Hear me, mortals, and heed me well. Whispers of forgotten lore have found my ears, the currents of time flows through my veins with every beat of my heart and bear visions of death and despair... ...As the wickedness of man takes hold of him, darkness will start to engulf his world. At first he will see nothing, only a few of the most gifted will even sense the change. The world will go on as it has, for a time, but the seed of its downfall has been sown...
A Dark Fantasymod for Civilization IV, arising from the CivFanatics Civ boards, and one of the game's most famous mods. It is vaguely based on the originator (Derek "Kael" Paxton)'s long-running Dungeons & Dragons game.After the Age of Ice, the various tribes of the world of Erebus are forming into civilizations once again, seeking to reclaim the glories of a previous age, leave their own mark upon Erebus, conquer everything in sight, or just blow it all to Hell. But untamed Erebus is not a nice place, and many of the civilizations (possibly including your own) will quite happily make it even worse.A prequel to the mod, Fall from Heaven: Age of Ice was included with the Beyond the Sword expansion for Civilization IV.You can get it here. A standalone sequel was in the works, but has now been cancelled. (see here )This mod provides examples of:
Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Compact forbids the gods from directly intervening on Erebus. By default (unless the game is set up otherwise), it's essentially an unenforceable joke; the Infernals and Mercurians will burst onto Erebus the moment that someone opens a hole for them to enter through.
The reason it's an unenforceable joke is that the gods are free to empower their human followers to act in their stead, as well as be summoned into Erebus via human-controlled magic. The aforementioned Infernals and Mercurians (as well as the Illians) take these loopholes to their logical conclusion.
All There in the Manual: Sort of. The in-game Civilopedia is less then trustworthy, but there is a PDF manual to help out newbies. And if it's a backstory question, go to the forums and ask away.
Arc Number: The numbers three and seven (and their multiple, 21) appear all over the place. There are three factions of gods (Good, Neutral, and Evil), and each faction originally had seven gods each until Bhall's fall shifted the balance towards evil.
Awesome but Impractical: Gibbon Goetia has the ability to allow you to control another faction for a while. However, your actions are limited,and since there is no way to control two civs at the same time, the AI makes a mess of your empire while you're away.
For that matter, Auric Ascended, who comes very late in the game. The real strength of the Illians are their three Priest of Winter and their Boring but Practical ability to cover the map with only-produces-food-for-you snow tiles, with cottages, gaining a fairly good Research rate.
Drifa the White Dragon also falls under this. Unlike Abashi and Eurabatres, Drifa can't be built directly, instead requiring a ritual to be completed that itself requires that you destroy at least one other civ by then. The thing is, if you're already powerful enough to destroy another civ, then you probably don't need Drifa anyway.
Blue and Orange Morality: Most angels tend to fall in this category. Specifically, Basium and his Mercurians are only 'good' in the sense that they fight demons, so that they will ally with any non-Ashen Veil civilization regardless of alignment.
Character Alignment: Civilizations start out as good, neutral or evil, which plays a large role in diplomacy. It's very hard for good and evil civilizations to get along, but not impossible. Adopting state religions can change alignment; for example, switching to Order turns a civilization Good, while the Ashen Veil turns you Evil. There are other gameplay effects of alignment; most importantly, only good or neutral factions can go for the Altar of the Luonnotar victory.
Chivalrous Pervert: Falamar. A less-than-chivalrous imposter of his attacks a woman in the opening text of one of the scenarios, only for the real Falamar to show up, kick his ass, and escort the poor girl home.
To be exact, the Octopus Overlords are "Incomprehensible Lovecraftian entities created by nightmares of a mad man, empowered by the dreams of the sleeping god of water, who has the Lord of Nightmares and Madness whispering in his ear." Yeah.
Enemy Mime: The Balseraphs have a sword-wielding mime unit called a Mimic.
Entropy and Chaos Magic: both entropy and chaos are names of spell schools. Entropy magic is associated with slower decay, with spells such as wither and rust. Chaos magic is associated with randomness and energy, with spells like Dance of Blades and mutate, providing random bonuses.
Evil Versus Oblivion: The Infernals and Sheaim want the world to burn, while most of the other evil factions want to rule it (or else just run around plundering everything, like barbarians do).
Even Dark Fantasy Has Standards: As a meta-example, the lore and scenarios pack a lot of dark material into the game, but at least one story ended up on the cutting room floor. Originally, the "Cavern of Trials" scenario was going to be played out by a teenage Amurite girl named Tya Kiri. She goes through the trials guided by the spirit of a young boy, who she learns later is actually the soul of her unborn child who she didn't know she was pregnant with. Unfortunately, the trials put so much stress on her body that she miscarries, after having gotten to know and love her child. According to Kael, the original story was so sad that the team re-wrote it so that another Amurite leader would take Tya's place.
In-game, any faction can study the Infernal Pact technology, which gives some great benefits...and summons Hyborem into the world. Hyborem and his Infernals want to see evil people die and become productive citizens of his empire.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: Quite a few: The Black Tower from one of the scenarios, and the Tower of Eyes and Tower of Complacency wonders.
Fallen Angel: Let's see... Agares, God of Hope, and the six others angels who rebelled against the One. Bhall, Goddess of Fire, who lately joined them (with collateral damage). All the good angels who did the same.
And, for non evil equivalents, Cassiel, who wanted the gods to end completely their war and deliberately falls, and Basium and the Mercurians, who pursue theexactoppositegoal.
Cernunnos, former Archangel of Sucellus and now Angel of Growth and progressive change. Associated with Nature mana and the Ljosalfar. The Fellowhship of Leaves worships nature as a whole, so he has a prominent place in this religion, among various gods.
Then we have Basium, the leader of the Mercurians. He likes killing demons. And people who associate with demons. And people who use magic of a vaguely demonic nature. And anyone who's been in the same room as a demon at some point in time. And good people, but that's for a different reason: he wants them to return as angels to fight on his side.
And he subverts it too, as he knows that the Underworld is far better for the innocents than any evil god's Vault.
The entire Bannor civilization is based on this trope. They are dedicated to destroying evil wherever they find it, and they tend to favor the Order religion.
Such a problem, in fact, that Agares commissioned Esus, God of Deception to build a Hell for would-be escapees who didn't quite make it. In it, his Master of Illusion minions create a Lotus-Eater Machine version of Erebus, and try to fool the trapped into thinking Erebus is even more of a World Half Empty then it actually is, so that they end up going back to the more honest Hells on their own. What happens to people who figure out the ruse is not explained, though This Troper suspects they become Badass BookwormsOut Of Hell.
The Mercurians Angels are also like this: they were hunting daemons in hell for aeons, before you or another player summon them on Erebus.
Hero Killer: Anyone with the Nether Blade (initially the Sidar hero Rathus Denmora) gains a whopping +80% strength bonus against other heroes. In-story, it also works nicely against Auric Ulvin, though not without side-effects...
Hero Unit: Not usually a representation of the player, but very useful and capable of turning the tide of battle.
The domination spell is a better example, gameplay-wise, since it takes the unit over, instead of just stopping it for a turn.
Nay-Theist: The Grigori won't generally argue the gods don't exist, they just refuse to worship them. Their leader is an archangel who quit heaven because he refused to accept Gods having a right to meddle in human affairs.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The campaign ends with Auric Ulvin killed. Too bad, it was with a sword who brings is soul right to Laroth, who can now have the informations he needs to become the new God of Death.
Norse Mythology: The Ljósálfar (light elves) and the Svartálfar (black elves), although their backstory reveals that they used to be one race before their civil war.
Numerological Motif: Twenty-one gods, twenty-one civilizations, twenty-one Magic Spheres. As you can guess, they are related in some way or another.
Omniscient Morality License: Sabathiel: "His mind appeared to work on an entirely different plane. While humans had to stumble through their choices, hoping the one they made was the best possible, the angel simply knew. He was capable of total mercilessness, of deceit and exquisite cruelty, but the results of an action commanded by Sabathiel would always be better than any alternative course of action could have brought. The angel, however heartless and wrong he seemed at the time, was always right."
One-Hit Kill: The Godslayer does this to, well, gods. It was created when the gods formed The Compact, where all 21 of them agreed that the sword would be allowed to do this if they ever broke it, which didn't work out well for Mulcarn. In-game, it's the easiest way to deal with AuricAscended.
Our Angels AreAx-Crazy: The Mercurians, rogue angels who fell for the sole purpose of hunting demons. They don't much care about humans who happen to be in the way.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Khazad are isolationists who love their gold, have a slight taste for Steam Punk, build the best siege engines in the game, and are completely useless with magic. The Luchuirp have never actually lived underground, also love Steam Punk, and use golems for everything, including and especially war.
Our Orcs Are Different: The orcs of Fall From Heaven are physically like Blizzard orcs (WITH SPIKES!), and culturally straddle the line between Blizzard and Tolkien variants; the Clan of Embers is slightly more the former, the barbarians more the latter. Jonas Endain of the Clan is almost a counterpart to Thrall, except evil.
Really 700 Years Old: Cardith Lorda, who is basically possessed by the soul of a dragon and doesn't physically age beyond ten.
Reforged Blade: The Godslayer; indeed, the main point of the 'Age of Ice' scenario is to seek out the scattered fragments of the Godslayer, since only that weapon can bring down Mulcarn, the God of Winter. The actual reforging is passed over lightly, and was apparently performed by Kylorin the Archwizard himself — so presumably, it was magical in nature, rather than involving hammers and anvils. Of course, considering the intense magic held in those shards, it may have just spontaneously reassembled itself when all the pieces were gathered in one place.
Religion of Evil: The Ashen Veil. Octopus Overlords and the Council of Esus also qualify quite often.
That said, he's a pretty nice guy. The Empyrean code he lives by is one of the more tolerant religions in the game universe (as opposed to the Order), so as long as you're not a demon worshiper or other enemy of Good, you're safe with him around.
Soulsaving Crusader: Basium is a deconstruction of this. After they die, good people go to Heaven and evil people go to Hell. Therefore, killing good people gets them to their eternal reward, while killing evil people puts them where they belong anyway. So, why not kill everyone off as quickly as possible?
Soul Jar: Tebryn Arbandi makes one out of Abashi the Black Dragon.
Story And Gameplay Segregation: The two are kept in separate corners and forbidden to speak to each other on pain of death. Nothing prevents you from playing lore-wise pacifistic nations as greedy conquerors, and vice versa.
They do manage to whisper to each other, on occasion. For example, in the civilopedia, Ethne The White has a dream in which she discusses morality with Hyborem. He asks her if she would be willing to push one man into the path of a werewolf to save five others. It happens that a random event can ask the player to make the same choice.
Also, the scenarios included with the main mod are more scripted.
Summon Bigger Fish: The Infernals cannot come to Erebus until summoned by an existing faction, but Hyborem owes no loyalty to his summoner, and may in fact decide that his summoner's people will serve better as Manes.
Tarot Motifs - actually more of a Themed Tarot Deck minigame. Rather than the four suits of ten cards of the minor arcana and regular cards, there are tens suits of four (numbered three to seven). The suits are Angels, Demons and Dragons, and the remaining seven use a Tarot image and are paired with one of the game's religions. There are four specials cards, Death and three Jokers Fools.
Technical Pacifist: Corlindale will quickly become this if the player knows what he is doing.
Tech Tree: It's a Civilization mod, what do you expect? Differs from the original game's by having a greater variety of shorter, more specialised 'branches'.
The player is also free to do this with any of the evil civilizations by adopting a good-aligned religion to alter their alignment. Some civs, like the Clan of Embers, actually fare pretty well with this strategy, since the Runes of Kilmorph and the Orderplay to the Clan's strengths far more than any of the evil religions.
Too Awesome to Use: A few faction-specific heroes can end up being this, usually by being at the end of the tech tree, hilariously expensive or not awesome ''enough'' to use compared to more conventional units you could be pumping out. The debate could be out on Auric Ascended, who requires no less than two high-tech projects to create (one of which halves your population and makes every other civ declare war on you), but can easily have almost triple the strength of any unit in the game. Needless to say, you should stop caring about the effects of The Draw at that point.