Dungeon Lords

Moby ID: 17747
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Galdryn of the Meadows, a powerful wizard, was treacherously killed by another mage. It appears that a conspiracy is born within the Circle of Mages. Losing his powerful ally, Lord Davenmor of Fargrove finds it more and more difficult to protect his city against the onslaught of the malevolent Lord Barrowgrim's army of marauders. Under pressure, Lord Davenmor promised the invader he could marry his daughter, Lady Ellowyn. However, her heart belongs to another man, and she escapes. A lonely traveler passing by Fargrove seems to be the only one who can solve this predicament, and eventually liberate the land from the forces of evil.

Dungeon Lords is an action role-playing game set in a fantasy world. In the beginning of the game the player creates the protagonist, choosing between seven available races and four beginning classes. The races include, besides the traditional Humans, Elves, and Dwarves, original humanoid or animal-like ones - Urgoth, Wylvan, Zaur, and Thrall. The beginning classes are Fighter, Mage, Adept (a mix of both), and Rogue. Each of those have different starting base attributes in six categories, which are also affected by the player's choice of gender.

The player can allocate remaining points manually to upgrade the base attributes as well as other skills - such as weapon proficiencies, magic categories, lockpicking, etc. - during character creation as well as any time when the protagonist gains a sufficient amount of experience points. As the players advance, they can gain Tier Two and Tier Three classes to help develop their characters even further. Each class can gain skills in all abilities, though some may be harder to obtain. For example, a fighter could train in a weapon skill for relatively few skill points, yet would need many more skill points to train a magic skill.

There are four kinds of magic: celestial, arcane, nether, and rune. Arcane magic is the standard scrolls and spellbooks form of magic. Celestial magic uses star crystals, each being able to perform a particular spell and needing to recharge after the charges are used up. Nether magic require mixing various katals together to create the spell. These katals can be found throughout the game and include such things as bat wings, rat tails, and other animal and monster ingredients. Rune magic also requires mixing items together to create spells. However, rune magic uses runes rather than katals.

Exploring large dungeons, hunting for treasure, and fighting enemies within occupies the largest portion of the game, though it also has an overworld with limited exploration possibilities, as well as a large town and other settlements where the protagonist can acquire side quests and joining guilds, promoting his status in chosen classes. There is a large variety of melee and ranged weapons, armor, and spells to find in the game. Enemies in the game may respawn in random locations even if the player character stands still. The frequency of these appearances can be regulated in the game's option menu.


  • 地城霸主 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 地城領主 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Credits (Windows version)

273 People (242 developers, 31 thanks) · View all



Average score: 53% (based on 34 ratings)


Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 22 ratings with 1 reviews)

Dungeons & Classes

The Good
David Bradley probably needs no introduction to RPG fans. Having designed the most interesting Wizardry installments, he moved on to spearhead an ambitious project: a large, modern, action-oriented RPG that would retain the depth and the complexity of his earlier oeuvre.

Unfortunately, Dungeon Lords was released in an embarrassing state, plagued by bugs and lacking essential features and content (mini-map, empty rooms, etc.). This severely undermined the game's reputation; lambasted by professional reviewers, it was quickly forgotten. After five or so patches (which were released fairly quickly), the game became much more playable. In fact, the fully patched Collector's Edition almost feels like a different game.

Dungeon Lords is a large, relatively open action RPG; by far not as massive or rich in content as Morrowind, it is somewhat closer in concept to the Gothic series. The core of the experience here is character building. Monitoring the growth of your character, choosing a playing style and a path of advancement is one of those basic aspects of RPG design that some games belonging to this genre manage to capture better than others. Dungeon Lords captures it really well. It is a game designed for those who enjoy taking an initially weak, powerless character through a challenging journey, actively turning it into an unstoppable, ferocious warrior. In that sense, Dungeon Lords is noticeably more "hardcore" than Gothic.

The game offers a variety of interesting races to choose from, each having different affinities and thus more or less suitable for the diverse paths through its complex, expertly crafted skill and class system. The skills are what you'd expect from a combat-oriented RPG - weapon and armor proficiencies, lockpicking, different magic disciplines, etc. Following different paths through the classes, however, unlocks more unique skills and allows the player to invest and focus on a very specific build, from the good old plate armor-clad tank to a priest-like character or the quintessential wizard - and much more.

In fact, the class system is probably the best thing in the game - it's so fulfilling to slowly ascend in the ranks of your chosen guild and then making that tough decision concerning your second-tier class. You see, the initial class you choose is but a starting point on a long road through many branches, resulting in a whopping thirty or so (!) classes and a lot of combinations thereof. If you fancy becoming a shadow ninja while also dabbling in nether magic and dual-wielding medium weapons - you can eventually attain that, with a lot of patience and experience points. Or, rather, focus on one path and reach the third tier, gaining some very nice learning bonuses and special abilities. Are you familiar with those RPGs that make you want to replay them right after having finishing, with a different class combination? Dungeon Lords is one of them.

On a simpler level, Dungeon Lords is an entertaining fast-paced action RPG with plenty of combat (you can set the encounter level to "low" and still meet many foes in the game) and addictive experience grinding and hunts for better equipment. There is an enormous amount of weapons, armor, and magic spells of quite different disciplines (which require gathering different items) in the game; it's great at satisfying our collector's instinct. Trapped treasure chests (their amount has greatly increased in the patched versions) offer a lot of goodies - and, with their semi-random content, you can reload and hope for better results if you are looking for something particular. The game is great at conveying the simple joys of outfitting your character, making him specialized in something, impatiently searching for that vital piece to gain advantage in combat and seeing how formerly impervious foes collapse after just a few strikes after a dexterity increase, a well-developed skill tree, or just the right weapon for the right build.

Dungeon Lords is not the most exploration-heavy RPG I've seen, but it's also not the most linear one. There are some annoying main quest triggers that open up certain areas in a rather contrived fashion and dungeons locked because you do not possess the right item or password. I'd certainly prefer the entire world to be open right away. However, after completing the introductory sewers and the initial (and probably the most lackluster) cemetery dungeon in Fargrove, the city's two gates open, allowing you to explore much of the overworld - which at least offers the possibility of challenging yourself, trying to take on powerful enemies early on, getting a lot of experience, visiting a few areas "out of sequence", braving a high-level trap chest, etc.

While the overworld in the game is not very interesting, things change when you gain access to the dungeons. They are very well-designed, atmospheric, and memorable. They are long, yet not monotonous, rich in exploration and offering just the right amount of challenge. Optional battles, secret rooms, treasure, traps, hazards, puzzles - you name it, it's there. The Shadow Ruins, in particular, stand out as one of the most fascinating puzzle-based dungeons I've ever encountered in a role-playing game, with an eerie, magical feel and completely unique, imaginative challenges.

The Bad
What is it with those games that get released too soon? It's almost Ultima IX all over again! While it's true that the most glaring flaws were fixed with subsequent patches, the game still feels unpolished and underdeveloped in much the same way Ultima IX was: you can't quite shake off the feeling that something is missing, that the game could (and should) have been so much more.

I'm not even talking about such rough edges as enemy-dropped gold and weapons hanging in the air, the player character getting irrevocably stuck when climbing on a ladder during a crucial quest (luckily, there was a workaround for that one, but it's still very annoying), supposedly different enemies using identical models, familiar weapons needing re-identification, and so on. There seems to be a general negligence here, as if certain design aspects were simply ignored.

For example, the overworld is large and beautiful, but empty and monotonous: it's basically the same forest or craggy path surrounded by irritating impassable mountains all the way through. Sure, there are enemies and the occasional treasure; but a strong feeling of copy-paste is present, and it's never good. One begins to feel detached from the game world; it's not busy or interactive enough, as there is too little detail and not enough objects. I can't quite understand how they could be satisfied with all this after having designed excellent dungeons. It's almost the opposite of what happened in Gothic.

Modern RPGs tend to focus on memorable characters and interesting quests. While I don't care much for characters (it's a game, not a book), I do care for quests; and Dungeon Lords is sadly lacking. The guild quests provide a good, steady incentive; but they are devoid of any imagination or variety - it's all about traveling somewhere and killing someone. There are no NPCs to talk to besides very few generic guards or demigoths, none of which say anything interesting. In Fargrove, the game's first and by far largest town (there are only three towns in the game), there is one (!) real side-quest given to you by a tavern NPC. This feeble attempt at providing additional quest content (from which the game could have greatly benefited) only draws more attention to the general poor design here.

There are hardly any significant plot-related choices to make during gameplay. At one point there is an option to try and kill a character instead of paying him to receive a key item. I wish the game offered more possibilities like that, let the player be more active in shaping game progression beyond class considerations and the occasional choice of which dungeon to tackle first.

The Bottom Line
You'd think that it would be hard to enjoy this awkwardly crafted, somewhat half-baked, old-fashioned game; and yet it may just warm the heart of a role-playing aficionado. It's charmingly conservative and addictively rewarding, and was clearly made with a lot of love for RPGs. It's not the ultimate role-playing game it tried to be, but it's still a worthy and important contribution to the genre.

Just make sure you're playing the fully patched version or the Collector's Edition. And don't bother with the weak, disappointing newer version.

Windows · by Unicorn Lynx (181780) · 2018



Dungeon Lords was the third game to receive a Zero star rating in Computer Gaming World. The first was Postal 2. The second was Mistmare. Dungeon Lords received this honor because it shipped in an unplayable state. Documented features were not implemented. The reviewer was unable to complete the game because the game was bug-ridden.


  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2006 - Worst Game of the Year 2005

Information also contributed by PCGamer77


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Riamus.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Scott Monster, Paulus18950, oct, Patrick Bregger.

Game added May 17, 2005. Last modified March 27, 2024.