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Broken Stelae is the fourth scenario of the Yodit campaign in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. In this scenario, Yodit has to win local tribes as allies in the fight against Gidajan and wrestle control of important stelae and the city of Massawa from him.

Intro[]

Outside the northern gate the camels groaned, irritated by the traders mounting the animals to begin the long journey back to the Ethiopian highlands.

Drivers urged the long caravan forward with loud shouts and cracking whips. As I took my place next to my boy, the sun slowly began to rise along the hills. Not far from the gate, we passed a field of great stone stelae. Some stood tall, reaching for the sky, but most lay toppled, their pieces scattered over the ground.

'Father', Daniel asked, looking up at a towering stele, 'when we entered the city you told me that these stones marked the graves of the ancient kings. Is Dagnajan buried here as well?' I shook my head. 'No, my son. Those kings are long dead, and the body of Dagnajan was never recovered. His two sons were far too busy trying to slay each other.'

'While the Aksumite Empire was divided by civil war, Yodit ordered a fleet to be built. An invading force would cross the Red Sea and strike hard at Massawa, the most important harbor of the empire.'

Outside the northern gate the camels groaned, irritated by the traders mounting the animals to begin the long journey back to the Ethiopian highlands. Daniel was already on the saddle, keeping a firm hand on the reins to avoid the camel from wandering off. He looked eager to return home.

Drivers urged their animals forward with loud shouts and cracking whips. Slowly, the long-stretched caravan began to move. As I took my place next to my son, the sun slowly began to rise along the hills. Not far from the gate, we passed a field of great stelae. Some stood tall, reaching for the sky, but most lay toppled, their pieces scattered over the ground.

'Father', Daniel asked, looking up at a towering stele, 'when we entered the city you told me that these stones marked the graves of the ancient kings. Do you think Dagnajan is buried here as well?' I shook my head while answering, 'No, my son. Those kings are long dead. Christian kings never used stelae to mark their burial place. Besides, the body of Dagnajan was never recovered. His two sons were too busy trying to slay each other.'

'So you told me last night', Daniel replied, suddenly remembering yesterday's story. 'A perfect opportunity for Yodit to strike! Oh, father, tell me about it!' I shifted my weight to sit more comfortably in the saddle before beginning: 'When the Aksumite Empire was divided in civil war between the brothers, Yodit ordered a fleet to be built. An invading force would cross the Red Sea and strike hard at Massawa, the most important harbor of the empire.'

Objectives[]

Main objectives[]

  • Defeat Gidajan by destroying his city.

Secondary objectives[]

  • Capture and hold Stelae to earn additional resources.
  • Loot enemy Monasteries by destroying them.
  • Visit all of the local villages to obtain their support.

Hints[]

  1. You are restricted to a population limit of 150.
  2. The hot and arid coastline next to the Read Sea holds few resources, so spend them wisely.
  3. Controlling the ancient stelae is a good way to show strength and will generate income - prevent the enemy fromm retaking them by stationing units near each stele.
  4. Destroying Monasteries will allow you to loot some much-needed gold.
  5. Going straight for Gidajan is bound to be difficult - it is better to gain the trust of the locals first.

Scouts[]

  • Yodit's task is to force Gidajan, son of the former emperor Dagnajan, from this land and thus open the way to Aksum.
  • Ydit's Arabian allies are reluctant to actively help her, but the locals can be persuaded to join her cause.
  • Gidajan (2, Red) has his troops stationed in Massawa, an important coastal city on the Red Sea. SUccess in this mission will only come if Massawa is razed to the ground.
  • Aksumite soldiers (5, Purple) are roaming the countryside, tasked to guard important sites.

Players[]

Player[]

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Allies[]

  • Local Tribes (Tribes before the Definitive Edition) (Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians): Dot the map. They will change into Ethiopian Rebels once all of their villages are visited and grant the player a sizable force of Elite Shotel Warriors.
  • Ethiopian Rebels (Rebels before the Definitive Edition, colored green before Rise of the Rajas) (Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians): They will first attack the Gaia buildings around the stelae, and then attack Gidajan. However, the un-upgraded Feudal Age units will likely not make a significant difference.

Enemies[]

  • Gidajan (Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians): Controls the city of Massawa in the very north of the map, across a river. He trains mostly Crossbowmen, Pikemen and Light Cavalry, as well as Mangonels, Monks, and a few Camels, and might also build a small fleet.
  • Askumite Empire (Loyalists before the Definitive Edition) (Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians): Guard the various stelae and Monasteries cluttering the landscape, as well as the two river crossings to Massawa. Their units are numerous and diverse, but poorly equipped and they cannot train new ones.

Strategy[]

The scenario begins with two Transport Ships, which will soon unload at the coast to take over a small village. Two stelae are located by the village, one to the west and one to the northeast. Further east of the second stele is one of Gidajan's Monasteries, defended by a force of Pikemen, Crossbowmen, and Monks. Across the sea, partially revealed by the Transport Ships, is an island with plentiful Gold deposits.

To take over a stela, all enemy units surrounding it have to be killed, and at least one military unit has to remain near the flag to guard it, else it will fall back under Gidajan's control. Each controlled stela provides a steady trickle of of the resource displayed at its base. A total of 7 stelae can be found on the map: 2 for Food, 2 for Wood, 2 Gold and 1 for Stone. As additional income the 3 Monasteries of Gidajan can be destroyed, netting a whopping 1,000 Gold each. Wood is also fairly rare, but south and east of the initial village, additional decently safe forests can be found. Gidajan uses his navy defensively, so a few Fishing Ships can be used to boost the economy, but there aren't many fish in the southern sea, so they shouldn't be too heavily invested in. The northern sea has more fish, but access between the north and south is controlled by a tower belonging to Gidajan which he upgrades over the course of the game.

At the beginning of the scenario, the player has some time to build up, although Gidajan will attack in time with a force of Pikemen, Crossbowmen, and Camel Riders, possibly supplemented by Rams. While the initial units can be used to capture one or more of the stelae to support the economy, this will trigger both Gidajan and the Askumite Empire to send troops to recover the stele. South of Yodit's village, her army can be bolstered with seven Genitours by approaching the tribe at the shore.

It is a possible strategy to capture the Stone stelae (located southwest of the base, at the edge of the map) early to provide a constant and inexhaustible Stone income in order to fortify all stelae with Towers. Ethiopian Towers are fully upgradeable and they have a Line of Sight team bonus to boot and at least one military unit garrisoned inside a tower qualifies as a guard. The advantage of towers is that they can't be cleared by Gidajan as easily as guarding units, and they also save population room.

However, as the initial enemy troops around the stelae are not aggressive until approached, the only threat to the player's town is Gidajan and the armies he sends out from his base. A Castle placed in the path of his army will significantly decrease the danger he poses. The ideal location for a defensive Castle is near the western ford on the player's side of the river. Not only is this the only ford Gidajan's army uses, but he will also send his Villagers out through this ford to collect resources. If the Castle is built close enough to the river, it can also take care of Gidajan's navy once lured into its range. This is helpful because Gidajan will use his navy to contest any crossing of the river, so removing them as a threat before invading Massawa is beneficial. Once this Castle goes up and the player has Ballistics, Heated Shot, and Masonry researched, the scenario is essentially won. Gidajan will attempt to take it down with Pikemen, Camel Riders, and Crossbowmen, supported by rams. They can all be dealt with by the Castle, and if Rams are present, the Castle can quickly train a few Shotel Warriors to destroy them.

To build this forward Castle, send several Villagers onto Stone once the economy can sustain constant Villager and Crossbowmen production. Gidajan will likely mount an attack before enough Stone is collected, so keep an eye on the Gold miners as their position is exposed, unless the player has transported them across to the safety of the Gold island. Mix in some Pikemen into the army as well. If Wood is tight, Long Swordsmen can be trained as well if the player has enough Gold. Once enough Stone has been gathered, move the army northwest and then northward, with the Villagers in tow. It's best to have Ballistics already researched before leaving, as well as Bodkin Arrow. Infantry armor is also recommended to be upgraded. Try not to sustain unnecessary losses by fighting enemy troops around the three stelae en route. If needed, the Villagers can build a Barracks or an Archery Range to replenish casualties. Fight off Gidajan and the Aksumite Empire's troops guarding the ford, and build a Castle near it. If done right, the Castle foundation should be under constant attack by a War Galley or two as it is constructed, which will not do significant damage to it. Once the Castle is up, it will make short work of the ships, especially if Heated Shot has been researched. Pull the troops out of range of enemy ships.

The goal of the scenario is to simply raze Massawa, by destroying its Castle and two Town Centers, but it is recommended to take care of all of all the side quests before attacking. The stelae will together provide a helpful trickle of resources, while the Monasteries yield plentiful gold upon destruction. Although the rebel troops are of little help, the Shotel Warriors can be used to raze Massawa's Town Centers during the final push. With the forward Castle up to stymie Gidajan's attacks, the passive enemy forces around the stelae and Monasteries can be reduced one by one. When the player reaches Imperial Age, they will receive eight Galleons in the northern sea, which can be used to harass Gidajan's fishing economy or fight off remaining enemy warships. Two of his three initial Docks can be destroyed by Trebuchets on the southern shore, but he will rebuild them. Shooting the Villager building a Dock will cause the AI to delete the Dock and retreat.

Once the grip on the countryside is secured, conquering Massawa isn't that much of a big deal. As Gidajan's army consists mostly of Crossbowmen, Pikemen, and Monks a good counter would be Elite Skirmishers and/or the infamous Ethiopian siege units, but they have to be protected from Shotel Warriors and cavalry. Build at least a few Trebuchets or Bombard Cannons to take out the Watch Towers guarding the Palisade Walls of Massawa and help in destroying the Castle. Once the towers are taken out, the city can be stormed and when the Castle and Town Centers of Massawa are destroyed, Yodit is victorious.

Outro[]

'Although Gidajan had managed to kill his brother and take the throne in the meantime, he had also lost the north to Yodit. Soon she would advance to the capital for the final battle.'

Before I could dispel Daniel's youthful naiveté about warfare, shouts arose from the front of the caravan to stop for the night.

'Although Gidajan had managed to kill his brother and take the throne in the meantime, he had also lost the north to Yodit. Soon she would advance to the capital for the final battle.' Daniel whistled through his teeth as I finished. 'That must have been an exciting time to be alive, father', he exclaimed in admiration.

Before I could dispel his youthful naiveté about warfare, shouts arose from the front of the caravan to stop for the night. Had I actually spoken for the entire day?

Bugs and changes[]

  • There are now additional Gold and Stone deposits on the map.
  • Gidajan now has access to additional wood.
  • Conquering all tribes now behaves as intended.
  • Stelae should now provide the correct resources.
  • Stelae should now only change ownership to the enemy AI if it has units next to it.
  • Rebels color changed from green to yellow in Rise of the Rajas.
  • In the Definitive Edition, the player color is changed from yellow to green.
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