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Enlightenment is the fifth and final scenario of the Devapala campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Dynasties of India.

Intro[]

'Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past time and time again,' said the Buddha.

Devapala sat meditating in silence for days in the great temple, refusing to eat and only occasionally sipping the water beside him. Finally, he turned to me, took my hands in his, stared into my eyes in regret, and pledged to make amends.

'Dwell not on the past, nor dream of the future; focus your mind fully on the present moment,' I told him, repeating the words of the Buddha.

The Noble Eightfold Path is the way by which one can renounce desire, end dissatisfaction, and attain enlightenment — that is the Fourth Noble Truth.

I told Devapala that he still had realm to rule, people to care for, and borders to protect. That the fate of an entire empire rested on his weary, half-starved shoulders.

As I stared into my emperor's sunken eyes, I saw a glimmer of hope ignite into fiery resolve. An otherworldly energy possessed him, emanating from every aspect of his being, and right then I knew that the old Devapala had returned for good.

He would need that unfaltering resolve in the coming months. Infuriated by his foray south and emboldened by his failure to hold on to his new possessions, the Pratiharas and Rashtrakutas leapt at their weakened prey.

Devapala still had one last war to fight.

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Objectives[]

Main objectives[]

  • Defeat the Pratiharas.
  • Defeat the Rashtrakutas.

Secondary objectives[]

  • Research University technologies (5 Piety each).
  • Convert 20 units (20 Piety).
  • Find Buddhist Monasteries (5 Piety each).
  • Collect Relics (10 Piety each).
  • Build a Wonder (20 Piety).

Hints[]

  1. Devapala begins in me Imperial Age and can support a population limit of 200.
  2. Jayapala has deployed his forces to bear the brunt of the initial enemy attacks. Support your cousin if you can. but all is not lost if he is defeated.
  3. The Bengali unique technology, Mahayana, reduces the amount of population space that each Villager takes. Use it to maintain a large economy while clearing space for additional military units.
  4. The rivers are swollen from torrential rains. Prepare forces on both land and sea, for your opponents will do the same.
  5. Devapala's piety level is measured a scale from 1-100. It will gradually decrease over time, but completing side objectives will increase it and unlock permanent rewards. Only a victory with a high piety (80•) will ensure that you become a Bodhisattva!

Scouts[]

Your scouts report:

  • Devapala (1. Yellow) has returned to Bengal to secure his ailing realm against impending invasions.
  • Your loyal cousin Jayapala (2. Cyan) mans the northern and eastern frontiers with elephants and Skirmishers.
  • Rested and recovered from the conflicts, the Pratiharas (3, Red) approach your lands from the west with mounted units and Chakram Throwers as well as a small navy.
  • The Rashtrakutas (4, Purple) march from the south with a vengeance. Their foot soldiers, elephants, and powerful navy will be a difficult test the battle-hardened Pala military.

Players[]

Player[]

  • Player (Bengalis): The player starts with bases at the northern and eastern corners of the map with small forces of elephants and light cavalry. They have all common buildings, Town Centers at both bases, and also Docks overlooking plenty of fish in the eastern waters.

Allies[]

  • Jayapala (Bengalis): Devapala's cousin has military encampments between the player's bases and the direction of the enemy, and fields forces of elephants and Skirmishers to defend the Bengali territory.

Enemies[]

  • Pratiharas (Gurjaras): They are located at the western corner of the map in a walled and fortified base. They regularly attack with armies of cavalry and Armored elephants, as well as a navy.
  • Rashtrakutas (Dravidians): They are located in an expansive base in the south and southwest of the map, and will attack with their navy and army of elephants and infantry.

Strategy[]

The Piety amount is not capped and may exceed 100. This allows more flexibility to complete the secondary objectives while piety decays over time. The player can gain piety from the following tasks:

Objective Piety
5 University technologies for 5 piety each 25
20 Units converted 20
5 Monasteries found for 5 piety each 25
5 Relics collected for 10 piety each 50
Wonder built 20
Total 140

The requirements and rewards for the various ranks are:

Rank Piety Requirement Reward Description Reward Effect
Manusya Less than 61 None None
Sravaka 61-70 All of your gold income is now faster. Grand Trunk Road researched
Arhat 71-80 Your ships are now stronger. Carrack researched
(ships get +1/+1 armor)
Bodhisattva 81-100 Your Battle Elephants are now stronger. Tusk Swords researched
(Battle Elephants get +3 attack)
Enlightened Bodhisattva Greater than 100 Your soldiers cost less food. Kshatriyas researched
(military units cost -25% food)

The rewards are permanent (i.e. once unlocked they always remain in effect, even if piety goes below the rank requirement due to decay). However, since they do decay, accumulating sufficient piety quickly enough is an important problem the player will face. In any case, the advantages they provide are not significant enough to ensure victory or loss to the player (i.e. they are dispensable)

A Relic and a Monastery can be found just northwest of Jayapala's northern base. Another pair can be found to the west of Jayapala's eastern base. There are three more Relics on the map: one just south of the player's northern base, one on an island in the eastern corner of the map, and one outside Rashtrakuta's northern castle. There are three more Monasteries on the map: one on the northern island in between the two eastern shallows next to some mountains, one in the very middle of the map, and one to the west of Rashtrakuta's northern Town Center.

General strategy[]

The battle will be fought both on land and water, so the player has to strike a balance. It Is made more complicated because the player has two bases that they have to maintain. Gold Mines will run out in this map quick, so the player can only rely on Relics and trade with Jayapala. Additionally, due to needing to fight on two fronts and the size of the map, army mobility is going to become a major issue; the Bengalis' elephant units are slow, meaning the player is going to want to rely more on Rathas to counter attacks.

For starters, the player should produce mass Villagers to start booming and building defenses. No enemy will train Trebuchets in this scenario, but the player has to deal with Armored Elephants, a threat to all buildings. As Pratiharas and Rashtrakuta will not rebuild their Docks, send mass Demolition Ships to blow up all of the Docks so that the player has full control over the river.

Dealing with Pratiharas is rather straightforward, as their base is west, behind a river. Another forward base is at the other side of the river, which can be destroyed with a few Armored Elephants and Rathas. Once their forward base is gone, the player should use Galleons to intercept the raiding units, and Cannon Galleons to destroy buildings, leaving Pratiharas in a dire situation. With the warships constantly harassing Pratiharas, the player should send Battle Elephants, Rathas, and Armored Elephants to wipe out the rest of the army until Pratiharas resigns.

Rashtrakuta is slightly harder to defeat because they have a larger base. As their buildings are by the river and can be destroyed by Cannon Galleons, their main base is further inland by the west of the river. In this case, send the Cannon Galleons to deal with any building within their range, while the player's Ratha and Elephant army deals with the troops on land. With simultaneous operations, Rashtrakutas will surrender soon, and the player wins.

Alternate strategy[]

Alternately, because the opponent AIs do not build Trebuchets, the player could rely on walls, Castles and Light Cavalry (or its equivalents) to fend off the enemies. However, because the Armored Elephants are so powerful, double-walling is probably necessary. Alternately, the player can also leave a hole in the walls, and build a maze of Fortified Walls leading up to it. This will not only funnel the enemies into a narrow front (most of the time), but also slow them down so that the player's castles Can more easily destroy them

Also, for those who are not confident about managing two bases, the northern base is probably preferable. This is because the area allows the player to avoid the attack range of the enemy ships, obtain more resources, and get trade income.

If, however, the player wishes to also save the ally, but are bad at multitasking, they may prefer to take the stand with Castles and walls near the ally's bottom base. Note, however, that to successfully pull this off relies on the player quickly seizing at least two Relics and obtaining the income they generate. This is because the enemies come at the player from all directions, making it harder to mine gold, at least in the beginning. Worse, the sheer volume of enemies coming down to that one small base means that it is probably almost impossible to rely solely on cavalry to protect the base. This means that a lot of stone (for Castles) and strategically positioned Galleons (supported by Castles) are necessary. Additionally, rather than fully walling off the player's base, and having the enemies coming at the player from random directions, opening up a gap in the walls at the back of the player's base (facing the easternmost Relic) and building a maze outwards from the gap is probably necessary to ensure that the attack direction of the enemy AI remains somewhat predictable.

Outro[]

'It is better to travel well than to arrive,' said the Buddha.

My emperor and I pondered these words as we gazed across the city from the palace tower. It was curiously soothing to observe from above as the monks returned to their temples, the scholars exited the university, and the bustling townsfolk rushed home for the evening.

With our former rivals gone and an agreement reached, all of these people could now look forward to peace for the foreseeable future. It was a heart-warming thought, to none more so than my emperor.

'Perhaps we may never arrive,' he mused, watching the glow of the sun fade into a rich, muted orange as it sank towards the horizon...

...'but with you by my side, I am sure to always travel well.'

Trivia[]

  • The various ranks that Devapala can obtain are the steps to become a Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism.
  • The achievement "Parinirvana" can be obtained by accumulating 100 piety points.
  • This is the only scenario that has construction of a Wonder as a secondary objective, rather than as a primary objective.
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