Disciples II: Dark Prophecy
|Disciples II: Dark Prophecy|
Linux (In development)
Servants of the Dark
|Genre(s)||Fantasy turn-based strategy|
Disciples II: Dark Prophecy is a Microsoft Windows game by Strategy First that was released in 2002. The game is the sequel to the 1999 game Disciples: Sacred Lands, and has become significantly more successful in terms of both sales and popularity than its predecessor. A limited edition version of the game was released, which included a card game based upon the story and game dynamics of the video game called Guardians of the Light and Servants of the Dark. This game, along with the expansion packs Rise of the Elves and Gallean's Return, was part of the Strategy First "Fantasy Pack", which was released with 3 other games: Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood, Dragon Throne: Battle of Red Cliffs, and Prince of Qin.
A sequel named Disciples III: Renaissance was released on July 13, 2010 in North America. It includes the Empire, the Legions of the Damned and the Noble Elves. A port of Disciples II for the Nintendo DS was also under development, but never released. Disciples II: Gold Edition was released via the digital distribution services Steam, Direct2Drive, Green Man Gaming, GOG.com and Impulse (where it is named Disciples II: Ultimate Edition).
Disciples II is a fantasy strategy game, set in a fictional kingdom called Nevendaar (also referred to as 'The Sacred Lands'). The main focus of the story revolves around four dominant races in a state of almost constant war. These four factions are the human Empire, the dwarven Mountain Clans, the demonic Legions of the Damned, and the skeletal Undead Hordes. There are also several other 'neutral' races such as Merfolk, Greenskins and Elves (the Elves became a full-fledged playable race with the addition of the expansion pack 'Rise of the Elves').
The gameplay is divided into three main parts; building up the Capital City of your race so that you can research new Warriors and spells, and building up new armies (this involves careful resource management); using heroes (leading small squads) to explore the surroundings, procure resources and attack the enemy; and finally the battles themselves.
Each playable race's Capital City is protected by an extremely powerful guardian, who is nearly impossible to defeat except with a very strong hero. The Capital City is the only city capable of building structures. Other cities may only upgrade themselves to allow them to mount larger defense forces.
Battles consist of confrontations between a hero's squad (which can take up to five other Warriors, bearing in mind that some large creatures such as dragons take up the space of two units) and an enemy squad. High praise is given to the excellent graphics and animations in these battles. At the end of the battle, the winning side receives experience points. All surviving units receive the same amount of XP. If sufficient XP is accumulated by a unit, it may then upgrade to another, determined by the type of structures in the Capital. If no next-level structures have been built, the unit does not level up and does not receive any more experience until the structure is built. The only exception is if the unit is at the end of the "upgrade tree", in which case it will remain the same unit but gain small increases to health, attack damage, and accuracy stats.
At the beginning of a campaign, the player may select his or her class (warrior, mage, or guildmaster). Each class has advantages and disadvantages. For example, a mage player may cast the same spell twice in a single turn, while a guildmaster has the ability to carry out more types of spying/assassination assignments. Besides player classes, the game also features five types of heroes (or leaders): Warrior, Mage, Ranger, Rod Bearer, and Thief. The first three differ only slightly, as they are all combat leaders. The Rod Bearers are the only leaders capable of claiming resources on the map. Thieves may perform special actions on enemy armies and cities.
Spellcasting may only be done outside of battles and requires the use of mana to both research and cast a spell. There are four types of mana (life, runic, death, and infernal) with the fifth type (grove) added for the Rise of the Elves expansion. Each race's spells are mainly reliant on their corresponding mana type (e.g. Empire -> life mana), although other mana types are required for higher-level spells. Grove mana is only required for Elven spells. Only one spell may be researched per turn, and a spell may only be cast once per turn (twice if the player is a mage class). Also, a mage player researches spells at half the normal cost.
During the single-player campaigns, the player may transfer one leader and five artifacts (including potions and one-shot spells) to the next level. At the end of a campaign, an option is given to save the player's top leader in a file for use in custom or multiplayer games.
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In the beginning, there was nothing. The elder god Highfather had many angel servants, one of whom was his favorite - Bethrezen. The Highfather adored Bethrezen so much, the elder god granted him the power to create and left him to his own devices. Bethrezen, striving to impress the Highfather, created a new world and named it Nevendaar in the angelic tongue. Once the world was complete, Bethrezen called on other gods to help him populate Nevendaar with living things. Gallean and Soloniele created the forests and the seas and populated them, besides wildlife, with elves and merfolk, respectively. Wotan created the dwarves on the mountains, only to have them dig back into the rock. Bethrezen created the humans. More gods came and created other minor races, but the main stage has been set. Bethrezen left to tell the Highfather of his creation, leaving other angels to watch over Nevendaar. Unfortunately, the angels resented Bethrezen being the favorite of the Highfather and decided to sabotage the new world. When the Highfather arrived to look upon Nevendaar, all he saw was war and destruction. Infuriated that Bethrezen would create such a world, the Highfather cast his favorite down into the core of his own creation for all eternity.
Ten thousand years have passed. Bethrezen, trapped inside the molten core of Nevendaar grew mad with anger and thirst for revenge at the Highfather and the creatures of the world. Unbeknownst to everyone else, he created a race of demons from the fiery lava of the core to be his army. Unable to escape his prison, Bethrezen sent forth his legions to destroy the humans, dwarves, elves, and all other living beings of Nevendaar. As it happens, the demons first struck in the elven lands, setting their forests ablaze. The elves panicked and fled their homes into the mountains of the Clans. The dwarves assumed the elves were invading and attacked the refugees. This prompted Gallean and Soloniele to demand that Wotan punish his children for the slaughter. Infuriated at their arrogance, Wotan killed Gallean and threw his heart into the sun. Soloniele jumped after it and managed to save it, but her own skin was burned away. Not only that, but she also changed inside. She found that she had the power to effortlessly kill people and then bring them back as her undead servants. Changing her name to Mortis, the fleshless goddess led her new undead minions on a crusade against the Mountain Clans to punish Wotan for killing her lover. Thus began the First Great War.
One of the allies of an imperial rebel Hubert De Layle called Erhog the Dark has been gaining a lot of power lately, and the Empire dispatches forces to stop her. While they are trying to deal with Erhog the Dark, Emperor Demosthene himself is attacked by an assassin, who poisons him. The emperor has already been depressed for a long time due to loss of his son, Uther, and this assassination attempt has him fighting for his life. The forces of the Empire defeat Erhog and recover an antidote from the ruins of her castle, which is sent to the emperor. However, this fails to restore his spirits. In order to get help dealing with the rebels, the Empire decides to forge an alliance with the Mountain Clans, and sends forces to meet the emissary from the clans named Slookarij. In spite of the forces of the Undead trying to ambush them, the forces of the Empire manage to make their way to Slookarij’s prison and free him from the Undead hordes. The dwarven king Morok Cloudkeeper agrees to an alliance with the Empire. Meanwhile, Hubert de Layle manages to amass a considerable force. The Emperor decides to move his forces north, uniting them with an ally of his, the inquisitor Phillip d’Agincourt to destroy Hubert de Layle’s army. Meanwhile, rumors have spread regarding prince Uther’s return, stating that he leads a legion of clansmen to cleanse the realm of his father’s enemies. When the imperial forces arrive to destroy Hubert, they find themselves blocked by giant spiders, which are revealed to be under Hubert’s control. Phillip d’Agincourt betrays the empire and also ambushes the empire. However, Uther arrives and helps the imperial forces defeat both Hubert and d'Agincourt. After Hubert’s death, many other nobles sprung up in rebellion, and even though Demosthene was feeling better now that his heir is returned, he was still too weak to wage war, so Uther was sent south to recapture the rebellious cities, with the aid from the Mountain Clans. However, during the mission, the Mountain Clans turn on the Empire, stating that the loss of Morok’s son Gymner affected him deeply and he went insane. However, Uther acts arrogantly and insults and kills the Mountain Clans messenger, convincing them to march against the Empire. In spite of this, the Empire manages to crush the rebellious cities. The emperor then decides to send a force to assist the elves against their fight with the undead, since should they emerge victorious, the Undead would attack the Empire next. The elves inform the imperial forces that it was Mortis that corrupted one of their high elves, Lyf, into a dark elf. The Empire defeats Lyf along with the forces of the Undead, and return to the capital where the Emperor has arranged a celebration. As Demosthene prepares to pass the crown to his son and heir Uther, Uther declares he has no use for it, and proceeds to murder Demosthene with demonic magic. He then flees the capitol, while summoning demons to cover his escape. The imperial forces start to fight back against the invasion, and eventually fight their way to Uther and kill him. However, not only does Uther not die, but he transforms into a very powerful demon, having spent his time draining Bethrezen’s power. The Empire tries to forge alliances with anyone willing to fight the demonic Uther. Supported by the elves and the Mountain Clans, they manage to defeat Uther in his demon form, though it is stated that the Empire has dark days ahead of it, as much time will pass before a leader worthy of the throne would reveal himself, leaving the Empire in turmoil until then.
The Mountain Clans
Ten years after the First Great War, the Mountain Clans have elected a new king – Morok Cloudkeeper. They are primarily occupied with trying to recover their lost runic knowledge. While trying to recover three of the lost runes, the Clans discover that Bethrezen broke out of his prison, and Gymner Cloudkeeper, who was sent to re-imprison him, has been killed. However, later reports suggest that he actually managed to seal Bethrezen in his prison again, causing confusion as to what it was that emerged from the hellish vault. After recovering three runes, Morok sends his troops to assist the Empire against a rebellious lord – Hubert de Layle. While trying to recaprture the rebellious imperial cities, the Clans encounter the heir to the throne – Uther. They take him under their wing and resolve to return him to Demosthene. Uther helps the clans defeat the rebellious lords and obtain Fregga’s Healing Rune, which could be used to revive dead warriors. Morok resolved to use it on Gymner. The Clans are not happy about this, but they comply. Morok soon becomes suspicious of Uther, suspecting that something is wrong with him, and breaks the alliance with the Empire causing a strife between the factions. After performing the ritual, Gymner comes back to life as a zombie, which causes Morok to spiral into madness and attack his own warriors, which in turn caused them to kill him. As a result, Morok’s daughter Yataa’Halli to take charge and starts uniting the Clans. She manages to unite all the Clans and gather up all the runes, and prepares to ward off the impending the Undead invasion. After that, the loremasters urge her to enact a ritual honoring Wotan, which she attempts to do. Yataa’Halli sends the Clans to perform the ritual by arranging the 12 runes in the sacred lands. Defeating many enemies along the way, including an evil mage Hugin, the Clans perform the ritual successfully. Wotan sends some of his Valkyries to show them his favor. However, the mountains soon start crumbling and volcanoes start erupting – the queen tries to help the refugees when many of the clansmen are uprooted from their homes. However, the Clans soon come under attack from the dragons, led by the mighty dragon Nidhogg, who leads the creatures of darkness who used Wotan’s weakness to emerge into the realm. The clans decide to find Hel – one of the mightiest heroes of the 5th age – to stop them. After praying at his shrine, the Clans receive help from Hel, who grants them the strength to defeat the mighty wyrm Nidhogg. In the end, Nidhogg is slain, and it is stated that even though the Clan’s ignorance and lack of respect towards their ancient runic knowledge allowed him to emerge and many of the Clans paid for that with their lives, he was finally silenced. Yataa’Halli goes on to become a very venerable High Queen who prevented Ragnarok, and the loremasters made sure that the tale of Nidhogg is preserved for future generations, so that they know better than to ignore the runic knowledge of the Clans.
The Undead Hordes
The goddess Mortis glimpsed a cursed boy, Uther, who was an heir to the Empire’s Throne, and realized that his blood might be the key to reviving Gallean. Since Uther is trapped in the Mountain Clan mines of Timmoria, Mortis sends the Undead to loot the imperial library to discover the location of the Timmorian mines. After looting the library, the Hordes discover that the ritual to re-seal Bethrezen in his prison would take place soon, and Uther, being the receptacle of his soul, would be re-trapped in the mines. However, the Legions of the Damned successfully prevent that from happening and release Uther from his imprisonment. Mortis orders her servants to drain the child’s blood to use in her ritual. A group of renegade humans called Shadow Wolves assist them by informing them of Uther’s movements. The Undead manage to defeat Uther and drain his blood. At the same time, the Empire sent their troops to meet up with an emissary from the Mountain Clans, Slookarij. The Mountain Clans were the old rivals of the Undead, so Mortis sent her Hordes to destroy Slookarij, which they successfully accomplish before he is able to make a pact with the Empire, however, this angers the Empire greatly, and they launch a devastating counter-attack. To thwart it, the Hordes need to capture a strategically placed city of Hunneria. During the assault, the Empire threatens to eliminate all of the Undead and informs them that Slookarij was only one of the many emissaries setting up the communications between the Empire and the Mountain Clans. At the same time, the Shadow Wolves lead the Undead into a trap and betray them, however, the Undead manage to fight their way out of the trap and defeat them. The Undead receive reports that King Morok Cloudkeeper of the Mountain Clans is spiraling into madness due to some mysterious reason, pushing them to capture Hunneria as soon as possible. The Undead Hordes push into the Empire Territory and capture the city, defeating the Holy Avenger Dasannar, a mighty warrior of the Empire, along the way. Afterwards, Mortis begins looking for the sacred grounds that can be used to revive Gallean. The Hordes encounter a powerful creature created during the First Great War called the "Bone Lord" threatening Mortis’s rule, as he had the ability to subjugate the Undead. Before setting them on a final mission, Mortis orders him destroyed. On the way, the merfolk ask for an audience with the Undead, hoping to forge an alliance. The queen of the merfolk asks them to escort her daughter through the Mountain Clans territory in exchange for their help against the Bone Lord. The Undead accept the deal under orders from Mortis. They also encounter more Shadow Wolf thugs who reveal that they were forced to fight the Undead against their will by Hubert de Layle, and also that Hubert forged an alliance with Erhog the Dark and Bone Lord. They warn the Hordes that Erhog, reanimated as Undead, would be waiting for them along with the Bone Lord. The Undead defeat both of them, binding the Bone Lord to the will of Mortis and head out to the Elven lands to revive Gallean. The Elves, headed by their queen Taladrielle, attempt to thwart their invasion and amass considerable forces. Other factions join the battle to attempt to stop the Undead Hordes, but the Hordes manage to push through the Elven Lands, murder queen Taladrielle and start the ritual. In the end, Gallean is revived, but looking at Mortis, seeing what she has become and how much devastation she has unleashed, he abandons her to her rage.
Legions of the Damned
Ten years after Bethrezen’s prison has been reinforced, it has begun to weaken again, forcing the Mountain Clans to send Gymner Cloudkeeper to reinforce it yet again. However, the demons have been biding their time, growing stronger, while seemingly defeated. This time, they were ready to strike. They murder Gymner to allow Bethrezen to re-emerge. As the prison opens, the heir to the Empire’s throne – a young boy named Uther – steps forth from it. The demons are clearly surprised, but Uther states that he is actually Bethrezen, and demands obedience from demons. As the Undead gather around him to capture him for an unknown purpose, Bethrezen demonstrates his power by defeating their forces. The demons help their master escape the Undead, and proceed to forge an alliance with Hubert de Layle. They then strike at the Mountain clans and free a powerful demon Astaroth from his prison. Astaroth swears his allegiance to Bethrezen. As the demons travel north to capture several cities to reinforce their northern front against the forces of the Empire and Mountain clans who have forged an alliance, a demon comes to them, claiming to be a messenger from Bethrezen, ordering them to stop their advance. The demons don’t believe that, stating that Bethrezen walks among them, and kill the messenger. After capturing the cities, Bethrezen orders the demons to stop the Undead invasion. However, when arriving at the location and scouring the lands, the demons inform Bethrezen that there are no Undead to be found. At this point, Uther reveals that he is not really Bethrezen and that this is a trap for the demon forces of the lower plains, since he does not need them anymore. He then orders Astaroth to kill them all, stating that once they are victorious, they will rule Nevendaar together. The demons are surprised by this revelation and realize that they were being fooled by Uther, while he was draining Bethrezen’s power. By this time, Uther has already absorbed enough of Bethrezen’s power to transform into a very powerful demon. The demons loyal to Bethrezen start fighting back against Uther’s forces, consisting of the demons of the higher plains and Imperial rebels. The demons defeat Astaroth and discover a rift that allows the weakened Bethrezen to communicate with them. Destroying the rift would cut him off from the surface forever, so all the demons loyal to Bethrezen gather forces to defend it. After the Legions successfully defend it from the Undead who Uther managed to bribe with a vial of his own blood, Uther grows tired and sets out to destroy the rift himself in his demon form. However, the demons defeat him as well. In the end, it is stated that the clash between the demons kept many innocents out of harm’s way, and that even though Bethrezen’s return was postponed by Uther’s actions, it will happen eventually.
Expansion packs, releases and versions
Many expansion packs and rereleases of Disciples II have been issued. In order of their release they are:
|Name||Date of Release||Details|
|Disciples II: Dark Prophecy||January 24, 2002||The base game contains 4 campaigns of 7 missions each for the Empire, Mountain Clans, Undead Hordes and Legion of the Damned.|
|Disciples II: Dark Prophecy (Collector's Edition)||January 22, 2002||A limited version of the game containing a card game (Disciples II: Blades of War) as well as 5 bonus quests which are also included in the Disciples 2 Gold edition.|
|Disciples II: Servants of the Dark||July 15, 2003||Contains:
Servants of the Dark does not combine with the base Dark Prophecy game. When installed on a computer that already has Guardians of the Light installed it and Servants of the Dark are combined to form "Gallean's Return" which offers all the content of the base Dark Prophecy game in addition to the 4 extra mini campaigns as part of a single install. Gallean's Return was later sold separately.
|Disciples II: Guardians of the Light||June 14, 2003||Released a month before Servants of the Dark, Guardians of the Light contains the original campaigns for the Mountain Clans and Empire as well as two new mini campaigns of 3 missions each, in a similar fashion to Servants of the Dark.|
|Disciples II: Rise of the Elves||November 25, 2003||Contains:
This game does not combine with Gallean's Return or Dark Prophecy and must be installed separately.
|Disciples II Gold||February 3, 2005||Contains:
Both games must be installed separately as the original games would be. In 2005, Stardock released this edition on their TotalGaming.net online distribution service as Disciples II: Ultimate Edition. In 2006 this addition was also made available on Steam.
|Disciples II: Gallean's Return||May 27, 2005||Gallean's Return contains the first two expansion packs, Servants of the Dark and Guardians of the Light precombined. This means that all the content of the base Dark Prophecy game is included as well.|
|Disciples II: Rise of the Elves Gold||April 6, 2006||A rerelease of Rise of the Elves with an additional 4 mission mini campaign that continues the story.|
|Disciples II: Dark Prophecy|
Guardians of the Light
|Disciples II: Guardians of the Light|
The Guardians of the Light expansion pack received "average" reviews according to Metacritic.
Servants of the Dark
|Disciples II: Servants of the Dark|
The Servants of the Dark expansion pack received more "mixed" reviews than the first two games according to Metacritic.
Rise of the Elves
|Disciples II: Rise of the Elves|
The Rise of the Elves add-on received "favorable" reviews according to Metacritic.
|Disciples II: Gold Edition|
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- Kapalka, Jason (May 2002). "Disciples II: Dark Prophecy" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 214. pp. 82–83. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
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- Adams, Dan (January 28, 2002). "Disciples II: Dark Prophecy". IGN. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Brenesal, Barry (April 2002). "Disciples II: Dark Prophecy". PC Gamer. p. 70. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Anderson, Chris (March 9, 2002). "PC Review: Disciples 2: Dark Prophecy". PC Zone. Archived from the original on September 12, 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Jackson, Jonah (February 22, 2002). "'Disciples II: Dark Prophecy' (PC) Review". X-Play. Archived from the original on March 6, 2002. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- "Disciples II: Guardians of the Light for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Jackson, Jonah (October 2003). "Disciples II: Guardians of the Light/Servants of the Dark" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 231. p. 117. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Kasavin, Greg (June 18, 2013). "Disciples II: Guardians of the Light Review". GameSpot. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Abner, William (July 10, 2003). "GameSpy: Disciples II: Guardians of the Light". GameSpy. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Lafferty, Michael (June 16, 2003). "Disciples II – Guardians of the Light Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on October 3, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Adams, Dan (June 23, 2003). "Disciples II: Guardians of the Light". IGN. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Morris, Dan (September 2003). "Disciples II: Guardians of the Light". PC Gamer. p. 75. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- "Disciples II: Servants of the Dark for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Kasavin, Greg (July 16, 2003). "Disciples II: Servants of the Dark Review". GameSpot. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Abner, William (August 16, 2003). "GameSpy: Disciples II: Servants of the Dark". GameSpy. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Lafferty, Michael (July 25, 2003). "Disciples II – Servants of the Dark Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on February 19, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- "Disciples II: Rise of the Elves for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Kasavin, Greg (December 3, 2003). "Disciples II: Rise of the Elves Review". GameSpot. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Abner, William (December 23, 2003). "GameSpy: Disciples II: Rise of the Elves". GameSpy. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Tha Wiz (December 2, 2003). "Disciples II: The Rise of the Elves [sic] - PC - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on October 2, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Adams, Dan (December 5, 2003). "Disciples II: Rise of the Elves Review". IGN. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Bemis, Greg (February 10, 2004). "'Disciples II: Rise of the Elves' (PC) Review". X-Play. Archived from the original on April 5, 2004. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- "Disciples II: Gold Edition for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Hollingshead, Anise (March 17, 2005). "Disciples II Gold [Edition] - PC - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- "Disciples II: Gold Edition". PC Format. No. 173. April 2005.
- PC Zone staff (April 2005). "PC Review: Disciples II: Gold Edition". PC Zone. Archived from the original on January 26, 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Strategy First official website
- Linux Game Publishing
- Disciples II: Dark Prophecy demo
- Disciples II: Dark Prophecy at MobyGames
- Disciples II: Guardians of the Light at MobyGames
- Disciples II: Servants of the Dark at MobyGames
- Disciples II: Rise of the Elves at MobyGames
- Disciples II: Gallean's Return at MobyGames
- Disciples II: Gold Edition at MobyGames