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Video Game / Silmarillion: Total War

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"The shadow of my purpose lies upon Arda, and all that is in it bends slowly and surely to my will..."

"“Last of all Hurin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew Hurin cried: 'Aure entuluva! Day shall come again!' Seventy times he uttered that cry; but they took him at last alive...”

Silmarillion: Total War is a extensive total conversion mod for Medieval II: Total War: Kingdoms set in the First Age of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, specifically the 600-year war between the Free Peoples of Beleriand and the dark hordes of Morgoth detailed in the Quenta Silmarillion. Although there are two extensive single-player campaigns in productionnote , the mod is primarily multiplayer-focused as of the current "War of Wrath" patch (though it does include a collection of scenario battles that can be played solo).

Silmarillion: Total War can downloaded here, and more information can also be found on the YouTube page of Jmonster, one of the mod's main developers.

Silmarillion: Total War provides examples of:

  • Arrows on Fire: Unlike in standard Medieval II, only select archer units have access to flaming arrows. In particular, Tol-in-Gauroth's Hîshtbukraz Hunters (light foot archers) and the Easterlings' Salamandrine Guard (heavy mounted archers) fire flaming arrows by default and don't suffer any of the standard penalties to accuracy, rate of fire, and ammo supply. Additionally, Tol-in-Gauroth also get the Hîshtbukraz za Gûlkálab, Warg riders who toss flaming javelins.
  • A Commander Is You: Every faction in this mod is designed to have a very clear set of specialties, and an equally clear set of deficiencies, to ensure that they play as differently as possible:
    • Dominion of Tol-in-Gaurhoth (Spammer/Ranger/Technical): They possess a large and varied roster of Warg riders, and can field a massive swarm of cheap infantry backing the mighty Sauron himself. In addition, they can completely shower the battlefield with hand-thrown and flaming projectiles. However, not only do they lack almost any form of archery, but their roster is lightly armored and has very little in the way of dedicated line infantry. As such, a Tol-in-Gaurhoth army will generally need to make precise use of their close-ranged projectiles and Wargs while minimizing the damage from any return fire.
    • The Easterlings (Balanced/Specialist - Turtle/Brute/Ranger): Their roster is one of the most versatile in the entire game, thanks to being split into two "sub-factions" with their own strengths and weaknesses. The tribe of Bor focus on being very defensive with their armor, shields, and polearms, but are rather expensive, while the tribe of Ulfang are more numerous and hit very hard on the charge, but will quickly crumple against any sustained retaliation. Additionally, their cavalry is made up entirely of archers and skirmishers, compensating somewhat for their total lack of foot archers outside of a single Legendary Company.
    • The Elves of the Falas (Spammer/Ranger/Turtle/Specialist): They can field fairly large armies of swift light/medium infantry (all of whom get combat bonuses in various types of terrain), supplemented by a small core of well-armored Noldorin elites with excellent morale buffing capabilities. However, the non-Noldor Falathrim are very lightly armored, and their roster as a whole is somewhat lacking in terms of offensive punch.
    • The Elves of Ossiriand (Ranger/Guerilla): Their roster features excellent archers, universal stealth capabilities (many of their units can hide anywhere and even their heavy infantry can hide in woods), and a small but deadly core of armor-piercing infantry and mighty Ents. However, the vast majority of their units are incredibly fragile and will quickly fall apart in hand-to-hand combat, and even their good melee units are incredibly expensive and low in manpower when compared to their counterparts from other Elven factions.
    • Guarded Realm of Doriath (Elitist/Brute/Guerilla): Their main selling point is the ability to field a large number of hard-hitting elite infantry that can easily hack their way through fodder, supported by a sizable roster of stealthy skirmishers and specialist archers. Indeed, even said skirmishers and archers hit quite hard in melee. However, their units tend to be fairly lightly armored, which combined with their lack of polearms and the relatively small unit size and ammo count of their archers means that Doriath is very much at a disadvantage if forced into a defensive or ranged battle.
    • The Hidden City of Gondolin (Elitist/Specialist): Their main strength comes in the form of a diverse array of highly elite specialist units, most of whom have unique capabilities/bonuses not shared by their counterparts from other factions, supplemented by a small but versatile roster of cheap light/medium infantry. However, said specialist units are all extremely expensive, and their lighter units are rarely going to ever win a fight on their own.
    • The Horrors of Nan Dungortheb (Spammer/Ranger/Guerilla/Gimmick): Their standard Dusomanuthan Orcs are nigh-fearless, numerous, and hit surprisingly hard in melee, but generally have pathetically low defensive capabilities, while their elite units are comprised almost entirely of fearsome spiders and other monsters, most of whom have small unit sizes but are quite powerful individually. Additionally, the majority of their units (both Orc and monsters) double as skirmishers and get significant bonuses to stealth and combat capabilities in forests. As such, Nan Dungortheb's modus operandi is to bog down the enemy with Orcs, whittle them down in range, and then send the monsters to do the real damage.
    • The House of Fëanor (Elitist/Turtle/Ranger): They field the very best cavalry in all of Beleriand in terms of both quality and variety, and the Noldorin part of their roster are the most heavily armored units in the game outside of the Naugrim. On the other hand, all of their foot units are fairly few in number and expensive relative to their tier, with even the lighter Edain units having fewer men compared to Elven counterparts from other factions; combined with their relative lack of ranged punch and armor-piercing, this means that Fëanorian foot units are more there just to hold the line while the cavalry do most of the killing.
    • The House of Finarfin (Turtle/Technical): By far the most defensively-oriented faction, their heavy pikemen and spearmen are nigh-impenetrable from the front, especially when well-supported by their versatile roster of solid medium infantry, specialist skirmishers, and stealthy light infantry. However, they completely lack cavalry and have very little in the way of offensive punch, since the aforementioned pikemen and spearmen are their only heavy infantry outside of a single bodyguard unit and one Legendary Company.
    • The House of Fingolfin (Balanced/Generalist/Brute): Have a core of highly skilled Noldorin swordsmen backed up by a tactically diverse array of support units and Edain auxiliaries. However, the actual quality of the Fingolfin support roster generally ranges from mediocre to "good, but not best-in-show", meaning that they still has a slight bias towards rushing into melee combat with their elite swordsmen.
    • The House of Haleth (Ranger/Guerilla/Technical/Gimmick): Are largely made up of swift and stealthy light/medium infantry and cavalry that hit quite hard in melee, most of whom also double as makeshift skirmishers. In addition, an unusually high percentage of their roster has the "Relentless" traitnote  and/or multiple HP, which coupled with their universally high morale can make them surprisingly sticky in a sustained brawl. However, their units have rather low manpower and mediocre defensive stats, and their roster has zero dedicated archers. As such, the Haladin require particularly good micromanagement to play, as their legendary stubbornness will not save them from being easily overwhelmed in a frontal engagement.
    • The Realm of Angband (Spammer/Brute): Their units are not only cheap and numerous, but quite well-armored to boot. Additionally, they also have a decent amount of offensive punch thanks to their solid number of armor-piercing units and literal monsters (ranging from trolls and fire drakes to fallen Maiar). However, most of Angband's orcs are still rather low-quality soldiers with incredibly fragile morale, and they have very little in terms of dedicated cavalry or proper archery.
  • Elite Mooks: Played with by the Legendary Companies (a type of non-bodyguard unit that each faction is designed to only field one of); they're designed to fill a unique niche within their respective faction's roster, but those based on already existing units often have to make a couple tradeoffs in exchange for their new abilities (even if their base stats are usually still at least a bit higher).
    • Tol-in-Gaurhoth has the Vorbak Gajutar, medium Warg riders with unbreakable morale and a powerful charge, giving Sauron's forces a bit more lancer-type cavalry than just a single expensive bodyguard unit.
    • The Easterlings have the Fangs of the Faithless, heavily-armored foot archers with poison arrows who are their only non-mounted bowmen and also function as decent makeshift line infantry with their one-handed falxes.
    • The Falathrim have the Mariners of Eärendil, medium-heavy swordsmen who do extra damage against monsters (and chariots) and give a large morale boost to all fellow Falathrim in a large radius around them, making them particularly useful in army compositions focused on light infantry.
    • Ossiriand has the Ondohyando en Sarn Athrad, stealthy armor-piercing bowmen that also make decent makeshift shock infantry with their dual axes, giving the lightweight Green Elves a much-needed tool for dealing with super-heavy infantry from range.
    • Doriath has the Tir en Laisdannen, medium axemen who throw axes that deal significant knockback and pierce through shields (giving Doriath an efficient way of dealing with mixed formations of polearms and shielded infantry), with the unit itself also able to deploy stakes.
    • The Fëanorians have the Accursed of Alqualondë, heavy two-handed swordsmen who terrify the enemy and are Immune to Flinching, giving some extra bite to the generally more defensively-focused Fëanorian infantry.
    • Finarfin gets the Company of Prince Gwindor, medium-heavy swordsmen with above-average charge values, the ability to cause fear, and the largest unit size of any Elven unit in the game, giving the defensively-minded Finarfin roster just that bit more offensive punch.
    • The House of Fingolfin have the Arqueni Findekáno, light armor-piercing horse archers who provide a bit of mobile firepower to a faction generally lacking in cavalry.
    • The Haladin have the Skjaldmær of Haleth, who are not just hard-hitting AP axewomen in melee with multiple HP and unbreakable morale, but can toss axes that deal particularly heavy damage to monstrous units, giving the lightly armored Haladin a much better chance against Sauron and the great monsters of Angband.
    • Angband gets the Scourges of Gothmog, lightly-armored but heavy-hitting orc swordsmen with locked morale who are basically the only orc warriors in Morgoth's forces capable of holding their own 1v1 against even the most elite Elves.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Angband and Tol-in-Gaurhoth have the Irondrakes of Angband and Hîshtbukraz Pyrewolves respectively, essentially musketeers/carabiniers armed with short-ranged fire-spewing guns that are particularly devastating against lightly-armored units, but far less so against anything with decent armor.
  • Javelin Thrower: Armor-piercing javelin units are split into "harassment" and "hard target" categories; the former carry many volleys of low damage but fast-moving and long-ranged javelins best used against hordes of lower-tier units, while the latter carry a few volleys of high damage but slow-moving and short-ranged javelins best saved against heavily-armored elites and monsters.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Fëanorian horsemen are not only some of the tankiest and most hard-hitting cavalry in the game, but are unusually swift for their weight class, being able to keep up with several lighter cavalry units from other factions.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Ossiriand's Randirrim-en-Tol Galen are notably the only archers to fire body-piercing arrows, making them particularly deadly against infantry blobs.
  • Our Demons Are Different:
    • Angband can recruit the utterly nightmarish Valaraukar (Quenya for "Balrog"), corrupted spirits of flame seduced by Melkor into service as his elite bodyguard and greatest generals. They actually have a unique design distinct from that of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films; they share the general Big Red Devil look, but instead of having wings, they are instead clad in ever-burning thick black-plate, and wield suitably jagged axes and swords. Unsurprisingly, they are one of 'the most powerful units in the entire mod despite having only three models per unit, being able to take on multiple units of lesser beings on their lonesome and rout basic infantry through sheer terror alone. Only the mightiest warriors (particular those with bonuses against monster-type units) can reliably damage them, and it will still require several of even the mightiest Noldor to fell even one Valaraukar. That said, they come with a suitably massive price and a red limit of one unit max.
    • Besides the Balrogs, Angband and Tol-in-Gauroth also get Boldogs (fallen Maiar inhabiting the forms of Orcs) as their main bodyguard option. The Boldogs of Angband are "simply" heavily-armored infantry wielding a sword and shield, while Tol-in-Gauroth's Hîshtbukraz Ashpriests are lightly armored, but can toss flaming projectiles, wield armor-piercing axes in melee, and have three hitpoints instead of the usual two for bodyguards.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Urulóki (Quenya for "Fire-drakes") of Angband are interpreted here as multi-headed wingless dragons that spew out arching fireballs.
  • Suffer the Slings: Gondolin's Scouts of the Tree specialize in slinging armor-piercing rounds at their foes; compared to harassment javelinmen, they do even less base damage, but carry somewhat more ammo and have significantly greater range.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Unlike in regular Medieval II, Silmarillion's artillery crews are made up of professional infantry (either mid or high tier depending on the faction) that are more than capable of defending themselves in a pinch. In the case of Gondolin, their trebuchet and catapult crews are actually their only source of two-handed polearms (outside of an upcoming Legendary Company).