Lords of Magic

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Lords of Magic
Lords of Magic Special Edition
Developer(s)Impressions Games
Publisher(s)Sierra On-Line
Director(s)Chris Beatrice
Producer(s)Glenn Oliver
Designer(s)Jeffrey Fiske
Gregor Koomey
Steven Serafino
Programmer(s)Mike Gingerich
Composer(s)Keith Zizza
Platform(s)Windows 95, Windows 98
  • NA: November 30, 1997
  • EU: 1997
Special Edition
  • NA: September 30, 1998
  • EU: 1998
Genre(s)Turn-based strategy, high fantasy

Lords of Magic is a turn-based strategy Microsoft Windows game designed for Windows 95/98 by Sierra On-Line. The game was intended to combine elements of Heroes of Might and Magic II and Lords of the Realm II. The special edition also contains the Legends of Urak quest pack, a set of five individual quests that revolve around stories unrelated to the main plot of the game.


The world is filled with wandering monsters and fixed buildings filled with monsters. Lords of Magic is notably different from other strategy games in that it has only one map, with each faith starting at a different location. This led to a somewhat repetitive nature, counteracted somewhat by a supplied map editor.

Throughout the game, players travel across the High-Fantasy land of Urak (which is split into 8 distinct regions for every faith), building an army composed of archers, footsoldiers, cavalry, and creatures. The over-world map gameplay is turn based; as players manage cities and move their armies. When beginning a battle the gameplay switches to real time. Champions and Lords can be equipped with treasures found throughout dungeons or from other factions. As the game progresses, many faithless marauding parties will attempt to disrupt the faith's economies and progress. There is also a loose diplomacy system that can be used to interact with other factions as well for trade or the exchange of research.

The main goal of the game is to defeat Balkoth, Lord of Death, by any means necessary. After finishing the game once, players can restart as Balkoth with the new goal of conquering all of Urak.

Lords are the avatar character used by the player. They are like champions, but colored differently and have higher stats. When a lord dies, the faith is removed from play, unless the player has obtained an "heir". Heirs are obtained by befriending another faith, then liberating their great temple before they have, in which case the faith becomes yours and their lord in turn becomes the heir.

There are eight different factions: life, death, order, chaos, air, earth, fire, and water. Each faction represents their element with their own set of units, heroes and spells. The Heroes of the game consist of three different types which offer unique game play and tactics. They are Warrior, Thief and Mage. The Warrior acts as a Tank and leads armies into battle. The Thief works best alone being able to steal money and spy. The Thief can even kidnap other heroes, ransoming them for money and artifacts. The Mage is very weak with low hit points, but can use spells which can change the entire battle in your favor, summoning great monsters or raining down fire and lightning from behind the lines. There are over 160 different spells and they are different for each faction. These spells are divided into four types - "offensive", "defensive", "overland" and "general knowledge". There are over 90 different artifacts as well to discover.

The game includes a single-player mode and limited multiplayer features on LAN and the Internet as well.


The game takes place in the land of Urak. The people of this world worship one of eight religions. Each religion has an opposite in the circle of life and the people of those faiths are bitter enemies. The atmosphere of the game is high fantasy, loosely inspired by the works of Tolkien, as well as Dungeons and Dragons. Balkoth, the lord of Death, has embarked on a campaign to destroy all other faiths in honor of the dark god Golgoth. The other lords scramble to expand their ranks to defend themselves against this dark threat but also to once and for all destroy their lifelong nemesis.

Each faith has its own weaknesses and strengths. An important thing to consider when players select a faith is that certain faiths will out right hate you based on your choice. Order/Chaos, Earth/Air, etc. Diplomacy is possible between these factions but difficult. No matter what faction you play as, the ultimate goal is to defeat Death.

  • Life - Referred to as the "Elddren", the followers of life are elves who fight with oaken staves and bows. Their structures are carved out of trees with white bark and golden leaves and they are at home in the woods. Their land is a distinct vibrant green. Life has the strongest archers in the game, but suffer from weak melee fighters. Eventually they can summon Pegasus riders and the mighty phoenix.
  • Death - The Dark Elves who follow Golgoth. They inhabit the swamps and marshes of Urak and are feared for their potent necromancy, spear-throwers and Cavalry. They have very few weaknesses, the strongest one being that pretty much every faith starts off disliking them. Their special creatures are the vampire and Lich.
  • Earth - Based heavily on the hobbits and dwarves of Tolkien; The Earth-Folk live in giant mushrooms and earthen burrows. They have the slowest movement speed of any faction, an often crippling weakness, but make up for it in the endurance and strength of their warriors.
  • Air - In Urak, both storm giants and Fairies make their homes among the clouds. Air Mages are renowned for their incredible magic and their giants wield massive broadswords that can topple foes. They suffer from a weak cavalry but typically their armies march quickly and unhindered. Eventually they can summon a storm dragon.
  • Fire - The volcanoes and lava filled caves are home to the faith of Fire. A people composed of both Giants and Dwarves. Their magic is destructive and their offense relentless. They can do intimidating amounts of damage but often can't handle much themselves. They can eventually summon a mighty dragon who can destroy armies on their own.
  • Water - The Amazons rule the waters in Urak. The Water people live in coral encrusted homes by the shores. Benefiting from the strongest ships in the game by a margin so large most faiths can't even compete for dominance. They also have strong cavalry and warriors and quick scouts. They suffer from lacking a special creature that succeeds on land and poor archers; that being rock hurling lizard-men.
  • Order - Heavily based on the legends of Camelot; The members of order represent a typical medieval fighting force. Platemail covered knights and hardy crossbowmen make up their ranks. The faction of Order is the most well rounded in the game but suffer from not excelling in really any field. Also, in the regular game their city is found close to the center of the game world, so an Order player who makes many enemies will quickly realize they have bitten off more than they can chew. Their special creatures are spectral knights and Sir Lancelot of the Lake; when fully leveled, Lancelot is superior to the special creatures of the other factions.
  • Chaos - Barbarians who roam the mountain and plains of Urak. Living in a tribal society, these warriors excel at brute force, but lack in defense and marksmanship. Their warriors and horsemen can strike fear into many, but their laughable stickthrowers make range attacks next-to impossible. They can summon a Hydra for their special creature. They also benefit, and sometimes suffer, from a chance based magic system. Their spells can either do great harm to their enemies, or themselves.


Lords of Magic was developed by Impressions Games for Microsoft Windows and released by Sierra Entertainment in November 1997.

Legends of Urak expansion[edit]

The content in the Legends of Urak expansion (included in the "Special Edition" of the game) revolves around various fables and stories. Earth, Fire, and Death each have a unique quest while Order has two quests.

The Earth quest is based on the epic poem Beowulf but involves many original battles and adventures Beowulf partakes in. The Fire quest revolves around a fire sorceress named Crispin who seeks out and slays a colossal ice drake in order to return the flow of lava to the fire capital. The Death adventure focuses on the necromancer's ability to raise the dead and employ them in battle. The adventure ends either by defeating a lich in battle and retrieving his staff for the death lord, or by keeping the staff, taking control of the death capitol and defeating the eldren queen. The first Order adventure is loosely based on the legends of Merlin and King Arthur and ends with the retrieval of the Holy Grail and death of Mordred. The second Order adventure is only activated by clicking in the center of the circle of life in the quests menu and has a unique lord named Sigfried who transforms as the game progresses. He saves the valkyrie Brunhilde and defeats Attila the Hun.


To run on most modern operating systems adjust the screen resolution to 800 X 600. Current known highest playable resolution is 1360 X 768.

After the end of the official support with patch 3.01 for the special edition, the game's community tried to take over the support and created own fan patches to address remaining issues and enhance compatibility.[1]


Lords of Magic[edit]

Lords of Magic
Aggregate score
Review scores
CGW1/5 stars[3]
Game RevolutionB+[4]
PC Gamer (US)82%[6]
PC Zone78%[7]

Lords of Magic received "favorable" reviews according to the review aggregation website GameRankings.[2]

Special Edition[edit]

Lords of Magic: Special Edition
Aggregate score
Review scores
CGW3/5 stars[9]

The Special Edition received a little more mixed reviews than the original according to GameRankings.[8]


  1. ^ Kwong, Peter Y. (December 11, 2007). "Lords of Magic: Special Edition 3.02 Unofficial Patch Modification Build 0014.3". IINet. Retrieved October 16, 2014. The Lords of Magic: Special Edition 3.02 Unofficial Patch Modification aims to fix the issues that remain within version 3.01 of Lords of Magic: Special Edition.
  2. ^ a b "Lords of Magic for PC Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  3. ^ Carter, Tim (April 1998). "Lords of Outpost (Lords of Magic Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 165. pp. 190–91. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Clint (January 1998). "Lords of Magic Review". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on February 20, 2004. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  5. ^ Ryan, Michael E. (December 30, 1997). "Lords of Magic Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Keith (March 1998). "Lords of Magic". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on December 10, 1999. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Emery, Daniel (1998). "PC Review: Lords of Magic". PC Zone. Archived from the original on January 16, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Lords of Magic: Special Edition for PC Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Carter, Tim (February 1999). "Abra-Ca-Blah-Blah (Lords of Magic: Special Edition Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 175. p. 240. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  10. ^ Ryan, Michael E. (January 28, 1999). "Lords of Magic: Special Edition Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 12, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2017.

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