Disciples: Sacred Lands is a turn-based PC strategy game published by Strategy First in 1999. Set in a fantasy world known as the Sacred Lands, it was a battle for dominance between four races of the world of Nevendaar: The Empire (humans), the Mountain Clans (dwarves) the Legions of the Damned (demons), and the Undead Hordes (undead).
Gameplay consisted of three major components: The Capital City, where the player recruited units, constructed buildings, and researched spells, The Adventure Map, where the player led Heroes and their parties to explore the land, and the Battle Screen, where battles were fought whenever hostile parties met on the adventure map.
The game have many similarities between Heroes of Might And Magic series; like having a leader, creature slots, city improvements, adventure map with resources and hostile creatures along with the turn-based gameplay.
Key characteristics of Disciples:
- Small squads with Experience: As opposed to the rival Heroes of Might and Magic franchise, armies in Disciples were not composed of 'stacks' but of small groups of individual units which could only be recruited at the lowest level and would upgrade as they gained experience.
- Fixed battle positions: The battles were not fought on a 'map' where units could move about. They had specific stations, but their representation on a plane was purely symbolic, and they could attack any enemy targets (although there were restrictions about ranks and melee attacks), similar to the battle system in some older RPGs.
- Distinctive Art style: The graphics and art in Disciples, both computer and hand-drawn, have always had a very distinctive style to them, with very dark browns and sombre colours, baroque details, and skewed proportions. The overall atmosphere of the game is greatly enhanced by the characteristic graphics.
Disciples: Sacred Lands has a sequel with similar gameplay elements, Disciples II: Dark Prophecy.
From the product description on Amazon:
It is now the dawn of a new age. The most momentous of wars has begun in the heart of the Sacred Lands. Four races - the Empire, the Mountain Clans, the Undead Hordes, and the Legions of the Damned - stand ready for battle as they fight for the survival and dominance of their war-torn world and the gods they have long believed in. The mighty lords watch silently as their disciples prepare for the daunting tasks ahead. Each warrior must engage in a struggle of swordplay, sorcery, and uncommon courage in order to complete his or her sacred quests. The Empire fight to secure their people's future. The Mountain Clans search to regain their rune knowledge. The Undead Hordes seek revenge for their accursed god. And the Legions of the Damned battle to resurrect their fallen angel's soul.
It is a struggle of desperation. Every stroke of a sword, each blast of fiery magic, must be endured beyond exhaustion, for once the clouds of destruction clear, lands will have been transformed, new armies will have been forged, and the cheers of the liberated will resound throughout the land. Only one race shall claim victory. Only the chosen will survive.</blockquote>
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