Might and Magic: Swords of Xeen is a free, downloadable fan-made modification of the World of Xeen engine developed by Catware, designed and directed by Bill Fawcett and released in 1995. As the earliest full-scale Might and Magic project made by fans of the series, it was also the first installment in the series to be developed by a company other than New World Computing.
Subsequent to its final release, Swords of Xeen was authorised and published by New World Computing and The 3DO Company in the form of a bonus scenario, distributed with anthologies of the early Might and Magic RPGs. It was first included in the Might and Magic Trilogy compilation, and has most recently been made available in the Might and Magic 6-Pack from Good Old Games.
Swords of Xeen follows the events of Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen, and focuses on a party of six adventurers, the last able servants of the dragon pharaoh. Commanded to investigate an enigmatic portal in the city of Greyhaven, they are teleported to Havec - a dystopic and deeply corrupted wasteland-like world - where they discover, and strive to destroy, the malign force which orchestrated the actions of Sheltem the Dark and Lord Xeen.
Swords of Xeen is based entirely on the World of Xeen engine, and features almost no unique gameplay elements or graphics, instead reusing most of the World of Xeen interface, playing conventions and sprites. Despite introducing few dramatic changes to the established Might and Magic formula, the scenario takes place in an entirely revised gameworld, with no recurring locales from previous games. The scenario is particularly notable for pioneering the "rule and rebuild your own town" concept, which was eventually revisited by New World Computing in the form of Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor's Castle Harmondale.
Swords is a sequel to the events of Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen and World of Xeen, opening on the Xylonite Experimental Expansion Nacelle at an indeterminate point after the Unification Ceremony (the game's starting date is the year 1050). Following a final slew of climactic conflicts against the forces lured to XEEN by Lord Xeen and Sheltem the Dark prior to the Unification, the allies of the Dragon Pharaoh are spread thinly and remain few in number, while monstrosities begin to emerge from a pyramid in the ruins of the city of Greyhaven. The Dragon Pharaoh sends his six greatest remaining loyalists - Delos, Thoressor, Roderick, Kepper, Cormac and Bithel - to stand against the tide until XEEN can begin to rebuilt itself.
Passing through the pyramid-gate, the party emerges on the desert, post-apocalyptic world of Havec, the place where Lord Xeen was reputedly spawned. There, they encounter the spirit of Jodiah the Paladin, who explains the land's fate: Havec, once prosperous, was ravaged by hordes of monsters commanded by the Guardian Sheltem the Dark, reportedly an emissary and servant for an even greater, more malevolent entity: The Source. Travelling Havec, liberating and rebuilding the cities of Hart, Impery and Sand Town, the six adventurers recover the Paladins' Elder Weapons and journey to the Metal Tower in the northwest, in actuality an upturned Ancient spaceship.
Disabling the Source's potency using computer terminals, the party flees as the Metal Tower self-destructs, ridding Havec of its iniquity. Thereafter, the adventurers are pronounced the rightful Lords of Havec, presented the opportunity to rule over the crippled yet healing world for years to come.
The game began as a mod based on the Might and Magic V engine, which was released in 1993. Personalities from Catware were responsible for leading the modding effort, with story contributions from Ellen Beeman. As development progressed, collaboration with New World Computing was established, and the game received publishing support. Bill Fawcett is credited with its design and direction.
|The Might and Magic community|
|English-speaking sites||Age of Heroes (Heroes Community - Tournament of Honor) - Castle Gobs - Celestial Heavens (The Heroes Round Table) - Flamestryke - Maps4Heroes.com - Might & Magic Taverns - The Genie's Lamp|
|International fansites||Acidcave - Archangel Castle - Behemoth's Lair - Drachenwald - Heroes Centrum - Heroes.fr - Heroic Corner - The Ivory Tower|
|Defunct fansites||Astral Wizard - Elrath - Guardian's Grove - Nether Gods|
|Notable works||Might and Magic: Swords of Xeen - Heroes of Might and Magic III: In the Wake of Gods - Heroes of Might and Magic IV: Equilibris - Might and Magic Tribute: Book of Ceth - Heroes of Might and Magic V fan manual - Skill wheel - Ghosts of the Past - Heroes of Might and Magic V: Legends of the Ancients - New Creature Framework - Might and Magic VI: The Chaos Conspiracy|
|Related||Guild of the Wooden Flute - SaveHeroes.org - The Tomb of Lord Brinne|