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Video Game / Majesty

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You have inherited the crown of the kingdom of Ardania, a Medieval European Fantasy kingdom with a surplus of heroes but a desperate need of an inspired leader to lead them to victory. Taking up the throne of Ardania, it is your duty as Sovereign to forge alliances with the other races, placate the gods, hire heroes to defend your kingdom, and send them on quests to drive back the Always Chaotic Evil monsters that threaten Ardania's borders.

Released by Cyberlore in 2000, Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim portrays a typical fantasy RPG world from a slightly different angle. The game can probably best be described as a city-building Simulation Game with Real-Time Strategy and RPG Elements, but that doesn't quite encompass the extent of the gameplay. The player is cast as the Sovereign of Ardania, a deliberately stereotypical fantasy kingdom, and is given complete control over construction, taxation, research, and the hiring of heroes to defend the realm.

Gameplay starts with the player in control of their palace. From here, they can send out peasants to construct new buildings, including guardhouses for the Redshirt Army, shops, and guilds, temples, and enclaves for other races. The last three all allow the player to hire heroes, the bulk of the game's units. Uniquely, Majesty does not allow the player to command their heroes directly - heroes will act intelligently based on their artificial intelligence, shopping and going hunting on their own time, but they can be enticed to act by placing bounties on specific enemies and/or locations.

Although the player can cast a few unique spells, the bulk of the gameplay is based at the grand strategic level, where the player must make important strategic decisions. Only one non-human species can be brought to the city, due to Elves vs. Dwarves - should it be the industrious gnomes, the stout dwarves, or the graceful and silver-tongued elves? Many temples are also mutually exclusive, so the player must choose their religious affiliations carefully. The game plays out in a unique fashion, with a clever sense of humor and a well-developed backstory.

An expansion pack, appropriately titled The Northern Expansion, was released in 2002; it was released with the original game in a box set called Majesty Gold. A sequel, Majesty Legends, was in development, but was eventually canceled. Paradox has since acquired the rights to the franchise, and Majesty 2 is out now.

A version of Majesty has been recently developed for cell phones and iOS, by Herocraft and Paradox Interactive. To save on memory, it cuts out and/or fuses the functions of many aspects of the original Majesty; for example, you can only build temples to Agrela, Krypta, or Krolm, and they're all mutually exclusive. Additionally, you can no longer hire gnomes, their dwelling instead providing a one-time reduction to construction time on all buildings on the map, although it still prevents you from hiring elves or dwarves; and several types of heroes, such as rogues, are removed entirely. This version takes, if possible, an even more tongue-in-cheek look at the stereotypical fantasy setting than the original version did, replacing the graphics with cartoony sprites and adding a number of blatant references (your wizards can randomly be named Gandalf). The campaign is significantly shorter as well, comprising a handful of linearly unlocked missions.

Apart from the main games, numerous spin-off games set in the same universe have been released. The first one, Defenders of Ardania, is a tower defense and offense game. The second, Warlock: Master of the Arcane, is a turn-based 4X game in the style of Master of Magic, and is considered a Spiritual Successor of that game; in-universe, it is set after the High King of Ardania vanished and the united kingdom collapsed, leaving the land's Great Mages to squabble for power. There's a third spinoff game titled Impire (no, that is not a typo) which borrows gameplay elements from Dungeon Keeper. It was released on February 14, 2013.

Both the main games and the spinoffs can be bought at Steam.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Heroes won't typically get even up to level 50 on their own, but the actual level cap doesn't seem to have a limit. One player, using a cheat that boosted a hero's levels by 5 at a time, got a wizard to level 20,000+ with no end in sight.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Judging by what crawls out, at least. Or rolls out. "Ratapults"?
  • Action Girl: There are several female hero types. Paladins and Solarii are the most physically action-oriented and quite formidable. Priestesses are essentially black mages. Healers are (obviously) oriented towards healing, but they will break out the knives when pressed.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Rise of the Ratmen". "Hold Off the Goblin Hordes" has Added Assonative Appeal.
  • Affectionate Parody: Majesty parodies both the medieval fantasy genre overall and fantasy RPGs specifically. Between your adviser's exasperated commentary, sinister sewers, some of the standard hero types being aggressively standard, quirky voice lines, and the fact that the only combatants who are truly effective are hired heroes seeking rewards (as opposed to the city and palace guards, who can barely kill the weakest monsters), this is a game that is exceedingly fond of the genre without taking it even a little seriously.
  • A.I.-Generated Economy: Most of the infrastructure of your city - houses, sewers, graveyards, and places of ill repute - is outside your control, and can interfere with your municipal/strategic planning (not to mention spawning sewer rats and undead). So is the control of the heroes themselves, who must be incentivised with bounties if there's any particular place or monster you want them to discover or slay, even if the heroes are hired only on royal order.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Literally. The manual contains a lot of vignettes about life in Ardania. Additionally, flavor text is provided for all buildings and units. You can click on just about anything from treasure chests to a random pack of magical flowers and immediately get a explanation of its mechanical benefits and flavor.
    • The website for the original game contains a number of short stories about a day in the life of various classes of heroes, along with other background information.
    • Exaggerated in the sequel with Lunord's Uprising. It's an event that changed the entire world of Ardania, and you can only learn about it by reading flavor texts of the some temple units.
  • All Trolls Are Different: In this case, they are chubby, regenerating brutes who spontaneously erupt from the ground (and dissolve into goo on dying) and love smashing up Marketplaces over all else.
  • Aloof Archer: The solitary, thoughtful rangers. Subverted with hedonistic elves and greedy, roguish Rogues.
  • Apathy Killed the Cat: The tax collectors and builders are programmed to neither question nor flee the waves of Always Chaotic Evil monsters and are usually among the first to die when the land is invaded. This is improved in Majesty 2, where the peasants and tax collectors will attempt to flee if they are in danger. They still die in droves though, hope you like that "AHH! *ching ching*" sound!
  • Apocalyptic Log: Subverted in "The Ranger's Tale" on the original Majesty website. The ranger's journal entries get increasingly more despondent as he's stalked by Rrongol the Hunter and he closes with hoping that the journal can serve as a warning to others. The next entry starts with a comment on how gamey Rrongol's roasted flesh was because two of his guildsmen showed up in the nick of time.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Usually four; you can spend 12,000 gold and still only get four monks per temple.
    • The non-human dwellings only allow 3 per guild, two for elves.
  • Attack Reflector: Vampires can use a "magic mirror" spell that causes any spells aimed at them from other units to bounce back on the attackers. It also blocks spells from the player, although it just nullifies them and doesn't reflect them back at you.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Direct damage spells, for the most part. Being able to deal damage to any monster on the map is always nice... but they have to be spammed like crazy to have any real effect, which will eat through even a 10000+ gold reserve like popcorn. And if you try using them on a monster with magic resistance, about half of those will be negated anyway. Wizard guild spells particularly so, since they have a limited range to begin with.
    • Earthquake too. It's the only way to deal direct damage to buildings other than Lightning Bolt (which suffers from all the problems of wizard guild spells), and deals a rather large amount of damage at that. However, while the cost is manageable, it has an incredibly long cooldown before it or any sorcerer spells are available again. Since Change of Heart is a vital spell for getting your heroes out of trouble, it's generally a bad idea to incapacitate yourself for such a long period of time. Plus it runs the risk of damaging your own buildings if you place the earthquake too close to your kingdom...
    • Temples to Krolm. Barbarians are one of the best melee fighters in the game, with damage exceeding that of paladins, and the ability to go into a Non-Lethal K.O. instead of dying. Rage of Krolm is a very potent spell, too. However, if you build it, you can't build any other temple, meaning you give up almost all the spells in the game and a ton of heroes that mostly fulfill unique roles. Most of the time, that's simply too steep of a price. In the times when multiplayer was played, most players banned the use of Krolm, despite how big of a crutch Krolm is.
    • Adepts, usually. They constantly use speed charms on themselves, making them the fastest characters in the game, and have incredibly good stats to boot. Unfortunately, they spend most of the time patrolling your palace, so they rarely put their skills to good use by, say, exploring or fighting monsters. And even when they do get into a fight, they're extremely cowardly, usually fleeing after a single hit. Once they get a few levels under their belts they shape up, especially in the Northern Expansion, which gives them the ability to teleport anywhere on the map, turning them into something of a magical SWAT team.
    • Elves, as far as the races are concerned. Statistically, they’re among the best ranged attackers in the game, and they enable your marketplaces and inns to generate extra gold. However, they have the lowest unit-to-building ratio of any faction at a measly two, and you’re bound to lose every bit of that extra gold, plus some, to the untaxable Elven Lounges and Gambling Halls, which you have to destroy with spells or reward flags if you don't want them to suck up that extra gold.
  • Ax-Crazy: Warriors of Discord are insane to the point of stupidity and are quite bloodthirsty. They wear leather "armor" and use a spear (literally called a "blade-stick").
  • Back from the Dead:
    • A fully upgraded Temple to Agrela or Krypta will grant you resurrection spells. This is useful, as resurrected heroes keep their level intact, but you have to cast it before the hero's grave disappears—once in the Graveyard, they are lost forever.
    • The sequel shifts the resurrection function to an optional graveyard building, eliminating the need to invest heavily into high level temples to access that ability. However, graveyards are placed automatically the first time a hero dies, and periodically spawn animated skeletons and zombies.
    • Healers do this when killed. Once per gained level.
    • One of the perks of Barbarians is their ability to (occasionally) turn death into a Non-Lethal K.O..
  • Bad News in a Good Way: Attempted by the Advisor in the setup for "Urban Renewal."
    (sigh) How can I possibly tell our Sovereign the news? Um, Majesty, I have good news and bad. The good news is your uncle died! No, that won’t do. (ahem) My Liege, your late uncle has bequeathed you a town... of sorts. Hmm, maybe more positive. It pleases me to inform you that you’ve been granted a tremendous opportunity! You can be the first Ardanian sovereign to give the word "slum" a good name! Oh, that won’t work either. (sigh) It’s no use...
  • Bald Mystic: The Healers of Agrela are depicted as bald women, presumably for religious reasons. Healers are one of the least combative classes and only fight if the palace or their own temple is under attack.
  • Barbarian Hero: Barbarians and Warriors of Discord are wild, burly men who live for battle in different ways.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The monks of Dauros.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Hellbears are easily capable of killing low-level heroes. Inverted for the cultists of Fervus, though; at higher levels, they gain the ability to transform into hellbears, greatly increasing their health, attack speed, and damage.
  • The Beastmaster: Higher level cultists can charm most animal and animal-like mooks. Priestesses can do similar with undead, as well as often creating their own skeleton mooks.
  • The Berserker: As explained in Too Dumb to Live, below, all the heroes can be this, but some more than others. Barbarians and Warriors of Discord are infamous for doing nothing but — they're strong, but they'll die the moment they hit something they can't take because they never back down.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Healers are usually purely about support, but can turn extremely aggressive if their temple or the Palace is attacked. A group of Healers who rush to protect their temple can turn into a frighteningly effective gang of mutually-supporting knife-wielders.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Warriors might be slow and lack magic, but they are good at defending your kingdom.
    • Defensive towers cost time and money to build, but with enough of them in place your kingdom will be practically invincible.
    • Rogues are among the weakest and most inglorious hero classes, but their greed means they are easily and promptly tempted by modest bounties. Since bounties are pretty much your only way to control heroes, rogues can paradoxically become your most loyal agents. They're also surprisingly reliable base defenders, as they often spend time around the town note , and rapidly respond to attacks by ratmen note , who are common Mooks that often spawn inside the town from sewer grates, and like to target your tax collectors, so fending them off swiftly is important for the economy.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Daemonwoods can easily slaughter unprepared heroes, are rather difficult to kill, and are actually quite common in a lot of quests. (They also do not show up on the map.)
    • Dragons are also extremely difficult to kill and can two-shot even high-level heroes, though they aren't as common.
    • Vampires. They have relatively low health, but because of their life drain spell they can take a long time to kill. Additionally, they have the magic mirror spell, making wizards and spells useless against them.
    • Evil oculi aren't easy to deal with either. They have a sizable amount of HP, and spam Paralyze (one of the most powerful spells in the game) on any unlucky hero wandering near them.
    • You can actually get some on your side in the sequel's monster campaign. Notably the Noble Werewolf is extremely powerful, being able to take on pretty much anything solo.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Cultists seem to have been granted this by the god of chaos. They see the stars that appear above their heads when they level up as well as the flags that abstractly represent the bounties you place.
    "Ooh! Pretty star!"
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Krolm, the God of Barbarians. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn't he?
    • Additionally, one of the randomly selected names your barbarians can have is "Kornan".
    • In the sequel, Blademasters, even more so. Look at them. Their high priest is Jarl Scwarz.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Elven "bungalows" are more like the original use of the term, being an Indian building style, and refers to a single home that can be one or two stories (as opposed to the modern Western use, which is always a single-story house).
  • Chain Lightning: In The Northern Expansion, building the Sorcerers Abode will give the player access to the spell "chain lightening," which launches a ball of electricity that will bounce from one enemy to the next, and then the next, doing more damage the more enemies are in range.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Cultists and warriors of discord can be rather crazy at times. Fitting, since their patron god is the god of chaos.
  • Comeback Mechanic: In a roundabout way, graveyards. They only appear if a lot of heroes are getting killed, but they also provide a constant stream of low-level XP fodder to help grind up the dead heroes' replacements... provided you can handle said stream of low-level enemies, that is.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Partly averted; you have to build most buildings, but houses, graveyards, sewers, and the like will develop on their own.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In one quest, "The Siege", you need to fight an enemy monarch who can do the exact same things you can: build stuff, place reward flags, hire heroes, etc. However, all of his caravans have twice as many hit points as yours, which is annoying since destroying his caravans is the simplest way to win. He also starts with a fully-developed kingdom and temples, and apparently bottomless coffers.
  • Crapsack World: It's hidden by an often humorous approach, part pastiche, part parody. At a closer glance, however, considering the abundant monster population, black sorcerers and evil mages (as evidenced by the amount of quests tied to some kind of curse), constant undead and "greenskin" incursions, hellishly dangerous unique bosses, doomsday scenarios and the often skyrocketing casualty rate of normals (i.e. non-heroic Non Player Characters such as guards, tax collectors, and peasants), the setting is really not that nice a place to live in.
  • Critical Existence Failure:
    • Most egregious with buildings, of all things. As long as there is a single hit point left, your peasants can rebuild it. But if not, whoops! Looks like you'll have to build a new one.
    • This still occurs with heroes and monsters, but is slightly less egregious because they leave behind short-lived gravestones, which can be the target of resurrection spells and from which your rogues can gather loot. Also, a dead hero can easily crop up later in a graveyard or mausoleum (the latter capable of being used to resurrect long-dead heroes). It's played absolutely straight with henchmen, though...
  • Crossover: Warlock: Master of the Arcane acknowledges its roots by including R'Jak(h) as the Champion of Lunord and a playable Great Mage.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Dauros, though not precisely. While Dauros generally takes the place of "God" in many expressions, the other gods are also prominent and worshiped.
  • Damage Is Fire: Both enemy lairs and your own buildings burst into flames whenever they take damage. Even the buildings that are ostensibly made of ice.
  • Darker and Edgier: "The Adept's Tale" on the first Majesty's website. Most of the stories are pretty lighthearted and have a happy ending. After an exhausting and dangerous run, the Adept finds a dead Paladin and a poisoned wizard, and the story ends with him having to start running to get an antidote (which he might not do in time).
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
  • Deader than Dead: If you wait too long to resurrect a fallen hero, his or her gravestone will disappear, and they can't be resurrected unless you have a mausoleum. And even then, followers of Agrela or Dauros will not be buried there due to their beliefs.
  • Deal with the Devil: One mission has a demon visit your castle coming to collect a debt your mother supposedly owed him. It's left unanswered if he's telling the truth or not, but if you don't cough up 100,000 gold...
  • Death Seeker: Along with yelling "At last!" when they die, Priestesses of Krypta sulk if resurrected. They consider death to simply be heaven, and being resurrected would effectively be their equivalent of being kicked out of heaven.
    "Another day, Krypta."
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Your second-in-command often talks about your late mother, the previous Sovereign, from whom you inherited the crown. She was apparently something of a political badass.
  • Easter Egg: Most of your units and buildings and a few enemy ones have a verbal Easter egg that can be accessed by selecting them by holding down shift and hitting the quotation mark key. This will cause the unit to spout an amusing line such as the Guardhouse's "Ey, whose turn for the donut run?". You can also tap the enter key to bring the in-game chat box up and type in the words "planet fargo" (without the quotation marks) for another Easter egg in the form of a piece of techno music sung by Venn Fairweather.
  • Easy Logistics: Averting this is why you have to clear the research tree each time for every new building. Presumably you're not discovering them, you're paying the money to get the infrastructure in place.
  • An Economy Is You: Unique twist: You don't play as the adventurer, you play as the guy who sells stuff to the adventurers. They get gold from killing monsters and spend it at your shops and that's where your income comes from.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The rather appropriately named "Abomination" from the expansion's "Vigil For a Fallen Hero" quest. Not only does this thing very much fit the visual bill, but its in-game spells revolve around messing with your heroes' heads, being capable of sending them fleeing for their lives or even briefly turning against their fellow heroes. Also, after you kill the thing, your advisor (who refers to the Abomination as an "indescribable evil") reveals in the closing monologue for the quest that the surviving heroes ("even the most stoic of these veterans" according to the advisor) are "forever changed," suffering from what a modern observer might recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder, reporting recurring nightmares or hallucinating the sound of its call.
  • Elemental Powers:
  • Elves Versus Dwarves/Fantastic Racism: Gnomes, dwarves, and elves will gladly join your human settlements, but spit at each other. Well, the gnomes don't actually hate the others. It's just that the others really, REALLY hate the gnomes. (And even humans aren't big fans of them.) It's also implied that the goblins and ratmen hate each other. (Then again, it's implied that the ratmen hate everyone. So do the minotaurs.)
  • Emotion Eater: According to the flavor text for Url Shekk, he's one of these, and causes torture and suffering so he can feed off of those emotions.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Clash of Empires sees an army of ratmen waging war against an army of goblins. Your advisor notes this would be a welcome development…if they hadn’t chosen your kingdom as the battleground.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In the sequel, the priesthood of Ardania launches a coup via the "Spirit of Kings" and kicks you and your adviser out. There's only one organization left to turn to: the monsters you spent the main campaign killing off. Awkward, yes, and you have to resolve the new problems you gave each monster group not too long ago.
    • In the original expansion, the Darkness Falls mission has your kingdom ally with a local tribe of Goblins who have been driven from their homelands by Styx and Stones and their undead armies. They actually provide a pretty effective supporting force for your heroes.
  • Everyone Join the Party: In the final quest of the original game, you can't recruit any non-humans or build any temples. However, your single exploring guild can uncover every single kind of hero hiding in your kingdom, all of whom then band together to take on every single kind of evil the game has to offer.
  • Evil Hero: Any heroes you encounter on the enemy side. Most notable are those serving Borjin in the scenario in the Northern Expansion when you're at war with his evil empire.
  • Fantastic Race Weapon Affinity: Elves use bows, Dwraves use hammers. Barbarians, followers of the god Krolm, dual-wield a club and a primitive axe.
  • Fantastic Racism: The non-human races don't get along with each other, enforcing a gameplay mechanic where you have to choose which one you're going to have in your kingdom. Although the gnomes themselves don't have anything against elves and dwarves, the elves and dwarves find gnomes disgusting and refuse to live alongside them, and Elves Versus Dwarves is in effect.
  • Fantasy Pantheon:
    • The world was created by Krolm, who then begat Lunord (moon god) and Helia (sun goddess). As gods do, they had children with each other: Agrela (life), Krypta (death), Fervus (chaos), and Dauros (law) along with some maladjusted sprogs that will plague your kingdom.
    • Gods are choosy about which of their family they will be worshiped alongside. Agrela/Dauros and Krypta/Fervus are mutually exclusive pairs. Lunord and Helia can coexist with either pair of their kids, but not each other. And Krolm shuts out every temple but his own.
  • The Fair Folk: Dryads are implacably hostile to humans, and no one really knows why.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Your character is only ever addressed as "Sovereign." The most detail we get about them is that they have a son (who is kidnapped and needs to be saved in the Elven Treachery quest)
  • Fog of War: The map is black (or greyed, in the sequel) when you start. Rangers will explore for free and have a good line of sight, and you can use reward flags or wizard guild spells to speed things up.
  • Fragile Speedster: As heroes' attendance to bounties is outside of your control, you run the risk of attracting a wave of Fragile Speedsters (particularly Rogues, who will jump at the chance of even a small bounty) before the heavy melee units arrive to back them up.
    • The Adepts of Lunord are naturally fast, and can magically buff their speed to true Speedster levels, Motion Blur and all. They don't die very easily, but they will flee a fight upon breaking a fingernail, so it still applies.
    • Cultists may be a straighter example, at least until they hit level 7 and gain the Shapeshift spell, at which point they become Lightning Bruisers.
    • Wizards gain teleportation before they reach the Quadratic levels that allow them to hold their own in a tough fight, so can end up mired in enemy territory if they don't have the juice to teleport out again.
  • Gameplay Automation: The "Embassy" building introduced in the expansion pack can be set to automatically recruit heroes for you. It costs significantly more than recruiting manually and is totally random, but the heroes are invariably somewhat levelled up and aren't restricted by your choice of buildings. This is especially handy during "The Siege" because it's the only way to gain access to wizards.
  • Gender Bender: In Northern Expansion, you can eventually sell Shapeshift Tinctures. Each class turns into a different kind of beast when they use them; the (male) Wizards and Elves turn into (female) Medusae and Dryads.
  • Genius Bruiser: The Final boss of Majesty 2 is The Barlog, it turns out that its short for "Baron of Logic".
  • Holy Hand Grenade: In The Northern Expansion, Healers and Paladins (at high enough levels) are capable of this against undead monsters.
  • I'm Melting!: Wizards will say this exact phrase when they die, with hammy abandon.
    • There are a few monsters who use type A or type E for their death animations, as well.
    • This isn't just wizards, either. Most heroes, when they die, just fall over - but Priestesses and Adepts fade into a puff of smoke, and Cultists turn into a pile of dead leaves.
  • Instant Gravestone:
    • What every dead hero gets on the spot where they die. The shape of the stone depends on what kind of hero s/he was. You have a certain amount of time to resurrect them with a Krypta/Agrela spell or they're gone (except, if enough die, as a name in the graveyard), unless it's the Northern Expansion and you've built a Mausoleum, or Majesty 2 where the graveyard is functionally the same thing as a Mausoleum.
    • The monsters each get unique gravestones as well, including the bosses. Some of the designs are quite creative.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Rogues, unsurprisingly, will steal gold from buildings waiting to be collected by your tax collectors.
    • Of course, they also loot monsters' gravestones and lairs - nice bonus to the local economy!
    • In the sequel's Monster Kingdom expansion, Ratmen are the equivalent of rogues and just as gold hungry.
  • Large Ham: Many of the boss monsters have a rather loud voice clip when they appear. Vendral's "WHO HAS DISTURBED MY SLUMBER?!" and the Witch King's "THIS is MY realm!" take the cake, however.
    • Some of the heroes can be this, too.
      Paladins (upon finding treasure): "An item of holy significance!"
      Solarii (just wandering): "Hotter, brighter!"
      Priestesses (getting ready to fight): "Are you willing to flirt with death?"
      Barbarians (dying): "YARRRRRrrrrrr!!!"
      Gnomes (going to an explore flag, and yes, they will sometimes): "At last, some adventure!"
    • In the Monster Kingdom expansion of the sequel, Ratmen. "I will buy... I will buy... EVERYTHING!
    • Your Royal Advisor gets into this for everything:
      We've improved the guardhouse!
      If our kingdom is to prosper, it needs more heroes!
  • The Legend of Chekhov: If you hear stories about spheres of power, legendary monsters, or crowns, they are out there somewhere and will inevitably be the focus of The Quest.
  • Level Editor: You can build your own custom maps, with the ability to modify the type of enemy forces, wandering monsters, treasure, starting buildings, and map scenery. The game's even nice enough to indicate the approximate difficulty.
  • Level Grinding: The fairgrounds allow heroes to gain levels without the possibility of dying.
    • When your heroes go out and slay monsters, this is essentially what they're doing. One of your jobs is to help them on your way up, especially with hero classes that access offensive or defensive spells.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Adepts, though they'll flee a fight upon breaking a fingernail, and simply patrol the immediate vicinity of your town most of the time.
    • Paladins and Solarii may also count, as they're fast despite being tough fighters.
    • "Rage of Krolm" will turn all your heroes into this, for a limited time.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Oh yeah. At low levels, wizards amount to little more than energy-shooting cannon fodder, meaning your other heroes will be doing the bulk of the fighting. If you can somehow get them to higher levels, however, wizards become one-man armies capable of decimating most foes effortlessly, putting even the strongest warriors to shame.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Let's see you beat the expansion mission "Legendary Heroes" if your heroes just can't (or won't) uncover all six randomly-placed barrows on the gigantic map within 30 days.
      • There actually is a way to eliminate the randomness factor: save your game at the start of the quest, find out where the barrows are, then restart and put explore flags at those locations immediately. Getting your paltry amount of heroes over there in time is still extremely difficult, but it helps. Note that for this to work, you have to save the game just as you start the mission and then, after uncovering the barrows, reload the saved game, as using the restart option from the options menu will cause a fresh map to be generated.
    • Or if you can't scrounge together enough gold to spam enough wizards towers to first find all six barrows using the farseeing spell and then lightning them all to death.
  • Mage Tower: The Wizards' Guild building is a nest of towers, and wizards are also able to build ancillary "Wizards' Towers" which allows the player to cast spells within a certain distance of the tower. More towers leads to a greater area where spells can be cast. They can also be temporarily enchanted, which allows them to automaticaly shoot energy bolts at enemies. In The Northern Expansion there is the Sorcereor's Abode, which is also a tower that allows the player to cast a different set of magic spells. Additionally, both guild and tower construct themselves through magic rather than requiring peasants to trek wherever you've laid the foundation.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Gnomes start out pitifully weak and are really useful only to get your initial guilds built. However, those with enough time and patience to grind them up to level 10 (8 in The Northern Expansion) through the fairgrounds or forcing them into combat through some means will transform them into Gnome Champions, which have stats nearly on par with PALADINS. This is only a relative boost, however; their stats are still fairly low relative to other melee heroes of the same level.
    • Wizards, full stop. They start off physically frail, slow, and not very damaging, but at max level they are capable of Teleport Spam, magic Instant Armor, and several flavors of Fantastic Nuke. It's not uncommon late game for a troll, dragon, or some other powerful monster to spawn only for a bored wizard to instantly teleport to it and vaporize it in a single attack. Vampires are the only thing that can fight them evenly (unless they're able to One-Hit Kill it before the vampire can turn on its magic mirror spell), but most wizards won't face them anyways.
  • Magitek: One of the bosses in Majesty 2 is an evil wizard whose castle has what looks like a sattelite dish and a magical defence system that uses Robo Speak, Fittingly he's an expy of Saruman, who did like industrialisation in canon.
  • Meaningful Name: The cell phone version takes this one and runs away with it; the (small) pool of randomized names for each hero type is comprised entirely of hilariously appropriate monikers. "Manhater" the Paladin and "Armless" the Healer, anyone?
  • Medieval European Fantasy: It's about as generically MEF as you can get, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
  • Medium Awareness: When cultists level up, they say "Ooh, pretty star!" - the level up indicator is a star above the hero's head...
  • Medusa: Medusae are a type of enemy, who not only have snakes for hair, but are also serpent from the waist down. The Northern Expansion introduces the stronger Greater Gorgons.
  • Mêlée à Trois:
    • "Quest for the Ring." Your kingdom and an AI-controlled kingdom appear on the same map. The two cooperate peacefully and take out wandering monsters until you destroy the holding site for the Ring. Then it turns into this.
    • "Urban Renewal" scenario in Northern Expansion. The mission focuses on the Sovereign cleaning a Wretched Hive represented by a special faction made of Rogues, Elves, and Goblins, but regular wandering monsters hostile to both appear from time to time.
    • "The Clash of Empires" scenario, still in Northern Expansion. The Sovereign's settlement of this mission is built right in the middle of a battlefield opposing a Ratmen faction and a Goblins one, who are of course both hostile to the Sovereign. There are even scripted random spawns of mixed Ratmen and Goblins parties right next to the city, very busy fighting each other. The trope is even more exaggerated than it initially seemed when beginning the scenario, as the usual wandering monsters faction is still present in this specific scenario, hostile to any of the three other factions.
  • Mighty Glacier: Warriors, dwarves, and barbarians, meaning your toughest melee fighters can take a long time to reach distant threats.
  • Mind Rape: The spells the Abomination uses all function like this. Two of them make heroes flee in terror, and the third is Mind Control.
  • The Minion Master:
    • Priestesses of Krypta, who rarely go anywhere without a retinue of skeletons and other undead they happen to charm into servitude.
    • Also Cultists of Fervus, who are always accompanied by the many animals and monsters they've tamed.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: You can have a temple to Lunard, or a temple to Helia. You can have temples to Krypta and Fervus or temples to Agrela or Dauros. Or you can build a temple to Krolm and not have any other temples. Since each temple gives you specific kinds magic you are thus forced to chose which mutually exclusive spells you want.
  • Necromancer: Subverted with the priestesses of Krypta, who appear to animate a copy of their own skeleton to create minions, instead of using other peoples'.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: "Vengeance of the Liche Queen," where skeletons, zombies, and vampires abound. "Darkness Falls" kicks things up a notch by periodically sending waves of Shadowbeasts — large, four-legged creatures that move insanely fast and have massive tusks for tearing flesh apart.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The final mission of the original game, "Day of Reckoning", which had various boss monsters attack you pretty much every day. They also brought a slew of Demonic Spiders with them when they appeared. And in the expansion pack, there's the aforementioned "Legendary Heroes" mission and the Master level quest "Spires of Death", in which the titular towers had ridiculously high hit points, would blast any hero that came near with extremely powerful spells, and respawn with full health if you don't destroy all of them within a single day. Not to mention "Vigil For a Fallen Hero", where you can't recruit any heroes and have to make sure the ones you start with don't die. That's not even counting the downloadable quests "The Wrath of Krolm", which had a boss with four thousand hit points, and the Unwinnable "Balance of Twilight."
    • "Tomb of the Dragon King" gives you a paltry amount of starting gold and dragon attacks every three days or so. Good luck keeping your kingdom intact!
    • Majesty 2 tends to have quests with an immense starting difficulty that then plummets if the player manages to keep their kingdom alive for a quarter of an hour.
  • Non-Combat EXP: In addition to gaining EXP in combat, heroes gain it by performing various actions specific to their type (healers can gain EXP by healing, rangers by exploring, etc.)
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Barbarians have a chance of going into one of these instead of dying.
  • Only in It for the Money: Rogues, represented in-game by their being the class most susceptible to rewards. "Leave... my gold...alone..."
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The normally hammy Advisor has one campaign intro where, when the whole kingdom gets sick due to a curse, removes all the ham in favor of a desperate plea to the Sovereign to cure the land as fast as possible. He goes right back to the ham for the victory screen, though.
  • Order Versus Chaos: As with Elves Versus Dwarves, temples to Krypta and Fervus (chaos) versus temples to Agrela and Dauros (order) are mutually exclusive choices.
  • Patron God: The player can assign any of the available deities to be the patron(s) of an area by building temples to them. However, several of the gods are mutually exclusive, so they can't all be patrons of the same region.
  • Perspective Flip: Each scenario is essentially a whole load of RPG Quests from the point of view of the king setting them. The heroes join a guild, upgrade their equipment, learn spells, and either chase bounties or engage in Random Encounters.
  • Punny Name: All over the place. Besides having Styx and Stones and Rhoden the Rat King for villains, your healers can have names that sound suspiciously like over-the-counter drugs.
  • The Quest: The preset map missions all give you some kind of goal to achieve within a certain time limit. This ranges from trying to find a sacred healing ring for a plague, obtaining a relic to boost your people's morale, or turning a Wretched Hive into a respectable town.
  • * The Quiet One: The monks of Dauros.
  • Random Events Plot: "Trade Routes." For about thirty days, you have to manage caravans coming from four different places on the map, and at least half of them have to reach your marketplace for you to succeed. You also have to deal with curses from Krypta, an invasion of barbarians, goblin camps, rust spitters, magical accidents, earthquakes, and bandits, in no particular order.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Averted. You yourself cannot go destroy the dark castle of the lich queen, dragons, minotaurs, etc.; you must coax your heroes into destroying the dark castle of the lich queen, dragons, minotaurs, etc., and whatever offensive and defensive spells you can cast are done under the paid auspices of your hero's guilds.
  • Redshirt Army:
    • Your non-hero units are basically worthless in combat. Indeed, the best you can hope for from even "elite" guardsmen is that the troll that appeared from the sewer entrance next door will miss them a couple of times before they die, thus allowing The Cavalry to stop the guardhouse from being destroyed as well.
    • A kingdom with a Temple to Fervus and one to Krypta will likely soon have a high number of charmed, if weak, mook allies. The Temple to Fervus even produces its own animals for this. (Once those heroes get to high level, they start charming Elite Mooks.)
  • Screw You, Elves!: In the mission "Elven Treachery", elves kidnap your son and hold him for ransom. You can choose to either make enough gold to pay the ransom, or kill all of the elves responsible and raze their cities to the ground.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In addition to wizards named Gandalf, in the cell phone version you can have warriors of discord named Nazgûl, elves named Legolas (compounded because the elf sprites greatly resemble Legolas as portrayed by Orlando Bloom), and dwarves named Gimli. It's a wonder they haven't gotten a call from Tolkien's lawyers.
    • When one of your heroes reaches a high level (around 20), a gazebo building will appear, which allows heroes to rest inside. It's a reference to Heroes of Might and Magic, where in the first two installments the gazebo was a map object that gave visiting heroes experience, with the flavor text explaining that they've met an old, experienced hero there who taught them a few tricks.
    • One of the short stories on the Cyberlore website introduces an assistant for your advisor with the name Henri R. Poughinstough.
    • The introductory mission is named The Bell, the Book, and the Candle.
  • Solar and Lunar: You can build temples to Helia (sun) or temples to Lunord (moon), but not both.
  • Soul Jar: Skeleton warlords Styx and Stones provide a unique twist on this old chestnut. It is said that "as long as one lives the other cannot truly die." Meaning that to be permanently defeated they must both be killed simultaneously.
  • Spiteful A.I.: In the quest "Valley of the Serpents", enemy monsters, even ones that don't attack buildings normally, will specifically target your elven bungalows and ignore other buildings most of the time. (You lose if all your bungalows are destroyed, by the way.)
  • Squishy Wizard / Glass Cannon: They start out with four hit points and keel over if breathed on or looked at funny. However, if they survive long enough to gain a few levels, they can take out almost anything in a few shots.
  • Stalked by the Bell: In the Nintendo Hard Luck-Based Mission "Legendary Heroes". Unlike the other Timed Missions, you don't immediately lose when time is endless earthquake starts instead, which will eventually reduce your palace to rubble.
  • Stealth Pun: Monks can be randomly named Thelonius.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Dwarves and monks, though they're strong offensively as well.
    • A more straight example are guard towers. They are immobile, do only minor damage, serve as a base for a single Redshirt guardsman who can slow an enemy down by a few seconds, but they have a huge reserve of hitpoints compared to most creatures, and can stall foes long enough for heroes to rally to it.
  • Stupid Good: Paladins, who are virtuous heroes committed to fighting injustice wherever it dwells, even if they have absolutely no chance of victory. Particularly amusing is when you get a pack of three or four chasing one skeleton down from across the entire map.
  • Supporting Leader: The player character acts as the sovereign of the land and decides what to build and what heroes need to be recruited, while the heroes actually go on the quests that accomplish the goal for the scenario.
  • Taken for Granite: The Medusae in the base game, along with the Greater Gorgons in the expansion, inflict this on your heroes. The quest that features them the most, "Valley of the Serpents", has the remains of petrified heroes dotted all over the map.
  • Timed Mission: The quests "Elven Treachery," "Quest For the Holy Chalice," and "Deal With the Demon." You have only thirty days for the first two, and forty for the latter. "Legendary Heroes" is a variant; you're Stalked by the Bell instead of losing immediately once the time is up. (Exploiting this is key to victory.)
  • Too Dumb to Live / Artificial Stupidity / Suicidal Overconfidence: The vast majority of heroes are utter morons. They'll often flee in terror from monsters they can handle easily, or, worse, start "berserking" the instant they see a monster, meaning they'll keep fighting even when they're out of healing potions and low on health. Even healers. This is why the "Change of Heart" spell in the Northern Expansion is a godsend, as are Solarii, who are one of the few heroes who don't do this.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Every hero can do this. Wizards go from pathetic to one-man armies, but gnomes have Magikarp Power at level 10 (or 8 in the expansion). Read more in the above mention.
  • Troperiffic: Basically every trope and/or cliche of High Fantasy and Swords and Sorcery can be found somewhere in the game.
  • Universal Poison / Poisoned Weapons: A level 2 rogues' guild will let your heroes poison their weapons for a fee, and the cultists of Fervus will regularly plant poisonous plants that can be gathered by rangers and rogues for the same effect. This poison has the same effect on all enemies, including skeletons and rock golems.
  • Unwinnable: The downloadable quest "Balance of Twilight" is notorious for crashing immediately upon completion of the final goal in the mission, but before registering as a victory.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In the "Quest for the Magic Ring" scenario, it's possible to declare war against the other kingdom before destroying the ring site, by setting reward attack flags on their buildings. If you wipe them off the map, and only then destroy the ring site, it makes the scenario significantly easier, as then all you have to deal with are the Black Phantoms, and you don't have to worry about heroes from the rival kingdom taking the ring back to their palace, which causes an instant game over. The game doesn't penalize you for doing this, other than making the rival kingdom hostile when you attack it (and you would have had to fight it anyway).
  • Voice of the Legion: Vendral; justified since he has two heads.
    • Also seen with The Abomination's easter egg.
  • Was It Really Worth It?:
  • When Trees Attack: Daemonwoods. Not only do they have really high attack and defense, they don't appear on the map, making them especially dangerous.
  • World of Ham: Over-the-top barks and combat shouts abound.
  • Wretched Hive: "Urban Renewal" consists in cleaning one, which is a city mostly made of Rogue Guilds, Elven Bungalows, Elven Lounges, and Gambling Halls. Played for Laughs, as the victory text tells that the place is now safe and perfectly boring.
  • Written-In Absence: Sometimes, one of the limitations on your quests is that you can't use a specific race or temple, such as the Dwarves refusing to move into one map in the expansion or the Priestesses refusing to battle the Liche Queen because she used to be one of them.
  • Zerg Rush: Rats and other sewer monsters do this as a map progresses as they can spawn in huge numbers. Some missions will also feature one that you have to prepare for.
    • The chaos temples have a habit of doing this for your side as both can control various pets (undead and animals respectively). This tends to result in anything assaulting your town to get swamped by armies of undead and tamed beasts.