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Video Game / Sword of Damocles

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Sword of Damocles is the name of two parallel Expanded Universe mods for Mount & Blade, both adding several factions and focusing on the building of an empire instant of being the servant of a king.

The original Sword of Damocles, or SoD (latest version: V5) is an alternate version of the original campaign. The player is the heir of his faction, who left his birthplace with a few troop and came to Calradia in order to escape the invasion of the Imperial Legion. He/She then has to conquer most of Calradia to unite it and create a strong kingdom which will be able to resist to the invasion force if the Imperial Legion crosses the sea. It happens about a year after the beginning of the game.

SoD adds several special factions to the five of the Vanilla game: the invading Imperial Legion, five player-only factions (the player chooses at the beginning of his game which one he chooses, then he is the only one to be able to recruit troops for this one; the non-chosen factions disappear from the game), and six mercenary factions (the player can hire low numbers of their soldiers, it is also possible to sign a contract with one of them).


The player-only factions are:

  • Kingdom of Aden: Strong melee cavalry with mediocre melee infantry and weak archers.
  • Antarian Empire: Strong heavily armored melee infantry army with javelin thrower support and weak melee cavalry.
  • Republic of Marina: Strong melee infantry and crossbowmen supported by weak melee cavalry scouts.
  • Villianese Duchy: Strong archers and decent melee infantry supported by weak ranged cavalry.
  • Zerrikanian Sultanate: Well rounded army with melee and ranged infantry as well as melee and ranged cavalry. No obvious strengths or weaknesses but many units will spawn with blunt weapons.

The mercenary factions are:

  • Black Army
  • Boar Clan
  • Conquistadors
  • Elephant Guard
  • Jotnar Clan
  • Serpent Host
  • Slavers

SoD needs the original Mount & Blade game (not Warband!) to work. A download link can be found here.


The other mod, Sword of Damocles: Warlords, or SoDW (latest version: V3.92) is the sequel of SoD. Its events are set more than forty years after SoD, after the invasion of Calradia by the Imperial Legion have been repelled. Then the factions (including the player-only ones) started to conquer another continent, which ended totally controlled by them when SoDW begins.

As in SoD, the player (who descends from the player of SoD) can choose his native faction among five of them. The same mercenaries are still there, but they don't exist as factions, only as random guys that can be hired in taverns (although it is planned to implant them as actual factions). Contrary to SoD, the former player-only factions (and the Imperial Legion) are factions working like the default ones. There are more several hundredth places, divided between twelve factions (thirteen with the player's one).

SoDW needs Mount & Blade: Warband to work. A download link can be found here.

Unrelated to the same name trope, although the Imperial Legion invasion of SoD is a sword of Damocles in the meaning of the phrase.

For tropes related to the setting and gameplay which are unchanged from the unmodded game, refer to the Mount & Blade page.

The Sword of Damocles Mods Provide Examples Of:

  • Action Girl: Apart some of the Vanilla units (a female player character, Sword Sisters, Deshavi, Klethi, Ymira, etc), the mods feature the Jotnar clan, a mercenary faction relying partly on armored female warriors (footmen and riders). A few mercenary faction characters (Lieutenant Agnessa for the Conquistadors, Guild Master Kephri for the Elephant Guard, Guild Master Velandir for the Jotna Clan) are female.
  • Ancient Grome: The Imperial Legion.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Slightly altered in SoDW, allowing the player to hire a bigger army: the leadership skill of each of the hired heroes is taken in account to calculate the maximum number of units that can be hired. It gives the player a temporary penalty to this cap when a companion is too injuried.
  • Author Tract: According to Word of God, the Imperial Legion is a Take That! to American military imperialism.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The firearms. They inflict heavy damages and are impressive when fired, but the number of ammunitions carried in an inventory slot is lower than those of arrows/bolts, like crossbows they must be reloaded between each shot but are less accurate.
  • Bling of War: The royal armour of the player faction in SoD.
  • Combat by Champion: Some battles can be resolved by a duel between two antagonist-side units if one side asks for it. The defeated side lose some morale, which can lead some of its units to surrender. Note that the player isn't required to spare the enemy (if winner) or surrender (if loser) after it.
  • A Commander Is You:
    • Kingdom of Aden: Spammer (infantry and archery) / Unit Specialist (cavalry) / Brute Force (cavalry).
    • Antarian Empire: Unit Specialist (infantry) / Brute Force (infantry).
    • Republic of Marina: Balanced (infantry and archery).
    • Villianese Duchy: Balanced / Ranger.
    • Zerrikanian Sultanate: Balanced / Spammer.
    • Imperial Legion: Game Breaker.
    • The Vanilla factions retain their original specialization.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Antarian Empire. Its army consist in heavy two-handed swordmen (shieldless) and javelin thrower, which make the faction units nearly invicible in melee and short-range fight, but nearly useless in medium and long range battle (as javelins have a short range and only a few of them can be carried in an inventory slot, contrary to arrows and bolts).
  • Crutch Character: In SoD, the player character begins with a small army including a special hero unit named "Strategic Advisor", who is at level 25, has some useful party skills (in Tactics, for example) and wears powerful equipments. The Strategic Advisor leaves the army party when the players conquers his first castle, becoming an NPC used to rule the lands.
    • There is another (partial) example in SoD too (not in SoDW). Each normal hero isn't hired at low level and wearing low level rusty weapons and ragged clothes, but is a level 15 character wearing average to high quality equipment. Being more powerful than the early player, they steal a bit his in-battle kills and slows a bit his gain of experience. In SoDW the heroes are totally identical to those of ''Warband'.
  • Easy Logistics: In SoD, this trope is even more averted than in the Vanilla game. To be upgraded to its upper tier, each man must gain enough experience, and then go to a castle / city belonging to the right culture and habouring the relevant military building.
  • Expanded Universe: The mods are this to Mount & Blade. Both add several factions, SoD thickens the plot by adding the story of an invasion, and SoDW is set in the future of SoD.
  • Eye Scream: A few of the new faces selectable at player creation are retextured faces from the Vanilla, with a mutilated eye. The lieutenant of the Black Army has the same feature. It is only cosmetical.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Kingdom of Aden: Kingdom of Hungary.
    • Antarian Empire: Combination of late Western Roman Empire and medieval Holy Roman Empire.
    • Republic of Marina: What could become Greek city-states if they unite and survive until medieval times, with a Venitian-like part.
    • Villianese Duchy: Combination of Scottish Highlanders and Normans.
    • Zerrikanian Sultanate: Combination of Ottoman Empire and Kievan Rus'.
    • Imperial Legion: Combination of late Roman Empire and ancient Greece.
    • Black Army: Black Army of Hungary.
    • Boar Clan: A kind of combination of Gaul tribemen and Mongolian nomads.
    • Conquistadors: Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors from the beginning of the XVIth century. Altough there are firearms in the mods, the units of this faction don't use them.
    • Elephant Guard: African tribes with a light Egyptian influence.
    • Jotnar Clan: Scandinavian army inspired by Norse mythology.
    • Serpent Host: Combination of Ottoman, Persian, and Byzantine inspiration.
    • Heraldic knights (non-factionned mercenary unit): Standard European knights.
    • Ronin and Samurai (non-factionned mercenary unit): Medieval Japan.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: The mods add several religious fictional faith. This trope is subverted, because those cults have not actual supernatural consequences ingame, they only have effect on relations with fiefs and on some of the highest tier units of the player's faction. The cults are:
    • The One: Crystal Dragon Jesus. It is the official cult of the Empire of Antaria.
    • The Void: Religion of Evil. It is the official cult of the Zerrikanian Sultanate.
    • The Old Gods: Polytheistic and shamanistic faith. It is the almost only cult of the Villianese Duchy.
    • Spiritual Enlightlent: Agnosticism. It is the main cult of the Kingdom of Aden.
    • Natural Philosophy: Agnosticism and science. It is the main cult of the Republic of Marina. Factions which noble troops are ranged units (Republic of Marina, Villianese Duchy, Zerrikanian Sultanate) will use firearms when upgraded to faith troops if the player chose Natural Philosophy as a religion when creating his character.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Averted. Character creation allows to pick a retextured face with a scar (good scar on the cheek or evil scar across the eye). It is a purely cosmetic feature unrelated to the deeds of the character. Some NPC can also sport one.
  • Gratuitous Greek: Non-alphabetical example. The Serpent Host features units with Greek names (Athanatoi, Kataphraktoi).
  • Gratuitous Spanish: A few unit names from the Conquistador mercenaries (Tercios, Roderolos).
  • Horny Vikings: Some Jotnar Clan units wear horned helmets. The faction itslef is initially an ally of the Nords.
  • Identical Grandson / Older Than They Look: Weirdly, the hirable player characters of SoDW are the same people that the ones of SoD, more than forty years laters. Empoverished and weakened.
  • Leave No Survivors: During a battle, some units of the computer player may try to surrender if this side is losing. The player can accept (in this case, a random number of the surviving troops leaves the battle and are automatically added to the prisoners pool) or choose to keep on fighting until all the computer player controlled units are eventually killed or knocked out.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: SoDW is a bit longer to launch than the Vanilla game (to reach the Main Menu), but the loading time for a New Game can last more than ten minutes. Loading a saved game lasts no longer than in the Vanilla, though.
  • Luck-Based Mission: In SoD the player can look for the lost pieces of his former kingdom's royal armour by sending parties of nobles in the towns. It is luck-based because there is no way to actually know were they are without actively searching them.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot / Cool Versus Awesome: Historical variant of those tropes. Medieval France VS Medieval Denmark VS Medieval Italy VS Sarracens VS Medieval Russia VS Medieval Hungary VS Holy Roman Empire VS Ancient Rome VS Scottish Highlanders VS Vikings warriors VS Spanish Conquistadors VS Samurai!!!
  • Pistol-Whipping: An empty rifle can be used like a blunt weapon.
  • Private Military Contractors: There are seven different factions of them.
  • Retcon: The SoD campaign involves only one of the player factions and, being a mod for the original Mount & Blade instead of a Warband mod, the Sarranid Sultanate is absent from the game. In the background of the Warband mod SoDW, it is stated that the Sarranid and each of the player factions were involved in the war against the Imperial Legion.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Played straight in SoD itself but averted by the background of its sequel. In SoD, the only one of the five player factions which appears ingame is the one chosen by the player. SoDW background explains that each of them played a role during the events of SoD.
  • Shout-Out: The name Zerrikania comes from The Witcher franchise, in which it is an African / Middle-Eastern inspired realm.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Some tracks of the SoDW music sounds a lot more Metal than what we would expect from a Fantasy video game. It is not only dissonant with the setting, but it is also dissonant with the music from the Vanilla and with other tracks from the mod.
  • Super Soldier: Altough they aren't supposed to be considered like this in the lore, the faith troops serve this role.
  • Tribal Facepaint: The player can choose a warpainted face during the character's creation. Some units (especially high-tiers one) and characters also have some facepaints.
    • In term of gameplay mechanism, the bodypaints of the Elephant Guard are the (non lootable) item used as an armour by the Elephant Guard units.
  • Wutai: The Ronin and Samurai mercenaries obviously comes from this kind of faction. Note that a Japanese / Chinese themed mercenary faction has been planned but not actually made for technical reasons.