Video Game / Spellforce

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Spellforce is a combination Real-Time Strategy and RPG franchise created by German game developers Phenomic.

The original game Spellforce: The Order of Dawn was followed by two expansions: Spellforce: The Breath of Winter (2004) and Spellforce: Shadow of the Phoenix (2005).

Spellforce (Gold Edition) includes the first two games in the series, while Spellforce (Platinum Edition) includes all three games. Spellforce: Universe includes all three of the Spellforce games as well as both the sequel games.

A sequel, Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars was released in 2006 and Spellforce 2: Dragon Storm was released in 2007. A standalone expansion called Spellforce 2: Faith in Destiny was released in 2012.

Both games take the RTS/RPG concept and run with it, using slightly different leveling concepts along the way. There are Diablo-like hero-only maps, and full scale RTS maps as well. The player controls a magically-gifted hero (an immortal Rune Warrior in the first game, a dragon-blooded Shaikan in the second) who must travel across the fractured world of Eo to win allies and raise armies against the various forces that would finish the world's destruction. Along the way they must perform numerous quests to prove their goodwill, delve into ancient dungeons to rediscover lost secrets and artifacts, and solve the problems of every random person that you meet (in true RPG fashion).

Like everything else, there's a wiki.

All games in the series provide examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Background information to the units and races can be found here
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted! Shadows are portrayed as very nearly Eldritch Abominations in the first game. In Shadow Wars, the Big Bad makes a pact with them, (which most characters consider her Moral Event Horizon). They turn out to be bound to a particular artifact, and more of a Proud Warrior Race than anything. Also averted with regard to every other playable race.
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: The Elite unit of the dwarves is the culmination of a warrior's career, reached when he forges his own armour and weapons from the difficult to work Moonsilver.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Subtle, but it exists in Order of the Dawn. A player can wipe out enemy spawn points before activating racial monuments, thus saving armies for the really tough enemies. The catch? Once the racial monuments are active, the enemy spawn points don't shut off, even upon leaving the map. Also, if the player character is in an unwinnable situation, the player can leave the map through a portal and return. This resets the "fog of war" for the computer as well, allowing you to catch your breath. Oh, computer controlled enemies do not repair their infrastructure.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Everybody in the game suffers from this, including the player character. Monsters and NP Cs are known to charge right into the thickest concentration player towers before attacking buildings, artisans gathering resources will calmly walk right into an enemy base (or get killed trying), and some creatures, when they reach the end of their effective partol range will walk back and forth trying to decide if they want to attack the player's towers or return to base, repeatedly getting shot in the process until they die. Oh, and when the Player Character sees enemies coming, even if equipped with a bow, or ranged attack spells, will simply refuse to retaliate or take any preemptive action unless attacked in melee, barring any contrary orders, and all player controlled characters will try to follow their given orders no matter how suicidal it is to do so.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Bosses tend to be the leaders of their factions.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The races' towers can often become this. While they're completely immune to enemy spells and abilities (they can't even be targeted), and can continuously rain death upon enemy soldiers, they require being placed on significant flat, empty lots, can't move, have to be repaired by that race's workers, consume a significant quantity of resources simply to start construction, and have to be guarded until they're completed. Oh, and while they can not be attacked by enemy buildings, they can not attack enemy buildings either, and their targeting of enemy soldiers is not under the control of the player. (Sometimes causing towers to target beings immune to their damage, like fire starters attacking fire elementals).
    • The Racial Titans are the epitome of this. While they have insanely high maximum hitpoint totals and do massive amounts of damage, they require the Large Headquarters building (which is the tail end of the building tree), consume a great many resources in their summoning, they move slower than any of the slowest infantry units, even when below 15% health, and the player can only field one per race at a time. Their sheer size also causes movement and engagement issues in narrow paths, and when fighting in coordination with a player's infantry units.
  • Batman Gambit: How the Big Bad kills the Big Good. Also, the Convocation on the part of the Demons and elemental powers. They convinced the Circle Mages that performing the rituals at the right time would give the performer unlimited power. It turned out that it summoned them to wreak havoc on the world.
  • Blessed with Suck: Rune warriors can summon huge armies and are immortal. However, if they stay "dead" for too long, they will loose their memories and abilities. Oh, and they have to completely obey the person who has their rune stones.
    • Maybe more of a case of Cursed with Awesome are Shaikan: they can revive other Shaikan, summon them from great distances and use Blood Magic. The downside? If they die, they are not allowed into the River of Souls and have to stay on the riverside forever.
  • Boring but Practical: The workers of the human, elf, and orc races. While they absolutely suck in battle, they can build towers to rain death upon enemy troops, especially the elf "freeze" towers that do damage and stun-lock. Often this can be the key to defeating bosses way above your level.
  • Broken Bridge: Many of them. Most portals don't become available until you've done something on that map. A new quest arc is usually kicked off by a previously-inaccessible gate in a major city becoming available.
  • Call Back: Spellforce and all its sequels start with a shot of a hero monument, which lights up and summons the Player Character. Spellforce 2 starts with a shot of a hero monument, totally inactive, then pulls back to the Player Character ruminating on the fact that the Rune Warriors are no more.
  • Contemptible Cover: Look at that smoking hot elf chick! What do you mean the graphics are nothing like that?
  • Critical Existence Failure: Almost. One's damage output is unaffected by Hit Points, but at about 15% of a unit's health, it slows way down. Useful to you when hunting down enemies, but it cuts both ways.
  • Cutscene: Most in-engine, the beginning and ending ones are cinematics.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The PC can use Black Magic, if you like.
    • Also, both the Light and Dark races are playable, and form a segment of the campaign(s).
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: A NPC in a side quest informs you that the ice elves from The Breath of Winter were wiped out by an invasion.
  • Expy: Craig Un'Shallach is a dark elf who wields two swords and had to leave his homeland.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Light races suffer from Obstructive Bureaucrats in Shadow Wars and Jerkassery throughout. Also, the PC is more than willing to slaughter the armies of the Light races if they get in his or her way.
  • Headdesk: To get your troll siege units to use their anti-building attacks against buildings, you have to set them next to the buildings without ordering them to attack - otherwise, they'll bang their heads against the walls as they melee attack the buildings.
  • Infinite Supplies: All your ressources are technically infinite since they regenerate, even the tress after a while, but putting more than one worker on them means you use them faster than they reappear.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: There's always some convoluted quest to craft or find one. The quest for Amra's Armor (from The Order of Dawn) particularly stands out.
  • Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: Every cover for every Spellforce game or expansion has a scantily-clad woman on it. Most of them have nothing to do with the game, and the few that do tend to have minor roles that don't warrant their place on the cover, and they look nothing like what the cover's art shows.
  • Loveable Rogue: Flink McWinter.
  • The Medic: Various healing units, the player if they choose Life Magic.
  • Mana: For the PC, heroes, and basic units alike.
  • Portal Network: The world is set up as a series of interconnected RTS or RPG maps. Travel is via portals, or Bindstone for the player character.
  • Novelization: A trilogy written by Uschi Zietsch about the Shaikan.
  • Precursors: The Formers. No plot significance until Dragon Storm, just the source of some MacGuffins and Plot Coupons.
  • RPG: Whenever it's not a RTS. Notably:
    • Adventure Towns: Each inhabited island generally has a big problem and some little ones. Uninhabited ones generally have a whole bunch of demons/undead/orcs/whatever to kill.
    • AFGNCAAP: The Player Character, which is used in all the cutscenes. There's a male and female voice actor, but that's it.
    • An Adventurer Is You: Pretty much any option is available.
    • Black Magic: Direct damage and life-sucking spells.
    • But Thou Must
    • Level Cap: 30, except in Shadow of the Phoenix. 24 for the rest of the Player Party.
    • Player Party: Up to five heroes serve the player character. In the first game they don't level, you just replace them with new ones as you level. In the second one they do level, and are actual characters in their own right.
    • Side Quest: Aplenty. Some particularly convoluted ones lead to the Infinity+1 Sword and Armor, and stretch throughout entire games.
    • Take Your Time: Unless you've opened up a headquarters for an RTS mission. In that case, get an army ready, and quick, because the CPU will start attacking soon and the attacks will get stronger and stronger unless you destroy their camps.
      • Either way, you can still turtle like an absolute Frenchman for hours - the plot can't go on without you unless you go through the Portal Network, and there are no Timed Missions.
    • White Magic: Healing and buffing, as well as Turn Undead.
  • Real-Time Strategy: Sometimes. Notably:
  • The Siege: You defend at least a few bastions of Light from The Horde.
  • Stable Time Loop: All Time Travel seems to work this way. Anytime the player helps build a Time Machine, they'll also be deeply involved in the resulting time loop. The entire plot of the first game is one of these, with the Big Bad/Big Good as the time traveler in question.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: Just about everything on the list. Notably:
  • Storming the Castle: If the enemy has a legendary, nigh-impregnable fort, you'll take it from them. No exceptions.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Urias in Shadow of the Phoenix, Borias and Lyen in Dragon Storm.
  • Take a Third Option: The Circle Mages began to research and create rune warriors as a result of their need for reliable assistants. Standard magical servants such as bound elementals were loyal but unable to think for themselves, human mercenaries had the power to think and learn, but were prone to treachery. The rune warriors, humanoid souls bound to magical runes, have the best of both worlds.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Logistics don't apply to the CPU at all in Spellforce's campaign. In Spellforce 2, less so.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: In the opening cutscene, as a result of "The Convocation". Only regions immediately around the Godstones fail to be reduced to chaotic ocean. This justifies the Portal Network.
  • Time Machine: Terminator rules. The Player Character helps build at least one in the first entry of each game. In both cases, it's an extremely elaborate process and takes the entire game. The one in The Order of Dawn is by way of MacGuffin Delivery Service, and is used by the Big Bad to go back in time and... become the Big Good.
  • Unholy Nuke: The Death sub-branch of Black Magic.
  • World in the Sky: Part of the backstory, but gets so little actual play that it amounts to little more than a Hand Wave for why the Portal Network exists, is important, and is the only means of travel.

Spellforce and its expansions provide examples of:

  • All Your Powers Combined: The final mission of The Order of Dawn is composed of three sections: One with a monument for each dark races, one with a monnument for each light race, and the last (where the Final Boss is) with two Heores' monuments).
  • An Ice Person: Any mage specializing in ice magic, of course. Notably, both Rohen and The Dark One (in-game, not in the opening cutscene). Also, all offensive elf spellcasters, since they worship an ice/nature deity.
  • Animate Dead: Classic style and high-powered, magic-induced Face–Heel Turn style.
  • Back from the Dead: Rohen, in Shadow of the Phoenix. Animate Dead style.
  • Beef Gate: Of undead at the gate from Greydusk Vale to the Northern Windwalls. And another at the Frost Marshes made of Mecha-Mooks. Removed in a plot event by the Order of Dawn, at the cost of most of their manpower.
  • Big Bad: The Dark One.
  • Big Good: Rohen.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Played With. While you units' armor is blue and your buildings have blue flags on them, they all appear as green in the minimap and the circle which shows you selected them is green too. Meanwhile, for allied units, it's the reverse, their flags and units armors are green, but they appear as blue on the minimap and when selected.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The elves can only recruit their strongest units if they have iron, but they CAN'T GATHER THAT RESOURCE ON THEIR OWN.
    • They can, but are highly inefficient in it.
  • Crutch Character: Yellow runes in Breath Of Winter and Shadow of the Phoenix. Powerful Runes that can be used at a relatively low level compared to normal ones and stay useful for quite a while, but ultimately you can't equip any armor on them, sometimes not even a weapon or anything at all, so they end up losing against high level Rune warrior which can have powerful enchanted armors.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The end of the Shiel mission. You have to fight more than a hundred orcs who will quickly inflict this on you if you try to attack them head-on. The solution? Ask for the help of the spirits of the forest, who gives you five dryads who then go on to inflict this on the Orc's army.
  • Deal with the Devil: Uram in the backstory. The Player Character in The Order of Dawn, when he or she gives the Mask of Belial to Hokan Ashir.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Hokan versus Uram in the backstory. (Undead/Blades and Demons, respectively.)
  • Face–Heel Turn: Rohen, as a result of Animate Dead.
  • Free-Fall Fight: In the opening cinematic, between Rohen and The Dark One.
  • Giant Flyer: Griffon Riders. They don't actually fly (in gameplay terms) until Spellforce 2.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Big Bad!
  • Horny Devils: "Seductress" demons.
  • Hub City: Greyfell in The Order of Dawn, Tirganach in Breath of Winter and Empyria in Shadow of the Phoenix.
  • I Am An Humanitarian: The only way for trolls units to have food is by the Corpse Collector which, as the name imply, makes any worker in it collect corpses as food.
  • I Hate Past Me: The Big Good in "The Order Of Dawn" is the future self of the Big Bad.
  • Late to the Tragedy: You, several times. Most notably when the Order takes Frost Marshes from the Blades, being killed almost to a man in the process.
  • Love Makes You Evil: The emperor in Shadow of the Phoenix became obsessed with the dryad to the point of not giving a single damn about anything other than her and had her poisoned in the hopes that she would accept his offer of giving her a cure if she became his.
  • MacGuffin: The book. Later, the Phoenix Stone.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Just about every single MacGuffin you get your hands on. See Unwitting Pawn.
  • The Magocracy: In the backstory, the thirteen Circle Mages were the single most powerful power bloc. And when they had a falling out, well, see The End of the World as We Know It.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: By the Big Good. He knew he would die and that the Big Bad would get the MacGuffin because, well, see Stable Time Loop.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Dark One.
  • Rebellious Princess: Alyah in Shadow of the Phoenix, the daughter of the emperor Magnus Arias, is the chief of the Thief's guild in Empyria. Sort of justified, considering her father became totally obsessed with the dryad and stopped paying any attention to her and even had her thrown out of the palace.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Dark One kills Rohen. The Player Character is pissed. Later, the Dark One kills Sartarius in the exact same way, the Player Character decides that they're going to kill him, even if it means having to follow him into Barga Gor (Hell).
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Rohen/The Dark One's goal at the end of The Order of Dawn. At some point while taking The Slow Path, he resigns himself to the Stable Time Loop.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The ruined city Mulandir. On your first visit, the city is full of high level Medusas who petrify your characters on sight. But Mulandir is only a stealth based mission the first few times you visit the place, because after some grinding, the enemies in the city are weak compared to your characters.
  • Stock Shout-Outs: "The Raven". Specifically, an undead called the "Nevermore" drops an item called the "Ravencap".
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Present in The Breath Of Winter, on the Firefangs map. Did you get the Shadow Ring from the hermit before activating the Dark Elf monument? Have fun restarting the campaign from scratch, provided you didn't just break the CD first. However, if you are not above cheating, you can cheat yourself to victory and continue your adventure as normal.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Player Character. Repeatedly.


Spellforce 2 and its expansions provide examples of:


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