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Video Game / Armies of Exigo

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A Real-Time Strategy Game released by Black Hole Entertainment in November, 2004, notable for its use of underground terrain, and thusly, dual-layered maps. Due to its rather generic style of gameplay it was not a financial success, despite the technical beauty of its graphics. The game dealt with the conflict between three main factions: The Empire, The Beasts, and The Fallen.

Seventy years before the game's opening, a longstanding peace was shattered by an event that came to be known as The Rage. Hordes of Beastmen and their allies poured into the Human, Elf, and Gnome-run Empire, nearly destroying it, and crippling their own forces in the process. Seven decades later, the wounds have yet to fully heal. The Empire has only recently begun to rebuild itself while The Beasts, disunited and fractious, have slowly reunited under the leadership of Tyron Son of Gral, a battered war veteran who wishes to recreate the confederation of tribes that existed during The Rage, and exterminate the Humans, Elves, and Gnomes who humiliated his clansmen. In the meantime, a new threat has emerged, crawling out from the bowels of the earth. Hoping to take advantage of the discord between The Empire and The Beasts, The Fallen—an alliance of Deep Elves, extradimensional invaders, and big bugs—have come out of hiding and seek to overrun the world. The race is on to see who will dominate the future of the world of Noran...and who will be removed from play altogether.


Tropes appearing in this game include:

  • The Alliance: The Empire is an example; even more so after the ensuing Enemy Mine.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Stone-skinned, stone-throwing siege units, allied with The Beasts, who can use their mana to turn to stone as a defense against enemy attacks.
  • Antihero: The Beast campaign chronicles Dragga's transformation into one of these as he becomes aware of The Fallen, and decides that they are a far greater threat than The Empire.
  • Anti-Magic: The Avengers from the Fallen faction are immune to magic. This means that they can get hit by towers and wizards without taking any damage, allowing them to screen friendly units with their bodies.
  • An Axe to Grind: Several Beast units, including Warriors, Berserkers, and Striders, who utilise throwing axes.
  • Badass Baritone: Most Beast units. When you upgrade a Fallen Summoner to Void Walker its voice notably drops, signifying its increase in badassery.
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  • Beard of Barbarism: The Beastmen who serve as the bulk of The Beast armies (Minions, Warriors, Berserkers, Manticore Riders) have these.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Elven Dryad can summon a Dire Bear to do her fighting for her.
  • Beast Man: The Beastmen who form the core of The Beast armies. Humanoid, vaguely Orc-like beings with a tribal society and a fondness for brute force.
  • The Berserker: The upgrade for The Beasts' Warriors is referred to as such, and more than lives up to the name.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Princess Domina and the Void Walkers.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The basic units of The Fallen army are all examples of this.
  • Blade on a Stick: Empire Pikemen; hostile neutral Goblin Lancers.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The Boron, which provide the meat for The Beast army, are really just glorified cows.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Ogres, who club multiple units at once.
  • Cast from Money: The other way of healing Beast units, besides ritually sacrificing a unit. The Beasts can magically convert gems into a spell that regenerates your troops.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: You have to chop wood and mine for gold and gems in order to fund your war effort. You also have to build Farms (Empire), raise Boron (Beasts), or train Summoners (Fallen) in order to maintain your units, and in the case of The Fallen, corrupt the land with Deformers so that you can build on it.
  • A Commander Is You:
    • The Empire: While more dignified than most examples, they're Spammer. Probably justified, as Humans, Gnomes and Elves are simply less physically strong than the monstrous creatures they face. They have area-of-effect buffs, experienced units get auras that raise their companions' stats, some of their units can be trained in more than one kind of building, and barracks can be upgraded to build two units simultaneously.
    • The Beasts: Brute Force/Elitist. They have the strongest melee units from the get go, but their cost is rather high, and they have no ability to buff their units. This trend continues throughout the game with almost every major Beast unit, from the Warrior on up to the Demon being stronger and tougher than the equivalent Empire or Fallen units, but far more expensive, and with a distinct focus on attack (even their spells are almost entirely destructive in nature) over everything else.
    • The Fallen: Mario. They lack melee units, but their ranged ones are pretty durable. Have a little bit of Technical mixed in, as some of their units' attacks have a special effect on the unit they hit, not to mention some rather gimmicky special abilities, like reducing sight range for all enemy units on the map, or Void Walker's ability to temporarily shapeshift into any other unit, gaining all of its abilities.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The computer can effectively use Priests while human characters would have a lot of difficulty doing so and their units also know the second that someone is motioning to attack them even if the attacking units are on the other side of the field.
  • The Corruption: Fallen bases spread it across the land.
  • Cthulhumanoid: The alien race that the Void Walkers and Summoners belong to is one of these, closely resembling D&D Mindflayers.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Fallen have only the Hive Stinger as a melee unit. Unfortunately it's a weak unit and the Fallen have only a few minor upgrades they can grant to the Stinger. In campaign, it's likely you'll be using Nightmares, summoned creatures and mercenaries to soak attacks that would wipe out large numbers of Stingers
  • Death from Above: Rain of Fire, Meteor, and Earthquake (which drops a cave roof on an underground unit) are all Beast spells that cause this.
  • Dem Bones: The Fallens Matriarchs can raise the dead as Skeleton Warriors and Skeleton Archers.
  • Dumb Muscle: Ogres are huge, tough, and incredibly dim witted.
  • Dual Wielding: Beast Berserkers dual wield axes.
  • Elite Mooks: Berserkers for the Beasts. An upgrade of the already tough Warrior, the Berserker costs the same amount to train, but deals out and takes far more damage.
  • The Empire: Averted by The Empire which is actually The Good Kingdom/The Alliance.
  • Enemy Mine: The Fallen are defeated by an alliance between The Empire and The Beasts.
  • Evil Weapon: Beast weapons can be transformed into these with the purchase of the Cursed Blade, Haunted Blade, and Demon Blade upgrades.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Void Walkers, Matriarchs, Nightmares, Witches & Warlocks (pre-Heel–Face Turn). Keran, Vangarath, and Domina are Hero Unit examples.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Hive Stingers in particular are quite quick, but almost hilariously fragile.
  • Giant Flyer: Beast Wyverns, Empire Phoenix's and Valkyries, Fallen Aerials, Stalkers, and Beholders (the latter of which is The Fallen's best unit).
  • Giant Mook: Ogres who can smash most Empire or Fallen units into the ground, attack multiple units at once, and swallow a solid amount of damage before they even start to think about falling over.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Domina the Queen of the Deep Elves who helps the Fallen in their plans to absorb the world of Noran in their dark realm.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: The Empire are The Good, The Beasts are The Bad, and The Fallen are The Evil.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Rage, which wrecked both The Empire and The Beasts, and which both are still struggling to come to terms with. Tyron, in particular, never got over the events of The Rage, and the hatred for The Empire that it left him ingrained with.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Dragga, Sseeth, and their respective followers.
  • Hero Unit: Alric do Rei, Dunehelm Ballengere (Empire), Keran, Vangarath, and Princess Domina (Fallen), Tyron Son of Gral, Dragga Son of Tyron, and Sseeth (Beast). Other units, like The Captain of the Guard may also count.
  • The Horde: The Beasts hit the archetype, being a loose cofederation of savage Beastmen storming in from the plains, hellbent on overturning civilisation, and relying on brute force over all else. Amusingly enough though, in gameplay terms, the Elitist nature of their army means they are the faction that is the least likely to rely on horde style tactics, favouring smaller armies of powerful units over the Zerg Rush tactics of The Empire or early Fallen.
  • Horn Attack: Boron will try to gore any enemy units who get too close to them.
  • Human Sacrifice: Practised by The Beasts, who sacrifice units in order to heal their fellows. Three Witches commit ritual suicide in order to summon a Demon.
  • Instant Militia: The Beasts do this one better: by taking an axe from the Weapons' Master, Minions can transform into Warriors—and later Berserkers—on a permanent basis. Leaving a weapon at the Weapons' Master inverts the process, converting combat units into Minions.
  • The Juggernaut: The Demon, which will plow through most defences. Three of them will typically wreck an enemy base.
  • Knight In Shining Armour: Dunehelm Bellangere is a Hero Unit variant. The Knight, which serves as the The Empire's best ground unit, is the generic version.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: The Ancient Ones are the leaders of the Fallen who are imprisoned in special containers by Roanon. But they are able to use their psychic powers to gain control over the creatures of the underealm.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Knights, Demons, and Beholders are all tough, hard-hitting, fast-moving units, as befits the ultimate units of each side.
  • Lightning Gun: Fallen lightning towers are a base defence variant.
  • Lizard Folk: Allies of The Beasts, with a theocratic—and far more complex—social and political hierarchy than their animalistic allies. They provide three unit types: Striders (dinosaur-mounted, axe-throwing cavalry), Wyverns, and Warlocks (powerful spellcasters who can employ poisonous fog and the Reign of Fire spell, among others). Both Warlocks and Striders are invisible when they do not move.
  • MacGuffin: The Heart of the Void, which is the key to the Fallen's plan to terraform the planet into something more suited to them.
  • Magic Knight: Deep Elf Nightmares. Mounted on the backs of giant rats, these versatile spellcasters combo freezing magic with multi-lashed scourges for use at close range. They are noticeably not Squishy Wizards. The actual Knights from The Empire may qualify as well, given the apparently magical nature of their armour and weapons.
  • The Medic: Empire Priests. Beast Witches are a twisted version, sacrificing units in order to heal their fellows.
  • Mighty Glacier: Ogres, Catapults, and Trolls are all large, slow moving, and damaging units.
  • Necromancer: The Deep Elf Matriarch can raise Bone Warriors and Bone Archers from the dead around her. The Beasts have a more classic form: their Revive Altar can bring back slain units, enabling a player to keep their most experienced units. Priests can revive Empire units, provided that they get there fast enough.
  • No Cure for Evil: The Empire have both healing units and buildings that heal everyone around. Meanwhile, the Beasts are given a hard time, as the only way for them to heal damage is to sacrifice an unit to heal others around it. Even their buildings are denied proper repairs, as part of the damage they take is permanent. The Fallen have no way whatsoever to heal themselves during battle, although they regenerate health when standing on creep generated by their buildings.
  • Oculothorax: Fallen Beholders are giant flying eyeballs surrounded by tentacles.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Immense (as in "stands a head taller than the Ogres"), red-skinned, spike-covered beings summoned from Hell by sacrificing three Witches. They breathe fire, leak flame and lava from cracks in their skin, can teleport, summon other beings from their home dimension to join in the fighting, self-destruct when slain, dealing out damage to nearby units. The strongest unit in The Beast horde.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The Northern Elves make up a significant portion of the Empire, providing archers, eagle-mounted Valkyries, and Dryads (druidic spellcasters). They're fairly close to the Wood Elf sterotype in appearance. The Deep Elves are Dark Elves to the core. Driven underground they want to reclaim their place, no matter who they have to hurt in the process. Major unit types include the Matriarch, the Nightmare (rat-mounted Magic Knight cavalry), and the Avenger, a walking Lovecraftian siege weapon.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Miniature technicians and alchemists who provide many of The Empire's best weapons.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Diminuitive, boomerang-armed, greenskinned hunchbacks, who form a part of the Beast horde. They can be mounted on the backs of Boron for greater effectiveness.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Despite what the usual fantasy conventions suggest, Orcs are not a part of the Beast army, being relegated to NPC adversaries in the campaigns. The most confusing thing about this is that the intro gives the impression that Orcs form the bulk of the Beast army instead of the Kobolds.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Fat, disfigured, club-wielding giants allied with The Beasts. They're none too bright, slow, and awkward, but extremely powerful, and can damage multiple units at once.
  • Our Wyverns Are Different: The Beasts' Lizardman allies have two-legged, two-winged Wyverns as air support. They breathe poison and slow the attack speed of targeted units.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Alric do Rei, head of the Mages' Council.
  • Sequel Hook: The game ends with Dragga destroying the Heart of the Void, but the fate of every other character in the game, including whether Alric or Keran survived the final confrontation is left up in the air.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted with Alric, Keran, and any of the other Hero Unit mages. Played straight with the generic Mage (Empire), Void Walker (Fallen), Matriarch (Fallen), Witch (Beast), and Warlock (Beast). Excepting the support unit witches, all are Glass Cannons, capable of dealing out tremendous damage, but not taking it. Averted by The Fallen's Nightmares who can take a decent amount of punishment before falling down.
  • Starting Units: The game will often at the hand, out at the start of a campaign level, quite a few units that the player will never be able to manufacture. These range from units that are just souped-up standard units like the Crossbowman (who's just a somewhat more powerful archer) to something that's greatly different to anything else in the arsenal, such as the Nightmares (Dark Elf cavalry that ride giant lizards and cast ice magic).
  • Summon Magic: A good chunk of the Fallen forces are creatures summoned from another dimension, also the Matriarch's can summon skeletons, Dryads summon bears and Witches can summon demons. There's also magic items that summon mooks for you to throw at the enemy.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Deep Elves are little more than pawns of the Void Walkers, who are exploiting Domina's desire to reclaim the surface world for their own ends.
  • We Have Reserves: The Empire certainly does. In-story The Fallen maintain this attitude towards their brain controlled troops.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Dragga Son of Tyron.
  • When Trees Attack: The Avengers are living siege weapons. They appear to be dark elves who are magically encased in walking trees and will use powerful magical blasts to blast apart fortifications with ease.
  • Worker Unit: Peasants for The Empire, Minions for The Beasts, and Harvesters and Summoners for The Fallen (the former gather raw materials, the latter summon structures from other planes).
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Fallen Beholders and Beast Totem defences work this way.
  • Zerg Rush: Not an uncommon tactic for The Empire, particularly early in the game.