Video Game / Disciples
is a series of Turn-Based Strategy High Fantasy
computer games set in the land of Nevendaar, a somewhat gothic Standard Fantasy Setting
with four (and later five) main powers.
All units travel in parties which the player hires in cities. Each party consists of at least one unit, and at least one of these units is a leader unit, hired on their own at considerable more expense than other units, though they're usually more powerful anyways. All leader units have a leadership stat that determines how many other units can travel in their party
The first game is Disciples: Sacred Lands
. It featured the "First Great War", where the first four main factions of the game duke it out.Disciples II: Dark Prophecy
is a turn-based strategy game developed by Strategy First. It takes place a decade after the first, and, depending on the campaign you choose, follows the Empire's rebellion
and the discovery of an heir to the Empire, or it follows the aftermath of the Legions' attempt to free their god, or it follows the Undead's attempt to resurrect Mortis' old lover, or it follows the Clans' attempts to rebuild and keep it together. It has three Expansion Packs
, the first two of which, named Servants of the Dark and Guardians of the Light, mainly add new campaigns and units, and the third of which, Rise of the Elves, made the elves playable
and added a campaign for them.Disciples III: Renaissance
was developed by an altogether different company than the original and released almost a decade after its predecessor. It increased the number of RPG Elements
, changed the battle system to a hex-based grid where some tiles can't be passed through and others convey bonuses
, and whether it's good or not divides the fanbase. There was a campaign for the three races featured that made it into the game; the Empire, the Damned, and the Elves. The campaign centers around Inoel, an angel sent on an important mission by the Highfather. An expansion pack bringing back the Undead called "Resurrection" was released later on. Another release, called "Reincarnation", combines the plot of "Renaissance" and "Resurrection" into one package, reworks the gameplay in some parts and adds a few new elements, as well as putting the Mountain Clans back in the game.
The series as a whole contains examples of:
- Altum Videtur: The Legion's spells, and a lot of their unit's chatter, is in Latin.
- Ambiguous Gender: The Empire Acolyte wears a lot of robes and has a hood over their face, and so can pass for a young boy or girl. This is probably intentional; it can upgrade into either the male priest or female cleric line. The Legion's Cultist unit wears a face-concealing mask and white robes and can likewise upgrade into either the male sorcerer or female witch, but has a decidedly-male voice. This could just be because Evil Sounds Deep, however.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Both used and subverted. Each party can only have so many units in it, which is decided by the party leader's "Leadership" trait (which upgrades rarely), but there's no limit on parties except for money.
- The Legions get hit with this hardest, since they have more large units (Their Support and Archery lines, and their special units) than other races.
- Backstory: Apparently created for Disciples II's last expansion, and rarely referenced in the game. Can really only be found on the internet. Specifically, here.
- Boring but Practical: The Legion's melee line, which lacks the awesome potential of the Empire and Undead lines, but has a nice 50% daily regeneration effect on their best fighters. Also, the Legion's Counselor leader; he's nothing special, but he's the only traditional archer the Legions have got, since their Archery line consists of sturdier, but more expensive and large-sized Gargoyles.
- Came Back Wrong: Solionelle, AKA, Mortis.
- Combat Tentacles: The Beast, Tiamat, and Kraken units.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Highfather of the Empire.
- Demonic Possession: Most of the front-line infantry for the Legions of the Damned are humans possessed by demons. And a few of the other Legion units probably qualify as well.
- Dem Bones: Some neutral units and of course many of the Undead Hordes' units. Every Undead cutscene only shows skeletons.
- Difficult but Awesome: The Mountain Clans, being slower and having some very unusual unit development (for example, their Mage line units don't fight, but their other three lines can all develop to hit the entire enemy party, like Mages) are harder to work with than other races, until you get used to them. Once you do, they can be a serious force to contend with.
- Disproportionate Retribution: After the angel Bethrezen creates the world of Nevendaar and populates it (with the help of other gods) with living beings, he goes to fetch the Highfather to show him the world, leaving the other angels in charge. The jealous angels sabotage Nevendaar, so that, when the Highfather sees it, it is engulfed by war. Without bothering to find out what happened, the Highfather punishes Bethrezen by sealing him for eternity in the molten core of his own world. No wonder Bethrezen grows bitter and insane, becoming this world's equivalent of The Devil.
- Elemental Powers: All factions tend to focus on 1 or 2 of the following: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Death, Life, Mind and Weapon (the last is less an Element than it is the absence of an element, it is used for most Unit's melee/archery attacks).
- Empire is Air (Lightning), and Life (healing).
- Legion is mainly Fire with some Mind thrown in.
- Mountain Clans is Water (Ice) and Earth.
- Undead Hordes is mainly Death.
- Elven Alliance is the most scattered, with the most prevalent being Air.
- Evil Versus Evil: Almost everywhere. The Demons and Undead regularly fight each other, the campaigns sometimes give them civil wars, and many neutral or evil factions of the "Good Races" will fight each other or the Demons/Undead constantly.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: Heard very frequently as part of overworld music tracks
- Fisher King: The landscape changes to reflect who controls territory. The Empire's territory are healthy green fields, Demon territory is hellish with lava pools and magma, Undead territory is dead shriveled up dirt and trees, Dwarf territory is covered in snow. The Elven territory is even greener fields.
- Giant Spider: There's one monster like this in the first game, and two monsters in the second.
- Grim Dark: This series does a very good job of bringing the mood of a dark world. The soundtrack (and the sound effects in general) are especially awesome in this regard.
- Healing Potion: Several, of varying strengths.
- The Horde: Undead Hordes as playable. A few of the neutral factions come off this way as well, especially the Greenskins (Goblins).
- Infinity+1 Element: Life element, due to the fact no unit in the game can have any form of immunity to it. For player-controlled units, Life element tends to come in the form of healing or buffing, but capitol guardians and super-bosses will also use it for unpreventable attacks.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: The Empire, which is the most straight-forward race. They possess what is possibly the strongest melee line, a solid archery line and an average mage line, but most of all have Healers. The Elven Alliance arguably also qualify, but switch the melee and archery line around in terms of strength.
- Lethal Joke Character: The Undead Horde's Nosferatu leader, who at first seems like a joke since his attack deals a mere 10 damage (although it does hit all enemies). Level him up enough, however, and he turns out to be a mage who can easily stand in the front row and is nearly impossible to kill, since his attacks also drain life. If only he had the overflow version like Elder Vampires...
- Level Editor
- Lightning Bruiser: The Capital Guardians are universally Nigh Invulnerable and hit for massive damage, though they can never leave the Capital. It takes a lot of effort to kill them.
- Lizard Folk: One of two "Marshdweller" monsters.
- Lord British Postulate: With lots of Level Grinding and serious abuse of stacked buffs, it's possible to kill the Capital Guardian units.
- Love Makes You Evil: Solionelle's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Wotan for his attack on Gallean, which caused her to turn into Mortis.
- Mighty Glacier: The Mountain Clans are all about this trope; their units are always tougher in damage and HP than equivalent ones of other races, but they're also slower.
- Nightmare Face: High-level demons qualify. Also, the Wight.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted in all games.
- The Medic: Imperial and Elven healing units.
- Our Dragons Are Different: There are several different types of dragons in the series. They mainly differentiate by their color and attack type, although some have more HP than others. The Undead also have reanimated some dragons for use as heavy hitters.
- Our Elves Are Better: Mostly Wood Elves in earlier series (with occasional High Elves), though from the second game's last expansion, High Elves begin to show up just as often.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Mermaids are pretty much just monsters who swim around and eat people.
- Our Orcs Are Different: The Greenskins race appears to include not only orcs but also goblins and trolls, despite goblins not actually having green skin. Besides ordinary orcs, there are also Orc Kings, who are much tougher and, according to their description, are smarter than the average orc.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Both vampires and elder vampires have very pale skin, the elder vampire also possessing glowing red eyes. Vampires can, however, be exposed to sunlight with no ill effects. They still drain life.
- Based from the notes they are humans who reject the words of the highfather but didn't worship demons either thus turning into these.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves are immune to Weapon damage (i.e. non-magical attacks), thus requiring the use of magic. Fortunately, any decent party will have at least one caster, and the front-line units can be set to "Guard", giving them a defense stat boost.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Undead Hordes are created by Mortis for exactly this purpose.
- RPG Elements: All units get Experience Points and level up, and the leaders are able to select equipment to boost their stats or give them abilities, and will be able to choose new skills after leveling.
- The Corruption: Watch how the cultist, the basic mages in the Legion slowly turn into a Demonlogist to a Modeus.
- The Legions of Hell: As a major playable faction.
- Vendor Trash: In the form of ancient relics, precious gems, and jewelry.
- The Witch Hunter: The Empire unit Squire can be upgraded to Witch Hunter, which is resistant against magical attacks. They are dressed in the garb usually associated with these kind of characters.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: God of Evil is deconstructed since the "evil" gods only became evil because their "good" compatriots were jerks who treated them like garbage. This does not apply to their followers. Bethrezen's Legions of the Damned are by far the nastiest faction who gleefully corrupt and slaughter in Bethrezen's name and The Undead Hordes are utterly ruthless while following Mortis' will.
Sacred Lands contains examples of:
- No Canon for the Wicked: Semi-averted, seeing as the ending of the Legions has Bethrezen breaking free and all non-demons being made into slaves or corpses, you can sort of see why the sequels didn't canonize it. Dark Prophecy instead used a mixture of the Empire (which is basically the exact opposite) and Legions endings; the demons DID succeed in allowing Bethrezen to possess the imperial heir, but the Empire and Mountain Clans sealed Bethrezen in the mines where the ritual was performed.
- The Undead ending is a full aversion though, it involves the death of the Mountain Clans High King, and is completely canon; the event is even mentioned halfway through the Mountain Clan campaign and causes major issues for them even ten years later.
Dark Prophecy contains examples of:
- Aggressive Negotiations: In the Rise of the Elves expansion, this has a tendency to happen whenever the elves and humans try to sit across the table from each other and make peace.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: For some unexplained reason, the ladies of the eleven royal lines are all blue-skinned.
- Badass Grandpa: The higher-form human and dwarf units tend to be old men. It does nothing to stop them from being several times more powerful than their younger forms. Excusable for the dwarves, cause they're dwarves.
- Big Bad: Uther and Demon Uther for the Legions of the Damned and Empire respectively, as well as Niddhogg for the Mountain Clans and the elves for The Undead Hordes and vice versa
- Book Ends: The beginning of the Legions' Dark Prophecy campaign relates how the demons have a different, and much more extreme measure of pain than humans do. The end of the same campaign mentions that their view of the flow of time is also much different.
- Came Back Wrong: Gymner Cloudkeeper. His dad doesn't... take it well.
- Combat Exclusive Healing: Priests and other healing units can only restore hit points during combat, requiring a slow health recovery between battles. However, the healer may still act during a round if all enemies are killed before the healer's turn.
- Combat Medic: Elder Vampires distribute drained life points among the injured allies.
- Demonic Possession: Bethrezen does this to Uther. Or tries to at least; turns out Uther only got part of Bethrezen's evil and power crammed into him, but not Bethrezen himself
- Enemy Civil War: Demon Legions divide between loyal to Bethrezen and loyal to Uther, Undead Hordes fight the ones who breaks from Mortis influence under leadership of Bone Lord.
- The Narrator actually brings up the Enemy Civil War in the epilogue of the Legion's Dark Prophecy campaign; that it served to keep many innocents out of harm's way.
- Expansion Pack: Three. Two of them, Servants of the Dark and Guardians of the Light, add campaigns for half the original four races (the evil and good races respectively), some units, and some missions, while the third, Rise of the Elves, adds a fifth race, elves.
- The first two are actually one expansion, Gallean's Return, which was released in two separate packs at first.
- Game-Breaking Bug: In addition to the regular elf campaign, the Rise of the Elves expansion gives them a bonus campaign. One mission requires you to protect a diplomat. He then turns on you, requiring you to kill him. Problem is, the programmers forgot to disable the Escort Mission at this point, leaving you to lose by killing him or lose by letting him kill all your men.
- The Heavy: Uther, in Dark Prophecy. He's only the Big Bad during the Empire and Legions sagas, but his return to the land kicks off the events that begins the majority of the plot.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the final mission of the Empire's campaign in the Gallean's Return expansion, the demon Nebiros taunts the heroes by claiming that as long as Bethrezen's Well is standing, the Infernal Plague will ravage the land. The heroes then exclaim that destroying the Well is the key to saving the world. Nebiros has a moment of Visible Silence when he realizes that he just told the heroes what they needed to do to stop the evil plan.
- One-Woman Wail: Mortis is still crying, and you can hear it as part of the background noise for the undead.
- Only Sane Man: Morok is the only person to see through Uther's deception, but it's dismissed as paranoia when it's first brought up.
- Shout-Out: The cheat codes are titles of famous rock songs ("ANOTHERBRICKINTHEWALL", PAINTITBLACK", "COMETOGETHER", etc).
- Stand Alone Episode: The Mountain Clans' saga in Dark Prophecy. The Empire, Legions and Undead Hordes' sagas all effect each other in certain ways (The hordes attacking the elves, the hordes constantly searching for Uther), but the Clans go off by themselves by their fourth chapter.
- Stripperiffic: The elf queen Taladrielle. Little more than a stiff breeze would be required to reveal her nipples. Her successors all dress more modestly.
- Villain Protagonist: The player during the Undead and Legion's campaign in any of the games and during the Elven campaign in Rise of the Elves.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Uther does this to you towards the end of the Empire and Legion campaigns
Renaissance contains examples of:
- Apocalypse Maiden: Inoel
- Back Stab: Ferre kills Haar-huus this way after the latter exhausts himself after defeating Bethrezen's Avatar.
- Corrupt Church: The Imperial Inquisition.
- Development Hell: The game was a long time in the making. When it was first released, it was in Russian and an Obvious Beta. It took over half a year for an English version to come out.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Even despite being released six months later outside Russia, it came with some nasty bugs, including one that would have you spontaneously start playing your opponents in singleplayer.
- Geo Effects: Certain hexes of the map will double the strength of one of the three types of attacks.
- Healing Spring: The world map's fountains function like this.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the ending of the Renaissance portrays Lambert, several human soldiers and elves to save their world from the total destruction. All is save as it was said.
- Jerkass Gods: The revelations in this game reveal that all of the gods except, oddly enough, the Satan expy Bethrezen and Mortis are Jerkass Gods what with them wanting to destroy the world and start over.
- There were hints of this earlier, though — the Highfather's Disproportionate Retribution against Bethrezen for something he didn't even do, without bothering to find out what actually happened first. Wotan's murder of Gallean for daring to suggest that the Mountain Clans should be punished for unprovoked slaughter of Elven refugees they mistook for invaders. Gallean's rejection of Mortis after she went through hell to revive him.
- Lava Adds Awesome: Seems to be the entire design philosophy behind the reworked Demons, the omnious latin and gothic feel having been entirely replaced with lava effects and spikes.
- Redemption Equals Death: Haar-huus
- Start of Darkness: During Haar-huus' campaign you play through his transformation from noble Elven warrior to demonic servant thousands of years ago.
- You Shall Not Pass: Lambert make his last stand as he try to prevent the demons from passing to the gate where Inoelle just left.