This page is about Heroes Chronicles, a collection of games that was released in Fall 2000.
Heroes Chronicles was designed with beginners in mind, and exists to get new players 'hooked' on Heroes of Might and Magic games. Heroes Chronicles seeks to accomplish this by starting with a good tutorial followed by a beginner-level campaign containing lots of storyline and video. All this in a $20 game.
With that said, Heroes Chronicles lacks many things. You cannot play multiplayer. There are no single-scenarios. You cannot download custom maps and play them. You use the same type of town all through the campaign. The campaigns have only 8 scenarios, so experienced Heroes players will want to get Heroes III Complete, which is a far better value, but people new to the genre may find it easier to play the game if it's not as massive and overwhelming. Also, fans of the Heroes series may want to add the Heroes Chronicles games to their collection.
Did you notice I keep using the word 'games'? That is because there are actually four retail Heroes Chronicles games, each containing a different campaign where you use a different type of town. In addition to that, there are two bonus games that can be downloaded if you own enough of the retail games.
Warlords of the Wasteland
This story takes place before the foundation of the kingdom of Erathia. Once upon a time, the great barbarian King Jarg ruler over those lands. But then the Wizards of Bracaduun came and enslaved the barbarian people. Young Tarnum learns the long-lost history of his people from the last bards and decides to do anything to break the Wizards' rule. Becoming the new Barbarian King, he leads the clans against Bracaduun.
After the death of the woman he fell in love with, Yalla, and the murder of one of the bards by the wizards, Tarnum's noble intentions become a sinister quest for blood and revenge. Decided to destroy the Wizard-Kings at all costs, he enslaves the inhabitants of the Mudlands and orders villages of "traitors" to be burned to the ground, even causing the death of one of his long-lost sisters.
After months of campaign and terrible battles, his advisors express their hope to get back to their home, but Tarnum doesn't listen, obsessed by taking the fortress of Steelhorn. To avoid a rebellion, he has his advisors poisoned, including his old friend Hardac. Accusing the Wizards of his crime, he turns his army into a blood-thirsty Horde. Victory is at hand, but at a terrible cost : Tarnum is now known as the Barbarian Tyrant and has become everything he despised in the Wizards.
Notes : Sometime after that, survivors from Bracaduun flee to the north and found the kingdom of Erathia. During another campaign to conquest the young kingdom, Tarnum is defeated by its first king Rion Gryphonheart. Tarnum soon discovers that Paradise is closed to him. Because of his crimes against his own people, the Ancestors have cursed him to wander the world eternally until he make up for "the tremendous wrongs he performed".
It is also worth noting that Gavin Magnus, the future Immortal King of Bracada, was present at the battle of Steelhorn and "killed" by one of Tarnum's behemoths. He then discovered he was in fact immortal.
Conquest of the Underworld
The Ancestors send Tarnum in Erathia to help her free the soul of the queen's father, which was snatched from Paradise by demons of the Underworld. Knowing Queen Allison's father was none other than Rion Gryphonheart, Tarnum is not really willing to help the man who killed him. But he has little choice in the matter...
Masquerading as a knight, Tarnum leads Erathia's troops into the mysterious Underworld. He is soon plagued by nightmares and visions of his past crimes, while in the same time a strong bond is formed with Queen Allison. Tarnum can't dismiss the idea there is something familiar in her, beginning with her unusual red hair. He eventually discovers that Allison is in fact his own niece. While Tarnum's troops were slaughtering entire villages back in the days of the war against Bracaduun, Tarnum's second sister was rescued by a knight who later married her - that knight was of course Rion Gryphonheart.
Tarnum discovers a new respect for his old enemy, the man who actually saved his family. His acceptance of his past crimes, and the forgiveness shown by Mensor, a spy who had discovered Tarnum's true identity as the Barbarian Tyrant, help Tarnum to become what the Ancestors meant him to be : the Immortal Hero. Battling against the demon Jorm, who kept the king's soul prisoner, Tarnum eventually meet the ghostly figure of Rion. The two of them finally make peace, and Rion entrusts his daughter's safety in the hands of Tarnum.
It turns out the whole quest was a skillful trap orchestrated by Deezelisk, a demon which was defeated by Rion in the past. Deezelisk wanted to lure Allison into the Underworld so he could capture her and torture her in retribution of what Rion did to him. Tarnum eventually track down Deezelisk, kill him and free Allison, allowing the king's soul to find peace...
Notes : Queen Catherine's red hair is actually due to her barbarian blood, as Tarnum is her ancestor...
Master of the Elements
Tarnum is then sent to the kingdom of Bracada, founded on the ruins of Bracaduun by Gavin Magnus. This time, the danger's scale is truly epic. Bounded by the gods during ten thousand years, the Elemental Lords are now free and on the verge of destroying the world. To defeat them, Tarnum has no choice than to become a wizard, the thing he hates the most.
Travelling into the Elemental Planes with troops lended by Magnus, Tarnum eventually learns that all wizards are not necessarily bad peoples (despite their arrogance), even becoming close friend with one of them, a fellow named Barsolar. When they finally return in the "real" world, they discover 30 years have passed ! Even more incredible, Gavin Magnus hasn't aged at all. Tarnum realizes the man is an immortal just like him, but also notices the "cold arrogance" the man seems to display.
Meeting with Magnus in private, Tarnum tells him his intentions to set free all the elementals and remove the knowledge of how to get into their planes from the wizards' memory. This way, nobody will have access to that power and become master of the elements. Magnus is not pleased at all by this, and Tarnum guess he was actually already making plans to harness the elemental powers for himself.
Notes : the way Gavin Magnus is portrayed in MotE sheds a different light on a character that was so far always depicted as "good". The way Tarnum describes Magnus is far more mixed, maybe hinting at the fact the scenarists where planning to make him a villain in the future - which they did in Heroes 4.
The World Tree
A faint cry for help from the Ancestors ask Tarnum to "save the World Tree", a mission that leads him to a vast network of tunnels under the Barbarians lands. Necromancers and barbarians have united to destroy the World Tree, under the command of a being called Vorr. Vorr is the bloodthirsty god of war of the barbarians of Krewlod, but once he was one of the Ancestors, before he was transformed by the belief of its people. When he learns the persona of Vorr was created from the worship a barbarian king of old, Tarnum realizes that it may very well be none other than himself, when he was still the Barbarian Tyrant.
Trying to free the barbarians from Vorr's influence, Tarnum manages to gain a Pendant of Total Recall. With its power, he shares his memories and regrets with the barbarian ruler, King Targor to make him realize the wrongness of this path. Now convinced of his errors, Targor heroically decides to face Vorr alone, but he is no match for the corrupted Ancestor.
Befriending and allying with an Elf ranger called Nilidon, Tarnum is taught that he is actually walking INSIDE the World Tree since the beginning. The Elves call it "the Roots of Life" - the very caverns and tunnels in which Tarnum has been fighting Vorr's necromancers. So the only way to save the World Tree is to wipe out the necromancers to put a stop to their blight. Succesful in his mission, Tarnum is still worried : Vorr escaped, and the Ancestors remain awfully silent.
The Fiery Moon
With the hunch Vorr has something to do with the Ancestors' disappearance, Tarnum decides to pursue the mad being. But Vorr had already left this world : he fled through a portal called the Sparkling Bridge. After some errands to activate the Bridge, Tarnum crosses it to a world called the Fiery Moon. A barren landscape devoid of any life, the Fiery Moon is home to demons which invaded it a long time ago (it is unclear if those are Kreegans or not.)
But Tarnum has other problems than Vorr : his body has started aging again, and fast. The powers of the Ancestors are diminishing, so Tarnum's quest becomes a race against the clock if he doesn't want to die of old age before succeeding. meets survivors from the previous inhabitants of the Fiery Moon, who managed to hide in a remote valley. With their help, Tarnum manages to free the Ancestors from their prison. His companions wiped out by Vorr's terrible powers, a rage-filled Tarnum swears to kill Vorr, but the Ancestors appear to prevent Tarnum from doing this. Instead, they're asking him to make Vorr drink from the sap of the World Tree.
Initially reluctant to spare his nemesis, Tarnum eventually understands that killing Vorr would destroy the other Ancestors... and also himself, That's why after defeating Vorr, he makes him drink the potion, cleansing Vorr from his insanity.
Revolt of the Beastmasters
Tarnum still feels guilty for enslaving the Mudlanders centuries before, so he gladly accepts the Ancestors' new mission : to free them from slavery, currently at the hands of Erathia. Soon Mad King Gryphonheart send his own son, Niven, to deal with the rebellion lead by Tarnum. But Tarnum soon realizes the mad king actually hopes for his son to be killed, fearing he could gain the people's support and turn against him.
Capturing Niven, Tarnum shows him the horrible treatments the slaves are suffering. The young Erathian prince, who has become friend with Droglo, a kid Tarnum is training so he could become the leader of the Tatalians after his departure, decides to fight alongside the Mudlanders to save both their people from his father's madness. The Mudlanders soon declare themselves a free nation - under the name Tatalia, which means "Community" - much to Mad King Gryphonheart's rage. He leads his army against Tarnum, but back in Erathia, Niven manages to persuade the nobility to stop supporting the insane monarch.
Niven is soon declared the new king of Erathia and joins forces with Tatalia to fight against Gryphonheart. A few days before the decisive battle against the Mad King, Droglo and Niven make a treaty to put an end to the slavery. Tarnum leaves happy, knowing that both countries are in good hands.-------------------------------
Notes : Tarnum's raising of Droglo could have inspired him to adopt Waerjak. I don't think Mad King Gryphonheart is ever named properly...
The events of Heroes III and its expansions happen somewhere between Revolt of the Beastmasters and Clash of the Dragons.-------------------------------
Clash of the Dragons
Tarnum has been living in peace in AvLee for an untold number of years, having befriended Elves and Dragons, creatures with long life-span and as such who have no problems with the fact Tarnum is immortal. Tarnum has also been raising a child, Waerjak. But peace can't last forever : something is turning the Dragons insane, and Tarnum decides to discover what, even if the Ancestors didn't assign him this task. He entrusts Waerjak to the witch Adrienne (from Armageddon's Blade), with which Tarnum had a relationship, and hits the road once again to save the world.
The identity of his enemy is soon revealed : it is none other than the Dragon Queen, Mutare (from Armageddon's Blade too). Mutare's control over the Dragons is expending to the "good" ones and she soon intends to leave her realm of Nighon to invade Erathia and AvLee. During his quest to stop Mutare, Tarnum befriends an elven spy, Aspen, a dwarf, Kurbon, and a beautiful ranger he rescued from torture at the hands of the demons, Valita. As feelings between Tarnum and Valita grow stronger, Aspen starts to suspect the ranger is actually a spy of the enemy. But Tarnum simply can't believe it.
It turns out the spy was actually Kurbon, the dwarf, who kills Aspen and abducts Valita, to have Tarnum surrender in exchange of her life. But ultimately the dwarf decides to break free from Mutare's control, and helps Valita escape at the cost of his own life. Reunited with the woman he loves, Tarnum faces Mutare and with the help of Faerie Dragons manage to turn the tide of the war. Mutare is forced to flee back to Nighon, where she meets her demise at the hands of another.
The Sword of Frost
An apocalyptic prophecy says that if the Armageddon's Blade and the Sword of Frost are ever to meet, that would be the end of the world. Rather than renouncing to the Armageddon's Blade, the Half-Elf hero, Gelu, decides to find the Sword of Frost first, hoping to destroy it. The Ancestors asks Tarnum to stop him before the fool brings the two blades together.
In the aftermath of Mutare's death, Tarnum seizes control of Nighon and sails towards the secret lands of Vori, where Gelu went in search of the Sword. But Gelu isn't the only adversary Tarnum must face : the barbarian king Kilgor sent Kija, his third wife, to retrieve the Sword for him. Hoping he can still convince Gelu to give up his quest, Tarnum abducts one of Gelu's closest friend, the dwarf Ufretin. To prove to Ufretin that Gelu's quest is foolish, Tarnum even tells him of his immortality and his fate as the Immortal Hero. But even Ufretin can't make Gelu hear reason : the Half-Elf is simply too proud and has Ufretin accused of treason. The dwarf has no choice than to flee, but not without taking with him the key to the secret city of Volee, where the Sword is kept, in order to give it to Tarnum.
In the meantime, Tarnum has been fighting against Kija, but he decides to let her live. This proves his greatest mistake ever. After his defeating of Gelu and retrieving the Sword of Frost, Kija manages to steal it from Tarnum, and flees back to Nighon to give it to her husband Kilgor. Tarnum realizes with horror his failure this time may very well provoke the destruction of the world...
Notes : This ending leads to the beginning of Heroes 4 : Gelu and Kilgor fight each other with their respective blades, the prophecy is accomplished and the world is destroyed. What happened between Ufretin and Gelu is maybe what pushed the dwarves to grow distant from the Elves in the new world, as, according to his H4 bio, Ufretin "was key in convincing the dwarves to leave the leadership of the haughty and chaotic elves".