The Dracula campaign in the Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten is depicting its namesake, Vlad III Dracula (1428/31–1476/77). Vlad III Dracula (Vlad Drăculea), from the House of Drăculești (a branch of the House of Basarab), was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, first in 1448, then in 1456 to 1462, and once more in 1476. He first came into power by fighting Vladislav II the usurper from the House of Dănești (another branch of the Basarab), later frequently fighting the Ottoman Empire. Due to his reputation of impaling his enemies, he is also known as "Vlad the Impaler" or Vlad Țepeș in Romanian.
Vlad Dracula is a cavalry hero. He is always a must-survive unit. Prior to the Definitive Edition, he used to be represented by a Boyar, in the Definitive Edition he has a unique appearance. As a hero, he cannot be converted and can regenerate health.
In the third scenario, Dracula nabs a Trade Cart on the way to Giurgiu. He then disguises himself as a King (named Disguised Vlad Dracula) and freely enters the city as a trader to later capture the city and defeat the Ottoman guards. After that, Dracula is reverted to his original form.
|“||History forged an incredible legend around the man who ruled Wallachia in the mid-15th century. Holding his ground against the vast armies of the expanding Ottoman Empire, his cruel tactics made him the most feared man in all of Eastern Europe. Shall his thirst for blood and the loyalty of his soldiers hold the Turks back for good?||”|
|—In-game campaign description|
|“||History forged an incredible legend around the man who held 15th century Wallachia against the vast armies of the Ottoman Empire. His cruel tactics and sharp mind made him the most feared man in all of Eastern Europe—but will they be enough to parry the Turkish onslaught?||”|
|—In-game campaign description in Definitive Edition|
The Dracula campaign consists of 5 scenarios. Since there is no civilization that Dracula perfectly fits in, the player plays with three different civilizations: Turks, Magyars, and Slavs; and the player color is red.
- The Dragon Spreads His Wings (Turks)
- The Return of the Dragon (Magyars)
- The Breath of the Dragon (Slavs)
- The Moon Rises (Slavs)
- The Night Falls (Magyars)
In the Definitive Edition, some scenarios have been slightly reworked. For example, The Breath of the Dragon scenario involves a more direct assault to the Turkish stronghold in the captured Wallachian city rather than a stealth mission.
The campaign is narrated by an unnamed traveler whose companions take shelter in Poenari Castle (Dracula's former home) during a storm, where an old veteran from Dracula's wars against the Ottomans relates the story to them.