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Murder Holes is a technology in Age of Empires II available at the University. Once researched, it removes the minimum range from defensive structures. It is the only non-unique technology to cost stone.

Murder Holes is a highly situational technology. Some players consider its purpose quite limited, because most units that attack at the base of a tower or castle are either strong vs. arrow fire (rams, Huskarls) or else pose little threat to the building anyway (infantry, cavalry). However, in cases where a tower or Castle is focused down by a large number of melee units, such as Paladins or Champions with Arson, Murder Holes and a garrison can save the building from a slow but inevitable destruction.

Often, however, players prefer to simply defend a Castle with units to take out rams and to save valuable stone and University research time.

Civilizations bonuses[]

  • Chinese: Murder Holes is 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Italians: Murder Holes is 33% cheaper.
  • Portuguese: Researching Murder Holes is 30% faster.
  • Teutons: Murder Holes is free.

Team bonuses[]

  • A team containing Malians: Researching Murder Holes is 80% faster.


The Age of Kings[]

The Forgotten[]

Definitive Edition[]

Lords of the West[]


  • Murder Holes was originally planned to be in Age of Mythology, but was replaced with Boiling Oil for historical reasons.
  • The name of this technology is misused: murder holes in reality are provisions on a gatehouse for pouring oil onto attackers trapped inside, not battlement extensions that allow archers to fire directly down. The correct name for this technology would be Machicolations, which are extensions on the battlements with holes in the floor that allow for archers to fire directly down at attackers.


Hoardings were fortifications built at the top of castle walls and towers from which defenders could fight. They needed to be beyond the vertical plane of the wall so they could attack enemies at the base of the wall. At the bottom of the hoardings were trap doors called murder holes. These could be opened and defenders could shoot arrows and drop stones, boiling water, or burning sand directly down. Without murder holes, enemies up against the bottom of a wall were relatively safe.