Much of this information can be found online, and most of it was found over two decades ago by players from a bygone era. The original discoverers of some of these glitches are not easy to track down. As such, simply take my word that, unless otherwise stated, I am not the original discoverer of these glitches, cheats, or tricks. Even when stated that I did come across something on my own, there is always the possibility that someone else found it before me, and I was simply unaware. Any information that you feel is pertinent to this guide, feel free to message me or to comment on this guide, and if it is useful, I will include your information/tips in the guide as well.
Please do not cheat against other players!
I am aware that there is a multiplayer option for this game. While I have never played multiplayer Lords of Magic, and I do not know if it is even still playable, I do not condone using any of these cheat codes, exploits, or glitches against any other player. Cheating is only fair in single player gaming. If codes are even usable in multiplayer, it is unsportsmanlike to use them against another player, and likewise using these glitches would also be highly unethical. Please do not let me ever hear of anyone using the information in this guide to undermine the fun of others. These tips are meant to enrich the gaming experience in the main, single-player game.
But in single player, the gloves are off and you can use this stuff freely! 😀
Cheat Codes (Cheating, No-Honesty Play)
Cheat codes are the most basic form of cheating in the world of video games, and Lords of Magic is certainly not without cheat codes! Even as a child I remember fondly using these codes to make overpowered armies to defeat Balkoth. Using these codes is usually pretty fun at first, but eventually you will get bored with them.
However, if you’re new to the game and you want to take it easy, or if you want to defeat Balkoth so you can play as Death, then using these codes will certainly make your job a lot easier. These codes can all be located online, on just about any website. I’m including them here for the sake of making this a sort of one-stop-shop for all this kind of stuff.
DISCLAIMER: I do not condone the use of cheats in multiplayer. I have never played this in multiplayer, and I do not know if the cheat codes would even work. If they do, that’s poor game design, but even poorer sportsmanship. DO NOT CHEAT IN MULTIPLAYER! This guide is intended for single player gameplay only.
In order to access the input box for the cheat codes, one simply holds CTRL+C. Once this has been done, an input box will show up, as seen below.
Once you have this text box, simply type in the code, press enter, and its effects will immediately be present.
List of Codes
zilla = 1 Dragon will be added to the currently selected party. Note that if no party is selected, the code will do nothing. If the selected party is in a building, or the party is full, a new party will start to form next to the current party with a dragon, and more dragons can be added to this new party until it is full, then it creates another party indefinitely. The most recently created dragon will not show up on your party bar until you move, but this is only a minor cosmetic lag, the dragon is still present.
bingo = +200 each of Ale, Gold, and Crystals. When used on the first turn, it makes no sound, but on all subsequent turns this code will make the turn cycling sound. This sound does not affect gameplay.
go far = 1,000 movement points for currently selected party. If no party is selected, this code does nothing. This code does not go above 1,000 movement points, even if used again, and instead resets movement points. This can allow you to move infinitely during a given turn. Note that the 1,000 movement points will be reset by using the code again, but that you can get over 1,000 if you cast a movement spell in addition. Given that you do not need this extra boost, because you can simply reset to 1,000 when you run low, this is generally a moot point.
all spells = Permanently grants the current playthrough knowledge of all learnable spells. This code does not allow mages to use spells of different faiths, nor does it allow you to use unique spells attached to artifacts, but it does give you the knowledge of all spells that can be learned in all libraries. Spell knowledge can be used in bartering, and holds great value. Spells are not lost in bartering, but each spell can only be given to each faith once.(You can give the Water faith the spell Spirit Arrow once, and you can give the same Spirit Arrow to Fire once, but you cannot give Spirit Arrow to Water twice, as they will already have knowledge of it the first time.) In addition to learning all of the spells, this code will give all mages in the currently selected party 1,000 mana points. Using the code again will reset the mana to 1,000 in a similar way you ‘go far’ resetting movement points.
There are some other codes listed online such as ‘hocus pocus’, which evidentally has the same effects as ‘all spells’, however I have never been able to get those codes to work, and I believe they may be from a previous edition.
If you’re playing against someone and they cheat… well, honestly, you should probably just stop playing. Additionally, none of these cheats are very easy to counter without cheating yourself. That being said, they’re not all totally god-tier, either. For instance, while dragons are very strong, your enemy will constantly burn through crystals. Additionally, Dragons can be KO’d in one hit of Light Rain from a good Water mage. Still, if your opponent is cheating, it’s really best to just stop playing. I’m sure they’ll enjoy the game so much with no one to play against.
Movement Cheat & Trade Glitch (Cheating, Glitching, No-Honesty Play)
As covered in the previous section, one of the previous cheats allows you to get 1,000 movement points. With this, it’s easy to quickly move anywhere on the map, and that has many repercussions. One interesting one, however, is that other armies, that is, NPC armies, have not yet had time to enter their respective buildings.
There are several ways to use this to your advantage, and the most obvious one is to occupy these buildings before the enemy gets a chance. You can occupy an enemy Temple, Capitol City, and their entire region before the end of turn one. That’s not fair, and it will aggravate your enemies, or your friends if you choose to do it to them as well, and I generally don’t recommend, since it sucks the life out of the game… however, a genuinely good use of this is to occupy Villages before the Marauders get a chance to.
You see, every Village starts off with a group of Marauders next to it, and at the end of turn 1, these Marauders will occupy the Villages. This initial group of Marauders will hold the fort until they are defeated by a regular Faith. The problem comes after that; from that point on, any time Marauders take a village, they will Raze it at the end of the next turn. Once a Village has been destroyed, it cannot be fixed, and you cannot make new buildings from it, such as watch towers or recruitment buildings. Marauders will not attack an occupied Village, but if no one is guarding it, they will attack. In the first turn, the “go far” cheat is useful to occupy all villages, if for no other reason than to prevent them from being destroyed.
But of course, that much is self explanatory, and doesn’t include a glitch, so why the section name? Well, when you’re going around, you might notice that the other nations all have Capitol guards, and your opposite Faith and/or Death will also have a set of guards for their Temple. Did you know you can’t ask for units in a building in trades? You can offer your own, and your enemy can offer you theirs, but you cannot ask for a unit that is in a building. However, on that first turn, they aren’t in buildings yet. Unfortunately, the game will always decline Trade offers on these characters. But what if, say, I’m an Order Lord, and I *really* want that Hydra the people of Chaos have? Once it’s in the building, there’s no bartering for it, and Trades will be declined…
However, I’ve found that the game’s programming completely misunderstands the word “Gift”, and especially on this first turn, you can overtly exploit your enemies, and they are happy for it!
1. Simply initiate a Parley on the first turn.
2. Select “Gift” on the options on the left hand side.
3. Pick something to give them as a “Gift”.
4. Select the units, artifacts, spells, or resources that they have that you want, like you would with a trade.
5. Propose the “Gift”.
The game recognizes this as you giving them those items or spells or whatever as a gift, and therefore will make your Faith feel somewhat upset at them, but will make their Faith grateful for the “Gift”. However, the game also recognizes the exchange of resources. This means that you are literally trading, but that the AI perceives it as a gift. If Accepted, they will react as if you’ve freely given to them for nothing in return, and you will get whatever you asked for in return.
This is not 100% reliable, as certain units, especially certain mages, will always make the trade Decline, though other units with the one that Declines can still be traded for.(Note that not all mages will cause it to Decline, but usually if it Declines, it’s because you asked for a Mage.)
Doing this does, in fact, allow you to easily take your enemy’s Legendary Temple guardian, and make them happy to give it to you. In fact, this can even sometimes allow you to take literally everything but their Lord, which makes for very interesting game play.
Realistically, there’s no way to beat this, but also, it’s basically limited to singleplayer. I can’t reasonably think of a way that someone could use this in Multiplayer, but if they do, it’s still straight up cheating, and should be treated like cheating. In singleplayer, however, it can add a new and interesting game dynamic. In multiplayer, if someone comes up to you and offers a gift of a cheap spell in exchange for your entire military, then simply… Decline?
In Multiplayer, I would make one exception on fairness, though. It would be reasonable if you were to agree with all other players to take the Villages on the first turn so that Marauders can’t destroy them. From a lore standpoint alone, it’s simply sad to see a Razed Village.
Unlimited Customization Points (Glitch, No-Honesty Play)
When selecting a Faith and Lord in Lords of Magic, there is an option available to play ‘custom’. You are given a small, set number of points, and you can invest those points into buying units, artifacts, spells, buildings, etc. or into leveling-up units and increasing resources. Unfortunately, the number of points is very low, and you’ll quickly find that you will generally be far less equipped than you were with the basic start.
Thankfully, there is a glitch that can allow you to increase your barter points indefinitely. This glitch is somewhat complicated, and at first it is slow to yield rewards, but it has exponential growth until a certain point, and then it can continue to grow at a fixed rate for however long you want.
The cause of this glitch seems to be a programming error that does not register artifacts that you have sold as having been sold when you save, but still gives you full refund for them. Using this repeatedly allows you to gain more and more artifacts, sell them back for points, but still have them in your inventory.
How to use this glitch
1. Select a leader type and Faith for which lord you want to use. For this example, I am using a Fire Warrior.
2. Select “custom” under the picture of the lord’s face.
3. It’s easiest if you go to your lord’s experience bar and reduce their level to the minimum.(This can be done quickly by clicking on the level’s number, rather than on the plus and minus buttons which take forever.) Lowering your level gives you more points to work with for now, and you will be able to raise your level back up, with interest, once you get moving.
4. Purchase some artifacts. Any artifacts will work, as long as you can afford them with your available points. You’ll notice that you can’t afford much. I was only able to afford 2 at the start, even after lowering my level. Important: You will need to put these purchased artifacts in the top bar, highlighted in pink in the picture below. Do not place them in the green area yet. For this step, place them in the pink area.(When you save this, the game will still think the artifacts are in the top bar because they were there before, but were not sold back directly.)
5. Next, once you have placed the artifact in the pink area, then you will move them from the pink area to the green area, just above the hands that would hold equipped artifacts.
6. Now that you have moved the artifacts to the green area on the left hand side, you can right click on the artifacts one at a time to sell them back. The artifacts will return to the artifacts list, and you will be refunded of their full cost.
7. Save the customized lord in the top left corner, as circled in red in the image below.(Choose whatever name you would like for it. I’m saving it as “F1” in this image.)
8. Once you have saved, simply load that save. You’ll notice that those artifacts have reappeared in the top artifacts list (the pink area) but that you still have all of the barter points.
At this point, you can again move those artifacts to the green area, and then right click them to sell them back, save, reload, and you will have the artifacts again, and even more points. You can continue to do this until you have however many points you want, but there is a faster way.
9. Now that you have more points, you can afford more artifacts! Once more, buy as much as you can afford, placing them all in the top, pink area. Then move them down to the left, green area, before finally selling them back. NOTE: You can only have 3-5 artifacts in the green area at a time,(See picture below) so you can move 3 over, sell them, then move 3 more.
10. You can continue to gain funds, buy more artifacts than before, and sell them back to gain even more barter points now. This allows exponential growth until you run out of space for more artifacts.
11. At this point, your gains will be constant. You won’t really be able to increase the amount of points you get per save/load cycle, but you will add on somewhere around 200,000 barter points per save/load, which is not too shabby, considering you started with 3,000 total. To maximize potential, I recommend you keep gaining those points this way until you’re well over 1,000,000 barter points, and then you buy all the units that you want, including enemy units if you want, as well as champions. Once your party is full, level everyone up, including your lord, buy spells if you want to, fill up resources, whatever.(I recommend against buying the capitol or temple, since if you don’t, you can still beat them and liberate the two champions.
(Unfortunately, the Krakens there spawned in as a separate party because they had to be in the ocean.)
Important note for maximizing your army: You can’t carry all of the artifacts, therefore you can’t buy all of the artifacts, but you can buy almost all of them. You can fill the pink area on the top, but each member of your party, even units, can “carry” 5 artifacts. You can “equip” artifacts to creatures and units that can’t normally carry them, but once the game starts, they will be shoved into the party leader’s inventory.(In this case, the extras are sent to my lord.) Champions will continue to hold onto their artifacts. Using units to hold artifacts allows you to carry almost all artifacts.
Fun fact: Using this glitch does not prevent those artifacts from showing up as loot in the main game. In other words, you can still find most of the artifacts again as drops, including Greater Artifacts, and even Balkoth’s “Unique” Scythe can be pickpocketed or threatened off of him again, thus making it possible to have 2 of any artifact.(And any Necromancer, not “Only Balkoth” can wield the Scythe, despite what the description says.) Unfortunately, most of the overpowered Greater Artifacts cannot be dual-wielded, but there are some exceptions.(Usually you can only have 1 weapon artifact, and most Greater Artifacts are weapons, but Chaos Thieves and Order Mages have an amulet and a ring, respectively, and those can be equipped with other artifacts freely. Additionally, it seems that it’s possible for an Order Warrior to equip 2 swords, for whatever reason.)
Lich Glitch (Glitch, No-Honesty Play)
Personally I loathe necromancy and corporeal undead. However, I do recall about 15 years ago stumbling upon this glitch by accident, and I was able to replicate it recently for science. Just know that I had to uncomfortably obtain a Lich and play with it for a while to get you this information, and I still feel kinda dirty.
For reasons I cannot comprehend, both in the current version and in the original CD version of Lords of Magic: Special Edition, there is a glitch that allows a Lich, but no other character, champion, or creature, to have essentially unlimited Mana points. What’s more, is that this glitch is exceptionally easy to perform, especially compared to other glitches.
1. Get a Lich. Not very easy, since it requires that you play as Death, or get really lucky with trades. Of course, the Lich is also very expensive, and requires a sacrificial necromancer to become undead.
2. Get an artifact that increases you maximum Mana.(Shadowstaff, Cloak of the Vampire, and Staff of Reanimation all work well, though the last works the best.)
3. Put it on the Lich.
4. Take it off the Lich. Notice that the maximum Mana didn’t go back down. For whatever reason, Lichs only ever gain Mana from those artifacts, it never goes back down.
5. Repeat as desired.
As I recall from playing it on CD, this would reset at the end of each turn, so it had limited use apart from when you were initially attacking. However, in my recent testing, I found the effect never wore off, and I was easily able to get a Lich with other 300 Mana. This means you can cast those expensive death spells until the cows come home, then once all your enemies are dead, you can simply reanimate them for an endless army with all that Mana.
Yeah, it’s TOTALLY normal for a level 1 Lich to have over 100 MP, right??
My hatred of the undead has, however, allowed me to learn the weaknesses of this glitch, so if any of you encounter this in multiplayer or anything, and you’re dealing with someone so low as to cheat in a multiplayer game, there are some things you can do to prevent this Lich from being the end of days.(I will try to include countermeasures whenever I can for the various exploits and cheats, just in case you run into someone using them in multiplayer)
First of all, a Lich is a very powerful mage, yes, and has melee stats comparable to some warriors, but this Lich is not invincible by any stretch of the imagination. No character is immune to total immobilization spells. Turn to Stone, Stun, Freeze… all of them will totally immobilize the Lich temporarily. In that time, he can’t move or cast any spells, and so he’s vulnerable to spell damage. Sands of Sleep will also put him out for a time, but if he’s struck by melee or ranged attack, it will wake him up.(Spells will not wake a sleeping target, though, so fire away.)
Liches have a large amount of magic resistance, though. Namely, the Lich is immune to water, which is really irritating to those of us who like to main a Water Lord, only to struggle to clear the Lich Castle to get its precious artifacts. Lichs are among the few units immune to Drowning. Happily, however, the Lich seems to be vulnerable to fire. One or two good Fireballs from a decent mage should do the trick, and lord knows that an Inferno would turn them into a pile of ash. Additionally Life spells are the bane of the undead, and Turn Undead is a great way to both attack the Lich, and to attack whatever undead army he summoned.
A particularly fun approach is with “Transform Other”. Chaos spells are always fun, and Transform Other will turn the Lich into something… likely easier to handle. What’s more, the Lich would probably be able to dispel it, were it not for the fact that it cannot turn into a unit that can cast spells! Even if it becomes something particularly strong, at least it won’t have spells to back it up.
Finally, you have warriors. Thieves aren’t a good option, since while they can’t be targeted while they’re hidden, they also can’t attack back. In a stat vs. stat brawl, the Lich is too tanky to defeat with a thief before you get hit by his spells, so a warrior is generally a better option. Or better yet, some swift cavalry. While the Lich has unlimited Mana, it takes time to cast spells, and if you close the distance, most warriors of comparable level will be able to soundly defeat the Lich in Melee.
Make no mistake, a glitched Lich is a very dangerous enemy, but by no means is he invincible.
Ranged Squating(Tactic, Unfair Play)
This is a tactic involving normal game mechanics, that is, no glitching or cheat codes, but it’s still very one-sided and unfairly allows you to be overwhelmingly powerful with little effort.
Specifically, this works by using ranged units, but outside of the reach of enemies. The benefit of this is that, done correctly, as little as 1 unit can take out an entire enemy battlegroup, building, dungeon, etc. However, it also has requirements and limitations.
1. Get a ranged unit.
2. Get them into a fight where they have the ability to stay out of range from the enemy, but still be able to hit the enemy.
It’s a simple tactic, sure, but it works very well. That is, when it works…
Most units can close the distance between you and them fairly quickly. That’s why there’s a certain trick… or rather, a few tricks… to this tactic.
The least effective way to do this is the simple shoot-and-scoot method. Fire at the enemy, then book it. This, in turn, can be done two ways: Have a unit that can outrun the enemy, or have a unit that can use stealth to give you the time to get farther from the enemy. Of these two methods, the first requires that the enemy is slower than your ranged unit, which isn’t often the case, and the second requires that you can reengage stealth quickly enough to not get killed. Neither is ideal, and in both cases, you lose if you get surrounded.
The most effective way is to squat somewhere the enemy can’t go, and fire at them from safety. There are 3 main ways this can be done. First, you have Capital Defense. When defending an upgraded Capitol City, you have walls that you can send your ranged units up on. Melee attackers would have to break through the gates, and then climb up the walls to reach you. There are also certain dungeons with similar terrain. Second method is with seafaring vs. non-seafaring units. If you have a ship, and your enemy is both melee and land-locked, then just stay far enough into the water that they can’t hit you, and fire your ranged weapon at them. The other way around, if you are on shore and you have a long-ranged unit, you might be able to hit them from outside of their reach. This version works, but it is limited to the few littoral applications.
The final version is the best, and most practical, Cheezy Ranged Squat. Take a flying unit with a ranged attack, usually it’s best with an air thief or Fae Slingers, but a Dragon, Thunder Drake, Ice Drake, or Balkoth can work just about as well. Usually this will be in buildings. Fly over terrain that the enemy can’t walk over, often such terrain is surrounding the outside edges of the battle, though sometimes it can be found in the middle. If your enemy has no mages, ranged units, or flying units, simply stay out of melee range and pluck them off at your leisure. A single Faerie can defeat a level 11 Dungeon like that, but it relies on your enemy not having any countermeasures. This works well for getting an Air thief fully leveled up so they can train other… more useful units.(Sorry Air fans, but you must admit that those thieves can’t win *every* battle, but a group of Elven Archers trained to level 5 by that thief? Pretty much unstoppable.)
Having ranged units in your own defensive force is imperative to forming a strong party. Mages can also do stuff to prevent this imbalance, and so can flying units. If someone does this against you in multiplayer, you should probably have ranged units to handle it. While it’s unfair against all melee, this is still a valid tactic, and honestly, for Air ranged units it’s the only valid tactic. It’s easy enough to counter with good ranged units, like Elven Archers, since they out-range almost everyone.
Counter Tanking (Tactic, Unfair Play)
You might think that from the title of this section that I’m going to show you an easy way to beat tanks, but that wouldn’t really be overpowered, and I would instead call that something like “Tank Countering” instead of “Counter Tanking”. The basic idea of this is to have a character who either resists damage, or can take a lot of damage, but while defending they cause harm to their enemies by using a spell or artifact to counterattack.
There are several options for this, each has its pros and cons, but all are completely overpowered in single-player games against the AI. In most of these cases, you’ll want to simply send in a lone Champion, and watch as they solo an entire battle. There are 5 champion types that can reliably Counter Tank on their own, though any unit can Counter Tank with the aid of others using spells.
Armour Counter Method
This method is fairly simple: Give certain warriors a piece of armour with a counterattacking effect, then have them use their Parry skill. Parrying is when you use the “Defend” skill and have the selected unit defend themself by selecting them with the defend command.(The cursor will change to a person with a shield standing still.) When your character is in parry mode, they will be totally unable to attack, and their attack stat functionally drops to 0, but their defense stat will increase by half of the value of their previous attack stat.(For example, if you have 10 Attack and 10 Defense, when you parry your attack will become 0, but your defense will become 15.) Parrying is very useful for warriors, since they tend to have enough of both stats to get really high Defense. Enough Defense will make you all but invincible to regular melee damage. From there, let your armour do its thing, killing your enemies for you. There are 4 main champions that can use this method well:
- Fire Warriors can use the Dragonscale Armour. This armour has the highest rate of counterattacking enemies, using a Firedart 50% of the time. That means it takes down enemies pretty quickly, for the most part. However, this also comes with a few disadvantages. First of all, of the warriors that can Counter Tank, the Fire Warriors have the least Defense. While they have a lot of Attack, only half of that Attack will go to Defense with Parrying. This means you have a relatively high chance of taking damage. This can be mitigated partially by having your second artifact being the Eternal Flame, which will give you slow regeneration and a slight increase in Defense, which should be enough for you to tank the rest. The other disadvantage, however, is that Firedart is a Fire-elemented effect. Some enemies, like Demons, resist fire damage, and others still, like Fire Elementals, are immune. As a result, this cannot work against all enemies, but it is a fairly fast and reliable way to win most fights.
- Order and Earth Warriors can use the Armour of Inspiration, along with items for each of their faiths to allow them to regenerate during battle if they lose any health. The bad part is that this armour “lashes out” only 10% of the time, and it takes much longer to finish the battle. Thankfully, the “Lash-Out” effect works on ranged attackers as well, so you don’t need to worry about the archers too much… The good thing, however, is that Earth and Order Warriors have excellent stats, both in Attack and Defense. While both are valid options, I would consider Order Warriors to be the better option due to overall stats and mobility.
That’s quite the fight…
- Death Warriors are the least valid of these options. While they have the highest base defense, and they can also use the Armour of Inspiration, they have the unfortunate drawback of not having any regenerative artifacts available to them.(That’s one of Death’s big weaknesses… they don’t have good healing options.) Still, a given battle is unlikely to totally kill them… usually.
Spell Counter Method
4 of the 5 Counter Tanks are warriors, but the last one is a surprising twist of the Water Mage. In order to properly Counter Tank, you have to be able to avoid taking damage, while you counterattack with a passive counter, but that doesn’t mean you have to Parry, or to have an armour effect. Water Mages are the only singular mage that has the spells to do both, but this has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The Water Mage method is to cast Cloud of Steam on yourself, and then to cast Freeze on yourself just before you get attacked. Freeze makes your character invulnerable to melee and ranged attacks, which allows your normally frail mage to tank all non-magical damage. Cloud of Steam has a 100% chance of counterattacking all ranged and melee attacks. While the game states that it does 3 HP of damage to attackers, in my experience it only deals 2 HP of damage. While the spell itself is a water spell, the damage it does seems to be non-elemental,(Thus ignoring resistances and immunities, making it more valid than the Fire method.) similar to the “Lash-out” effect of the Armour of Inspiration, and like the armour, it still damages ranged attackers.
There are two major drawbacks to this method, however. First of all is cost. Whereas the other methods need certain artifacts, this method requires certain spells to be learned first. Once those spells are learned, there is also the casting cost of the spells. 4 MP for Steam Cloud, 6 MP for Freeze. While that’s still a reasonable price, the 6 MP for Freeze becomes a great cost when you consider that Freeze’s effect is rather short-lived. Freeze only lasts somewhere between 20 seconds and a minute, depending on the level of the Mage who used it. In a larger battle, there is a good chance that Freeze will wear off before all of the enemies have been killed, which is why this method requires that you wait until the enemy is almost upon you before casting Freeze. Even then, sometimes you may have to recast Freeze, and the moment between Freezes could be enough to lose your Mage.
The good news, however, is that Water Mages have some of the largest Mana pools, and they can further use Artifacts to boost their power. I found that the Staff of Drowning is pretty much God-Tier, and should be used to target the bulkiest enemies to ensure their swift demise. Apart from that, a Potion of Mana may be a good investment, but I personally like the safety net of Sharktooth’s regeneration. Cloud of Steam’s effect lasts far longer, and I have never personally found it to run out during battle.
This method is tricky at first, due to its time limit on Freeze, and grinding is recommended to get that time limit up, but you can start the game by soloing your temple with this.
Counter Tanking Continued (Tactic, Unfair Play)
Alternative Spell Counters
There are other faiths that can execute spells that damage attackers, such as Fire and Air, however in both of those cases, they have lower than average defense stats, and they cannot use a spell to protect them entirely from melee and ranged damage. Earth has the Turn to Stone spell that has essentially the same effect as Freeze, however Earth does not have a countering spell. As such, these faiths can work together to cast the spells on each other, or if one can obtain the right scrolls, then any mage could cast the right spells, however, finding and gathering the right scrolls or mages can be a challenge. The Water method is the simplest solution, but other combinations are possible.
Additionally, certain artifacts can be used to case relevant spells. For example, Water Thieves have access to a ring that can cast Cloud of Steam. While the thief herself may be too weak to tank damage, she can cast the spell on a Warrior, and then use stealth to avoid being targeted. The end result will be similar to the other methods, but would require 2 characters in the battle. Against weaker enemies, the water thief could conceivably tank the damage on her own, but the reward would also be lower.
The above Counter Tanking methods allow even fairly low-leveled characters to defeat large numbers of strong enemies without significant loss. Because the amount of experience gained in a battle is divided among all participants, this is the fastest way I have found to very rapidly level these Champions to the max. Any one of these can allow you to solo pretty much the entire game, and without actually cheating or using any glitches. While this follows game mechanics, however, it is still quite unfair. In single player, however, these methods are great for leveling up certain Champions so that you can have them train other units or learn spells much faster.
Countermeasures and Weaknesses
While any of these Champions are capable of soloing even the most dangerous of dungeons under the right circumstances, they are not without weakness. The most glaring weakness of these methods is that they do nothing against magic attacks. If you’re playing against someone who relies on this tactic, remember that mages can still deliver their damage, even against a frozen or petrified target, and that the counter effects do not affect spellcasting. As such, the use of the correct spells can kill the Counter Tank. Additionally, against the spell-based methods, one can use Dispel to cancel the effects. The Fire tanks are vulnerable to Light Rain, which in many cases can OHKO a Champion, and Death has several spells that can easily kill the immobile tanks. Both the Staff of Asphyxiation and the Staff of Drowning also allow the unit to kill the immobile tank units with relative ease.
Magic is not the only countermeasure, though. In fact, even in normal gameplay, ranged units can pose a real problem to this method. What makes this peculiar is *why* ranged units pose a challenge. In short, most melee units in the computer’s AI will only choose to attack with a regular attack, but most ranged units will instead use Aimed Missile attacks against units with high defense. This means that their rate of attack will go down, and with that, their rate of being counterattacked will also drop, but it also means that they increase their chance of actually damaging you. Even the strongest warriors are not totally immune to an Aimed Missile attack.
Similar to the Aimed Missile weakness, Berserking can be used to counteract the Parrying methods. Berserking is, simply put, the inversion of Parrying. Whereas Parrying drops Attack to 0 and boosts Defense by half of Attack’s value, Berserk drops Defense to 0 and boosts Attack by half of Defense’s value. All things considered, this can allow a warrior to level the playing field against a Parrying Counter Tank. Additionally, if you have a number of attackers, their cumulative effect will add up, and you can overpower the enemy’s Defense.
As for the spell method, the greatest weakness it has is time. If you simply wait until their defensive spells wear off naturally, the mage will no longer be able to tank hits, and will return to their squishy self.
Because of these weaknesses, I would consider the Counter Tanking methods to not only be an unfair thing to attempt to use in Multiplayer, but also that they would be foolish, and easily defeatable by anyone smarter than the game’s basic AI.
Siege Bombardment (Tactic, Fair but Over-Powered)
There are certain spells in the game designed to make your enemies exceptionally weak before a battle. Some limit their sight radius, others slow their overland movement, but the simplest and most direct of these spells are the ones that damage their party. For the most part, these cannot target buildings. However, sometimes a building that has been cleared before can be targeted.
Damage dealing overworld spells include, but are not limited to:
- Meteor Shower
Spells like these are expensive to cast, and cannot totally kill units, but they can lower their health to 1 HP, making them very easy to finish off.(A unit with 3 members will have 2 die and the 3rd with 1 HP, rather than have all 3 left with 1 HP.) To offset the price of casting the spell once, it’s wise to have several mages move together to do this. A Fire Mage, for example, at level 10 with a simple staff boosting Mana by 2 points, and having received the blessing of the Eternal Forge, has enough Mana to cast Meteor Shower twice per turn, dealing massive damage to almost all enemies.(Fire damage is resisted by certain enemies.) 3 of such Fire Mages will all but wipe out the defenders of a level 10 building.(This is especially useful in conjunction with Death’s “Spawn Cave” spell to train your units.)
By softening up forces before entering, a level 3 or so Mage can solo a level 10 encounter. If you use a stronger Mage to tag along, you can easily level up very weak units.
Don’t get caught out in the open. Special Buildings seem to be untargetable. Certain units resist certain spells, for instance Vampires are immune to Death spells, and Fire Elementals are immune to Fire spells.
It’s also wise to target enemy mages first, and whenever possible, kill them before they get close to your defenses. Mages have the most potential impact in a battle.
Since spells do damage based on resistance and HP stats, rather than Defense, it’s wise to also have units with a lot of HP to soak up the damage. The more HP you have, the more Mages they’ll need to defeat you.
Defending higher level buildings is also wise. If they need to take multiple turns to cast all of their spells, a level 11 building will heal your units much faster, so stay put and it should be very difficult for them to totally wear down your health, since a lot of it will regenerate each turn.
Inferno Special Attack Unit (Tactic, Fair but Overpowered)
(Yes this title section is in reference to WWII Japanese “Tokubetsu Kogeki Tai”, AKA “Special Attack Units” or even more commonly, “Kamikaze”.)
Inferno is a very powerful spell, but a double-edged sword, dealing 2x the caster’s level in Fire damage to all units, friend and foe alike. A high level Fire Mage can cast it once and survive, or twice and die. With the right artifacts, however, you can increase resistance, or regenerate health between castings, and you can survive through it.
In most cases, though, you’re going to send a “Hired Merc” into a particularly hard dungeon, and have her nuke the place twice, killing all but the bulkiest or most resistant of defenders. This is a quick, cheap, and dirty way to clear a dungeon, but it’s efficient.
If you’re interested in surviving, however, having a mage cast it once, and then fleeing, should be able to greatly weaken the enemy. Alternatively, use bombardment spells before the fight, and that one Inferno should be enough to clear out the rest.
The safest way to use this, however, is with a fully-leveled Fire Mage Lord. If using the Eternal Flame artifact, as well as the Fire Greater staff, the combination of your Fire resistance and your slow regeneration can allow you to cast Inferno twice without dying, and apart from Fire Elementals and Demons, I don’t think anything else could survive a pair of level 12 Infernos. And honestly, even the Demon would be badly damaged, and the Fire Elemental could conceivably be defeated in Melee if you use the right buffing spells.(Or if it’s just one Fire elemental, use Auto-calc. Auto-calc ignores resistance, so it’s a cheap and lazy way to get around stuff like that.)
Fire resistance, and lots of HP. Apart from that, using an immobilizing spell at the start of battle might work, before they get a chance to cast Inferno. Alternatively, Light Rain can instant-kill most Fire units, including most Mages.
Vortex Trap (Tactic, Fair but Over Powered)
The Chaos spell Vortex sends out a number of small spinning vortices in somewhat random directions, dealing 1 HP of Chaos damage per hit and slightly staggering any units they touch for about a minute.
On paper, this seems alright, but not amazing. In practice, however, this can stagger-lock most enemies while causing them to continuously take damage.
The special tactic for this, however, does not require that *you* cast the spell. It doesn’t matter who casts it, and thankfully this tactic only works against AI!
1. Vortex is cast by either you or your enemy.
2. Move your units near the Vortices, but outside of their reach.
3. Your enemy will walk right into the Vortices.
4. Continue to move around the Vortices while your enemy continues to follow the most direct route to you, getting sawed to pieces the entire time.
This method works because the NPC AI is very dumb. It’s somewhat less effective against ranged units, who often times will simply stay outside of the range, thus requiring you to move further from them to get them to move forward into it. The only creature I know to be immune to the Chaos magic damage is the Cyclops, which for some glitchy reason, actually has its HP increased per hit, and it *can* go over the maximum HP, even increasing its HP into the hundreds. However, the Cyclops has almost no hit recovery, and will be frozen in place, continuously staggered, until the spell wears off. At this point, you should have rallied all of your forces to attack that Cyclops, which shouldn’t be too hard, since any more than 6 individuals (such as 2 units) attacking it at once will stagger lock it, making it totally unable to move.
Subduing Made Easy (Tactic, Fair Play)
Subduing enemies is one of the more interesting game mechanics in Lords of Magic. When an enemy Champion is subdued, you can interrogate them, torture them, execute them, trade them back to their Faith, free them, execute them, or if you’re into that kind of thing you can sacrifice them for a small increase in MP. Prisoners are very useful, and subduing Champions is the easiest and most reliable way to take prisoners. Unfortunately, the easiest and most reliable way to take prisoners is… hard and unreliable… which makes you wonder what’s even harder and less reliable. The basic answer to that is the randomized low-chance event that the NPC Faiths decide to use stealth to spy on you or steal from you, and the RNG decides they failed and you caught them and took them prisoner.
Subduing a Champion also has the same approximate effect as killing them in one hit. As such, this can be used to take out difficult enemies, however it still relies on chance and really good stealth, and makes your thief vulnerable.
However, subduing can be done in a much easier, safer, and more reliable way! Immobilization spells are remarkable things. The spells “Entanglement” can immobilize enemies, but it does not stop them from fighting back. This is good to stop them from fleeing, and to give you time to get into position, but there’s still a chance they will resist the subdue attempt, and when that happens, they can fight back, and often kill your Thief. Additionally, there’s a chance you can accidentally kill your target with the melee damage from subdue attempts.
On the other hand, however, certain spells, such as Freeze or Turn to Stone will totally immobilize the enemy, preventing them from fighting back, and will also make them immune to melee and ranged damage. However, while they are immune to melee and ranged damage, it does not prevent them from being subdued. In other words, using Freeze or Turn to Stone on an enemy Champion will allow you to safely subdue them without any risk of harm to you or to them.
(Note: You cannot subdue Balkoth. He just dies. I know, I’ve tried. You also can’t subdue Lords in general.)
It’s usually a good idea to take out mages first, and to always have other units with you. This tactic is pretty much only effective against lone Champions, so keeping units with you is a great defense. If one of your units is captured, you can parley for them, or simply defeat whoever captured them and you’ll get your prisoners back.
Simpler Tactics and Conclusion
While the tactics listed above are certainly very powerful, it is important to remember that there are also very powerful, totally conventional gameplay strategies.
In simple terms, good units will make up for other shortcomings. A full army of Elven Archers is a force to be reckoned with by any measure, and a similarly full army of Holy Knights is perhaps even more impressive, but combing the two would make an army all but invincible.
For those of you who don’t know, Holy Knights are what you get when you have level 5 Knights (Order Cavalry) go to the Cathedral of Knighthood to study, thus increasing their level above the level cap to level 6. They are the strongest Cavalry in the game, and they outclass almost every unit in almost every way.
A balanced force should use tanky units, like Warriors, Infantry, or Cavalry to go into the fray, while your ranged units, especially archers, do the majority of the damage. Simply having your Infantry or Warriors Parry, they will distract the enemies for quite some time, and this gives you ample time to use your archers to wipe them out. Meanwhile, Cavalry and more mobile Warriors can also be used to flank the enemies and take out their mages and archers. Even Thieves can get in close to enemy mages and warriors and take them out, with little risk to you. These tactics are simple, basic even, but they make a world of difference, and allow you to effectively use your forces to take on stronger enemies.
Combining these things with Mages with good spells, especially buffing, debuffing, or both, can make an army unstoppable. Remember that often times spells can stack, and an army with Crusade and Bless both cast on them will have their stats boosted more than leveling up once or twice.
I would like to make note that there are certain minor glitches, exploits, and tactics that are not covered in this guide, or covered poorly. Some are things I do not understand, while others are things that I have already discussed in other guides, or have been discussed more properly by other players elsewhere. I can safely say that my guide on Ships has some content that wouldn’t be out of place in this guide, however since it’s already been said there, it would be pointless to cover it further here. I cannot stress enough that if you’re interested in getting the most out of your gameplay with this game, I highly recommend you read the other guides posted in this community as well. Many players have excellent tactics and tips listed.
Lords of Magic is a very old game, and does have its fair share of glitches, loopholes, and exploits, but it’s important to remember that it is still a game, and it’s meant to be enjoyed. Please do not play against others in an unfair way, but always remember to enjoy yourself. If there is any information that I failed to include in this guide, please feel free to comment, but also feel free to make your own guides as well. I appreciate this game greatly, and have loved it since I was a child. I would like to see more people play this game in the future, and it’s great to see that it still has some degree of an active community. Thanks for reading.
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