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Knight's Town (I, II) / Castle (III) / Haven (IV, V, VI, VII)Knight in Shining Armor faction, and now the only one to have been present in any of the base games. Their troops were all humans in the first two games, composed from various classical soldiers (archers, swordmen, cavalry, etc.), before the introduction of Griffins and, most importantly, Angels. Typically the most balanced and the beginner's faction, they started gaining more flavor with the fourth game by gaining the resurrection ability. Their Might Hero is the Knight and Magic Hero the Cleric/Priest.
- Animal Motifs: Griffins in III and V. The background of V, VI and VII also counts eight Duchies, each corresponding to an animal and being a Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Falcon (Ancient Rome), Griffin (Russia and Eastern Europe), Wolf (Germany), Raven (Scandinavia), Stag (Ireland), Unicorn (Britain), Hound (France) and Bull (Italy and Spain) Duchies.
- Badass Preacher: Monks in III, IV and V, and Sisters in VI (though the latter serve more as The Medic).
- Badass Normal:
- In a world filled with magic and monsters, they are basically puny humans who manage to win most of the time lorewise.
- This is especially prominent in Heroes 1 and 2: the only non-humans in the Knight faction are a few scattered heroes, none of the troops have any magical abilities, and the heroes themselves only have them if a spellbook is bought. In Heroes 2, victory was achieved with the help of the rather magical Sorceress and Wizard factions, but in Heroes 1, Lord Ironfist won on his own.
- Beast of Battle: In III, V, VI and VII series, they had Griffin as a flying war beast in battle. By VII, players can use a Dire Wolf instead. Make sense in the campaign as it represents the Wolf Duchy.
- BFS: The Landsknecht in the VII carries one, as they are capable of cleaving to multiple enemy units.
- Bling of War: Most of their heroes - monks/priests aside - and some of the units wear rather elaborate armor. Turned Up to Eleven from the fifth game onward.
- Church Militant: Many of their heroes are this, being either paladins or monks/priests. There's also an actual Paladin unit in I, II, III, IV and V, and a Monk unit in III, IV and V.
- A Commander Is You:
- The Jack-of-All-Stats faction. In the first two games they were the Pariah faction, being seriously underpowered.
- In Heroes IV, they have traces of a Ranger faction, having three ranged units — two of which have no distance penalty — and one melee unit with long reach. Their magic is mainly focused on healing and blesses.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Elrath - the god they worship in V, VI and VII - is a literal one, as he - just as other gods of Ashan - is a dragon.
- Darker and Edgier:
- The Empire: The Holy Griffin Empire in V, and the Holy Falcon Empire in VI/VII.
- Energy Being: The Zealots of the third game, as well as the Glories of the sixth, along with Sun Crusaders, who ride horses made of light.
- Evil Counterpart: The "Renegades" mini-faction in V's Hammers of Fate campaign presents the same units, but red, with spikes, and coming off as even bigger Knight Templars than any other Knight Templar in the game.
- Good Is Not Nice: Even at their best, they are not of the All-Loving Hero kind of "good", and will kick your ass if you stand in their way.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Angels are generally depicted with white bird wings, but the Seraphim in V's expansion packs have blood-stained wings that mark them as agents of Holy War and Vengeance.
- Guardian Angel: Their racial ability in VI, making a stack impervious to all harm for one turn.
- The Hero: The main characters of their campaigns are typically this.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Though their magic is mostly focused on healing and defense, it's also useful against Demons and Undead.
- Humans Are Average: Very prominent in the first games, where they were "average" to the point of being underpowered, but even in the latter ones, they are typically the most balanced, Jack-of-All-Stats faction.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: From III onwards - cheap, relatively powerful in magic, loads of shooting, flying and defensive units, and powerful heroes.
- Knight in Shining Armor: A whole faction of them, at least when they are not being...
- Knight Templar: Unfortunately, plenty of this as well.
- Light 'em Up: Particularly in V, VI and VII, where they worship the literal Crystal Dragon Jesus of Light, Elrath.
- Light Is Not Good: Especially pronounced from the fifth game onward.
- Medieval European Fantasy: Their general aesthetic.
- Our Angels Are Different: Seraphim in V have Flaming Swords and blood-stained wings!
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to the "good" magical factions they are usually aligned with, such as the Sorceress and Wizard. They generally rely more on brute strength, while the latter rely more on magic.
- Savage Wolves: In VII as a representation of Wolf Duchy.
- Weapon of Choice: Swords (and BFSes), lances and crossbows are the most common ones.
- We Have Reserves: Any time peasants show up directly among their troops.
- White Magic: Usually their prefered school of magic, along with some of the creatures having abilities that qualify, such as Angels being able to resurrect their allies.
Haven's Iconic Characters
Morglin Ironfist (I)The leader of the "Knight" faction in Heroes of Might and Magic I, and the canonical winner of the war against Lord Slayer the Barbarian, Lady Lamanda the Sorceress, and Lord Alamar the Warlock. His father, the King of Varn, was killed by his brother, who then seized the throne for himself and was in turn succeeded by his son Ragnar. Morglin then (probably) tried to have his cousin Ragnar assassinated in order to reclaim the throne of Varn, but when the attempt failed, he fled to the Varnal Hills, where he found a mysterious portal...
- Manchild: Shows shades of this in his letters to Ragnar.
- Revenge by Proxy: His father was murdered by his uncle, and he probably tried to get revenge for his father by murdering his cousin.
- Rightful King Returns: Subverted. He never reclaimed the throne of Varn from Ragnar, and after conquering Enroth, he didn't really want to.
- Unreliable Narrator: His first few letters to Ragnar attempted to deflect accusations of attempted murder (including some pretty incriminating pieces of evidence), but from the last few letters, written when he was much better established in Enroth, it's pretty clear that Morglin was guilty as charged. In his later letters, Morglin's only complaints about Guthbert, the man who carried out the attempt on Ragnar's life, were that he had a "loose tongue and couldn't strike a mouse dead", and after conquering Enroth, he considered it fortunate that Guthbert had failed to kill Ragnar.
Catherine Gryphonheart (III, M&M)
Queen of Erathia, Roland's wife, and the Big Good of the third game, where she leads the good factions to liberate Erathia from multiple invaders after her father's death.
- Battle Couple: With Roland.
- Chainmail Bikini: Her preferred battle outfit, at least going by the cutscenes in III.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Like her husband and his family.
The founder and king of the little kingdom of Palaedra, populated by the refugees of Erathia after their original world was destroyed and they had to flee to another planet. The Heroes IV's The True Blade campaign deals with him searching for the titular sword, a sign of appartenance to the Griffonheart family that an imposter, Sir Worton, claims to have, challenging Lysander for the throne.
- Come Alone: Forced to do it to finish the Big Bad mano-a-mano, only to be ambushed by a group of Rogues. Of course, given the One-Man Army late-game strength of campaign heroes, those guys are quite insignificant.
- Fantastic Racism: Lysander hates Necromancers, as they killed his parents and separated him from his siblings.
- First-Person Peripheral Narrator: His adventures are told from the point of view of his squire, Milton.
- Sadistic Choice: Having to choose between asking the Oracle of the Dawn either where his lost siblings are, or who the imposter Worton's true parents are.
- Not So Stoic: Right before the final one-on-one battle against Sir Worton, he cracks a joke about how he's going to make Milton the city's new seneschal, a "thankless position" that will require Milton to have lots of contact with pretty women.
- The Stoic: According to Milton, he rarely smiles, and he often has little patience for Proetho's Boisterous Bruiser personality - at one point, the two of them even come close to blows.
- Tomato in the Mirror: The campaign ends with Lysander accidentally drawing the sword from its sheath, thus proving that he himself is a Griffonheart.
The main character of V's campaigns, Isabel is the new spouse of Nicolai, the King of the Griffin Empire, forced to repel a sudden demonic invasion.
- Action Girl: The Haven campaign starts with her refusing to sit and do nothing while her husband-to-be, Nicolai, is off fighting demons. So she assembles a militia, deals with some rebels, then frees a number of cities from the Demons... All the while fighting alongside her army. However, she spends a lot of time - including a part of the last mission of her own campaign - as a Damsel in Distress, and Godric and Freyda are the ones representing the Empire and fighting on its behalf in all important battles, which may place her in the Faux Action Girl territory.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: At the end of the Haven campaign, after Nicolai's death, she becomes the Queen of the Holy Griffin Empire (as it was his dying wish).
- Break the Cutie: For a given value of "cutie", anyway. The story isn't particularly kind to her, which results in some quite big Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!/What an Idiot decisions on her part.
- Damsel in Distress: Spends quite a big part of the campaing(s) as this.
- Deal with the Devil: More like a Deal with the Necromancer, in case of Markal, who offers to resurrect Nicolai and does just that.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Nicolai, in Isabel's.
- Fake King: Not Isabel herself, but Biara, when she impersonates her and takes her place as the Queen.
- Good Is Dumb: That's what many players seem to think of her, anyway.
- The Hero: Of the Haven campaign. Also, the whole Heroes V saga revolves around her.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Really, Isabel, trusting Markal wasn't a good idea.
- Knight Templar: As described under the Lawful Stupid entry below, Isabel will not tolerate anyone who shows disloyalty to the Empire. The first two missions of her campaign are all about her dealing with rebels... mostly by killing them.
- Lawful Stupid: A particularly Egregious example: the first map starts with an encounter with some peasants refusing the conscription. Her reaction?Isabel: "You will fulfill your oaths to your lord, even if you must do it in chains! Get them!"
- Lady of War: Looks the part, other parts... not so much. If anything, she's closer to being The Lad-ette. By her own admission, she's "more comfortable in a camp than at court"; the intro also has her wondering if she's looking stupid in her wedding dress.
- Medical Rape and Impregnate: What Kha-Beleth does to her.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Seems like her marriage to Nicolai was like this. Unfortunately, a demon invasion and Nicolai's subsequent death prevent them from becoming Happily Married.
- Rightful King Returns: Played with. She does reclaim her throne from Biara, but only to make Freyda the next Queen, thus starting the Unicorn dynasty.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Swears revenge twice - first after being captured by Agrael and learning about the real Beatrice's death at the hands of Biara, and later again after Agrael kills Nicolai. Then there's the whole deal with Biara impersonating her... It didn't go well at first, but at the end, she succeeds in killing Biara. Agrael is... another matter.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She's a noble and a would-be Queen, but when Demons attack, she refuses to sit still and does everything she can to help - including assembling and leading an army of her own.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Her bio states that she grew up as one.
- Unwitting Pawn: Twice, with both Markal and Kha-Beleth.
- Unwanted Revival: Nicolai isn't okay with being Back from the Dead.
- You Monster!: Towards Agrael, after he captures her and she learns that the real Beatrice is dead.
Godric (V, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes)
Nicolai's uncle (and Freyda's father and commander), tasked by Isabel to get help from the Wizards, much to his dismay.
- Cool Old Guy
- Fantastic Racism: Godric really doesn't like Wizards. He doesn't let this stop him from asking them for help - and later working alongside them - when the situation becomes bad enough, though.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness
- Killed Off for Real
- Knight in Shining Armor: Out of all main characters, he's the one closest to this archetype.
- Only Sane Man
- The Paladin: One of the last true champions of Elrath, and one of the best and most loyal ones, according to Word of God.
- Undying Loyalty: To Nicolai (and later to Isabel), and to Elrath and the Empire in general.
- Values Dissonance: In-universe with the Wizards, and Cyrus in particular.
Godric's daughter and a major Haven character in Hammers of Fate.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Becomes the next Queen at the end of Tribes of the East, founding her own - Unicorn - dynasty.
- Damsel in Distress: In the original Heroes V campaign, courtesy of Markal.
- First Name Ultimatum: Does one towards Laslo, after discovering that he killed Godric. It kills Laslo.
- Odd Couple: With Duncan.
- Unexplained Recovery: Was supposedly killed by Markal in V's campaign, only to reappear in Hammers of Fate. Possibly justified by Markal saying that he "can kill and raise her, but it's too much trouble".
- You Killed My Father: Towards Laslo and fake!Isabel.
First legitimate son of the Duke of Griffin Slava, and new Duke after his father's assassination, apparently by the hand of his sister Anastasya.
Barbarian's Town (I, II) / Stronghold (III, IV, V-TotE expansion, VI, VII)
"We walk our own path, alone."The Barbarian Tribe faction. Populated with Goblins, Orcs, Cyclops and the like, with the exception of the fourth game, where Orcs and Goblins were replaced by human barbarians and beastmen. The Brute Force Faction, they are since the fourth game pure might (though still able to gain magic skills an to eventually learn spells), while in the last two games they more or less totally drop magic, gaining instead the Warcries' ability, filling the troops with Unstoppable Rage. Their Might Hero is the Barbarian, and their Magic Hero the BattleMage/Shaman.
- Antimagical Faction: In IV and V, with both heroes' skills and special buildings.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Behemoth of the third and fourth game, combined with More Teeth than the Osmond Family and ridiculously big claws.
- A Commander Is You: The Brute Force faction.
- Cute Monster Girl: The female orcs in V, contrasts with the hulking muscular males, look much more like humans.
- Cyclops: They have Eye Beams In II, V and VI.
- Fantasy Pantheon: In V and VI, they worship "Father-Sky" and "Mother-Earth".
- Grim Up North: In the first and second games, they live in the Frozen Wastes to the north.
- Half-Human Hybrid: In V and VI, somewhat of. There, orcs are a result of demon blood being injected in human body.
- Horned Humanoid: Some of their "demonic" alt-graded versions sport horns as part of demonic inheritance.
- Horny Devils: Daughters of the Sky look a lot like their apparent "ancestors", succubi.
- Leeroy Jenkins: The Berserker unit in IV, who can't be controlled. In V, it's actually encouraged through the Blood-rage mechanic, and the official Orcs' strategy motto in VI is "Rush now, think later!".
- Mayincatec: In VI. In V, they were closer to Mongols.
- Our Goblins Are Different: Strangely absent in IV, where they were neutral creatures aligned with the warlocks. They are The Chew Toy and Dirty Coward In V, along with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. A bit of Irony when, in VI, Kraal praises them for their Undying Loyalty and armed with Precision-Guided Boomerang.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Even among the different games. The first, fifth and sixth games looked humanoids, when those of the second and fourth games were pig men, and for the third, greenskin. In the Ashan universe, they, and the rest of the creatures in the faction, were "made" with humans criminals and demon blood, and enslaved after having saved the world from Demons.
Stronghold's Iconic Characters
Lord Slayer (I)The leader of the Barbarian faction in Heroes of Might and Magic I, he was initially involved in a three-way war with Lady Lamanda and Lord Alamar, but was defeated by the newcomer Morglin Ironfist. Later he allied with Lamanda and Alamar against Ironfist but was unable to stop him from conquering Enroth. Supposedly, his bones are buried in the foundations of the Barbarians' Coliseum in Heroes II.
Crag Hack (I-II-III-IV, mentioned in V and VI)
A classical Barbarian Hero, Crag Hack (who shares his name with a Might and Magic dwarf hero), has is Day In The Limelight in III-Shadow of Death, where he was part of a group of four heroes aiming to stop the necromancer Sandro's Evil Plan, after having been his Unwitting Pawn. With Sandro and the genie Solmyr, he is one of the few character of the old universe deemed by Ubisoft as sufficiently of an Ensemble Dark Horse for gaining a Continuity Cameo in Ashan's backstory, apparently as The Dreaded.He got his own DLC campaign for VI called "Pirates of the Savage Sea".
- Accidental Misnaming: He is not pleased with being constantly called "Mister Hack" by Sandro in Shadow of Death.
- Author Avatar: Originally a Jon Van Caneghem tabletop game's character.
- Badass Armfold: His artwork for Pirates of the Savage Sea has him doing this.
- Continuity Cameo: In V and base VI. The Ashan incarnation is the main character of the first DLC for VI, Pirates of the Savage Sea.
- Cool Helmet: He's usually wearing a helmet with two horns pointing upwards and two pointing downwards. It's even an artifact in VI!
- Dumb Muscle: In the old continuity, to the point that even other barbarians comments on it (this was a person with decades of mercenary experience across at least two continents — and he still hadn't picked up that mister is a title, not a name!). His Ashan incarnation, on the other hand, is clever enough.
- Eye Patch Of Power: His Ashan incarnation sports one on his right eye.
- Handicapped Badass: His lack of depth perception hasn't stopped him from being a renowned mercenary and Ashan's pirate king.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Might and Magic X reveals that this is how his Ashan incarnation ended his days, as a way to make the best out of a bad situation (it was either die from other reasons, and break the curse he was under, or die from the curse, and be Ret Gone).
- Horny Vikings: While never commented on, his helmet is the one design element his portrait keeps across all of the 3DO games, and even retains into the Ubisoft era.
- Insult Backfire: The Holy Falcon Empire of Ashan meant to insult him by referring to him as being "more orc than human". Since orcs are known for their brute strength and toughness, this actually made it easier for him to find work.
Tarnum (Heroes Chronicles, NPC in IV)
"But a warrior is not just a killer. He's a protector! You must have respect for life, and an even greater respect for your ability to take it. Otherwise, you're just a murderer."The main protagonist of Heroes Chronicles, Tarnum started out as a bloodthirsty warlord, but "the Ancestors" decided to punish him after he died by denying him access to the afterlife, systematically resurrecting him as a hero in any Antagarich's factions, charged to perform various heroic deeds. Tarnum eventually atoned, taking a young barbarian named Waerjak as his adoptive son. He is also the second most important protagonist in IV's barbarian campaign, acting as The Mentor for Waerjak, before being captured and presumably killed by a warlord. Waerjak eventually finds him Back from the Dead, and Tarnum reveal to him his past and how he finally redeemed himself in the eyes of the Ancestors, but chose to stay among the mortals.
- Badass Grandpa: By the time he mentors Waerjak, he is not a young man. Doesn't mean he can't still kick ass.
- Blood Knight: In his youth, though by the time he mentors Waerjak he's grown out of it:"I have a lesson for you, Waerjak. See here, a pair of mating spiders, and a scorpion - equally poisonous creatures. Watch how the scorpion easily kills the male spider because he is so small. Now, the female, enraged by the loss of her mate, attacks the scorpion with everything she's got. You see, she kills the scorpion, but at what cost? Her own life. Such blind hate is dangerous, and pointless!"
- Genius Bruiser: Unlike his barbarian fellows, Tarnum became a well educated man, learning languages and customs from various cultures, and taught many of these to Waerjak, who notes that it doesn't stop him for being even more badass than the average Barbarian Hero.
- He Who Fights Monsters: In his first campaign, he gradually went more and more brutal, especially after the death of the woman he grew to love. He gets better, but only after his death, trials, and resurrection.
- I Choose to Stay: Why? In the man's own words:"This new world still needs heroes."
- Warrior Poet: In IV, each scenario of the "Might" campaign begins with one of his philosophical musings.
Waerjak (Heroes Chronicles, IV)
The Hero of IV's barbarian campaign, Waerjak grew the same concern than his adoptive father Tarnum: already weakened by the destruction of Enroth (the world of I-II-III), the barbarian were also stupidly fighting themselves instead of uniting their force. Waerjak eventually decided to do unite them himself, peacefully if possible, but is confronted to a Sadistic Choice when he has to chose between saving Tarnum from a barbarian warlord, or liberating barbarian slaves.
- Altar Diplomacy: Enforces this to end a blood-feud between two tribes he's absorbed into the new barbarian nation. It's never mentioned exactly how well this shook out.
- Badass Bookworm: Enforced by Tarnum, who routinely makes him read ancient books as well as practice with sword and axe.
- The Chains of Commanding: Feels these more and more as his campaign goes on, and the barbarian nation unanimously wants him to be king.
- Honor Before Reason: He stumbles across a vicious pirate's crew while they're all sleeping, and contemplates killing them then and there, but - with Tarnum's subtle nudging - wakes them and gives them the chance to surrender first.
- Meaningful Name: "Griffin" in the old barbarian language.
- Offered the Crown: He accepts, though not without reservation.
- Only Sane Man: Pretty much the only Barbarian (with any leadership skills) who realizes the various tribes need to unite or they'll all be gone within a generation.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: This was the first lesson that Tarnum taught him, after killing the cougar that killed his favorite hunting-dog.
- You Killed My Father: But he got better.
First, but illegitimate son of the Duke of Griffin. With his sister Irina and the Orc Kraal (the Duke's master-of-arms) as his only friends, and finally fed up with his life, he flees to the Orc's Pao Islands to become a Barbarian.
- Power Trio: With Kraal as The Superego, himself as The Ego, and Goink as The Id.
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Both Kraal and an anonymous Wolf Duchy soldier comment on how crazy it would be to lead an army into the heart of Wolf Duchy territory to rescue Irina, but Sandor is badass enough to pull it off.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The first map of his campaign basically sets off the chain of events for the rest of them, despite his intentions being noble (saving his half-sister from a brutal lord).
Warlock's Town (I, II) / Dungeon (III, V, VI SoD, VII) / Asylum (IV)
"Hide, listen, watch, learn... And when the time is right, strike from the shadow."The Evil Sorcerer faction, specializing in power, both in creatures and in destructive magic. While they are powerful, they are often limited by the expensive prices of their armies and lower growth rates. It has largely remained the same with each game, despite having dark elves in V and VI. Their Might is either the Overlord or the Thief, and their Magic Hero the Warlock/Sorcerer.
- Black Mage: At least in V, Warlocks have a Chaos Magic affinity and possess vast destructive spellpower.
- Blind Seer: One of the heroes in III is a troglodyte who can 'see' magical energy, making it easier for him to learns spells via the Eagle Eye skill.
- Bloody Murder: Hydras in V, spilling acid blood when hurted.
- Casting a Shadow: The Dark Elves worship Malassa, the Dragon of Darkness, in V and VI.
- A Commander Is You: Elitist faction, bordering on Game-Breaker. A bit of Guerilla, too, with the Thief hero in IV, the Stalker unit in V, and the 'Shroud of Malassa' mechanic in VI.
- Difficult, but Awesome: The cost of their units means they're weak starting out so they can be hard to use early the game, but once the player learns to survive late game, they're devastating.
- Disability Superpower: Troglodytes in III (and IV, as neutral critters) are eyeless creatures immune to the blind spell.
- Elemental Powers: Due to their focus on destructive spells.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Their racial skill in V.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The faction with the most diverse monsters, due to important changes between each iteration. Only the Minotaurs and Black (Purple in I) Dragons, along with the Hydras save in III and VI, have been a constant.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The fifth game give to the dark elves mounts who look like theropods.
- Eye Beams: Beholders in III, Shadow Lurkers in VI.
- Fire/Ice/Lightning: As main destructive elements.
- A Load of Bull: Aside from the iconic Dragons, Minotaurs have been the constant of this particular faction. The first four games depicted them as just a few steps shy of Dragon-tier, though V kicks them quite a few notches down the food chain.
- Medusa: A mid-level troop in III and IV. Both iterations are archers, though more than one source of Classical Mythology hints Medusa and her sister gorgons were flyers.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Manticores in III and VI, a mix of lion, scorpion and bat.
- Order Versus Chaos: Chaos against Academy's Order in IV.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: In I and II, centaurs were the warlocks' most basic foot-soldiers (a possible nod to how centaurs in Classical Mythology - Chiron excepted - often verged on Always Chaotic Evil after a cup of wine or two).
- Our Dragons Are Different: The iconic black dragons, some of the most powerful creatures of the series and are typically the strongest creature in the game. They are among, or are the most durable creature, hit really hard (usually dealing the most damage of any creature in the game) and while not the fastest creature, are still right up there. Their signature ability besides being strong, they can't be affected any magic, which as a drawback means healing magic and buffs don't effect them. Their Breath Weapon hitting units adjacent to whatever they're attacking.
- Our Elves Are Better: Dark Elves in V, which bear great resemblance to both Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer counterparts.
Dungeon's Iconic Characters
Lord Alamar (I, II, III)The leader of the Warlocks of Enroth in Heroes of Might and Magic I, he was defeated by Morglin Ironfist but escaped to other lands. Decades later, he returned to Enroth to serve Archibald Ironfist but was again forced to flee when Archibald was defeated. He fled to Nighon, where he helped the Overlords invade Erathia following the death of King Gryphonheart, but Nighon's invasion was ultimately repelled by Queen Catherine.
- Iron Buttmonkey: Consider how many times he has found himself on the losing side... and that he still comes back for more.
- Worthy Opponent: Morgan Ironfist seems to think him so:"He was cunning, mighty was his sword arm, great his magic, and brilliant his strategies. But they availed him for naught, for in the end I cast him down and my only disappointment was that he was able to flee into distant realms."
Archibald Ironfist (II, M&M VI and VII)
The "not so good" brother of Roland, Archibald accused him of killing the seers charged to chose a successor after their father's death. Given how obvious who the real murderer was, Roland, after flying the royal castle, started a civil war against his brother. Archibald canonically lost, and was Taken for Granite, until the PCs in Might and Magic VI freed him so that he helps them save the world. He then became a prominent member of the Necromancers' guild.
- The Archmage: Turns out he both has an extensive knowledge of magical rituals (which is why he has to be freed) and is better at necromancy than many necromancers despite being a Warlock rather than a Necromancer.
- Badass Moustache: He's an archmage royal who actually did things while he still young enough that his father was only recently deceased. He also keeps to his moustache, unlike his brother.
- Big Bad: Of the second game.
- Cain and Abel: Cain to Roland's Abel. Downplayed in that at the end, neither brother is willing to go all out and kill the other.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In Might and Magic, he can't stand for Roland to be imprisoned by the Kreegans.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Though this might've just been artistic license on the part of whoever painted his portrait.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Just like his brother, he's not above going on the battlefield himself if he feels it necessary.
- Smug Snake: Especially prominent in his victorious ending. His narration drips with it.
- Taken for Granite: His fate in the (canonical) ending where Roland won.
Mutare (III, Heroes Chronicles)A young woman from Nighon who took advantage of the infighting among the various Overlords to seize power for herself. After defeating the neighboring overlord Ordwald with the aid of the Vial of Dragon's Blood, she sought to conquer all of the dragons.
- The Beastmaster: Has a natural affinity for dragons, even the Good-aligned Green and Gold ones.
- Fiery Redhead: Her temper's nothing to sneeze at, though most of the time she's able to temper it with Pragmatic Villainy:"The Master of Scouts has not located [Ordwald] and cringes whenever I look at him. The fool, he doesn't realize he does too good a job for me to make an example of him."
- From Nobody to Nightmare: A girl of common blood, who eventually becomes a sentient Dragon and Queen of all Nighon. She serves as Big Bad in "Clash of the Dragons" one more the more important campaigns in Heroes Chronicles.
- Its Pronounced Tropay: mu-TAH-rey
- Klingon Promotion: As revealed in her extended bio on the game's mini-website, She attained her Overlord status by killing her former employer, an Overlord named Rauric.
- Meaningful Name: It means "to change" in Latin.
- Metamorphosis: Into a dragon, when she drinks the Dragon's Blood.
- Might Makes Right: She was disgusted that Ordwald, who inherited his dominion from his much more skilled father, didn't do anything in his own right to earn his title; so she took it upon herself to relieve him of it by force.
- The Starscream: To Rauric.
Tawni Balfour (IV)
"Honor among thieves? Hah! Any thief who invokes such rubbish is a hypocrite! The instant they have the opportunity to stab their best friend in the back, you know they won't even hesitate. A pirate, on the other hand, lives by a different motto. "The last one standing gets the gold."."The main character of IV Chaos' campaign. A ruthless Pirate Girl, Tawni Balfour was way too happy at the death of her father, the feared Captain Black, and took the opportunity to conquer the Gold Sea above all pirates.
- Bad Boss: Automatically kills the first guy who showed up for first mate auditions on the grounds that anyone who did so was obviously too ambitious for her liking.
- Blood Knight: Not that she's entirely happy about it:"I feel like a shark - if I don't keep swimming I'm afraid I will die."
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Reins it in with varying amounts of success.
- Knife Nut: Her preferred weapons, since they're easy to hide in her baggy clothes.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Eight-Fingers Oba, a Cool Old Guy who serves as her Morality Pet, turns out to be her true father.
- Pet the Dog: Her final conversation with Eight-Fingers Oba, where she makes him retire because she fears that he's lost his killer instinct and can no longer survive as a pirate.
- Villain Protagonist: Undoubtedly the nastiest of the campaign protagonists in IV; according to the game's head writer, whatever sequel he planned to IV's storylines would probably have featured her as the Big Bad.
Raelag/Agrael (V, VI)
The protagonist of the Inferno and Dungeon campaigns in V, Raelag starts out as Agrael, the (secretly elven) Dragon of the Big Bad Kha-Beleth.
- The Atoner: For what he did as Agrael. Later revealed to be two-fold: he also destroys the Soul Scar clan that he led to worshipping demons in his backstory.
- Dark Is Not Evil: As Raelag. He may be a Dark Elf and a Warlock, but he's not evil, and wants to stop Kha-Beleth as much as anyone else.
- Foreshadowing: Agrael's height is only to a human, hinting that he is not an actual demon. His intelligence also is shown as most of the demons prefer to rely on swarming their adversaries, he relies on tactics. Also, the fact that he is immune to the heart of the griffin. It becomes obvious that it only affects actual demons instead of those of other races who aid him. Also note the fact that Agrael can understand emotions outside of evil. It indicates that he has a conscience.
- Evil Sorcerer: Agrael sure looks like one - and likely was a real one before experiencing how Love Redeems - but as Raelag he completely averts it. He's described as a very powerful spellcaster, but, as noted above, he's not actually evil.
- Defector from Decadence: Betrays Kha-Beleth and teams up with the "good" guys to stop his plans.
- Evil Sounds Deep: As Agrael, until he rejects the Soverign.
- Heel–Face Turn: Starts out as a servant of the Big Bad, only to change his mind and decide to oppose him later.
- I Did What I Had to Do: That's how he tries to justify Beatrice's death to Isabel. It doesn't work - if anything, it only makes her even angrier.
- Love Redeems: One of his main reasons for betraying Kha-Beleth is his love for Isabel.
- Noble Demon: As Agrael. Going as far as offering to run away with Isabel, and promising to protect her after she refuses and calls him a monster.
- Put on a Bus: In the Hammers of Fate ending. He doesn't even appear in Tribes of the East.
- Significant Anagram: Raelag to Agrael.
Sorceress' Town (I-II) / Rampart (III) / Preserve (IV) / Sylvan (V, VII)Nature Faction. Originally serving as the counterpart to the warlocks in the first two games, they eventually became more associated with elves from the third game onward. As one might expect with a faction of elves, they are more associated with speed than the other factions at the cost of defense, and favor nature-themed magic. Their Might Hero is the Ranger/Archer, and their Magic Hero the Sorceress (I and II)/Druid (III and IV).
- Always Female: The Sorceress heroes in I and II are... well, sorceress.
- A Commander Is You: Look like Ranger faction, but they've only one shooter, Elves, except in I, II and V, where there's also Druids. They do, however, have a general tendency toward Fragile Speedster.
- Culture Chop Suey: In III, with Dwarves, Elves, Centaurs and Pegasus, and a distinct asiatic architecture. Overally they fall closest of all factions to the eclectic Standard Fantasy Setting.
- Dance Battler: Blade Dancers in V, it's in their name.
- Elves vs. Dwarves:
- Averted in the first three games, with both elves and dwarves in the same faction.
- In Ashan, both the Elves and the Dwarves are on the Good side of factions.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In V, they're Magical Native American, with a bit of celtic symbolics thrown in.
Sylvan's Iconic Characters
Queen Lamanda (I)The leader of the Sorceresses of Enroth in Heroes of Might and Magic I. She was defeated by Lord Ironfist.
- The Leader: Of Sorceresses of Enroth
- Overshadowed by Awesome: She's a mighty sorceresses but Lord Ironfist is better.
Sister Eliza (II)The leader of the Sorceresses of Enroth in Heroes of Might and Magic II. She was attacked by Archibald because of her public support for Roland. Roland defended her and her guild against Archibald, and she swore allegiance to him.
- Badass in Distress: Outside her trouble with Archibald, she has formitable power.
- Damsel in Distress: Initially Roland saved her from Archibald
- I Owe You My Life: She's great asset to Roland after he saves her guild.
Gem was one of the greatest Sorceresses that Enroth had ever seen, serving King Roland Ironfist during the Succession Wars. Shortly after Roland had secured the throne of Enroth, Gem left for Erathia, finding a new home in Avlee.
- The Ageless: She appears in Heroes of Might and Magic games I-IV, a time period which spans approximately 80 years, yet still appears young. IV explains that she maintained her youth by drinking from a special fountain; however, she no longer has access to this fountain as of IV and has started to age normally again, which may explain her absence in later games.
- Fantasy Character Classes: Though she is listed as a "Druid" in her HOMM III appearance (as the game does not have a Sorceress class), the Shadow of Death expansion for III lists her as Sorceress, the only hero in III to have a unique class name.
- Friend to All Living Things: As befitting her character class. However, according to her campaign scenario in III, it took her a little while to warm to the Sylvan Castle's dragons, though one could hardly blame her given her experiences with them in II.note She also appeared to be uneasy of the Dendroids at first, due to an unexplained incident in her past.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Despite being at the "heart of over 80 years of conflicts and wars," she has maintained her gentle demeanor.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Prior to III, Sandro tricks her into gathering an artifact for him (along with Crag Hack), then uses it to install a puppet king to invade Erathia, kickstarting the events of the main game. To be fair, she does band together with Crag Hack and two other heroes to defeat him later.
Gelu (III-AB and SoD, intro of IV)
A half-elf Ranger assisting Catherine and Roland in Armaggeddon's Blade, and the heroes Crag Hack, Gem and Yog in Shadow of Death. In a quite egregious case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, he ends up destroying the world with the aforementionned sword when it clashes with another Infinity +1 Sword, the Sword of Frost. Easily recognizable due to his red hair and black and white skin.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: A High Fantasy version of this - he commands the Forestguard company, an Erathian unit that specializes in guerrilla warfare.
- Military Brat: More-or-less raised by the Erathian military, who found him (apparently orphaned) as an infant.
- Our Elves Are Different: He is not a "normal" elf, but a (half-) Snow elf.
- Raised by Natives: A slight inversion of the usual formula - this time, it's the Noble Savage-coded (half-)elf being raised by the "civilized" humans, with all the associated baggage.
Elwin and Shaera(IV)
Two elves whose romantic story drives IV's Nature campaign, as Lord Haarke try to keep Shaera for himself.
- Friend to All Living Things: The debut of the first mission is basically Elwin learning to do this to survive.
- Genre Blind: Changing the colors of the sails to indicate something to the loved one? Elwin, even heard of Theseus?
- Mind Rape: What Haarke essentially tries to do to Shaera...
- Murder the Hypotenuse: ... and what he tries to do to Elwin.
- Nice Hat: Elwin. It's even lampshaded in any of its appearances in the fan-made campaign Legend of the Ancients.
- Panthera Awesome: One of the missions is entirely dedicated to Elwin having to gain the support of the White Tigers.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: At the start of the campaign, Elwin is a Druid, despite spending most of his time in the elven court being a playboy. After that, he goes through Character Development.
Necromancer's Town (II) / Necropolis (III, IV, V, VI, VII)
"Life is change, chaos, filth and suffering. Death is peace, order, everlasting beauty."The Undead Faction. First seen in Heroes II, the necromancers serve as a counterpart to the wizards. Their strategy is primarily to overrun their enemies with hordes of undead, with their Necromancy skill and their higher growth rates to emphasize this. In IV they were merged with the demons, but from V onward they were back to strictly commanding the undead. Their Might Hero is the Death Knight, and their Magic Hero the Necromancer.
- Animal Motifs: Spiders in V and particularly in VI.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: Very much so from I to V, save for Arantir in V who is more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but...VI gave us two good necromancers in Sveltana and Anastasya.
- Clown-Car Grave:
- The Necropolis' creature dwellings are nearly all graves, and they let you hire undeads each week.
- Due to bugs in IV and V, you can theorically raise more corpses with necromancy than ennemies killed.
- A Commander Is You: Spammer faction.
- In VI, they switch from "produce more" to "lose nothing"
- Dark World: All their townscreens are in the dark.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Ancient Egypt and Babylonia in VI.
- Fate Worse Than Death: According to the flavor text, transforming someone into a ghoul is the worst punishment sanctioned by necromancers.
- Fearless Undead: All undead creatures keeps their moral neutral no matter the modifiers.
- The Necrocracy:
- Altern between Types I and II, even if the fourth game implies they have a decent part of living subjects.
- Might and Magic VI and VII between them weakened this for the Enroth setting, making clear both that it was entirely possible for living humans to lead the most powerful faction of necromancers, and that liches were a relatively recent development. VII also revealed that Deyja has a decent amount of living citizens — they just don't play as important a role in the necromancers' armies as the undead.
- Non-Human Undead: Bone dragons in II through V, lamusu & namtaru in VI, and zombie horse steeds for the heroes in V and VI.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: In all games save in I and II, where they were neutral Game-Breaker units thank to their ability to create a new ghost for every enemy unit killed.
- * Our Ghouls Are Different: In VI.
- * Our Liches Are Different: The main ranged attacker with Deadly Gas.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Famous for their powerful Life Drain ability, who make them one of the most effective creature of the game. There're usually one of the most useful units of the faction, being one of the few fast Necropolis units. They are Classical Movie Vampire in II and IV. Looks Like Orlok in III (see here◊). And Bishōnen in V and VI, the latter with a suspicious ressemblance to Arthas from Warcraft III. (see here◊).
- Our Wights Are Different: In III, they were ghosts. In V, they resemble Grim Reapers, along with Sinister Scythes.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The classic Stone Wall, typically the least useful unit due to its extremely low speed. In VI however, their upgraded version changes them to Lightning Bruiser category, giving them 2 additional movement points and 30% more damage when attacking living targets. Doubly so in the campaign due to Anastasya having a passive trait that increases ghoul movement by 2. This together with their upgrade allows them to get to the enemy lines in a single turn.
- Spider People: Fate Spinners and Mother Namtaru in VI are Dual Mode Unit. They switch from six legs and two arms (with ranged attacks) to two legs and six arms (efficient in melee)
- Order Versus Chaos: Order to Inferno's Chaos in V and VI.
- The Sacred Darkness: In V and VI, the Necromancers are more akin to worshipper of the Death aspect of Ashan rather than a simple guild. They also appear more sympathetic in general, though they still count some of the worst villains among their ranks (Markal in V, Sandro in VI). In VI, it's up to the point where Necromancers are still tolerated by the Griffin Empire.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: A side effect of the Namtaru venom with a Lich/Vampire's bloodstream.
- Spiders Are Scary: Mother Namtaru is the spider avatar of Asha's nightmares. The spider cult of Heresh consequently refer to Asha as the Spider Goddess.
- Zombify the Living: Sometimes has access to an Undead Transformer, which can convert living units from other factions into undead.
Necropolis' Iconic Characters
Sandro (I-II-III-IV, mentioned in V and VI, M&M)
Arguably the most popular character of the entire series, Sandro was the only undead hero of the first game (as a Warlock). A lich with the classical necromancers' obsession to Take Over the World, Sandro was nearly successful in doing so by basically planning the entire events of the third game's campaign, as seen in the prequel The Shadow of Death, thus being the mastermind behind the invasion of Erathia. Unfortunately for him, his first plan, involving two Artifacts of Doom, was foiled by a group of four heroes (including Crag Hack and Gelu), and the credit for his second plan was stolen by the lich he was planning to control as The Man Behind the Man. Sandro make a Continuity Cameo in V and VI, being regularly mentioned as The Mentor of Markal and several necromancers, sadly Killed Off for Real.He got his own DLC campaign for VI called "Danse Macabre"
- The Chessmaster: The first real one in the HOMM franchise, every previous Big Bad being more the "amass troops, smash the good guys" variety.
- In the Hood: Thus combined with his Dem Bones give him a very Grim Reaper-like appearance, except in IV, where he wear a weird Mayincatec crown.
- Macguffin Delivery Service: Pulls this off with four heroes simultaneously during Shadow of Death.
- One Steve Limit: It's not all that easy to reconcile The Shadow of Death with Sandro being an active open lich during the First War of Enrothian Succession without resorting to there being two necromancers named Sandro who became high-profile heroes. From the same source, it is impossible to reconcile his mentor Ethric as being the in-universe most famous Ethric, despite sharing a similar story (a mage who became a lich).
Gauldoth Half-Dead (IV)
The main character of IV Death's campaign, Gauldoth earned his nickname when, as a young necromancer apprentice, he tried to cast a spell to survive the destruction of Enroth (the world of I-II-III). It... '''partially'' worked, leaving him Two-Faced, with one side of his body becoming undead. The campaign deal with him creating the small nation of Nekross, finding his old master, and ultimately having to fight him when he's revealed to be serving an Omnicidal Maniac mysterious figure.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: Obsessed with respecting it, seeing any who don't as "fanatics".
- Beware the Nice Ones: Possibly the nicest Necromancer in the franchise, and yet one of the most powerful.
- Burn the Witch!: Almost subjected to this at the start of his campaign. When he besieges Vitross, he makes a point of catching the town guard who ordered his execution alive so he can do the same to him.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He is a necromancer with a very disturbing appearance, but he is capable of kindness and is shown to care for the wellbeing of Nekross' citizens by the end of the campaign.
- Deal with the Devil: He's the one responsible for the Kreegans being part of the Necropolis line-up, it worked.
- Emergency Transformation: Attempted to turn himself into a lich in order to survive the apocalypse that destroyed Enroth. It was only partially successful.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Particularly explicit at the very start of his campaign, since he's been running around in the woods for years on end, just trying to survive. Any humans who catch sight of him tend to scream in horror and/or try to kill him.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Way physically stronger than he appears on his undead side.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Is incredibly loyal to his master Kalibarr, carrying out many unscrupulous acts on his orders and only turning on him when he realises that Kalibarr is working for an entity that wants to destroy all life on Axioth.
- Pet the Dog: Sure, Gauldoth raises deads and summons demons, but he's very careful to protect his living subjects from them. This earns him the name "Father Gauldoth".
- The Philosopher: He spends part of his campaign travelling with a priest, and enjoys debating the differences between her "Light Is Good" philosophy with his own "Light and Dark are both dangerous extremes".
- Pragmatic Villainy: Decides it's easier to form an alliance with Great Arcan than conquer it and risk becoming the villainous necromancer the rest of the world unites against.
- Summon Magic: His specialty; he can raise the dead as allies through necromancy, and he also has knowledge of nature magic that lets him summon animals and magical creatures. By using both in combination, he can also gain the ability to summon demons.
- Two-Faced: Half of his body has the appearance of an ordinary flesh and blood human... the other looks like a decaying zombie.
- Unholy Holy Sword: Gauldoth find at one point in the campaign that the Angel's Blade, a powerful weapon against Demons, was created by a Demon to begin with. But since he only need it to open a teleporter, it doesn't bother him too much.
- Unscrupulous Hero: He's not particularly altruistic (the stuff the "civilized" world has thrown at him, who can blame him?), but he's more interested in surviving than any Take Over the World scheme, and he almost never does things For the Evulz.note
- With Great Power Comes Great Opposition: He recognises that necromancers like himself are frequent victims of this trope, and goes out of his way to avoid acquiring too much political power because of it.
A Necromancer desiring to avenge the death of his master Sandro, killed by the Wizards.
- Evil Sorcerer: He is very evil and a master sorcerer.
- Exact Words: He did tell Isabel that the artifacts could bring Nicolai back. He did not necessarily give the specific state.
- Knight of Cerebus: His actions considerably make the plot more darker, and leaves two kingdoms severely weakened.
- Manipulative Bastard: Manipulates Isabel into attacking the Wizards by making her believe that the artifacts in their possession can resurrect Nicolai.
- Mummies at the Dinner Table: Keeps the skull of Nicolai's mother as part of a necklace, and is seen talking to it.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Granted, he was long dead, or so believed, but Biara takes full advantage of his association with Isabel to drive further people into open rebellion when she declares herself a saint.
- Obviously Evil: Very evil, and his appearance shows it.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against the Wizards and Cyrus in particular for having killed his master Sandro.
- Smug Snake: Very overconfident and arrogant.
Arantir (V-TotE, Dark Messiah)
A Necromancer trying to prevent the Dark Messiah prophecy. The Big Good of TotE Necropolis' campaign, previously seen in Dark Messiah as the main antagonist and final boss.
- Back from the Dead: Thanks to her aunt. Averts Came Back Wrong completely.
- Badass Bookworm: She was the nerdiest of the siblings.
- Creepy Twins: Subverted. She is a necromancer, Kiril is a demon master, but both are friendly.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Try to find friendlier necromancers than her and Sveltana. She has the sweetest personality out of the five siblings, even as an undead.
- Deadpan Snarker: On occasion.Sveltana: These are ghouls. They are the spirits of murderers that we have trapped in undead bodies as a form of punishment.
Anastasya: How appropriate... we have so much in common.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Anastasya is a novice necromancer, giving Sveltana an opportunity to teach her (and the player) the basics of raising and controlling undead.
- Interspecies Romance: With the Archangel Uriel.
- Meaningful Name: Come on, look it up.
- Never Trust a Trailer: She's set up as an antagonist in the intro, with her undead army fighting Anton, which never happens in the actual campaign. Being narrated from Anton's perspective, the intro is intentionally misleading.
- Self-Made Orphan: Accused of having killed her father at the start of VI. Her campaign is dedicated to finding out who brainwashed her into doing it.
- Cool Aunt: To Slava, and then to his daughter Anastasya.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Like her niece.
- Living Legend: Well, Unliving Legend. Among Necromancers, for bringing back a powerful entity to the Seven Cities on her own, while she still was an apprentice.
- The Mentor: Teaches necromancy to Anastasya.
- Mystical White Hair: She is a high priestess of Asha, after all.
- Older Than They Look: She is 90. Then again, she is a necromancer.
- The Unfavorite: Elder child in a duchy where Heir Club for Men was the rule.
Wizard's Town (II) / Tower (III) / Academy (IV, V, VII)The Magocracy Faction. Debuting in II, the wizards are rivals to the Necromancers and the Warlocks. They specialize in magic and ranged attackers at the cost of weaker melee creatures, as well as costly prices. In II and V they were in a desert settingnote , while in III and IV they were native to the snow. Their Might Hero is typically the Alchemist, and their Magic Hero the Wizard/Mage.
- A Commander Is You: Technical/Ranger faction
- Culture Chop Suey: From the Greek Titan to the Indian Rakshasa and Naga. Heroes V give them a distinctive Arabian Nights/Days style, though.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: The Mages units' attack.
- Golem: The traditional ones in all their appearances, plus the Dragon-Golems in IV.
- Griping About Gremlins: In V, they can repair golems and war machines.
- Mage Tower: The usual Mage unit's dwelling, and the town itself in III.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Nagas in III and IV and Rakshasas in V. Biggest perk to this? No enemy retaliation!
- Nay-Theist: In the Ashan universe, Wizards don't bow to the Dragon Gods, but work to become one of them.
- Order Versus Chaos: Order against "Asylum" (=Dungeon)'s Chaos in IV.
- Our Dwarves Are Different: In IV.
- Our Gargoyles Rock: In III and V.
- Our Genies Are Different: From III onward, though V calls them Djinn.
- Our Giants Are Bigger
- Our Titans Are Different: The only time they have explain origin is that they're giant golems in V.
- Panthera Awesome: Rakshasa in V.
- Slave Race: By V and VI, it's made plenty clear that a lot of their troops were built in a lab and never meant to have free will. Actually, hints of this go back as far as III (let's just say gremlins don't carry that ball-and-chain around for their good health).
- Spider Tank: Dragon Golems in IV, personally commissioned by Gavin Magnus.
- Steampunk: A little shade of it, most notably with IV's Dragon Golems, and the Gremlins in V being the only ones to avert Fantasy Gun Control.
- War Elephants: Wizards use elephants as steeds in V, providing them a good view of the battlefield from which to cast spells.
Academy's Iconic Characters
Roland Ironfist (II, III-AB expansion, M&M)
One of the two sons of Morglin Ironfist, the canonical winner of the first game's campaign. "Good, kindly and honorable", Roland was forced to flee when his "not so good" brother Archibald blamed him for the murders of the various seers charged with finding a successor to their dead father. Calling his Knight, Wizard and Sorceress allies, he started a civil war against his brother, a conflict constituing the plot of the second game's campaign. Canonically the winner, he turned Archibald to stone until the future generations take pity of him. Later married to Catherine Ironfist, Roland came to her aid in the Armaggedon's Blade campaign against the demon Kreegans, who imprisoned him during the M&M's VI.
- Anti-Hero: The punishment that he inflicts to his own brother, and his Fantastic Racism toward the Kreegans can make him appear as this. To be fair, Archibald could be considered deserving it, and the RPG games make clear that genocide is a reasonable course of action when it comes to the Kreegans. The punishment he inflicts on his brother becomes slightly less cruel in light of another of the things revealed in the RPG series: this is not a setting where And I Must Scream applies to beings Taken for Granite, so as far as Archibald was concerned, he'd simply wake up at some indeterminate future point.
- Rightful King Returns: Sort of. He was kidnapped after II and was held for several years before being rescued, and his introductory scenario in III-AB is called "The Return of the King"... but his return to his actual kingdom occurs offscreen some time after the game.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He goes on the field personally for the final battle of the Succession War. As a Wizard, oddly enough (he is a Knight every other time he shows up in a Heroes game — including the penultimate battle of his campaign in Heroes II).
- What the Hell, Hero?: Done by the ghost of his father after having retrieved the Armaggeddon's Blade and still marching to eradicate the Kreegans. Although later (and therefore more easily missed) dialogue (with both the ghost and others) indicates that it is not so much the march to eradicate the Kreegans as Roland's motivations that is the problem — too much hatred and a desire for vengeance, not enough understanding of the fact that the Kreegan simply can't co-exist with ordinary mortals in the long run.
Gavin Magnus (IV, background of III)
The inexplicably immortal ruler of the wizard faction of Bracada, and later the Big Bad of IV's Order campaign The Price Of Peace, where he tries to brainwash the entire world to end all wars. It turns out even a god-slaying sword can't kill him.
- Face–Heel Turn: He was the leader of the good side in Might and Magic VII, even if he left a lot of things in the hands of his Terran advisors. The destruction of Enroth caused him to jump off the slippery slope, however, culminating in most of the other tropes describing him here.
- Humanoid Abomination: Not even himself know how he became immortal. He also has some weird abilities, like writing with an uncanny perfection, or spotting even an insignificant error in the construction of a room, while being at the other end of it.
- Magnus Means Mage: A fitting name for a powerful wizard.
- Sorcerer King: With the minor exception of his title (he used Grand Vizier instead. He was still openly and legally the one in charge, note), he was this (understandable, as the ruler of the Wizards' nation of Bracada), before Enroth's destruction. The event was... not good for his mental health, and he went off the deep end.
Solmyr ibn Wali Barad (III, IV, mentionned in V)
A Genie in a Bottle who gave his word to serves the man who liberated him "as long as he will walk this earth", and the man turned out to be Gavin Magnus, the immortal ruler of Bracada. Eventually, Solmyr had to betray his master when he had to oppose Emilia Nighthaven and help Gavin Magnus brainwash the entire world.
- Benevolent Genie: Possibly the Most Triumphant Example, in a setting where no Genie hero can really be called a Jackass Genie.
- Continuity Cameo:Narxes: Maybe we should go home? I'm no Solmyr!
- I Gave My Word: Pretty much the sole reason he continues to follow Gavin Magnus, even as Magnus jumps further and further off that slippery slope.
- Loophole Abuse: "As long as your feet will walk this earth"... Convenient that they both ended in Another Dimension.
- Shock and Awe: In III, his specialty is Chain Lightning; this is rarely if ever mentioned by IV.
- Spell My Name with an "S": His name is spelled "Solymr" in IV, where he gets his own half of a campaign, but the spelling from III is better remembered, even though he was just a generic hero there (although well-liked due to starting with the powerful Chain Lightning spell).
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Does this a few times in IV to spy on his enemies; his preferred form is a blue parrot.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: His voice-actor in IV puts on a very... strange accent, apparently to mark his foreign-ness.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Pitying both himself (for having to remember his failures) and his master (for having to endure wars for ever).
Emilia Nighthaven (IV)
The main protagonist of IV's Order campaign The Price of Peace. A few years after miraculously escaping the destruction of Enroth, she united refugees of her old world in the nation of the Great Arcan, hoping to resist the various warlords of the region and introduce a bit of order. She would eventually clashes with Gavin Magnus and his plans. She ends the war victorious, but with her legs paralysed.
- I Can't Feel My Legs: If you take Legends of the Ancients as canon, then she gets better.
- Worthy Opponent: Regarded as such by Solmyr, at least. Gavin Magnus also sends her a few letters to this effect, but it's unknown how serious he was.
Sar-Elam (Background of V, VI and Dark Messiah)The greatest spellcaster ever in the history of Ashan, who ascended to the form of (yet another) Dragon-God. His disciples went on to found the Academies, the background monastic orders of the Dragon-Knights and of the Blind Brothers, and Necromancy. His dragon skull is a plot point in Dark Messiah. The role-model of every Wizard.
- Scaled Up: As part of his ascension, judging by his skull. Though it's worth noting than the skull in question isn't a real one, but a jewelry. However, Word of God confirms that, if Sar-Elam was still physically human, he could turn into a Dragon on whim.
Son of The Archmage Cyrus, and twice protagonist and Big Damn Hero, in V vanilla and Tribes of the East. Most of his involvement in the plot consists of him cleaning up the mess left by the other heroes. He even lampshades it.
Inferno (III, V, VI, coupled with Necropolis in IV)The Legions of Hell faction, composed from various demons, like imps, cerberi and devils. From the fifth game onward, they rely heavily on Summon Magic (though the fourth game had some similar spells, too). Generally considered to be one of the weakest factions in terms of stats, and they also lack flyers and shooters. Their Might Hero is the Demoniac/Demon Lord and their Magic Hero the Heretic.
- Always Chaotic Evil: So far, the only Demon hero to (partially) avert this was Suraze in IV, who works with the protaganist because he realised that his old boss intends to betray him. The other non-Evil Inferno heroes are Agrael (secretely a Dark Elf) from V and Kiril (a Human) from VI.
- Big Bad: In V, Inferno and characters related to it serve as the main villains throughout the main game and both its expansions, with even Dungeon and Necropolis, the other "evil" factions, fighting against them.
- A Commander Is You: Spammer faction in V and VI, where their racial ability, 'Gating', allows them to summon reinforcements in the middle of a battle.
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: Arch-Devils and Pit Lords.
- Difficult, but Awesome: Inferno units are fairly weak in terms of stats, but if you know how to use them, they can be devastating.
- Even Evil Has Standards: It's implied that there are some things that even Demons won't do, as shown by the description of one of the human Death Knights in IV; she's capable of evil deeds that 'even the demons balk at'.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: In V, winged units have upside-down bat wings, emphathising their chaotic/demonic nature.
- Hell Hound: Hell Hounds and Cerberi.
- Order Versus Chaos: In V, VI and VII, Demons are the spawn of Urgash, the god of Chaos. Thus, they are at odds with all the other factions of Ashan, but particularly with the Necromancers, who worship Asha, the goddess of Order.
- Our Demons Are Different: Up to the fourth game they were Kreegans, Sufficiently Advanced Alien Invaders. In the Ashan universe, they're the spawn of the Dragon-God of Chaos.
- Playing with Fire: Most of their spells are Fire-based.
- The Power of Hate: Pit Fiends from VI are the minions of the Demon Overlord of Hate, and have several hate-themed abilities.
Inferno's Iconic Characters
Kha-Beleth (V, Dark Messiah, VI)
The Demon Sovereign and the Big Bad of V, where he's setting up his masterplan to create the Dark Messiah, the only one capable of liberating him from Sheogh.
- Big Bad: In V. To a lesser extent, he's this in any Ashan-related game, as he's the Demon Sovereign, and Demons are portrayed as Always Chaotic Evil monsters who want to destroy the world.
- The Chessmaster: He plans to liberate Urgash, Godof Evil, and if you don't stop him as Sareth, it'll work. The rest of the addons in V is just a sham.
- Cool Helmet: He wears a helmet with several thorns pointing upwards.
- The Corrupter: Sways both Agrael/Raelag (in V) and Kiril (in VI) to his side. Backfires both times.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's pleasant to everybody. Still he's Big Bad. and he possibly raped Isabel to sire Sareth.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: He has ominous fiery red eyes. Averted in V, where his head is covered in flames.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Heavily implied. Hunting is his favorite sport, and two-legged creatures are his favorite prey.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: To the main protagonist, Sareth in Dark Messiah.
- Obviously Evil: His ominous armor, eyes and flaming head isn't something that is typically associated with goodness.
- Satanic Archetype: Meets the criteria by the virtue of being the supreme leader of the Demons, thus being an enemy of not only the Good factions, but even the other Evil factions.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: He is unable to leave Sheogh; not that it stops his plans.
- Tin Tyrant: He's basically a red Sauron with a BFS. Less so in VI, where he gets a more "organic" armor.
- You Have Failed Me: Executes one of his minions for failing to capture Agrael/Raelag.
Anton's younger brother and Anastasya's twin, thrust against his will into the demon prison-world of Sheogh by the angel Sarah.
- Creepy Twins: Subverted. He is a Demon Lord, his sister is a Necromancer, but they are neither creepy nor evil.
- Enemy Within: "Azzie", aka Azkaal.
- Interspecies Romance: With Xana the Succubus and Sarah the Angel.
- Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Kiril shares his body and mind with the demon Azkaal.
- Take a Third Option: Instead of destroying the Invisible Library or leaving it alone, Kiril brings it to Sheogh instead, neutralizing it without facing the consequences of destroying it.
- Unwitting Pawn: To the Angels' plans. Like his twin sister.
"H3 Fortress" (III)The nation of Tatalia is home to this Fortress faction. Consisted of lizardmen and beasts from the swamps, they are the definition of a technical faction, relying very much on the abilities their creatures have. Also, when the Stronghold focus on Attack, the Fortress focus on Defense, making them another Brute Force faction. Their Might Hero is The Beastmaster, and their Magic Hero is the Witch.Not to be confused with the Heroes V faction with the same name, which is focused on the dwarves.
- Beast of Battle: All their lineup save for the Gnolls and Lizardmen, who only count as Mix-and-Match Critters.
- A Commander Is You: Technical, so very, very much. The only creatures they have that don't have any particular ability are the Gnoll and the Lizardmen.
- Deadly Gaze: The Gorgons (different from the Medusas, being based on the Dungeons & Dragons design - that is, a scaled cow) have a Death Stare that can instantly kill the top creature in the targeted stack.
- Hydra Problem: The Hydra is Fortress' most powerful unit.
- Lizard Folk: Lizardmen are one of Tatalia's major races, including its royal dynasty, many heroes, and one of the units in the Fortress faction's lineup. Speaking of the Fortress lineup, nearly all of the faction's units are reptilian, except the Gnolls (mammals) and the Serpent Flies (insects, but even they have "serpent" in their name). The Gorgons, despite looking like cows, are also covered in scales.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Wyverns.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Downplayed, but still there. Tatalia has been coexisting peacefully with Erathia for some time, but moved in to annex its western lands once Erathia was weakened by the war against Nighon and Eeofol.
Conflux (III-AB expansion)When the original Forge faction was scrapped due to fan complaints, the Conflux was introduced instead. Consisting of elemental creatures, their armies were weaker than most, but made up for it with boosted growth rates, with the Phoenix in particular being the only tier 7 creature with an initial growth rate of 2. Their Might Hero is the Planeswalker, and their Magic Hero the Elementalist.
- The Phoenix: Noted for being the fastest creature whenever appears and being immune to fire.
"H5 Fortress" (V)
- Badass Beard: On all of their units and most of their heroes (save for the women).
- Badass Grandpa: Inexplicably, all the dwarven creatures' alternative upgrades gain white beards.
- Bears Are Bad News: Bear Cavalry. Yeah, you're pretty much screwed.
- A Commander Is You: Like the old Fortress, a technical faction (thanks to Rune Magic) with a strong defense. Close to Game-Breaker.
- Fantasy Counter Part Culture: Horny Vikings
- Horse of a Different Color: Aforementioned bears, and also mammoths.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The only unit that isn't a dwarf in some way is the fire dragon. Even the Thanes are basically giant dwarves (who teleport and shoot lightning).
- Our Dragons Are Different: Very different, they're fire elementals as opposed to flesh and blood creature. They don't hit as hard as the Dungeon's dragons, and are slower and can't fly (in fact they're the slowest LV7 creature in the game), but are also the most durable creature in the game and actually damage enemies that attack them in melee.
- Playing with Fire: Their Dragon-God Arkath, the Fire Dragons and the Flame lord. This also serves as their element of choice, even if their native terrain is snow.
Fortress' Iconic Characters
Wulfstan (V-HoF and TotE)
The protagonist of the Fortress campaign in Hammer of Fate, and token dwarf. Only Sane Man among the dwarves, teams up with the Heroes.
"We strive for perfection in Shalassa's worship."The first naga and aquatic faction in the series. Their battle system is based around all aspects of water as well as honor, favoring to fight enemies one on one. Their Might Hero is the Samourai, and their Magic hero the Monk.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Their special ability is a defensive bonus triggerable when fighting enemies one-to-one.
- Dummied Out: Sanctuary was considered for inclusion into Heroes V early during development, but was cut. Some concept art◊ (apparently based on India rather than Japan) and references to the faction in the game resources in V are all that was left.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: To Japan (which explains some of the names) with some of China, Thailand, and India thrown in.
- Honor Before Reason: They prefer fighting one on one for the sake of honor, with abilities to reflect this.
- Making a Splash: They worship Shalassa, the Dragon-Goddess of Water, and have a close bond with this element.
- You Are the Translated Foreign Word: The upgrades to a few of the creatures are basically the creatures' names in Japanese. For example, the Snow Maiden becomes the Yuki Onna, which is pretty much the same thing.
- Walk on Water: A Sanctuary hero can cross water without using a boat, if their army consists of only Sanctuary units.
Sanctuary's Iconic Characters
The first daughter of the Duke of Griffin, forced to accept an Arranged Marriage with the family's long antagonist Duke Gerhart of the Wolf Duchy. Liberated by her brother Sandor, she then integrates the Sanctuary faction.
- Arranged Marriage: Leading to I Have You Now, My Pretty, leading to Groin Attack against the Duke, leading to pregnancy.
- Creator Cameo: Subverted: One of the developers is named Irina, but she joined only after the character was named.
- Determinator: Hinted in the loading screen text for her first mission. "Tether a Griffin's wings, and she'll learn to fly with her claws."
- Like a Duck Takes to Water: Literally, in her case. She quickly learns the naga customs and rises higher among them than realistically could back in the Empire. It helps that they respect beating people's faces in, whereas her father trying that is what got her married to Gerhart in the first place.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against the Wolves, especially if you choose the blood way.