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Sandbox / Spellforce

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Mod note: This example list is copied from the Franchise/ page, which is being cut for namespace misuse. Distribute accordingly.

All games in the series provide examples of:

  • 24-Hour Armor: And weapons as well.
  • Action Girl: A female Avatar, any female heroes that can join you, and some NPCs. The canonical Phoenix Guard is a lady too.
  • Addictive Magic: The Archfire is this; it corrupts anyone who wields it even as it grants them great power. The Circle Mages and Shapers were just two factions who were driven to wage terrible wars in order to satisfy their greed and ambition brought about by their addiction to Archfire.
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  • All There in the Manual: Background information to the units and races can be found here and 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.
  • An Adventurer Is You
  • An Economy Is You: All the shops you encounter are the ones selling armor, weapons, spells and runes...
  • An Ice Person: All offensive elf spellcasters; elves worship an ice/nature deity, and Cenwen's pact with Aryn gives them an innate connection to this particular kind of magic.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Bosses tend to be the leaders of their factions.
  • Bag of Sharing: All characters in your party share one inventory.
  • Batman Gambit: How the Big Bad kills the Big Good in The Order of Dawn. 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 lose their memories and abilities. Oh, and they have to completely obey the person who has their rune stones; this is of course not an issue if the Rune Warrior's master is benevolent enough to give the Rune Stone back to the Warrior.
    • Maybe more of a case of Cursed with Awesome are the 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.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Played with. While you units' armor is blue and your buildings have blue flags on them, they all appear as green on 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.
  • 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.
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  • Call-Back: The Order of Dawn and The Breath of Winter 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.
  • Character Customization: You can choose your Avatar's gender, looks and skills, as well as equipment (except for Faith in Destiny, where only a male PC is availible).
  • Combat Medic: Healing units and heroes that are not The Medic. The player who chose Life Magic is likely to be this even if concentrating on healing skills.
  • Compilation Re-release: Spellforce: Platinum Edition and Spellforce 2: Gold Edition.
  • Contemptible Cover: Look at that smoking hot elf chick! What do you mean the graphics are nothing like that? This is more true for Spellforce, due to the graphic limitations at the time.
  • 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.
    • Both the Light and Dark races are playable, and form a segment of the campaign(s).
  • Deal with the Devil: Uram in the backstory. The Phoenix Guard in The Order of Dawn, when she gives the Mask of Belial to Hokan Ashir.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Particularly in 1: Rune Warriors only require rune power to be re-summoned once they're dead, while Avatars lose experience but will not lose a character level, making Avatars who had just leveled up prime candidates for suicide missions against towers or spawn point buildings.
    • Comes with a catch in 2: All Shaikan can be resurrected by another Shaikan within 3 minutes of them dying. However, the resurrection spell takes some time to cast, and returns the Shaikan with minimal health and mana. If there is no Altar of Life, the Shaikan cannot be resurrected after the 3-minute window has passed, and even with an Altar, there is a substantial Lenya cost to resurrect Shaikan in such a manner.
    • Reworked again in 3: All heroes have a bleed-out time that depends on difficulty setting and equipment abilities (60 seconds seems to be the default value). If they aren't revived in time, they respawn automatically at the closest Godstone and the party's Resurrection Rune charge is reduced by one. If anyone bleeds out while there's no charge left, it's an instant game over. Said charges can be refilled by assigning workers to pray at a Godstone, their maximum number can be increased with certain rare items, and they're infinite from the get-go on Easy difficulty.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: A NPC in a side quest during Dragon Storm informs you that the ice elves from The Breath of Winter were wiped out by an invasion.
  • Druid: An elf unit in both games.
  • Expansion Pack: Two for the original Spellforce, one for Spellforce 2, plus 2 standalone expansions released later.
  • Expy: Craig Un'Shallach is a dark elf who wields two swords and had to leave his homeland.
    • The god (of orcs, trolls, and at least partially demons) Zarach, is one of several figures: like Morgoth, he is the creator of orcs, from corrupting elves (as well as creating dark elves this way), and is the fallen good god Ulm, who also renamed himself; of Khorne, both being wrathful Bloodgods, who are embodiments of chaos, and have big red devils as messengers; and of Tairach, who also is described as a "Bloodgod", and is is one of the two main gods of orcs in The Dark Eye universe.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Hokan versus Uram in the backstory. (Undead/Blades and Demons, respectively.)
  • Fog of War: Present in both games. In the first one, it resets every time you leave a map.
  • Giant Flyer: Griffon Riders. They don't actually fly (in gameplay terms) until Spellforce 2.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Light races suffer from Obstructive Bureaucrats in Shadow Wars and Jerkassery throughout.
  • Headdesk: In Shadow of the Phoenix, to get your 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.
  • 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.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The games have a day-night cycle. It only changes your field of vision and nothing else.
  • 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. (more applicable to Spellforce, due to the graphic limitations of the era.)
    • For Order of Dawn, the lady on the cover is actually the Phoenix Guard. You do not know her true identity until Shadow Of the Phoenix, where the Shadow Warrior (the Player Character of Breath of Winter) established that the Phoenix Guard is a lady, and that she felt something for him.
    • For Breath of Winter, she is Cenwen, who is important in the backstory of the expansion.
    • For Shadow of the Phoenix, she is the Dryad, who points the rune warriors in the correct direction on how to stop Hokan.
    • For Shadow Wars, she is Nightsong, who indeed has a relatively minor role compared to the Soul Carrier in the expansion.
  • Loveable Rogue: Flink McWinter.
  • Mana: For the PC, heroes, and basic units alike.
  • Novelization: A trilogy written by Uschi Zietsch about the Shaikan.
  • Playing with Fire: Orcs sure love their fire magic.
  • 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.
  • Precursors: The Formers (also known as Shapers). No plot significance until Dragon Storm, where one is the Big Bad and Final Boss, just the source of some MacGuffins and Plot Coupons.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Previous Player Characters figure prominently in the plot. In particular, the PC from The Breath of Winter is the Shadow who helps lead his race in a Heel–Face Turn, and the Player Character from Shadow Wars (designated the Soul Carrier) becomes a dragon in Dragon Storm. The Shaper Conqueress also becomes a dragon at the end of Dragon Storm and an advisor to the Shaikan in Faith and Demons.
  • 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, Boras and Lya in Dragon Storm, Wind and the Elf Queen Shansha in Faith In Destiny, Surian, Io and Antara in Demons of the Past. The examples in Dragon, Faith and Demons count as Dropping Bridges On Them; at least Urias lasted for a few missions.
  • 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. note  In Spellforce 2, less so. Ditto in Spellforce 3 where AI enemies build resource buildings, but you never see their workers actually collect anything while the stream of attacking units never stops until you destroy their HQ building.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Shown in the opening cutscene of The Order of Dawn, as a result of "The Convocation". Only regions immediately around the Godstones fail to be reduced to chaotic ocean. This justifies the Portal Network.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Partially. As a result of the events of Shadow of the Phoenix, all the Circle Mages have been Killed Off for Real/are now Deader Than Dead. Therefore, anything they did now suffers from No Ontological Inertia, and such things as the Portal Network and the Rune Warriors are losing their magic. Repairing/duplicating the magic of the Portal Network is a major goal from Dragon Storm onwards, and the disastrous effects of the portals malfunctioning are repeatedly emphasized.
  • 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.
    • Notably, Circle Mages (specifically, Hokan and Uram) were responsible for the creation of Undead, Iron Ones, and Demons, which are all three of the major Always Chaotic Evil/The Horde factions you have to deal with in The Order of Dawn.
    • One reason for all the madness is that the Archfire, which forms a major part of the Circle Mages' power, also amplified their greed and ambition.
  • The Medic: Various healing units if they're not being a Combat Medic, the player if they choose Life Magic (though the player is almost guaranteed to be a Magic Knight, a Red Mage or at least a Combat Medic and not a pure healer).
  • The Siege: You defend at least a few bastions of Light from The Horde.
  • 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.

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