Archibald Ironfist was the not-so-good son of Morglin Ironfist who usurped the throne of the Kingdom of Enroth following his father's death, and later served as the ruler of Deyja and leader of the Necromantic Order. He was first introduced as the main antagonist of Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars and continued to play a significant role in Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven and Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor. Sparking wars across two continents, he ranked among the most prominent villains in the series, though eventually attempted to redeem himself for his crimes. Archibald was one of two sons born to King Morglin Ironfist of Enroth sometime after the Strategic Quest (Heroes I), between the years of 1127 and 1129 AS, and was the brother of Roland Ironfist. After King Morglin died of old age in 1151, Archibald pulled out all the stops to be chosen as the next heir over Roland by the Seers of Enroth.
To begin with, Archibald killed the Royal Seer by causing him to suffer "a tragic boating accident" with the aid of a Lightning Bolt spell. He had all three of the Seer's successors murdered - one was thrown out of a tower window, one was slain by a dragon, and the last died of food poisioning. Archibald accused Roland of murdering the seers, and issued a proclamation against him. Roland, pursued, fled Castle Ironfist for his palace in western Enroth.
Archibald influenced the new Seer with Roland gone, and was crowned King the next day. He bribed the Necromancers of Enroth into joining his cause, and gained the support of the Warlocks. The Regnan Pirates also aided him by providing his armies with high-quality weaponary, and commanders including General Corlagon and Brother Brax rallied to his side. At some point, Archibald attempted to glean information from Melian, Guardian of Enroth, in Freehaven, but the Guardian refused to entertain him. He stole its memory crystals out of spite.
Meanwhile, Roland gained the support of the Dwarves, the Sorceresses and the Wizards throughout the continent, challenging Archibald's allies - the Warlocks and Necromancers. Aided by his father's loyal Knights, Roland began to push on towards Archibald's lands. Ultimately, he had General Corlagon captured with Lord Haart's strategic ability, and managed to defeat and capture Archibald soon after.
Archibald's punishment for usurping the throne was simple. Roland had the Court Wizard, Tanir, turn Archibald into an insensate stone statue, to remain in the western tower of Castle Ironfist until some future generations take pity on him and restore him to life. The process went ahead, reversable only by a bell held in a sealed vault by the Ironfists. Just before being turned to stone, Archibald was about to say "Now wait just a minute Tanir, and I'll make it worth your while to let me…" as revealed in Might and Magic VI, obviously attempting to bribe the Wizard.
Some time during the ten years that followed, Archibald was moved into the Library. In 1162, Roland departed the kingdom with a large army to battle the Kreegan invaders in the northwest. His army was decimated and he was captured, unbeknownst to the Enrothians. A couple of years later, Roland's wife, Queen Catherine, returned to Antagarich to attend the funeral of her father. This left Prince Nicolai Ironfist - a ten year old - in charge, alongside Regent Wilbur Humphrey.
During the course of their adventure, the Heroes of Enroth visited Melian in Freehaven, restoring her modules which had been taken by Archibald. Melian ordered them to free Archibald so that they might use one of his self-made spells to successfully destroy the Kreegan Hive without endangering Enroth. They convinced Nicolai Ironfist to free the usurper. Archibald, clearly surprised and pleased at his "release", thanked the adventurers, giving them the Ritual of the Void spell. He then teleported out of Ironfist.
The Heroes of Enroth managed to destroy the Hive, and Archibald watched their congratulation ceremony from his hideout in the estate of his colleague, Nimbus. As he watched Nicolai knighting the four heroes through a crystal ball, he mused "Yes, thank you heroes. Thank you for saving my kingdom for me." Some months later, Archibald decided to depart Enroth for Antagarich, disgusted at the decline of Enroth's Necromancers. Learning of Finneas Vilmar's plot to reanimate Erathian King Nicolas Gryphonheart, the father of Queen Catherine - Archibald's despised sister-in-law - he sailed for Antagarich to aid the Deyjans in their effort. However, King Vilmar was killed by Nicolas after the reanimation, and Nicolas succeeded the throne.
Though the new Lich King was an excellent tactician, he was far too powerful for his own good. Most of Deyja's Necromancers, not including Archibald, sided with Queen Catherine and the Erathians in bringing about Nicolas' second death. Nimbus volunteered information to the Erathians about Nicolas' murderer and the details of the Deyjan plot. In a matter of months, Catherine infiltrated Gryphonheart's citadel and killed him, along with the traitor.
Killing Nimbus in the guild Challenge of Dominance, Archibald assumed control over the now-vacant throne of Deyja. At the outset of Might and Magic VII, the Lincoln crashed into the shoals west of Spaward in AvLee, and Archibald ordered his troops to investigate. Lieutenant Piridak reported back to Archibald with four of the Lincoln's former boarders in tow - the Terrans. These were Kastore, Maximus, Dark Shade and Tolberti. Archibald chose them as his new advisors.
Archibald was unknowingly influenced by Kastore, who had an agenda of his own - the restoration of the Heavenly Forge. As the Deyjan Terrans struggled against their four former allies in Bracada, Archibald's rule slowly became more difficult to maintain. Finally, the time came when Kastore asserted his claim to Deyja's throne. He and his allies were disinterested in Archibald's progress into the art of necromancy, and more occupied with finding a way to restore the Forge.
Archibald and his few loyalists bitterly departed Deyja, settling in Clanker's Lab. From there, Archibald discovered that his long-lost brother, Roland, had been taken to Antagarich by the Kreegans in Enroth, and was currently imprisoned in Colony Zod within the Land of the Giants. Showing a newfound compassion, Archibald joined forces with the Lords of Harmondale, and infiltrated Colony Zod with their help, determined to rescue Roland from the Devils.
The Lords saved Roland from one of Xenofex's cages, and Archibald escorted the wounded Roland to Steadwick while the Lords held back to deal with Xenofex in person. Days later, Queen Catherine and Roland had Archibald brought before them to stand trial for his crimes in the Succession Wars. While Catherine was in favour of having him executed, Roland convinced her to spare him.
Archibald was exiled, forced to remain on the isle of Clanker's Lab until death. As he departed Castle Gryphonheart, Roland said "The score is even now, brother. Farewell." Archibald responded with a simple "Yes... farewell." When the Lords of Harmondale visited him on the island, Archibald spoke with contempt for Kastore and the advisors, explaining that he had now renounced his claim to Enroth's throne, willing to remain and study with his Necromancers in Clanker's Lab.
Archibald seemed a bitter, disillusioned man at the end of Might and Magic VII. However, there are plans for him to make a reappearance in Heroes V: Legends of the Ancients. He also "appeared" in one of Roland's nightmares during Heroes III: Armageddon's Blade.