[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/small.jpg]]

->''"In the realm that was my home, I had devoted my life to study of the arcane. No pursuit was too perilous, no sacrifice too great, until... Well... Under the many heavens, and in the many worlds, there are darker things than Men may dream of..."''

Sacrifice is a unique breed of RTS games for PC, whereas instead of the isometric view from the above, it takes a 3rd person view behind the player avatar. This game is about battling wizards, each players gathers souls to summon creatures, and then duke it out with other wizards, also supplemented with various spells. Their goal, based on the name, is to find an enemy altar, desecrate it by performing a sacrificial ritual on that altar, and then kill the enemy wizard one last time to banish him.

The story of the game is about a wizard named Eldred ([[HelloInsertNameHere or whatever the player chooses to name him]]), assisted with his familiar Zyzyx, who meets a wise man named Mithras in the aftermath of a great war that has all but destroyed the world. Through a series of flashbacks narrated by Eldred, we learn the story of how he served the five Gods in the game: [[FriendToAllLivingThings Persephone]], [[OnlySaneMan James]], [[SmugSnake Stratos]], [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Pyro]] or [[GodOfEvil Charnel]], and how the intervention of his arch-nemesis, OmnicidalManiac Marduk, led to the world's present state.

''Sacrifice'' did not gain wide popularity, but garnered cult status.
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!!This game provides examples of:

* AerithAndBob: The five gods are Persephone, Stratos, Charnel, Pyro, and... James?
* AffablyEvil: Charnel, despite his status as the unabashedly evil God of Death. In stark contrast to the brutal Pyro, [[spoiler:Charnel is entirely understanding if you decide not to stick with him in his ending, and merely wishes you well.]]
* AggressiveNegotiations:
** [[spoiler:Persephone's sixth, eighth and ninth mission. In all three cases, it backfires badly on the aggressors.]]
** In the third Pyro mission you can either do this or it'll go wrong on its own.
* AIBreaker: In skirmish mode, the AI never uses the low-level but powerful Teleport spell, giving human players an enormous advantage.
* AllThereInTheManual: Much of the background surrounding ''Sacrifice'', like what happened to the creator God and why the world is spilt into floating islands. It's also written in the style of the Gods themselves, which makes for an interesting read.
* AllTrollsAreDifferent: Trolls in ''Sacrifice'' are large, green humanoids with a HealingFactor that lack heads and have their faces on their chests instead. They serve the goddess of life, Persephone, and are as such benign. Pyro has a creature known as a firefist, which is a troll with flamethrowers attached to its fists -- due to the resulting burns, they do not regenerate. Both variants communicate purely through HulkSpeak.
* {{Ambadassador}}: Ambassador Buta, the rotund emissary of Pyroborea, is a powerful wizard in service of Pyro, god of fire, and doubles as one of Pyro's generals.
* AnIcePerson: Stratos, and of course his servants.
* AnimateDead:
** This handy spell is available if you serve Charnel. Despite the moniker, it actually serves more as a straight-up resurrection, sparing you the Mana and time expense of collecting the souls and re-summoning the creature manually.
** Persephone's ultimate unit can cast a 'breath of life', which functions like this spell, at will. Keeping it constantly resurrecting your creatures prevents it from fighting though.
* AntiHero: Eldred isn't a very nice man (and was possibly a VillainProtagonist in his old world), at best a PragmaticHero at the beginning. Depending on the gods you serve and the choices you make, he comes across as anything from TheAtoner and TheHero to a NominalHero (avoiding VillainProtagonist-hood because Marduk is the one trying to destroy the world).
-->'''Eldred:''' In Jhera, I had been a man of substance.\\
'''Mithras:''' A lord? Or perhaps a king?\\
'''Eldred:''' A tyrant, more like. You would have thought me an evil man.\\
'''Zyzyx:''' [[DeadpanSnarker Most people did.]]
* AntiMagic:
** Troggs, James' first level ground creature, are immune to damage from spells.
** Acheron, Charnel's champion, takes reduced magic from magic.
* AntiquatedLinguistics: Eldred and Persephone both have a very 'old-fashioned' tone of speaking and use dramatic language and the occasional 'nay' added, though both stop short of actual FloweryElizabethanEnglish.
* AttractMode: This was introduced in later patches.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** Death. Insta-kills a certain number of creatures but won't harm wizards and has no Friend/Foe identification, so if you try to capitalize on the situation and move in (or your opponent runs out of creatures) he might go for your army instead. Mostly he just leads to your opponent having to collect a few souls and teleport away in irritation. Furthermore you can tell when your opponent is casting it, so a good human player will just teleport away and leave the caster footing the bill. He ''is'' good for cleaning up heavily guarded manaliths, but those are rare in multiplayer. And then there is the tactic of repeatedly summoning Manahores (1 mana when even a basic spell costs 300) and collecting their souls as they are killed. Repeat until the kill limit is reached and Death vanishes.
** All 5 top-tier spells have this a bit. Volcano is great against well-guarded manaliths but on the open battlefield your enemy can move out of the way before it erupts and the blast prevents you from taking any souls of creatures that do get killed. Meanstalks don't do much except throw units in the air for a bit. Bore can utterly destroy units but can't be used near manaliths and is relatively easy to avoid. And unless you get lucky and throw a few units of the edge of the map, tornado only delays the units it sucks up for a bit (though you can cast a cloudkill at the same position to do some more damage to the trapped enemies.)
* BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil: Mithras notes that the five gods are bound by ancient ties and pacts that has so far kept them from fighting total wars of extinction. Marduk's presence throws those right out the window, though at least one god (Persephone) tries to avoid outright deicide. [[spoiler:Fat lot of good that does her]].
* BewareTheNiceOnes: James makes it clear that he does not want to fight, but if he's pushed into it he can be really dangerous. His ultimate attack spell is probably the most destructive effect in the entire game, and unlike Persephone he responds to Pyro's slave-taking by commanding you to kill him.
* BigBad: You'd expect Charnel to be the BigBad, but really it's Marduk. And [[spoiler:Stratos is the reason Marduk's here. Charnel's evil but he's on your side here]].
* BlindSeer: Mithras.
* BlowYouAway: Stratos's spells tend to do this; his most powerful spell summons an actual tornado.
* BoringButPractical: Shield spells and most of the first level blast spells. Stratos' Lightning is the crown example: It has a measly 200 mana cost and an extremely short recharge time, but will kill most level 5 and 6 creatures in two castings without much trouble.
* CardCarryingVillain: Charnel, humorous example.
* {{Cephalothorax}}: Trolls, Firefists, Mutants and Abominations all have their heads mounted in their torsos rather than sitting on their shoulders.
* CharmPerson: Persephone's ultimate spell. Basically insta-gibbing on steroids; you get a new unit, *and* if it gets killed, its soul is now blue to you instead of its original owner's.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder:
** Thestor switches from Persephone to Charnel in Persephone's first mission, only to turn right back if you kill his underlings before killing him. He stays loyal for the rest of Persephone's campaign.
** Faestus switches from Persephone to Pyro in Pyro's first mission. If you at any point attack Pyro's capital of Helios, he will switch sides to your side and stick with you for the rest of the campaign no matter whom you serve.
** It's also perfectly possible to play Eldred as one. Several scenarios are designed with the ability to backstab the god you work for and join the opposing side, and at several points in each god's campaign you're given the option to turn your back on the god you did your last mission for and go join some other (usually an enemy) god.
* CigarChomper: Pyro.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Pyro seems to be styled after one.
* CoversAlwaysLie:
** A mild example, but still: See the big, creepy red-eyes thing on the cover? That's Charnel, not Marduk, and Charnel is not the BigBad or in any way as relevant to the story. He just looks a lot cooler than Marduk.
** One version of the cover features Gracchus, who is James' second champion, in Eldred's place.
* CripplingOverspecialization: Can happen if you stick with one god through all 9 levels. Persephone is probably the biggest offender, since she has creatures that heal fast by themselves AND a creature dedicated to healing others AND 2 additional healing spells... but hardly any offensive spells to speak of, mediocre ranged units, and either slow or fragile melee units. So while your units can survive long, you're not killing many enemies either if your opponent is any good. A level dip to get one of her healing abilities on the other hand is quite useful.
* CreativeClosingCredits: The end credits feature a {{machinima}} in which all the people who worked on the game, each represented by a different one of the game's character models, come out and take their bows.
* CreepyLongFingers: As seen on the cover, Charnel's fingers look like skeletal claws that (by human standards) would be at least a foot long.
* DeaderThanDead: Souls are essential to unit creation and normally cannot be destroyed, but if a unit's body does not land on one of the flying islands its soul(s) are lost. Additionally, Charnel's aforementioned soul-eating minions and James' ultimate attack spell, which causes a section of island to drop into space (ironic given that [[BewareTheNiceOnes James is the most sympathetic god]]). Stratos' Tornado, Persephone's Meanstalks and Pyro's Explosion can fling creatures off the edge as well.
* DeadpanSnarker: Zyzyx. Stratos.
* DefectorFromDecadence:
** [[spoiler:Sorcha]] does this in the last level of the Pyro campaign. [[spoiler:It doesn't do her any good.]]
** In the fifth chapter, if Eldred sides with Pyro and Charnel he can switch sides to Persephone and James before the game starts. In the eighth Charnel chapter the player can turn against Charnel and side with James.
* DefiantToTheEnd: [[spoiler:Charlotte]]'s final action in [[spoiler:James' final mission]] involves cursing out her killer [[spoiler:and throwing a big rock at his head.]]
* DemonLordsAndArchDevils: BigBad Marduk and Astaroth, 'demon lord of Tartarus' and one of Charnel's hero units.
* DiscOneNuke: Sirocco, an upgraded version of the strongest unit in Persephone's army, can be acquired as an ally in James's second mission, making the next few missions a breeze.
* DishingOutDirt: James's wizards and creatures have the abilty to do just this.
* DoomsdayDevice: In Pyro's 5th mission he builds one of these, and it's activated by the slaves gathered in the 4th mission.
* DumbIsGood: James, probably the only wholly decent one in the pantheon. Of course, he's not actually stupid, just sounds like he is.
* EdgeGravity: Insurmountable Edge Gravity prevents anyone from walking off the edges of the flying islands. It has no effect on flying creatures, though, which is good for shortcuts but bad if one is killed while it's over the bottomless abyss.
* ElementalPowers: James is god of earth, Stratos of air, and Pyro of fire. All three follow the personality profiles of their element to a tee.
* EvilIsNotAToy: [[spoiler:Stratos]] admits to have summoned Marduk, expecting to be able to control him. Unsurprisingly, it failed.
* EvilIsVisceral: Charnel's units and spells. Many of his units are skinless, decaying or otherwise disgusting looking, their special abilities or attacks are often equally gross (Blights can shower enemies with itching parasites to weaken and slow them, Fallen attack by vomiting clouds of flesh-eating flies, Abominations ''rip out handfuls of their guts and throw them at enemies''), and Charnel spells include the likes of drenching foes in slowing, sticky slime, causing a rain of blood and pus, and creating a wall of screaming faces.
* EvilOverlooker: Charnel takes this role on the box art.
* EvilVersusEvil: Serve Pyro or Charnel, and the two ''will'' eventually come to blows. [[spoiler:Stratos will also be joining in.]]
* EvilVersusOblivion: When there's a prophecy that one of the gods is going to bring about the end of the world, suspicion immediately falls on Charnel, the god of death and suffering. He denies it, pointing out that if the world ends, there will be no people left to suffer and die, so it's in his interest to keep the world as it is.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Charnel is very jovial and cheerful for a GodOfEvil, especially compared to the odious and crude Pyro, but he nonetheless delights in wickedness and evil. In a less-evil example, Stratos seems charming and courteous but it soon becomes apparent he has an ItsAllAboutMe attitude.
* FamousLastWords: Nearly everyone has one. Except [[spoiler:the Gods you kill]], for some reason. Possibly justified in that they technically aren't dead, just put out of action for a few generations.
* FantasyPantheon: ''Sacrifice'' has a Pantheon of five gods -- James, Charnel, Stratos, Persephone and Pyro.
* FateWorseThanDeath: "Charnel, death is not the answer to everything." "True... Torture also has its merits"
** Repeated as a BrickJoke after completing the game serving Charnel, regarding Eldred's decision to 'attend to' another of Charnel's minions who plotted to kill him.
--->'''Eldred:''' Charnel, death is not the answer to everything.\\
'''Charnel:''' Yes, torture also has its merits.\\
'''Eldred:''' Exactly.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** In the introduction, [[spoiler:Stratos' line "in any halfway-civilized world, I would be its ''only'' god" might at first come across as him [[JustForPun having his head in the clouds]], even by god standards... Then it's revealed that he was the one who summoned Marduk for the purpose of killing all other gods. Whether this plays out well for him or not is up to the player]].
** As Charnel's second mission reveals, [[spoiler:Stratos had stewardship over the Demon Gate between the War of Purification and until Charnel retains control during said mission]].
** Mithras' prophecy also contains some foreshadowing. As expected, one might say, considering it is a, well, prophecy. One notable line is [[spoiler:"For lost to all are holy arts"... And, indeed, no matter which god's storyline you follow, Persephone always dies]].
* ForWantOfANail: By playing through multiple playthroughs you soon get to see which missions which gods are capable of doing on their own, and which ones their own wizards will cock up because you didn't play a part, and how this begins affecting and twisting the overall story. Generally speaking, every god succeeds at their first three missions and the story progresses in the same way up to that point no matter which god(s) you serve, after that all bets are off.
* FragileSpeedster: Stratos' servants.
* GenreBusting: It's a fantasy third person RPG, RTS game.
* GenreSavvy: Reading the manual reveals Charnel is quite savvy about his role as the source of all darkness and evil in the world, recognizing it as necessary for someone to be 'evil' so others can proclaim themselves 'good'. He's also the first god to immediately jump at the 'we must defeat Marduk' bandwagon, because he doesn't like competition for the role of BigBad.
* GlassCannon: Pyro's proles and Charnel's minions -- especially the latter, since they only heal by damaging other creatures.
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly: The main method of 'killing' a god is to desecrate their prime altar - thus demonstrating that the god is unworthy of faith, and depriving them of power. However the god is not dead, merely weakened, and can come in a different form given time.
* GodOfEvil: Charnel. And he relishes his role.
* GoneHorriblyRight: Eldred and [[spoiler:Stratos]] both wanted the services of a demon powerful enough to destroy their respective rivals. They got one. Just too bad neither could make him ''stop''.
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: Pyro is constantly sucking on a big, fat cigar.
* TheGrimReaper: Charnel's most annoying and powerful spell summons him, laughing maniacally as he slaughters anything within his reach.
* GutturalGrowler: Marduk speaks this way, as does the unique Scythe hero named Gangrel, especially after he is [[FusionDance merged with the demon Astaroth]].
* HappilyMarried: Abraxus and Lord Surtur. You'll most likely see Surtur wandering around if you fight Abraxus.
* HealingFactor: Persephone's faithful all have better healing than the other gods' creatures.
* HealingHands: Persephone also has the best healing spells in the game, with two dedicated healing spells and a healing-only creature.
* TheHecateSisters: Persephone makes the claim of being an aggregate of all three aspects.
* HeadsIWinTailsYouLose: If you finish as one of the good guys, you can pick either to do Persephone's or James' last mission. [[spoiler:James survives either way, and Persephone apparently dies either way, making her the only god that doesn't survive in any ending. AndThereWasMuchRejoicing.]]
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler:Sorcha]] pulls this off in [[spoiler:Pyro's 9th mission.]] This one is an interesting take as [[spoiler:you get to see this from the evil side.]]
* HellGate: The demon gate located in Golgotha
* HeroUnit: The wizards, and the creature heroes. The former are players' avatars who form the centre of an army, while the latter are stronger, tougher and larger versions of regular units. Persephone has Thestor (gnome), Toldor (ent) and Sirocco (dragon), James has Gammel (icarus), Stratos has Sara Bella (braniac) and Lord Surtur (storm giant), Pyro has Faestus (gnome/pyromaniac) and Charnel has Gangrel/Astaroth (both scythes). Some show up on single missions only and have a HeroMustSurvive clause, but some of them (Thestor, Toldor, Sirocco, Gammel and Faestus) will stick with you through the campaign as long as you stay on one god's side and will even fight for you in the final battle, provided they don't die at some point during the campaign.
* HoldTheLine:
** Pyro's 7th mission.
** Charnel's 5th mission.
** And an excellent, if boring, strategy in most missions. Link your creatures to your furthest building, and defend it against an enemy wizard's attack wave, converting some of his army's souls along the way. Rinse and repeat until he has so few souls left he can't field a proper army anymore. Then [[CurbStompBattle attack him with the army you stole from him]]. This strategy is pretty much a must if you want to stand a snowball's chance in heck of beating the last boss.
* HolierThanThou: Persephone. She is one of ''Sacrifice'''s good deities and genuinely seems to care for her followers, but she is far more self-righteous about it than James, and much more aggressive.
* HowWeGotHere: Most of the game is told in flashback, as Eldred looks back from just before the final battle.
* HulkSpeak: TROLL SMASH! FIREFIST FLATTEN!
* HumanSacrifice: As part of the ritual used to destroy another opposing wizard's altar (for a loose definition of "human").
* IAmVeryBritish: The Icarus is an obvious 'stereotypical RAF pilot' reference and speaks in an extremely posh upper class accent (in contrast to the rest of the Yeomen, who mostly speak with various lower-class accents from both Britain and the USA).
* ImplacableMan: Death cannot be targeted, cannot be injured, has no time limit on his existence, and cannot be banished. He targets units unerringly and will chase them to the ends of the map and back until that unit is dead, teleports be damned.
* InLoveWithYourCarnage
-->'''Charnel:''' Whether the forest falls or not matters little to me... But, such ''carnage''. You are an ''artist''.\\
''**Charnel has offered you a boon**''
* InsufferableGenius: Brainacs and their HeroUnit Sara Bella. And Stratos, naturally.
* InstantWinCondition: Missions can only be won by desecrating the other wizard's altar -- although if your enemy isn't sufficiently weakened, odds are he or she will pop in and stop you the moment you start doing it.
* JackOfAllStats:
** Persephone's faithful. About the only thing they excel at is having a better-than-average regeneration rate.
** And not a bad strategy to go for when you build your custom spell list in multiplayer (or pick times to switch sides in the singleplayer campaign). For instance, Persephone has 2 healing spells and one healing creature, all of whom are usefull but taking them all leaves you with a vastly reduced offensive arsenal. Much better to mix and match it with creatures and spells from, say, Pyro.
* JustifiedTutorial: Eldred is described as an old archmage with probably decades of experience under his belt: A tutorial for him would feel somewhat out of place. Therefore, the tutorial you play as Shakti, a novice mystic who's just entered the service of Persephone.
* JerkAssGods: [[SmallNameBigEgo Stratos]], [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Pyro]] and [[GodOfEvil Charnel]], certainly. [[HolierThanThou Persephone]], debatably. [[GoodOlBoy James]], not so much.
* KillItWithFire: The theme of Pyro's wizard spells.
* KillTheGod: What the struggle between the gods inevitably leads to.
* KlaatuBaradaNikto: Some of the magic words spoken by the wizards include "klaatu", "barada", and "nikto", though not necessarily all three together or in order.
* KnightTemplar: Marduk claims to be a physical incarnation of all creation's sins, and that his mission is to destroy everything that he judges 'sinful' -- in other words, everything that reflects himself, however little.
* LamePunReaction:
**
--->'''Zyzyx:''' Now, Grakkus there is none too fast on his feet. It may be because he lives such a... ''Sedimentary'' lifestyle.\\
'''Eldred:''' ... NeverSayThatAgain.
** In the Book of Persephone, she reacts to her own lame pun, apologizing after warning that the Rain of Frogs spell has a tendency for friendly fire and telling you to keep your own creatures away "lest they croak".
* LanguageOfMagic: Throughout the game, every wizard shares a common pool of [[KlaatuBaradaNikto phrases]] they chant seemingly at random when casting spells. Some wizards have phrases and words unique to themselves, and others do not.
* LargeHam: Stratos, and to some degree most of the other gods too.
* LastOfHisKind: Jadugarr, last living Centaur. Eldred, last survivor of his homeworld Jheira.
* TheLegionsOfHell: Charnel's minions are an amalgam of this and TheUndead.They are among some of the freakiest looking creatures in ''Sacrifice''
* LethalLavaLand: Pyro's maps are like this. In the campaign, there is even the risk of a volcano (created by Pyro's DoomsdayDevice) randomly popping up underneath the wizard's feet. (Sadly, in the mission where you play as Pyro to defend it, the volcanoes still pop up where it's inconvenient for you, since your starting position is identical to the one in the mission to destroy it.)
* LaughablyEvil: Charnel and Pyro.
* LevelEditor: Scapex, developer-made. Notable for allowing you to alter the game's official campaign maps and triggers with a little knowledge of scripting, allowing you to fix/tweak small campaign triggers or simply cheat like a one-armed bandit.
* LightIsNotGood:
** Persephone is the goddess of life and the one most eager to show off her 'justice and righteousness' credentials. She's also big into "those who cannot be purified by the word must be so by wrath". Charnel implies she is just as bad about picking pointless fights as the other gods are, she just dresses it up with pretty labels like "righteous crusade" and "holy war", and the fact that Persephone is just as quick as the others to shout down James when he suggests they avoid going to war again (though to be fair, she was the injured party in the affair that started it) suggests Charnel may not be completely lying.
** Stratos is the setting's god of the heavens. He's egocentric and unashamedly exploitative of his servants and allies, if not actively malevolent like Charnel and Pyro.
* LouisCypher: [[spoiler:Mithras is Marduk. You've spent the entire storyline telling your story to the BigBad.]]
* LudicrousGibs: A frequent occurrence when poking first-tier units too hard. This can happen to any unit however, no matter how powerful, and is encouraged as gibbed units produce blue souls, free to take without the need to convert.
* {{Mana}}: The second resource besides souls.
* ManaMeter
* MeaningfulName[=/=]PunnyName: Pretty much everyone with a name is either one or the other.
* {{Mutants}}: ''Sacrifice'' has Mutants, which are available if you choose Persephone. In Misson 4 of the campaign they randomly turn up after you meet the misguided Jadugar, a cutscene later plus a little talk from Persephone and they join you against Jadugar.
* MightyGlacier: James' yeomen.
* MookMedic: The scarab, which automatically shoots healing energy at any injured ally within range.
* MoralMyopia: Discussed in a loading screen, though mostly PlayedForLaughs.
-->'''Eldred:''' In my own world, dragons were long since extinct, hunted for tooth and scale and heart. As the boneyards drew near, some part of me thought ahead in sorrow at the prospect of slaying so magnificent a creature.\\
'''Zyzyx:''' Oh, but ''imp slavery''? He's fine with ''that''...
* {{Mordor}}: Charnel's realm of Stygia is a dark and gloomy land inhabited by Charnel's minions.
* NayTheist: Jadugarr. He used to worship Stratos until he became TheLastOfHisKind.
* MurderIsTheBestSolution: Played for laughs by the God of Death, Charnel.
-->'''Charnel:''' Kill the blasphemer!\\
'''Persephone:''' Charnel! Death is not the answer to everything.\\
'''Charnel:''' Yes... ''torture'' also has its merits...
* {{Necromancer}}: Charnel's wizards are called necromancers: These are Seerix, Acheron and The Ragman. Marduk (and depending on the mission, Hachimen) also use Charnel spells.
* NonentityGeneral: [[AvertedTrope One of most notable aversions of this trope.]]
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Many of the gods are a lot cleverer than you would think from their initial personalities. [[spoiler:Stratos]] is probably the main example.
* OmnicidalManiac: Marduk. His stated purpose is to destroy all 'unworthy' parts of Creation, and by the time the game has begun he's already destroyed Eldred's homeworld and is on the verge of destroying this one.
* OldSoldier: Gammel, James' HeroUnit for the Icarus. "Let's show those blighters what for!"
* OneWordTitle
* OnlySaneMan: James has elements of this. While the other gods are busy trying to kill each other, especially after a [[SelfFulfillingProphecy prophecy]] warns that one of their number is plotting to [[KilledOffForReal kill the rest off for real]], only poor James wonders if they should give all the fighting a rest.
-->'''Everyone else:''' NO!!!
* OurDragonsAreDifferent:
** Dragons are green and look like short-necked Apatosauruses with wings. They attack with their bite (which also entangles foes), and their BreathWeapon shoots life energy that can resurrect your own creatures. They are intelligent, good-aligned, and serve Persephone.
** There is also a spell called 'dragonfire' for Pyro, whose description hints at more 'traditional' fire-breathing greedy dragons. That variant appears to have gone extinct, however.
* PaletteSwap: A lot of them, with nearly as many [[JustifiedTrope justifications.]]
* PlayingWithFire: All of Pyro's spells, and all of Pyro's Proles, in one way or another.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: Charnel's Netherfiend, Styx and Hellmouth minions' special abilities are fuelled by blue souls; additionally multiplayer maps usually feature peaceful villages that you are encouraged to massacre for additional souls.
* ProphecyTwist: Mithras' prophecy. [[spoiler:Stratos claims it's a false prophecy intended to sow discord, but everything in it comes true (and Marduk implies that was the intention). Also note that "seal the gaping maw of doom" could mean either averting the doom before it has eaten anyone, or that it has come to pass -- Eldred and Marduk are both 'vagrants' to the world and Eldred ends up fulfilling it in the former sense, but Marduk would have done it in the latter.]]
* PyroManiac: Pyro's Flame Minions, who can be heard constantly giggling about the possibility to set fires. One of Pyro's units (a gnome with a rocket launcher) is called pyromaniac, and is probably also this.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: [[spoiler:Jadugarr seeks the death of the gods. He joins Marduk in order to do so.]]
* RealTimeWithPause
* ReverseShrapnel: The Halo of Earth spell.
* RidiculouslyFastConstruction: {{Justified|Trope}} by the fact that building and units are not constructed, but magically summoned out of thin air.
* RoyalWe: Persephone does this. It really doesn't help with her attitude problem, and [[spoiler:Stratos]] even lampshades how pretentious it made her sound. Her justification is that she's TheHecateSisters combined in one form.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Sorcha, the Empress of Pyroboria.
* SarcasticDevotee: Zyzyx to Eldred. Given he's essentially bound to Eldred by magic, snarking seems to be his only outlet.
* ShatteredWorld: The game's setting is one of these, having been shattered in a previous war between the gods.
* ShockAndAwe: Stratos' third element for his spells, besides storms and ice.
* ShoutOut:
** Worm-like God James certainly looked a lot like a certain [[VideoGame/EarthwormJim earthworm-in-a-space-suit]]... Even his name sounds similar too -- and let's not forget his highest-level spell, '[[DropTheCow Bovine Intervention]]'. The game was made by Shiny, the makers of ''VideoGame/EarthwormJim''.
** The magic words used by the wizards include KlaatuBaradaNikto, the Charm of Making from ''{{Film/Excalibur}}'', and the name of the monster from ''Film/{{Dragonslayer}}''.
** The StopPokingMe lines are full of these.
** In James' mission 5, Pyro will try to recruit you by offering you 'power beyond your imagining'. Eldred's reply if you turn it down?
--->'''Eldred:''' [[Franchise/StarWars I don't know, I can imagine quite a bit...]]
** Another Franchise/StarWars reference in the dying words of the Pyromaniac units. "I find my lack of health... disturbing".
** Zyzyx's name is the classic cheat code from ''VideoGame/ColossalCave'' spelled backwards and with the two last/first words exchanged.
* SmugSnake:
** Stratos. His introduction speech just sets the tone, by claiming that in any "half-way civilized world, I would be the ''only'' God".
** Pyro. He considers gaining power as the only thing that matters, and sees himself as superior to everyone.
* TheSoulless: Acheron, according to Zyzyx.
* SpeedEchoes: When using the faster-movement spell.
* SquatsInAName: Many of the characters have names from mythology, but none of them seem to have any meaningful connection with the relevant myth.
* StoneWall: Most of James's units.
* StiffUpperLip: The Icarus. Its only response to StopPokingMe is a somewhat condescending "Oh, I say, poor show."
* SurrealSymbolicHeads: Stratos' head is a helium balloon, complete with gas cylinder.
* SymbolDrawingInterface: One possible way to navigate through the tactical menus was to use mouse gestures. This was a bit overkill, however, and it was usually easier to click or use the keyboard shortcuts.
* TheStinger[=/=]SequelHook: "This is not over! I will have my revenge!". Sadly, sales of the game kept this from becoming a reality.
* ThisCannotBe: Eldred's reaction upon learning that Marduk has followed him to this world. [[spoiler:Also, Marduk's final words.]]
* StopPokingMe: ''Sacrifice'' continues this fine Blizzard tradition of units getting pissed of more and more if you click on them too much. It's actually quite impressive when you consider that there's TONS of individual units and hero units in this game.
* StrawNihilist: Charnel's obsession with conflict kind of paints him as one of these.
* TacticalRockPaperScissors: Ranged units beat flying beat melee beat ranged... In theory. In practice, fliers are further divided into flying ranged and flying melee (the latter are excellent against buildings, and also murder ranged units if they get close) and ranged units are divided into basic first-tier archery-types, artillery (inaccurate, deal heavy area-of-effect damage, good against ground units but seldom hit fliers), snipers (extremely accurate and long range, but very slow rate of fire and is easily overwhelmed by a ZergRush) and the warmonger/rhinox, who don't really fit any other category than 'walking murder machines'. Plus, fliers fly low, and all but the lowest tier melee units are tall and can actually reach most fliers (but fliers have 90% damage resistance against melee attacks from ground creatures, however, so beating them to death takes a lot of time).
* ThereCanBeOnlyOne: [[spoiler:Only one of the gods survives the war. Stratos started it with the assumption that it would be him.]]
* ThirdPersonPerson: Pyro.
* TokenGoodTeammate:
** Sorcha is much more kind-hearted than you'd expect for a Pyromancer. [[spoiler:She eventually betrays Pyro over his repeated acts of brutality if he isn't killed first.]]
** Lord Surtur has been heavily influenced by his long 'imprisonment' in Elysium and looks and sounds like a Persephone faithful rather than a Stratos unit. Ultimately, he sticks with his wife and his god however.
* TreacherousAdvisor: [[spoiler:Mithras, the blind prophet and benevolent advisor to the gods is revealed to be Marduk in a cunning disguise, playing them against each other for his own purposes.]]
* TreacheryCoverup: If you side with James, the hero covers up the fact that [[spoiler:the prophet Mithras was the omnicidical demon Marduk in another form]].
* UnstableEquilibrium: Once a wizard has a soul lead, it's very hard to change it, as it's much harder to steal a wizard's souls than it is to recover your slain creatures.
* UnwinnableByMistake: Or at least, not able to get OneHundredPercentCompletion by Mistake: In one of Charnel's missions, it's impossible to collect the boon. The bonus objective is to keep Gangrel alive. Too bad the mission can't be completed until Gangrel is possessed by a demon, turning him into Astaroth, causing the game to decide you no longer have Gangrel. Even should you banish Yogo before the channeling is complete (which is hard but doable), you still do not receive the boon as the condition is that Gangrel must be under the player's control. During the channeling Gangrel is held immobile and can't be controlled by the player.
* UselessUsefulSpell: Averted. The instant death spells ''Intestinal Vaporization'' and ''Bovine Intervention'' can and will one-shot even the mightiest creatures. Even better, they instantly gib their targets, meaning the souls are up for grabs for anyone. If you're not careful, you can lose a lot of souls to a crafty opponent this way.
* VaderBreath: The Pyromaniacs. Their unit quotes are also filled to the brim with [[Franchise/StarWars Darth Vader]] and [[{{Film/Spaceballs}} Lord Helmet]] {{Shout Out}}s.
* VideogameCaringPotential: Several missions reward you for caring more than the mission parameters require you to. Most famously, the mission in which you're sent to slay a troublesome dragon rewards you really well for taking the time to find out why the dragon is behaving the way it is and coming up with a better solution.
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: Wizards can slaughter the innocent, defenceless peasants with the nastiest spells in their spellbook while the peasants beg, whimper and cry for mercy. Wizards are ''encouraged'' to slaughter the innocent in multiplayer -- they're a good source of soul income and are flagged as hostile for this reason.
* WaddlingHead: A number of units have this design. Charnel's basic fighter, the Scythe, looks like a hovering skull with rotating pendulum-razors strapped to its forehead. Pyro's basic fighter, the Cog, is a mechanical head with spinning hammers attached to it. Persephone's upper-tier melee unit, the Ent, is a giant head carried by four spidery legs that grow out of its forehead.
* WeHaveReserves: The key to playing a Necromancer. Due to the cheapness of Animate Dead, the GlassCannon nature of Charnel's minions and the somewhat indiscriminate nature of many of his spells, a one-to-one kill/loss ratio is entirely tolerable as long as you've got your creature's corpses around to animate/detonate.
* WeaksauceWeakness: Pyro's ultimate weapon, the [[StealthPun Magnafryer]], fires a heat ray that deals heavy damage over time and will kill everything in the game eventually... Except it counts as magic damage, so James' first level melee attacker, the Trogg, is completely unaffected.
* WelcomeBackTraitor: There's two gnome heroes in the game, and both [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder switch sides repeatedly]]. They're still usable units though.
-->'''Zyzyx:''' And to think that [[MadScientist Faestus]] used to be one of Persephone's brightest Gnome inventors... Well, I guess it's best that he's on our side now.
* WorldInTheSky: ''Sacrifice'' is set around several floating islands in a large void. The manual provides a vague explanation for this.
* YouLoseAtZeroTrust: At the beginning, you are able to perform missions for any deity whenever you choose. As you accomplish these tasks and the plot progresses, you gradually fall out of favor with those you ignore, until the endgame leaves you permanently aligned with one of them and opposed to the four others.
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