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Video Game / Lords of Magic

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The Circle of Life has no beginning, or end...Choose your faith, and write your own destiny.
"It is said that history becomes legend, as its events recede into the mists of time, and that memories grow dimmer in the slumber of peace. Thus the noble peoples of Urak languished in a thousand years of peaceful splendor, growing forgetful of the dark time their land once knew, heedless of the ancient enemy who yet labored in silence. And so Golgoth, the terrible god of death, beheld that the world was ripe for an era of terror and blood. He summoned Balkoth, the most evil of his sorcerers, and bestowed upon him a mighty artifact of power, that the necromancer might better serve his master in heralding the coming days of darkness. The wings of Balkoth's wretched steed beat the air like thunder, the land shook beneath the rumor of his mustering host, the air was filled with cries of his victims. Who can say what new perils may yet befall, as they struggle to defeat the ancient evil, to reunite the land, and to become... Lords of Magic."
Intro Narration

Lords of Magic is a computer game distributed by Sierra and developed by Impressions Games.

The player controls one of eight Faiths on the world of Urak, centered around various Elemental Powers. The world of Urak, once knowing a thousand years of peace, was broken when the worshippers of Golgoth, united under the dark elf Balkoth to form the faith of Death, which rampaged across the world, shattering old kingdoms and desecrating the Great Temples of each Faith, leaving a world of violence and disorder in their wake. The player, starting out as an intrepid adventurer who seeks to rebuild their Faith to its former glory, sets out with a small band of loyal soldiers to cleanse the Great Temples, unify their Faith, and forge alliances or conquer enemies in order to gather a mighty host to defeat the armies of Death and destroy Balkoth.


Gameplay is familiar to any veteran of the Total War series: much of the action takes place in a Turn-Based Strategy map where you handle recruitment, research, resource management, army movement, and diplomacy. When it comes time to fight, the battlefield is depicted on a real-time battlefield where you can pause to issue orders and use magic/special abilities. Each Faith possesses its own unique units, magic, and strength and weaknesses. Classes and military units run off the Fighter, Mage, Thief dynamic, with units recruited from barracks, mage towers, and thieves' guilds. In addition, each Great Temple has its own unique powers and Legendary Creatures that can be summoned - assuming you have the tremendous resources required to recruit them. Armies are led by champions, who can also train the units trained at each facility to make them stronger.


Resource management is a complex affair involving five resources: gold (used to hire archers/thieves/scouts and buy other resources/mercenaries), ale (used to recruit melee infantry, cavalry, and warships) crystals (used to recruit mages, summon creatures, and crucial to maintaining Legendary Creatures), fame (used to barter for gold and attract followers) and followers, which are needed to man the various buildings in each Faith's capital as well as required to train loyal, low-upkeep troops. Resources are acquired either from structures seized on he greater strategic map, or from the various capitals.

The game is also notable for having an intricate system of interaction between the Faiths, as the player can engage in trade and diplomacy with allies, threaten or plead with enemies, and use thieves to spy upon and steal from enemy factions. There is even an option to capture and then interrogate, torture, execute or release enemy champions. The magical tech tree also allows for research along various avenues of magic, including defensive and offense spells, general utility magic, and overland spells that can alter the landscape, speed up army movement, or increase sight range.

Lords of Magic contains the following tropes:

  • A Commander Is You:
    • Earth: Unit Specialist, leans towards brute force. Mostly focused around infantry, with some odd spells from their mages. Infantry is very tough and powerful, but the faction is the slowest in the game.
    • Air: Ranger/Guerilla faction. Fastest units in the game, with a lot of flyers, but generally weaker units than usual. Has strong champions, and ranged is stronger than melee.
    • Fire: Brute Force. Lots of high damage spells, and straightforward offensive melee units.
    • Water: Mario faction. Has strong cavalry, but otherwise units are about average. Also has the best naval units.
    • Order: Mario/Brute Force. Army units are quite strong, with wizard spells focused mostly on straight buffs and damage.
    • Chaos: Technical. Has lots of spells with unusual effects that, as fits the religion's theme, can sometimes be very powerful, sometimes not.
    • Life: Ranger faction. Strong archers and good mages, but melee units are weak. Is faster than normal, but not by much.
    • Death: Mario/elitist. Has strong units of all types, and Balkoth is probably the strongest unit in the game.
  • After the End: The game picks up after a brutal period of destructive chaos caused by Balkoth's rampage. Your people have no armies to defend them, their Great Temples are desecrated, marauders are everywhere, and no one is able to organize in the chaos. It's up to you to retake the Great Temple, be established as Lord, and rebuild your faith to its former glory.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Balkoth has the health and armor of warrior, the spells of a mage, and the ranged attack of a thief. He counts as a mage for the purpose of equipping items though. He even flies.
    • You, by late-game, if you focus on expanding your holdings and liberating/conquering other regions. You'll have access to other faiths' entire tech trees and units, allowing you to assemble a powerful military with the strengths of every faction.
  • Amazon Brigade: All of the Water units are Amazons, aside from the lizardmen. Although the heavy cavalry are Amazon men.
  • Anti-Air: A good number of Earth spells, including one that drags flying units to the ground and possibly kills them.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Parties are limited to three champions and nine units of one to three each, allowing for thirty individuals on the field at once, although the Ice Drake and Fafnir, legendary creatures of Air and Fire respectively, cannot combine at all, which is fine, seeing as both count as one man armies.
    • Also, only one instance of each Legendary Creature can be summoned in each campaign. So if someone else took a Great Temple and summoned the Phoenix or Fafnir ahead of you, you won't be able to summon them later. Doesn't apply to the lesser creatures that can be summoned at the Temples, like regular Dragons or Pegasus Riders.
  • Area of Effect: Several field spells transform an area to the type of ground that is advantageous to the faith that cast it.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The game's AI is remarkably clever at exploiting your weaknesses and intelligently reacting to your actions. They'll soften up an area with a garrison by altering the terrain around it, send massive spam attacks of cheap units against invading armies to wear them down, sneak thieves into your territory to gather intelligence and swipe whatever valuables they can, and gang up on isolated units in combat. If your Lord is in battle, they'll do whatever it takes to take them down. On the diplomacy screen, they'll adjust their requests and demands based on relative strength (a faction growing too powerful will begin making "demands" instead of "requests" or offering trades and will get pissed if you don't accept). If you have thieves in enemy territory, they'll actively pursue the thief, shadowing their movements and continuously trying to take them out, and they'll do the same to your scouts to blind you.
  • Artificial Stupidity: While the AI can be fairly clever at maneuvering units around and in defending, one of the big areas it falls short in is that the AI controlled faiths will leave token forces in control of their cities and buildings, meaning if you do get over the massive wave of enemies or are early enough along in the game, you can pretty easily take over a faction simply by sending a moderately sized army at their stronghold, and force the AI to cobble their disparate units around the capitol together.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Lords are, generally, the most powerful unit in any faction, and only Lords can reach twelfth level, whereas regular champions can only go up to ten. Therefore, whichever lord type you choose, that particular type of unit will be strongest in your faction.
  • Baseless Mission: The Special Edition comes with Legends of Urak, a set of backstory scenarios that start without a Capitol.
  • BFS: Storm and Fire Giant warriors use them, naturally. And nobody else can.
  • Blood Knight: The Fire and Chaos faiths glorify war, while the Death Faith just likes to kill.
  • But Thou Must!: All fights against Balkoth, even if he's close to death, surrounded, and completely without help, must be done with the player's input in the battle screens. He auto-wins any encounter that is Auto-Calc'd with a Champion under level 8, and turns tail and runs when Champions above that level survive.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • One of the special Fire units is a Balrog (set as "Demon"), complete with a fiery scourge.
    • Earth Thief characters are essentially Bilbo Baggins. If clicked on, he says that he's hungry and asks if it's dinner yet.
    • The Chaos Huntress looks like Xena with a ponytail and fights with a chakram.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Each faith has a general set of colors that appear on most units. Life is yellow, Earth is green, Chaos is orange, Water has dark blue, Death is black/purple, Air is light blue, Order is cream-white, and Fire is red.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Upgrades and unit training are specifically on your say-so.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The computer has a certain disregard for the rules. In particular, one of the things it can do is seize only a mage tower and use it to make units (normally, the associated city also has to be taken to produce units). And it can also produce units that can only be produced from the Great Temple instead of the mage tower. Oh, and it can also produce as many of the top tier Great Temple unit (normally only one can be summoned per game, even if it dies) as it desires.
  • Critical Existence Failure: When two people of your three-person unit die, they come back if the unit is sufficiently healed. If that last person dies, however, all three are gone for good.
  • Character Alignment: invoked Of elements, not morals like in Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Chokepoint Geography: Despite technically neighboring Death, Water is considered to have the most defensible starting position, being located on a peninsula with only one land route to their capital. While Death is an issue, the natural sea barrier between them and Water having the strongest navy makes defending that front fairly easy as well.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Just because they're allies doesn't mean they won't stab you in the back. One wrong trade deal, and that powerful ally you were trusting to watch one side of the map will suddenly decide to storm your capital.
  • Cradling Your Kill: The Dark Elves, out of their love for death are known for doing this to their victims before delivering the final blow.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Order faith has many pseudo-Christian trappings, including the faith's most powerful buff spell being called "Crusade" (represented by a symbol of a cross), and the Order quest in the Legends of Urak expansion from the Special Edition is the Matter of Britain (based on Malory's Le Morte D Arthur), including the Holy Grail. The game's manual briefly describes the Order pantheon as "consisting of three Gods, whom they call the Triad, and worship as one entity", a blatant reference to (Trinitarian) Christianity. However, Order theology is clearly non-Christian, instead focusing on the Balance Between Good and Evil and closer to Taoism if anything.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Units flinch when they get hit, and someone with slow attack speed and poor hit recovery like a fire or storm giant can end up unable to attack all when surrounded, even if the individual blows are barely hurting them. The issue can be alleviated with items that improve attack speed or hit recovery. This can be pretty amusing with a high level and well equipped Earth warrior champion - they are the slowest attacking warriors and thus very vulnerable to this, but also the sturdiest. Many a battle can be won by sending the dwarf champion in by himself, watching him disappear under a swarm of weaker units and get stunlocked for extended periods of time while taking minimal damage, only for the occasional axe to swing up above the crowd and one-shot one of the attackers.
  • Dark Is Evil: Death is evil, as per the narration to the game's opening, while all the other elements are some variation of good. Even Chaos and Fire, which in many stories usually get lumped in with being associated with some kind of great evil. In-game, Death, Fire, Chaos, and Earth all start with good relations amongst themselves, while Water, Air, Order, and Life start with good relations amongst themselves, with few crossovers between the two groups, creating a sort of good/evil split.
  • Defeat Means Playable: You're required to beat Balkoth at least once before the game will allow you to play the Death faith in the main game.
  • Defector from Decadence: Inverted. Death's followers are largely elves who have become disillusioned with the purity of the Life Faith and were tempted to darkness, depravity, and decadence by Golgoth, forming the relatively young and violent Death Faith. Then this trope gets flipped right back around to being played straight with Earth's cavalry, who are more good-aligned dark elves who defected from the defectors.
  • Defog of War: A few spells increase your vision, and one even reveals terrain and the location, but not strength, of enemy units in a given patch of land. Interrogating prisoners can also reveal enemy locations.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Order. They have probably the most unpleasant starting position in the game, being centrally located, and marauding parties run through their territory with regularity. There's also a substantial chance that even the Level One difficulty buildings in their territory will spawn with a Pegasus inside. Sometimes two. But if you can struggle through the challenge of simply holding your territory, you'll have an impressive Badass Army of elite knights, infantry, and crossbowmen led by very powerful wizards, paladins, and rangers.
    • Air. Low armor and attack power means they can't fight like regular factions and have to fight literally on the wing, especially against heavy-hitting Earth, Order, and Chaos units. But their speed is incredible, and they're the only faction that can easily field an all-flying army that gives them amazing strategic speed and mobility, and their magic is second only to Fire's for raw destructive potential.
    • Fire has some of the strongest individual units in the game, as well as the ranged units that do some of the highest damage, but they have pitiful defenses across the board...and one serious issue: they're right on the border with Death, so unless you're willing to pretty much be a vassal of Balkoth's empire for a large part of the game, expect to be constantly fighting Death incursions.
    • Water is also located beside Death, but has the benefit of a sea blocking direct passage between the two in the early goings. Once Death starts developing its navy this can become a problem, but luckily Water has the game's strongest navy to counter with.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Quite a few, but trolls, grendels, goblins, goblin archers (two different units), dryads, some elven units, the huntress, the amazon thief, and the lizardfolk and lizardfolk slingers are some examples of this.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Invoked with the Order spell Heroic Demise, which greatly magnifies a unit's combat stats at the cost of them dying automatically once the battle ends.
  • Easter Egg: In the Special Edition version, there are 4 quests (Fire, Earth, Death, and Order) you can choose from. There's also a hidden 5th quest (based on the story of Siegfried, and complete with German accents) that can be accessed by clicking on the center of the quest selection room.
  • Elemental Powers: Four of the eight faiths are based around the classic elements, and the other four have their own, more esoteric focus.
  • Elves Versus Dwarves: The Life-worshipping elves and Earth-worshipping dwarves typically begin the game with poor relations.
    • The Earth faction does have dark elves on its side as their cavalry.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: Liberating their temple while they are friendly or taking over another faith's capitol city allows you to create their units from their facilities. In addition, there are Villages that, when liberated, can be used to create buildings of the two faiths they border, and Towers that automatically release a random champion of the Faith it's closest to. However, you can only produce units from a village of a particular faith in their own territory, and only if you have followers in that particular faith's capital. Having fifty idle followers in the Chaos capital is useless if you want to make Order soldiers.
  • Evil Overlord: Balkoth's goal as the Lord of Death.
  • Everyone Hates Hades: And the other way around too. No matter what faction you are, relations with Death will always slowly deteriorate over time until everyone loathes Death, and Death loathes everyone else.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Well actually the game calls it Warrior Mage Thief, but the principal is the same. All races get one "leader" unit of each type, all units are associated with a particular type of leader through the buildings they are trained at. Cavalry and Infantry are trained at a barracks by warriors, and built there along with ships. Ranged units and scouts are trained by thieves at a Thieves' Guild. Magic creatures are created at Mage Towers or the Great Temple. The three types of units also use different types of resources, almost always based on which type they are associated with.
  • Garrisonable Structures: Interesting variation. Depending on how upgraded the capitol city is, the walls will be: Level one, not there, level two, there but with no gate, funneling the enemy to one spot with steps on your side to place ranged units so that they can fire down, and level three, where there is a gate that the enemy must destroy before they can get through, allowing your ranged units and mages time to whittle them down while they crowd in. Other buildings have specific areas of impassible land that can be used as walls as well.
  • Geo Effects: Each faith has a landscape tailored to their faith that gives them movement and attack speed bonuses to their benefits while in terrain, often associated with "enemy" faiths, their movement and attack speed is halved, each faith also have spells that turn the ground targeted into their particular terrain.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Ranged units in general have weaker defense and hit points than other unit types, so high damage ranged types fit the category well. Longbowmen (the Life ranged units) are the strongest example, having the longest range in the game, among the highest damage of any unit, but among the lowest hit points and defense of any unit.
    • Chaos and Fire barracks units. They have the highest attack strength for units of their type, but while they have the highest hit points of their type as well, also have the lowest defenses of anything in the game.
    • Any barracks unit can use the "berserk" ability, reducing its defense to 0 to give itself some of its normal defensive strength as extra offense.
  • God of Evil: Golgoth, who the Death worshippers revere.
  • Hero Must Survive: After a fashion. Each faith has a Lord, and if that Lord dies, the faith is out, although the remaining forces become marauding parties hell-bent on avenging their fallen leader, specifically going after units of the faith that killed their Lord. If you liberate the Great Temple of a friendly faith, they will swear fealty to you, and you get their Lord. If your starting Lord dies, as long as you have another, the game can continue. This restriction is waived to a degree if you are in combat with Balkoth (or the last remaining Lord if you are playing Death); if you manage to kill him after your own Lord has died in the battle, it still gives you the victory.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: If you're not careful, your fame can plummet to rock bottom - generally by losing battles (especially capitals), demanding too much gold at the magistrate's office (essentially and literally cashing in your fame for money) or by failing an interrogation or torture session on an enemy champion.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Warrior heroes of Chaos, Water, Life, and Death ride tigers, ostriches, and two different types of lizards, respectively. In the special edition, orcish cavalry ride wolves too.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: Humans who serve the Chaos, Order, or Water faith are (respectively) called Barbarians, Archons, or Amazons.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Captured enemy champions can be questioned for information about their military, economy, or magical capabilities, but if the champion questioning them fails, the violence of the act will spark negative repercussions among both your own faith and the others. Thieves are generally best at interrogating, and only when they're substantially superior in level to their target.
    • Torture Always Works: You can also torture the prisoner, which is more effective, but has even more severe repercussions, and may kill them. But if it fails, your fame will vanish and everyone will come to hate you.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The Order faction has knights, paladins, armored warrior spirits, and Sir Lancelot as its legendary creature.
  • Lizard Folk: Water has Lizardmen and Slingers. Ironically the Lizardmen are the females of the species, the Slingers are male.
  • Lost Technology: The various magical artifacts and scrolls you can find were crafted using techniques that have long since been lost. In fact, just about all magic has been lost, forcing you to restart research on magic from scratch using old accounts of ancient magical feats via the archives in the libraries.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The Earth faction's cavalry are dark elves who aren't evil.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's made by Sierra. Expect a severe challenge even on the lowest difficulty setting.
  • One-Man Army: Fafnir and the Ice Drake cannot be fielded with any other units, but are powerful enough to take on entire armies themselves.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Follows the traditional Western style of great flying reptilian beasts, although Fafnir is landbound. Thunder drakes and regular fire-breathing dragons can be summoned by Air and Fire respectively. There is also the Great Worm, a massive snake-like dragon that serves as Earth's legendary creature that tunnels underground, and the Hydra, which is Chaos' legendary creature and acts much like a traditional hydra.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Earth's and Fire's Dwarves follow the traditional style, save for a lack of beards. They're still tough, forge excellent weapons and armor, and wield heavy axes (Earth) or crossbows (Fire).
  • Our Elves Are Different: Life's elves are traditional Tolkien-eqsue elves, minus the haughtiness, with strong archers, fast movement, and a love for life, although they prefer open meadows and plains to forests. The elves that serve Death are dark, twisted elves focused on violence and murder, and favor swamps. There are also a small number of elves that serve Air as light cavalry, and dark elves who serve Earth as heavy cavalry.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Several varieties show up, with Storm Giants leading the Air armies and Fire Giants commanding Fire. Ogres and cyclops are higher-end Chaos magical creatures, while Earth can summon Stone Giants.
    • The background fluff describes the elemental deities as Great Giants, with their descendants being the various "lesser" giants (listed above) who mostly serve the elemental faiths to this day. (The reason there aren't any Water giants is because only one Water giant - the goddess Synora - survived the wars of the elements and currently lives in seclusion in the deep ocean.) The newer arcane faiths seem to follow more familiar (and abstracted) pantheons: Life worships a pseudo-Druidic nature goddess (Llanwylln); Order (despite the Arthurian trappings) seems to be vaguely Taoist in its philosophy; Chaos is classically pagan polytheism, with a pantheon of animal deities; Death worships Golgoth, who is hinted to be even older than the elemental deities and a recurring menace threatening Urak ever since its creation.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Goblins follow the usual rule of short, violent, green-skinned creatures. Chaos can summon them as magical creatures, but only sword-wielding ones. Crossbow-toting goblins appear as marauders.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Death's legendary creature, a death mage transformed into a tough, strong undead champion with the biggest mana pool in the game, and the only non-Lord who can reach level 12. The magic to do it can only be used once a millennium, so the marauder faction Lich living in a castle off the coast must have seen a lot.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Traditional, hostile-to-everyone marauders exclusively. They come in both the regular kind with spears and the wolf-riding sort.
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: Implied when training units. The further in alignment the faction you're training is from the faction of the trainer the less experience they gain, so a Fire champion who can train their own champions up to 10th level might only be able to train Water champions to 5th.
  • Palette Swap: All over the place. Your chosen Lord is set apart from the standard hero units by their differently colored armor or hair.
    • While most of the unit types in the game are unique to a single faction there are only four models for cavalry units each of which are used by two factions under different names. This is particularly jarring since the unit is almost always thematically matched to one of the two factions and looks rather odd with the other. A good example is the Water faction which consists of Amazon Heroes, Lizard Folk Infantry and Heavy Cavalry that were clearly copied from the Arthurian Legend inspired Order faction.
  • Panthera Awesome: Chaos' Beast Riders ride huge tigers into battle.
  • Pegasus: One of the Life faction's special units. They have butterfly wings rather than angelic wings.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Chaos is the strongest example of this (with the Chaos barracks stating that you need to "Be prepared to proudly wear the scars you earn!") with Death, Fire, and Earth following close behind.
  • Rain of Arrows: The Life faction's Elven archers are their best unit so Life armies tend to use this as their primary tactic.
  • Religion is Magic: There is no separation between the two in the game, each faith has spells based on what it worships.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Death's warriors ride giant lizards into battle that look like komodo dragons. However Life's warriors also ride scaly raptor creatures, and Water has Lizard Folk and is one of the more benevolent faiths.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: From the start, the whole map is yours to explore. Careful, though, your enemy faiths don't like you in their backyard.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: The Order Wizard looks like your standard fantasy wizard, complete with gnarled staff and long white beard. Earth Magicians look fairly similar, albeit shorter. Because they are Gnomes.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Most of the Earth buildings look like Hobbit-holes.
  • The Spartan Way: Chaos actually trains units using a gladiator arena that injures most of the troops training there, and Death's barracks quote notes that "Countless have died to join our order, and countless more will continue to try!"
  • Starting Units: Your Lord begins the game accompanied by three or four units. You cannot train more until you liberate your Temple and your people acknowledge you. You can, however, hire mercenaries or summon creatures from the Mage Tower. These units are cheaper to train, but cost a lot more to maintain, making them a short-term solution bordering on Instant Militia.
  • Stone Wall: Units can add some of their attack to their defense at the cost of being unable to attack. For Fire and Death warriors this can be combined with their legendary armors, which cast harmful spells at those who hit them, to create someone capable of soloing vastly greater forces by blocking their way to victory.
  • Storybook Opening: The game intro shows a book opening that then narrates the rise of Balkoth and how he disrupted the previously peaceful lands of Urak.
  • Summon Magic: All mage towers can summon creatures to support you in combat. While most of them (save Chaos' goblins) are only single creatures, their individual power is impressive and they can potentially stand up to enemy champions. Certain faiths can also summon creatures in battle, such as Order.
  • Squishy Wizard: All mages are relatively squishy, though how much depends on the faction. Fire, air, and earth mages have decent enough physical stats that at high level they can handle much lower level enemies in melee, while death and life mages continue to fall over if anyone looks at them funny. The only exceptions are Balkoth and the Lich.
  • Tech Tree: There are four different types of spell in each faith, and you can only research the simplest and work your way up, although which type you research is up to you. You can research offense up to, say, "Bless," then defense up to "Holy Visit," then go through the General. The speed at which your research proceeds depends on two factors: how many researchers you have and what level they are. Every level of researcher adds one man-day of research per day(turn), and one level one mage gets one man-day per day. Up to three mages can research at a time, and the maximum level is Ten, with an exception for the Lord who can be Twelve, maxing out at a possible 32 man-days per day. Some spells take up to two hundred man-days to research, so every level helps.
  • Trigger-Happy: Ranged units can fall prey to this, as the default A.I. automatically attacks anything within range. This is particularly problematic with Life's archers, as their range can cover nearly the entire battlefield. Left unchecked they will often fire immediately at the start of battle and provoke the enemy into charging, necessitating a quick pause to order them to hold their fire should the player wish to reorganize their troops.
  • The Undead: Death, obviously. Undead are immune to several death spells, but are vulnerable to Life's Turn Undead and except for the vampire's life-draining attacks don't heal at all without magical aid. Order also uses them in the form of willingly-resurrected ancient heroes.
  • Unlockable Content: Balkoth's death faction is available only once you've won the game by defeating him.
  • Variable Mix: The combat music (a set of about 15 short .wav files) reacts to your army's (dis)advantage on the battlefield.
  • Video Game Geography: Type 1: Urak (and every map in Lords of Magic) is a torus. You can see this most clearly in the map editor, if you zoom out as far as you can. (Order is in the center, so it'll look somewhat like this, but these maps are all equally accurate. And if those maps seem too ethnocentric, this one covers the same area from a slightly different perspective.)
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Gold, ale and crystals are required to hire your units, but each type of unit has a certain resource they want more than the other two: gold is required for ranged units, ale for melee, and crystals for magic. Fame pulls in followers, whom you can put to work in your capitol to rake in more resources or train into military units. All spells require a mage of that faith to cast, so any spells you don't have a mage for are Uselessnium and can be traded to other faiths for substantial return without the risk of them using those spells on you. In this manner you can also trade spells you can use, seeing as this is simply knowledge being traded and you keep the ability to cast them while they cannot without one of your mages, which you are under no obligation to hand over.
  • Zerg Rush: The AI's response to having hostile units in proximity to a capitol is to rapidly create large numbers of weaker military units and spam them at the intruders. This can be devastating if the first army is defeated but you've expended all your mana and many of your troops are injured, and the second, or third, or tenth army shows up.
    • Zerging is a viable tactic with Chaos. Because Chaos' troops have such low armor but such high attack, they can pretty much swarm over an enemy force and bury them in a sea of axes and greatswords. Most notable is that their basic summoning creatures are goblins, who come in three-creature units like regular infantry, but don't gain experience and cost no followers to create, so losing a goblin unit doesn't have the same cost as losing an experienced, loyal soldier unit, which encourages using them as meatshields to keep a pesky legendary creature, line of archers, or horde of tough melee beasts busy.