A Dangerous Mission is the third scenario of the Suryavarman I campaign in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas. It is about the attempt by Khmer envoys to deliver the Grand Chariot safely. This is the only scenario in this campaign where the player is unable to construct any buildings.
As the empire boomed, its neighbors became wary. A growing tiger will gorge itself on the prey that it deems most vulnerable.
Some dreaded the looming war and prayed that their fears were unjustified. Others prepared for it. The Kingdom of Tambralinga, a vassal of the great Srivijayan thalassocracy, felt particularly threatened.
The empire was surrounded by hostile neighbors and conflict was imminent! It seemed that the only thing left to question would be who would strike first. Suryavarman was wise enough to know that passivity would only lead to disaster.
The various Burmese kingdoms to the west of the empire behaved with hostility, but a potential ally lay beyond. The Cholas, a powerful dynasty based in the south of the Indian subcontinent, had interests that aligned with those of the Khmer.
Dispatching a diplomatically skilled envoy laden with gifts could be enough to convince Rajendra Chola that an alliance with Suryavarman would be to his liking.
- Starting Age: Imperial Age
- Starting resources: 0 food, 0 wood, 200 gold, 0 stone
- Starting technologies:
- The Envoy and the chariot (Trade Cart) laden with gifts must reach the Andaman Port in the west.
- You may select any two of the four companies of soldiers to join you on your journey. Each comes with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.
- Use the line of sight of your Envoy to spot enemy troops before they know of your presence.
- Explore the map! There are many paths to victory and various secrets to discover. The most obvious route is not necessarily the most prudent.
- Demolition Ships are deadly to groups of units crossing shallows.
- On Standard difficulty, you are given a Monk to accompany your forces. On Moderate and Hard, you will have to make do without him.
Your scouts report:
- Suryavarman's diplomatic convoy (1, Cyan) begins its journey on the western fringe of the Khmer Empire (2, Yellow). Beyond lies a forbidding combination of dense jungle, treacherous mountain ranges, and meandering waterways.
- In the far west lies the convoy's destination, a small port (4, Green) on the Andaman Sea. From here a ship can be chartered to bring the convoy to the Chola lands in southern India.
- Knifling through the middle of the map is the fabled Chao Phraya River. Although finding a means of safely crossing it can be difficult at this time of the year, the ports (3, Grey) operating along its eastern bank may be of assistance.
- Scattered around the map are countless bands of hostile troops. Whether they are simple brigands or servants of enemy powers, they would be all too glad to get their hands on the treasure destined for the court of Rajendra Chola.
- Khmer Empire (Khmer) are located to the far east. Their army consist of Light Cavalry, Cavalry Archers, Pikemen, Long Swordsmen, Karambit Warriors, Rattan Archers, Elite Skirmishers, Elephant Archer, one War Elephant, Ballista Elephants, Battle Elephants, and Arambai. They have four smaller camps inside their base. If the player selects two of those camps' leaders, the army inside those camps will join the player.
- Local Inhabitants (Khmer) are located at to the middle and southeast. Their army consists of Spearmen, Men-at-Arms, and Light Cavalry. Once the player reaches their middle base, they will give their Light Cavalry to the player. There are also Gaia Transport Ships, Heavy Demolition Ships, and one Fast Fire Ship available for player to capture at their southeast base.
- Andaman Port (Burmese) are located to the westernmost. Once the Grand Chariot reaches their base, the scenario ends and the player is declared victorious.
- Hostile Locals (Khmer) are scattered all over the map. Their army consists of Pikemen, Long Swordsmen, Light Cavalry, Scorpions, Battle Elephants, Ballista Elephants, Rattan Archers, Imperial Skirmishers, Karambit Warriors, Crossbowmen, Cavalry Archers, Knights, and Arambai. They are generally passive, but will attack the player when the player's units are within their line of sight.
Choose any two groups of soldiers for 100 gold a piece. It is advisable to take the groups containing Battle Elephants and Ballista Elephants, respectively. On standard difficulty the player gets a Monk. On moderate/hard difficulty, the player will have to manage without any kind of healing because they do not get a Monk. The Envoy can regenerate because he is a hero unit, and can therefore be used to tank enemy damage.
As the hints suggest, the route that the player can take by right-clicking the final destination (through the northernmost corner of the map) is the most dangerous one. Instead, go to Dock to the south west and kill any enemy units along the way. Board the Transport Ships (each Transport Ship carries 20 units so the player can transport all units in one trip). Use the Heavy Demolition Ships and the Fast Fire Ship to clear the way up the river. Unload the troops on the left side of the river when it is possible to land (about 3/4 of the way up).
After unloading, going north is the shortest route but, once again, is also the most dangerous one. Instead, go south and fight the small groups of enemy units until finding some Gaia units. By now the player can either go west (as they would by right-clicking the final destination) or go south, as in the following picture, while fighting the enemy units along the way.
There is a last group of soldiers right before the Andaman Port, which is not as easy to defeat as the other ones. However, the player can bring the Envoy and Chariot to the Andaman Port while the enemy units are distracted fighting the player's remaining units. If the player chose the path above, they can avoid the last fight by using the Ballista Elephants to chop the trees near the Andaman Port.
Despite the hardships of the journey though hostile territory, the diplomatic convoy arrived in Chola lands largely intact. Rajendra Chola was pleased with the gifts that the envoy lavished upon him.
Especially impressive was the grand chariot, a work fashioned by the finest craftsmen in Angkor! Generous offerings and well-chosen words go a long way with a magnanimous ruler.
A bargain was struck, and the envoy returned to Angkor, harbinger of pleasant news.