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This article is about the building in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. For the building in Age of Empires IV, see Keep (Age of Empires IV).

Stronger than Guard Tower. Fires farther and is better armored.
Age of Empires II description

The Keep is a tower in Age of Empires II that becomes available once the Imperial Age is reached. Keeps are most useful against ships and are somewhat effective against infantry, archers, and cavalry, but are not very effective against siege weapons.

Availability chart[]

Keepresearchavailable AvailableKeepresearchunavailable Unavailable
x means that the civilizations gets fully upgradeable Keeps. The technologies being considered here are Architecture, Arrowslits, Bracer, and Heated Shot.
+ means that the civilization gets some civilization or team bonus or a unique technology that benefits the Keep.

Tactics and placement[]

The Keep upgrade provides +750 (+50%) hit points, +1 attack, +1/+1 armor, and +1 anti-ship attack. Given the fact that the upgrade has no gold or stone in its cost, this makes the upgrade great for its value.

Defensively, while individual Keeps will not be able to singlehandedly repel large raiding parties, they can be a powerful tool to discourage smaller raids, which otherwise can kill villagers and disrupt economies disproportionate to their size, especially if they aren't immediately noticed. By passively firing on these raiders, towers can force enemies into larger and more costly attacks, drawing away resources from elsewhere and opening them to counterattacks. However, the player must judge whether it is more cost-effective to use towers to fill this role, or whether walls and/or Castles might instead serve as a cheaper alternative.

Offensively, Keeps can be used for front-line support by restricting enemy movements and asserting map control, allowing the attacking player to move forward with greater confidence and deal more damage during an assault, knowing a safe zone is available if a retreat is needed. In such a retreat, they can hold troops to protect them from archers, heal them once garrisoned, and provide cover fire for offensively placed military buildings. While they serve a similar role to a Castle in this regard, they have the advantage of being a smaller and less risky investment, and of being built more quickly, potentially surprising the defending player with an unexpected fortification they aren't prepared to deal with. However, Bombard Towers also fulfill this role while dealing more damage, albeit with a sizable gold cost. Castles also have higher durability, a higher damage output, and the ability to create Trebuchets to defend themselves.

Keeps are highly vulnerable to siege units, and even to most melee units, so to protect them the player should have melee cavalry near their fortifications, or some Fire Ships that can deal with the Cannon Galleons in case of Keeps placed near the shore.

Keeps should be placed in choke points to make them more effective or behind cliffs or forests. Keeps also work better if placed within range of each other or the range of a friendly Castle since both buildings will provide cover fire for each other. In maps like Archipelago or Islands, it is a wise idea to have several Keeps near the shoreline to take down potentially dangerous enemy fleets and give some support to the player's fleet near the coast. If running for a Relic or Wonder victory, Keeps become a helpful tool to defend the Wonder or the Monasteries holding Relics, but the player will also require the support of several Castles, walls, and other military structures, along with enough troops to counter enemy units.

Comparison among civilizations with prominent Keeps[]

Civilization Britons AoE2 Britons Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines Chinese AoE2 Chinese Japanese AoE2 Japanese Koreans AoE2 Koreans Celts AoE2 Celts
Hit points 2723 3150 3540 2475 2723 2475
Attack 8+9 8+7 8+6
Rate of Fire 2 1.5
Melee/Pierce/Building armor 3+2/9+2/+6 3/9/0 3+2/9+2/+6 3+1/9+1/+3 3+2/9+2/+6 3+1/9+1/+3
Range 8+3 8+5 8+2
Extras Fire two extra arrows Upgrades are free

In addition to these, the Incan and Slavic towers are cheaper (15% and 40% less stone, respectively; the latter stone to wood replacement after Detinets researched) and often used in the late game. They are not included here because they are not statistically better, and also because the Slavs lack access to Keeps, Bracer, and Arrowslits, and both lack Architecture. The Sicilian Donjon is also a good variation, but the comparison is too complicated to be included here, so it is included in the Donjon's page.

Further statistics[]

Building strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Ships, archers, weak melee units
Weak vs. Siege weapons, Tarkans, Huskarls, War Elephants, Cannon Galleons
Hit points Masonry aoe2de Masonry (+10%)
ArchitectureDE Architecture (+10%)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Great Wall (+30%, Chinese only)
Attack FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE Chemistry (+1)
ArrowSlitsDE Arrowslits (+3)
HeatedShotDE Heated Shot (+125% attack against ships)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Yeomen (+2, Britons only)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Yasama (adds two extra arrows, Japanese only)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Svan Towers (+2, enables pass-through damage, Georgians only)
Range FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
MurderHolesDE Murder Holes (eliminates minimum range)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Eupseong (+2, Koreans only)
Firing rate UniqueTechCastle-DE Stronghold (+33%, Celts only)
Accuracy BallisticsDE Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor Masonry aoe2de Masonry (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
ArchitectureDE Architecture (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
Line of Sight TownWatchDE Town Watch (+4)
TownPatrolDE Town Patrol (+4)
Conversion defense Devotion icon AoE2DE Devotion (+1 min, +1 max)
FaithDE Faith (+4 min, +4 max)
HeresyDE Heresy (die upon getting converted)
Construction speed TreadmillCraneDE Treadmill Crane (+20%)
Other HerbalDE Herbal Medicine (garrisoned units heal faster)
UniqueTechImperialDE Crenellations (garrisoned infantry fire arrows, Teutons only)

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of Kings[]

AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

  • Keeps now have 8 attack.
  • Celts AoE2 Celts: Stronghold introduced, which makes Keeps fire 25% faster.
  • Incas AoE2 Incas: Cannot build Keeps.
  • Japanese AoE2 Japanese: Yasama introduced. It gives Keeps three additional arrows.
  • Koreans AoE2 Koreans: Keeps are now built 33% faster.

AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms[]

  • Camels are moved out of the ship armor class, and Keeps lose their attack bonus against them. They now have +1 attack against them.
  • Arrowslits introduced. Initially, it gives Keeps +6 attack. With patch 4.8, Arrowslits now gives +3 attack.
  • Incas AoE2 Incas: Keep added to the technology tree.
  • Japanese AoE2 Japanese: With patch 4.8, Yasama now gives Keeps two additional arrows.

AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas[]

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India[]

AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain Royals[]

Aoe2 hb Victors and Vanquished[]


The central and strongest building inside a castle was called the keep. This was the last bastion of defense inside if the walls and outside towers were taken. The remaining defenders withdrew into the keep for the final defense. The keep was a mini-castle often constructed in place of a castle to cut expenses. Although much smaller than castles, keeps could perform the same function on a smaller scale. They were very difficult to capture except by a large and well-equipped army.
Age of Empires II manual


  • The Keep model of the Native American civilizations is inspired by the Palace Observation Tower in Palenque.
  • The description of the Keep states it fires farther than its predecessors. However, that is wrong, all towers of the Watch Tower line have the same range.
  • All Keeps have a square base except the Western European version, which is octagonal, the Mediterranean version which is also octagonal, and the Central Asian version, which is round.
  • Because Cumans and Tatars lack access to the Keep, the Central Asian Keeps appear only in Full Tech Tree games and campaigns.
  • Before Dynasties of India, the South Asian Keeps only appeared in Full Tech Tree games and campaigns. With the introduction of Bengalis, Dravidians, and Gurjaras, this is no longer the case.
  • Its icon was updated in an update after the release of The Mountain Royals.


Buildings in Age of Empires II
Civilian buildings
EconomicTowncenter aoe2DE Town Center · Dock aoe2de Dock · Fish trap aoe2DE Fish Trap · Mill aoe2de Mill · FarmDE Farm · Market aoe2DE Market · Lumber camp aoe2de Lumber Camp · Mining camp aoe2de Mining Camp · Feitoria aoe2DE Feitoria · Folwark Folwark · Ao2de caravanserai icon Caravanserai · AoE2 MuleCart Mule Cart
ResearchBlacksmith aoe2de Blacksmith · University AoE2 DE University
ReligiousAoE2 FortifiedChurch Fortified Church · MonasteryAoe2DE Monastery
MiscellaneousHouse aoe2DE House · Wonder aoe2DE Wonder
Military buildings
ProductionBarracks aoe2DE Barracks · Archery range aoe2DE Archery Range · Stable aoe2DE Stable · Siege workshop aoe2DE Siege Workshop · Dock aoe2de Dock
Fortified productionCastle aoe2DE Castle · Harbor aoe2de Harbor · Krepost icon updated Krepost · Aoe2-icon-donjon Donjon
TowerTowncenter aoe2DE Town Center · AoE2 FortifiedChurch Fortified Church · Outpost aoe2de Outpost · Watch Tower icon AoE2DE Watch Tower · Guard Tower icon AoE2DE Guard Tower · Keep icon AoE2DE Keep · Bombard tower aoe2DE Bombard Tower
WallPalisade wall aoe2de Palisade Wall · Palisade gate aoe2DE Palisade Gate · Stone wall aoe2de Stone Wall · Gate aoe2de Gate · Fortified wall aoe2de Fortified Wall · Gate aoe2de Fortified Gate
Scenario Editor buildings
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsBridge · MonasteryAoe2DE Cathedral · Wonder aoe2DE Dome of the Rock · Pyramid aoe2DE Great Pyramid · MonasteryAoe2DE Mosque · Pavilion big icon AoE2DE Pavilion · Pyramid aoe2DE Pyramid · Accursed tower aoe2DE The Accursed Tower · Accursed tower aoe2DE The Tower of Flies · Market aoe2DE Trade Workshop · Yurt thatch big aoe2DE Yurt
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The ConquerorsWonder aoe2DE Monument · SeaGateDE Sea Gate · Watch Tower icon AoE2DE Sea Tower · Sea Wall icon AoE2DE Sea Wall
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The ForgottenAmphitheatre aoe2DE Amphitheatre · Aqueduct aoe2DE Aqueduct · Wonder aoe2DE Arch of Constantine · Fortified wall aoe2de City Wall · Amphitheatre aoe2DE Colosseum · Keep icon AoE2DE Fire Tower · Palisade wall aoe2de Fortified Palisade Wall · Castle aoe2DE Fortress · Castle aoe2DE Poenari Castle · Wonder aoe2DE Quimper Cathedral · MonasteryAoe2DE Temple of Heaven · Wooden Bridge
AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African KingdomsBarricade aoe2DE Barricade · Fence aoe2DE Fence · Accursed tower aoe2DE Fortified Tower · 2de granary new icon Granary · Hut small aoe2DE Hut · Wondericon Palace (removed) · Aoe2de storage icon new Storage · Tent small aoe2DE Tent
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the RajasTent army small aoe2DE Army Tent · Wonder aoe2DE Gol Gumbaz · Wonder aoe2DE Sanchi Stupa
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last KhansWonder aoe2DE Aachen Cathedral · Chain aoe2DE Chain · Gate aoe2de City Gate · Wonder aoe2DE Dormition Cathedral · Wonder aoe2DE Rock Church · Wonder aoe2DE Sankore Madrasah · MonasteryAoe2DE Shrine · Wonder aoe2DE Tower of London
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the DukesAoe2de pagan shrine icon Pagan Shrine
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of IndiaWonder aoe2DE Minaret of Jam