Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wasteland is the first game in the Heroes Chronicles series. Launched on 27 September 2000, simultaneously with three other Chronicles games, Warlords acts as the first chapter of the new saga, telling the story of Tarnum from before he became the Immortal Hero.
As all the Heroes Chronicles games, Warlords is based on the Heroes of Might and Magic III engine, and consists of a campaign, a tutorial, and previews of other three Chronicles games (Heroes Chronicles: Conquest of the Underworld, Heroes Chronicles: Masters of the Elements and Heroes Chronicles: Clash of the Dragons). This totals 12 scenarios. Unlike Heroes III, in Warlords importing extra scenarios or playing in multiplayer is prohibited; cheating however is not.
This story takes place before the foundation of the kingdom of Erathia. Once upon a time, the great barbarian King Jarg ruled over those lands. But then the Wizards of Bracaduun came and enslaved the barbarian people. Young Tarnum learns the long-lost history of his people from the last bards and decides to do anything to break the Wizards' rule. Becoming the new Barbarian King, he leads the clans against Bracaduun.
After the death of the woman he fell in love with, Yalla, and the murder of one of the bards by the wizards, Tarnum's noble intentions become a sinister quest for blood and revenge. He decided to destroy the Wizard-Kings at all costs, he enslaves the inhabitants of the Mudlands and orders villages of "traitors" to be burned to the ground, even causing the death of one of his long-lost sisters.
After months of campaign and terrible battles, his advisors express their hope to get back to their home, but Tarnum doesn't listen, obsessed by taking the fortress of Steelhorn. To avoid a rebellion, he has his advisors poisoned, including his old friend Hardac. Accusing the Wizards of his crime, he turns his army into a blood-thirsty Horde. Victory is at hand, but at a terrible cost: Tarnum is now known as the Barbarian Tyrant and has become everything he despised in the Wizards.
Some time later, survivors from Bracaduun flee to the north and found the kingdom of Erathia. During a campaign to conquer the young kingdom, Tarnum is defeated by its first king Rion Gryphonheart. Tarnum soon discovers that Paradise is closed to him. Because of his crimes against his own people, the Ancestors have cursed him to wander the world eternally until he make up for "the tremendous wrongs he performed".
It is also worth noting that Gavin Magnus, the future Immortal King of Bracada, was present at the battle of Steelhorn and "killed" by one of Tarnum's behemoths. He then discovered he was in fact immortal.
The action takes place sometime during the first two centuries after the Silence, in a period when the Empire of Bracaduun was the most powerful political force in the southern parts of the continent. Conquering everything from "ocean to ocean", they enslaved and dominated everyone living there, including the once mighty Barbarians from The Wasteland, and the Mudlanders.
The Mudlands were ruled by the Wizard-Kings, though not even they were able to completely control those muggy swamps. With the Barbarians, however, it was a very different story. Not wanting the clans to spur in rebellion, the Wizard-Kings outlawed and almost managed to eliminate all the bards in The Wasteland - thus causing the loss of most of the Barbarians' history, and with it almost every memory of their distant glorious past.
The Empire itself was shielded from any outer threat by a fortified range of mountains, called the Wallpeaks. The passes in these crags were heavily fortified, and acted as the border between Bracaduun and the Wasteland.
- Hardac, the unplayable deuteragonist, acts as Tarnum's adviser, and as the voice of rationality when Tarnum's rage surpasses his reason. He is poisoned together with twelve other captains by Tarnum, who ultimately sees them as an obstacle between him and his desire to completely exterminate the Wizard-Kings.
- Kurl, the only Wizard-King who takes an active role in the game, is an antagonist in the third scenario and eighth scenario. He captures the last Barbarian Bards, and threatens to execute them and thus irrevocably destroy part of the Barbarian heritage unless Tarnum surrenders. His plans are thwarted and he is ultimately killed.
- Tarnum, the game's main character and playable protagonist. Initially a simple Barbarian, his fate changes when a dying Bard runs into him. With his last breath the Bard tells Tarnum about the former glory of his forefathers, and makes the young warrior long for a better life for his nation. Unifying all the Barbarians under his command (and enslaving the neighbouring Mudlanders), he manages to completely destroy the Wizard-King tyrants (this being the main objective of the game).
"Before Tarnum became the Immortal Hero, he was a Barbarian who threw off the shackles of his Wizard masters and returned his people to their former greatness. This is his tale, and his downfall."
- A Barbarian King
- The Criminal King
- The War for the Mudlands
- Siege of the Wallpeaks
- Slash and Burn
- Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wasteland. New World Computing. Mission: A Barbarian King (scenario, in English). 2000.
- Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wasteland. New World Computing. Mission: The War for the Mudlands (scenario, in English). 2000.
- Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wasteland. New World Computing. Mission: Ultimatum (scenario, in English). 2000.
- Heroes Chronicles: Warlords of the Wasteland. New World Computing. Mission: Siege of the Wallpeaks (scenario, in English). 2000.