Heroes Chronicles is a series of turn-based strategy video games developed by Jon Van Caneghem through New World Computing and published by the 3DO Company. The series was intended to introduce a new audience, such as casual gamers, to the Heroes of Might and Magic series. As part of that strategy, each installment of Chronicles was released as a low-cost episode containing a relatively short single-player campaign, and the difficulty level of each game was kept low.
All Chronicles games are based on a limited version of the Heroes of Might and Magic III game engine. The ability to play scenario maps and multiplayer games is not included in any Chronicles title.
The series consists of five retail episodes, supplemented by two downloadable episodes. The first two titles, Warlords of the Wasteland and Conquest of the Underworld, were released on September 27, 2000. The next two installments, Clash of the Dragons and Masters of the Elements, were released shortly thereafter on November 15, 2000. In the meantime, 3DO offered The World Tree as a free download, which would install on any system with at least two retail episodes. Similarly, Fiery Moon would install on any system with at least three retail episodes. Lastly, The Sword of Frost and Revolt of the Beastmasters were released together under the name The Final Chapters on June 1, 2001.
All eight games have been released through Good Old Games in June 2011.
Many centuries before the events of Heroes of Might and Magic III, on the continent of Antagarich, Tarnum learns from a dying bard that the barbarians were once glorious. Tales of a barbarian named Jarg inspire Tarnum to set out to free the barbarian people from the rule of the Wizard-Kings of Bracaduun. He appoints Hardac as an advisor. Tarnum is at first considered a mere rebel, but as he grows more influential, the wizards begin to take him more seriously. A wizard named Kurl captures the four remaining bards and threatens to kill them if Tarnum does not disband his army and surrender. Tarnum, however, defeats Kurl in time to save three of the bards. Realizing his need for more forces, Tarnum enslaves the nearby Mudlanders in order to bolster his armies. Together, the two forces reconquer the land they used to own.
Not satisfied, Tarnum leads an army east into the Wallpeaks (the fortified mountains between the Wastelands and Bracaduun). Hardac's son, Tordac, is killed in battle here. After breaking through the Wallpeaks, Tarnum heads north to seek the aid of a tribe of barbarians that once followed Jarg, pillaging many defenceless villages in his wake. He discovers the dead body of his eldest sister here. Tarnum's sisters were taken by the wizards long ago because each family was only allowed one child. She was killed by his own army. The barbarians in the area find Tarnum to be cruel and tyrannical. Even Tarnum's own men begin to desert him because of his insanity and aggression. Eventually, Tarnum poisons his remaining advisors during a feast. Tarnum commands his followers to destroy what remains of the Empire of Bracaduun. In the final scenario, Tarnum meets his father who is worried about the things he has heard about his son. Tarnum's father dies in bed shortly before the young Barbarian finishes his conquest of Castle Steelhorn, the final fort of Bracaduun.
A few years after the fall of Bracaduun, a Knight named Rion Gryphonheart gives rise to a new kingdom known as Erathia. Rion Gryphonhart eventually meets Tarnum in battle and kills him. Tarnum's soul enters the Hall of Judgement, where three barbarian gods known as the Ancestors deem him to be unworthy of entering Paradise. Instead, he is cast back to Antagarich as an Immortal, charged with redeeming himself for the terrible atrocities he has wrought.