The Holy City of Medina. Year fifteen of my capture...
Volumes have I filled with my fatigued writings. Lord Saladin reads them only rarely. He speaks of greater events yet to come.
The political boundaries in this endless desert have shifted as a result of three Crusades. Four Crusader states now exist in the Holy Land.
After the Saracen victory in Egypt, the Crusader leaders realized that Saladin was worthy of their concern. They were quick to suggest a treaty.
I hoped that with peace at last upon us, I would be returned to my own folk, but this peace, so short-lived, is already broken.
And it is not Saracen, but Crusader that has violated his word of honor. Reynald de Chatillon, a wicked French knight, has been raiding Arab territory in defiance of the treaty.
He attacks trade caravans, and his pirate ships threaten the Saracen holy cities of Medina and Mecca. Saladin, in his fury, has sworn to kill Reynald with his own hands.
Scenario Instructions Edit
Starting Conditions Edit
- Starting Age: Feudal Age
- Starting resources: 500 food, 200 wood, 200 gold, 100 stone
- Population limit: 75 (100 in the Definitive Edition)
- Starting units:
Differences between difficulty levels Edit
- On Standard, Reynald's Pirates and Raiders are missing a few Guard Towers, while the group of Bandits guarding a gold deposit in the northwest is missing a Mangonel.
Objectives (original) Edit
- Defeat Reynald's pirates.
- Defeat Reynald's raiders.
- Do not allow your allies of Aqaba and Medina to be defeated.
Objectives (Definitive Edition) Edit
- Defeat Reynald's pirates, raiders and bandits.
- Protect the Town Center in Aqaba.
- Protect the Town Center in Medina.
- The Saracen capital can spare little to get you started. You must develop your own base and army.
- Saladin is restricted to the Castle Age and a population limit of 100.
- Keep your allies' trade routes open and they will reward you.
- Assign units to guard allied Trade Carts.
Scouts (Definitive Edition) Edit
- Saladin's army (1, Green) operates out of a small encampment to the south, which lies in the middle of an important trade route between the allied cities of Medina and Aqaba.
- Aqaba (3, Yellow) lies to the north. It has moderately strong defenses, but will fall easily to a concentrated assault.
- Medina (2, Orange) is situated in the east. It is almost completely undefended and vulnerable to enemy attacks.
- Reynald has constructed a naval base in the west (4, Blue) and a large camp in the northeast (5, Cyan). He will attack with warships and Knights, possibly also training Archers, Skirmishers, Mangonels, and Battering Rams. Additionally, several bandits (6, Red) have been wreaking havoc on the trade routes.
- Player (Saracens): The player starts with a small base in a rather central position close to the shore with a small army of Light Cavalry and Camel Riders.
- Aqaba (Saracens): Aqaba lies in the north. Protected only by Stone Walls and two Guard Towers but no army, it needs the player's aid to survive. Losing their Town Center will result in the player's defeat.
- Medina (Saracens): Medina lies in the east. Their Town Center and Market are just surrounded by a few Houses and not protected at all. Losing their Town Center will result in the player's defeat.
- Reynald's Bandits (Franks): Reynald's Bandits are scattered over Arabia and the Sinai Peninsula, mainly attacking Aqaba and Medina Trade Carts passing by them. They do not actively attack the player unless provoked. They also guard a Stone Mine at the northern tip and a Gold Mine in the northwest. They consist of Knights, Crossbowmen, and Archers, and have a Mangonel among those who guard the Gold Mine.
- Reynald's Pirates (Franks): Reynald's Pirates are based in Egypt (in the west), and also have a Dock at the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula. They are the only player that can advance to the Imperial Age. They frequently attack the player and/or Aqaba with Galleons and Cavaliers/Paladins, and sometimes with Onagers as well. Losing their Town Center and having less than two military units left causes them to resign.
- Reynald's Raiders (Franks): Reynald's Raiders are based in the northeast and frequently attack with Skirmishers, Archers, and sometimes Scout Cavalry. Having less than five civilian units causes them to resign and Reynald de Chatillon (under this faction) to make a brief appearance at the southwest of Sinai Peninsula.
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Of your two main opponents, Reynald's Raiders will attack you the most often. Their base is located in the northeast, and they cannot advance beyond the Feudal Age (Notes: In the Definitive Edition, this has been changed. Reynald's Raiders will advance tothe Castle Age (around 20 minutes after game start on moderate difficulty). They produce Crossbowmen, Elite Skirmishers, Knights, Onagers, Battering Rams and Light Cavalry.). Their forces consist almost exclusively of Archers and Skirmishers, though they will have a few other units (Knights and a Battering Ram) at the beginning. Reynald's Pirates, unsurprisingly, have a formidable navy. They will advance to the Castle Age and then to the Imperial Age before attacking with Galleons. Although their base is on an island in the far west, they will launch frequent land attacks as well. These comprise heavy cavalry and Onagers. Reynald's Bandits are a ragtag group of Knights and Crossbowmen. They cannot create units and their main purposes are to harass Trade Carts and guard resources.
Your allies are Aqaba in the north and Medina in the east, sending Trade Carts to each other's Market. Although it's recommended to keep them alive (since your allies will tribute you gold as they generate it), realistically you have more urgent priorities so it's unlikely you'll be able to dedicate much of your attention to them. Your enemies won't threaten Medina, but will launch one or two major attacks on Aqaba near the beginning. Even if all the Trade Carts are gone, you may tribute wood and gold for them later so that they will create new Trade Carts.
Starting up and protecting Aqaba Edit
Immediately upon starting the scenario, research Cartography. This will allow you to see what your allies can, which will help reveal a good portion of the map and help you defend them. Next, create more Villagers (aiming for at least three on each resource, plus a few more to build and repair). Your own base has gold, deer, and forage bushes. Medina has stone, gold, and sheep. Your lumberjacks can work near your base for now, but you'll eventually want to move this operation to the trees just north of Medina as it's safer and you'll be able to save on stone later on. Build Houses as necessary.
You start without any major buildings other than a Market and a Town Center. The first one you'll want to build is an Archery Range. You can then create some Archers (about 5-10) and garrison them inside Aqaba's Town Center. Your starting military units (Light Cavalry and Camels) are best employed defending your own base from early attacks, but you will soon need to send them to Aqaba to deal with a Battering Ram and some heavy cavalry. After this first attack is dispatched and the Town Center is garrisoned with Archers, Aqaba should be relatively safe for a while. You can send a Villager there later on to repair damages and add some of your own buildings, but for now you should focus on your own base.
Building and defending your base Edit
You should have a decent stockpile by now, and can invest in economic technologies. The top priorities should be fortifying your base with Stone Walls and Gates, as well as advancing to the Castle Age. Add a Stable and Blacksmith when you can. Walling up will take some time and it will be difficult to seal all of the holes, as you have a large perimeter. Once you've reached the Castle Age, create a few Knights to help defend. Saracen heavy cavalry is considered terrible, and its reputation is well-deserved: of the original thirteen Civilizations, the Saracens are the only one unable to research the critical Cavalier upgrade. However, this disadvantage only comes into play in the Imperial Age. In fact, a Saracen Knight is as good as a Frankish Knight once Bloodlines has been researched. Knights are strong and versatile, working well against most units your enemies will throw at you.
Reynald's attacks will soon be getting more serious, with his pirates making their first appearance, so improving your defense is essential. Build Castles near your walls (inside or on the outskirts), along with a University to research Murder Holes. You'll need to use your Market to acquire the necessary stone. Invest in Masonry, Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, Ballistics, Husbandry, and Fortified Wall as well. The Crossbowman upgrade will improve your defenses in Aqaba. Counter the pirates' Cavaliers with Camels or Mamelukes, the Saracens' unique unit, where necessary. However you can also try using your Monks to convert a few Cavaliers for your own use, as they can be very useful for you to defend and even go on an offensive. The Galleons are more a nuisance than a credible threat, but their damage can add up if they're allowed to stay intact. Watch Towers or Guard Towers are effective if placed near the water, but if the enemy warships accumulate you may need to build a Dock and some Fire Ships to get rid of them. You may also try converting a few Galleons whenever you have the opportunity, as Galleons is actually the upgraded ship from War Galleys which is just what you can create in this scenario.
After all is said and done, Reynald's Raiders will be rendered essentially harmless and Reynald's Pirates won't give you much trouble either. You now have time to construct the rest of your buildings (add a Monastery and a Siege Workshop), research more economic technologies if you haven't already, completely upgrade your army, and search for more resources. There's a relic near Aqaba due north of your Market, and it's worth collecting. There is stone in the far north, as well as across the river west of Aqaba. You can also find a gold mine there. However, all three of these resource sites are guarded by Reynald's Bandits so you'll need to go on the offensive and displace them if you want these resources.
Attacking Reynald's Raiders Edit
Your civilization's specialty is its camels, including the Mameluke, as well as its navy. You'll use both in this scenario, but for now focus on land units. Create 10-15 Mamelukes, Light Cavalry, and Cavalry Archers. The latter two units are good for raiding, and the Mamelukes are versatile soldiers that are very effective against cavalry. Leave a few Knights and Mamelukes back in your base for defense. Add five Battering Rams for knocking down defensive structures, five Scorpions to deal with massed enemy units, and five Monks for healing and conversion. Be sure to research Redemption so you can convert buildings, as this ability will come in handy.
When you're ready to attack, set control groups and destroy one of the enemy Gates with the rams. Light Cavalry are effective against all of their units, and Cavalry Archers will help take out enemy Villagers. Attack the Town Center as well as towers where necessary using the rams. The raiders will resign if you can kill all of their Villagers. Some may try to escape, so search for them with your Light Cavalry - they won't have gone too far. After you defeat his raiders, Reynald himself will appear briefly to poke at a Trade Cart before vanishing.
Once Reynald's Raiders have been defeated, you can use your army to get rid of any bandits and capture the rest of the resources. You do not have to defeat Reynald's Bandits to win the scenario, so don't worry too much about this. Reynald's Pirates also have a Dock and Guard Tower on the mainland that you should destroy.
Attacking Reynald's Pirates Edit
You'll now need to build a Dock and use whatever space you have left in the population cap to build ships. You'll need enough Transport Ships to carry your entire army. Saracen Transport Ships can carry ten units, plus an additional five after you've researched Careening. Research all other technologies and upgrades at the Dock, then build several Fire Ships to take out enemy Galleons and a few War Galleys if you have room. These are helpful for sinking enemy Fishing Ships. Move your navy to Egypt (in the west, where the Pirates are based) and unload. The pirates have a Town Center, a Castle, and several towers on this island and they'll attack with heavy cavalry as well as Onagers. Attack the dangerous buildings with the rams and level or convert all military buildings, particularly the Docks. The pirates might not resign after you kill all of their Villagers. If they do not, search the seas for any remaining ships and sink them. There may also be some Villagers wandering around on the mainland. It might take a while to track down all of the enemy units since you can't research Spies in this scenario.
Alternative strategy Edit
By following this strategy, the level can be beaten in 15 minutes (Note: This no longer works in the Definitive Edition as there is no space to drop a Town Center):
Although I am still a prisoner, Saladin and his generals dine with me. Over meals we discuss mathematics and astronomy. I never imagined a race of desert folk could be so wise.
Baghdad, the Saracen capital, is the most civilized city in the world, with free hospitals, public baths, a postal service, and banks with branches as far away as China.
But as we eat, talk inevitably turns to war. Reynald's pirate vessels now rot at the bottom of the Red Sea. His raids have stopped. Reynald has escaped, but I suspect Saladin shall neither forgive nor forget.
- Reynald de Chatillon can actually be killed in this scenario. The player can simply place a handful of Pikemen, Camel Riders or Mamelukes near Reynald's spawn point (a ruined building towards the northeast on the Sinai Peninsula) once the player is confident that Reynald Raiders is about to resign. Since the aforementioned units are his weaknesses, he should be killed before his brief appearance ends. Additionally, if playing The Age of Kings, then Reynald de Chatillon may be converted by placing four or five Monks near his spawn point to convert him before he disappears.
- There is a bug in this scenario. Defeating Reynald's Pirates without defeating Reynald's Raiders first will cause the game to crash. Probably it's because this is the way the scenario is designed, as defeating Reynald's Pirates will trigger a dialog "I will be back, Saracen dog!". If the dialog is delivered and Reynald himself is about to make his appearance after defeating the Raiders later, it will ruin the chronological sequence of the scenario.
- In the Definitive Edition, Reynald appears in the beginning attacking the Trade Carts in person, along with his Raiders and Invaders. Unlike in the HD version, he is controlled by the Pirates and uses their color Blue (the same he uses in The Horns of Hattin). The new cutscene map also labels Reynald's lands in the Lordship of Oultrejordain.
Historical comparison Edit
- While the map closely matches the northern coast of the Red Sea, an anachronistic Suez Canal was added to force the player to invest in a navy and assault the Pirates's base from the sea, rather than invading from the Sinai.
- It also suits the game's flow better to start in the Arabian Peninsula, defend Aqaba and Medina, and finally beat the Pirates in Egypt. In real life, the setup was inverted with Saladin's main base in Egypt and the decisive last battle against Reynald in northern Arabia, although Reynald's ships did raid both the Egyptian and Arabian coasts.
- The narrator mistakenly claims that the current Crusader States emerged in the aftermath of three crusades. The scenario is chronologically set before the Third Crusade (1189-1192), which was called in response to Saladin's conquests.
- Baghdad is ambiguously referred to in the outro as the Saracens's capital. Saladin did not control Baghdad, but he offered his nominal allegiance to the Abbasid Caliph there, as a way to consolidate his rule after deposing the Fatimids in Egypt and the Zengids in Syria.
- In fact, the Caliph of Baghdad is mentioned later in the outro of The Lion and the Demon.
- Aqaba (called Ayla at the time) was actually part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and controlled by Reynald de Chatillon. However, Saladin controlled the nearby fortress in Pharaoh's Island (also called Ayla by the Saracens), and Chatillon tried to take it without success.
- It is also possible that the developers originally intended the player to protect Medina and Mecca, as this was a target of Chatillon in reality, but changed the second city for unknown reasons.