Heroes of Might and Magic

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Heroes of Might and Magic is a series of turn-based strategy computer games created by NewWorldComputing. Famous both for its extremely high quality and its sheer number of Expansion Packs for the later games.

According to both That Other Wiki and the fansite Age of Heroes, the series was inspired when someone had the idea of combining the walk-around-the-map-trying-to-save-the-world strategy of the earlier NWC game King's Bounty with the Role-Playing Game aspects of Might and Magic. There are occasional crossovers between the series: Might and Magic VI shares a setting with Heroes of Might and Magic I and Heroes of Might and Magic II, and runs almost concurrently with Heroes of Might and Magic III. Might and Magic VII shares setting with Heroes of Might and Magic III, and runs between Heroes of Might and Magic III and its expansion pack Armageddon's Blade.

Lord Morglin Ironfist is ousted from his homeland by his cousin Ragnar. Fleeing with his few loyal followers through a portal, he finds himself on another planet, in the land of Enroth. Enroth is a contested land: Warlords Lord Slayer, Queen Lamanda and Lord Alamar are locked in a civil war for control of the continent. Ironfist himself quickly establishes himself as a fourth player in this power struggle.

The player gets to chose which of the four warlords they control during the single-player campaign; however, the canonical ending is a victory for Morglin Ironfist and the foundation of the Ironfist Dynasty.

The second game's campaign centers around a civil war between two brothers, Roland (good) and Archibald (not-so-good) Ironfist who are having some disagreements about who should be king of Enroth after their father's death. The Royal Seer who was supposed to make the decision unfortunately died in a boating accident. His next three successors died similar deaths before Roland is accused of murdering them and goes into hiding, leaving the fifth Royal Seer to declare Archibald the king.

The expansion pack The Price of Loyalty included four new campaigns and some improvements to game balance. What it did not include was a continuation of the main storyline... this would continue in the third installment (and sixth installment of the related Might and Magic series).

Backstory for the games Heroes of Might and Magic III and Might and Magic VI states the canonical victor of the second to be Roland: by the time of those two games, he is King of Enroth, married to Catherine Gryphonheart, heir to the throne of Enroth's ally Erathia. The two have a son together (Nicolai, an NPC in Might and Magic VI).

It is around this point that the Kreegans (a race of demons) invade the North-West of Enroth and the North-East of Antagarich (the continent Erathia is located on).

The third game is the first in the series to move the action away from the continent of Enroth. Instead, it occurs on the southern continent of Antagarich. King Gryphonheart of Erathia has died and the enemies of Erathia (the Antagarich branch of the Kreegan Invasion, the Dungeon Overlords of Nighon, and the Necromancers) take the opportunity of its weakened state to launch attacks against it. Queen Catherine leads a force of the Enrothian army to reclaim control of her homeland with the aid of Erathia's local allies AvLee (elven nation) and Bracada (wizard nation). The other nations on Antagarich - the barbarian nation of Krewlod and the lizardman nation of Tatalia - take this as an opportunity to bite off a little of their neighbour's territory while they are all distracted with each other: thus beginning the eight-way "Restoration War".

The third game's other Expansion Pack Armageddon's Blade occurs after the eventual victory of Erathia and its allies in the third game. It features the quest to stop a devil from creating the titular artifact and using it to Take Over the World. It also has a bunch of other campaigns where some other bunch of people try to do other stuff. Dragon slaying, undead hunting, et cetera.

The third game's other Expansion Pack The Shadow of Death acts as a prequel to the actual third game, exploring the backstory of several important people and the Evil Plan of the lich Sandro.

Using the Heroes of Might and Magic III engine, eight standalone episodes were released called Heroes Chronicles. The series starred Tarnum, who in the first episode, became the king of the Barabarians but fell to the forces of Erathia later. Resurrected, he becomes immortal and must seek redemption through a thousand-year series of quests fighting the forces of evil. He fights and defeats a campaign protagonist from Armageddon's Blade (Mutare, the Dragon Queen), but in the final episode, he fails to recover the Sword of Frost before someone else did.

Sometime after Heroes Chronicles: The Sword of Frost, the clash of the titular sword and the Armageddon's Blade releases armageddon upon the world that Heroes of Might and Magic I-Heroes of Might and Magic III were set on. Those that survived used a series of portals to evacuate to another world, which leads into the events of Heroes of Might and Magic IV.

Heroes of Might and Magic IV, much like Armageddon's Blade, features standalone campaigns, one for each town. These include the uprising of a man who claims to be an Gryphonheart descendant tossing the new kingdom of Palaedra into civil war and the knight Lysander had to put an end to that, the efforts of Waerjak, a young barbarian to conquer all the other tribes to ensure that his people will not die out (as well as concluding the story of Tarnum, the protagonist from Heroes Chronicles), the journey of Emilia Nighthaven, a sorceress queen to stop a Knight Templar from controlling the wills of every creature in the world, the tale of Elwin and Shaera, which goes like a Romeo-and-Juliet meet fairy tales story with an Elvish civil war, the tale of Gauldoth Half-Dead, a half-dead man forced to play saviour of the world, and the adventures of Tawni Balfour, a pirate captain's daughter. There are two expansion packs, which features even more heroes' tales, and these expansion packs have a Grand Finale scenarios for each pack, uniting the heroes of each scenarios for one last bang. The original six heroes didn't get such Grand Finale, but a custom map made for the fifth game below features the closest thing you can get for it, although only Lysander, Emilia Nighthaven and Gauldoth Half-Dead (and characters from those scenarios) are present.

After Heroes of Might and Magic IV, 3DO went into hard times and NWC eventually ceased to exist. The rights for the series eventually went to Ubisoft, and a new entry in the series was hatched, along with a spin-off.

Heroes of Might and Magic V, by Nival, started out as a remake of Heroes of Might and Magic III in 3D and a different setting. Not all of the factions returned while most saw significant changes, such as the addition of a specific skill similar to the undead-only Necromancy. Castle heroes could train their human troops up the tiers for gold, Rampart heroes could pick enemies to deal extra damage against, Academy heroes could outfit their troops with mini-artifacts, and so on. Aside from the general layout and a few sly lack-lustre references to Sandro and Crag Hack, the new game had no connection with anything in the series so far.

As for the plot, the game set up a backstory of the demon's ruler, only known as the Demon Sovereign, being defeated and imprisoned by an alliance of the good races with the humans at the helm. At the opening of the game, the current King, Nicolai (Name's the Same), is about to marry Lady Isabel when Demons crash the wedding and begin to invade the country. This sets off the plotline of a set of campaigns following each other in successive order, much like Warcraft III, continuing into the first expansion pack, Hammers of Fate, and indirectly leads into Tribes of the East. Both expansions introduced a new faction with a campaign to go alongside them as well as two additional campaigns that tie into them. They also brought back some of the features of Heroes of Might and Magic IV, such as caravans and a variation of the unit choices by giving each unit type an alternate upgrade with different abilities.

Meanwhile, the Might and Magic series has so far not been continued, but a new spinoff Dark Messiah was made. Somewhat of an FPS in a fantasy setting (especially in multiplayer), it tells the story of the offspring of the Demon Sovereign, who has the ability to free him or to lock him in for good. Sharing next to no direct relation to the story in V, it was difficult to see how this fit into the overall picture, but Tribes of the East eventually told part of the backstory as well as introducing the orcs that appeared in Messiah.

Yet another spinoff recently emerged under the name "Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes". Set 40 years prior to Heroes of Might and Magic V, during the War of the Blood Moon, the game is a RPG/Puzzle hybrid.

Heroes of Might and Magic VI Might and Magic Heroes VI was announced in late 2010 and is due for a September 8, 2011 release. The plot takes place 400 years before Heroes of Might and Magic V, where a legendary archangel general who was killed during the war of the elder races returns to life. Under the cover of preparations for an upcoming demon invasion, he unites the peoples of Ashan to eradicate his ancient enemies, but presumably fatally underestimates the human Gryphon Empire. The campaigns will focus on the Big Screwed-Up Family of the Griffin Duchy, with each of the five children of the Duke joining a different faction after his murder.

There is also a browser game based on Heroes of Might and Magic V, Might and Magic: Heroes Kingdoms.

Tropes used in Heroes of Might and Magic include:
  • Actually Four Mooks: Taking a step further, An enemy on the map and the battle screen represents a group of enemies.
  • After the End: The first four games' continuity is set on what were formerly colonies of a spacefaring race according to the Might and Magic games. The first three games' world was literally kicked back to the stone age by, in rough order, a robot uprising, usage of high-yield weapons on a highly-inhabited region, a general rebellion, and, as if that wasn't bad enough, an Alien Invasion of the local galatic arm that cut off all interstellar communication and left the Portal Network fragmented and inconsistently functional (the Heroes of Might and Magic IV world Axeoth was never quite so detailed, but the portal network thing, at least, applies to them as well). The games are set just over a millenium after this.
    • In addition, Heroes of Might and Magic IV is set in the aftermath of a much more recent cataclysm, following its survivors as they settle down on a new planet.
  • Alien Invasion: The 'demonic hordes' in Heroes of Might and Magic III are actually this.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Many artifacts give a boost to either your primary or secondary skills.
  • Animate Dead: The Necromancy skill raises a percent of the (non-undead) casualties from each successful battle as skeletons (or, in the case of dragon casualties, bone dragons). There is also a structure in the Necropolis (necromancer/undead city) that allows you to do this with 100% efficiency using your own troops.
  • Art Shift: There's been a fairly drastic one pretty much every single game.
  • The Atoner:
    • Tarnum, of Heroes Chronicles. In the first episode Warlords of the Wasteland, he commits many atrocities (killing one of his two sisters unknowingly, and nearly killing the other as well) in his conquest of the wizard kingdom. He was later killed by Rion Gryphonheart. The Ancestors judged him unworthy to enter paradise and forced him to return as an immortal to redeem himself. He does this through seven later chapaters, even rescuing Rion's daughter from the underworld in Conquest of the Underworld. He is completely redeemed and judged worthy to enter paradise during the Might Campaign of Heroes IV, but refused to enter, remaining a protector for his tribe in the new world.
    • Raelag a.k.a. Agrael in the fifth game. A stand alone scenario in the Tribes of the East expansion also reveals Tieru's reasons for leaving Sylvan society to fight demons. A demon made Tieru the Unwitting Pawn in its scheme to drive a wedge in elven society. As seen in a different stand alone scenario, this led to a faction of dark elves turning to demon worship to survive underground.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: The Conflux in Armageddon's Blade is this. They'd been neutral for thousands of years thanks to Tarnum and only fought rarely as summons or mercenaries, but when the Kreegans figure out how to destroy the world, they show just what they're capable of.
  • Back from the Dead: The counterpart to Animate Dead for the more good-natured factions. Resurrection is one of the highest level spells and, just like Raise Dead, allows you to keep the animated troops after the fight. Regeneration and Vampirism have similar effects, but work on a smaller scale without the drawback of the stack loosing 10/20% of its hitpoints. And then there are the dwarves, which have a Rune of resurrection that instantly raises 40% of the fallen troops. In the sixth game, all healers have the power to revive units if they can heal enough hit points.
  • Bag of Spilling: Artifacts generally don't carry over between missions (except for Tribes of the East, and even then not all of them). As for expansion packs, recurring characters never get to keep the skills and bonuses you worked so hard to acquire the last time you used them.
    • At least the main characters (i.e. those required to survive the scenario in question) get to keep their skills during all of the campaigns.
  • Big Bad: Archibald in the second game. The undead King Gryphonheart near the end of the third game. Sandro in the The Shadow of Death expansion to the third game. Kha-Beleth, the Demon Sovereign, in the fifth game. Biara, Kha-beleth's Dragon, takes up this role in the fifth game's expansions. Arantir in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. In the sixth game, each of the campaigns has different Big Bads.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In Heroes of Might and Magic V, the otherwise foppish wizard Zehir almost singlehandedly steals victory from the villains. He frees his own homeland, teams up with the other main heroes, frees the Griffin Empire, and takes part in the final assault on Kha-Beleth. Findan also liberates his homeland from the forces of The Undead in his campaign. In Tribes of the East, Zehir does it again. His campaign is even called "Flying to the Rescue". Hammers of Fate's Downer Ending might have been due to Zehir dealing with personal business while Ashan was going to hell.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The name "Mutare" comes from the Latin word meaning "to change" or "to mutate". No bonus points for guessing what Mutare does in her campaign...
    • Deyja is the Old-Germanic word for death. Guess which faction rules over the Kingdom of Deyja.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Order campaign in the fourth game ends with the heroes saving the world from the Well-Intentioned Extremist, but as he's immortal, he is put into a catatonic state. The main character becomes the Queen of Great Arcan, but is permanently crippled by a sword through her spine. And also, the other Player Character becomes her main advisor because her old mentor is hypnotized by the Big Bad and later killed when he tries to assassinate the main character.
  • Bloody Murder: The alternate upgrade for hydra units in the fifth game's expansion Tribes of the East have acid for blood.
  • Boring but Practical: The Logistics skill, especially in Heroes of Might and Magic V. Being able to move further on the map may not be exciting, but damn if it isn't useful.
    • Enlightenment in Heroes of Might and Magic V. It's a fairly boring stat boost with largely unimpressive perks, but it makes a big difference at higher levels.
      • Amusingly, the barbarian faction in Heroes of Might and Magic V get the best perks from Enlightenment.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Fairy dragons, rust dragons, crystal dragons, and azure dragons from Heroes of Might and Magic III, plus megadragons in Heroes of Might and Magic IV. Can't be recruited in towns, have high costs, low population growth rate. They will still kill you dead if you meet them on the map without a very powerful army.
    • Any spellcasting creature can also qualify, as they usually cast devastating spells, allowing them to completely outclass any other creature of a similar level.
      • The spellcasters were so horribly powerful in IV that their casting power was reduced in Heroes of Might and Magic V. Some of them are still a pain in the ass though.
    • The infamous master gremlins are also this early in the game, as they can hit from very far away when you don't have access to fast troops, usually guards vital locations, and deal relatively high damage. If you don't have any ranged troops of your own (and some towns don't that early) it can be a pain to collect resources guarded by Master Gremlins.
    • Some heroes can cast Disguise, which can cause you to see false statistics (normally you are given a general estimate of the strength of the army). In V, any hero who uses the Ballista build can also deceive opponents (even computers), due to the fact that their skills and warmachines are not factored into the estimate.
    • Efreeti in Heroes of Might and Magic IV. Flying, fast, strong, and have the Fire Shield ability. Attacking a large group with a Hero in close combat is suicide. If the counterattack doesn't kill you, the reflected damage almost certainly will.
  • Breast Plate: Catherine in Heroes of Might and Magic III and Biara in Heroes of Might and Magic V. Averted with Isabel and Freyda.
  • Butt Monkey: All sorts of bad things happen to Christian in the Armageddon's Blade campaign "Foolhardy Waywardness" (a prequel of sorts to the Restoration of Erathia). Half of them are Played for Laughs, and the other half are played for insanely difficult scenarios. The campaign ends with Queen Catherine rescuing Christian from the pirates on her way to Erathia and Christian looking forward to a good vacation. If you played the original Heroes of Might and Magic III campaigns, you know what happens instead...
  • Cain and Abel: Archibald and Roland Ironfist in Heroes of Might and Magic II. Canonically, the 'Abel' Roland wins. Rolf and Wulfstan in Heroes of Might and Magic V's Hammers of Fate expansion have this dynamic despite only being half-brothers. Curiously enough, Wulfstan has no direct part in Rolf's eventual death. Zehir ends up killing him in Tribes of the East.
  • Came Back Wrong: This happens often thanks to necromancy. In Heroes of Might and Magic III, King Gryphonheart is revived as a powerful lich that proves to be more than the necromancers of Deyja can handle. And in Heroes of Might and Magic V, Nicolai is brought back as a vampire that can no longer feel love towards Isabel... only a thirst for blood.
  • Character Alignment: Done variously:
    • The first game basically represents a good/evil and a might/magic axis, with the Knight as Might Good, Sorceress as Magic Good, Barbarian as Might Evil and Warlock as Magic Evil. The second adds Wizard (Magic Good) and Necromancer (Magic Evil) but keeps the same alignment structure.
    • The third game divides the factions between Good (Castle, Rampart, Tower), Neutral (Stronghold, Fortress) and Evil (Dungeon, Inferno, Necropolis). The Conflux from the expansion is... ambiguous (but count as Neutral for the sake of gameplay mechanics).
    • The fourth game is the only one to explore this in detail, with a Magic: The Gathering-like system: a wheel of five alignments, each one allying with the two close to him and ennemy of the opposites (Life (Haven)- Nature (Preserve)- Chaos (Asylum)- Death (Necropolis)- Order (Academy)- and Life again), with Might (Stronghold) as True Neutral.
    • The fifth and sixth have for background the opposition between Asha, Dragon-Goddess of Order, versus Urgash, Dragon-God of Chaos, and their creations: the Demons versus all the other races of Ashan.
  • Clarke's Third Law: It's never explicitly stated, but since the first four games take place in the same continuity as the Might and Magic games, it stands to reason that most of the ancient 'magical' artifacts encountered are, like in Might and Magic itself, actually just incredibly advanced technology left over from the Ancients.
  • Class and Level System: All the games in the series have used a system where the skills a hero was likely to learn as well as his attribute growth was determined by his or her class. The fourth game, as part of a Retool allowed you to change your heroes' classes.
  • A Commander Is You:
    • Spammer Faction: the Necropolis. Its individual units are quite weak compared to others, but it tends to have high weekly growth, and necromancers can raise overwhelming amounts of creatures with their necromancy skill.
      • The Conflux in Heroes of Might and Magic III as well. The sprites and phoenixes are both weak for their tier, but produce faster than any creature of the same tiers in other towns.
      • Necropolis' role as spammer faction in Heroes of Might and Magic III is further exaggerated by the relatively easy-to-get combination artifact Cloak of the Undead King, that only works for full effect for Necropolis heroes. It is quite a superweapon that causes enemy dead to be resurrected as fairly powerful liches instead of measly skeletons. It is not uncommon to raise armies of thousands of liches with the Cloak, while normally their amount tends to stay under 500. Not surprisingly, some consider it a Game Breaker.
      • Thanks to their Gating-skill, the Inferno of Heroes of Might and Magic V and Heroes of Might and Magic VI does this another way. As a matter of fact, their own creatures are still comparatively weak, especially at the lower tiers.
      • In a quite an interesting twist, Necropolis in Heroes of Might and Magic VI became a mixup of Technical Faction and Elitist Faction due to the rework of Necromancy(which now allows to raise your fallen troops in the heat of a battle rather than just get another skeletons).
    • Elitist Faction: the Dungeon. Low weekly growths and high unit/building costs, but its units are very powerful.
      • Castle in Heroes of Might and Magic III as well. While their ranged units are relatively fragile and don't do much later on, out of seven units in town, four of them can be considered the best on their level or at least in top three (Halberdiers who have the biggest health in this tier and hit like a truck because no one will bother to take them out first; Royal Griffins who have a great weekly growth, are fast and have unlimited retaliations (in the game where every other unit has only one unless enhanced with magic); Crusaders who are tough, hard-hitting and generally steamroll over everything even in low numbers and Archangels who are insanely fast, deal fixed amount of damage (making them immune to Curse), raise party's morale and are able to resurrect fallen troops respectively). Quite amusingly, in the first two games, they were severly underpowered, to the point of being basically useless.
      • News of Heroes of Might and Magic VI says that the Haven faction will be like this too, but with a focus on tanking rather than general power.
    • Brute Force Faction: the Stronghold. In Heroes of Might and Magic IV, they can't use magic at all, and in Heroes of Might and Magic V, they can only use a special set of spell-like abilities designed specifically for them. The units also tend to be disposed towards "attack before attacked" strategies due to the fact that most of them are Glass Cannons.
      • Ditto in previous installments, though they have some tankier units (some of them are the tanks of the installment; case in point, Ogres in Heroes of Might and Magic II and Heroes of Might and Magic III).
    • Ranger Faction: the Sylvan faction, natch. Interestingly, elves aren't predominant in it except in Heroes of Might and Magic V.
      • Interestingly, Life Faction(humans) in Heroes of Might and Magic IV. They have an access to arguably the best ranged units (and Monks) in the game and outmatched only by the likes of Cyclops or Catapult(Crossbowmen who disregard the distance factor and Ballistae who do the same and disregard the obstacle penalty respectively), while their counterparts (Squires, Pikemen and Crusaders in that order) are fairly average in their own rights.
    • Technical Faction: the Academy. It specializes heavily in magic, and in Heroes of Might and Magic V, can even develop equipment for creatures to improve their statistics.
      • Fortress in Heroes of Might and Magic III. Sans first two tiers, every unit has some special ability (Dragonflies dispel buffs and put a debuff on their own, Gorgons have an ability to one-shot everything, depending on certain stats; Hydras attack everyone around and stop retaliations)... It's a bitch to put them to a good use, but if you do... They also overlap slightly with Elitist Faction mostly because how damn tanky most of them are.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the fifth game, the A.I. gets building cost reduction, unit cost reduction, revealed maps and instead of actually battling wild monsters, it runs an loss estimate, which is usually favorable for them, among other things. The cost reduction starts at normal level and goes as far as 70% off on the highest level. All just because the AI is really stupid, doing things like not picking up treasure lying around and fleeing at the start of the battle, effectively giving up their entire army they had on that hero.
    • Not just Heroes of Might and Magic V, although it's the most egregious. Earlier games also had a cheating A.I. at least in the sense of being able to see through the Fog of War, and Heroes of Might and Magic III for instance outright tells you that higher difficulty settings give the A.I. more resources and starting troops.
      • Actually, in Heroes of Might and Magic III, Easy and Normal give the player a resource advantage and makes the A.I. play poorer, Hard and on has the A.I. play as well as it can and the only difference is in the amount of initial resources the player gets. It doesn't affect starting troops and says nothing about the A.I.'s resources.
    • The fourth game was paticularly frustrating in this aspect. Several of the campaign levels featured one-way teleporters right into your territory. Coupled with the A.I. being unaffected by fog of war (and perhaps even shroud), you're going to get a lot of invasions as soon as you leave your towns at the least bit disadvantaged.
    • At least in Heroes of Might and Magic II, heroes resting up in castles get their spell points back at the beginning of their turn, for players anyway; for the computer? Well, the computer gets spell points back at the end of its turn. They attack you in a castle, no spell points back. You attack them in a castle, they've got them all back. This almost falls into Game Breaker territory at times.
    • Apparently, the development team for Heroes of Might and Magic VI is working to make this as minimal as possible. We'll just have to wait and see how this works out.
  • Continuity Cameo: All over the place in the first games with early Might and Magic characters, and again in Heroes of Might and Magic V and Heroes of Might and Magic VI despite taking place in a separate universe.
  • Continuity Porn: The "Legends of the Ancients" fan-made campaign for Heroes of Might and Magic V, including tons of references to the previous sgames and the Might and Magic series, with nearly all the characters as familiar faces.
  • Continuity Reboot: Heroes of Might and Magic V takes place in a completely different universe from its predecessors, with the main factions superficially imitating ones from the third installment.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: All of the gods in Heroes of Might and Magic V are dragons. All of the dragon units in the game (except for the undead dragons) are the children of the dragon gods. So technically speaking, every dragon in the game (except the undead) is a Crystal Dragon Jesus!
  • Dark Reprise: In Heroes of Might and Magic V, Necropolis town theme is a "corrupted" version of Haven town theme. Fitting, as during the Necropolis campaign, the Griffin Empire is being slowly corrupted by Markal.
  • Decoy Protagonist: King Nicolai in the fifth game. The intro cutscene focuses on Nicolai as he fights and beats a devil in single combat. Agrael kills him in a cutscene at the end of the first campaign. Then he gets turned into a vampire. Then he gets Killed Off for Real.
    • To a lesser extent, Isabel as well. The Haven campaign puts her at the front, but it's her loyal knight Godric who fights the final battle for the humans. But in the end of Tribes of the East, she kills main antagonist Biara. The entire Heroes of Might and Magic V saga revolves around her though.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Wow Godric, Raelag, Findan and Zehir. Did you guys really kick Kha-Beleth's ass at the end of Heroes of Might and Magic V? No, he let you rescue "Isabel" to distract you from his real plans.
  • Downer Ending: Heroes of Might and Magic V: Hammers of Fate. The bad guys win. The heroic main characters ultimately accomplish absolutely nothing to stop Big Bad Biara. They end up playing right into the villains' hands... well, talons in the final scenario when they kill the Dwarven King Tolghar. Tribes of the East consists mostly of damage control, but this time, the heroes except Arantir earn their happy ending. The main game to an extent. Everything seems fine until you see Isabel's eyes... How about Heroes Chronicles: Sword of Frost, where Tarnum fails to get the Sword of Frost before Kilgore's wife does. Tarnum had a chance to kill her, but imprisoned her instead. Well, she escaped. Tarnum states in the end, "Please don't let my compassion destroy the world!". Well it does, Tarnum...
  • Elemental Embodiment: They first appear in Heroes of Might and Magic II as natural creatures with the traditional affinities of Air/Earth/Fire/Water. In Heroes of Might and Magic III's Armageddon's Blade expansion pack, they are part of new "Conflux" town, and psychic was added as new element. Their upgraded forms are Storm, Magma, Energy, Ice and Magic.
    • Become the subject of Heroes Chronicles: Master of the Elements, where Tarnum has to face the four elemental lords.
  • Elemental Powers: The third game uses the traditional Air/Earth/Fire/Water as spell schools.
    • Other games use different schools, but the traditional four elements are still present.
    • The Dungeon racial also focuses on them, allowing "elemental chains" that deal extra damage when the right elements connect, either via spells or Dungeon creatures attacking.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: No matter how many angels you've got in your army, nobody ever seems to object when you march right into a conquered necropolis or outpost of hell and, instead of razing it to the ground, violate nature by raising unnatural horrors to do your presumably virtuous bidding.
    • Though it should be noted that having creatures from different castles serving under a single hero tends to decrease their morale. Becomes a plot point in The Shadow of Death when the barbarian and ranger heroes fail in their initial attack against Sandro because their troops can't get along with each other.
    • Also occurs as a gameplay obstacle in Heroes of Might and Magic V, when Demonlord Agrael has to field elves... that promptly begin to desert his ranks every day.
    • This comes up again in Tribes of the East, where you burn down conquered towns as orcs instead of being able to use them. Granted, you pillage a lot of resources this way. The ability to destroy enemy towns and rebuild your own type was added in a (huge) unofficial add-on for the Heroes of Might and Magic III called Wake of Gods.
    • The sixth game also gives you the option of converting buildings and towns to your faction.
  • Enemy Mine: The third game's campaign "Song For The Father" features a team-up between the necromancers of Deyja and Queen Catherine when the former discover that the recently undeadified King Gryphonheart is Eviler Than Them.
    • Also, the dark elves in Heroes of Might and Magic V and its first expansion, then the alliance between wizards and orcs in Tribes of the East.
  • Everything's Worse with Bears: In Heroes of Might and Magic V, the third-level unit of the dwarves consists of them riding brown bears at first and black bears or polar bears depending on which upgrade you choose. Both of which are the second-fastest unit of the faction and especially the Black bear riders will almost always steal the turn of their victim and push them back one tile. The Polar bear riders instead instill fear into their victim, causing them to run as far away as possible. Both of which are immune to a number of spells of the school of dark magic, as well.
  • Everything's Worse with Wolves: Goblinriders in Heroes of Might and Magic III, who hit twice with each turn. Then there are the neutral wolves of Heroes of Might and Magic V, which can easily multiply their number and all of the surrounding stacks attack the target during every action one of them has, making them nasty opponents even for decent-sized armies. And finally there are the white and dire wolves from Heroes of Might and Magic VI.
    • Wolves have been in every game since Heroes of Might and Magic I, and in the first four games they attacked twice per round.
  • Evil Plan: The entire plot of the fifth game is Big Bad Kha-beleth's gambit. Impregnating Isabel, splitting her soul so Biara could impersonate her and wreck havoc in the Griffin Empire (thus distracting all of the heroes); all to ensure that his son the Demon Messiah would have a chance to one day free Kha-beleth for good. Whether or not his gambit actually succeeds depends on the player's choices at the end of a different game, namely Dark Messiah.
    • Not to mention Markal, who exploits Isabel's depression to crush his ancient enemies into the dirt, rise to power as leader of the necromancers, raise the King of the Empire as a bloodthirsty vampire that almost destroys the Elves, take over the Empire and protect his mortality with three relics such that the good guys ultimately require three armies to kill him. He got to rule half the factions in the world all without actually lying to Isabel about why he needed to do it, meaning every single step of his plan was also one of his goals. That's efficiency. Oh, and he also came back to life and tried to kill the man that killed him by pretending to be his dead father in a side scenario in Hammers of Fate, but that didn't go quite as well.
  • Evil Sorcerer: At one point in his campaign, Gauldoth Half-Dead of Heroes of Might and Magic IV lampshades the tendency for necromancers to become the evil Take Over the World overreaching villain. That said, it's not that common an affliction: over the course of the six games taking place on Enroth, a grand total of one character (Sandro) fitting this trope shows up, and even he survives the ordeal and aims for more modest goals after that.
  • Exclusively Evil: Numerous creatures, but the devils are probably the most obvious ones.
    • Interestingly, in Heroes of Might and Magic V, the demons are apparently the only case of this. Even the Dark Elves and Undead have their good points, and all the non-demon factions team up at the end for an Enemy Mine scenario.
  • Face Heel Turn and Heel Face Turn:
    • In one campaign, the player (who takes on the role of a tactician) is offered a chance to defect by the other side, regardless of if the player is playing on the side of the heroes of the side of the villains. However, you lose all the alliances you acquired on the side you were on.
    • Gavin Magnus, the Big Bad of the Order campaign in Heroes of Might and Magic IV, was previously the Big Good in Might and Magic VII. Witnessing the destruction of your planet will do that.
  • Faction Calculus
  • Fantastic Nuke: The Armageddon spell/blade. It did destroy the world in Heroes of Might and Magic III, thus the new settings in Heroes of Might and Magic IV.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ubiquitous, as you would expect. Taken to a whole new level in Heroes Chronicles, in which Tarnum leads the Fortress people (consisting of lizardmen, hyena-men, and swamp monsters) to fight their Castle oppressors (humans allied with angels).
  • Fantasy Axis of Evil (and Neutrality): on Ashan:
    • Dungeon as Fallen.
    • Inferno as Eldritch.
    • Necropolis as Crafty.
    • Stronghold as Savages.
    • The Humanoid role could be taken by the (apparently neutral) Free Cities.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Quite averted in the four first games, but the fifth and sixth have elements of it: Haven correspond to Europe [1], Academy to Middle-East. Sylvan (Elves) has a soft Native American style in Heroes of Might and Magic V, Necropolis a Babylonian/Egyptian one in Heroes of Might and Magic VI. Sanctuary (Nagas) in Heroes of Might and Magic VI are Japanese right down to creature names despite mythological Nagas being Indian. Strangely, the Stronghold (Orcs) has changed between Heroes of Might and Magic V and Heroes of Might and Magic VI from Mongols to Aztecs.
  • Five Races: on Ashan:
    • Academy as High Men.
    • Fortress as Stout.
    • Haven as Mundane.
    • Sanctuary as Fairy.
    • Sylvan as Cute.
  • Flavor Text: Heroes of Might and Magic II and Heroes of Might and Magic III have a small text describing the acquisition of a new artifact, Heroes of Might and Magic V and Heroes of Might and Magic VI has description of every unit in the game.
  • Game Mod: A popular mod for Heroes of Might and Magic III is the Wake of Gods mod.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic IV has the Equilibris Mod, dedicated to correcting the balance issues and to add a few things such as dwellings for creatures that you can't normally recruit, such as the Sea Monster.
    • The Horn of the Abyss mod for Heroes of Might and Magic III adds a tenth town (although new towns have been made before, they have all been replacers for a town already in the game), and future versions will add even more towns. It is currently only available in Russian, but an English version will be released.
    • With Eternal Essence, Heroes of Might and Magic V has recently gotten one as well. It's still in development, but it got rid of nearly all cheats of the A.I., greatly shortened the length of turns and made the A.I. much more intelligent in general.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • No matter whether your settlement lies between active volcanoes, in underground tunnels or the Elemental Plane of Death, you'll always find an ore mine and a sawmill nearby.
    • Up until Heroes of Might and Magic IV, picking up an item would trigger a small story snippet about how your Hero finds or earns it. Depending on the Hero and setting in question, these may make no sense at all.
  • Geo Effects: Mostly affects movement, but Heroes of Might and Magic III added each race or alignment having a terrain they feel comfortable fighting on, as well as some terrains that effect magic, such as cursed grounds, magic fields and elemental planes. Heroes of Might and Magic V does this as well, with very faction having no penalty on their homelands. Graslands are good for everyone, but Dwarves (e.g. have snow as their home terrain), whereas every other faction suffers great penalties while marching over it.
  • Global Airship: Zehir gets one in Tribes of the East, in the form of a flying city. Though he usually has to pay experience to move it.
    • The Townscreen of Academy is this in general, as all their cities are flying in the skies above Ashan.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Alaric goes batshit insane, when it is revealed that the Isabel he served turns out to be the succubus Biara.
  • Good Is Dumb: Isabel all over. Godric also counts in the sense that his loyalty prevents him from opposing Markal until it's too late. Freyda faces the same problem in her campaign in Hammers of Fate, then gets tricked, along with every other protagonist in the game, to kill the Dwarven King Tolghar for the false Queen. Raelag also acts far too naive when Shadya comes from nowhere to help him.
  • Gratuitous German: In Heroes of Might and Magic II, the town themes' lyrics are all random quotes from the german translation of The Bible, or of Also sprach Zarathustra of Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Guide Dang It: Obtaining the ultimate skills for each of the heroes in the fifth game. A specific set of skills needs to be acquired beforehand, and there is no way to find out which skills are needed in-game aside from trial and error. Due to the starting skills of some heroes, obtaining the ultimate skill might not even be possible. (Un)fortunately, the ultimate skills also vary from Awesome but Impractical to Game Breaker. Not to mention that obtaining the ultimate skills usually means losing out on other potentially more useful abilities.
    • Tribes of the East made them easier to obtain, and the game includes the Skill Wheel to know which skills to choose.
    • Also, quite a few gameplay changes were not documented in-game. For instance, Wasp Swarm slows the enemy if cast with any expertise. The spell tooltip doesn't mention it.
      • This extends to the town names, which incidentally does affect gameplay now in Heroes of Might and Magic V. However, it's not mentioned in-game at all.
  • Horse of a Different Color:
    • Goblin wolf cavalry in the third game.
    • As well as ordinary horses, animals used as steeds in the fifth game include zombie horses (necromancers), unicorns (elven rangers), elephants (wizards), giant lizards (warlocks, and dark elf cavalry), mammoths (dwarven runemages), bears (dwarven cavalry) and oxen (orc barbarians).
  • Idiot Ball: Sandro deceives Crag Hack and Gem way too easily. Crag Hack at least is usually portrayed as a typical brutish barbarian. Gem has no such excuse.
    • Isabel in the fifth game just won't let go of the damn thing during Markal's campaign... something Markal gleefully uses for his own ends.
    • And Winston Boragus, the ruler of Krewlod, dribbles it when he comes up with Yog's test to become a barbarian. He has Yog split apart and scatter the pieces of the Angelic Alliance, one of the most powerful weapons in the game. If you've got an Infinity+1 Sword, why the hell would you want to get rid of it? If Boragus had kept it, maybe Kilgor wouldn't have been able to kill him during Armageddon's Blade.
  • Idle Animation: In the fourth game, these are often quite funny: for instance, a spellcaster with flaming red hair will be seen removing her wig. Also, flying units usually avert Stationary Wings.
    • The devils in Heroes of Might and Magic III and Heroes of Might and Magic IV have one where they make a Morpheus-esque "bring it" gesture towards the enemy.
    • The Spearmen and Vampires in Heroes of Might and Magic VI will start riverdancing and using their swords as guitars, respectively.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The third game (and the Heroes Chronicles spinoff campaigns) introduce three powerful swords that are treated as Infinity Plus One Swords in the story. The Armageddon's Blade expansion has the titular Armageddon's Blade. The Shadow of Death has the Angelic Alliance. The last Heroes Chronicles campaign revolves around the Sword of Frost. The Armageddon's Blade and the Sword of Frost were so powerful that they destroyed the world when they struck each other.
    • Ingame example in Heroes of Might and Magic V: the Unicorn Bow is the Infinity Plus One Bow, especially with the matching quiver.
    • The Infinity plus one Set would be the Power of Dragons. If completed, it grants you a total of +10 to attack and defense, +11 to spellpower and wisdom, increases the initiative of your entire army by at least 10%, adds 20 extra HP as well as +5 to attack and defense of your tier-7 units and adds one additional unit of your tier-7 creatures to your army. Every. Single. Day. Oh, and its parts are fairly common items in the stores of the artifact merchants, which makes it surprisingly easy to get if one has enough gold to pay for the individual artifacts.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: The Ashan universe, and as such, Heroes of Might and Magic V and Heroes of Might and Magic VI. There are Dragon-Gods, their numerous offsprings, undead dragons, a wizard who became one, Dragon-Knights, Dragon's blood as a ressource in Heroes of Might and Magic VI...
  • Killed Off for Real: Most of the major storyline characters from the first three games were killed in the cataclysm that lead to the fourth game, and quite a few characters major and minor are killed in the fifth game and its expansions: Nicolai, Tieru the Dragon Knight, the Sylvan king Alaron, Zehir's father Cyrus, Markal, Godric, Soulscar clan leader Thralsai, Dwarven king Tolghar, Giovanni, Ornella, War-chief Quroq, Alaric, Wulfstan's half-brother Rolf and Biara all end up dead for good by the end. Furthermore, in the backstory of the fifth game, Markal's mentor the lich Sandro was Killed Off for Real by wizards led by Cyrus. Oddly enough, Freyda escaped her fate at the hands of Markal, even though the game strongly suggested otherwise. This inconsistency is actually lampshaded in Tribes of the East.

Zehir: Freyda? I thought Markal had killed her. As tough as her old man I suppose.

  • Lens Flare: Seen in some 3D town flythroughs in Heroes of Might and Magic V, most noteably in the Rampart, where a certain camera angle will flare the entire screen.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Red Haven in Hammer of fate. Uriel in Heroes of Might and Magic VI.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Heroes of Might and Magic V has an ability that adds an extra roll for all luck-based abilities.
  • Meaningful Name: Most members of the Griffin family in Heroes of Might and Magic VI have really existing names, mostly Slavic, and one Hungarian:
    • Slava: glory.
    • Sveltana: mangling of Svetlana, light (an ironic name for a necromancer, indeed).
    • Irina: peace.
    • Kiril: lord.
    • Anastasya: resurrection.
    • Sandor: variation of Alexander, defender of men.
  • Mega Manning: Some games have the Eagle Eye skill, allowing heroes to learn new spells by watching them being cast in battle. And it's considered one of the most useless skills in the game.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard:
    • One campaign in the fourth game sets this up as a moral dilemma: do you attack the warlord who's captured your mentor, or the one who's working slaves to death by the thousands? Chose to fight the latter, and you will be given a rather graphic description of the mentor's execution. Fortunately, they Never Found the Body...
    • And in the fifth game, one of Markal's goals in his campaign is to kill the leader of the wizards, Cyrus, for the dual purposes of claiming an artifact he needs for his schemes and to avenge his master Sandro's death at the hands of Cyrus.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: The Big Bad of the "Elwin and Shara" campaign in the fourth game tries to pull this on Elwin. Since Elwin is the player character, he fails. In the fifth game, this is the main reason Agrael kills Nicolai at the end of Isabel's campaign. He seems aware that, while this act removed one obstacle from his desires, it also introduced an even bigger one since Isabel knows he killed Nicolai and ends up swearing revenge.

Agrael: Well, things just got simpler. And a lot more complicated.

  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: In some of the games, certain heroes are barred from learning certain schools of magic, meaning those skills will never appear among the skill choices offered during a level increase. They can't even learn those skills at map buildings. This is a minor plot point in Adrienne's campaign in Armageddon's Blade. Unlike the other witches of Tatalia (which is essentially an entire nation built on a swamp) who focus on earth and water magic, Adrienne... well, she's called the Fire Witch for a reason. In her backstory, she was actually exiled as a result. She only comes back when her nation is under attack from the undead Lord Haart.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: This trope is why the fourth game takes place on a different world from the past three games. Gelu, a hero from the Armageddon's Blade expansion of the third game wielded the titular Blade against the barbarian Kilgor, who wielded the Sword of Frost. Gelu was trying to stop Kilgor's mad campaign of world conquest. Unfortunately, when the two Blades struck each other, the entire world blew up.
    • Agrael in Heroes of Might and Magic V. If he didn't kill Nicolai before Isabel was crowned, she wouldn't have had to deal with rebels, and Markal wouldn't have had an opening to manipulate her.
      • Not to mention how many elves he killed in his Irollan raid, destabilizing the kingdom enough for vampire lord Nicolai to almost conquer it. For someone who is supposed to be looking for redemption, Agrael/Raelag is actually a very evil person.
    • And if Godric hadn't acted like the Knight in Shining Armor he is, the whole chain of events that forced Agrael to kill Nicolai wouldn't have happened. Agrael was, after all, preparing to betray the Demon Sovereign and run away with the captive Isabel. In fairness to Godric, how was he supposed to know that? Besides, with Biara around, I'm pretty sure that Agrael wouldn't have been able to escape with Isabel so easily.
  • Nintendo Hard: The campaigns in the Armageddon's Blade expansion for Heroes of Might and Magic III. The difficulty settings for each campaign are set from "hard" to "impossible", and the scenarios themselves are just brutal. To get a feel for how tough these missions can get, take a look at the Game Breaker entry. See where it mentions the azure dragons? Yeah, the last mission of one of these campaigns gives your hero a six month time limit to get past a gauntlet of incredibly powerful creature stacks to fight one hundred azure dragons. Said campaign also heavily relies on luck and other forms of Fake Difficulty. And it isn't even the hardest campaign.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic V isn't shy of some brutal scenarios either. For example, The Cultists, where your two main heroes fight against a bunch of powerful heroes with no less than seven towns. You start with none, though you can capture the first two towns fairly quickly. For extra fun, there are also demon heroes that spawn on a regular basis to harass you. Or The Emerald Ones, where you are at a 3:1 disadvantage for quite some time and also have no access to your tier 7 unit. Contrary to what reviewers have stated, the expansions are fairly harmless in regards to AI opponents, but neutral stacks can be huge.
    • Lampshaded in Heroes of Might and Magic V's Heroic difficulty, where it says something along the lines of "if you beat this difficulty, let us know. We didn't think it was possible."
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Completely averted. Every game has at least one campaign where you play as the villains.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Try spotting all the celebrities used as model for the heroes' portraits in Heroes of Might and Magic VI.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: In Heroes of Might and Magic IV, if Waerjak attacks the Boar's Hoof tribe, his tribe will deem his philosophy of community to be a lie and betray him, triggering one of these.
  • Obvious Beta: Seems to plague the series from Heroes of Might and Magic IV onwards, requiring lots of patches to get the gameplay right.
  • Odd Name Out: Most members of the Griffin family in Heroes of Might and Magic VI have real, if misspelled, Slavic names. Most. So we have Pavel, Slava, Svetlana Sveltana, Anastasya, Irina, Kirill Kiril and... Sandor (makes sense in context, considering he's a bastard).
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Heroes of Might and Magic V got generous amounts of this, especially for the menus and Haven faction.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic IV also got this for some of the town themes, particularly the Haven and Preserve towns.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic II started the whole chanting, and when it wasn't around in Heroes of Might and Magic III, some fans complained.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The fourth game has this and Good Versus Evil. It was actually set up like a wheel with Order, Life, Nature, Chaos, Death, and back to Order, with Might in the center. Each of the non-Might factions has two rival factions based on which ones aren't adjacent to it on the wheel (Order hates Nature and Chaos, Life hates Chaos and Death, Nature hates Death and Order)...
    • Heroes of Might and Magic V also has this. Urgash, the Dragon of Chaos, is the entity worshipped by the demons. Everyone else, even the necromancers, worship Asha, the Dragon of Order (the other "good" dragon gods are her children). The necromancers have a somewhat dark take on Asha and refer to her as the Spider-Goddess. (Ironic when you consider that another major spider goddess in popular media is an insane Chaotic Evil monster).
  • Our Angels Are Different: Seraphs in Heroes of Might and Magic V. Where else could you find angels with blood-stained wings and vampire abilities (besides Warhammer 40,000 or Kult, that is)?
    • Also Sarah in Heroes of Might and Magic VI, after she finds the demonic weapon. She seems to become half-angel, half-demon.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • The fourth game had dragon golems, mechanical dragons piloted by dwarves.
    • In the fifth game, the gods of the setting are dragons; all the dragon units in the game (except for the undead ones, which are assembled from the remains of the others) are the "children" of the gods. They vary in appearance depending on which god they serve; one faction's dragons are made of fire, lava and magma.
  • Our Elves Are Better: There are the Sylvan wood elves and the Dungeon dark elves. Both hate each other! Thanks to a demon's Plan.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Pretty standard "undead magi" in Heroes of Might and Magic II, Heroes of Might and Magic III and Heroes of Might and Magic V (and, considering the whole willing-undeath-to-study-more-magic concept, one tier higher than living magi in Heroes of Might and Magic III and Heroes of Might and Magic V). Necromancers who prolong their life by venom injections in Heroes of Might and Magic VI. What. Even better: when Heroes of Might and Magic VI!Lich gets all his blood replaced with venom, he becomes a vampire.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: The orcs of the Tribes of the East Expansion Pack fit the Blizzard Orcs type. But they act more like Tolkienian orcs in Dark Messiah.
  • Patchwork Map: Different environments can be all over the place.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The artifact needed for a special, powerful structure (often a way to win) was called the Grail in Heroes of Might and Magic III. Heroes of Might and Magic V got a bit more creative by calling it the "Tear of Asha", but there are still instances where the building is called the "Grail structure".
    • The "Tear of Asha" is especially notable for bearing no small resemblance to a certain ark.
  • Put on a Bus: Findan and Raelag from Heroes of Might and Magic V don't appear at all in Tribes of the East unless you count the one stand-alone scenario which shows how Agrael/Raelag ended up watching over Isabel as she grew up. They both have excuses though. Findan's busy rebuilding his country after civil war broke out in Hammers of Fate, and Raelag left to deal with the threat of the Demon Messiah.
    • Arantir also immediately disappears after his campaign, a first for any leading protagonist. He is the antagonist in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, however.
  • Puzzle Boss: A special case for this genre is present in the Heroes of Might and Magic III expansion. In the mission to slay Faerie Dragons, it is necessary to defeat several thousand Nagas in a single battle, an enemy number that's impossible to match with troops or magic by the six month time limit. The solution? Repeatedly cast Berskerk on the Nagas to make them kill each other, whittling down their numbers until you can handle the winner yourself.
  • Real Is Brown: Generally avoided, but the third game got the closest. Freed from the 256-color constraints of the first two games, it favored a "realistic" art style with a subdued palette, as opposed to the vibrant colors found in the rest of the series.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: One construction a day, and it's immediately built!
  • Road Cone: The endings of the first two games. Only one ending out of four and two, respectively, is canonical.
  • RPG Elements: You use heroes as generals leading armies, walking around the map killing stuff and gaining levels, finding artifacts, and learning spells. The fourth game took this even further by making the heroes actual battlefield units, culminating in several campaign scenarios where you only have access to heroes.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Too many examples to mention here, all forgiven thanks to consistency.
  • Save The World/Take Over the World: Both are used, depending on whether you're playing as the good guys or the bad guys at the time.
  • Scaled Up: Mutare in Armageddon's Blade.
  • Sequential Boss: The Demon Sovereign and Biara in the finale of Heroes of Might and Magic V. First, the four main heroes have to defeat Biara in seperate battles, then destroy the barrier surrounding the Demon Sovereign in separate battles, and finally defeat him for real in seperate battles. And thats not counting the garrisons they have to conquer first. The last mission is essentially 16 battles in one day, though some of them can be pretty short.
    • Godric counts as a minor example in Markal's campaign. Once his army (consisting of Academy units) is defeated, his Haven troops take the field immediately.
  • Shades of Conflict:
    • Though the original game doesn't even have too much of a plot, what we do have is surprisingly grey and gray, if not black and gray. At least the protagonist, Lord Morglin Ironfist, is by no means a classic good guy, and we don't know much of the personalities of other faction leaders.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars, on the other hand, is fairly black and white, with Roland as the good guy and Archibald as the bad guy.
      • The Price of Loyalty again seems to have some shades of gray.
    • And Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia again seems to be mostly black and white, with Erathia and its allies Bracada and AvLee as the good guys. Though the game does seem to have "neutral" factions ("Fortress" (Tatalia) and "Stronghold" (Krewlod)), the role they play in the campaign makes them just another bunch of bad guys.
    • In Heroes of Might and Magic IV, the Life, Might and Nature campaigns are mostly black and white, with you playing as the good guy. The Order campaign is more complicated... though Emilia is the unambiguous Hero of the campaign, and the former good guy Gavin Magnus is the main villain, the way he becomes said villain is rather interesting, and of course there is Solymr ibn Wali Barad, a well-meaning genie who is bound by loyalty to Gavin Magnus and hence is forced to fight Emilia. The Death campaign casts you as a rather dark Anti-Hero who is forced to fight the supposed "good guys" just to survive, and then saves the world from his former mentor. The Chaos campaign seems to be a case of Evil Versus Evil.
  • Shout-Out: The codes for the cheats in Heroes of Might and Magic III and its expansions references a different movie: the original does Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Armageddon's Blade references Star Wars (Episode 1), and The Shadow of Death follows The Matrix.
    • In Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East.
  • Significant Anagram: Agrael/Raelag in Heroes of Might and Magic V.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: In Hammers of Fate, second and third campaigns (and part of the first) all span roughly the same period of time.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting
  • Start of Darkness: Arantir's campaign in Tribes of the East explains why he becomes the Well-Intentioned Extremist Big Bad of Dark Messiah.
    • The Shadow of Death acts as Sandro's Start of Darkness. However, Sandro is evil from the start: The Shadow of Death tells the tale of his rise to power and how he basically started the Restoration Wars. It also explains why Sandro can be found in a prison during the necromancer campaign of the third game.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Aren't these jingles in Heroes of Might and Magic III a little bit too familiar?
  • Tactical Turn Based: All battles play out like this, on a hex grid.
  • The Thing That Goes Doink: Upgrading the Mystic Pool into the Fountain of Fortune in the Rampart Town in Heroes of Might and Magic III adds one of these to what was previously an ordinary pond.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay: All over the place. Not getting the right skills/spells combination? Restarting the entire campaign for you!
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: In the Academy campaign in Heroes of Might and Magic IV, the eight different maps are built up like this. The first two maps feature Emilia, while the next two let you control a hero from the other side of the conflict, Solymr. At the fifth map, you're back to Emilia again, and at the sixth map, Solymr undergoes a Heel Face Turn. At the seventh map, you control Emilia and her player party at the surface of the map, and Solymr under the earth, both on different quests. Lastly, at the eight map, you get to control both in the final confrontation with the Big Bad.
  • The Undead: Recurring villains throughout most of the series save for the Expansion Pack to the fifth game, where they become enemies of the demons, like the other races.
  • Unholy Nuke: Death Ripple damages all non-undead units on the battlefield. Unholy Word from Heroes of Might and Magic V does the same, but also excludes demons.
  • Units Not to Scale: It's a stylised turn-based strategy game, after all.
  • Unwitting Pawn: From the fifth game: Isabel. She's the pawn of two plans in the same game. The people of Ashan in the sixth game.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: After Heroes of Might and Magic I, if your hero engages a wild army which is much weaker than you, they may try to scatter without fighting, or even offer to join you. There's nothing stopping you from just wiping them out for fun instead.
    • Note that if you simply let them scatter, you gain half the experience you would have gotten if you chased them down and beat the crap out of them. There was incentive to being a tad bit cruel. This only occurred in Heroes of Might and Magic V, however; the other games didn't offer any experience in letting them go.
    • In Heroes of Might and Magic I and Heroes of Might and Magic II, if you refused their offer to join you, they'd attack you anyway.
    • If you have a mind-control type spell, you can get quite creative. For one, mind controlled units (at least in Heroes of Might and Magic V) can not retaliate, so you can surround and attack said unit without it being able to do anything against its eventual demise. Alternatively, mind control a caster type unit and have it cast an offensive spell on itself, rather than its allies. Or cast Firewall and/or Landmines, and have the unit walk past the walls and mines. Repeatedly.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sandro in the end of The Shadow of Death.
  • Villain Protagonist: In several campaigns/scenarios throughout the series, the player takes the role of an evil bastard. In the second game, the player can take the role of Archibald Ironfist's Dragon. The third game's "Dungeons and Devils" campaign makes the player the commander of the invading forces of Nighon and the Kreegans, and its "Long Live the King" campaign gives them control of the necromancers of Deyja. In two of the Armageddon's Blade campaigns, "Dragon's Blood" and "Festival of Life", you play as an ambitious young Evil Overlord named Mutare and the vicious barbarian Kilgor who as mentioned above, ends up destroying the world later. The Shadow of Death has an entire campaign in which you play through Sandro's Start of Darkness. The first episode of Heroes Chronicles, Warlords of the Wasteland, featured the ruthless Tarnum, but later became The Atoner in later episodes. For the most part, this trope is avoided in the fourth game, though you do play as Solymyr for a few missions in the "Price of Peace" campaign prior to his Heel Face Turn. And in the fifth game and its expansions, there is only one campaign that fits this: "The Necromancer", in which you play Markal, who is arguably the most evil person in the entire series.
    • An added bit of amusement is that in the main campaign in Armageddon's Blade, there are some segments where you play as the demons trying use the titular weapon.
  • Wedding Smashers: In the opening of the fifth game, courtesy of the demons.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: And how! During in-game cutscenes in the fifth game, characters will conjure lightning, invoke random flashes of light and cast fireballs while discussing the weather (well, not literally, but you get the point). Quite a bit of Narm there too.
    • Thankfully, the expansions made more of an effort to make characters look like they are talking to each other. Better voice actors too, though some people disliked the change in Zehir's case.
  • You All Meet in An Inn: Save in Heroes of Might and Magic VI, Taverns are your classic way of hiring new heroes. The only alternative is to liberate them from a prison.
  1. More precisely, Falcon Duchy is Rome, Griffin's Western Europe/Russia, Bull's Italy/Spain, Greyhound's France, Unicorn's England, Stag's Ireland, Raven's Scandinavia and Wolf's Germany.