Kushluk (or Kuchlug, d. 1218) was a Naiman prince and an early enemy of Genghis Khan who usurped the leadership of the Kara-Khitai, in a coup d'etat. In Age of Empires II, he is the main antagonist of the second scenario of the Genghis Khan campaign, and the player must kill him to win the game. Kushluk is also available in the Scenario Editor.
Prior to the Definitive Edition, Kushluk used to be represented by a Cavalier model with superior stats and a unique icon. In the Definitive Edition, he has a unique model as well. As a hero, he cannot be converted and can regenerate health (since The Conquerors). Technologies that benefit cavalry also benefit Kushluk but he is not affected by other bonuses.
Appearances in later campaigns
- In The Forgotten, Kushluk appears as the titular Alaric (370/375 - 410 A.D.) in the third and fourth scenarios of his campaign, after being previously portrayed by a renamed Theodoric the Goth. In the Definitive Edition, Alaric has his own unit Alaric the Goth, but it doesn't appear in the redesigned campaign.
- In the Dracula campaign, Kushluk appears in the first scenario as Vladislav II of Wallachia (d. August 10, 1465).
- In the Ivaylo campaign, Kushluk appears in several scenarios as Georgi Terter (d. 1308/1309).
- According to the fifth Design Document of Ensemble Studios (dated 17 July 1998), the early plan for A Life of Revenge was to defeat Kushluk first (as Genghis Khan did in 1208), make him flee to the Kara-Khitai, and then take him out by triggering a Kara-Khitai revolt against him (somehow).
- The Age of Kings does not mention Kushluk's Naiman origin despite the Naimans's appearance in Crucible, nor his seizure of the Kara-Khitai leadership (only that he sows discord among them). The former is changed in the Definitive Edition, which now identifies Kushluk as a Naiman in the cutscenes, and changes the Naimans's purple color in Crucible to Kushluk's green.
- Kushluk seized control of the Kara-Khitai by marrying their khan's daughter, then seized the capital while the khan was campaigning against the Khwarazmians and forced him to abdicate.
- The claim that Kushluk disputes the leadership of the Mongols with Genghis Khan is likely taken from Genghis Khan's earlier rival Jamukha (d. 1206), who is not mentioned in the game.
- Like other Naimans, Kushluk was a Nestorian Christian but he converted to Buddhism after fleeing to the Kara-Khitai. He spent most of his later leadership persecuting his own Muslim subjects and forcing them to convert to either Buddhism or Christianity.
- This led Kushluk to his downfall after the Muslim Turkic city of Almaliq asked Genghis Khan for help. The Mongols used their religious tolerance to present themselves as liberators and encourage revolts against Kushluk. Eventually, Kushluk was captured or killed by local hunters in Badakshan, and his decapitated head was paraded by the Mongols around his former realm.