Age of Empires Series Wiki

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 useful against infantry and archers, but are not effective against siege weapons and most cavalry.

Building availability
Available Unavailable

The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Keeps, i.e. gets Bracer, Arrowslits, Architecture, and Heated Shot. Faith and Heresy are not taken into account because they only contribute to their combat strength in a very situational manner.

The ^ indicates that the civilization has at least one civilization or team bonus or a unique technology that benefits the combat strength of the Keep.

Tactics and placement[]

Towers are an essential part of any kind of fortification. Keeps are very useful and valuable for defending the player's settlement against enemy raiding parties. Turtling strategies usually require the use of several Keeps among the use of walls and Castles in order to create a strong fortification. Keeps should be placed in choke points to make them more effective or behind cliffs or forests. Keeps also work better if placed within the range of each other or within the range of a friendly Castle since both buildings will provide cover fire for each other. Using walls and Gates will protect them to some extent from rams. In maps like Archipelago or Islands it is a wise idea to have several Keeps near the shoreline in order to take down potentially dangerous enemy fleets and give some support to the player's own fleet near the coast.

Offensively, Keeps can also be used for front line support as in a retreat they can hold troops that can be healed once garrisoned and they also provide cover fire for offensively placed military buildings if they are placed near an enemy location. In this regard they are better than a Castle since they are cheaper and are built quicker.

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

Korean Keeps have 13 range, making them harder to deal with because Bombard Cannons (bar Turkish ones) and non-Elite Cannon Galleons cannot outrange them.

Garrisoned foot archers and Villagers increase the number of arrows Keeps fire, thus increasing the damage. Up to five (10 for the Teutons) foot-soldiers (infantry and archers, although infantry do not increase the firepower) may be garrisoned in a Keep. Garrisoned units slowly regenerate lost hit points.

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. Also, the player must have sufficient numbers of troops (especially cavalry) for countering enemy siege units.

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.png Masonry (+10%)
ArchitectureDE.png Architecture (+10%)
CastleAgeUnique.png Great Wall (+30%, Chinese only)
Attack FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE.png Chemistry (+1)
ArrowSlitsDE.png Arrowslits (+3)
HeatedShotDE.png Heated Shot (+125% attack against ships)
CastleAgeUnique.png Yeomen (+2, Britons only)
CastleAgeUnique.png Yasama (adds two extra arrows, Japanese only)
Range FletchingDE.png Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE.png Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE.png Bracer (+1)
MurderHolesDE.png Murder Holes (eliminates minimum range)
CastleAgeUnique.png Eupseong (+2, Koreans only)
Firing rate CastleAgeUnique.png Stronghold (+25%, Celts only)
Accuracy BallisticsDE.png Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor Masonry aoe2de.png Masonry (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
ArchitectureDE.png Architecture (+1/+1, +3 building armor)
Line of Sight TownWatchDE.png Town Watch (+4)
TownPatrolDE.png Town Patrol (+4)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Construction speed TreadmillCraneDE.png Treadmill Crane (+20%)
Other HerbalDE.png Herbal Medicine (garrisoned units heal faster)
Unique-tech-imperial.jpg Crenellations (enables garrisoned infantry to shoot arrows, Teutons only)

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Keeps cost 25W/125S.
  • Keeps have 7 attack.
  • Keeps have an attack bonus of +10 against camels because they share an armor class with ships.

The Conquerors[]

The Forgotten[]

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: Keep added to the technology tree.
  • Japanese: With patch 4.8, Yasama now gives Keeps two additional arrows.

Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Keeps now cost 50W/125S.
  • Koreans: With patch 5.8, Keeps are now built 5% faster.

Definitive Edition[]


  • 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.


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.