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Challenging a Thalassocracy is the fourth scenario of the Suryavarman I campaign in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas. It is about the conflict between the Khmer Empire and the Chola Empire against the Kingdom of Tambralinga and the Srivijaya Empire.

Intro[]

With the alliance made and the pieces on the board, conflict was inevitable. The Tambralingas themselves posed only a token threat, but they had the support of the immense naval empire of Srivijaya.

The prowess of the Srivijayan navy was unmatched, but their coalition was at a strategic disadvantage. The Khmer forces threatened the enemy by land from the north and by sea from the east, while the Cholas struck out from the west. The enemy found themselves surrounded on all sides.

Suryavarman sent word to the Chola force to establish a foothold on the Malay Peninsula. Taking the initiative, he ordered the outfitting of a massive navy to challenge the Srivijayans and Tambralingas for maritime supremacy.

Everything hinged on the success of the Chola force that had landed on the mainland. If they could present a formidable enough threat and occupy the enemy land forces, Suryavarman would be able to wrest control of the water and launch a devastating amphibious invasion.

If the Cholas were driven from their foothold, the Khmer would be forced to face down their opponents alone – a prospect that Suryavarman preferred not to contemplate.

With the alliance made and the pieces on the board, conflict was inevitable. The Tambralingas themselves posed only a token threat, but they had the support of the immense naval empire of Srivijaya.

The prowess of the Srivijayan navy was unmatched, but their coalition was at a tactical disadvantage. The Khmer forces threatened the enemy by land from the north and by sea from the east, while the Cholas struck out from the west. The enemy found themselves surrounded on all sides.

Suryavarman sent word to the Chola force to establish a foothold on the Malay Peninsula. Taking the initiative, he ordered the outfitting of a massive navy to challenge the Srivijayans and Tambralingas for maritime supremacy.

Everything hinged on the success of the Chola force that had landed on the mainland. If they could present a formidable enough threat and occupy the enemy land forces, Suryavarman would be able to wrest control of the water and launch a devastating amphibious invasion.

If the Cholas were driven from their foothold, the Khmer would be forced to face down their opponents alone – a prospect with which Suryavarman would not be particularly excited.

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Differences between difficulty levels[]

Objectives[]

  • Defeat the Tambralingas
  • Defeat the Srivirijaya
  • Do not allow your Chola allies to be defeated

Hints[]

  1. Suryavarman I's army can reach the Imperial Age and support a population of 200. This campaign, however, is set long before the use of firearms, so you cannot train gunpowder units aside from the siege ships.
  2. The Tambralingas control a pair of bases in Khmer lands. Once those are dealt with, the entire northeastern landmass will be under Khmer control.
  3. The majority of battles in this scenario will be fought at sea. Invest heavily in a navy and use Cannon Galleons to bombard coastal settlements.
  4. Conquering the central islands will give you access to numerous mineral resources (gold and stone) as well a springboard from which to take control of the water.
  5. Stay apprised of events occurring across the sea –without aid, the Chola fortress will not hold out forever.

Scouts[]

  • The Khmer army (1, cyan) is stationed in the southern coastal portion of the Khmer Empire, preparing for the impending conflict in the Gulf of Thailand. It should be capable of dealing with the initial land-based threats, but the Khmer fleet does not yet match that of its Tambralinga and Srivijaya rivals.
  • The Cholas (2, Green), allies of the Khmer, have conducted an impressive amphibious assault on the Kingdom of Tambralinga, seizing a powerful coastal fortress and establishing a foothold in the Malay Peninsula. Their Elephant Archers, Champions, Crossbowmen, and Light Cavalry make for an impressive army, but they will require aid if they are to survive the Tambralinga and Srivijaya onslaught.
  • The Tambralingas (3, Orange) recently suffered a defeat at the hands of the Chola arrivals, but are far from broken, having struck out and established two military to the northwest of the Khmer lands. Their light infantry and Skirmishers will harass their enemies by land, while their navy will attempt to keep the Khmer and Chola forces divided.
  • The Srivijaya (4, Blue) command a vast thalassocratic empire from their power base in the south of the map. Droves of Battle Elephants, Two-Handed Swordsmen, Crossbowmen, and Onagers will provide a staunch resistance to any land-based incursions, while their fabled navy has hitherto ruled the seas with an iron fist.

Players[]

Player[]

  • Player (Khmer AoE2 Khmer): The player is located to the east, and will stand with the Chola Army to battles and defeat the Tambralinga and the Srivijaya. Suryavarman's army consists of cavalry, Battle Elephants, Elite Skirmishers, and Ballista Elephants. Additionally, a small army will start marching to the northernmost of the map, but will have to pass through the Tambralinga base. The naval force of the Khmer consists of War Galleys, Fire Ships, and Demolition Ships, all of which can be upgraded.

Ally[]

Enemy[]

  • Tambralinga (Malay AoE2 Malay): Located to the north and east. They also have smaller base at the middle of the map. Their land forces consist of Karambit Warriors, Pikemen, Elite Skirmishers, Monks, and Battle Elephants. Their naval forces consist of War Galleys and Fire Ships. Their northern bases are located on the same land with the player's base, although they cannot rebuild and will only ever send a few units at a time towards the player's castle.
  • Srivijaya (Malay AoE2 Malay): Located to the south. They also have smaller base at the middle of the map. Their land forces consist of Champions (these units cannot be produced more by Srivijaya), Two-Handed Swordsmen, Arbalesters, Elite Battle Elephants, Monks, and Onagers. Their naval forces consist of Galleons, Fast Fire Ships, and Demolition Ships. They will also attempt to land troops on the player's shores. Assaulting their main base from the sea may seem a difficult task because their coast is protected by Castles and Harbors, but gaining dominance of the seas and then bombarding their cities with Elite Cannon Galleons can remove all but one Castle and a few minor production buildings, which Chola can remove.

Strategy[]

In this scenario, the Tambralinga and Srivijaya empires must be destroyed. Hence, it is advisable for the player to immediately move forces westward to ravage Tambarlinga's first base. Removing Tambralinga encampments on the player's own island will prevent them from gathering vital resources and allow the player to focus on the water (no longer true in the Definitive Edition).

The player should then boom up to the Imperial Age and upgrade their navy first as Srivijaya will continuously raid the coast line with Galleons, Fast Fire Ships, and Demolition Ships. The Srivijaya island citadel should also be destroyed as soon as possible to protect the player's economy from raids.

Tambralinga controls an island to the west of Srivijaya but they stay in the Castle Age for most of the scenario. Therefore, there should be no difficulty laying waste to the island as well. The player should build Ballista Elephants with Monk support to use against both Tambralinga and Srivijaya.

The high HP output and the strong ranged attack can help decimate the armies of both empires. The player should land their army between the Tambralinga and Srivijaya bases. The player should bring villagers there to build Castles and Stables to help replenish the army. Chola for the large part is an unhelpful ally as the send units one off into Tambralinga bases.

The player should immediately clear out the Srivijaya base to the west and then push westward to ultimately destroy their empire. Keep Ballista Elephants and Monks to protect the narrow landing while the player's forces are triumphing over Srivijaya.

Once Srivijaya is defeated, the player should now turn their attention towards Tambralinga. With the majority of their army being infantry and trash units, Ballista Elephants should flatten their forces with ease. Once the first base falls, the second should fall soon thereafter. Once the player marches their forces in the ruins of the city the scenario is won.

Macro strategy (for those with poorer micromanagement skills)[]

The player should ignore the Tambralinga base to the north. Instead, the opening minutes should see the player do the following:

  1. Move all land-based military units beside the only Castle the player has.
  2. Load 2-4 Villagers into the Transport Ship at the south of the base.
  3. Assign about 4 Villagers to forage - use waypoints to get them to automatically harvest wood once the bushes are depleted.
  4. Move all other Villagers to the northeast of the map, where there is a lot of wood, gold and stone. Build a Town Center and assign about half of the Villagers to cut wood and the other half to mine gold.
  5. Move all ships into the pocket of water in the middle of the base. Then build a Dock so that the Fishing Boats can fish for food.
  6. Create a Monk at the Monastery to pick up the Relic just north of the base.
  7. Move the Transport Ship to the Chola base: Saving the game at this juncture would be critical. The Transport Ship must take a long-winded route to avoid the enemy ships in the middle of the map.

Subsequently, the player can utterly ignore the starting base for about 95% of the time spent in this scenario - checking only to see if there are any idle Villagers, and to move them to other resource locations when they run out. This also means that the player can also ignore all attacks on the starting base, since the enemy AIs are focused almost entirely on the Cholas. Or, to put it more explicitly, the bottom half of the player's base can be sacrificed. As are the player's forces at the north of the map.

What IS important is ensuring that the player achieves a critical mass of ships before the enemy AIs can, and swamp them when they arrive. To do this, the player can:

  1. Get the Villagers that were transported to build 3 Docks (The player can start with two, but a third or even a fourth will become very quickly necessary to achieve the critical mass needed to massively outnumber the enemy forces).
  2. Research the War Galley and Galleon technologies.
  3. Spam Galleons.
  4. When possible, research the Bodkin Arrow, Bracer, Careening, Dry Dock, and Chemistry technologies.
  5. Spam more Galleons.
  6. Build a Castle in the middle of the Chola base to provide additional defense against enemy ships.
  7. Continue spamming Galleons until the player has about 45-60 of them.
  8. Research the Elite Cannon Galleon technology.
  9. Build about 10 Elite Cannon Galleons, and spam even more Galleons.

By this point, the game is pretty much won. Trade income is not necessary to achieve victory.

Outro[]

Storms raged as wooden vessels rammed into one another, a deafening sound prefaced by the whistling of projectiles through the air. Thousands of men sank below the angry waves, never to rise again.

The Chola land force fought bravely, holding to the last. Just as it seemed that they were to be defeated by the Tambralinga-Srivijaya force, salvation arrived in the form of swarms of Khmer.

Victory fhs a glorious taste. Over the course of a single conflict, the influence and power of the empire were raised to unprecedented levels.

Storms raged as wooden vessels rammed into each other, a deafening sound prefaced by the whistling of projectiles through the air. Thousands of men sank below the angry waves, never to rise again.

The Chola land force fought bravely, holding to the last. Just as it seemed that they were consigned to defeat at the hands of the Tambralinga-Srivijaya force, salvation arrived in the form of swarms of Khmer.

Victory was a glorious taste. Over the course of a single conflict, the influence and power of the empire were raised to unprecedented levels.

Trivia[]

  • This battle is also present in the last scenario of the Rajendra campaign, but from Rajendra Chola's perspective. The player plays as Dravidians in the latter scenario.
  • Tambralinga is represented by the Malay, while in the Dravidians' campaign, they are represented by the Khmer.
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