Might and Magic is a Science Fantasy cycle of first person party-based PC RPGs, later spawning some spinoffs such as the Heroes of Might and MagicTurn Based Strategy games.Jon Van Caneghem created the first game in 1987, and it became the first series to seriously compete with the Wizardry and Ultima franchises amongst role-players. The first five games were introduced under his New World Computing company, before they were bought out by 3DO and Executive Meddling began.The games' definitive trait has always been Science Fiction elements beneath the surface of an otherwise Standard Fantasy Setting game. Usually, the climax reveals that ancient Precursors are responsible for lots of what is going on in the world, and the Big Bad is a robot or an alien. Indeed, as it overlaps with HOMM universe, it turns out that Devils from HOMM3 are actually aliens. How Unscientific!.The first game of the series had a rather non-linear plot for its time (though it lacked most elements of the modern Wide Open Sandbox). Its maps were flat areas made of discrete tiles, and all movement happened in the four cardinal directions, one ten-foot "step" at a time. The engine used sprites to simulate a 3D view, and combat was turn based.In the first two games, the action was set on flat, square worlds orbiting in space. The third moved the action to a "round" (actually toroidal) planet. M&M 4 and 5 were set on XEEN, another flat platform, with a twist: the world of M&M 5 was Darkside of XEEN, literally the flip side of the world from number four. All these games have the player pitted against Sheltem, a Planetary Guardian constructed by the Ancients, who went rogue and decided to protect his homeworld by blowing up all other worlds. Sheltem is finally defeated in M&M 5, bringing an end to the whole plot arc.M&M 6 rebooted the series, leaving only minor connections to the previous games. It switched to a different kind of graphics: instead of flat tiles it became a true 3D world, with 2D sprites for characters and monsters, and the option of real-time combat. (Think Doom, but with large outdoor areas.) The setting moved to the world Enroth, where HOMM2 had taken place, joining the continuity more tightly with that of Heroes of Might and Magic.The plot of this one concerned an invasion of the world by Devils. Said Devils turn out to be alien enemies of the Ancients, and defeating them involved unearthing some of the Ancients' Lost Technology. Along the way this plot traded points back and forth with the HOMM games. For instance, Archibald Ironfist, evil mage defeated in canonical ending to HOMM2, was freed in Might and Magic 6, returned in Might And Magic 7 and helped free a character who then showed up in an addon to HOMM3.Might and Magic 7 was effectively more of the same and was tied very closely to Heroes III and Might and Magic II. So did Might and Magic 8. But you could have dragons in the party in 8, so this makes it cool.Might and Magic IXalmost happened, but what we got instead was such that many fans wish they hadn't even bothered. The same goes for a number of failed spinoffs, such as the action-RPG Crusaders, the King's Bounty remake Quest for the Dragon Bone Staff, and the Counter-StrikecloneLegends.Heroes of Might and Magic V represented a complete reboot of the series after Ubisoft bought the rights from the bankrupt 3DO, with a new developer (Nival Interactive), and taking place in a new, purely fantasy-based universe with no ties to previous games. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a first-person hack & slash action game that takes place in the same world as HOMM5.Heroes of Might and Magic V was eventually followed by Clash Of Heroes and Might & Magic Heroes VI, but were no further RPG Might and Magic games in the new continuity in the style of Might and Magic I-IX...at least, until mid-March 2013, when Might and Magic X: Legacy was officially announced. The first part of the game is currently available to the public for open-beta testing. (As such, any information given about that game is subject to change.)
This video game series contains examples of the following:
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Not just Sheltem, he's just the worst example. If you see a robot or computer in this game, rest assured it's an evil thing that's going to try to kill you. Unless its name is Corak. Or Meliannote The apparent Guardian of Enroth. He is a stationary computer, and damaged when we meet him, so he is less active on the good front than Corak. Escaton plays around with it: he does exactly what his creators want him to do, and it's not a case of Gone Horribly Right — but due to the details of what that thing he is to do is, that makes your world collateral damage, and he can't go against that part of his programming no matter how much he wants to. A number of other, less sapient, robots met across the games are simply doing what they are meant to do — guarding places against persons without the proper security clearances (which you do not have, thus them trying to kill you).
Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: There's one in just about every game that doubles as a dungeon. How important it is to the main storyline depends on the game.
Archibald in Might and Magic VII. It probably helps that he does something approximating a Heel-Face Turn: personally helping free his brother from the Kreegans and bringing him back to his wife, despite the fact that Archibald knows full well that Catherine Ironfist wants him deadnote He was probably - and correctly - gambling on Roland interceding in his behalf... but, of course, if he hadn't brought Roland back himself he wouldn't have been in a position to be executed by Catherine in the first place, and that the last interaction the two brothers had was Roland sentencing Archibald to be transformed to stone for some future generation to take mercy on. He ends up promising to stay peaceably on his little island off the coast of Avlee, and apparently kept that promise, as that is the last we heard of him.
The Warlocks of Nighon are pretty friendly too, even to those who choose the Light path. Their leader even apologizes for not being able to train you if you ask for a Warlock promotion while on the Path of Light (other Dark promoters tend to insult you instead).
All There in the Manual: Before the Final Battle in IV, you are told that you need a spell called Ritual of the Void before you storm the Hive (if you don't, destroying it will destroy the world in the process, resulting in the bad ending). If you talk to Nicolai, he says that his uncle - as in, Archibald - knows that spell, but releasing him from the curse that turned him to stone requires something called the Third Eye, and he doesn't know where it is. Fortunately, Roland's letter in the preface to the instruction manual mentions it's "in the well". (There are actually four wells around Castle Ironfist, but checking them all shouldn't take longer than five minutes. Note that the Third Eye isn't actually there until you ask Nicolai obout it.)
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: You can do this in an early part of VII. Outside of Harmondale, there's an open-air goblin outpost with some magical cannons that shoot powerful fireballs. If you manage to get onto it (the goblins sometime fry themselves by accident by aiming at targets that are too close) about two dozen more goblins surround the place, at which point you can commandeer the cannons and use them yourself. (It's not only an easy way to get rid of them, it's downright fun. So long as you don't aim at a target that's too close, like ones on the fortress did who were already dead when you got there did...)
The Alliance: The mid-game portion of VIII is helping to arrange this trope, as part of an attempt to avert the destruction of the world. Three of the members are set (the Dark Elves, the Minotaurs, the Ironfists of Enroth), two are choosen by you (the Dragons or the Dragon Hunters, the Clerics or the Necromancers). It works, incidentally, the destruction of the world occurs for an entirely different reason than the threat in VIII
Arbitrary Headcount Limit: A maximum of six main characters in the original DOS-era games (I to V), exactly four main characters in VI, VII and IX, a maximum of five in VIII. Several of these offer two additional slots for hirelings; these are for most purposes full-blown characters in III, but serve other purposes in the games from VI on.
VI, VII and IX all provide reasons for why those four characters stick together: in VI and IX, they are childhood friends that grow up in the same village, while in VII the driving force of the plot for a good chunk of the game is a shared noble title the four got in the prologue. VI and VII fail to explain why you can only hire two Hirelings, however.
In X you are also only allowed two hirelings, but an added feature makes it more difficult. With some quests, the Quest Giver has to tag along with you, taking up space as a hireling. (He or she does give you some advice pertaining to the quest at times, but otherwise, does nothing but occupy the space.)
VI and VII established Archibald Ironfist as this by implication — the first game had him be one of the world's greatest experts in magical rituals, while the second made him an expert in necromancy, and the manual reveals that he had defeated the former leader of the Necromancers' Guild to become the leader of the Necromancers himself.
Gavin Magnus is the Light equivalent to Archibald in VII, and Thomas Grey (who trains your Wizard characters to become Archmagi themselves) probably qualifies as well.
A Winner Is You: II pointlessly gives you 2 million experience for finishing the game. Thankfully, most of the others had satisfying conclusions.
IV plays with this trope; completing the main quest rewards you with "One Million Experience!!" It veers a couple different ways thanks to the sequel. First, it's actual useful XP for your characters to bring into the sequel, and second... well, if you have both IV and V you can travel between the worlds at will, and there are low level quests in V's starter town that give more XP than that.
Bad Liar: In the opening sequence of VII, the story is told by the point to both Archibald - by his Mooks - and four characters who are supposedly the Player Characters, to their mentor. Archibald's men are clearly lying about their version (they claim they bravely slaughtered the elven soldiers who ran in fear, when it's obvious that the opposite is true) but Archibald obviously doesn't believe them anyway.
Badass in Distress: King Roland in both VI and VII. Shortly after the Night of Falling Stars, he's captured by the Kreegans, and while the Player Characters never find him in that game, they find journal entries written by him that give them clues to the Kreegans' plans; the game ends with his fate left ambiguous. In VII, the heroes are able to rescue him.
Balance Between Good and Evil: The third game mildly involved this. The plot involved the Big Bad disrupting the balance between Good and Evil. However, the alignment of your party members was not really all that relevant. At one point you have to choose between an evil king, good king, and neutral king, and the choice turns all your party members into that alignment. This, again, has no effect on gameplay.
Bag of Spilling: the end of the first game is the titular Gate To Another World that brings you to the second (and you can import your save in the second game). But, doing so resets your level to 7 and wipes all your equipment.
Big Bad: Sheltem in games I, II, and V, Xeen in IV, and the Kreegan in games VI to VII as well as Heroes of Might & Magic III. The third game doesn't really have a big bad; while the villain is still nominally Sheltem, he doesn't really make an appearance at any point other than the opening movie.
The Kreegan are borderline in VII: we are told they are a threat, and the chronologically next game, Armageddon's Blade, backs that up, but in the game itself they don't actually do much of anything. Kastore and his faction of Terrans, on the other hand, take an active hand in ordering minions to do Bad Deeds, especially if the Lords of Harmondale are their minions.
Also in V, if you make too many puzzle mistakes in the Temple Of Bark, Barkman will be released to kill you. He has nearly as many hit points as the MegaDragon— though he turns out to be much easier at high level (or at a lower level if you know the trick), because he lacks that instant-death attack or any ranged attack at all; this can be taken advantage of.
Might and Magic VI has an area called the Temple of Snakes, which contains some medium-level enemies and a lone Gold Dragon. But if you know about the secret panel or are unlucky enough to accidentally hit it, you find a small alcove with a few treasure chests and a fat peasant named Q. He has approximately 8 times the HP of the next toughest monster in the game, and continuously casts Finger of Death against you, eradicating a character when it hits. (If you defeat him, there's a treasure in this room that's worth the effort: the Horn of Ros. The strategy guide described it as "A horn that doesn't seem to work". Oh,it works all right. It shows you the numerical HP remaining when you view an enemy's health bar, which is very useful.
Buff up beforehand, and hope he doesn't hit your cleric with it. Besides his Finger of Death, which has a low hit rate, he doesn't do anything noteworthy. He just has a crapton of HP, so it will take some time to get him down. But he is not remotely difficult, especially when compared to the MegaDragon of MM V.
Theoretically, the MegaDragon from MM 2 counts if you choose to fight him yourself.
The Megadragon makes a third appearance in VII, where he is once again easy to miss and completely optional. He's a lot weaker than he is in previous games, but still exceedingly tough - he's basically a red dragon with extra attack power and a chance to eradicate anyone who he hits.
Boss In Mooks Clothing: Any time a Gold Dragon appears in one of the later games, it qualifies. These things are tough, and they'd likely qualify as actual Bosses if not for the fact that they weren't unique.
Bow and Sword in Accord: Just one possible combination. Everyone can learn to use the bow in addition to their primary weapon (with other weapons being very class specific, the primary weapon is often something other than a sword).
In X, not every class can learn the bow, but it seems that at least they can all learn the crossbow.
Bragging Rights Reward: There's something like this in VI. The second-to-last mission requires you to go to the Control Center to get the Blasters and the even stronger Blaster Rifles to use to destroy the Hive in the Final Battle. There are four Blaster Rifles in the complex but getting the fourth one is incredibly hard. The strongest monsters in this dungeon are Terminator Units, and they not only have over a thousand hp, high defense, and powerful attacks, their attacks have a change of Eradicating your character if they hit. Usually, these things are found singly, or occasionally in pairs, but in the room you have to enter to get the fourth Blaster Rifle, there's a dozen, along with a lot of other robots. Trying to get past them to get the fourth one is probably a bad idea, and you really don't have to (you can probably destroy the Hive with three Rifles and one normal Blaster) but if you actually manage to do it, there's a scroll with the fourth Blaster Rifle that gives each member of your party the title of "Super Goober". This even shows up with your list of Awards and completed tasks. This dubious title doesn't bestow any benefit or cost you anything, but it does signify that you won what was likely the hardest battle in the game.
Broken Bridge: X seems to use this feature, but it gives some logical explanations why your path is blocked, at least in what the open-beta has shown. In the first example, you can't leave Sporpigal because, as the guard tells you, an investigation is underway over the disappearance of townsfolk. Your first quest is to solve that problem. Once you succeed, he gets out of your way.
Call Back: X has at least a few pertaining to older games. The town you start at is called Sorpigal-by-the-Sea (named after New Sorpigal from VI, or possibly the other way around, In-Universe); also, the first quest you have to take is to go into the city sewers, root out the Giant Spider infestation, and slay the Spider Queen, which is very much like an early quest that could be done in VI.
Came Back Wrong: a word of advice: asking a necromancer (from the "evil" temples in VII) to revive your dead teammates is a bad idea.
Canon Discontinuity: In MMVII, the devils are long armed spiky alien things. In HoMM3, which takes place at the same time, the devils are... pretty much your standard red skinned black robed horned humanoid devils. There is no explanation even attempted for this.
At least, not in VII or Heroes III. VI (which takes place at the same time as Heroes 3, slightly earlier than VII) implies 'caste system' is the answer for some discrepancies (it also features — prominently in the intro movie — devils that are long-armed spiky alien things with horns and red skin).
Chekhov's Gunman: Xenofex, the Kreegan king, is like this. In VI, he only appears briefly, in the cinematic opening scene, and you do not encounter him in the game at all. Also, the PCs start the game with a letter from him that they have to give to a guy at the nearby inn for some strange reason. (The Final Boss is the Hive Queen, another powerful Kreegan.) Xenofex doesn't appear in-game until VII, when the heroes do actually fight him when they rescue Roland from the Kreegan. (Unfortunately, the Kreegan aren't as vital to the plot this time around.)
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: You often find barrels of colored liquid in these games, and drinking the stuff always does something. It's a good idea to take note of the color before you have a character drink it, and then take note of what it does. It will come in useful when you find more of these barrels. (You don't want a Knight to drink the stuff that increases Intelligence; that's better for the Wizard.) And by the way, leave black liquid alone.
Contractual Immortality: You have this in a few later games. If your entire party is killed, you're brought back to life at the starting point of the game. There is a price, however. You lose all your gold, and you have no Spell Points, and only one Hit Point per party member. (This is why the banks were introduced; depositing your money kept it safe from this. Of course, Save Scumming is a much easier option.)
They appear to get rid of this feature in X however, where you have to reload from the last place you saved if it happens.
Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good: Some of the spellcaster hirelings in Might and Magic VI talk about Light and Dark magic, and they point out that despite the stereotype that light is good and dark is evil, magic is only as good or evil as the use to which it is put. Also, see Grey and Grey Morality below.
Day Old Legend: Several of the games feature ores of various quality which can be found and brought to craftsmen to make equipment. It's possible to craft items in this way that are not only allegedly ancient, but even unique and legendary. The sixth game also contains the "antique" modifier which multiplies an item's value by ten, and it's possible to enchant your own items into being antiques.
Deader than Dead: It is possible to not only be killed in battle, but to have your body completely destroyed (eradicated). Getting this problem taken care of is a bit more difficult, to say the least.
Actually, this Trope doesn't truly fit. If a character is Eradicated, his body is destroyed, but not his soul. It is hard to reverse the process yourself, but most temples can do it easily. (It's expensive, but it isn't hard. In fact, restoring a character that has been turned into a zombie - a condition you cannot reverse yourself that can happen in some games - is even more expensive.)
It probably helps that your involvement wasn't that central - the tensions between Kastore and Archibald was there before you showed up - especially not in the Light path, and that if one did the Dark path, one also helped arrange Archibald's back-up plan in case he was deposed. Unwittingly.
Disc One Nuke: An exploit from World of Xeen: start game, go to the Darkside right out the gate, make a new party. They'll start at Level 5. Take this party back to the Cloudside and start emptying the world into your loot sack.
If you know where to look you can acquire a low level (but nontheless extremely powerful) Dragon and a level 50 Dark Elf very early in Might and Magic VIII. The Dragon especially becomes significantly more powerful then his peers over time, because you can distribute his skill points as you see fit.
Doomed Hometown: In VI, Sweet Water, the hometown of the Player Character is destroyed during the Night of Falling Stars when the Kreegan invade and your characters are forced to flee with the aid of the warlock Falagar during the intro. Much later, at the climax of the game, it turns out the Kreegan's main Hive has been built outside the ruins of Sweet Water.
The Dragon: Lord Xeen in IV, who serves Sheltem of V. Xeen himself also has a Dragon (both literally and figuratively) in the form of his pet.
Dug Too Deep: A Side Quest you can take in VII features an odd twist to this Trope. The dwarves of Stone City have an infestation of troglodytes on the lower level, but not because they Dug Too Deep, but because a bunch on evil wizards called the Nighon Warlocks did, and left them to deal with it. (The Quest Giver, naturally, offers you a reward if you get rid of them.)
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Played pretty much straight in all of the games. Particularly bad in VII, as your party actually rules the town where your own subjects treat you like dirt. The latter is somewhat justified by the town's complete lack of faith in your ability to rule being a central plot point, but their attitude doesn't improve as much as one might expect after you have clearly asserted your authority. Their dialogue does change after you've cleared out and renovated Castle Harmondale, but you can't put the last of their doubts to rest until you choose a new arbiter and end the war.
The problem is, in most games, you have a Reputation Score people are mean to you if it's low, and it's much harder to raise it than it is to lower it. (The bad things you do stick out in people's minds longer than the good things, which makes sense, sort of.) One example: In VI, one of the first available Side Quests you have is from the first NPC you meet in the game, who asks you to get a candelabra from the abandoned temple outside of town. It's not required, but you probably should, because it's an easy job, and a good way to get some fast gold and experience, which you kind of need early in the game. Unfortunately, seeing as the candelabra in question belonged to some evil cult, it lowers your Reputation Score, and the townsfolk aren't going to like you right off the bat.
Even worse, having a bad Reputation Score can sometimes require you to do things that make it even worse. Some important or even mandatory quests require you to find and recruit NPCs, and if you have a bad reputation, they won't listen to you when you talk to them. Threatening them usually works, but that lowers your Reputation Score even more. (You're going to end up as Heroes With Bad Publicity before winning these games, most likely.)
Zigzagged in X, where the heroes likely wouldn't expect much respect, being Raiders, a type of adventurer with a shady reputation that few people trust. However, much of the first part of the game is spent earning that trust, and you do so rather quickly.
Due to the Dead: Grave robbing is bad in this franchise. Looking a sarcophagus or selling human bones and other remains in most games is considered evil, and will damage your reputation. (Of course, taking other stuff in tombs is all right, for some reason.)
This is also the original motivation of the heroes in X. They first come to Sorpigal-by-the-Sea to take the cremated ashes of their mentor to another town, which they cannot do because of a royal edict that makes it off-limits due to the political turmoil.
Dummied Out: VII has quite a bit of it. There are unused NPC portraits and voices found in the data files, there are three Manticore type monsters that were fully coded but who don't have sprites. There's a door in the Temple of Light blocked off by a fallen pillar.
Thanks to the programmers failing to completely dummy out the Manticores, their presence in the files but lack of sprites can cause a bug: they can spawn in the Arena, but due to being spriteless they are invisible, hit-detection is iffy and the game crashes if you right-click on them. Hottip: If you encounter manticore types in the Arena, use the A key (or whatever key you've rigged to auto-attack) to overcome hit detection issues. Just don't try to loot their corpses afterwards, because that too will crash the game.
Dump Stat: Intellect/Intelligence (the name varies from one game to the next) has no effect on classes lacking elemental spellcasting abilities (or learn Master Learning, which requires 50 Intellect in addition to the usual prerequisites), while personality is useless for classes that can't cast self magic (or learn Master Merchant). This makes at least one of the two a dump stat for every class except Druids and Rangers. In fact, this also means that the Insane condition (which increases Strength but cripples Intelligence) is actually a benefit to some classes, like the Knight.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: generally encountered whenever the series needs a reboot (see Armageddon's Blade, the titular artifact of a Heroes 3 expansion of the same name).
For a milder version, refer to the dark magic spell, "Armageddon".
Occurs as a bad ending for VI, if you didn't free Archibald to get a protective spell.
Elaborate Underground Base: The final dungeon in several of the games is one of these, being the sci-fi corridors beneath the fantasy world.
Elemental Plane: The old universe had (at least) four Elemental Planes (the classic Fire, Water, Air and Earth). While an important background element right from the start of the franchise (as the Ancients' method of world/ Nacelle-creation involves manipulating both elemental energies and the four Elemental Lords), the planes themselves only play an important role in VIII (portals to them have opened, and they're preparing an invasion for reasons at first unknown) and Heroes Chronicles: Masters of the Elements, where the main character has to sojourn to the planes in an attempt to stop an invasion (motivated by entirely different things than the one in VIII).
Elemental Powers: Magic in these games is divided into schools based on elements. The basics are Air, Water, Fire, and Earth, while Dark and Light is more advanced magic (which, in later games, can only be used by players that are Evil and Good, respectively). Each player also has six Resistance scores, measuring how well he can resist each form of magic. (It starts at zero, but magic and items can increase it.) Monsters use attacks based on these elements too, and also often have Resistances (some have two, and some very powerful ones have several). Energy is a special seventh form that usually only comes into play late in the games; this cannot be resisted. Blaster weapons cause Energy damage, and so do some of the most powerful monsters.
X adds another type of magic called Primordial, which also seems to be a type of advanced magic.
Empty Room Psych: IX was loaded with these, due to the game being largely unfinished at the time of release.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Mamushi, a demonic, snake-like Boss Monster you fight early in X curses you for "siding with [his] mother's slayer" before the battle starts. (And you are, but more than likely, his mother was just as evil as he was.)
Even Evil Has Standards: Archibald may be a tyrant, a usurper, and a bad brother, but he does not like what the Kreegans do to Roland. It probably helps that his own position as king of Deyja was usurped by Kastore by the time you get around to rescuing Roland.
A fairly subtle example, but when you complete the Villain and Assassin promotion quests, your reputation in Deyja gets worse. The people of Deyja may be necromancers, but they apparently don't like villainy or assassination. (Maybe the fact that the Villain promotion quest requires you to kidnap a defenseless maiden while the Assassin one involves killing one has something to do with it; that is kind of rotten.)
Everything's Even Worse With Sharks: You have no idea. In VII, the obligatory Elaborate Underground Base is actually an Elaborate Underwater base, and to get to it, you have to fight your way past some nasty sharks. Stat-wise, these monsters aren't much worse than anything else you've fought at this stage at the game, but in this underwater terrain, you and handicapped in more than one area. You can't use any weapons except Blasters (which you likely aren't very skilled with at this point) and you need to wear special clothing that resembles wetsuits here with prevents you from wearing any armor at all. (The suits themselves provide no protection whatsoever.) You can still wear magical rings, so the best thing to do is plan ahead. (And cast a Lloyd's Beacon when you finally get to the place, so you can come and go without having to swim to it.)
Evil Counterpart: In an many ways in the games where you have to choose the Dark or Light Path, your party seems to be an Evil Counterpart (or Good Counterpart) to what your party would be had you chosen the other path, and the reasons become obvious when you compare the quests in each path. While the plot is changed in a big way, there are many instances where the Quests you take are only different in terms of cosmetics and what your motives are. One example: If you're on the Light Path in VII, your superior is Robert the Wise, and an enemy you have to kill near the end is a guy named Tolberti. If you're on the Dark Path, the opposite it true. As far as the actual Boss Battle goes, the two are the same character in every way except cosmetically. Another good example: For the Crusader to Villain Promotion Quest (which is recommended for Paladins on the Dark Path) you have to kidnap a maiden named Alice; for the Promotion Quest that Paladins take on the Light Path, you have to rescue her - from the guy who would have told you to kidnap her, had you chosen the Dark Path.
The Fair Folk: Zigzagged with the Faerie King in VII and his unseen subjects. Some human characters are scared to death of him, while the elves are cautious of him (insisting they're "only distantly related"). When you actually meet him - two quests require this - he seems to be a borderline case who likes playing jokes on mortals, but is more-or-less harmless.
Fake King: Alamar is Sheltem. He does it again in V, but it's a bit of a subversion as "King Alamar" is obviously the Big Bad from the get-go.
Flunky Boss: Actually it might be easier to list the Bosses that don't qualify. Most have at least a small mob of normal monsters helping them, and a few have dozens.
This doesn't seem to be the case as much in X, however. Of the four Boss Monsters that have been seen in the Early Access open-beta version, all but one fight the party alone in a large room. Of course, the bosses in this game are tough; a monster even has a special benefit simply for being a Boss that seems to make it immune to status effects or attacks that don't damage it directly.
Fluffy the Terrible: In VII, Queen Catherine of Erathia keeps griffin as pets; they won't hurt you unless you cause trouble around the city. (This leads to a rather big problem for one side quest if you take the Dark Path; it requires you to kill every griffin in both Erathia and Bracada, including them, meaning you'll have to pay a fine of 25,000 gold for Catherine - who's you're ally - to forgive you if you do; since the reward for the completing this quest is only 5,000 gold, it might be best to skip it.)
Game Within a Game: VII and VIII featured Arcomage, a card game that was sort of like a tabletop CCG that you could play in taverns. (An early quest in VII resulted in you getting the deck you needed to play it.) Each tavern had its own House Rules. 3DO actually marketed Arcomage as a title of its own.
Gilded Cage: Nicolai fells like he's in this situation in VI; that's why he "convinces" the PCs to take him with them. (In fact, it is strongly implied that they actually did kidnap him because they felt pity for him, even though it required no action on the player's part.
Grail in the Garbage: Yeah, you can find some powerful stuff in these games lying around in unlikely places. Very early in many games, if you check out the stables in the towns you have easy access to, you're likely to find horseshoes. Of course, a stable is a place where you'd expect to find horseshoes, most likely, but in these games, horseshoes increase your Skill Points by 2 when you use them, making them incredibly valuable.
Grey and Gray Morality: The Necromancer-Church of the Sun War in VIII is surprisingly nuanced, given how Necromancers and Light-aligned Clerics are presented in the other games; the Necromancers' Guild of Jadame is fairly live-and-let-live, or at least not out to conquer the continent anymore, and the Church's Jadamean branch has some pretty strongly implied tendencies towards Corrupt Church.
It's not only implied, it's explicitly mentioned by Dyson Leyland (a plot-critical hireling). Then again, he hates both sides, so probably doesn't care who you end up with.
Another good example: Lady Loretta Fleise (note the name) is Roland's vassal in charge of tax and tariff collecting in VI. (That means she's supposed to be with the good guys.) However, the task she wants you to do before she gives you her approval for the main line quest is go to all the stables and have them jack their prices. She's basically telling you to do this so no-one can rightfully accuse her of price gouging in order to rip travelers off. (This is going to lower your Reputation score a full level, by the way.) Still, this is likely the easiest of the council quests, so it's hard to complain.
Actually, that part about you losing Reputation points for doing it was a bug that I believe was fixed in the 2.0 version.
The other nobles don't seem to like her much either. In one quest, when you recover an important document (from a dungeon in her jurisdiction) she tells you to go to Lord Anthony Stone to get your reward. (Apparently, she feels it's his problem because the document involves a criminal he was looking for.) If you do that, Stone calls her a "greedy witch", but he does reward you for it.
Guide Dang It: The identity of the "missing brother" in Might & Magic III could be one of these, or else an example of Viewers Are Geniuses. (Hint: The other brothers are named Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Zeta.) (Answer: Epsilon.)
That's actually a Bilingual Bonus. If you know the Greek alphabet and have met the other brothers, the solution is pretty obvious, since the missing brother is the letter between Delta and Zeta.
When holding the Element Orb in II, all entrances to the dungeon are sealed and you are unable to use any teleport spells. The only way to successfully remove the Orb from the dungeon is to actively abuse game mechanics: Give the Orb to a hireling and dismiss them, instantly sending the hireling and Orb to the nearest inn.
The location of the replacement arbiters in VII. They make it perfectly clear in the game itself that Judge Fairweather is in Bracada and Judge Sleen is in Deyja, but not where in Bracada and Deyja. They're in the taverns.
The obelisk puzzle in VII is probably this. "Pirates five, one survive, hide the gold under the sand. White flower, witching hour, bloom upon a haunted land." There are several haunted lands in Might and Magic VII, although the only one with any connection to pirates is Evenmorn Island. And there IS a patch of sand on that island... but that's not where the white flower appears at midnight. So where is the buried treasure? In a stone circle that isn't anywhere close to any sand.
Guns Are Useless: Blasters in VI and VII do fairly low damage that cannot be increased by your Might score or your skill in Blasters, and Blaster Rifles aren't much better. Also unlike other weapons, they cannot be enchanted. However, they do have an extremely high rate of fire, so at least you can deal Death of a Thousand Cuts with them, especially when you fight in the real-time mode. Another advantage they have is that they do Energy damage, a form of damage which no monsters have any resistance to, meaning a successful hit always does full damage.
Heroic Sacrifice: Corak lacks the power to defeat Sheltem by directly attacking him. His self-destruct system, however...
The Hidden Hour: A puzzle in VII has a flower that only appears in "the witching hour".
Hijacked by Ganon: II. The manual leads you to believe that Gralkor will be the Big Bad. Actually, saving King Kalohn from the Mega Dragon is the penultimate quest. The actual final enemy is Sheltem, who resides deep within Square Lake Cavern and will be a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere if you haven't played the first game.
Hive Queen: The Kreegan Queen, the final boss of Might & Magic VI.
It is entirely possible to do this to yourself by using the artifact Splitter in VII. Artifacts and Relics are supposed to differ by Relics having drawbacks, which is technically true... but Explosive Impact doesn't count as a drawback, despite the fact that Splitter is a melee weapon, and there is no way to completely protect yourself from Fire damage.
The Regnans in VIII first are infiltrated by the heroes by means of a Regnan submarine the party hijacked while on a supply run. Then the party uses a Regnan prototype super-cannon to sink a good chunk of the Regnan fleet.
Hollywood Genetics: Neither Roland nor Catherine has black hair, but their son Nicolai does. (Technically, it's blue.)
Hopeless Boss Fight: In V, trying to face Sheltem in combat gets you automatically pwned. The only way to win is to recruit a more powerful ally and watch an awesome cutscene battle. The MegaDragon from II is also supposed to be a hopeless fight, though it can be defeated by insanely over-leveled characters using powerful spells.
There's something like this early in VII. There's a cave on Emerald Island, where you start the game, where there's a Red Dragon, which is likely far too strong for you to defeat. However, when you first enter, it will be preoccupied with some rats before it sees you. (The idea is for you to grab the two items you need and get out before it manages.) Note that it is possible to kill it, as as this guy proves.
Hell, M&M6 also reversed the names of the Enterprise crew to use as passwords.
In Name Only: Heroes of Might & Magic V and Dark Messiah of Might & Magic are a complete reboot of the series, taking place in an entirely different universe, with none of the Science Fantasy plot elements of the original series.
Pretty much every M&M title released following the fall of 3DO has tended towards this, actually. Don't even get me started on the recent DS title.
In Spite of a Nail: For obvious gameplay reasons, the world of Might & Magic II is not dramatically changed if you alter the world in the past and save King Kalohn from the Mega Dragon. The only difference is that he, not his daughter, rules in Luxus Palace Royale.
Informed Ability: Happens a lot. Many quests require you to kill a Boss Monster who's supposedly a leader or king of a group of common monsters, but when you actually fight the guy, he's really not much stronger than a typical member of the species. (For example, in one game you have to kill Ethric the Mad, who is supposedly "the first - and thus most powerful - lich" but he's really just the same as any other Power Lich. (Not that Power Liches are pushovers, of course, but Agar and the Lich King are liches in the same game that are stronger.)
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: X seems to use this, unfortunately. In Sorpigal, a lot of buildings are inaccessible at first due to obstacles that would seem incredibly easy to bypass, like the exit being too narrow or a rope barricade that seems no more secure than a closeline. (Presumably, at least some of them become accessible later after some events are triggered.)
Invulnerable Civilians: Monsters and townspeople simply ignored each other in Might & Magic VI. This was corrected in all later games, where the two would fight if they crossed paths.
Of course, this caused other issues. Namely that great fun could be had in VII by luring monsters back to town for the sole purpose of watching them slaughter the inhabitants.
Not the sole purpose. If they killed the man trying to give you a fireball wand for a future favour, you could take the wand for free. Also, civilians have gold.
Most of the time. Some civilians in Might and Magic 8 don't have gold. Although they tend to look quite ragged, so...
Interactive Narrator: The unnamed female narrator in X tells the story of your characters in past tense, as you play it.
Joke Level: VI has one. In Dragonsand, there's a hidden teleporter that takes you to the New World Computing Dungeon, a place which, in theory, is built to resemble the office of New World Computing (at the time). The place isn't much of a challenge if your party is strong enough to be in Dragonsand (the only monsters are a couple of goblins and lots of peasants, all of them named after NWC employees, and there isn't any useful treasure) but it is kind of cool.
Actually, there's a way to get there early on, when the items inside are quite helpful: There's a Flight scroll hidden in the west wall of the bank in New Sorpigal. Cast it and fly to the north end of the Buccaneer's Lair, and click on the wall. It will teleport you to Dragonsand, just outside the Shrine of the Gods. Save before trying it, because there are twenty or so dragons waiting for you and it may take a few tries to get inside the shrine without dying. Click on the obelisk to have 20 stats permanently added to each character, and then click on the left wall of the shrine and it takes you to New World Computing. Unfortunately, the only way to get out is to go back outside and let the dragons kill you, which will land you back in New Sorpigal with no gold, so don't bother picking up the gold in the dungeon and put your money in the bank before you start.
Actually, it is possible to get back without dying, so long as you first have 2,000 gold; it's possible to hire a Gatekeeper in New Sorpigal who can cast Town Portal once per day. (The cut this hireling charges is 50%, however, in addition to the initial 2,000, so the actual profit might not be worth it.
Justified Tutorial: the scavenger hunt in VII served as both a tutorial of sorts, as well as an introductory stage to set up the plot for the remainder of the game.
Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Played straight, but avoidable. The rule applies, but if the character you use to deal with a merchant has ranks in the Merchant skill, you get a better deal both when buying and selling, and the better the character is in the skill, the better the deal. When the character gets the highest rank in the skill, he both buys and sells at the fixed price. (Naturally, it's best to max out this skill on the character who can use it best, and have him deal with merchants exclusively.)
La Résistance: This seems to have caused the crisis in X, and it's probably a villainous example. After the chaos that Uriel caused in the war prior to the events, the young Empress Gwendolyn Falcon of the Agyn Peninsula introduced a set of reforms to stem the unrest (first and foremost, separating the authority of the church from that of the state, seeing as blindly following an angel was a mistake that caused the war) that many of "the more conservative" nobles objected to, causing political upheaval and threats of succession, possibly leading to outright insurrection judging from the state of things currently. (In Sorpigal, you hear both sides of the issue, some citizens supporting the Empress, and others supporting the dissidents. There's no proof that Gwendolyn isn't the villain right now, but it's unlikely; the last quest you can do in the early access open-beta version involves repelling an attack on the governor's palace by mysterious soldiers, which likely didn't come by her order.)
Larynx Dissonance: Mostly unintentional, due to many NPCs often being assigned the (ambiguously) incorrect gender. Don't even get me started on that... thing who runs the Mind Guild in VII. When talking to peasants and other NPCs, a voice will say "Hello" or an equivalent greeting, and if you don't know that it's the voice of your currently active character (not the voice of the NPC he/she's talking to), it can seem like this as well.
Let's Play: A rather well-done version of the first two games by Thuryl can be found on the Let's Play Archive. Thuryl mercilessly points out how obscenely broken the second game can be if you do things right.
Lost Colony: The apparent fantasy world setting of each game is typically revealed to really be one of these towards the end.
Played with in the first five games, in that the settings strictly speaking were not lost, but rather deliberately retarded (the Ancients apparently do keep an eye on them, just not a close one). VI to VIII varied the theme by making it clear from an early point that the world in question was a Lost Colony (the inhabitants themselves are perfectly aware of it, and in fact base their dating system on when the colony became lost). IX bucked the trend by never explicitly revealing it.
It's still there you just have to empty the chest and open it again. Out of nowhere the missing items will appear.
Loveable Rogues: In VII, William Lasker, the Master of Thieves, who lives in the Sewers in Erathia, obviously qualifies. You hear from some townsfolk that Queen Catherine could likely arrest him any time she wants, but turns a blind eye because she approves of his actions. When you actually meet him, it's clear the rumors are true; first he gives you this first Thief promotion quest (which helps you get even with the guy who conned you in the beginning by robbing his house) and later, he proves to be on the side of the Path of Light by giving you the Rogue to Spy Promotion Quest. (Assuming you pick the Path of Light.)
The heroes play this part in X, being Raiders, a type of shady adventurer which many folk believe are lawless folk who refuse to pledge loyalty to any formal authority (both the government or the Dragons), and are Only in It for the Money. This is true to a certain extent - the eight rule of their ten-part code is "Treasure is treasure", meaning that if something is valuable, you should take it, and not judge what it was used for. However, a lot of the code does deal with honor among allies and comrades, the first rule being "Life is worth more than gold", meaning that nothing is so valuable that you should risk the lives of your companions to get it. (The second rule is, if a Raider violates the first rule and lets a comrade die to gain wealth, he is a traitor who deserves death, and a true Raider's duty is to deliver that punishment.)
Made of Explodium: Gogs. Also, less notably, golems and light elementals, and Boulders, as well as arrows when fired from bows with the "of Carnage" enchantment.
Kreegan burst into flames when they die too, leaving no corpse behind, but that's no threat to you.
Meaningful Name: In VI you can find Artifacts and Relics at random from high level monsters. Artifacts are special, very strong items named after characters from the King Arthur saga (like Lancelot, Galahad, Parcival etc.), while Relics were even more powerful but almost always had an additional drawback. Relics are named after characters from the greek mythology (like Ares, Hermes, Minerva) etc. The properties of the relics were related to those of their patrons, like the Ares mace having additional fire damage, or the Hermes boots increasing your speed.
Monster Town: Paradise Valley in VI. While monsters can waltz right into most towns in this game and no one minds, this one, which is far away from most of the others, seems to owned by Titans, and they'll attack you if you stay on the streets. (The folks indoors are friendlier. Here's a tip: Meteor Shower and Starburst are two spells that useful against the Titans, but only if you manage to trick them into grouping together, and it's tricky.)
Mythology Gag: In Might and Magic VI, the archbishop Anthony Stone asks you to find the Prince of Thieves, who has been consorting with some unwholesome temple. He mentions "Moo," "Yak," and "Bark," which are references to temples found in preceding Might and Magic games.
Nature Hero: If you have an orc character in your party in X, his or her dialogue sometimes suggests this; they complain a lot when they're in towns, but are rather exuberant when outdoors, praising "Mother Earth" and "Father Sky".
Neglectful Precursors: The Ancients seem to have vanished from the face of the galaxy, leaving the inhabitants of their various artificial worlds to deal with the likes of Sheltem and the Kreegan.
In their defence, they did send Corak (a Corak, anyhow) after Sheltem... though they apparently didn't bother to check-up after he failed to return with Sheltem on schedule. And as VIII makes clear, they are fighting the Kreegan... they just don't have the resources to save their lost colonies and experiments from the Kreegan most of the time ( or, for that matter, to destroy most infested colonies), what with the ongoing galaxy-scale war.
Nigh-Invulnerability: Lord Xeen in IV can only be killed by the XEENSlayer sword. In Swords of Xeen, the final dungeon enemies require one of six specific items to defeat.
Nintendo Hard: The earlier games in the series embody this, due to the general high difficulty of RPGs of that era (when finishing a game was considered a major achievement, not a given). IV averts this, mostly because it's essentially the first third of a whole game.
No Canon for the Wicked: Double-subverted in MMVII: The first expansion of Heroes of Might and Magic III was going to continue the story from the Evil ending of MMVII (with Kastore completing the Heavenly Forge). Because the Science Fantasy elements of Might and Magic had been hitherto absent from the Heroes spinoffs (and because the Heavenly Forge was definitely Science Fantasy), the developers scrapped that idea and instead made the Good ending of MMVII canon (and in AB they didn't mention the Gate that Resurrectra completed in the Good ending anyway).
Nothing Is Scarier: In Might and Magic VIII, the Plane of Air at night is just a black, empty void.
Not Just A Tournament: This is the whole Plot Hook of VII, which starts with the Player Characters being granted the titles of Lords of Harmondale - complete with a free castle - after winning a scavenger hunt. It soon becomes obvious why this prize was so easy to get; not only is the castle a wreck and infested with goblins, Harmondale is in disputed territory, and its lords rarely survive long. The heroes quickly have to resolve a war between their two disputing neighbors in order to be recognized as serious rulers, and even worse, have to choose between the Paths of Light and Dark, a choice that can change the fate of the world.
Not Quite Flight: Levitation in III to V. You can float over pit traps and hover over clouds, but you're not flying, and in IV, V snd VII, you can't levitate in the sky without a cloud to hold you up (requiring you to use other methods to reach certain Floating Continents).
Obvious Beta: Might and Magic IX was cited by the developers themselves as being "pre-alpha at best".
Old Master: In the first game (if not the entire series) a character grows a year older for every level of experience they train up to, so a player's entire party could be pushing 60 or 70 by the end of the game. This carries its own risk, however: once a character hits a certain age, they'll die in their sleep every time you visit an inn.
There are fountains of youth to fix this, of course. There are also curses of aging, too, so watch out.
Old Save Bonus: Might and Magic II allowed you to import characters you used in the first game. The feature was dropped in subsequent installments though. Might and Magic V however introduced another feature: If you had both Might and Magic IV and V installed, you could combine them into one massive game called World of Xeen which allowed you to travel between the two sides of the titular world featured in each of the stand-alone games, as well as introducing some new content and an exclusive new ending.
Omnicidal Maniac: Sheltem's main M.O. involves crashing planets into their suns.
In V he wants to move the world of Xeen like a vehicle, so he can return to Terra. The fact that everyone on the planet will freeze to death in deep space is a nice little bonus.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Badass Beards? Check. Tough guy attitude? Check. Good in character classes that reply on fighting and heavy armor? Check. In games where you can use them in your party, they fit the bill.
Our Liches Are Different: Actually, the ones presented as enemies aren't much different at all (as far as RPGs go). However, in games where you can choose a Dark path, wizards in your party actually become liches after completing the second Promotion Quest, complete with the Soul Jars that liches tend to use. This grants a few immunities along with enhanced stats, but it actually does not grant them any special form of immortality. (I'm not even sure if this technically makes them undead; if you're killed after becoming a lich, a spell that raises the dead revives you, as a lich again... Kind of weird, really...)
Palette Swap: In M&M7 they didn't even swap palettes, they just re-tinted the already animated sprites. A fan made patch later corrected this.
If you use Hardware Accelerated 3D video setting, they don't appear to be of different colors. But if you change the video setting to Software 3D, the sprites are recolored much more realistically.
In most games, here's how monsters work: Each monster has a small, medium, and large variety (in terms of how powerful they are) and the only real physical difference is color. (Of course, the three varieties of a monster tend to be found together.) Boss Monsters are sometimes exceptions, but many of them are just Palette Swaps of common monsters.
Plot Tunnel: A situation like this arises in VI. The first time you speak to Roland's son, Nicolai, in Castle Ironfist, he joins your party (you do not get a say in this) and the first time you rest, he runs off (again, there's nothing you can do to stop him). Unfortunately, this means you cannot enter Castle Ironfist until you find him, because it is put on emergency shutdown, because they think he's been kidnapped (and it's probably for the best that you don't enter, because technically, you kidnapped him). Because this means you can't complete any important quests, you really have to find him. The worst part is, it's kind of hard. His constant begging to go to the circus should tell you where he is, but the circus only appears on certain months and in only three locations, and one of those locations is a place you really shouldn't go, given your likely current level. So this could take a while. Worst part is, Nicolai doesn't give you any tangible reward for this, except that he owes you a favor, which comes in very useful much later.
You get an XP reward for it in the 2.0 version.
Power at a Price: In VI, Artifacts were safe; Relics, however, had drawbacks. They usually raised one or more stats tremendously, at the cost of greatly reducing one or more others.
Powers That Be: In X, the gods worshipped in the Agyn Peninsula are the Dragons, four gods who seem to represent Elemental Powers. They are depicted as robed, hooded figures with angelic wings, holding swords.
Precursor Heroes: In M&M7 you learn the mysterious Visitors from the Stars that most of the plot centers around are in fact the heroes from the first three games, who never managed to catch up with Sheltem and ended up crash landing on Enroth instead. The party ended up splitting up between the Good and Evil members, with the Good members wanting to build a Stargate to find the Ancients, and the Evil members wanting to use Ancient weapons tech to carve out a galactic empire.
Predecessor Villain: In X, the political crisis that has befallen the land is the result of a Great Offscreen War started by a Fallen Angel named Uriel, explained by the Narrator in the cinematic opening sequence. (Uriel supposedly perished in the war but how much of his influence will be seen the actual game's plot isn't clear, given as he is only spoken of as a historical figure in what has been seen in the game so far - about one fourth of it - that available in the open-beta stage that is available.)
The Quisling: In the letter from King Roland seen in the instruction manual for VI, he says that he suspects there's someone like this among the ruling class of , a traitor working for the Kreegan. And there is, Regent Wilbur Humphrey's representative on the council, Slicker Silvertongue. (Honestly, with a name like that...) One quest you're required to do exposes him. (You'll meet him again later in the game, and you can kill him if you want; He's a wimp.
Rainbow Pimp Gear: Somewhat lampshaded in-game, as the item descriptions for a lot of the uglier equipment often tends to describe how awful it looks.
Really 700 Years Old: Kalohn in II is over 300 years old as of the battle with the Mega Dragon, and is alive 100 years after that if he wins the fight.
Religion of Evil: The Cult of Baa is the biggest example, an Apocalypse Cult apparently founded by the Kreegan to use as front, which plays a big role in VI and a smaller one in VII.
In X there's the Cult of the Wrecker; according to one NPC, this cult worships a dark and twisted aspect of one of the Dragons (most worshippers of that Dragon are benign). We can only assume that much for now, as only one faction of the cult has been seen in the open beta.
Right on the Tick: These games use a clock and a calendar, and quite a few important tasks you have to do depend on certain dates and times. One of the worst is the Druid promotion quests in VI (which, fortunately, are really only necessary if one of your characters is a Druid). The quest for promotion to Great Druid requires you to go and pray at a holy site. Simple enough, right? The Quest Giver requires you to do it on an equinox or a solstice. Four days in a year where you can complete this. (The place isn’t hard to get to, but when you do but watch the date.)
The Great Druid to Grand Druid quest is even worse You have to pray at another holy site on midnight on the night of a full moon. (Twelve days in a year you can complete that one.) The “catch” is, this holy site is in a dungeon full of monsters, and you must do it exactly at midnight. (You should probably make sure to clear out the monsters first.)
In addition to the campaign of Heroes II, where you take control of either Archibald or Roland in the final scenario.
Save Scumming: The games make it very easy, for the most part. Land a good hit, save, opponent misses, save, something bad happens reload, and with patience you can beat things you have no business trying to fight. There are a few exceptions, though - for example, saving in the Arena in M&M7 actually saves you to outside the Harmondale stables on Monday, so you have to win on one try.
This was particularly abuseable when it came to looting, as there is a bug in VI thru VIII that will occasionally cause a just-looted corpse to remain in the game where you can loot it again with exactly the same loot tables. By repeatedly saving and loading any time this bug doesn't cause the corpse to remain, you can outfit your party several times over (with Artifacts and Relics, too, if you're looting a strong enough enemy) and get a ton of gold as a bonus (especially if combined with periodic trips to town and back to the corpse when your inventory fills). Of course, this is really only worth doing on enemies that drop good loot in the first place, like the dragon on the starting island in VII that you can beat by running around it in circles so that its fire breath never hits you...
This is also very useful when you have to deal with monsters like Ghosts that cause magical aging. Simply put, this is something that's hard to reverse, and you're going to have to deal with things like this sooner or later. For example, in VI, you have to go to Corlagan's Estate to do the Wizard to Archmage promotion quest (not required, but highly recommended if you have a wizard) and it has lots of Ghosts. The only ways to reverse magical aging is that game a black potion (which reduces all of your stats in the process) and a magical fountain on Hermit's Isle which you won't be able to access until much later. So save often when you go to this place.
Science Fantasy: M&M games commonly start out as apparently pure fantasy world, but towards the end it is revealed the world is actually a Lost Colony, and Lost Technology is brought into the plot. Later games would introduce the Science Fiction elements earlier; Might & Magic VI and VII, for example, allowed you to mow down Liches with your blaster pistols.
Script Breaking: a particularly glaring example is often encountered in VII, due to a rather poorly thought-out triggered event. When you first travel to the Land of the Giants, a dehthroned Archibald Ironfist telepathically contacts you and begs for your help. The problem is that you will very likely trigger this event long before Kastore overthrows Archibald Ironfist. The game will continue normally and the latter event will not come to pass until properly triggered by the storyline, rendering the former event somewhat nonsensical and contradictive.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Archibald's statue for the majority of MMVI, until you have to unseal him to get his help containing a greater evil.
Sealed Good in a Can: Corak, the Planetary Guardian created by the Ancients for the purpose of stopping their previous, rather defective Planetary Guardian, Sheltem. Promptly ends up stuffed inside a small box by Sheltem, with the player's main goal to unseal him in games II and V.
Self-Destruct Mechanism: Might and Magic VI and VII, as well as Heroes of Might and Magic III deal with an alien invasion. It turns out that the ancients who originally colonised the world also made a robot who would go to worlds attacked by the aliens and eliminate the threat at any cost. In VIII, he has arrived and his programming kicked in and started the self-destruct mechanism of the entire world, even though you already defeated the aliens.
The endgame of V: Corak initiates his own self-destruct to (finally) take down Sheltem. It works.
A minor one in VI; if you aren't paying attention and forget to pick up a vital scroll before going to the demon hive to destroy it, the resulting explosion destroys the planet in a rather well-done cinematic.
In the spinoff Swords Of Xeen, you need to use the mechanism to destroy the alien spaceship. One spell lets you teleport outside, since the timer is linked only to attempts on exiting the spacecraft.
Shout-Out: Oh so deliciously many. For instance, in VI the passwords of the spaceship are 'krik', 'kcops', and 'yttocs', and from the found journals you can deduct that the ship could have been...
After you complete the Black Knight promotion quest in Might and Magic VII, if you go back to visit the guy who gave you the quest, he'll say "None shall pass!"
The grandmaster of Unarmed fighting in VII is (Chuck) Norris. You can achieve grandmastery if Body Building from a troll named Evander Holifield. The grandmaster of Mind Magic is (Professor) Xavier. Mastery of the Disarm Trap skill can be learned from a crazed redneck named Leonard Skinner. Several NPCs are named after posters on the 3DO forums. The list goes on.
Also, the person who trains to become a Villain is called William (Bill) Setag (read it backwards)
Might and Magic II's game world is basically a collection of shout-outs, from the many-colored Bishops of Battle to a familiar starship captain running a transport service. Basically any time there's text in the game, it's a reference to something.
Soul Jar: In Might and Magic VII and VIII, this is how necromancers transform themselves into liches.
Super Drowning Skills: in most of the 3-D games, water acts as little more than a flat surface that drains your life when you stand on it without the aid of a Water Walk spell or potion. This is particularly jarring, as it is entirely possible to walk on water without the aforementioned spell - your only penalty is listening to your characters yell "ow! that hurts!" repeatedly while the water slowly eats away at their health.
IX was the first (and only, unless you count that one stage from VII) in the series to give characters the ability to actually swim (i.e., to go down beneath the surface of the water instead of treating it like solid ground). Due to other issues, however, this ability was completely worthless for a lack of any reason whatsoever to go swimming.
There's was also the 'plane of water' from VIII.
Take Your Time: Double Subverted in II. The game warns you that the world will end in the year 1000 (you start in the year 900), and your characters can age, but rejuvenating your characters at least is trivial. Oh, and if you play through 100 years...nothing happens.
Similarly, in World of Xeen, one of the options in the starting town (at least on Darkside) is to spend a week as a laborer for a bit of cash. Combine this with the compound interest the banks provide, and you can spend a century or two before you do anything just accumulating cash. Not to worry, though... apparently XEEN steers and/or accelerates like a tub, because there hasn't been any noticeable climate change yet.
Taken for Granite: Archibald's punishment at the end of Heroes II. You have to release him in VI (well, you can choose not to, and you are warned that doing so is risky, but if you don't, you get a bad ending).
Theme Naming: Every game starting with III has a temple with some animal-related name: Temple of Moo (III), Temple of Yak (IV), Temple of Bark (V), Temple of Snakes (VI), Temple of Baa (VI and VII), Temple of Honk (IX)
Archbishop Anthony Stone in Might and Magic VI even makes a Mythology Gag on the first three names.
VIII had the Grand Temple of Eep, the Chapel of Eep and the Church of Eep, all part of a quest to find rare cheese - the followers of Eep are wererats.
Every "trainer" in Might and Magic VII is named after a Roman emperor.
X seems to continue the trend; the captain of the garrison in Sorpigal is a tough orc knight named Maximus.
There Are No Tents: Well, subverted, but with conditions. You can rest outside of an inn, but if a place is too dangerous to do so, you can't (a message onscreen will tell you so, and you won't be able to.) And even if a place is considered safe, you might be attacked in your sleep. (The inns, however, are always 100% secure, and it also doesn't deplete your rations, which camping in the wilderness does.)
The Three Certainties in Life: Some NPCs state that there are only three certainties in life: Death, Taxes, and that you'll hear the comment about death and taxes sooner or later.
Too Dumb to Live: In VII, during the War Over Harmondale quest, you get an opportunity to betray both Erathia and Avlee. You can then confess your betrayal to the respective rulers. Said rulers promptly have you executed. (What makes this especially dumb is, so long as you just keep quiet about it, they'll never suspect a thing and you'll get away scott free.)
Within five minutes of starting a new game in VII, you can "encourage" a swarm of vicious dragonflies to slaughter an entire town... and get away with it totally blameless. And get an awesome item AND save quite a bit of money by taking stuff you'd ordinarily have to buy from the peasant's corpses.
The Armageddon spell in games VI-VIII would cause massive damage to anything in the current outdoor map, if it was not immune to magic or darkness damage. This meant that, while weak enemies and civilians would be instantly killed by one casting of the spell, stronger enemies and the party would generally take multiple castings. And yes, the party *was* vulnerable to the spell it would cast. The cruelty potential comes from the fact that the spell was the quickest way to get the worst reputation, if used on the innocent. The reputation was needed for ranking up in Dark Magic and being able to cast Armageddon more times each day.
Fortunately, you could undo all your butchery just by using the Dark spell "Reanimate" on the slain peasants, as long as you hadn't looted their dead bodies. This should have turned them into zombies, I suppose, but they showed no obvious sign of it and didn't seem to mind. Bringing the dead back to life didn't fix your reputation, though... putting a few shillings in the church poorbox was the quick fix for that.
Even as early as the second iteration you could commit genocide, though it was limited to enemy races. Specifically, it was possible to find peaceful goblin villages and wipe them out.
Video Game Geography: Type 1. In III, the world is a toroid, and in I, II, IV and V it's flat. (Actually, only the setting of 3 is set on a planet at all; the others are spaceships.)
Villain Protagonist: You become this in a couple of games if you choose the Dark Path. Of course, even though this causes you to be an accomplice in a few very evil things, whether you truly act like a villain is up to you.
Wide Open Sandbox: The first three games don't really tell you where to go. You're expected to explore the game until you pick up enough clues to stumble into the real final quest. Most egregious in II, where the backstory in the game manual is almost entirely a Red Herring and the real villain is a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere unless you've played I.
In all games, there's far more material in the sidequests than in the main quest, and often, the difference between sidequest and main quest can only be determined in hindsight.
You All Look Familiar: In most games, encountering a shopkeeper or dungeon doorman will display a nifty animated shot, but shops of a given type use the same art.
You Call That A Wound: NPC hirelings in the early 3D games were entirely immune to whatever perils the rest of the team was facing, even though they were always standing right there with you. Though it is possible for your characters to use a dark magic spell that would sacrifice an NPC hireling to restore that character to full health.
You Shouldn't Know This Already: one of the puzzles in MM 5 is figuring out the true name of the big bad (who calls himself Alamar). It is conveniently written on a dungeon wall somewhere, but if you've played MM 1 or 2 you will already know this.
And by "written on a dungeon wall somewhere" we mean "there's a dungeon which you have to map out, then take a look at your map to realize that the walls form the words 'I am Sheltem'." Ego, much?