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Matthew Charlap, the Qurqirish Dragon proudly presents ERM journal entry #1, as recorded by the cleric Aylyra:
The land of the "Cave of Gerfrex" originally discovered by Timothy E. Pulver
Date of land exploration:14-June-2001
DESCRIPTION: Medium, 2-layer, single-player map of normal difficulty
ERM map
Win condition: Defeat the hero "Zarachodar"
Loss condition: 3 month time limit
# OF PLAYERS : 1H Stronghold, 1C Stronghold, 1C Necropolis, 1C Dungeon

SPECIAL NOTE: For those who are confused by the description, This is the first map (other than test maps) that I have played which was designed for the HoMM 3.5 project, known as the Event Related Model or ERM. This is am unauthorized patch to SoD that adds an incredible amount of versatility to the editor, while leaving maps made without ERM perfectly intact. The whole ERM package is about a 1300k download (including a modified SoD executable), and well worth it, assuming enough maps are eventually made using it. Go to:
for more information on the Heroes 3.5 projects.

COMMENTS: You are a barbarian leader, who knows that in a short time the forces of death will take over everything, and so it falls to you to kill the necromancer behind it all. A very nice story accompanies this journey, while at the same time making the ERM enhancements meld really well with the map. Do not be afraid of various things you might see (such as the legion of vampires near your start point), any obstacle that you have can be bypassed- and often by an event, so you will not realize it is possible until you are wanted to pass (for instance, there is (somewhere) an event which reduces the vampire stack to 0 creatures.) I do not want to give too much away, as if you are interested you will want to be surprised.
SOME TIPS: Get a sheet of graph paper (or at least draw a 10x10 grid on paper) to map out the maze. Be certain to protect your goblins early on (you'll have to play to find out why!)
BUGS AND PROBLEMS: One ERM event is backwards. All undead were supposed to be hostile to me, but one stack of mummies offered to join. Otherwise, no problems that I could tell.
SCORE: On my first try at hard difficulty, I forgot to write down the day I won, but I had a score of 250 and ogre mage rating.
PROS: Great story. Nice way to show off the ERM enhancements.
CONS: Maze gets a little annoying.
THE EDITOR SAYS: Interpreting ERM events is a bit difficult. Thankfully, plenty of comments are used by the designer to help thread through them. If you are interested in learning to create maps with ERM, these extra examples might help you.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Being (for the moment) a unique map, it is hard to rate it properly on my normal scales. What is a hard or easy map, when you consider the vast number of possibilities, for example? I felt that things were well-made, and the difficulty was correct, but I cannot tell how well things are utilized, having no frame of reference.. It was very enjoyable, but again, it is impossible to give a style rating, as that pertains to unique and distinctive features, and until there are more ERM map designers, this point is moot. Similarly, the placement score loses meaning, as what is a good or bad use of the features needs more maps to really decide. The one bug alters the obviously intended ramping (though I did not accept the mummies anyway, as my morale couldn't take the hit).
This map earns (unratable) for utilization and 10 for rating. It gets 9 on appearance, 10 on Story, 9 on Flavor, and (unratable) on style. It gets 16 for balance, and (unratable) for placement, for an overall rating of (54 out of 60).
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are my own. Any criticism is of the map, not the designer (so if you are offended for some reason don't complain to me! :-) Comments and questions on the review are welcome, simply reply to this message. Want to know how I rate maps? Point your browser to:
Wonder which maps I liked most? Point your browser to:
This map (and the ERM enhancement) is available for download at:

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