Throughout Europe, church bells ring while screams and the smell of burning wood fill the air. Everybody knows of the terror of the Vikings and their feared longships, but those who dwell inland face another horror.
Magyar horsemen strike deep into the European heartland, raiding, plundering, and killing without distinction. These nomadic pagans come from far to the east where they were driven out from their homelands by their aggressive neighbors.
Now they have arrived in Europe, and their lightning-quick raids terrify the locals. The rulers of Europe are powerless to stop these swift, mounted marauders.
Raiding, however successful, cannot sustain the Magyar tribes forever, and they are ready to settle down. Scouts have found a suitable location in the south: large open grasslands, similar to the steppes of the Magyar's ancestral home, lie within the Carpathian Basin.
Only the Eastern Franks, Moravians, and Bulgarians stand in their way. If the Magyars can defeat them, the tribes will once again have a land to call their own.
"Are you still working? Why do you work so much?" the young Romanos asked his father, who was sitting in his dark workroom next to a candlelit table. Constantine smiled, and answered: "The life of an emperor is very busy. The Byzantine empire is big and strong, but it does not function just by itself. Problems always occur that you have to solve in order to keep everything in order. You will see for yourself later."
"Are you writing laws?" asked Romanos, pointing at the large book lying in front of his father. "No, I am compiling all of my knowledge and experience about governing the empire in a book for you and the next generations of emperors to come." "That is interesting." Romanos observed. "Can I have a look?" Constantine smiled again. "You should be in bed now, but after all, I am writing it for you. Come here... for an Empire as grandiose as ours, deft diplomacy is vital.
To make your empire survive and thrive you always have to know with whom to maintain peace, and whom to conquer. To make such decisions you have to know the surrounding peoples well and understand their culture and history. Right now I am writing about a very interesting group of people. They are called the Hungarians, but are also known as the Magyars.
They live in Central Europe, near the Danube River, yet their language and customs are utterly different from those of other Europeans. They are pagans, not Christians and have a very warlike nature. They are fierce warriors who fight from horseback and master the skill of archery. With their constant raids all over Europe they have caused many problems for the feudal rulers.
"Why are they so different? Where did they come from?" inquired Romanos. "They came from as far as the Ural mountains in Asia. There you could still meet their relatives, who speak similar Ugric languages. Originally, they were a nomadic pastoral people, but climate change and the appearance of the aggressive Pechenegs forced them to migrate westward. After a long and arduous migration, they reached the Carpathian Basin..."
Enemy → Ally → Enemy → Ally Edit
- Pecheneg (Turks; HD Edition only) - will actively harass the player during the early phase of the game with lots of Scout Cavalry and Archers. During the middle phase of the game, they will attack the player with a huge army which consists of Heavy Cavalry Archers, Hussars, Heavy Camel Riders, Cavaliers, together with Trebuchets and Siege Rams, which may seem impossible to defeat.
Ally → EnemyEdit
- Bulgaria (Bulgarians; Definitive Edition only) - has several walled territories in the east to southeast parts of the map. Initially friendly and will not attack, but Byzantines will eventually request to declare war and to plunder Bulgaria's Kreposts and Castles. They will eventually declare war automatically later into the game and will send units consisting of Two-Handed Swordsmen, Siege Rams, Konniks, and Hussars.
Ally (Possible Enemy） Edit
- Khazars (Persians; HD Edition only）- owns large city with a large army south of the player's starting position. The player must seek refuge within their city during the early phase of the scenario. However, if the player builds any building within the premises of the city (particularly the area where Khagan is), they will switch their diplomatic stance with the player to Enemy. If they become the player's enemy, they will only attack the player with their initial force, as this AI is not triggered to gather resources or train units throughout the game.
- Byzantines (Byzantines）- has a large city at the south of the map but lack a large military unlike the Khazars. Their peninsula can only be reached with Transport Ships. They do not actively take part on the scenario except their front gates being destroyed by the Bulgars during the middle phase of the scenario. They serve as a decorative player in the game for story and plot purposes. In the Definitive Edition version of the scenario, the Byzantines only have a tiny encampent with some units and are still there for story and plot purposes. However, the Byzantines will award the player gold for each Bulgarian Castle or Krepost destroyed.
- Kabars (Turks; HD Edition only）- has a small encampment and decent sized Post-Imperial Age army somewhere at the middle of the map (southwest of Khazar's main city. At one point in the game they will give all of their army to the player, leaving only buildings under their possession
- Magyars (Magyars; HD Edition only) - has a scattered army across the map and buildings at the middle of the map (referred to as the first principality of Hungary) which comes under the player's possession as the game progresses..Some of their units (notably Svatopluk and the docks near the Moravian island) are given to the Moravians.
- Bulgars (Huns; HD Edition only) - has a heavily defended city west of the Byzantines city. Will initially attack the Byzantines but after reaching the latter's front gate they will stop attacking the Byzantines and wait to fight the player during the middle phase of the scenario.
- Moravians (Slavs; HD Edition only, renamed "Great Moravia" in the Definitive Edition) - has a heavily defended city on an island west of the map, which can only be accessed by the player during the final phase of the scenario.
- East Francia (Teutons; Definitive Edition only) - Enemy exclusive to the Definitive Edition version of the scenario; has a heavily defended city in the far west of the map and are slow to building up an army. However, enemy will eventually send throngs of skirmishers, crossbowmen, Knights/Paladins, and some trebuchets and mangonels/onagers in the later stages of the game.
- Avars (Huns; Definitive Edition only) - Enemy exclusive to the Definitive Edition version of the scenario; enemy has structures littered across flagged areas consisting of towers, a few Stables, huts and a Town Center and will not advance in age or build up an army. They are not much of a threat, but are required to be destroyed as part of the scenario objectives or in order to advance to the Castle Age.
- Great Moravia (Slavs; Definitive Edition only) - Enemy exclusive to the Definitive Edition version of the scenario; has a large territory consisting of 3 Town Centers, 2 Castles and several unit-producing buildings. If not destroyed immediately in the earlier parts of the game, they can ally with East Francia and will eventually send Pikemen, Long Swordsmen/ Two-handed Swordsmen, Scorpions and Siege Rams and will advance in age.
Strategy (HD Edition) Edit
This is a rather unusual scenario, since the player is not supposed to win as soon as possible, but instead required to lose several times in order for the scenario to progress. It can be seen as several smaller scenarios connected with cut-scenes. The player cannot advance to the next age(s), but they will be aged up automatically. As stated in the hints, making (and keeping) a number of saves is strongly advised.
- Phase 1
The player starts at Feudal Age with an assortment of military units and animals, but no Villagers and no buildings, except for a few Houses. The Pecheneg (yellow opponent) will charge immediately with large amounts of units, so don't try to fight back and resist them. Instead, move all units towards the east as soon as possible, then down the river until they reach the Khazars.
- Phase 2
After sending a messenger within the vicinity of the Khagan, the player will eventually be given a Town Center with a few Villagers. Build more villagers and gather resources, but don't spend too much on military units. Try to hold off the attacking Pechenegs (they'll send only Light Cavalry and Archers) with a Palisade Wall and a few Towers, Archers and Spearmen. The Wolves are quite useful since they heal themselves quickly. The player can build a number of Trade Carts to trade with their ally, the Khazars.
At some point (possibly after reaching a certain population count), the Pechenegs will launch a massive attack that can at best be slowed down for a short while, but not withstood, and the player will be given the task to retreat with 30 units to the flag in the south. It is completely irrelevant which units are saved, as they will be deleted completely anyway. Then the player will receive auto Castle Age upgrade.
Note: it actually is possible to defend until the Pechenegs can no longer send units as they have no resources left, however it takes around 3-4 game hours and quite a lot of Towers (a dozen with units inside them will do). Then the player can almost wipe out the enemy with a huge (100+) army (preferably Man-at-Arms type as they have attack bonus vs buildings). However this will break the scenario (even if the player destroys their own Town Center, they won't be able to switch to Phases 5 and 6).
- Phase 3
The player starts a bit further west with a well developed settlement, including three Town Centers and a Castle. The Pechenegs are still the enemy and keep sending units, but not many at first. The player can hold them off relatively easily with Castles and Palisade Walls. Mind that they can cross through the Khazar gates, so the player needs to guard both the north and the east fords. It is a good idea to rake in all resources gathered (it's not too hard to get to five digits in all resources). Some players reported to have managed to defeat the Pecheneg at this stage. This seems to be an extremely hard endeavor, which is not necessary at all. Though it does not break the scenario if they do so.
- Phase 4
Again at some point, the enemy will launch a massive attack, this time with an even larger amount of units. But before they reach the player, the Byzantines will call for help and demand that the player attack the Bulgarians, and the Pecheneg will change to ally. This means that their attack is stalled and a bunch of their units may keep standing in the player's base. The Bulgarians actually only attack the westernmost Byzantine Castle until their units are used up, after that there will be no further exchange of hostilities. At this point the player might think that the Pecheneg cannot be trusted and therefore build a number of catapults and, by using terrain attack, destroy the new "ally" slowly (e.g. wall in the hordes of units so they don't block the catapults, then wall in the Town Centers so Villagers can't escape, then destroy the Town Centers, the Villagers, the military buildings, the military units, and the rest). It's possible to do so, but not required. Again, whatever the player does won't break the scenario.
However, the player have to defeat the Bulgarians now. Don't delete the transport ships, they will be needed, and there is no way to make more. The Bulgarians can churn out vast numbers of units quickly, so if the player opts to build a base on their territory, they'll need several castles of fend the enemy off. Check that the player has gathered more than enough resources and delete most of the Villagers to build a large army. It might be a good idea to build many Petards and attack all the military buildings and Town Centers simultaneously. There's no need to kill all Villagers.
- Phase 5
The Bulgarians will give up just before they are defeated completely, and the Pecheneg will switch from ally to enemy again, as one probably expected. All their units that are standing around in the base or near it (the halted unstoppable assault from earlier) will now defeat the player quickly, while most of the military is in Bulgarian lands. There's no need to worry, as the player will be given the task to retreat west and send a number of units to the flag there. Again, it is irrelevant what kind of units are saved, as they will be deleted automatically anyway, along with everything the player has built. Then the player will receive auto Imperial Age upgrade.
If the Pecheneg were wiped out before, in whatever way, then the scenario might be stuck after defeating the Bulgarians. No need to worry, just delete the three Town Centers that the player started with (see phase 3) to make the game progress.
- Phase 6
The player is tasked with bringing an emissary and a horse to the Moravians, just a bit towards the west. When they return to their people, the Moravians switch to enemy, and the player can build up a base and eventually defeat them. The player should have more than enough resources by now, so the rest of the scenario should be relatively easy.
Strategy (Definitive Edition) Edit
Players familiar with the HD Edition version of the scenario will discover that the Definitive Edition version will be significantly different, as the scenario has been completely redesigned with a number of factions removed and some mechanics revamped. To begin, the Definitive Edition of the scenario will no longer have the phases telling the story of the Magyars; therefore, the scenario will be significantly shorter and simplified compared to the that of the HD Edition. Players also are given a choice to remain nomadic, which grants additional bonuses when raiding enemy bases, or settle down by building a Town Center, which would eliminate these bonuses but would raise the population cap to 150 instead of 100 and is necessary to reach the Imperial Age. The Pechenegs, Khazars, Kabars, and the stranded Magyars will be absent, whereas several new enemy factions, as well as reworked versions of the original enemy factions, will be noted. The player must contend with East Francia, Great Moravia (rework of Moravians from the HD Edition), Avars and, later in the game, Bulgaria (rework of the Bulgarians from the HD Edition); fortunately, only two of these factions must be destroyed in order to complete the scenario, with the exception of the Avars, as they are a separate objective. The Byzantines are also present in the game, but play a much smaller, yet useful, role, as they will eventually issue an objective to assault the Bulgarians to eliminate their Kreposts and Castles.
Starting units consists of a few Villagers, Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers, which will be scattered across the map. Regroup all military units to the middle territory in the east, where a Blacksmith and a Archery range is present, and have 2 Villagers gather lumber, 1 gather stone, and have 1 Villager build a Dock, where Fishing Ships will be made to generate food. Use the same Villager to build a Mill in the middle base, where they would either fish or bring Sheep to the enclosure with the Palisade Walls- doing the latter will produce a steady stream of food as long as the player remains nomadic, which is important as the player cannot build Farms while nomadic. Once the Villagers have been given tasks, start production of Light Cavalry in the far north base, and have these units gather at the middle base. Do not build a Town Center just yet, as it is important to take advantage of the nomadic bonuses until at least the Avars and Great Moravia has been defeated.
After following the above, raid on enemy forces as soon as possible, as they are lightly defended and can be eliminated with just starting units with the right tactics. Something important to note is that the Avars must be eliminated in order to advance to the Castle Age; despite this and the fact that the Avars do not pose any threat, shift focus on eliminating Great Moravia instead, as they can be extremely dangerous later on, for they can produce Pikemen, Long Swordsmen and several siege weapons that can make it much more difficult to deal with when East Francia begins its onslaught. It is vital to destroy Great Moravia now while they do not have a substantial force, thus have all Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers ride westwards, where a Moravian Town Center can be seen in a flagged area. Before sending Light Cavalry to attack the base, have the Cavalry Archers attack one of the Houses. This will lure out some Spearmen which must be eliminated before attacking the base. Once the Spearmen in the surrounding are has been eliminated, start assaulting the Town Center and any Villagers in the area. Once the Town Center has been destroyed, 2 free Villagers will spawn, which can be used to gather the stone deposit near the Outpost in the area. Continue scanning the Moravian territory for any lone Villagers and ignore any Castles or towers that may be in the vicinity, while using the strategy of using the Cavalry Archers to lure out Spearmen and using the Light Cavalry to destroy Town Centers and villagers until Great Moravia resigns from the game, which can be easily done once all three Town Centers (1 in the far north from the first town center and 1 southwest, past a Moravian Castle) have been destroyed.
Once Great Moravia has been defeated, shift focus on the Avars. Unlike Great Moravia , Avars do not focus on building up an army or even aging, and their base only consists of several mounted units (namely Tarkans, Light Cavalry and some Cavalry Archers) and some unit producing buildings, including 1 Town Center, that must be destroyed, in order for them to resign. If needed, retrain additional Light Cavalry if the raiding units are low in number. Ignore any towers in the vicinity and focus on destroying all opposition in the Avars' territory until they are out of the game.
After both the Avars and Great Moravia has been eliminated, the player can now shift focus on establishing a Town Center. While this will in turn eliminate the "nomadic ways" of the Magyars, this is imperative as East Francia will be formidable later in the game and the player will not be able to build Castles until they make the Town Center. They will assault with Paladins, Crossbowmen, Skirmishers and even some Trebuchets. Therefore, prepare a base, preferably on the same "islands" where the initial bases are, as they are abundant with resources needed to develop an army and some structures. When defending against East Francia's assault, it is ideal to have some War Galleys/Galleons (Cannon Galleons are unavailable) at the ready in the rivers, as enemy units seldom target the ships, and as a counter for any Trebuchets or siege weapons the enemy might send. Furthermore, consider turtling with walls, towers and Castles, as it would help drain East Franconia's resources until they are forced to produce nothing but Skirmishers to attack. A blind spot in the river close to their walls can be used to pick off Villagers trying to mine gold without retaliation from nearby towers.
At some point in the game, the Byzantines will be encountered in the rast side of the map, where they will encourage a declaration of war on the Bulgarians and their bases nearby. Regardless of whether or not the player chooses to help the Byzantines, the Bulgarians will eventually declare war and will need to be dealt with at some point. Eliminating the Bulgarians would perhaps be the most ideal to complete the campaign. as all the player needs to do is raze their Castles and Kreposts, which will most likely result in their resignation, and because gold bonuses are tributed by the Byzantine for each Castle/Krepost destroyed; the gold bonuses tributed can be crucial in late stages of the game, as gold is relatively scarce in this scenario and scattered at great distances from each other.
- In the Definitive Edition, players have reported that they cannot complete the scenario even after defeating Bulgaria, East Franconia, and/or Great Moravia, which would exceed the 2 out 3 requirement to beat the scenario.
- To remedy this, players have reported success in completion after setting the diplomacy towards the Byzantines to enemy, as destruction of all factions guarantees victory.
- This bug was later fixed. If the player has defeated Great Moravia and East Francia, the game will come to the end, which also means that it is not necessary to declare war and defeat Bulgaria.
The Magyar horsemen annihilated the Frankish army and utterly destroyed the empire of Great Moravia. After centuries of wandering the steppes, they could finally settle down to create their own kingdom.
Many, however, rejected the thought of exchanging their bows for plows. Not until Otto the Great, founder of the Holy Roman Empire, defeated them at the Battle of Lechfeld did the Magyar raids finally come to an end. After this defeat, the Magyar nomads adopted European ways, converted to the Christian faith, and transformed into farmers.
They founded the Kingdom of Hungary, whose army was famed for its combined elements of nomadic horsemen and heavy cavalry. For centuries, Hungary would stand firm as the frontier stronghold of Europe, resisting invaders from the east-invaders much like the first Magyar raiders who ventured into Europe.
"It would seem that they are a resilient people if they managed to survive such hard times and still claim a new homeland." observed Romanos. "Yes, and today the entirety of Europe is experiencing that toughness. They have conducted several raids into Byzantine lands as well." "But why did they turn against us, and why is it so difficult to defend against them?" Romanos asked. "Well, this is diplomacy- you still have a lot to learn."
Secondly, it is their sly tactics that make them so difficult to deal with. They wear light armor, which makes them highly mobile. They launch their attacks without warning, raid the countryside and leave quickly before a defensive force can be mustered. If they are forced to fight a pitched battle, then they prefer to avoid melee combat. They feign a retreat instead, and then cast a rain of arrows at their pursuers.
Their preferred weapons are the scimitar, lances and the dreadful recurve bow." "This is terrifying! Will anyone be able to stop them, or will they conquer Europe?" "I am sure that sooner or later someone will defeat them. Their tactics are already known. They will have to adapt to European customs or else disappear from the map." the wise emperor concluded, snuffing out the candles.
- Due to the size of the map in the HD Edition version of the scenario, players may experience a significant amount of lag.
- In later patches of the HD Edition version, if the player manages to defeat the Pechenegs, the scenario will automatically progress to the last phase, without requiring them to evacuate the first principality with 60 units.( even if the player receives the specific scenario instruction to do so)
- In the HD Edition, this scenario is one of the few where the player can train Sheep and Cows at their Town Center, something that normally cannot be done in custom maps or any other scenarios. This is can be done in the scenario editor with the "Research Technology" trigger effect by enabling "Enable Cows/Sheep/Llamas/Turkeys". Even though it costs food to train the cows and sheep, the food will be a surplus regardless. This is meant to highlight the "nomadic" nature of the Magyars.
- If you use the marco/polo cheats at the start of the game you can see:
- Richard the Lionheart on an island (below the blue Byzantines)
- The Bulgars start from scratch, almost similarly to a Random Map player, except they have a few Tarkans and Battering Rams near the Byzantine gates
- The Moravians start from scratch, almost similarly to a Random Map player, except they almost immediately start with Svatopluk.(after being converted from the Magyars player)
- In the Definitive Edition version of the scenario, the fact that the player is forced to switch to sedentary gameplay in order to beat East Francia is likely a reference to the Hungarians abandoning their nomadic ways after being defeated by Otto the Great of the Holy Roman Empire.