You have inherited the crown of The Kingdom of Ardania, a Medieval European Fantasy kingdom with a surplus of heroes but a desperate need of an inspired leader to lead them to victory. Taking up the throne of Ardania, it is your duty as Sovereign to forge alliances with the other races, placate the gods, hire heroes to defend your kingdom, and send them on quests to drive back the Always Chaotic Evil monsters that threaten Ardania's borders.Released by Cyberlore in 2000, Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim portrays a typical fantasy RPG world from a slightly different angle. The game can probably best be described as a city-building Sim with Real-Time Strategy and RPG Elements, but that doesn't quite encompass the extent of the gameplay. The player is cast as the Sovereign of Ardania, a deliberately stereotypical fantasy kingdom, and is given complete control over construction, taxation, research, and the hiring of heroes to defend the realm.Gameplay starts with the player in control of their palace. From here, they can send out peasants to construct new buildings, including guardhouses for the Redshirt Army, shops, and guilds, temples, and enclaves for other races. The last three all allow the player to hire heroes, the bulk of the game's units. Uniquely, Majesty does not allow the player to command their heroes directly - heroes will act intelligently based on their artificial intelligence, shopping and going hunting on their own time, but they can be enticed to act by placing bounties on specific enemies.Although the player can cast a few unique spells, the bulk of the gameplay is based at the grand strategic level, where the player must make important strategic decisions. Only one non-human species can be brought to the city, due to Elves VS Dwarves - should it be the industrious gnomes, the stout dwarves, or the graceful and silver-tongued elves? Many temples are also mutually exclusive, so the player much choose his religious affiliations carefully. The game plays out in a unique fashion, with a clever sense of humor and a well-developed backstory.An expansion back, appropriately titled The Northern Expansion, was released in 2002; it was released with the original game in a box set called Majesty Gold. A sequel, Majesty Legends, was in development, but was eventually canceled. Paradox has since acquired the rights to the franchise, and Majesty 2 is out now.A version of Majesty has been recently developed for cell phones and iOS Games, by Herocraft and Paradox Interactive. To save on memory, it cuts out and/or fuses the functions of many aspects of the original Majesty; for example, you can only build temples to Agrela, Krypta, or Krolm, and they're all mutually exclusive. Additionally, you can no longer hire gnomes, their dwelling instead providing a one-time reduction to construction time on all buildings on the map, although it still prevents you from hiring elves or dwarves, and several types of heroes, such as rogues, are removed entirely. This version takes, if possible, an even more tongue-in-cheek look at the stereotypical fantasy setting than the original version did, replacing the graphics with cartoony sprites and adding a number of blatant references (your wizards can randomly be named Gandalf). The campaign is significantly shorter as well, comprising a handful of linearly unlocked missions.Apart from the main games, numerous spin-off games set in the same universe have been released. The first one, Defenders of Ardania, is a tower defense and offense game. The second, Warlock: Master of the Arcane, is a turn-based 4X game in the style of Master of Magic, and is considered a Spiritual Successor of that game. There's a third spinoff game titled Impire (no, that is not a typo) which borrows gameplay elements from Dungeon Keeper. It was released on February 14, 2013.Both the main games and the spinoffs can be bought at Steam.
In the sequel (which has better 3D graphics), the elves are clearly female, with large assets. The other heroes are also changed a little: all rogues are now female (however, you can upgrade them to assassins which look male, but don't speak, so it's hard to tell), and the clerics are female too (upgradable to priestesses for Krypta and Agrela), while paladins now upgrade from fighters, and thus will always be male.
AFGNCAAP: Your character is only ever addressed as "Sovereign."
All There in the Manual: Literally. The manual contains a lot of vignettes about life in Ardania. Additionally, flavor text is provided for all buildings and units. You can literally click on just about anything from treasure chests to a random pack of magical flowers and immediately get a explanation of its mechanical benefits and flavor.
Taken Up to Eleven in the sequel with Lunord's Uprising. It's an event that changed the entire world of Ardania and you can only learn about it by reading flavor texts of the some temple units.
An Economy Is You: Unique twist: You don't play as the adventurer, you play as the guy who sells stuff to the adventurers. They get gold from killing monsters and spend it at your shops and that's where your income comes from.
Apathy Killed the Cat: The tax collectors and builders are programmed to neither question nor flee the waves of Always Chaotic Evil monsters and are usually among the first to die when the land is invaded. This is improved in Majesty 2, where the peasants and tax collectors will attempt to flee if they are in danger. They still die in droves though, I hope you like that "AHH! *ching ching*" sound!
Apocalyptic Log: Subverted in "The Ranger's Tale" on the original Majesty website. The ranger's journal entries get increasingly more despondent as he's stalked by Rrongol the Hunter and he closes with hoping that the journal can serve as a warning to others. The next entry starts with "Rrongol's roasted flesh was a little gamey..." Two of his guildsmen showed up in the nick of time.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Subverted. You yourself cannot go destroy the dark castle of the liche queen, dragons, minotaurs, etc.; you must coax your heroes into destroying the dark castle of the liche queen, dragons, minotaurs, etc., and whatever offensive and defensive spells you can cast are done under the paid auspices of your hero's guilds.
Awesome, but Impractical: Direct damage spells, for the most part. Being able to deal damage to any monster on the map is always nice... but they have to be spammed like crazy to have any real effect, which will eat through even a 10000+ gold reserve like popcorn. And if you try using them on a monster with magic resistance, about half of those will be negated anyway. Wizard guild spells particularly so, since they have a limited range to begin with.
Earthquake too. It's the only way to deal direct damage to buildings other than Lightning Bolt (which suffers from all the problems of wizard guild spells), and deals a rather large amount of damage at that. However, while the cost is manageable, it has an incredibly long cooldown before it or any sorcerer spells are available again. Since Change of Heart is a vital spell for getting yourheroes out of trouble, it's generally a bad idea to incapacitate yourself for such a long period of time. Plus it runs the risk of damaging your own buildings if you place the earthquake too close to your kingdom...
Temples to Krolm. Barbarians are one of the best melee fighters in the game, with damage exceeding that of paladins, and the ability to go into a Non-Lethal K.O. instead of dying. Rage of Krolm is a very potent spell, too. However, if you build it, you can't build any other temple, meaning you give up almost all the spells in the game and a ton of heroes that mostly fulfill unique roles. Most of the time, that's simply too steep of a price. In the times when multiplayer was played, most players banned the use of Krolm, despite how big of a crutch Krolm is.
Adepts, usually. They constantly use speed charms on themselves, making them the fastest characters in the game, and have incredibly good stats to boot. Unfortunately, they spend most of the time patrolling your palace, so they rarely put their skills to good use by, say, exploring or fighting monsters. And even when they do get into a fight, they're extremely cowardly, usually fleeing after a single hit. Once they get a few levels under their belts they shape up, especially in the Northern Expansion, which gives them the ability to teleport anywhere on the map, turning them into something of a magical SWAT team.
Ax-Crazy: Warriors of Discord are insane to the point of stupidity and are quite bloodthirsty. They wear leather "armor" and use a Blade on a Stick
Back from the Dead: A fully upgraded Temple to Agrela or Krypta will grant you resurrection spells. This is useful, as resurrected heroes keep their level intact.
The sequel shifts the resurrection function to a graveyard building, eliminating the need to invest heavily into high level temples to access that ability. However, graveyards are placed automatically the first time a hero dies, and periodically spawn animated skeletons and zombies.
Healers do this when killed. Once per gained level.
One of the perks of Barbarians is their ability to turn death into a Non-Lethal K.O..
Bears Are Bad News: Hellbears are easily capable of killing low-level heroes. Inverted for the cultists of Fervus, though; at higher levels, they gain the ability to transform into hellbears, greatly increasing their health, attack speed, and damage.
The Beastmaster: Higher level cultists can charm most animal and animal-like mooks. Priestesses can do similar with undead, as well as often creating their own skeleton mooks.
The Berserker: As explained in Too Dumb to Live, below, all the heroes can be this, but some more than others. Barbarians and warriors of discord are infamous for doing nothing but — they're strong, but they'll die the moment they hit something they can't take because they never back down.
Blade on a Stick: The weapon of choice for the Redshirt Army, as well as Ratman Champions and Goblin Overlords. The Warriors of Discord use weapons that are literally called "blade-sticks,". though they look more like scythes.
Dragons are also extremely difficult to kill and can two-shot even high-level heroes, though they aren't as common.
Dragons are actually perfect for level grinding Priestesses - fighting a dragon gives a lot of experience, and since their Breath Weapon is of "ranged" category, skeletons are almost immune to it. Unless a Priestess actually wanders somewhere alone and gets killed, her skeletons will Zerg Rush any dragon and slowly kill it.
Vampires. They have relatively low health, but because of their life drain spell they can take a long time to kill. Additionally, they have the magic mirror spell, making wizards and spells useless against them.
Evil occuli aren't easy to deal with either. They have a sizable amount of HP, and spam Paralyze (one of the most powerful spells in the game) on any unlucky hero wandering near them.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Cultists seem to have been granted this by the god of chaos. They see the stars that appear above their heads when they level up as well as the flags that abstractly represent the bounties you place.
Chekhovs Legend: If you hear stories about spheres of power, legendary monsters, or crowns, they are out there somewhere and will inevitably be the focus of The Quest.
Command And Conquer Economy: Partly averted; you have to build most buildings, but houses, graveyards, sewers, and the like will develop on their own.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In one quest, "The Siege", you need to fight an enemy monarch who can do the exact same things you can: build stuff, place reward flags, hire heroes, etc. However, all of his caravans have twice as many hit points as yours, which is annoying since destroying his caravans is the simplest way to win.
He also has practically infinite amounts of money unless you make an effort to destroy said caravans. Furthermore, he starts with a fully-developed kingdom and fully-upgraded temples; you do not.
Your wizards also join him (presumably because they're snobbish upper class Insufferable Geniuses), so he has access to both wizards and their spells, which you cannot get during the quest, ever.
Critical Existence Failure: Most egregious with buildings, of all things. As long as there is a single hit point left, your peasants can rebuild it. But if not, whoops! Looks like you'll have to build a new one.
This still occurs with heroes and monsters, but is slightly less egregious because they leave behind short-lived gravestones, which can be the target of resurrection spells and from which your rogues can gather loot. Also, a dead hero can easily crop up later in a graveyard or mausoleum (the latter capable of being used to resurrect long-dead heroes). It's played absolutely straight with henchmen though...
Cross Over: Warlock: Master of the Arcane acknowledges its roots by including R'Jak(h) as the Champion of Lunord and a playable Great Mage.
Not precisely. While Dauros generally takes the place of "God" in many expressions, the other gods are also prominent and worshiped.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: The player can be this, as he can set up a properly working infrastructure to offset the somewhat questionable wisdom of your heroes. Also considering that you have a general idea of how each hero thinks (rogues love gold of all sorts, rangers love to explore, etc.), you can goad your heroes into vaguely doing what you want, even if the execution isn't quite what you were expecting.
Darker and Edgier: "The Adept's Tale" on the first Majesty's website. Most of the stories are pretty lighthearted and have a happy ending. After an exhausting and dangerous run, the Adept finds a dead Paladin and a poisoned wizard, and the story ends with him having to start running to get an antidote (which he might not do in time).
Cultists are well-intentioned hippies, more or less Chaotic Good or Neutral. Warriors of Discord, however, are closer to Chaotic Evil; really, they just want to hit things with their pain sticks.
Damage Is Fire: The fact that it doesn't deal additional damage is particularly humorous when the building being damaged is made of ice.
Deader than Dead: If you wait too long to resurrect a fallen hero, his or her gravestone will disappear, and they can't be resurrected unless you have a mausoleum.
Death Seeker: Along with yelling "At last!" when they die, Priestesses of Krypta sulk if resurrected. They consider death to simply be heaven, and being resurrected would effectively be their equivalent of being kicked out of heaven.
Deceased Parents Are the Best: Your second-in-command often talks about your late mother, the previous Sovereign, from whom you inherited the crown. She was apparently something of a political Bad Ass.
Easter Egg: Most of your units and buildings and a few enemy ones have a verbal Easter egg that can be accessed by selecting them by holding down shift and hitting the quotation mark key. This will cause the unit to spout an amusing line such as the Guardhouse's "Ey, whose turn for the donut run?". You can also tap the enter key to bring the in-game chat box up and type in the words "planet fargo" (without the quotation marks) for another Easter egg in the form of a piece of techno music sung by Venn Fairweather.
Elves Versus Dwarves/Fantastic Racism: Gnomes, dwarves, and elves will gladly join your human settlements, but spit at each other. Well, the gnomes don't actually hate the others. It's just that the others really, REALLY hate the gnomes. (And even humans aren't a big fan of them.) It's also implied that the goblins and ratmen hate each other. (Then again, it's implied that the ratmen hate everyone. So do the minotaurs.)
Emotion Eater: According to the flavor text for Url Shekk, he's one of these, and causes torture and suffering so he can feed off of those emotions.
Everyone Join The Party: In the final quest of the original game, you can't recruit any non-humans or build any temples. However, your single exploring guild can uncover every single kind of hero hiding in your kingdom, all of whom then band together to take on every single kind of evil the game has to offer.
The world was created by Krolm, who then begat Lunord (moon god) and Helia (sun goddess). As gods do, they had children with each other: Agrela (life), Krypta (death), Fervus (chaos), and Dauros (law) along with some maladjusted sprogs that will plague your kingdom.
Gods are choosy about which of their family you can build temples to. Agrela/Dauros and Krypta/Fervus are mutually exclusive pairs. Lunord and Helia can coexist with either pair of their kids, but not each other. And Krolm shuts out every temple but his own.
The Fair Folk: Dryads are implacably hostile to humans, and no one really knows why.
Fog of War: The map is black (or greyed, in the sequel) when you start. Rangers will explore for free and with a good line of sight, and you can use reward flags or wizard guild spells to speed things up.
Fragile Speedster: The Adepts of Lunord. They don't die very easily, but they will flee a fight upon breaking a fingernail, so it still applies.
Cultists may be a straighter example.
At least until they hit level 7 and gain the Shapeshift spell, at which point they become Lightning Bruisers.
What every dead hero gets on the spot where they die. The shape of the stone depends on what kind of hero s/he was. You have a certain amount of time to resurrect them with a Krypta/Agrela spell or they're Lost Forever (except, if enough die, as a name in the graveyard), unless it's the Northern Expansion and you've built a Mausoleum, or Majesty 2 where the graveyard is functionally the same thing as a Mausoleum.
The monsters each get unique gravestones as well, including the bosses. Some of the designs are quite creative.
If our kingdom is to prosper, it needs more heroes!
Level Grinding: The fairgrounds allow heroes to gain levels without the possibility of dying.
When your heroes go out and slay monsters, this is essentially what they're doing. One of your jobs is to help them on your way up, especially with hero classes that access offensive or defensive spells.
Lightning Bruiser: Adepts, though they'll flee a fight upon breaking a fingernail, and simply patrol the immediate vicinity of your town most of the time.
Paladins and Solarii may also count, as they're fast despite being tough fighters.
"Rage of Krolm" will turn all your heroes into this, for a limited time.
Let's see you beat the expansion mission "Legendary Heroes" if your heroes just can't (or won't) uncover all six randomly-placed barrows on the gigantic map within 30 days.
There actually is a way to eliminate the randomness factor: save your game at the start of the quest, find out where the barrows are, then restart and put explore flags at those locations immediately. Getting your paltry amount of heroes over there in time is still extremely difficult, but it helps.
Note that for the above to work, you'd have to save the game just as you start the mission and then, after uncovering the barrows, reload the saved game, as using the restart option from the options menu will cause a fresh map to be generated.
Or if you can't scrounge together enough gold to spam enough wizards towers to first find all six barrows using the farseeing spell and then lightning them all to death.
Meaningful Name: The cell phone version takes this one and runs away with it; the (small) pool of randomized names for each hero type is comprised entirely of hilariously appropriate monikers. "Manhater" the Paladin and "Armless" the Healer, anyone?
Magikarp Power: Gnomes start out pitifully weak and are really useful only to get your initial guilds built. However, those with enough time and patience to grind them up to level 10 through the fairgrounds or forcing them into combat through some means will transform them into Gnomish Champions, which have stats nearly on par with PALADINS.
It's actually only level 8 in the Northern Expansion and gnome champions don't exist in the original (though the gnomes still cry out, "I am a CHAMPION!" as they do upon reaching level 8 in NE). It also isn't quite as big of a game breaker when you consider their low damage and poor hit points; they receive a boost from the pitiful number of hitpoints they have when upgrading to champions, but it's still very low for other melee heroes of the same level.
"Urban Renewal" scenario in Northern Expansion. The mission focuses on the Sovereign cleaning a Wretched Hive represented by a special faction made of Rogues, Elves, and Goblins, but regular wandering monsters hostile to both appear from time to time.
"The Clash of Empires" scenario, still in Northern Expansion. The Sovereign's settlement of this mission is built right in the middle of a battlefield opposing a Ratmen faction and a Goblins one, who are of course both hostile to the Sovereign. There even are scripted random spawns of mixed Ratmen and Goblins parties right next to the city, very busy fighting each others. The trope is even more exaggerated that it initially seemed when beginning the scenario, as the usual wandering monsters faction is still present in this specific scenario, hostile to any of the three other factions.
Mind Rape: The spells the Abomination uses all function like this. Two of them make heroes flee in terror, and the third is Mind Control.
The Minion Master: Priestesses of Krypta, who rarely go anywhere without a retinue of skeletons.
Nature Hero: Cultists and, to a lesser extent, barbarians.
Necromancer: Subverted with the priestesses of Krypta, who appear to animate a copy of their own skeleton to create minions, instead of using other peoples'.
Nintendo Hard: The final mission of the original game, "Day of Reckoning", which had various boss monsters attack you pretty much every day. They also brought a slew of Demonic Spiders with them when they appeared. And in the expansion pack, there's the aforementioned "Legendary Heroes" mission and the Master level quest "Spires of Death", in which the titular towers had ridiculously high hit points, would blast any hero that came near with extremely powerful spells, and respawn with full health if you don't destroy all of them within a single day. Not to mention "Vigil For a Fallen Hero", where you can't recruit any heroes and have to make sure the ones you start with don't die. That's not even counting the downloadable quests "The Wrath of Krolm", which had a boss with four thousand hit points, and the Unwinnable "Balance of Twilight."
"Tomb of the Dragon King." Have fun being attacked by at least three dragons every three days or so, and having a paltry amount of starting gold. Your kingdom will be reduced to rubble many times over. This troper actually found it more difficult than "The Day of Reckoning."
This can be somewhat alleviated by making a mad rush for priestesses and hoping their skeletons stall/kill the dragons, until your kingdom is more developed.
Majesty 2, and how! Each guild only holds 3 heroes, and the more advanced classes aren't available right away in most of the "beginner" and "advanced" quests. There is one mission where the kingdom is constantly under fire by a dragon, with minotaurs and serpents attacking your kingdom every 5 minutes, and including the annoyance of sewer rats and ratmen! Good luck hoping your heroes will survive the constant attacks in time to find the witch who will help you find a way to defeat the dragon...and did we mention this particular mission is listed as "Advanced", rather than "Expert"?
After awhile, the missions become essentially luck based. Monster Kingdom is downright impossible after a few levels in due to the rampant cheating the AI puts your through
YMMV, and then some. Actually, one of the biggest complaints about this game is that once you get past the minute 10 mark on (most) maps, if you're still alive, you've won. The dragon level would probably qualify as more of a Wakeup level
Non-Lethal K.O.: Barbarians have a chance of going into one of these instead of dying.
Perspective Flip: Each scenario is essentially a whole load of RPGQuests from the point of view of the king setting them. The heroes join a guild, upgrade their equipment, learn spells, and either chase bounties or engage in Random Encounters.
Redshirt Army: Your non-hero units are basically worthless in combat. Indeed, the best you can hope for from even "elite" guardsmen is that the troll that appeared from the sewer entrance next door will miss them a couple of times before they die, thus allowing The Cavalry to stop the guardhouse from being destroyed as well.
A kingdom with a Temple to Fervus and one to Krypta will likely soon have a high number of charmed, if weak, mook allies. The Temple to Fervus even produces its own animals for this.
Shout-Out: In addition to wizards named Gandalf, in the cell phone version you can have warriors of discord named Nazgûl, elves named Legolas (compounded because the elf sprites greatly resemble Legolas as portrayed by Orlando Bloom), and dwarves named Gimli. It's a wonder they haven't gotten a call from Tolkien's lawyers.
When one of your heroes reaches a high level (around 20), a gazebo building will appear, which allows heroes to rest inside. It's a reference to Heroes of Might and Magic, where in the first two installments the gazebo was a map object that gave visiting heroes experience, with the flavor text explaining that they've met an old, experienced hero there who taught them a few tricks.
Solar and Lunar: You can build temples to Helia (sun) or temples to Lunord (moon), but not both.
Soul Jar: Skeleton warlords Styx and Stones provide a unique twist on this old chestnut. It is said that "as long as one lives the other cannot truly die." Meaning that to be permanently defeated they must both be killed simultaneously.
Subverted with the priestesses of Krypta: They have low defense and health, but regularly create skeletons to fight for them, which distract monsters from the priestesses themselves. They also have a life drain spell, which can keep them alive if they manage to survive a hit or two.
Dwarves and monks, though they're strong offensively as well.
A more straight example are guard towers. They are immobile, do only minor damage, serve as a base for a single Redshirt guardsman who can slow an enemy down by a few seconds, but they have a huge reserve of hitpoints compared to most creatures, and can stall foes long enough for heroes to rally to it.
Timed Mission: The quests "Elven Treachery," "Quest For the Holy Chalice," and "Deal With the Demon." You have only thirty days for the first two, and forty for the latter. "LegendaryHeroes" is a variant; you're Stalked by the Bell instead of losing immediately once the time is up. (Exploiting this is key to victory.)
Too Dumb to Live / Artificial Stupidity / Suicidal Overconfidence: The vast majority of heroes are utter morons. They'll often flee in terror from monsters they can handle easily, or, worse, start "berserking" the instant they see a monster, meaning they'll keep fighting even when they're out of healing potions and low on health. Even healers. This is why the "Change of Heart" spell in the Northern Expansion is a godsend, as are Solarii, who are one of the few heroes who don't do this.
Took a Level in Badass: Every hero can do this. Wizards go from pathetic to one-man armies, but gnomes have Magikarp Power at level 10 (or 8 in the expansion). Read more in the above mention.
Universal Poison / Poisoned Weapons: A level 2 rogues' guild will let your heroes poison their weapons for a fee, and the cultists of Fervus will regularly plant poisonous plants that can be gathered by rangers and rogues for the same effect. This poison has the same effect on all enemies, including skeletons and rock golems.
Unwinnable: The downloadable quest "Balance of Twilight" is notorious for crashing immediately upon completion of the final goal in the mission, but before registering as a victory.
Wretched Hive: "Urban Renewal" consists in cleaning one, which is a city mostly made of Rogue Guilds, Elven Bungalows, Elven Lounges, and Gambling Halls. Played for Laughs, as the victory text tells that the place is now safe and perfectly boring.