-> ''"It is said that [[ShroudedInMyth history becomes legend, as its events recede into the mists of time]], and that memories grow dimmer in the slumber of peace. Thus the noble peoples of Urak languished in a thousand years of peaceful splendor, growing forgetful of the dark time their land once knew, heedless of the ancient enemy who yet labored in silence. And so [[UltimateEvil Golgoth]], [[GodOfEvil the terrible god of death]], beheld that the world was ripe for an era of terror and blood. He summoned [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Balkoth]], [[TheDragon the most evil of his sorcerers]], and bestowed upon him a mighty artifact of power, that the {{necromancer}} might better serve his master in heralding the coming days of darkness. [[GiantFlyer The wings of Balkoth's wretched steed beat the air like thunder]], [[TheDreaded the land shook beneath the rumor of his mustering host]], [[OneManArmy the air was filled with cries of his victims]]. Who can say what new perils may yet befall, as they struggle to defeat the ancient evil, to reunite the land, and to become... [[TitleDrop Lords of Magic]]"''
-->-- '''Intro Narration'''

''Lords of Magic'' is a computer game distributed by {{Sierra}} Entertainment. The game plays some familiar tropes and also plays some in ways that really are not seen all that often.

The player controls one of eight Faiths on the world of Urak, centered around various ElementalPowers. The world of Urak, once knowing a thousand years of peace, was broken when the worshippers of [[GodOfEvil Golgoth]], united under the dark elf [[BigBad Balkoth]] to form the faith of Death, which rampaged across the world, shattering old kingdoms and desecrating the Great Temples of each Faith, leaving a world of violence and disorder in their wake. The player, starting out as an intrepid adventurer who seeks to rebuild his or her Faith to their former glory, sets out with a small band of loyal soldiers to cleanse the Great Temples, unify their Faith, and forge alliances or conquer enemies in order to gather a mighty host to defeat the armies of Death and destroy Balkoth.

Gameplay is familiar to any veteran of the ''VideoGame/TotalWar'' series: much of the action takes place in a TurnBasedStrategy map where you handle recruitment, research, resource management, army movement, and diplomacy. When it comes time to fight, the battlefield is depicted on a real-time battlefield where you can pause to issue orders and use magic/special abilities. Each Faith possesses its own unique units, magic, and strength and weaknesses. Classes and military units run off the FighterMageThief dynamic, with units recruited from barracks, mage towers, and thieves' guilds. In addition, each Great Temple has its own unique powers and Legendary Creatures that can be summoned - assuming you have the tremendous resources required to recruit them. Armies are led by champions, who can also train the units trained at each facility to make them stronger.

Resource management is a complex affair involving five resources: gold (used to hire archers/thieves/scouts and buy other resources/mercenaries), ale (used to recruit melee infantry, cavalry, and warships) crystals (used to recruit mages, summon creatures, and crucial to maintaining Legendary Creatures), fame (used to barter for gold and attract followers) and followers, which are needed to man the various buildings in each Faith's capital as well as required to train loyal, low-upkeep troops. Resources are acquired either from structures seized on he greater strategic map, or from the various capitals.

The game is also notable for having an intricate system of interaction between the Faiths, as the player can engage in trade and diplomacy with allies, threaten or plead with enemies, and use thieves to spy upon and steal from enemy factions. There is even an option to capture and then [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique interrogate]], [[TortureAlwaysWorks torture]], execute or release enemy champions. The magical tech tree also allows for research along various avenues of magic, including defensive and offense spells, general utility magic, and overland spells that can alter the landscape, speed up army movement, or increase sight range.

----

Some examples of tropes are:

* ACommanderIsYou:
** Earth: Unit Specialist, leans towards brute force. Mostly focused around infantry, with some odd spells from their mages. 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 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 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.
* AfterTheEnd: The game picks up after a brutal period of destructive chaos caused by Balkoth's rampage. Your people have no armies to defend them, their Great Temples are desecrated, marauders are everywhere, and no one is able to organize in the chaos. It's up to you to retake the Great Temple, be established as Lord, and rebuild your faith to its former glory.
* AllYourPowersCombined:
** 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.
** You, by late-game, if you focus on expanding your holdings and liberating/conquering other regions. You'll have access to other faiths' entire tech trees and units, allowing you to assemble a powerful military with the strengths of every faction.
* AmazonBrigade: All of the Water units are Amazons, aside from the lizardmen and the heavy cavalry ([[LarynxDissonance unless they merely SOUND masculine...]])
* AnAxeToGrind: The weapon of choice for dwarves and barbarians, naturally. Most wield battle axes, but Earth's ranged units have throwing axes.
* AntiAir: A good number of Earth spells, including one that drags flying units to the ground and possibly kills them.
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit: 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.
** Also, only one instance of each Legendary Creature can be summoned in each campaign. So if someone else took a Great Temple and summoned the Phoenix or Fafnir ahead of you, you won't be able to summon them later. Doesn't apply to the lesser creatures that can be summoned at the Temples, like regular Dragons or Pegasus Riders.
* AreaOfEffect: Several field spells transform an area to the type of ground that is advantageous to the faith that cast it.
* ArtificialBrilliance: The game's AI is remarkably clever at exploiting your weaknesses and intelligently reacting to your actions. They'll soften up an area with a garrison by altering the terrain around it, send massive spam attacks of cheap units against invading armies to wear them down, sneak thieves into your territory to gather intelligence and swipe whatever valuables they can, and gang up on isolated units in combat. If your Lord is in battle, they'll do whatever it takes to take him or her out if they can. On the diplomacy screen, they'll adjust their requests and demands based on relative strength (a faction growing too powerful will begin making "demands" instead of "requests" or offering trades and will get pissed if you don't accept). If you have thieves in enemy territory, they'll actively pursue the thief, shadowing his or her movements and continuously trying to take him or her out, and they'll do the same to your scouts to blind you.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Lords are, generally, the most powerful unit in any faction, and only Lords can reach twelfth level, whereas regular champions can only go up to ten. Therefore, whichever lord type you choose, that particular type of unit will be strongest in your faction.
* BaselessMission: The Special Edition comes with Legends of Urak, a set of backstory scenarios that start without a Capitol.
* {{BFS}}: Storm and Fire Giant warriors use them, naturally. And nobody else can.
* BloodKnight: The Fire and Chaos faith glorify war, while the Death Faith just likes to kill.
* CaptainErsatz:
** One of the special Fire units is a Balrog, complete with a fiery scourge.
** The halfling Burglar is essentially [[Literature/TheHobbit Bilbo Baggins]]. If clicked on, he says that he's hungry and asks if it's dinner yet.
** The Chaos Huntress looks like [[XenaWarriorPrincess Xena]] with a ponytail and fights with a chakram.
* ColorCodedArmies: 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.
* CommandAndConquerEconomy: Upgrades and unit training are specifically on your say-so.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: 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.
* CharacterAlignment: [[invoked]] While not played in the way that we see in games like DungeonsandDragons this trope is still there. After choosing from one of the three leader types you must choose your elemental alignment.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Just because they're allies doesn't mean they won't stab you in the back. One wrong trade deal, and that powerful ally you were trusting to watch one side of the map will suddenly decide to storm your capital.
* CradlingYourKill: The Dark Elves, out of their love for death are known for doing this to their victims before delivering the final blow.
* DarkIsEvil: 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.
* DefectorFromDecadence: Inverted. Death's followers are largely elves who have become disillusioned with the purity of the Life Faith and were tempted to darkness, depravity, and decadence by Golgoth, forming the relatively young and violent Death Faith. Then this trope gets flipped right back around to being played straight with Earth's cavalry, who are more good-aligned dark elves who defected from the defectors.
* DefogOfWar: 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. Interrogating prisoners can also reveal enemy locations.
* DifficultButAwesome:
** Order. They have probably ''the'' most unpleasant starting position in the game, being centrally located, and marauding parties run through their territory with regularity. There's also a substantial chance that even the Level One difficulty buildings in their territory will spawn with a Pegasus inside. Sometimes ''two''. But if you can struggle through the challenge of simply holding your territory, you'll have an impressive BadassArmy of elite knights, infantry, and crossbowmen led by very powerful wizards, paladins, and rangers.
** Air. Low armor and attack power means they can't fight like regular factions and have to fight literally on the wing, especially against heavy-hitting Earth, Order, and Chaos units. But their speed is incredible, and they're the only faction that can easily field an all-flying army that gives them amazing strategic speed and mobility, and their magic is second only to Fire's for raw destructive potential.
** Fire is solid all around, but they have one serious issue: hey're right there on the border with Death, so unless you're willing to pretty much be a vassal of Balkoth's empire for a large part of the game, expect to be constantly fighting Death incursions.
* EasterEgg: 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.
* ElementalPowers: Four of the eight faiths are based around the classic elements, and the other four have their own, more esoteric focus.
** BlowYouAway: Air, with a healthy dose of ShockAndAwe and AnIcePerson.
** DishingOutDirt: Earth, along with GreenThumb.
** LightEmUp: Life, who also have elements of GreenThumb as well.
** MakingASplash: Water with some AnIcePerson, as well.
** {{Necromancy}}: Death.
** PlayingWithFire: Fire, though with some DishingOutDirt as an overlap and MagmaMan.
** RealityWarper: Order and Chaos' magic both work on these principles.
* ElvesVersusDwarves: The Life-worshipping elves and Earth-worshipping dwarves typically begin the game with poor relations.
** The Earth faction does have dark elves on its side as their cavalry.
* EnemyExchangeProgram: 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. However, you can only produce units from a particular faith in their own territory, and only if you have followers in that particular faith's capital. Having fifty idle followers in the Chaos capital is useless if you want to make Order soldiers.
* EvilOverlord: Balkoth's goal as the Lord of Death.
* FantasyAxisOfEvil: To a degree. With the exception of Death, none of the "evil" factions are truly ''evil''; they're just more favorably aligned with Death.
** Death itself is both Fallen and Eldritch; its ranks are made up of elves who have taken to worshipping Golgoth, and have the strongest magic in the game.
** Chaos is Humanoid, being made up of savage human barbarians.
** Fire is Eldritch and Savage, as they consist of powerful mages and savage warriors akin to the Chaos barbarians.
** Earth is Humanoid, consisting of dwarves and gnomes, but is the least "evil" of the four.
** Marauding Parties are, technically, not a faction, but they fit in on the Savage side, freely attacking anyone and anything they see.
* FighterMageThief: 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 are trained at a barracks by warriors, and built there along with ships. Ranged units and scouts are trained by thieves at a Thieves' Guild. 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.
* FiveRaces: Though there are a lot of individual races in the game, they are divided up into several broad categories:
** Stout: Dwarves and gnomes, primarily associated with Earth and Fire, and Fire Giants.
** Fairy: Elves on both Life and Death sides, as well as the fairies and elves of Air.
** Mundane: Humans, primarily split between the Order and Chaos faiths. Water's amazons can also fit in this category.
** High Men: Storm Giants, and the Elemental Giants in the background.
** Cute: Faeries, spites, mites, gnomes, and brownies, all split across the various faiths.
* FogOfWar
* FragileSpeedster: Air and Life Barracks units.
* GarrisonableStructures: 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 your ranged 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.
* GeoEffects: Each faith has a landscape tailored to their faith that gives them movement and attack speed bonuses to their benefits while in terrain, often associated with "enemy" faiths, their movement and attack speed is halved, each faith also have spells that turn the ground targeted into their particular terrain.
* GlassCannon:
** Ranged units in general have weaker defense and hit points than other unit types, so high damage ranged types fit the category well. Longbowmen (the Life ranged units) are the strongest example, having the longest range in the game, among the highest damage of any unit, but among the lowest hit points and defense of any unit.
** Chaos and Fire barracks units. They have the highest attack strength for units of their type, but while they have the highest hit points of their type as well, also have the lowest defenses of anything in the game.
** Any barracks unit can use the "berserk" ability, reducing its defense to 0 to give itself some of its normal defensive strength as extra offense.
* GodOfEvil: Golgoth, who the Death worshippers revere.
* HeroMustSurvive: 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. This restriction is waived to a degree if you are in combat with Balkoth (or the last remaining Lord if you are playing Death); if you manage to kill him after your own Lord has died in the battle, it still gives you the victory.
* HeroWithBadPublicity: If you're not careful, your fame can plummet to rock bottom - generally by losing battles (especially capitals), demanding too much gold at the magistrate's office (essentially and literally cashing in your fame for money) or by failing an interrogation or torture session on an enemy champion.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Captured enemy champions can be questioned for information about their military, economy, or magical capabilities, but if the champion questioning them fails, the violence of the act will spark negative repercussions among both your own faith and the others. Thieves are generally best at interrogating, and only when they're substantially superior in level to their target.
** TortureAlwaysWorks: You can also torture the prisoner, which is more effective, but has even more severe repercussions, and may kill them. But if it fails, your fame will ''vanish'' and everyone will come to hate you.
* LostTechnology: The various magical artifacts and scrolls you can find were crafted using techniques that have long since been lost. In fact, just about all magic has been lost, forcing you to restart research on magic from scratch using old accounts of ancient magical feats via the archives in the libraries.
* TheMarvelousDeer: One of the special units for Order.
* MightyGlacier: Earth is the clearest example, but some Order and Death units fall into this trope as well.
* MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch: The Earth faction's cavalry are dark elves who aren't evil.
* NintendoHard: It's made by Sierra. Expect a severe challenge even on the lowest difficulty setting.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Follows the traditional Western style of great flying reptilian beasts, although Fafnir is landbound. Thunder drakes and regular fire-breathing dragons can be summoned by Air and Fire respectively. There is also the Great Worm, a massive snake-like dragon that serves as Earth's legendary creature that tunnels underground, and the Hydra, which is Chaos' legendary creature and acts much like a traditional hydra.
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: Earth's Dwarves follow the traditional style, save for a lack of beards. They're still tough, forge excellent weapons and armor, and wield heavy axes.
* OurElvesAreBetter: Life's elves are traditional Tolkien-eqsue elves, minus the haughtiness, with strong archers, fast movement, and a love for life, although they prefer open meadows and plains to forests. The elves that serve Death are dark, twisted elves focused on violence and murder, and favor swamps. There are also a small number of elves that serve Air as light cavalry, and dark elves who serve Earth as heavy cavalry.
* OurGiantsAreBigger: Several varieties show up, with Storm Giants leading the Air armies and Fire Giants commanding Fire. Ogres and cyclops are higher-end Chaos magical creatures, while Earth can summon Stone Giants.
* OurGoblinsAreDifferent: Goblins follow the usual rule of short, violent, green-skinned creatures. Chaos can summon them as magical creatures, but only sword-wielding ones. Crossbow-toting goblins appear as marauders.
* OurOrcsAreDifferent: Traditional, hostile-to-everyone marauders exclusively. They come in both the regular kind with spears and the wolf-riding sort.
* PaletteSwap: All over the place. Your chosen Lord is set apart from the standard hero units by their differently colored armor or hair.
* PantheraAwesome: Chaos warriors ride huge tigers into battle.
* {{Pegasus}}: One of the Life faction's special units. They have butterfly wings rather than angelic wings.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Chaos is the strongest example of this (with the Chaos barracks stating that you need to "Be prepared to proudly wear the scars you earn!") with Death, Fire, and Earth following close behind.
* ReligionIsMagic: There is no separation between the two in the game, each faith has spells based on what it worships.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: Death's warriors ride giant lizards into battle that look like komodo dragons.
* RiskStyleMap: From the start, the whole map is yours to explore. Careful, though, your enemy faiths don't like you in their backyard.
* RobeAndWizardHat: The Order Wizard looks like your standard fantasy wizard, complete with gnarled staff and long white beard.
* ShoutOut:
** Most of the Earth buildings look like Hobbit-holes.
* SimpleStaff: The weapon of choice for Life's infantry.
* TheSpartanWay: Chaos actually trains units using a gladiator arena that injures most of the troops training there, and Death's barracks quote notes that "Countless have died to join our order, and countless more will continue to try!"
* StartingUnits: 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 or summon creatures from the Mage Tower. These units are cheaper to train, but cost a lot more to maintain, making them a short-term solution bordering on InstantMilitia.
* StoneWall: Units can add some of their attack to their defense 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.
* SummonMagic: All mage towers can summon creatures to support you in combat. While most of them (save Chaos' goblins) are only single creatures, their individual power is impressive and they can potentially stand up to enemy champions. Certain faiths can also summon creatures in battle, such as Order.
* TechTree: 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.
* TheUndead: Death, obviously. Order also uses them in the form of willingly-resurrected ancient heroes.
* VariableMix: The combat music (a set of about 15 short .wav files) reacts to your army's (dis)advantage on the battlefield.
* VideoGameGeography: Type 1: Urak (and every map in Lords of Magic) is a torus. You can see this most clearly in the map editor, if you zoom out as far as you can. (Order is in the center, so it'll look somewhat like [[http://postimg.org/image/zc3o75b09/ this]], [[http://postimg.org/image/e4zxj4yd5/ but]] [[http://postimg.org/image/szoixb7y1/ these]] [[http://postimg.org/image/770eqxpmh/ maps]] [[http://postimg.org/image/q0m7nxnuh/ are]] [[http://postimg.org/image/in28b8eex/ all]] [[http://postimg.org/image/5peyfdkvt/ equally]] [[http://postimg.org/image/djfk0rsop/ accurate.]] And if those maps seem too ethnocentric, [[http://postimg.org/image/wluc9yebd/ this one]] covers the same area from a slightly different perspective.)
* XMeetsY: The Earth legend in The Legends of Urak can best be described as ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'' meets ''Literature/TheHobbit''.
* YouRequireMoreVespeneGas: 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 spells 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.
* ZergRush: The AI's response to having hostile units in proximity to a capitol is to rapidly create large numbers of weaker military units and spam them at the intruders. This can be devastating if the first army is defeated but you've expended all your mana and many of your troops are injured, and the second or ''third'' army shows up.
** Zerging is a viable tactic with Chaos. Because Chaos' troops have such low armor but such high attack, they can pretty much swarm over an enemy force and bury them in a sea of axes and greatswords. Most notable is that their basic summoning creatures are goblins, who come in three-creature units like regular infantry, but don't gain experience and cost no followers to create, so losing a goblin unit doesn't have the same cost as losing an experienced, loyal soldier unit, which encourages using them as meatshields to keep a pesky legendary creature, line of archers, or horde of tough melee beasts busy.