HOMM3 Guide - Fortress

Four two-hex creatures (although it may be considered a weakness, too ;-))
Best 4thlevel troop
Dangerous 7thlevel creature
Fast flyers
Two-hex moat! (Effectively doubling the time walkers will need to cross.)

Slow armies
Poor shooters

Army evaluation:
Gnolls 3/5/6/2-3/4/50
Gnoll Marauders 4/6/6/2-3/5/70
They offer above average 1stlevel performance, but that doesn't mean you should use them.

Lizardmen 5/6/14/2-3/4/110
Lizard Warriors 6/8/15/2-5/5/140
Since the SOD upgrade, they're a bit more durable and also score higher damage. That makes the only fortress shooter more important.

Serpent Flies 7/9/20/2-5/9/220. dispel target
Dragon Flies 8/10/20/2-5/13/240, dispel target, cast weakness on enemies
I like those flies because of their speed rating. They're excellent for taking out shooters and sweep those little stacks that wander somewhere on the battlefield. Also they can take some damage... and they'll love Bless. (And they got quite better in SOD, including the weakness special.)

Basilisks 11/11/35/6-10/5/325, petrifying attack
Greater Basilisks 12/12/40/6-10/7/400, petrifying attack
They fight well, their special ain't any bad and they're two-hex - good for blocking.

Gorgons 10/14/70/12-16/5/525
Mighty Gorgons 11/16/70/12-16/6/600, death stare
Their special is great. They're extremely durable, again two-hex and in fact cheap. In long games, they make the Fortress superior, since they can wipe out 7thlevel monsters like nothing.

Wyverns 14/14/70/14-18/7/800
Wyvern Monarchs 14/14/70/18-22/11/1100, poisoning attack
Pretty dangerous, although low on health. A nice special (to watch ;-). They should not be used to battle higher level units - use their speed for hit'n'run against shooters, catapults in castle defenses etc. Also, they can be built pretty soon and serve as a crucial exploration army.

Hydras 16/18/175/25-45/5/2200, no retaliation, attack all adjacent
Chaos Hydras 18/20/250/25-45/7/3500 +1s, no retaliation, attack all adjacent
Fourth two-hex creature in Fortress, quite tough ones. Their special is pretty strong, if used effectively. You gotta try and get Expert Water Magic and Teleport ;-)

Upgrading priorities:

  • Gnoll Marauders: Lowest. They're nothing but cannon fodder, used in exploring and in castle defenses.
  • Lizard Warriors: Low. They're not strong enough to be important.
  • Dragon Flies: High, for the speed that takes them to the other side.
  • Greater Basilisks: Low, as they're used mainly for protection and cleanup works. That is, unless you decide to use them as a main fighting stack, which they can do, as well.
  • Mighty Gorgons: High, although it doesn't seem so, they're quite offensive weapon, mainly because they can walk out there and stand some damage.
  • Wyvern Monarchs: High for +20% damage and +4 speed. They will be quite important in eliminating enemy ranged attackers.
  • Chaos Hydra: High. The HP and speed increase makes them less inferior compared to other 7thlevel units - and therefore gives you more room to exploit their devastating special.

Castle building in the first week:
Day 1:Town Hall2500g
Day 2:Lizard Den1000g + 5w
Day 3:Serpent Fly Hive1000g + 5w + 2m + 2s
Day 4:Wyvern Nest3500 g + 15w
Day 5a:Basilisk Pit2000g + 10o + 5w
Day 6a:Gorgon Lair2500g + 10w + 10o + 5m +5s
Day 5b:Upg. Wyvern Nest3000g + 10w + 10m
Day 6b:Upg. Serpent Fly Hive1000g + 2m + 2s
Day 7:Citadel2500g + 5o

Gnoll hut as 1stlevel dwelling assumed present.
The a) variant may also build Hydra Pond instead of Gorgon Lair, if you're lucky enough to have all the resources.
The b) variant is cheaper and is good especially against wandering shooters, as you get two fast flyers. Both troops assure you the biggest movement bonus. (And one Dragon Fly is therefore typical Scout army).

Resource summary:
For a) variant, you'll need 40w, 25o and 15000g, which leaves us (20000 + 7000 - 14500) = 12500g for Day 1 to spend on troops. Since we have a total of six dwellings, the cash won't buy us all the troops. (And it'll be even worse with the Hydra variant, but you can then purchase two hydras, which is 350 non-retaliated-against HPs - against walkers/flyers it ain't any bad!)
For b) variant, you'll need 35w + 5o and 14500g. That will leave you 13000 for troops, then, which will be enough to buy out all wyvern monarchs (5x1100) and all dragon flies (20x240) and still some gold left to start for City Hall (or it can be MageGuild + spellbook!). The trouble with this variant is extra 4 bits of mercury you need.
As you can see, in both cases, you'll need lots of wood. If you can't snatch any wood around your castle, the building schedule will change at day 4, where you'll get Gorgon Lair for the last wood, buy the three gorgons and start exploring for wood fast! (And in the meantime, you'll be only able to build benefit buildings that need no wood.)
There is also a third variant - going straight after wyverns - building them on day three, and with two of them exploring against some stronger, mainly shooting wandering stacks. In that variant, you may then either go towards dwellings (and I recommend to try and get gorgon lair in first week). You should not worry about economy buildings - the extra exploration gained via wyverns should give you access to more resources and money, so that you can concentrate on dwellings and growth increase (Citadel and Castle).

Second week strategies:
If your wood stock is good, go after the City Hall. If it's not, it'll have to wait, but plan your gold consumption carefully, so that the CityHall is up and running ASAP.

Troops cost weekly (with castle):
Without 7th level: 19220
With 7th level: 26220
With one castle producing 14000/week, you'd better decide to leave some units in reserve... It can be basiliks, lizardmen or gnolls... but most probably two of those. Then I would scrap those that don't get any support from external dwellings. Capitol gives 28000/week, two chaos hydras add 7000, so we're getting some 1500g/week surplus.
HPs grown weekly 1712 (plus 500 in Chaos Hydras) at 11.22 g/HP (11.85)


  • Blacksmith: First Aid Tents sold here. A good thing.
  • Blood Obelisk: +2 Attack under siege. Very good.
  • Cage of Warlords: Gives +1 D to any visiting hero. Pretty Good.
  • Captain's Quarters: +6 Gnolls/week. Get this early or never.
  • Glyphs of fear: +2 Defense under siege. Very good.
  • Resource Silo: +1w and +1o per day. Good if you have only one sawmill and one or more extra villages to build up.

Wood is an absolute priority. You'll need to gather at least 35 bits of wood, if you want six dwellings and City Hall (not mentioning castle and hydras, which need another 10 bits each).

Forces combination:
Gnolls should stay home unpurchased. Good offensive force for early stages might be Wyvern Monarchs and Dragon Flies. If you'll be taking castles, have lizardmen as cannonfodder with you. Otherwise you might need nothing else. However, Gorgons (and Mighty Gorgons even more) make a good offensive unit. A typical usage would be all three stacks waiting, enemy approaching, their shooters scoring half damage, your gorgons then having one attack at the fastest enemies, your fliers then attack enemy shooters in the waiting part of turn and if shooters are no longer a threat, in second turn both flyers returning back to deal with walkers.
When you get hydras upgraded, take them along to provide another unit to handle enemy walkers/flyers. If you're rich, buy out basilisks, too, as they're pretty formidable fighters. (But they make a good unpurchased reserve in castles for defense, or good purchased reserve as a deterrent of potential attackers).
Mighty gorgons' special Death stare is very powerful and depends on the size of the gorgon stack. The more MGs you have, the higher losses the death stare will score, on average. Since their special isn't anyhow dependant of the enemy type, a stack of 30+ gorgons is excellent to inflict heavy losses to highlevel enemy units. Gorgons themselves with their high HPs can afford to suffer retaliatory attacks from those enemies... Note that you should try not to waste MGs to attack lower level creatures.
Wyvern special causes the affected enemy stack to lose 10% of HP limit every turn and lasts for three turns. The HP limit loss is irreversible within the battle. (So this is somewhat less powerful version of 'Aging' of Bone dragons, yet with permanent effect.)

Among Beastmasters, avoid Drakon (Gnolls) and Bron (Basilisks, Basic Resistance). Gerwulf has Ballista and knows how too use it. Korbac has Pathfinding, Tazar is Armorer. Others are OK.
Witches: Mirlanda is good with Weakness. Andra has Intelligence, so you can go for SpellPower. (And she's a good castle defender, too.) Rosic and Tiva are useless. Voy is excellent as a sea scout (Navigation). Verdish has First Aid bonus - can be used well with Hydras alone.

Skills important for the troops and strategy:

Armorer is a good thing here to extend the higher Defense stats of creatures (and all BeastMasters have it, anyway), as well as higher Defense gaining probabilities of heroes.

Offense could be taken in to compensate for lack of Attack in both heroes and creatures' stats.

Ballistics is a must with so many walkers, especially gorgons and hydras.

If you manage to get Tactics and Expert Haste (or with external guild Expert Prayer), the good speed of dragonflies will often enable you to speed up all units and deliver a powerful first blow (allowing MGs and hydras to pick targets well.)

Gnoll Marauders4662-35702.203.143066
Lizard Warriors68152-55 1403.222.301852
Dragon Flies810202-5132403.361.401654
Greater Basilisks1212406-1074008.802.20870
Mighty Gorgons11167012-166600 14.702.45688
Wyvern Monarchs14147018-22111100242.18496
Chaos Hydras 182025025-4573500491.40298