Races and Main Characters of the Age of Wonders series.
Races Introduced in Age of Wonders
Banished from their Garden, a new race called Humans entered the Valley of Wonders. They were welcomed, but they betrayed the trust and slew the Elven Court, creating a rift among the Elves. Their actions also upset the balance between Good and Evil. However, they are mighty and manage to expel all other races from the Valley of Wonders.
- Born Under the Sail: Human units have the Mariner ability in Age of Wonders 3. They can embark on water without any of its penalties and has three more movement during embarking.
- Hunter of Monsters: Human Knights in Age of Wonders 2 and 3 deal more damage to dragons, while the latter also are effective against monster units.
- Humans Are Average: Both played straight and subverted. Straight in that most races have special characteristics, but human units set the baseline for unit statistics, with no innate bonuses or weaknesses. Subverted in Ao W III by many class units built by humans having special abilities, such as enhanced spirit damage for Theocrats or powerful cavalry charges for Warlords.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters:
- Well, humans are very expansionist, ambitious, and refuse to let anything like, say, the elven empire stand in their way. Most Undead leaders and Doom Priests are ex-humans. However the angelic Highmen (lead by Gabriel) claim that humans are just the first True Neutral race who can choose good or evil.
- The flavour text on War Galley and Fire Thrower units states that they started out as benign Dwarven inventions before humans refitted them for war.
- In Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic, while a neutral faction, regular humans and nomads are the main enemies of the expansion. Their respective leaders are both allied with the Shadow Demons. On the other hand, in the Wizard's Throne, Merlin, the player character, is human and the one who brings balance to the world.
- In the third game, they appear to be this from the Elven Court's perspective, leading the Commonwealth. The truth is, unsurprisingly, more complicated.
- I Shall Taunt You: Human Swashbucklers can taunt enemy units, forcing them to attack the Swashbuckler, ideally wasting their turn trying to reach him and collecting attacks of opportunity from units they must pass by.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: Despite having a central role in the story in the original game, humans don't show up until the last levels and are never playable as a race in the campaign.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Azracs are basically a mix of Arabic and Ancient Egyptian themes.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: Azracs' main purpose on the original's campaign is to antagonize the Orcs in the evil campaign.
- Our Genies Are Different: Azracs can employ the Djinn as an unit.
- Sandworm: An Azrac third-tier unit.
- War Elephants: The Azrac replacement of the Battering Ram.
- Dungeon Bypass: Lizardfolk's innate swimming ability give them a powerful advantage on some maps, which is why they didn't appear in the sequels. Particularly since there's a water spell that flooded the map, giving them even more water to have an advantage with.
- Fiery Salamander: One of their high tier units, in great contrast to the aquatic theme of the race.
- Horse of a Different Color: The Lizardmen are the most unusual and ride giant frogs.
A race of small humanoids that live in the cold lands north. They are always at odds with Dwarves of the region in a fight for temperate, fertile lands. In Age of Wonders 3 Eternal Lords expansion, they went further north as the result of the gaining power of the Commonwealth and blames the Elves for the loss of their goddess. They have since became a matriarchal society as the result of meeting with the Ice Queens and White Witches.
- An Ice Person: The Frostling race's main characteristic.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Yetis are featured as a Frostling Tier 3 Unit in Age of Wonders 2.
- Chariot Pulled by Cats: The Frostling Ice Queen, the highest tier unit, are pulled by polar bears.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: The Frostling Royal Guard has the Explosive Ice Death ability, which deals damage upon death.
- The Dulcinea Effect: The Frostling Royal Guard in Age of Wonders 3 has the Pledge of Protection, an ability similar to Absorb Pain. It only works on Frostling females and heroes (regardless of gender).
- Everything's Better with Penguins: One of the units in Age of Wonders 1 are Dire Penguins.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Frost Queen can used the Last Rite of Winter ability to create a three-hex field but requires sacrificing the unit. Since Frostling dislike certain terrains and the ability turn the field into Arctic terrain which the Frostling tolerates and has some advantage in Arctic, it is necessary to do it so that the Frostling do not lose any advantage.
- Horse of a Different Color: Frostling heroes ride polar bears.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: Just like the Azracs, the Frostlings' main purpose on the original's campaigns is to antagonize the Dwarves over territory issues.
- Put on a Bus: The Frostlings were absent in the original Age of Wonders 3, but returns in Eternal Lords with the explanation of becoming isolationist from the expansion of the Commonwealth.
- Shovel Strike: Frostling basic unit Snowscaper in Age of Wonders 2 onwards. In Age of Wonders 3, their ability Shatter Strike gives bonus damage against frozen or petrified units and units under Stone Skin.
- War Elephants: Frostlings get Mammoth Riders in Age of Wonders 2 onwards.
- Weak to Fire: Fire is their primary weakness.
The branch of the High Elves that after the war at the Valley of Wonders followed Queen Elwynn and left in peace to the island of Aldor. Reunited with the Dark Elves in Age of Wonders 3 as High Elves.
- The Ageless: They're potentially immortal — they never die of old age, but can be killed by outside causes.
- Composite Character: In Age of Wonders 3, while most of the High Elves' unit are standard for Elves in previous games, the High Elves has the Initiate and Storm Sister who has shock damage and resistance, similar to the Dark Elves' Storm Priest.
- Our Elves Are Different: Vanilla Tolkien-style, immortal elves In Harmony with Nature.
- Our Fairies Are Different: Nymphs and Fairies are allied with the elves on the first games.
- Our Nymphs Are Different: Nymphs are creatures in the elves' roster; they resemble beautiful women in minimal clothing, can befriend animals and attack by seducing enemies.
- Fertile Feet: The Nature Elementals leaves a trail of grasslands and flowers when crossing other terrain types.
- Immortal Procreation Clause: They're biologically immortal, but in Age of Wonders 3 their main disadvantage is that they generate less population than any other races.
- Plant Person: The Nature Elementals, the Elves' top tier unit in Age of Wonders.
- Proud Scholar Race: As an ancient race, they are wise beyond ages. In Age of Wonders 3, their cities produce more knowledge than other races, allowing them to research upgrades and spells quicker.
- Shock and Awe: After reuniting with the Dark Elves in Age of Wonders 3, the elves became affiliated with lightning with their shock protection and the incorporation of the Initiate and Storm Sisters.
- Treants: In Age of Wonders 2 and Shadow Magic, the Elves get a Treeman. "Concealment" means that if this wall-crushing behemoth stands in a forest, foes will not see it until it's one step away.
- When Trees Attack: Treemen are one of the units available for the Elves to send to fight their foes.
Stout people from the mountain regions, old allies of the good races. When time comes, however, they are struck by a terrible earthquake and their caves and underground cities suffer.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Vanilla Tolkien-style dwarves.
- Our Giants Are Bigger: Boulder-thrusting good giants allied with the dwarves.
- Horse of a Different Color: They ride boars.
- Mighty Glacier: Their armor and resistance is higher than other races, but their unit cost is much more expensive.
- Playing with Fire: While they have no protection to fire, their Forge Priest and Firstborn are affiliated with fire with their fire damage and protection. They are also capable of walking on lava.
- Tunnel King: Their irregular and Tier III units, the Prospector and Firstborn respectively, in Age of Wonders 3 have the Tunneling ability, which allows them to dig through dirt wall underground. As such, dwarves doesn't have to rely on Builders to dig through the caves.
- Underground City: Dwarves in Age of Wonders 3 love to build cities in the underground, as their city gain happiness for every subterranean rock walls in their domain.
Small, kind people. They are the ones that cede the island of Aldor so the Elves can live there. Gentle folk, they prefer trading to war, but can fight fiercely and have many allies to call upon in times of need.
- For Happiness: The Flavor Text for the halfling cleric says that this is at the core of the halfling's faith, noting that halfling clerics have been known to travel hundreds of miles just to learn a really good joke that they can bring back to their friends.
- The game states that while they value happiness above everything, this can mean very different things. Some Halflings are incurable pranksters, other selfless priests, while yet other adventurous rogues.
- Their abilities revolve around the morale system. For example, their Lucky racial ability grant them a dodging mechanic if their morale is high.
- Glass Cannon: Halfling are very weak against physical attacks, with their abilities that deals 20% additional damage, however makes up for it with ways of preventing damage like Lucky which lets them dodge based on morale and preventing them from attacking or getting close.
- Hobbits: That's kind of given, for sure.
- Hunter of Monsters: Their irregular units, Adventurers, in Age of Wonders 3 deal more damage against animals and monsters.
- I Shall Taunt You: In Shadow Magic the Leprechauns get this ability.
- Leprechaun: The most powerful unit of the Halflings, which are actually rate the status - they're naturally invisible on the world map, have respectable melee abilities and a ranged attack, and are exceedingly frustrating to attack due to their superior defensive abilities. Oh, and they do magical damage, which is the hardest damage type to get protection against.
- Lethal Joke Weapon: The Halfling Farmers in Age of Wonders 3 can Throw Chicken at their enemies. The chicken actually deals good amount of damage and has a chance of reducing the enemy's movement.
- Proud Merchant Race: Halflings are skilled traders. They are prone to creating large centers of trade as the United Cities in the original game and New Heartwood in Golden Realms. In Age of Wonders 2 and Shadow Magic their cities contribute more gold.
- Suffer the Slings: Halflings' arms are too short for bows, so they hurl rocks at enemies instead.
- Always Lawful Good: The only Pure Good race.
- Good Is Not Nice: Although they're clearly Good, at times they feel like they're bordering on Blue-and-Orange Morality as their idea of "Good" isn't exactly the same as that of the other Good races.
- Holy Hand Grenade: The incorruptible, quasi-angelic race has several units that deal holy damage in melee or from afar, the earliest example being the Saint unit, which can fling Holy Bolts as an effective ranged attack.
- Irony: For a race dedicated to fighting the undead, they ended up becoming their archenemies by the third game.
- Our Angels Are Different: The Astra is the High Men's fourth tier unit - a winged female with a flaming sword.
- Our Giants Are Different: The Archon Titan.
- The Paladin: Their second-tier cavalry. Unlike their equivalents from the other races, they double as healer unit.
- Valkyries: Work for the High Men. In-story it is said that they used to perform their standard function, but with the mass appearance of the Undead, so many souls of fallen warriors became trapped that they took to direct action to set them free. In game they're mounted on flying horses and have a Holy Strike ability.
Tall and muscular race of warriors. Their code of honor involves killing the most things possible. Fearsome when united, but most often bicker among themselves.
- Black Knight: The Orc Black Knights in Age of Wonders 3 are their cavalry units. They are armored, can fight mounted and flying units with great prejudice, and can see through dark areas better. Further levels let them fight other armored units, shielded units, and even pikeman units, their primary weakness.
- Blood Knight: Orcs love warfare and fighting. All Orc units gets the Victory Rush ability in Age of Wonders 3, which regenerate 10 health for every victory in battle.
- Damage Over Time: Orc Razorbow in Age of Wonders 3 can inflict bleeding.
- Expy: The Orc Glutton has a strong resemblance to Jabba the Hut.
- Javelin Thrower: Their irregular unit, Spearman, in Age of Wonders 3 can use the Throw Javelin to give them a cheap ranged attack.
- Our Orcs Are Different: They have strong melee attacks and make excellent mooks for any aspiring Evil Overlord. The sequels make them Affably Evil.
- I Shall Taunt You: In Shadow Magic the Orc Gluttons get this ability.
Small and crawling people of the underground. Bullied and enslaved by other races, they specialize in trickery, subterfuge, and the use of poisons.
- Action Bomb: Goblin Bombers carry enormous bombs on their backs. They are rather frail and cannot attack, their only action is to blow themselves up and take down anything next to them with them.
- All Trolls Are Different: Like in many other settings and games, the trolls in the first game have allied with the goblins. They are very strong and can regenerate.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Goblin Big Beetle, a goblin who rides a giant beetle into battle.
- Butt-Monkey: Every other race disses them.
- I Shall Taunt You: In Shadow Magic, the Goblin Bombers get this ability.
- Our Goblins Are Different: They're good underground and favor Zerg Rush tactics. The latter gets lampshaded in the name of of the first Keepers scenario, "Goblin Rush".
- Plague Doctor: The Goblin Blight Doctor in Age of Wonders 3. They deal good blight damage and use the Weakened ability to make their blight damage deal more damage against them.
- Poisonous Person: They specialize in Blight damage and are also resistant to Blight damage. Rogue heroes can even be immune to Blight damage with the right upgrades in Age of Wonders 3.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Their alignment is Pure Evil.
- Walking Wasteland: The Reaper, an avatar of death.
Races introduced in Age of Wonders 2
A race of humanoid dragons. After the humans arrived in the Valley of Wonders, Dragons were hunted to near extinction. To protect their species, they asked the Wizards of Evermore to enchant their remaining eggs and from those grew the Draconian race.
- Breath Weapon: The Draconian Flamers get this special ability.
- Draconic Humanoid: Draconians are a species of humanoid dragons created when the true dragons, facing extinction at the hands of the humans who had settled into their homelands, sacrificed their remaining eggs to create a new humanoid race to hold humanity at bay until such a time as the ancient dragon species could be brought back safely. Ironically, as both are Neutral-aligned species noted chiefly for their ambition and their desire to carve out a place for themselves in the world, humans and draconians tend to get along fairly well and are often allied with one another.
- They tend to be skilled in magic, due to their highly magical origins, and tend to eschew most tools in favor of their strength and natural weapons. They are physically very variable: Several draconians have vestigial wings, which in some cases are well-developed enough to allow them to fly, but many are wingless. Further, while most have typical humanoid proportions, some are hulking and heavily muscled and a few are quadrupedal like their dragon ancestors.
- Particularly large and developed draconian nations are sometimes capable of flattering true dragons into joining them, represented by the draconian army roster including hydras and red dragons as high-end monster units.
- Giant Mook: Crushers, enormous and hulking draconians capable of destroying walls, and very strong but also slow.
- Healing Factor: Draconian units in Age of Wonders 3 have Fast Healing, which regenerates the unit outside of battle.
- Hive Caste System: The differences between Draconian units is mostly biological, and their role is determined by the presence or absence of natural fire breath, flight-capable wings, massive size and strength and so on.
- Kill It with Ice: Their primary weakness is to Cold attacks.
- Lizard Folk: They replace the Lizard Men of the original game as the primary faction of humanoid reptiles.
- Playing with Fire: Draconian Flamers can breathe fire and in Age of Wonders 3 fire it from their hands. Also in Age of Wonders 3 the whole race gets a bias to fire, resisting it and with several units getting flame attacks.
- Winged Humanoid: Flyers are draconians whose wings are developed enough to let them fly. Chargers have wings as well, but they're stunted and they cannot fly. Later expansions to Age of Wonders 3 grant them this ability, but only during battles.
A race of cat-people, heirs to the legacy of the Azrac and the will of their god Yaka.
- Cat Folk: They largely resemble humans with tigrine heads, and are allied with feline creatures such as manticores and sphinxes.
- Chariot Pulled by Cats: The Tigran Sabertooth Chariot is pulled by sabertooth tigers.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of Ancient Egypt. Many influences such as pyramids, sphinx, worship of the sun, clothings, and chariots.
- Kill It with Ice: Their primary weakness is to Cold attacks.
- Our Manticores Are Spinier: Bat-winged, scorpion-tailed manticores can be recruited as late-stage elite units.
- Our Sphinxes Are Different: Sphinxes resembling lions with human heads and pharaonic headdresses are a high-tier unit.
- Proud Merchant Race: Tigrans are skilled traders and their cities contribute more gold.
Races introduced in Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic
Warriors of the Shadow Realm. They fight an unending battle with the Shadow Demons.
- Alien Invasion: Shadow Demons are this, Legions of Hell and a Bug War at the same time. It is unknown where the Shadow Demons came from, and for how much time they have been invading worlds, but they are hinted to be doing it for a long time.
- Bug War: Shadow Magic combines this with Legions of Hell to produce the shadow demons.
- Hive Caste System: The differences between Shadow Demon units is mostly biological.
Age of Wonders 3 Dwellings
Separated from the Elves, the Fey are supernatural beings with a close connection to nature. They are guardians and caretakers of the woods and mostly ignore other races, but due to their playfulness, curiosity and carefree nature some individual Fey can be seen supporting a variety of causes.
- Fairy Sexy: The Nymphs have the ability to befriend animals and seduce sentient beings that aren't immune to mind control.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: The buttercup, toadstool and nightshade faeries' main attack is launching Faerie Fire which deals damage of the three types at once.
- The Fair Folk
- Our Fairies Are Different: Come in Unicorn, Nymph, and three tiers of pixie units.
- Unicorn: It has the ability Phase, which can teleport to any destination within range.
Once a fighter of good and light, now are creatures of evil and death. They now seek to destroy all living beings and bring death into the world.
- Always Chaotic Evil: They are Dedicated To Evil.
- The Undead: What remains of the Archon Revenants.
In the early days, the Giants helped to shape the world, until they rebelled against their masters, the Titans. Now they are rarely seen and mostly keep to themselves, but can be persuaded to join a cause.
The Dragons are an ancient race of powerful, reptilian creatures. They were born with the world during its creation and are said to have shaped the world for the other races to inhabit. This makes them at odds with the Giants who came later and often changed the Dragons' work.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Obsidian and Bone dragons are Dedicated to Evil (unless summoned by a spellcaster).
- Always Lawful Good: Gold Dragons are Dedicated to Good.
- Breath Weapon: All full-grown dragons can breathe damaging energy in a cone, but the damage they deal varies on their type.
- Dracolich: Bone Dragons. They are just as strong as regular dragons, but are undead, with the strengths and weaknesses that entails. Their breath deals Blight damage and their bite can inflict several nasty diseases, including Brain Rot, dreaded by casters.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Pretty standard as far as dragons go, all things considered. As usual, they fly, have a Breath Weapon, are unfathomably ancient, and are some of the most powerful creatures in the setting. There are several types of them, including fire, frost, gold, Obsidian and Bone.
- Summon Magic: In Age of Wonders III, a leader may obtain spells that summon Bone or Obsidian dragons. No class learns them naturally, but with some luck they can be obtained from the Wizard Tower Ruins, a Mythical treasure site, or from completing a certain Empire quest.
- Weak, but Skilled: Obsidian Dragons. They are some of the weakest dragons in terms of damage and health, but they have Concealment on almost all types of terrain that are not just flat plains, which can make them into a really nasty surprise to run into, considering they're still a tier 4 unit. Their Weakening Breath inflicts pitiful damage compared to that of other dragons (8 instead of the usual 20), but can inflict the nasty Weakened debuff.
Hiding in their swamps, the Naga only come out when provoked or as hired mercenaries. They are ruled by matriarchs and worship fearsome large gods called Gluttons.
- Achilles' Heel: The Glutton has a lot of health and several ways to heal itself, but awful armor for a tier 4 unit, sitting at a pitiful 8 at Recruit rank. This makes them incredibly vulnerable to physical restraints. Even baby spiders (a tier 1 unit), let alone Spider Queens, can easily trap them in webs and prevent them from doing anything for several turns.
- Large and in Charge: The Gluttons, who are worshiped by the Naga as a god.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Naga Matriarchs have four arms.
- Multiboobage: The Naga Matriarchs also have two sets of breasts.
- Snake People: They are snake-like creatures with a vaguely humanoid body shape with arms. The Glutton is barely even humanoid at all, though it still has arms.
A dwelling of Merfolk, mostly confined to deep waters. It is said that the few Merfolk cities that are seen on the surface are only the tip of vast underwater nations estabilished deep beneath the oceans.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Several of their units are very powerful - the Siren has a very strong sonic attack and a powerful Dominate ability, while the Kraken is very tough and powerful in general. But their usefulness is crippled by their inability to move on dry land. Even the Druid's Wild Hunt, which gives their armies Floating, does not work on them, so no Flying Seafood Special for you. Thankfully, their strongest unit - the Lord of the Deep - has Walking as well as Swimming.
- Charm Person: Mermaid has the Seduce ability while Sirens have the Dominate ability.
- Kraken and Leviathan: The Kraken and its baby form.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: In their flavor text, they are very beautiful but they use their beauty to lure and sink anyone, even women.
- Shock and Awe: The Lord of the Deep unit deals Shock Damage with his attacks, has the ability to conjure storms at will and with sufficient levels will deal shock damage and stun any melee attacker.
- Sirens Are Mermaids: The upgraded version of the Mermaids. Their Siren's Wail deals a powerful physical damage within an area of effect, and their Dominate ability is stronger than the Mermaids' seduction, but they're still confined to water.
Classes in Age of Wonders 3
Dreadnoughts bring in powerful firearms and machinery in order to wage their battles. Due to the fact that most of their units such as the Musketeers and the Cannons must reload, it is more defensive army, in addition to primarily defensive spells.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: Spy Drones and Dreadnought heroes with an Bomb Squad upgrade has the Explosive Death ability which the unit explodes and deal damage to any adjacent units upon death.
- The Engineer: Dreadnought heroes and Engineers can repair damages and give benefits to machines.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Averted. This class uses lot of firearms and powerful cannons.
- Fantastic Nuke: The Destabilized Mana Core combat spell. After two turns, a massive, battlefield-wide explosion deals a whopping 60 fire damage to every unit, and 90 damage to all barriers/walls. It also neutralizes all active spell effects, both upon individual units and the map as a whole. If successfully used in a city battle (whether or not the timer runs out before the battle ends), the settlement loses 15% of its population, the city's happiness takes a -300 malus for ten turns, and the happiness of the race that lived in the city suffers a -50 malus permanently.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: In addition to their Flame Tanks, their primary form of damage is Fire. Can give an extra boost with Draconian Dreadnoughts. Inverted with Frostling Dreadnoughts replace their Flame Tanks with Frost Tanks, which deals frost damage instead of fire damage.
- Geo Effects: Suppress Nature neutralizes any happiness penalty from terrains and climates.
- Golem: Can create mechanical golems into the battlefield. Halfling Dreadnoughts replaces them with Party Robot Prototype which, while are weaker than the golems, has a more support role such as gaining the Nourishing Meal ability, which heals and give happiness to an unit.
- Horse Archer: While Dreadnoughts doesn't exactly have horse archers, their "Side Arm" empire upgrade grants their cavalry the "Fire Pistol" ability, allowing them to attack at range.
- Immune to Mind Control: Your Machine units as all conversion abilities cannot affect Machine-type units.
- Magikarp Power: It takes a long time for the Dreadnoughts to get their empire rolling. Once they enchant their cities with Mana Fuel Cells, and collect empire upgrades that increase gold production, reduce gold costs and grant nifty upgrades to units, they can crank out enormous mechanized armies.
- Magitek: Much of their technology relies on mana as fuel, and most Dreadnought class units cost both gold and mana to build.
- The Musketeer: Dreadnought heroes are equipped with a melee weapon of any choice and a musket.
- No-Sell: Machine units are completely immune to blight and spirit damage, making them especially dangerous against enemies that specialize in those damage types.
- Short-Range Shotgun: The Engineer's Blunderbuss ability counts as a 'breath' weapon, meaning it hits every unit (including allies) in a short cone.
- Support Party Member: The Engineer is very important in any Dreadnought army. With their ability Rapid Reload, they can remove the cooldown of Musketeer and machine units, and Maintenance, which gives healing to a party of machines which cannot regenerate naturally, they can provide good benefits to the army.
- Surveillance Drone: Spy Drones are floating machine summons built for scouting and exploring, and they acquire the True Sight trait at elite rank (which makes them handy for sniffing out concealed units in the world map).
Sorcerer may not have the most powerful armies, but they make up for it with powerful spells and summoned creatures. They rely on their Casting Points and high reserve of mana to take advantage of their spells.
- The Apprentice: The Apprentice unit. They are Sorcerers in training, they can heal summoned units and steal buffs and debuffs.
- The Archmage: In case the name didn't make it clear enough, the Sorcerer is the most magic-focused class in the game. This is particularly true if their ultimate enchantment, Age of Magic, is up. This is one of the highest-priority Disjunction targets in the game, as it grants the Sorcerer 50 additional casting points while halving the mana and casting point cost of all their spells. Want to take the seemingly poorly defended city with your army? Oops, that city now has an Eldritch Horror protecting it! Want to disjunct the Static Electricity that keeps stunning your units, or the Chaos Rift decimating your army? Go ahead, waste your turns and casting points. The Sorcerer will laugh at you and cast them all over again.
- Cycle of Hurting: One of the empire upgrades of the Sorcerer gives all their support units the ability to stun. This, combined with Static Electricity (which gives all allied units Static Shield and all enemies weakness to electricity) makes a Sorcerer with an army full of supports almost impossible to contend with without sky-high electric resistance, otherwise your armies will spend their time getting flanked and being unable to attack.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Eldritch Horror, the Sorcerer's strongest summoned units, is this. In addition, they can Dominate and have Fearsome, which cause enemies to likely panic if they directly attack it.
- Immune to Mind Control: The Eldtrich Horror has Mind Control Immunity.
- Gravity Screw: The Double Gravity spell, which causes all flying units to be forced into the ground.
- Shock and Awe: Chain Lightning, Static Sphere, Lightning Storm, they uses a lot of Shock-themed spells and damage. In addition, many of their units deal shock damage.
- Summon Magic: With the exception of Apprentice, most of their units are all summoned into the battlefield.
Arch Druid uses the might of nature to inflict damage to their enemies. They use nature-themed spells and powerful animals to fight along side them.
- The Beastmaster: Much of their units are summoned animals, in addition, they can buff and debuff animals and mounts.
- Bee Afraid: Hornet Swarm is an equivalent of Chain Lightning, except it deals blight damage. However, it doesn't affect machine and undead units.
- Druid: Yeah it's kind of in the name.
- Gaia's Vengeance: Many of their spells uses vines and nature to defeat their enemies. In addition, they can summon The Horned God.
- Geo Effects: One with the Element is cast to give the empire a connection to nature. It gives increased happiness bonus and lessened happiness penalty to the race's preferred and disliked terrain and climates.
- Green Thumb: Most of their spells that don't summon animals involve commanding plants instead, such as impaling an enemy with sharp roots or crushing city walls with vines. Their Shamans get the ability to trap enemy units in roots, and The Horned God inflicts the same effect with its melee attacks.
- Immune to Mind Control: Shaman has the Mind Control Immunity and if you researched Beast Mastery, all of your animal and monster units receive Mind Control Immunity and 2 bonus resistance.
- Nature Is Not Nice: Druids may be protectors of nature, but that won't stop them, their forces, the animals under their command and even the plants they control from wrecking your army in many horrific ways. Just like other classes, they are in no way bound to any alignment, so a druid can range anywhere from a Pure Good tree-hugging hippie to a Pure Evil walking natural disaster.
- Nature Lover: In a darker way than usual, as shown by the above quote.
- Poisonous Person: Their spells and units inflict many blight damage as it is part of nature.
- Power of the Sun: The Sunburst spell calls a burning ray that would deal fire damage to an enemy army in a map. In addition, it inflicts unhappiness bonus and population loss to a city that is targeted.
- Summon Magic: Like Sorcerer summons, animals and Horned Gods are summoned into the battlefield. Elite Horned Gods are able to summon an animal companion of their own, the Erymanthian Boar.
Rogue are cunning and manipulative, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Good at disorienting their enemies and uses a lot of abilities that buff your units and debuffing your enemies.
- Backstab: Rogue heroes, Assassins, and Shadow Stalkers and their lesser form have this ability. With the Cruel Backstab upgrade, Irregular and Infantry units can also backstab.
- Casting a Shadow: Rogues are associated with magic that allows them to shroud their domains in shadows, summon elementals of cold darkness, and turning an ally into a living shadow.
- Combat Pragmatist: Uses a lot of dirty tactics to give them the edge, such as blinding, backstabbing, sabotage, inducing panic, infiltration, etc.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Rogue uses a lot of sinister ploy to win battles, but they can be good or evil depending on their alignment. In fact, the ability Courtesan Ambassadors, which can be researched very early and improves relationship with independent cities (leading to a good synergy with the good-inclined Keeper of Peace specialization), encourages playing a Lovable Rogue archetype, despite the dark and creepy flavor of some of their abilities such as Corrupted Killers.
- Deal with the Devil: The Rogue can train Succubi, and one of their empire upgrades is described as forging "a Dark Pact with forgotten gods".
- Horny Devil: The Succubus. This unit can Seduce enemy units.
- Invisibility: Their ultimate enchantment renders their entire army invisible.
- Poisonous Person/Poisoned Weapons: Rogue specializes on blight damage. In addtion, Rogue can gain blight resistance. This can used in ways, such as either enhancing Goblins' already high blight damage and resistance or give High Elves blight damage and remove their blight weakness.
- Smoke Out: The Smoke Screen spell which could be casted into the battlefield. While it doesn't allow your units to escape (as it is already covered with Cunning Escape), it boost your units' defense against ranged attack.
- Storm of Blades: Uses Rain of Poison Blades.
- Weak, but Skilled: They focus mostly on Irregular units, which tend to be weaker and squishier in direct combat than other units. They are also the only class that can neither summon nor produce a tier 4 unit, with the tier 3 Shadow Stalker serving as their ultimate unit instead unless their leader chooses one of the Eternal Lords specializations. Finally, they have almost no means to heal their units. They make up for it with tricky tactics and units that can pop out of nowhere and deal tons of damage without taking much in return.
Warlords strive on warfare. They uses strong units and... well, strong units. Much of their spells help them do war efficiently like buffing units and debuffing enemies.
- Army Scout: The Scouts. In the map, they can traverse water and mountains as if they could fly, but they have low HP and stats, meaning that they are not meant to be direct combat units.
- The Berserker:
- Berserkers, they do a lot of damage and when in a higher level, can inflict bleeding and not spend action points when retaliating.
- The Steadfast Ward spell also give the unit 2 turns to keep fighting, even when he is at 1 HP, making them fight 'til their last breath.
- Blood Knight: As shown by the above quote, warlords tend to be quite bloodthirsty.
- Boring, but Practical: Warlords don't get many fancy spells and have no summons outside of specializations, but they make up for it with powerful conventional armies. The spells and hero skills they do get are also geared more towards empowering their own troops, rather than affecting or damaging the enemy directly.
- Fragile Speedster: The Scout unit. They're unsuited to direct combat, but they can Sprint to avoid attacks of opportunity while moving near enemy units. Combined with the Backstab trait they gain at rank 4, this makes Scouts useful for harassing the enemy's flanks and tying up support/archer units.
- Gladiator Games: Their second tier Class building is called the Gladiator Pit which produces Phalanx and Warbreeds, as well as give happiness to the city that produced the building.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The Warbreed, part-ogre, part-starting race, bred for their strength and destruction. Invoked if you recruit them from a Human settlement.
- Hero Killer: Invoked with the Hero Slaying strategic spell, which grants the caster's unit the Hero Slayer ability.
- Horse Archer: The Mounted Archer unit. They also resemble Mongolian horsemen.
- Hunter of Monsters: The Monster Hunter unit. They have the Slayer trait against monsters, animals, dragons, giants, elementals and fey, and gain Slayer for undead and summons as they rank up. Their protective gear also affords them 20% resistance to fire, cold and shock damage, which magical creatures are likely to utilize.
- Immune to Mind Control: The Berserker and the Manticore Rider, which are ridden by Berserkers, have Mind Control Immunity so they cannot be stolen from you.
- Instant Militia: Raise Militia summons irregular units based on the Warlord's race at the cost of population.
- Our Manticores Are Spinier: The Manticore Rider. It is a cavalry unit with Flying that are very powerful with their high attack damage, immune to mind control, and capable of inflicting Cripple to enemies.
- Proud Warrior Race Guys: They live and breathe on warfare.
- Uncle Sam Wants You: The Draft strategic spell invokes the imagery with a bald man pointing toward the player. It grants happiness and they cannot desert if their happiness is too low.
- War Is Glorious: Many warlords enjoy fighting and becoming very strong.
Do not underestimate Theocrats just because they are not as offensive than a Warlord. They have strong healers, great buffs, religious fanatics, and divine retribution to fight for the light.
- Our Angels Are Different:
- The Exalted are one of their strongest units, with their ability to fly, strong attack and Spirit damage, immune to Spirit damage and Mind Control, and the Resurgence ability which resurrects them should the Theocrat be victorious and they fell in battle.
- The Cherubs are weak but effective scouts for the Theocrat. However, they can only be summoned through mana.
- Arch-Enemy: Necromancers, which Theocrats suffer Mutual Disadvantage with. On the one hand, Theocrats rely heavily on Spirit and sometimes Fire damage, which undead are naturally weak against, and they can give their party buffs such as Holy Champion and Undead Slayer, and their Evangelists can spam Turn Undead. On the other hand, Necromancers possess a spell that drops the resistance of Devout units while boosting that of undead, and can give their units Devout Slayer and Support Slayer, tearing through Theocrat armies that rely heavily on Devout units and supports.
- Church Militant: Uses holy warriors as their main method of warfare.
- Combat Medic: Theocrat heroes and Evangelist are great healers, but they can still fight.
- Combined Energy Attack: The Prayer Bolts of the Shrine of Smiting are empowered by the faith of every Devout unit on the battlefield controlled by the Theocrat. Used within an army consisting entirely of Devout units, a Shrine of Smiting effectively has twice its stated power. In a massive battle involving several armies, it can easily be three or four times as powerful, felling even powerful units in one blow, especially if Armageddon is active.
- Easy Evangelism: Theocrat heroes and Evangelist can Convert enemy units.
- The Heretic: Theocrats use Mark of the Heretic and Denounce City spells to give the Heretic debuff, which Devoted units deal more damage against.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Martyr has the Absorb Pain ability which takes in damage that would have been inflicted the unit they use the ability on. They can will be damaged and even killed from this, but they'll die for you. Exalted can get this ability if they are evolved from Martyr. So can Theocrat heroes.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Uses a lot of Spirit damage. The Shrine of Smiting gets more powerful, the more devoted units are in the army it is in.
- Immune to Mind Control: The Cherub and Evangelist has the Mind Control Immunity. Though the Exalted and Crusader do not possess the Mind Control Immunity, they have 100% Spirit Resistance and all conversion abilities has checks based on the unit's Spirit Resistance so they do nothing to them.
- Light 'em Up: A lot of their abilities focus on holy Spirit damage.
- Light Is Not Good: Theocrats may be worshippers and church officials, but their alignment can make the difference between the Good Shepherd and the Sinister Minister. The Cherub's description also implies the possibility that God Is Evil.
- Stone Wall: Crusaders are heavily-armored infantry with shields and a trait that boosts their physical and nonphysical defenses by 20% while guarding — While capable on the offense (as they deal bonus damage against certain unit types), you're incentivized to park them in guard mode to serve as roadblocks against the enemy advance. For the best results, pair them with a Martyr to absorb what little damage they do take.
- The End Is Nigh: The Theocrat's ultimate enchantment Armageddon "foretells the end of the world". The caster's Empire gains Strong Will and ignores some morale penalties (secure in the knowledge that they're going to be rewarded in the afterlife), while enemies have their will undermined, becoming unable to naturally recover health and gaining a massive weakness to Spirit (given that almost all of the Theocrat's nastiest moves involve Spirit damage or a Spirit resistance check, this is bad news).
- The Medic: Theocrats has a large access of healing abilities and health regeneration. Evangelists can heal adjacent units as an ability, and they grant bonus healing to living units in their stack.
- The Paladin: Crusaders. Immune to spirit damage and mind control, highly defensive when guarding, and give them fire damage if they attack undead, monsters, or evil beings.
- Turn Undead: Evangelist and Theocrat heroes can get this ability to cause an undead unit to panic.
- Useless Useful Spell: Theocrat heroes can learn the ability Absorb Pain, which transfers damage done to the target unto the user. This is great on a low-tier, weak and easily replaceable unit like the Martyr. Slightly less great on a hero, which, most of the time, is the most valuable thing in the party while having only mediocre health compared to a high-tier unit. Mildly less useless if the leader has ample casting points and Resurrect Hero researched (it's possible to resurrect a hero for only 80 mana and casting points, while a high-end unit could take 2 or 3 turns to build and far longer still to train to its full potential), but still usually not the best use of a powerful hero unit.
The Necromancers was first introduced in the Eternal Lords expansion. Master of dark arts and death, any of their units and spells themed around undead warriors and inflicting debuffs against the living.
- Above Good and Evil: As shown by the above quote, Grimber Ambule, who serves as the writer or the subject of the flavor text for many units, holds this view.
- Achilles' Heel: Spirit damage is highly effective when battling Necromancer armies, particularly against their rank-and-file ghoul troops (who suffer from a whopping 60% base weakness to the element).
- Animate Dead: Their main shtick, and with multiple varieties. They can even use a spell called Animate Ruins to resurrect the entire populace of a ruin into a ghoul city.
- The Apprentice: Reanimators, Necromancers in training. They can heal undead units and resurrect dead units as either Cadavers or ghoul units under Tier 2.
- Arch-Enemy: Necromancers have skills geared towards battling Theocrats - the combat spell Desecration slaps a resistance debuff on all units with the Devout trait, while the strategic spell Enemy of the Faith grants the Necromancer's armies Devout Slayer and Support Slayer. Necromancer armies in turn are highly vulnerable to spirit damage and abilities that counter the undead, which Theocrats specialize in.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: The Banshee units. They play a more support role as their ability Wail of Despair would inflict Despair debuffs to enemies within its range.
- The Corruption: One of their Strategic spells, "Corrupt the Source," allows them to turn Great Farm or Spring of Life into Corrupted Farm and Corrupted Spring, respecitvely, in order to allow undead cities to gain population.
- Dark Is Evil: A lot more than Rogue, considering that they can summon and raise the dead and cause trouble for the living.
- A Necromancer player is incentivized to plunder captured settlements for money (considered to be a particularly evil act by the Karma Meter), since they can quickly recolonize the settlement with Animate Ruins, and they won't suffer from any Race Happiness penalties in their empire due to ghoul city populations lacking Happiness.
- Additionally, Necromancers benefit greatly from the Destruction specialization, which favors evil acts. Hasty Plunder and Scorched Earth both favor necromancers due to the aforementioned Animate Ruins strategy. Blight Empire turns the terrain of the domain to Blight (which all other races dislike at least, but Undead are indifferent towards, meaning that anyone trying to attack your cities will be at a morale disadvantage). Finally, Wreck can make the difference in a battle against another necromancer or a Dreadnought thanks to its ability to render undead and machines vulnerable to blight and physical damage.
- Deceased and Diseased: Necromancer attacks and spells frequently feature blight damage, and one strategic spell takes the form of The Plague. Another strategic spell, Rotten Wall, surrounds a city's walls in a miasma of poisonous corpse gases during siege battles.
- Dem Bones: Cadavers and Bone Collectors. Cadavers are cannon-fodder skeletons that necromancer heroes can spawn once-per-battle from a dead unit via a special ability. They can heal themselves by devouring corpses in battle, but slowly decay outside of battle unless a necromancer or domain structure grants them healing. The Bone Collector is a Body of Bodies in the shape of a Giant Enemy Crab that can be strengthened by sacrificing Cadavers to it.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: Cold damage is a frequent secondary effect in Necromancer attacks and spells, and undead troops boast an inherit 40% resistance to cold damage.
- Grim Reaper: The Dread Reaper, one of the Necromancer's strongest units. It has the ability Invoke Death which either reduces the enemy's maximum health by 40 or inflict instant death.
- Our Ghouls Are Different: All of the units that are not Necromancer-unique units are all converted to this, such as standard race units and other units.
- Our Liches Are Different: Your heroes, once you research Harbingers of Death, become archliches, which grants bonuses to units in their army and turn all living units into ghouls. In addition, the leader can get the Phylactery upgrade.
- Life Drain: While some units have this ability, all Necromancer heroes and Infantry, Irregulars, and Pikeman units gain this ability through the Vampiric Hunger empire upgrade. The Dread Reaper gains a stronger version of life drain.
- The Syphon Life spell deal blight and spirit damage to a target and heal any adjacent friendly units.
- Magikarp Power: A lot more than Dreadnoughts. Necromancer has a very bad early game since they don't have a good economy and requires killing enemy units to gain population and no regeneration. Eventually, by the late game, they are nearly unstoppable.
- Mechanically Unusual Class:
- Necromancer empires cannot directly control non-dwelling cities without transforming their populations into ghouls. Ghoul cities completely lack Happiness, which means their production output is fixed; however, this also means that Necromancers can settle any ghouled race they own in any terrain or climate with no penalties. Outside a particular building chain, they cannot gain population naturally, but after every battle the player's nearest ghoul city will absorb the casualties as new population, and certain spells allow Necromancers to siphon population from enemy cities.
- Ghoul troops are immune to most morale modifiers, making them difficult to demoralize yet also unlikely to score critical hits. Since they have the Undead trait, they cannot heal or regenerate without assistance from Necromancer heroes, Reanimators or certain spells and structures. They also gain weaknesses to spirit and fire damage, in exchange for cold resistance and complete immunity to blight.
- Mystical Plague: One of their Strategic Spells is "Undead Plague," which cast a plague on an enemy living city. It lowers the city's happiness and will lose population each turn while nearby undead cities gain population.
- The Necrocracy: Necromancers rule undead cities that are populated by ghouls and undead population. This mean that they cannot gain population without city upgrades or treasure sites that accumulate population. However, population effects, including racial effect from Goblin and High Elves, are still in affect.
- The Necromancer: Naturally.
- No-Sell: Undead units such as ghouls enjoy 100% resistance to blight damage.
- Not the Intended Use: The Reanimate Undead hero abilities are primarily used to raise the army's own fallen undead. You can't use them on the living to turn them to undead... but you can totally use them on the enemy's undead units to raise them as your servants. And if you happen to have the Greater version, you can do this to tier 4 Archon Titans and Bone Dragons.
- The Plague: The Undead Plague spell, in which a targeted living city loses happiness and constantly loses population for each turn. The lost population is converted into undead population for the nearest ghoul city you own.
- Soul Jar: The Phylactery empire upgrade makes leader resurrect in 1 turn after their death instead of the usual 3 turns as long as the throne city is still active. In addition, research and spells are still active while the leader is in the void.
- The Undead: All of your units except for heroes, summoned units and machines. Heroes can become liches through the "Harbingers of Death" empire upgrade.
- The Virus: Death Bringers have a chance of inflicting the ghoul curse upon living units they attack - should a cursed unit die in the same battle, they will reanimate the next turn as a ghoul unit under the Necromancer's control. Fortunately, if the unit successfully resists the curse, they'll be immune to it for the rest of the battle.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The Necromancer's ultimate strategic spell, Age of Death, creates one of these - For as long as the spell remains in place, the casualties of any battle in the world have a 35% chance of reanimating as a stack of ghoul units under the Necromancer's control.
Characters introduced in Age of Wonders
Secondborn of King Inioch and the daughter of his second wife Queen Elwyn. Survived the destruction of the Elven Court when she was a baby. Guided by her mother, she joins the faction of The Keepers in Aldor to try and achieve peace with the human race. Because of this she is always at odds with the Cult of Storms that want the destruction of the humans. The appearance of an ominous star over the Valley of Wonders led her to her birthplace, where she acted to prevent the situation from getting worse while the Keepers pursued allies for the imminent war.
In Age of Wonders 2, she becomes Queen of the Elves and Wizard of Life, and in Shadow Magic she, Meandor, and a few other wizards defeat the Shadow Demons with Merlin's help.
In Age of Wonders 3, she gets married to Stormlord Saridas, becomes Queen of the High Elves, and becomes the mother of Thannis and Sundren.
- Bag of Spilling: Julia shows up on the last mission of the original Age of Wonders as a powerful level 25 hero/leader. Come Age of Wonders 2, she becomes a Wizard, in some ways stronger but loses most of her combat capabilities in-between. In Age of Wonders 3, the source of power for Wizards is gone, and when she shows up again, she's a... rather weak level 1 Arch-Druid hero.
- BrotherSister Team: With Meandor in Shadow Magic
- Cain and Abel: The Abel to Meandor's Cain. He got better.
- Chainmail Bikini: Julia's armor covers most of her body, but its shape is rather fitting. It's most likely meant to be comfortable though. This is lampshaded twice during her storyline in Shadow Magic, once by The Big Guy and then by The Vamp.
- Dead Girl Junior: Named after her father's first wife, the mother of Meandor. Combined with Elwyn's hasty marriage with Inioch as soon as the mourning period for the original Julia ended, it made Meandor extremely resentful of both Elwyn and his sister.
- Hero of Another Story: While she's the closest named character that could be called a protagonist, that title is reserved to the player. Throughout the campaign you hear of her actions trying to control the situation on the Valley of Wonders until at last you join her on the last mission.
- The High Queen: Starts off as a princess in Age of Wonders, then graduates to Elf Queen in Age of Wonders 2 and to High Elf Queen in Age of Wonders 3.
Firstborn of King Inioch. Fought at the war between the Elven Court and the invading humans, but lost. Desiring revenge, he takes half of the Elf people and goes on separate ways from Queen Elwyn, creating and becoming king of the Dark Elves. To further his objectives, he creates the Cult of the Storms and joins forces with other races to kill every human standing on the Valley of Wonders.
In Age of Wonders 2, he still rules over the Dark Elves and becomes Wizard of Death, and in Shadow Magic he, Julia, and a few other wizards defeat the Shadow Demons with Merlin's help.
- BrotherSister Team: With Julia in Shadow Magic.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to Julia's Abel. He got better.
- HeelFace Turn: In Age of Wonders 2 Meandor, the leader of the Dark Elves, is now dead, but his ghost has reconciled with his sister Queen Julia, leader of the good elves. Technically still evil, but the goal is now restoring the Balance Between Good and Evil and simple survival, not Good vs. Evil.
- Hero of Another Story: Like Julia, when playing through the evil campaign you hear of Meandor's machinations as you complete your missions.
- Came Back Wrong: Thanks to Meandor's fumbling with black magic he didn't understand.
- The Emperor: His rule of the entire Blessed Continent was undisputed for hundreds of years. He is said to have maintained the balance between Light and Shadow, implying all races, Good, Neutral and Evil alike paid respects to him.
- Time Abyss: The earliest record of history on the series' lore is his being crowned Emperor of the Elven Kingdom 1216 years before the time the first game takes place.
- Comforting the Widow: Gender-inverted. She married to Inioch as soon as the official mourning period for his first wife ended, earning the resentment of Meandor.
- Posthumous Character: The Keepers' campaign starts with her death, which leads Julia to take over. The Cult of Storms' first mission, however, is to assassinate her.
In Age of Wonders 2, he is revealed to be the leader of the Wizard's Circle as Wizard of the Cosmos. Unfortunately, conspirators within the Circle seek to overthrow him and wreak havoc on the humans for trying to dominate them in the first place. After he chose Merlin as his successor, the conspirators team up together to kill Gabriel and hunt down Merlin.
In Age of Wonders 3, he is a theocrat hosting a leadership contest among his fellow halflings. However, events surrounding his friend Karl Hushwick and an internal strife among the halflings has left Ernest in charge.
He reappears in Age of Wonders 3 as a Dreadnought leader. Imprisoned again, this time by the Shadowborn at the Sapphire Archipelago. Merlin sends Sundren to free him if he convinces her to stop the war against the Commonwealth.
- Back from the Dead: The end of the Golden Realms campaign implies that this is how she reappeared in the Eternal Lords expansion.
- Evil Mentor: To Arvik in the Eternal Lords campaign. She teaches him necromancy as a means to turn all life on Athla into undead.
- Evil Sorcerer: Her magical talents are of note, first seen by destroying the entire dwarven caves of Deepmir with an earthquake and raising herself as a Lich. Her work is even noted several centuries later, where the magics in her hideout turned the whole land surrounding it into a dangerous wasteland and her research is seen as invaluable and serves as the basis for the engineers to create new mana based technologies.
- Necromancer: She's really good at this. She's single-handedly responsible for the existence of the Undead in the world by activating a legendary artifact, and framed the Azracs for it to boot.
- Omnicidal Maniac: She plans to exterminate all life on Athla once she was Back from the Dead.
- Our Liches Are Different: Killing her isn't enough to stop her.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The result of his encounter with nymphs.
- Secret Character: He's featured on an extra story of the first game, but inside the game proper you'll have to be lucky to meet him wandering the map of the last mission. Even if you do, he's an absolutely harmless independent hero.
Characters introduced in Age of Wonders 2
- Cool Old Guy: Serves as this to Sundren and Edward in the third game
- Dead All Along: Merlin realizes that he can master the death sphere of magic without Gabriel's guidance because he had drowned before Gabriel "rescued" him in the beginning of the campaign.
- Faux Death: Responsible for the destruction of the Wizard's Circle at Evermore, stripping all wizards in Athla from their powers, including Julia, causing widespread calamities. The people demanded his execution, which Julia purportedly carried out.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Despite his love for Julia, he let her marry Saridas because his humanity made him unable to grant Julia's desire for the reunification of wood and dark elves.
- Love at First Sight: Merlin spent maybe half a day with Julia before she was kidnapped, and there's no indication that she showed any interest in him, but Merlin repeatedly states that he can't stop thinking about her and tries his best to rescue her.
- Shout-Out: Merlin finds a Sword in the Stone in an optional quest "that may be of use to me in some future age".
- A God Am I: He created the Azracs and the Tigrans, both of whom worship him as a god. Merlin discredits him in the first scenario of The Wizard's Throne's campaign, but some Tigrans still worship him as late as Shadow Magic, such as the hero Jasfar.
- Ascended Extra: He was actually introduced in the original Age of Wonders but only in flavor text for Azrac units, most importantly his Avatars. His role was greatly expanded from Age of Wonders 2 on.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He forsook the Azracs when they were weakened by the humans, causing them to intermarry with the humans to form the nomads.
- Dark Is Not Evil: She leads the orcs, who are considered an "evil" race by the game, but she's strongly loyal to Merlin upon finding out that he's Gabriel's chosen successor.
- 10-Minute Retirement: When the Shadow Demons attacked Athla, Merlin told Julia to enlist Fangir's aid, but when she met him and his dwarves, he claimed that he was no longer fighting. He eventually relented, asking Julia to recover his magic vault and destroy a Shadow Demon city.
- Bystander Syndrome: While not a member of the conspiracy against Gabriel, she chose to withhold all the information she gained about it via scrying until Merlin cornered her at her last wizard tower.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She used Merlin's escort mission to get her to safety as a cover to let Tempest kidnap Julia.
- Light Is Not Good: She may be a Wizard of Life, but her participation in the conspiracy against Gabriel and encouragement of elves to attack Merlin as revenge against the genocide humans inflicted on them makes her a villain.
- Arachnid Appearance and Attire: With a name like that, isn't it a given?
Characters introduced in Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic
- Antimagical Faction: The Phobian Empire is on a crusade against magic, or so they say, since their commanders actively use it.
- Fantastic Racism:
- He treated the Draconians as mere cannon fodder partly because of their immunity to the Shadow World's effects, so they served as O'neron's jailers. He got his own taste of medicine when they sided with Meandor.
- Enslaved the Halflings as entertainers forced to perform humiliating acts just to entertain the humans. The Halfling jesters in the third game are a Take That! to this bitter legacy.
- Meaningful Name: His empire is known as the Phobian Empire, and he established it by taking advantage of people's fear and hatred of wizards.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Merlin lamented Vorsar's capture by the shadow demons after Ke-nan had to defeat him even though they teamed up against Yaru.
- Jerkass: Has a condescending attitude at all times
- Sanity Slippage: Vorsar, right-hand of Phobius, slowly but surely becomes more and more agressive and desperate as he loses battles. When he is sent on a suicide mission by Phobius, he convinced himself that he is still in the good graces of the emperor and continue to belittle the huge menace that the shadow demons represent. He is still sane enough to realize that it would be in his best interests to agree to an uneasy alliance with Ke-nan in order to repel the shadow demons - only to turn his back on him as soon as this enemy has been dealt with. Not that you couldn't guess his intentions from the start. After his defeat, he disappears from the radar, with Merlin commenting that he has been taken by the shadow creatures. The next time you see him, he's... not quite himself anymore, and has gone completely cuckoo, spouting gibberish, laughing like a maniac and calling out for his mother.
- Mr. Fanservice: Reveals a bare chest under his cloak. This was lampshaded by Karissa when she proposed an alliance against Sahira.
- Save the Villain: Tried this on Vorsar by warning him that Phobius just sent him on a suicide mission. They garnered an alliance against Yaru and the All-Devourer, only for Vorsar to turn against him afterwards. The end result is Vorsar taken away by the shadow demons, who turned him crazy.
- The Wise Prince: He wants to abolish slavery among the nomads.
- You Killed My Father: The first mission of his campaign involves avenging his father's assassination at the hands of Sahira.
Game-wise, he's shown as a Cosmos wizard who leads the halflings and has one sphere from each element.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He was a slave who played to the stereotype that orcs are stupid to trick his master into letting him learn magic.
Game-wise, she's shown as a Fire wizard.
- Court Mage: Served as one to Ke-nan's father before assassinating him.
- Deal with the Devil: Made a pact with the Shadow Demons that they keep her in power as long as she provides slaves to feed them. She learned the hard way that this was not a good idea.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After her defeat by Ke-nan, the Shadow Demons, who consumed the slaves she gave to them, consumed her.
- Playing with Fire: Notably the only wizard from Shadow Magic who isn't a cosmos wizard.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The Phobian Empire treated the Draconians as nothing more than cannon fodder, partly because of their immunity to the Shadow World's effects, hence why they served as O'neron's jailers with her as their leader. By the time Meandor was in the Urland Fields hunting down renegade heroes working for Phobius, she gladly sided with him as a result of Phobius's mistreatment of her and her people.
Characters introduced in Age of Wonders 3
Affiliated with the Elven Court
A High Elf Rogue and protagonist of the Elven Court campaign. As the second-born of King Saridas and Queen Julia, she wasn't schooled in the ways of the court. Without accepting just being secured a powerful husband in an arranged marriage, she trained and spied. This proves useful when during a meeting in the Council of Origins, Thannis is killed in an ambush. She decides to gather allies to fight back against the Commonwealth.
- Arranged Marriage: Escaping from it was her primary motivation to join her brother and subsequently starts the campaign.
- Can't Argue with Elves: Adopts this mentality if she remains loyal to the Elven Court
- 11th-Hour Ranger: In the Commonwealth (if Edward joins the Torchbearers) and Eternal Lords (if Arvik fights Melenis) campaigns
- Hypocritical Humor: She'll mention at one point that her prejudice against orcs diminishes right at the same time when her hatred of humans increases should she chooses to remain loyal to the Elven Court.
- Rebellious Princess: She refused to let her father marry her off to a powerful husband. Even more so if you choose to have her make peace with the humans later in the campaign.
- Spin-Offspring: The daughter of Queen Julia.
- You Are in Command Now: After the demise of her brother.
- Warrior Princess: She didn't learn courtly behavior and was instead schooled in combat.
Firstborn of King Saridas and Queen Julia of the Elven Court. Thannis is set to be heir, but he is killed during the Council of Origins.
- Killed Off for Real: You'd think that being the eldest son of one of the most important characters in the setting would help you survive. It doesn't.
- Sacrificial Lamb: His death is the first thing that happens in the game, and a very important plot point.
- Spin-Offspring: The son of Queen Julia.
- Token Good Teammate: He and Reskar served as this during the Council of Origins.
- The Wise Prince: Continually tried to prevent war during the Council of Origins even when most other envoys wanted war.
- The Worf Effect: Suffers from this, primarily to show that the Shadowborn are not to be trifled with.
A High Elf Sorcerer. An important Dark Elf figure in the days before the Mending. He was appointed as one of the three advisors to co-rule with Queen Julia during Meandor's absence between Shadow Magic and the third game, and he was the only one of the three who gave any heed to her opinions. They fell in love, married, and together realized the Mending, a magic ritual that united all Wood and Dark Elves back as a single race. He became King of the Elven Court and fathers Thannis and Sundren.
A Draconian Arch Druid that escaped the ambush at the Council of Origins. Leading the outcast draconians, he allies with Sundren on the fight against the Commonwealth.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Defied; Shnaga the Pretty tried to seduce him, but he refused her advances, calling her appearance "nauseating".
- The Lancer: To Sundren. He's present in all of the Elven Court campaign missions save for the third one.
- Messianic Archetype: Has these vibes. The draconians are shunned by the Commonwealth and without a home. Reskar fulfills a prophecy by bringing a Golden Wyrm egg to the Pool of Origins. He brings his people to Ralikesh and when the egg hatches, bringing the Wyrm to its place of origin earns him a mandate from the dragons themselves.
- Token Good Teammate: He and Thannis served as this during the Council of Origins.
A Goblin Theocrat that used to live in the Xablor province of the Commonwealth. After Voraditius proclaims Emperor Leonus Divine Emperor, he burns his temple rather than having it defiled, and runs to the deserts of Ralikesh heeding to a prophecy. There, he meets and becomes an ally of Sundren and Reskar.
- All-Loving Hero: He says that the humans in Ralikesh should be spared as a gesture of mercy, which in turn can make them potentially loyal supporters of the Elven Court.
- Defector from Decadence: Burned his temple to pretest against Leonus' deification before he left.
- Good Shepherd: In contrast to Voraditius, he's concerned with the lives of those faithful to the church of the Allfather, especially the goblins of the Xablor Province who were his flock.
- The Heart: To Sundren. He'll abandon her if she ignores Merlin's advice and continue the war.
- Nice Guy: Probably the nicest character in the game.
An Orc Sorcerer that lives in Ralikesh. He joins the Elven Court as he believes on preserving the ancient traditions of magic.
- The Bus Came Back: Shows up in the Golden Realms, most likely after he abandons Sundren for wanting to make peace with the humans.
- Fantastic Racism: Encourages Sundren to kick out the humans from Ralikesh. It foreshadows his abandonment of her if she forms the Torchbearers.
- Token Evil Teammate: Serves as one among the Elven Court heroes, though he's more misguided than evil.
- Ye Goode Olde Days: Sides with King Saridas because he believed that magic is the main driving force of Athla and wants to go back to the pre-human days of the Elven Court. He'll abandon you if you choose to make peace with the humans.
- Dirty Coward: He'll quickly flee when his forces are defeated.
- Evil vs. Evil: He fights against Melenis and Karl in the Eternal Lords campaign.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's been scheming under Saridas's nose in order to provoke conflict between the Elven Court and the Commonwealth.
- The Bad Guy Wins: According to Word of God, the Shadowborn ending is the canon ending for the Eternal Lords campaign, meaning that the Shadowborn succeeded in opening the Shadowgate.
- The Mole: He's actually a member of the Shadowborn, the main instigators of the war between the Elven Court and the Commonwealth.
A High Elf Warlord from the Elven Court.
- Just Following Orders: Even if you defeat Werlac first and expose his treachery, she'll still fight you because "She has her orders".
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
- To her fellow Draconians. She rallied a sizable number of them to fight alongside Saridas just to act as cannon fodder.
- To the Elven Court. The main reason why she fought alongside Saridas was to weaken the Elven Court with a war of attrition so it won't stand a chance against the forces from the Shadow Realm.
- The Mole: Member of the Shadowborn, responsible for convincing many Draconians to fight for the Elven Court on the final battle.
Affiliated with the Commonwealth
A Human Dreadnought and protagonist of the Commonwealth campaign.
A Human Dreadnought, Divine Emperor of the Commonwealth.
- A God Am I: He's proclaimed a living god by Voraditius and does nothing to disprove this. It turns out that he was actually Brainwashed and Crazy.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: What Voraditius did to him in order to destabilize the Commonwealth.
- Emperor Scientist: Very much praised for his engineering abilities.
- Fantastic Racism: Subtly averted. His personal estate in Bisançon province contains cities inhabited by each race in the game, implying that he does practice racial equality. Unfortunately, the fact that the Shadowborn has infiltrated the Commonwealth government's upper ranks prevents him from stopping the persecution of minority races.
A Human Sorcerer who is the niece of Emperor Leonus and childhood friend of Edward.
A High Elf Warlord fighting for the Commonwealth despite her race's war against it.
- Black Vikings: In the service of the Commonwealth despite its persecution of High Elves due to the war against the Elven Court. It's mentioned that she had to endure racism throughout her life.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Groshak. They're both loyal to the respective nations they fight for based on the values they espouse; Groshak on preserving ancient traditions like magic, Valery on upholding racial and social equality. It goes to the point that they'll abandon the protagonists of their respective campaigns if they defect to the Torchbearers.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: She got better in the end if Edward chooses to defect to the Torchbearers.
- Undying Loyalty: Believe it or not, she's strongly loyal to the Commonwealth, especially its original non-discriminatory tenets. In fact, she'll abandon Edward should he defect from the Commonwealth to join the Torchbearers.
An Orc Rogue whom Edward and Valery meets in the Sunbirth region.
- Guile Hero: Uses subterfuge to establish a base of operations for the Torchbearers in the Rockshoal Isles.
A Dwarf Theocrat preaching around blighted regions throughout the Commonwealth.
A Human Theocrat that proclaims Emperor Leonus as the Divine Emperor of the Commonwealth. He lives at the Xablor province.
- "Ass" in Ambassador: Served as the human representative at the Council of Origins, where it was implied that he and fellow representative Yzzo were responsible for carrying out Thannis's assassination.
- Bad Boss: To the goblins in Xablor province
- Bald of Evil: He's actually balding, but whatever.
- Kick the Dog: Enslave goblins under the guise of "indentured labor" and inflates prices of basic necessities to reduce their ability to buy their freedom.
- The Mole: Uses his position as the High Priest of the Commonwealth to further the designs of the Shadowborn.
- Sinister Minister: Which leads to troubles with one Nomlik.
A Dwarf Dreadnought working for the Commonwealth.
- Retcon: In the Commonwealth campaign, he and fellow dwarf dreadnought Drugal teamed up together to form a rebellion among the dwarves as a result of Svengir's manipulation. In the Elven Court campaign, said rebellion never happens, and he's in Xablor enslaving goblins with Voraditius.
A Dwarf Rogue working for the Commonwealth.
- The Mole: He's a member of the Shadowborn and instigator of the war on the Commonwealth side.
- Retcon: In the Commonwealth campaign, he manipulated the dwarves in Hengevolt to rebel against the Commonwealth and was killed by Valery. In the Elven Court campaign, he doesn't do that and either follows Leonus into battle against Saridas or is defending Kaerunn province, depending on the path Sundren chooses.
A Human Dreadnought that went to Ralikesh to exploit the mana nodes of the region.
- Fantastic Racism: He said that High Elves and Draconians should have been made extinct by humans centuries ago.
A Goblin Warlord from the Commonwealth.
An Orc Dreadnought from the Commonwealth.
A Goblin Rogue from the Commonwealth serving as the Goblin representative during the Council of Origins.
- "Ass" in Ambassador: Framed Thannis for trying to attack him, which caused Gamblag to kill Thannis. His act was part of the Shadowborn's plan to incite war between the Commonwealth and Elven Court.
- The Bus Came Back: Shows up in the Golden Realms campaign, most likely as a result of fleeing the Commonwealth and Elven Court now that their leaders learn that the Shadowborn are the real threat to the world.
- Karma Houdini: Does not appear at all for the rest of the Elven Court campaign if Sundren joins the Torchbearers.
- Karmic Death: Sundren gets to kill him if she chooses to remain loyal to the Elven Court.
A Halfling Warlord and main protagonist of the Golden Realms campaign, one of the contenders for the leadership of the Halflings of the Golden Realms. After the destruction of the Halfling city of New Heartwood, he is convinced that the Halfling Race will survive only through warfare.
A Halfling Sorcerer, sister to Ernest and second in command.
A Halfling Rogue, one of the contenders for leadership of the Halflings of the Golden Realms.
- Break the Haughty: If you manage to contact her before Crescendale is razed, she has a rather impertinent behavior.
- Doomed Hometown: Twice over. New Heartwood is destroyed by orcs and goblins, then when contending for the new leadership of the Halflings, her city is destroyed by the Naga, prompting her to join Ernest in search of revenge.
A Halfling Theocrat, one of the contenders for leadership of the Halflings of the Golden Realms.
A Halfling Archdruid, one of the members of the ancient order of Keepers.
- Fallen Hero: Originally a member of the Keepers, his dabbling of the Oscillator Gem caused him to use extreme measures against the halflings' enemies. It consumed him to become Melenis's pawn.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: This is what happens when you try to use the Oscillator Gem's powers for your own ends.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He believed that using the Oscillator Gem's powers would help the halflings reclaim their old prominence in Athla and defeat their enemies.
A Frostling Necromancer and main protagonist of the Frostling campaign, the last lord of clan Varnheim. His clan protected the icy lands of the Frostlings from the Commonwealth, a task that ended up causing the clan's ruin, as their lands were the ones to be destroyed as the invasion was repelled. Intent on restoring his clan, Arvik presents himself as a suitor for the newly crowned High Queen Sanhild, and is mocked by his adversaries. Visiting the hall of his forefathers, he meets Melenis, and is taught by her on how to restore his clan through Necromancy.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: His clan has long defended the Frostling homeland from Commonwealth attacks, which destroyed their lands and severely reduced their numbers over time. The other suitors mocked him and saw his holdings as loot without regard to Clan Varnheim's service to the Frostling nation.
- Last of His Kind: The last lord of Clan Varnheim and desperate to restore it to its former glory.
- Necromancer: Melenis taught him necromancy, which he uses to win against the other suitors competing for Sanhild's favor and restore his clan to its former glory.
A Tigran Arch Druid. The return of the Tigrans and the arise of the Cult of Yaka led the race to the frozen plains of Brisska with the goal of melting the ice and turning it into a burned desert. As an Arch Druid Rowlar knows this plan would have dire consequences on Athla's ecosystem. He defects and travels to the north, where he warns Arvik and Sanhild of the Cult's ploy and asks them for help on stopping the Cult.
- Interspecies Romance: With Sanhild's sister Ella, a frostling.
A Frostling Arch Druid and High Queen of the Frostlings. She is crowned shortly before the start of the Eternal Lords campaign, and the Frostling lords compete to be her suitor.
- Big Sister Instinct: She doesn't want to force her sister Ella into the meaningless position of handmaiden even though it was Frostling tradition to do so. If Arvik allies with Werlac, Sanhild tells the former to take good care of Ella.
An Orc Theocrat that serves as the guardian of the Pool of Origins at the Valley of Wonders, where the Council of Origins is held.
A Human Rogue, alleged cultist, responsible for the rebellion of the northernmost Commonwealth region of Brisska.
- Smug Snake: His remarks at Edward and Laryssa during their attempt to quell the rebellion he leads at Brisska comes off as this. Apparently, this trait runs in the family because a relative of his in the Sapphire Archipelago does the same thing to Sundren.
- Starter Villain: The antagonist of the first Commonwealth campaign mission. Unlike most examples, he is a member of the Shadowborn, the primary bad guys of the campaign.
A Goblin Rogue that controls part of the tropical lands of Ralikesh.
An Orc Warlord that controls part of the tropical lands of Ralikesh.
A Human Rogue that invades the Sapphire Archipelago, in an effort to create a large fleet of ships for the Commonwealth while plundering the towns in the region as a pirate.
- Smug Snake: If you defect from the Elven Court and offer peace, she'll mock you for even thinking that she would accept this. This trait seems to run in the family because a relative of hers at Brisska did the same thing to Edward and Laryssa.
A Draconian Sorcerer operating in the Sunbirth region.
- Egopolis: His principal city in the Sunbirth region is named after himself.
- Obviously Evil: So you're in a desolate region and telling the hero to mind his own business in a forceful tone. Way to be subtle there, Carishar.
- Too Dumb to Live: If Edward chooses to remain loyal to the Commonwealth, he'll immediately declare war on him after you defeat Laryssa despite initially playing off the two in the first place.
A Dwarf Theocrat. She is the one that imprisoned Bormac Orcbane on the Sapphire Archipelago after tricking him.
A Draconian Sorcerer, one of the inhabitants of the Golden Realms, not very happy with the recent migration of Halflings to her people's lands.
An Orc Warlord. Responsible for the massacre of New Heartwood.
A stoic Dwarf Arch Druid that lives in the underground of the Golden Realms.