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.
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: for both Heroes 1 and 2, the only non-humans in the Knight faction are a few scattered heroes, none of the troops have any magical ability, and the heroes themselves only have it 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 through on his own.
White Magic: Usually a 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...
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 did reclaim 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 in 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.
Queen of Erathia, Roland's wife, and Big Good of the third game, where she leads the good factions to liberate Erathia from multiple invaders after her father's death. She ultimately has to fight him, after he was resurrected as lich by the Necromancers and took their control. She ultimately appeases her undead father and ends the war by finding and letting him kill the traitor Lord Haart, who assassinated the king in the first place. She reappears in Armaggeddon's Blade, this time fighting against the demon Kreegans as they try to create and use the titular Artifact of Doom.
The founder and king of the little kingdom of Palaedra, populated by the refugee of Erathia after their original world was destroyed, and that they had to flee to another planet. The Heroes IV's The True Blade campaign deal with him searching the titular sword, a sign of appartenance to the Griffonheart family that an imposter, Sir Worton, claims to have, challenging Lysander for the throne.
Sadistic Choice: Having to choose between asking the Oracle of the Dawn either where are his lost siblings, or who the imposter Worton's true parents are.
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.
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.
Tomato in the Mirror: The campaign ends with Lysander accidentally drawing the sword from its sheath, thus proving that he is himself a Griffonheart.
Nicolai's uncle, charged by Isabel to call for help from Wizards and Elves, much to his dismay. Reappears later in the campaign to form a Four Man Band with the Wizard Zehir, the Ranger Findan and the Warlock Raelag. Killed by fake!Isabel in Hammers of Fate. A younger version of him appears in Clash Of Heroes. He is Freyda's father and commander.
Godric's daughter and a major Haven character in Hammers of Fate. After serving under fake!Isabel, she defects and takes the rebels' side. In the end of Tribes of the East, Isabel makes her the next Queen, starting the Unicorn dynasty.
Barbarian's Town (I, II) / Stronghold (III, IV, V-TotE expansion, VI)
"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.
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!".
One-Man Army: The Barbarian Hero in the fourth game, even moreso than the other heroes.
Mayincatec: In VI. In V, they were closer to Mongols.
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.
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.
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).
"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 ressurecting him as a hero in any Antagarich's factions, charged to perform various heroic deeds. Tarnum eventually atoned, taking a young 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 presumately killed by a warlord. Waerjak eventually find him Back from the Dead, and Tarnum reveal to him his past and how he finally redeemed himself but chose to stay among the mortals.
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.
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.
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 Bad Ass enough to pull it off.
Warlock's Town (I, II) / Dungeon (III, V, VI SoD) / 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.
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.
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.
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.
Anti-Magic: 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.
Breath Weapon: Actually effects how their attacks work, hitting units adjacent to whatever they're attacking.
Lightening Bruiser: Main reason why they're so dangerous, they are among, or are the most durable creature, hit really hard (usually dealing the most damage of any creature in the game, the main reason they're strongest overall creature) and while not the fastest creature, are still right up there.
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.
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 canonnically lost, and was Taken for Granite, until the PCs in Might and Magic VI freed himso 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.
A young woman from Nighon who took advantage of the infighting among the various Overlords to seize power for herself. After defeating Ordwald with the aid of the Vial of Dragon's Blood, she sought to conquer all of the dragons.
"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.
The protagonist of the Inferno and Dungeon campaign in V, Raelag starts out as Agrael, the (secretly elven) Dragon of the Big Bad Kha-Beleth, charged to kill Nicolai, and succeedding at the end of the Haven campaign. But, in love with Isabel, he betrays his master and comes in contact with the Spirit Advisor Tieru, who reveals to him the Dark Messiah prophecy, and purges him of his demonic influence. Later, we play as Raelag at his rise to power after his return among the Dark Elves, and his tentative to foil Kha-Beleth's schemes.
The 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).
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.
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.
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.
Necromancer's Town (II) / Necropolis (III, IV, V, VI)
"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.
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.
Dual Mode Unit: They switch from six legs and two arms (with ranged attacks) to two legs and six arms (efficient in melee)
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.
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.
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 mentionned as The Mentor of Markal and several necromancers, sadly Killed Off for Real.He got his own DLC campaign for VI called "Danse Macabre"
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Necromancer proposing to Isabel to revive her husband King Nicolai, after he was killed by Agrael, while his real aim his to avenge the death of his master Sandro, killed by the Wizards.
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.
Wizard's Town (II) / Tower (III) / Academy (IV, V)
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 Their native terrain in II was Wasteland rather than Desert, but a blasted wasteland is another sort of desert, 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.
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.
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.
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-slayingsword can't kill him. But it's sufficient to leave him in a catatonic state, presumably forever.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 cleaning up the mess left by the other heroes. He even lampshades it.
The Legions of Hell faction, composed of various demons, most icconically imps, cerberi and devils. Since the fifth episode (though the fourth already had some flavorful spells), they relies heavily on demons' summoning. Generally considered one of the weakest factions in term of stats, and due to lacking flyers and shooters. Their Might Hero is the Demoniac/Demonlord and their Magic Hero the Heretic.
A Commander Is You: Spammer faction in V and VI, where their racial ability, 'Gating', allows them to summon reinforcements to the field.
Always Chaotic Evil: So far, the only Demon hero not completely evil has been Suraze in IV (who only works with the protaganist because he realised his old boss intended to betray him). The other Inferno heroes in this case were Agrael (secretely a Dark Elf) and Kiril (Human).
Big Bad: In V, the faction and characters related to it serve as the main villain throughout the main game and both its expansions, with even Dungeon and Necropolis, the series' other long time villains, fighting against them.
Even Evil Has Standards: It's implied there are some things even the Kreegans won't do, as evidenced by the descriptions of one of the human deathknights in IV; she's capable of evil deeds that 'even the demons balk at'.
Order Versus Chaos: In V and VI, demons are the spawn of Urgash, the god of Chaos. This puts them in opposition to all the other factions of Ashan, but particularly the necromancers who worship Asha, the goddess of Order.
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.
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.
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.
A faction of dwarves exclusive to Ashan. Their heroes use a special magic, Rune magic, that uses resources and can be applied to creatures throughout battle. As is expected of the dwarves, they specialize in defense, with several abilities nodding to this. Their Hero is the Runemage.
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 LV 7 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.
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.
Dummied Out, What Could Have Been: 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.
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.
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.