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Video Game / Lords of the Realm 2

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"A.D. 1268
The King is dead..."

The king has died without an heir, and five nobles take it upon themselves to claim the crown. Who will be the next ruler of the lands?

Lords of the Realm 2 is a Turn-Based Strategy, Real Time Combat game released by Sierra in 1996, as a sequel to the original Lords of the Realm game released in 1994. It was followed up by an expansion, titled Siege Pack, which offered improved AI, new maps, a new campaign, and a skirmish mode, which allowed you to fight pitched battles both in open field and in siege attacks. A Real-Time Strategy sequel, titled Lords Of The Realm 3 was released in 2004.

The game consists of building up your economy by tasking your peasants with various tasks, such as farming, mining, building castles or creating weapons. As your county grows stronger, you can then raise an army to attack and conquer other counties with. There are also rival lords who will attempt to claim the throne for themselves: the Baron, the Knight, the Countess, and the Bishop, each with their own personalities.


This game provides examples of:

  • Aloof Ally: Any nobles you ally with will typically not send help to you when you ask, especially the Bishop. The only practical use for an ally is to prevent them from openly attacking you, so it's often wise to ally with whichever noble is closest to you so you can build up your forces and take them down when they eventually call off the alliance.
  • Annoying Arrows: Straight for Archer units, taking several arrows to kill stronger defensive units such as pikemen. Averted for Crossbowmen, where one bolt is always one kill against any soldier.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Crossbowmen's attacks ignore enemy armor, making them particularly effective against pikemen.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The AI is not terribly strong in most battles, unless your army lacks ranged units or you are badly outnumbered. In field battles, you can set up a wall of pikemen and goad the AI into an archer duel. While their arrows are hitting your Stone Wall pikemen, your arrows are taking out their archers nearly for free.
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    • The AI is downright awful at assaulting castles, and only has hope of winning against a wooden palisade or severely undermanned garrison. Even against a Motte and Bailey, the AI often tries to circle around back and fill in the otherwise decorative moat. It has virtually zero chance against a Royal Castle, fielding far too few attackers and circling around to a wide part of the moat.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Knights. They are very fast and, cost for cost, perform well against any target in melee. However, their power being concentrated into small numbers mean they will likely take a lot of return attacks, which cuts their (or any unit's) offensive power in half. A group of macemen of equal resource cost could swarm and outflank their targets, whereas knights cannot. They also can't fill moats against stone or royal castles.
    • Using cows exclusively for food. The problem is that cows suffer from diseconomies of scale. More cows means the herds become overcrowded. Overcrowding means you need more dairy maids just to break even. There comes a point where most of your population is dairy maids, the cow population is steady, yet the dairy produced isn't enough to feed everyone. Once your people start eating the cows, the dairy shortfall becomes greater, the people eat even more cows, and soon there are no cows left. Grain doesn't get overcrowded, so avoids this issue entirely.
  • Blatant Lies: The Bishop has a tendency to do this, such as telling you his army is in your lands on a purely fact-finding mission. Then said army lays siege your castle.
  • Blood Knight: Any noble is capable of this, especially if they own several counties and can afford to send huge armies against you or rival lords.
  • Boring, but Practical: An army consisting of about 30% pikemen and 70% archers works very well against the AI. The pikemen hold the line with their high durability while the archers shoot the hell out of the enemy army from behind their pike wall.
    • A Norman Keep is pretty easy to defend against AI lords even with large armies. With a combination of archers, crossbowmen, and pike men, along with a judicious use of burning oils, the Keep can last long enough to skip straight to the Royal Castle.
    • For even fewer resources, the AI has a very hard time defeating even a Motte and Bailey with 150-200 archers. No need for a Royal Castle.
  • The Chessmaster: You can do a very minor and low key version of this. Send small amounts of grain, say 10-50, to counties surrounding enemy lords every year or every season if you can afford it. The sooner you can do this, the better, as the neutral counties will gradually get stronger due to an unexpected increase in their food supply. Though this won't always work, especially against the Bishop, sometimes the neutral county may grow strong enough to defeat them on their own. But you can assist them by sending a small army, say 50-150 macemen, against them prior to them attacking the county. Their sacrifice is intended to weaken the enemy lord's army enough that when they do attack the neutral county, they won't be able to defeat the peasants, thus depriving them of another county to exploit, gather resources, and conscript troops from. And since you didn't win in the fight, their standing with you isn't affected.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Since there can only be one winner, all of the nobles will eventually do this to you if you ally with them.
  • Church Militant: The Bishop. He uses religion as an excuse to conquer lands.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Especially on harder difficulties, the nobles have a constant supply of money and manpower from nowhere. This is especially obvious if you get them down to one county and raze all their fields. You can see from the "greatest noble" statistics that their numerous people are perpetually happy even though they should be starving to death, and they will field hundreds of soldiers against you every few turns.
    • If you take over one of their counties and they have a county close enough, they will often immediately launch a counterattack, even if there's no logical way for them to have the manpower or weapons.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Each noble has their strengths and weaknesses, which you can often exploit:
    • The Knight likes to create lots of armies and send them into battles frequently, but his domestic skill is very poor, with bad economy and over-reliance on wooden palisade castles. On higher difficulties, it's possible for him to be permanently stuck on one county as his rapidly-built armies are unable to conquer any neutral towns.
    • The Bishop fields large armies and prefers to build as many top-tier royal castles as possible. But he has a tendency to overexpand, and his armies have a huge ratio of peasants that will be easily cut down by real soldiers. Though assaulting his castles can be a hassle, taking out his armies and counties that don't have a built castle can be easy if you can get to it before the castle is built.
    • The Baron is a cautious and defensive economist. He takes time building up his counties, so if you can take him out early, he's a pushover. But if you let him build up his counties and armies, he can be quite a threat.
    • The Countess is a mix of the other lords, averaging out to an aggressive expansionist with a good economy. She can sometimes overexpand much like the Bishop, but she relies heavily on the weaker Motte and Bailey castle, making her lands vulnerable to being cut in half. Her armies often contain a mix of troops, including crossbows, making her more dangerous than the other nobles if left alone for too long.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Farming wheat, especially with advanced farming enabled. You have to tend to it carefully as well as making sure the distribution of food won't screw you over since you can only harvest wheat in autumn. But it's a valuable source of food that can keep a large county fed.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Armies consisting solely of macemen. Though they don't have much defense, they are a Lightning Bruiser, able to move nearly as fast as knights, and are dirt cheap to produce. You can often win most non-siege fights with nothing but macemen, and even a small group of them can whittle down and soften up a stronger enemy army for your main army to then take care of.
  • Easy Logistics: And how!
    • Under default settings, armies don't even require food, so you can actually stave off overpopulation and starvation just by drafting an army. Enabling the "armies eat" option drastically changes the pace of the game, as those thousands of soldiers running the map will happily ransack whatever county they happen to be in.
    • Cows and grain tracked individually for each county, but gold and other resources are global. You can buy lumber in one corner of the nation, and use it to build a castle or make 100 bows on the other.
  • Friendly Fireproof:
    • Arrows fired by archers will pass through friendly troops. This is what makes pikemen and archers so strong together, whereas the Total War series would have your pikemen get arrows in the back.
    • Averted for boiling oil and other sources of fire, which don't discriminate.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Archer units. Since they have ranged weapons, they can dish out pain at a distance. But if you can force them into melee, they are no better than peasants and they will often end up dying quickly.
    • Macemen have a very strong attack, but their armor is rather weak. Still, cost for cost, they outperform every unit except pikemen, and can easily flank or chase down archers.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Downplayed. When your army enters a neutral county, you'll usually get a saber-rattling letter from the local mayor, warning you to stay away. If your army is very large, the mayor will instead welcome you politely — and still defend to the death if you want to capture his village.
  • Hired Guns: Mercenary units occasionally show up in your county, and if you can afford to hire them, you can have a large group of soldiers ready with their own weaponry. However, if you fail to pay their wages even once, they will immediately leave.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Knights, with a strong attack, and zooming around the battlefield on their go-karts. Er... horses.
  • Master of None: Swordsmen are very overpriced for what you are getting. In a straight fight, they lose badly to macemen and pikemen, and just barely outperform knights (which macemen and pikemen also do). If you never recruit one swordsman, you're not missing much.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Another aspect of The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • They can make small groups of peasant armies of 10-40 troops, whereas you normally can't make an army with less than 50 men. As a result, they will often send these small armies to pillage your fields, forcing you to spend a several seasons rebuilding your fields back up.
    • When your county without a garrisoned castle is attacked, a large portion of your population is forced into battle as peasant soldiers, who are easily defeated. But if you attack an enemy county, they often have macemen, pikemen, and archers in their army.
  • Oh, Crap!: In one of the Knight's defeat quotes, he'll state that even though he's lost his forces, he still has his sword. He declares his intention to fight the player's army single-handedly... then realizes that he doesn't have his sword on him anymore and panics.
  • Rain of Arrows: A lot of archers can do this, which can usually turn the tide of a battle, or cost you lots of men or your army if you're on the receiving end of one.
  • Red Shirt Army: Armies consisting mostly, or entirely of peasants. Peasants have exactly three uses: filling moats, engaging archers and crossbowmen in melee, and shielding your own archers when pikemen aren't available. Putting them up against any elite melee unit will result in the peasants getting massacred.
  • Save Scumming: Can be extremely useful if you save, then get a bad event during the next season, such as the Black Death or wolves killing your cattle. Reload the game, and if you're lucky, you won't get hit by it. Flood and drought disasters are harder to savescum however, so you're often better off not attempting it on them too much.
  • Shout-Out: One of the Knight's warning letters has him threaten to chop your arms and legs off. Also, one of his declarations of war is a fairly visceral reference to The Sound of Music, describing his "favorite things".
  • Sinister Minister: Between his Blatant Lies and his use of his position in the Church to conquer territories, the Bishop fits this trope well. If you defeat him, he'll usually complain about the loss of his power and wealth and even beg you for a job in your kingdom.
  • Stone Wall: Pikemen are the slowest units on the field, but can take soak up quite a bit of damage. This makes them extremely useful for defending castles and protecting archers from enemy troops. In fact, they can win a one-on-one melee fight against any unit of equal cost, and by a large margin in some cases.
  • Succession Crisis: This is the premise of the game; the king has died without an heir, and the lords of his realm are at war for the throne.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The enemy armies will always approach and attack any enemy armies within range. Even if you outnumber them 4 to 1.
  • There Can Be Only One: If the only remaining AI is your ally, they'll break the alliance, explicitly for this reason. Co-rulership is not an option.
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty: Choosing to "auto-calc" a battle in is generally not recommended unless you massively outnumber your enemy. Your troop losses will be much higher if you do, plus there's some odd corner cases in the formula that can result in you losing what ought to have been a Curb-Stomp Battle in your favor.
  • Voice Clip Song: There's one of these present in the game files — it plays during the congratulatory message whenever you complete all maps in the original or Siege Pack campaigns.
  • We Have Reserves: What peasants essentially amount to in battle. They are extremely weak and die easily, so are often best utilized to soak up damage for your other troops. The AI tends to make extensive use of this trope as well, particularly the Bishop.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • Attempting to create an army of zero soldiers (without abusing bugs) will have the narrator tell you that "Your proposed army of zero men fails to fulfill certain principles of medieval troop management."
    • Sending miserly gifts or more than two compliments to your rival lords will only earn you annoyed replies in return.
    • Requesting an alliance with a rival lord at permanent war with you will earn a baffled and insulting reply.
  • Zerg Rush: Since archers are meant to be support units, most battles will utilize this trope. And the sooner you can force the enemy archers into melee combat, the sooner they stop firing on your men, though the same holds true for your archers as well.