Blood & Magic is a real-time strategy computer game released by Interplay Entertainment in 1996 which uses the Dungeons & Dragons license.[1]


The game single player game consists of five regular campaigns of increasing difficulty,[2] followed by a world conquest (a long campaign during which the player conquers all 15 maps and then challenges the gods themselves). In all regular campaigns the player can choose one of two sides of conflict. To unlock the next campaign, the player has to finish the current campaign at least once. The storylines of all campaigns are typical fantasy tales (without any explicit AD&D references), although each campaign has its own take on the genre. The stories are told between battles by a narrator voice (often in verse) and illustrated by gradually uncovered pictures.

A brief summary of the campaigns:

Howl of VengeanceEdit

The story begins with a barbarian leader Rathgar the Raider conquering the kingdom of Doegan. With his last breath, the realm's rightful king curses the barbarian. The king's daughter flees and seeks the help of a young necromancer, Aelric the Avenger. Playing as either the usurper defending his new kingdom or as the avenger, the player seeks to either lift or fulfill the king's curse.

Matchmaker MayhemEdit

When Roxana, princess of the kingdom of Edenvale, had come of age, she proclaimed a challenge: Any man that wants to take her hand in marriage must first defeat her. The player can choose whether to help Roxana flee from the hordes of suitors or take the lead of Bryan the Bold's armies and win the princess' heart.

Tartyron UnboundEdit

A classic struggle between law and chaos, with similarities to many stories of fallen angels and balance. Tartyron, the Lord of Chaos, broke free from his underground prison and wants to spread chaos in the surface world. His opponents are the two lords and a lady from the Circle of Order who have exiled Tartyron once and hope to do so again.

Nuts and !BoltsEdit

A campaign with strong elements of comedy. Two brothers, Garrulos the Occasionally Good and Wormskull the Artificier have found a pearl of great magical powers. Unfortunately, the pearl is also cursed and causes strife between the brothers. Wormskull wants to use the pearl's magic to create inventions, while Garrulos seeks to stop his brother's insane plans and win the king's favors.

The Juggernaut
The most powerful unit in the game albeit not usable by the player is the 'Juggernaut'. The large (2x2 squares) construct with a skull shaped head is encountered in the final scenario of the 'Nuts and Bolts' campaign.
Juggernaut has the most powerful melee attack in the game, spits flame as a ranged attack and can roll over all ground units with the exception of the Stone Golem. Combined with extremely good defense, 500 hit points (twenty times more than an average unit) and a spell immunity (e.g. it cannot be turned to stone by a Medusa) makes him a match for an entire army.

Harvest of HorrorsEdit

The villagers living in the shadow the forbidden plateau fear the harvest time, as it is then that creatures hungering for human stew descend from the plateau, hunting the villagers. This year the tradition might end, however, as the mage Heradan the Hermit stands up to oppose the dark hordes of the Kingdom of Nix (led by Redfang the Reaper). This campaign introduces new units on Nix's side (Goblin, Harpy and Enchanter) as well as magical cauldron that boils creatures back to mana. The new units are of above-average quality and present a great threat for Heradan. Arguably, the creatures' side of this campaign is much easier to play.

Gameplay Edit

Blood & Magic is a real-time strategy game, where players take on the role of wizards, using blood magic to create monsters.[3] The game is set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting in an area called the Utter East.[4]

The basic units of the game are the basal golems, which are created at the Bloodforge.[2] They provide mana for the production of new units and can be turned into buildings or monsters.[2] When four are placed on a foundation, they may transform into a mystical site dedicated to the kind of magic the player’s choosing. Placing a basal golem adjacent to a friendly mystical site will allow them to change into a different creature, based on the type of mystical site.[2] The player automatically is only able to use the weakest transformation, and can unlock more by researching. Researching costs experience, which is gained by creating or transforming basal golems, creating or destroying structures, casting spells and slaying enemies.

While this approach is original compared to the usual Dune-like system where the player had to harvest or mine resources, it brings its own set of problems. There are no limits on basal golem and almost no limits mana production (the only one being that a player can not have more than 300 mana at one time) and the stationary golems are much easier to protect than moving harvesting units meaning that unhindered exponential growth can easily occur. Also, not having to protect supply routes means less opportunities for strategic thinking, as does the lack of any defensive structures (with the exception of passive walls).

The most egregious deviation from normal RTS gameplay is the extreme micromanagement required for the collection of the game's resources.[1] The golems charge mana individually, and collecting the mana requires a continuous cycle of selecting individual golems and clicking a "transfer" button[2] (or, alternatively, the right mouse button). Golems will eventually transfer mana on their own if they reach their maximum capacity and are left unattended for a long period of time, but this severely impacts their efficiency.

The game's pacing is similar to that of vintage RTS games like Dune II and Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. By comparison, the gameplay is very slow compared to Warcraft II which came out the year prior.

Legendary Campaign Edit

After finishing the campaigns of Blood & Magic, the legendary campaign becomes available. In this mode, you travel across the entire map of the Utter East, including the new legendary map. You can personalize your character and embark on the last adventure. At the end of the campaign, you can break open the gates to the plane of the gods and become an immortal.


In order to transform your Basal Golems into higher order units you will need to create bases. A base can be created when by moving four Basal Golems onto a foundation point and selecting the transform option, this will open up a menu with various base types; the type of base you create will affect the units available.

Base options are: Barracks, Temple, Arbor Lodge, Runestone and Crypt.


Typically strong and virtuous, the units main traits include power and stamina.

Units: Warrior, Ranger, Paladin (Goblin available in specific levels).


Combining healing with damage, the temple supplies a range of tools from the healing hand of the Cleric to the might of the Fury.

Units: Cleric, Fury, Paladin (Enchanter available in specific levels).

Arbor Lodge

Although many of their units are not particularly strong, the Arbour Lodge units are nimble and agile. They perform best in woodland terrain, being immune to the damaging effects of poor ground.

Units: Druid, Ranger, Griffon, Nymph.


Providing a complete solution of power, range and restoration. Whilst the Wizard and Wyrm units provide the ranged attacks, the power Stone Golem is a suitable 'tank-like' unit, suitable for taking on several opponents at once, with the Gnome repairing the Golem's stone-skin to maintain HP.

Units: Wizard, Gnome, Stone Golem, Wyrm.


The more sinister selection of units to choose from in the game, units are typically evil and as such the counterpoint to all other units in the game. Whilst they have many advantages, including the health restoration of the Ghouls and the 'fear' of the Wraith, Crypt units (with the exception of the Gargoyle) can not be healed, making them less likely to survive large battles.

Units: Zombie, Gargoyle, Ghoul, Wraith (Harpy available in specific levels).

AI Edit

The AI is on similar level as in most other RTS games from the 1990s. It can assemble and send small strike forces quite well, can cast spells, find and use magic items, making it a dangerous opponent in the early game. However, it does not coordinate its defences very well, making the endgame an easy cleanup exercise once the player has managed to gain a foothold. Fortunately, the AI does not abuse the possibilities of exponential growth.

Critical receptionEdit

The Herald-News gave a mostly positive review of Blood & Magic, saying the variety of units and terrain were two of the game's strong points.[2] It also called the game "habit-forming".[2] Weaknesses noted in the review included the enemy AI and the large number of clicks required for resource management via the basal golems.[2] The Buffalo News gave the game a C rating, calling the storyline "deep".[4]

According to GameSpy, "It didn't take long before gamers started to realize that -- even as the RTS genre was exploding -- there was nothing here that should drag them away from Warcraft II or Red Alert."[5]



Aelric the AvengerBryan the BoldGrubkernHaradan the HermitKing of DoeganKing of EdenvaleLady of TidesLord of FlameLord of LandsPrincess of DoeganRathgar the RaiderRedfang the ReaperRoxanna of EdenvaleTartyron


GargoyleGhoulGnomeGoblinGriffonHarpyNymphStone GolemWraithWyrmZombie


Buildings & Sites
Edenvale CastleHigh Cradle KeepOld Stone Keep
EldrinparVanesci Hamlet
Web MountainsWu Pi Te Shao MountainsYehimal Mountains
Herne's WoodMines of MysteryPhantom PassSerpent Valley
DoeganEdenvaleKingdom of NixKonigheimRealm of LandsRealm of FireRealm of Tides
Sempadan ForestUtter East


Circle of Order


Main: Images from Blood & Magic


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Game CreditsEdit

From the Blood & Magic game manual.

  • Head Honcho: Brian Fargo
  • Big Cheese: Phil Adam
  • Producer: William Church
  • Assistant Producer: Christopher M. Benson
  • Art Consultant: Todd J. Camasta
  • MAC Consultant: Bill Dugan
  • TSR Foreman: Feargus Urquhart
  • Lead Marketer: Craig Owens
  • Lead Public Relations: Genevieve Waldman
  • Story Prologue Writer: Zeb Cooke
  • Art Director: David Gaines
  • Documentation Designer: Patrizia Scharli
  • Cover artwork based on painting "Deadlock" by: Larry Elmore
  • Localisation Manager: Julian Ridley
  • Traffic Manager: Bill Hamelin
  • Additional Translation: Gary Burke, Sylvie Nguyen
  • Audio Translation: Charles Deenen
  • Music Director: Brian Luzietti
  • Audio Technician: Craig Duman
  • Music Composer and FM Translation: Rick Jackson, Ronald Valdez
  • Sound Effects Composer: Gregory R. Allen
  • Voice Processing: Sergio A. Bustamante II
  • Director of QA: Chad Allison, Jim Boone
  • Assistant Directors of QA: Marvic Ambata, Ronald Hodge, Jason L. Nordgren, Colin Totman, Darren L. Monahan
  • Lead Testers: Erick Lujan, Matthew Golembiewski, Douglas W. Avery, Steve Baldoni, Richard Barker, Jeremy S. Barnes, Greg Baumeister, Evan Chantland, Casey Fawcett, Bill Field, David Hendee, Greg Hersch, Rod Hodge, Darrell Jones, Chris Keenan, Amy Mitchell, Matthew Murakami, Glenn Murray, David Gene Oh, Stephas Reed, Usana Shaddy, Kyle Shubel, Shelby Strategier, Anthony Taylor, Kaycee Vardeman, Steve Victory
  • Director of Compatability: John Werner
  • Compatability Technicians: Marc Duraan, Dan Forsyth, Phuong Nguyen, Aaron Olaiz, Jack Parker, Derek Gibbs, Marc Duran
  • Game Designer, Project Manager, Art Director, Lead Writer: Vasken N. Sayre
  • Lead Programmer (Tigre Game Engine): John Hamilton, Vangelis Van Dempsey
  • Applications Programmer (Cinematics and Support Screens): Kevin Sherrill
  • Character and Environment Animator, Opening Cartoon Designer and Animator: Tramell Ray Isaac
  • Inset and Portrait Artist, Map Designer and Artist: Brian Menze
  • Map Designer and Artist: Jana Darkoski
  • Map Designer and Artist, Campaign Portrait Artist: Leigh Kellogg
  • Background Illustrator (Opening Cartoon): Tramell Ray Isaac
  • Background Illustrator (Tatyron Unbound, Matchmaker Mayhem, Nuts and Bolts): Maurice Morgan
  • Background Illustrator (Howl of Vengence): Peter Ledger
  • Background Illustrator (Harvest of Horrors): Alex Nino
  • Background Illustrator (Nuts and Bolts), Computer Artist (all stories): Brian Menze
  • Tigre Engine Programmers: Vangelis Van Dempsey, John Crane, John Hamilton, Brian K. Hughes, Chris Iden, Kimberly L. Bowdish, Kevin Sherrill, Russell Woods
  • Mac Programmers: John Crane, Kimberly L. Bowdish
  • Mac Artitis: Tramell Ray Isaac, Eric C. Heitman, Robert Collier, Deena Ellias, W. Bryan Ellis, Jay Christopher Esparza, Cheryl Loyd, Brian Menze, Ernst Shadday, Ila Shadday
  • Support Staff (Head Honcho): Chris Iden
  • Support Staff (Big Cheese): Marie Iden
  • Support Staff (Story Prologue Writer, Paycheck Fairy): Nancy Grimsley
  • Support Staff (Office Wrangler): Sonia Graves, Shelly Sischo
  • Support Staff (Assistant Wrangler): Rachel Ackerman
  • Support Staff (Paycheck Fairy): Donna Wyatt
  • Lead Music Composer, Sound Effects Composer: Ron Saltmarsh
  • Music Composer, Sound Effects Composer: Andy Warr
  • Cartoon Colorist Manager: Shaun Mitchell
  • Voice Performance (Main Game, Howl of Vengence, Tartyron Unbound, Legendary Campaign): Mike Forest
  • Voice Performance (Tutorial, Nuts and Bolts, Harvest of Horrors, Legendary Campaign): Steven M. Kramer
  • Voice Performance (Matchmaker Mayhem, Legendary Campaign): Wendee Lee
  • Voice Performance (Voice Director): Melodee M. Spevack
  • Voice Performance (Sound Technicians): Greg Gill, Randy Vandegrift
  • Voice Performance (Voiceworks Liason): Michael McConnohie
  • TSR (Head Honcho): James M. Ward
  • TSR (Forgotten Realms Manager): David Wise
  • TSR (Forgotten Realms Consultant): Julia Martin
  • Additional Graphics / Artwork (Matchmaker Mayhem): Daniel B. McMillan, Richard Morgan
  • TSR Lead: Mark O'Green
  • Additional Translations, German Version: JBI Localization; Los Angeles
  • Quality Assurance Technicians: Bill Delk, Aaron Meyers

This game is dedicated to the memory of Peter Ledger

External linksEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Blood & Magic for PC Review - PC Blood & Magic Review. Retrieved on September 26, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Taking D&D to the Next Level". The Herald-News. April 12, 1997. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  3. Tresca, Michael J. (2010). The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games. (McFarland), p. 144. ISBN 078645895X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Floating Islands and Agressive Aliens". The Buffalo News. July 22, 1997. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  5. Rausch, Allen (2004-08-18). A History of D&D Video Games - Part IV. Game Spy. Retrieved on November 15, 2012.


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