Fanstratics – Update #15 – Gawker and Artifact Upgrade System

Fanstratics Troop: Gawker.

Where the Chimerans are believed to be the unfortunate remnants of archaic arcane experiments, the Zubhewens are a sub-human faction born from intentional evolutionary corruption. While there are clear evolutionary connections between Elves and Goblins, when it comes to the Gawker, there is one obvious question, “From what did the Gawker evolve, and what is its mysterious relationship to the other Zubhewen folk?”

In 1997, when I began building Heroes 3 various rosters, TSR’s original hard cover Monster Manual was a primary resource. To this day, it is still valuable. It is quite literally, a ‘manual of monsters’ gleaned from mythology, folklore, and fantasy fiction.

To avoid extended creative research, any author can jumpstart their work by thumbing through TSR’s Monster Manual. Most of the depicted creatures couldn’t be copyrighted by TSR, but the Beholder was different, and I wanted something like a Beholder in Heroes 3.

While the idea of a ‘floating eye’ is not necessarily original, TSR’s stylistic conception could be copyrighted. In fact, to avoid any potential copyright issues, Ultima’s version of the Beholder was initially called Wandering Eyes, before it eventually became the Gazer.

I had no idea Beholders were specifically copyrighted by TSR, and I should have avoided naming Heroes 3 Beholders/Evil Eyes as such. Perhaps TSR didn’t know, didn’t care, or didn’t think a ‘cease-and-desist’ letter was worth the turmoil. Perhaps we were on safe ground. I simply don’t know.

Regardless, I am happy a Beholder-inspired Troop remained in the game. As for Fanstratics… we have a Gawker.

Fanstratics is currently in pre-alpha production. For future updates, please subscribe to newsletter.


Fanstratics Feature: Artifact Upgrade System.

When I was designing Heroes 3, my primary guideline was, “If it is not in the spirit of HoMM… remove it.” When designing Fanstratics, I have a couple different primary guidelines. One is, “When possible, create competition for resources.”

Anyone who has built a Heroes 3 map, should know there is repetition in the various Artifact groups. For instance…

  • Centaur’s Axe: Attack +2
  • Greater Gnoll’s Flail: Attack +4
  • Sword of Hellfire: Attack +6

At the time, this approach was derived from TSR’s Dungeons & Dragons, and was quite common. I couldn’t say when, but at some point, the concept of upgradable Artifacts (in one form or another), took root, began to spread, and eventually overtook unique Artifacts.

With Fanstratics, I am modifying the Artifact system. As an example, consider the aforementioned ‘Attack’ Artifacts. While there will still be 3 individual Attack Artifacts, a player will have the option to spend resources (Common, Rare, and Gold), to upgrade an Artifact. For example…

  • Centaur’s Axe > Greater Gnoll’s Flail >> Sword of Hellfire.

Hopefully, with each turn, a player will be faced with the following budgetary decisions…

  • Should I buy Troops?
  • Should I buy a Town Structure?
  • Should I upgrade an equipped Hero Artifact?

Hopefully, this ‘system adjustment’ will create some additional strategic avenues, which should create additional competition for a player’s resources.


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