger/Guerilla faction. Fastest units in the game, with a lot of flyers, but generally weaker units than usual. Has strong champions, and ranged is somewhat stronger than melee.
- Fire: Brute Force. Lots of high damage spells, and straightforward offensive melee units.
- Water: Mario faction. Has strong cavalry, but otherwise units are about average.
- Order: Mario/Brute Force. Army units are quite strong, with wizard spells focused mostly on straight buffs and damage.
- Chaos: Technical. Has lots of spells with unusual effects that, as fits the religion's theme, can sometimes be very powerful, sometimes not.
- Life: Ranger faction. Strong archers and good mages, but melee units are weak. Is somewhat faster than normal, but not by much.
- Death: Mario/elitist. Has strong units of all types, and Balkoth is probably the strongest unit in the game.
- All Your Powers Combined: Balkoth has the health and armor of warrior, the spells of a mage, and the ranged attack of a thief. He counts as a mage for the purpose of equipping items though.
- Anti-Air: A good number of Earth spells, including one that drags flying units to the ground and possibly kills them.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Parties are limited to three champions and nine units of one to three each, allowing for thirty individuals on the field at once, although the Ice Drake and Fafnir, legendary creatures of Air and Fire respectively, cannot combine at all, which is fine, seeing as both count as one man armies.
- Area of Effect: Several field spells transform an area to the type of ground that is advantageous to the faith that cast it.
- Baseless Mission: The Special Edition comes with Tales of Urak, a set of backstory scenarios that start without a Capitol.
- Color-Coded Armies: Each faith has a general set of colors that appear on most units. Life is Yellowish-whitish, Earth is green or brown, Chaos is brown, Water has various blue and green shades, Death is black and purple, Air is light blue, Order is whitish, and Fire is red.
- Command and Conquer Economy: Upgrades and unit training are specifically on your say-so.
- Critical Existence Failure: Taken Up To Eleven when two people of your three person unit die, but several turns of rest later, they come back. If that last unit dies, however, all three are gone for good.
- Character Alignment: While not played in the way that we see in games like Dungeons and Dragons this trope is still there. After choosing from one of the three leader types you must choose your elemental alignment.
- Dark Is Evil: In Story, death is evil, as per the narration to the game's opening, while all the other elements are some variation of good. Even Chaos and Fire, which in many stories usually get lumped in with being associated with some kind of great evil. In game, Death, Fire, Chaos, and Earth all start with good relations amongst themselves, while Water, Air, Order, and Life start with good relations amongst themselves, with few crossovers between the two groups, creating a sort of good/evil split.
- Defog of War: A few spells increase your vision, and one even reveals terrain and the location, but not strength, of enemy units in a given patch of land.
- Easter Egg: In the Special Edition version, there are 4 quests (Fire,Earth,Death, and Order) you can choose from. There's also a hidden 5th quest(based on the story of Siegfried, and complete with German accents) that can be accessed by clicking on the center of the quest selection room
- Enemy Exchange Program: Liberating their temple while they are friendly or taking over another faith's capitol city allows you to create their units from their facilities. In addition, there are Villages that, when liberated, can be used to create buildings of the two faiths they border.
- Evil Overlord: Balkoth's goal as the Lord of Death.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Well actually the game calls it Warrior Mage Thief, but the principal is the same. All races get one "leader" unit of each type, all units are associated with a particular type of leader through the buildings they are trained at. (Cavalry and Infantry and trained at a barracks by warriors, and built there along with ships. Ranged units are trained by thieves at a thieves guild, and scouts are built there also. Magic creatures are created at mage towers or the great temple.) The three types of units also use different types of resources, almost always based on which type they are associated with.
- Fog of War
- Garrisonable Structures: Interesting variation. Depending on how upgraded the capitol city is, the walls will be: Level one, not there, level two, there but with no gate, funneling the enemy to one spot with steps on your side to place ranged units so that they can fire down, and level three, where there is a gate that the enemy must destroy before they can get through, allowing you ranges units and mages time to whittle them down while they crowd in. Other buildings have specific areas of impassible land that can be used as walls as well.
- Geo Effects: Each faith has movement and attack speed halved on some types of terrain, often associated with "enemy' faiths, and each has spells that turn the ground targeted into their particular terrain.
- Hero Must Survive: After a fashion. Each faith has a Lord, and if that Lord dies, the faith is out, although the remaining forces become marauding parties hell-bent on avenging their fallen leader, specifically going after units of the faith that killed their Lord. If you liberate the Great Temple of a friendly faith, they will swear fealty to you, and you get their Lord. If your starting Lord dies, as long as you have another, the game can continue.
- Religion Is Magic; There is no separation between the two in the game, each faith has spells based on what it worships.
- Risk Style Map: From the start, the whole map is yours to explore. Careful, though, your enemy faiths don't like you in their backyard.
- Starting Units: Your Lord begins the game accompanied by three or four units. You cannot train more until you liberate your Temple and your people acknowledge you. You can, however, hire mercenaries. These units are cheaper to train, but cost a lot more to maintain, making them a short-term solution bordering on Instant Militia.
- Stone Wall: Warriors can add some of their attack to their damage at the cost of being unable to attack. For Fire and Death warriors this can be combined with their legendary armors, which cast harmful spells at those who hit them, to create someone capable of soloing vastly greater forces by blocking their way to victory.
- Tech Tree: There are four different types of spell in each faith, and you can only research the simplest and work your way up, although which type you research is up to you. You can research offense up to, say, "Bless," then defense up to "Holy Visit," then go through the General. The speed at which your research proceeds depends on two factors: how many researchers you have and what level they are. Every level of researcher adds one man-day of research per day(turn), and one level one mage gets one man-day per day. Up to three mages can research at a time, and the maximum level is Ten, with an exception for the Lord who can be Twelve, maxing out at a possible 32 man-days per day. Some spells take up to two hundred man-days to research, so every level helps.
- Units Not to Scale: Your groups can get huge on the map, but then disappear into a tiny hamlet.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: Gold, ale and crystals are required to hire your units, but each type of unit has a certain resource they want more than the other two: gold is required for ranged units, ale for melee, and crystals for magic. Fame pulls in followers, whom you can put to work in your capitol to rake in more resources or train into military units. All spells require a mage of that faith to cast, so any spells you don't have a mage for are Uselessnium and can be traded to other faiths for substantial return without the risk of them using those spells on you. In this manner you can also trade spelss you can use, seeing as this is simply knowledge being traded and you keep the ability to cast them while they cannot without one of your mages, which you are under no obligation to hand over.