MuHa Games and Slitherine are releasing the first paid DLC for Master of Magic, Rise of the Soultrapped on August 28 after multiple free patches refining and expanding the game since its launch in December 2022. This DLC focuses on a new Race: the Soultrapped, with supplementary wizards, spells, heroes and traits and the Techmagic realm to make it a full-featured new playstyle for the player to control, or enemy type for the player to kill – both of which are important aspects to consider.
Rise of the Soultrapped is the first of two announced paid DLCs in the development roadmap. The game was reviewed at launch and the first large free content update added the adorable goblins race amongst other things. Developer support for the game has been solid which is always worth factoring into purchase decisions in this era of gaming where the best games can be supported for a decade or more post-launch. I’m all for supporting developers that support their games and their players like this.
New race: Soultrapped
A race that merges man and machine into one wholesome hybrid that, rare for such an archetype, prefers peace and prosperity over warfare. Especially given their rumoured origins of dark rune magic experimentation, constructs are usually tasked with war to save their “master race” creators from the indignity (and risk) of doing it themselves. The race has some interesting and amusing designs, from the Modron-esque Spearbots to the ’60s-looking Engineers and the amusingly named ranged unit, the “Yeet”. Some Necron vibes are also present, but perhaps that’s just the glowy green bits. None of this is a bad thing – all fantasy is derivative, working on what came before with even the master Tolkien himself basing his genre-defining work on mythology. So long as the race has a cohesive design philosophy and is implemented well, it’s all good in my opinion and the Soultrapped are definitely fine in this regard. Did I mention the giant hand called a Yeet that yeets things at their enemies?
Functionality-wise, the Soultrapped units feel amongst the more specialised of the races much like the all-flying Draconians. They’re much more durable in melee with high armour across the board. with even the tier 1 cheap spearbots out-armouring almost every unit in the game. Their magic resistance suffers however and looks to be the lowest across the board too making them more susceptible to crowd control and the like. Their units are definitely on the interesting side with a submarine and two artillery units but lacking the standard basic archer unit. I can see a lot of potential for using Soultrapped units on the frontline in mixed armies thanks to their high armour, while Draconians use their airborne maneuverability to flank, Human priests heal everyone and Halflings die pathetically.
Three new playable wizards with 6 new traits to customize them
Wizards add a lot of flavour to how you play and give that opportunity to roleplay which can really help you get into each new game. Three new premade heroes have been added alongside six new traits, but if you don’t like these heroes’ backstories you can use their beautifully drawn portraits to create your own, with their own combination of traits and spellbook to play how you’d prefer. I must admit to being partial to Nineseven – I look forward to her futile resistance as I adapt her technology to service my own, perhaps alongside Billie the Gunslinger and her cute pink twintails.
Morique the Possessed
Morique’s enigmatic nature stems from the fact that she shares her body with a formidable demon. The true nature of their relationship remains a subject of speculation. Some believe it to be a symbiotic alliance, where both entities find common ground, while others fear it to be a parasitic infestation, with Morique at the mercy of her demonic counterpart.
Unlike many other Wizards vying for supremacy, Morique’s ambitions extend beyond controlling her inner demon. With mastery over Death and Chaos at her fingertips, she is determined to establish her ultimate dominance over all other wizards, particularly her demon rival, Tauron.
Rumours abound about Morique’s relationship with Tauron, with whispers suggesting that they are partners or even her wife. However, while Tauron seeks to maintain his human form and control over his demonic instincts, Morique’s dark elven heritage drives her toward darker desires, plunging her deeper into the madness of Chaos and Death.
– Demonologist: allows Morique to start the game with a unit of a Lesser Shadow Demon under her command. Additionally, she will have access to a unique spell called “Summon Shadow Demon” as well as the “Possession” spell.
– Myrran refugee
Nineseven the master of the Soultrapped
While it is difficult to discern her original elven form amidst the mechanical replacements and techmagic trinkets, Nineseven’s origins lie within the realm of organic existence. Throughout her eternal life, she developed an insatiable fascination with the intricate metalworks of the dwarves and the boundless possibilities of alchemy’s transformative powers. Some legends even attribute her as the very progenitor of techmagic, while others contend that she merely mastered its secrets.
Nineseven’s journey unfolds against a backdrop of ancient wisdom and a yearning for something more. As an elven archmage known as Iluthien the Everbright, she had once achieved mastery over conventional magic, encompassing Life and Nature. However, over the millennia, a restlessness grew within her, fueling a profound discontent with her serene existence. Boredom gripped her essence, and she sought novelty and exploration beyond the confines of her predetermined path.
Driven by an insatiable curiosity, Nineseven turned her gaze to the burgeoning realm of Techmagic. She marvelled at the awe-inspiring creations forged by dwarven runemasters and diligently studied the art of alchemy, which held the power of transmutation. Gradually, she shed her old self, casting off the limitations of flesh and bone, and instead bound her very soul into metal. Thus, she took on her new identity as Nineseven, the Master of the Soultrapped.
Immersed in a world where magic and steel converge, Nineseven stands as a testament to the limitless potential of progress. Her existence blurs the boundaries between tradition and innovation, forging a unique path for those who seek to master the intricate blend of magic and machinery.
– Techmaster: Allows the Wizard to master the arcane powers of Techmagic, a mystical art that animates mechanical objects through rune magic, alchemy and the forbidden use of living souls. The Techmaster Wizard begins with a Drona Scout unit, as well as its summoning spell, and the Power Seeker spell. Additionally, they gain a +5% bonus to Research. Prerequisites: At least 3 books in 2 different magics.
Grendel staunchly claims that even magic itself can be beaten into submission. While he possesses a rudimentary understanding of the Arcane arts and dabbles in Nature when necessary, Grendel primarily relies on the raw physical power of his troops to achieve victory, and exudes confidence in his ability to overpower opponents without relying on spells.
Grendel’s origins trace back to a time shrouded in ancient history, long before the emergence of the Wizards. He reminisces about the peaceful era of Myrror before the insidious influence of the Arcane tainted and twisted its essence. Despite his own magical talents, Grendel harbors an intense hatred for magic itself, a sentiment that has brewed within him for millennia.
After millennia of ignoring the existence of magic and the Wizards, Grendel has finally chosen to step onto the grand stage of the great contest. His purpose? To prove, once and for all, that might is the ultimate victor and to vanquish his enemies, even if it means dismantling magic itself.
Grendel possesses a deep connection to the forces of Nature, allowing him to draw upon its power and channel it to his advantage. As a seasoned Warlord, Grendel possesses exceptional leadership skills and strategic prowess. Grendel’s unyielding conviction in the supremacy of physical prowess permeates every fibre of his being. This extraordinary trait bestows upon his starting race a fortified resistance to magic, ensuring their heightened ability to withstand the mystical onslaught unleashed by their adversaries. Additionally, it empowers or grants the regeneration skill to units of his starting race, endowing them with resilience and fortitude on the battlefield.
– Veteran Warlord: adds more XP to non-fantastic units (requires Warlord)
– Might Makes Right!: Gives a bonus to Resistance and also gives a new, combat regeneration skill to all non-fantastic units under the Wizard command
– Myrran refugee: allows him to begin the game on Arcanus but with a Myrror race
Ten new spells
Spells have a huge impact on the world and combat layers of the game as you’d expect in a game called “Master of Magic”. The new spells add some nice extra options for intelligence gathering like the cute little surveillance Drone Scout that’s a very powerful scouting asset with its 4 flying movement available from turn 1 if you choose the trait for it and the Power Seeker spell that reveals all power nodes on the map, providing another source of intel to help you make your plans of world domination. There are of course more direct combat-related spells such as Magic Bullet which rather than just being a direct nuke synergises with your ranged units.
Four new heroes
Moma and Ilde: the twin duo summoned by a spell, reminiscent of the beloved character Torin
Powerful pair with an emotionally charged backstory. Ilde, a young and talented runekeeper, tragically lost her mother in a lab accident involving techmagic. However, a chance encounter with a wandering soulbound, whom she believes to be her mother, reignites her hope. Together, Moma and Ilde answer the call of those who wield powerful techmagic, driven by their quest to uncover the truth and reverse Ilde’s mother’s fate.
This dynamic duo has a unique spell called Sharp Exchange. This spell bestows an extraordinary Armor Piercing effect upon all units engaged in the battlefield, rendering the defender’s armour rating only half as effective.
However, unlocking such unparalleled potency comes at a price. To channel the raw might of Sharp Exchange, the valiant caster must make a selfless sacrifice, willing to endure a deduction of -5 health. This act of devotion and unwavering determination epitomizes the courage and resolve exhibited by Moma and Ilde in their quest to uncover the truth behind the tragic loss that binds them.
Billie the Gunslinger: the cheerful halfling youth with exceptional marksmanship skills.
After achieving the highest ranks amongst the slingers, Billie set out on a personal quest to find her own niche. Inspired by her sister, Teria, she discovered the wonders of techmagic and became the first-ever gunslinger of Arcanus. Accompanied by her faithful boar, Nibbles, Billie has gained a reputation as one of the most sought-after guns for hire in the wizarding world.
Oldmane Ironjaw: A gnoll general
Once the greatest and eldest of gnoll generals, he endured unimaginable torment at the hands of the dark elves. But a fateful encounter with a young boy gave him the strength to fight back. Escaping captivity with his adopted son, Timur, Oldmane embarked on a journey of rebirth. Through the power of techmagic, he was transformed into a formidable metal-flesh menace, seeking redemption and vowing to protect his newfound family. Oldmane’s skill set includes unique abilities related to his cyborg-like enhancements, granting him advantages in battle.
Timur the Deadshot: the enigmatic dark elf assassin
Born blind and stripped of his dark-elven gift for dark magic, Timur faced rejection and contempt from his own people. Determined to prove his worth, he embarked on a perilous journey with his adoptive father. Through the power of techmagic, his eye was enhanced, enabling him to see beyond mortal boundaries. Though he cannot wield dark magic, his deadly sniper shot, infused with techmagic, now serves as a formidable force in combat.
The new race is not to my liking thematically, and it doesn’t particularly play how I like to play – that does not make this DLC pointless for me. Even if I don’t enjoy playing them much, the added variety of possible subject races, allies and enemies will enhance every game, requiring adjustments to plans to work with or counter the strengths and weaknesses of the Soultrapped. The new wizards, spells, and heroes of course add more strategic depth and variety too. Did I mention an artillery unit called a Yeet that yeets things, or the new wizard Nineseven? There are definitely a couple of very compelling reasons to pick this up in my opinion.
If you like the idea of the Soultrapped or their playstyle, this is an easy recommend – it’s a fully fleshed-out new race to play with great supporting elements. If, like me, it’s not so much to your tastes but you still thoroughly enjoy Master of Magic, they’re a great addition to the game for you to fight with or against, and well worth the small entry price which helps supports the makers of these admittedly niche games some of us so dearly love. If you were on the fence about Master of Magic, I don’t think this DLC will tip the scales enough for you to buy the game however, unless the racial theme clicks with you.
This review utilised a key provided by Slitherine. Master of Magic is available now and the new DLC Rise of the Soultrapped will be available on Steam on August 28, 2023, and soon on the Matrix Games store if you prefer to more directly support the developers.