Quetzalcoatl is the third scenario of the Montezuma campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. It is loosely based on the Battles of Centla (March 14, 1519) and Nautla (October 1519), during the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
Passed down to you by Cuauhtémoc, Jaguar Warrior of Tenochtitlan. Another omen. The lake around the great city of Tenochtitlan rose and boiled. It foamed until it washed against the houses of the city, sweeping many of them into the lake.
I accompanied our dignitaries to meet with the new arrivals. We journeyed towards the coast, through the lands of our enemies the Tlaxcala. When we emerged from the forest, the strangers welcomed us, although they kept their weapons nearby.
I told them that we were Aztecs, representatives of the great Montezuma. The leader said that his people were Spanish and he named himself Cortéz, although he seemed pleased when we referred to him as Quetzalcoatl. Although their armor and animals seemed otherworldy, they did not seem like gods to me.
We presented Cortéz gifts of finest cotton and plumes of bird feathers, but he seemed more interested in the gold ornaments. He asked again and again if there was more gold to be found in Tenochtitlan.
By now, Cortéz had advanced all the way to the lands of Tlaxcala. There was initial warfare made between Tlaxcala and the Spanish. However, when Cortéz heard stories about the size of Tenochtitlan, and the numbers of our brave Aztec warriors, he suggested that the Spanish and Tlaxcala join forces and attack the Aztecs.
- Starting Age: Castle Age
- Starting resources: 200 food, 200 wood, 200 gold, 200 stone
- Population limit: 75 (100 in the Definitive Edition)
- Starting units:
Differences between difficulty levels
- On Standard, Imperial Age is researched right in the beginning. While this saves the player 1000 food, 800 gold, Castle Age technologies and upgrades still have to be researched.
- Defeat the Tlaxcala.
- Capture 20 Spanish horses and return them to the flagged pen in the Aztec camp
- Defeat the Spanish.
- Prevent your allies in Tabasco from being defeated.
- Prevent the Aztec allies in Tabasco from being defeated.
- Capture 20 Spanish horses and return them to the flagged pen in the Aztec camp OR
- Defeat the Spanish.
- The Aztecs can reach the Imperial Age but are restricted to a population limit of 100.
- Tabasco, your ally, is dangerously close to your enemies. It may be possible to save the town, but do not despair if Tabasco is destroyed.
- Do not slay the Spanish beasts if they can be of some use.
- The dense rain forest is home to many jaguars. Be cautious.
Your scouts report:
- The Aztecs of Montezuma (1, Green) have a small fortress to the south. In the center of the map is a large set of cliffs and north of this is your ally, Tabasco (4, Orange).
- To the west is the sprawling city of your enemies, the Tlaxcala (2, Red). The Tlaxcala army is composed of Archers, Skirmishers, and Eagle Warriors led by Monks. Their production might be slowed by an early attack.
- To the east are the Spanish (3, Blue). Their motives are unknown, but it is very likely that the Spanish are far more powerful than the Tlaxcala. Defeating their cavalry and swordsmen will require siege weapons as their fortress is protected by cannon.
- Your scouts report: The Aztecs of Montezuma (green) have a small fortress to the south. In the center of the area is a large cliff and north of this is your ally, Tabasco (orange). To the west is the sprawling city of your enemies, the Tlaxcala (red). To the east are the Spanish (blue). Their motives are unknown.
- The Tlaxcala army is composed of Archers, Skirmishers, and Eagle Warriors led by Monks. Their production might be slowed by an early attack.
- The Spanish are far more powerful. Defeating their cavalry and swordsmen will require siege weapons as their fortress is protected with cannon.
- Player (Aztecs): The player begins with a large base in the south, separated from other players by a line of mountains and another of tall cliffs.
- Tabasco (Mayans): Tabasco is based at the northern part of the map, between Tlaxcala and the Spanish. Because of their position, they will be attacked soon from both sides and resign, leaving behind only Houses, Lumber Camps, and Mining Camps. Contrary to the objectives' implication that Tabasco can be saved by the player, its resignation is scripted in The Conquerors and will happen even if they are never attacked by the Spanish. The Definitive Edition allows the player to save them, but this is difficult. Tabasco trains Eagle Scouts and Archers.
- Cortéz (Spanish): Cortéz is based at the eastern part of the map. They field Champions, Knights/Cavaliers, Battering Rams, Bombard Cannons, Conquistadors, and a limited number of Cannon Galleons. Their lands are also patrolled by occasional swordsmen and Missionaries.
- Tlaxcala (Aztecs): Tlaxcala is based in the northern part of the map. They train Eagle Scouts/Eagle Warriors, Archers, Trebuchets, Petards. They will resign as soon as their two Town Centers are destroyed.
Though the player begins with an incomplete Stone Wall around the Town Center, it should be ignored and the stone used to build Watch Towers at the beginning of the narrow mountain passes and a Castle south, to keep the Tlaxcalan and Spanish siege attacks out of the main base. This will keep the mines near the player's base safe and allow to boom, though likely at the cost of Tabasco's sacrifice.
There are four mountain passages connecting the player and the three AIs. The two central ones are narrower and more difficult to walk through because of trees, jaguars, and a river patrolled by Spanish Cannon Galleons. They are best ignored. The southernmost leads to the south of the Spanish base and the northernmost to the Tlaxcala base. As Tlaxcala is both weaker and the priority target, it is best to defend south and advance in the north towards Tlaxcala. This will also lead the player towards two strategic mining areas, one by the lake next to Tlaxcala and another in the path between the mountains and the cliffs. Clean the area of jaguars and build at least a Castle to protect the former and a tower near the latter. Then use Trebuchets, Jaguar Warriors, and Skirmishers with Atlatl to clean the Tlaxcala gold mines in the lagoon and finally to destroy Tlaxcala's forces and buildings. Tlaxcala will resign as soon as their two Town Centers are destroyed.
Cortéz has four horse pens (Palisade Walls), one just across the river from Tabasco, two south of Cortéz's base, and one at the northeast of Cortéz's base. As Tabasco will sometimes destroy the western horse pen, it will be easiest to take the horses from there. Beware that enemies will attack the horses after they are captured. Simply ordering the horses to run for the Aztec pen will make them take the central mountain paths and expose them to Spanish Cannon Galleons, so better try marching through the safer northern path, even if it takes longer. Meanwhile taking the horses from the two southeastern pens will require dealing with Cortéz's Fortified Walls, Bombard Towers, and Castles in addition to his troops and warships. To assault them, build siege engines and attack through the wider southern path, again ignoring the central ones. Once the defenses are cleared, it should be easy to free the horses in the southern pens.
Cortéz's Knights and Conquistadors can be easily dealt with Pikemen and Skirmishers. The Cannon Galleons and Bombard Cannons are a greater threat, as they outrange fortifications and all units bar Trebuchets, which they can dodge. They are best dealt with the Eagle Scout line. Monks can also be used to convert them and add them to the Aztec forces, who cannot produce them otherwise. This requires Redemption and walking the Monks near the cannons to take advantage of their minimum range. This exposes Monks to other attacks, but Aztec Monks can take a beating due to their HP gain for every Monastery technology researched. Nevertheless, Monks should still have a escort to retreat behind if things go south, same as siege weapons. Ships and Cannons cannot be healed by Monks but can be repaired by Villagers.
In the Definitive Edition, it is possible to save Tabasco and win the "Hot & Spicy" achievement for it. Early on the Spanish will send some Battering Rams, infantry, and Cannon Galleons against them. A way to save them is to send the starting Eagle Scout and some Villagers to Tabasco, watching for Jaguars on the way. It is almost impossible to fight off the Spanish with this units, but they can be lured away by the Eagle Scout. Build a Watch Tower near Tabasco's Town Center and use the Villagers to repair it if necessary, then reinforce them with military units. Build buildings in Tabasco to make reinforcements there, and a Dock on the sea to build Fire Ships and fight off the Cannon Galleons.
As long as Tabasco remains standing, both Cortéz and Tlaxcala focus on attacking Tabasco, and Cortéz only occasionally harasses the player. The player should therefore focus on defending Tabasco while booming the economy at the player's own base, with defensive structure (walls, gates and towers) built to defend against Cortéz. The player may use Tabasco as a forward base against both enemies. While defensive structure is useful against Cortéz's Conquistadors and swordsmen, it is ineffective against his Bombard Cannons as well as Tlaxcala's Petards and Trebuchets.
There is a known and reported bug where if the player defeats Cortéz (blue), Tabasco is automatically defeated and the player will not get credit for having kept them alive. So long as this bug exists, the player will need to use the horse victory condition to get the achievement.
Although the Aztec warriors fought well that day, my men were frightened by the beasts that the Spanish rode into combat, and by the noise of their exploding weapons. Although we had survived the attack, I thought it best to withdraw towards Tenochtitlan and share with Emperor Montezuma all that we had learned.
I do not know if my uncle, Montezuma, was being cowardly or merely trying to preserve us from the wrath of the gods, but he sent more gifts to Cortéz along with anto visit our great city as his personal guest.
I was there when Montezuma met Cortéz on one of the causeways leading into our great city. The Spanish had evidently never seen anything like Tenochtitlan, and they stared in wonder at the brightly colored markets and pyramids rising out of a man-made island in the middle of gigantic Lake Texcoco.
Some of the Spanish soldiers asked whether it was all a dream, the first glimpse of things never heard, seen or dreamed before.
Montezuma led Cortéz to the top of the Great Pyramid, where he pointed out the various canals and neighborhoods of the city. But Cortéz was mostly interested in gold ornaments, and helped himself to any which he encountered. I was no longer convinced that this man was Quetzalcoatl. So says Cuauhtémoc, Jaguar Warrior of Tenochtitlan.
- The claim that the Aztecs believed the Spanish divine and that Cortéz was Quetzalcoatl because he was prophesized to return around 1519 from the east, may be the most famous element of the Spanish conquest of Mexico. However, some ethnohistorians have questioned this in recent years, as the prophecy appears in Spanish and post-Conquest Native accounts but not in pre-Conquest accounts. Some theories have the prophecy spinning from a misunderstanding and being exaggerated over the decades.
- The Battle of Centla pitched Cortéz against the Mayan kingdom of Potonchan (called Tabasco by the Spanish after its king, Taabscoob). In reality Potonchan was not part of the Aztec Empire nor an ally (though it had some Mexica influence), and the battle was fought before the Spanish and Aztecs learned of the other. The tribute paid by Potonchan after surrender included a Nahua slave, La Malinche, who became Cortéz's mistress, chief translator and advisor in the Aztec campaign.
- Nevertheless, the Aztecs learned of the battle soon, as the first embassy to Cortéz was actually by canoes and met him while at sea, sailing from Tabasco to Veracruz. Cortéz founded Veracruz near the territory of the Totonacs, a non-Nahua coastal people subjected to the Aztecs.
- Cortéz sunk all his ships but one (not burned, as commonly believed) to prevent his men from defecting back to Cuba. His fear stemmed from the fact that his expedition of conquest was technically illegal, as the governor of Cuba had only planned to explore the area and establish trade with the natives. In May 1520, Cortéz boosted his numbers by defeating a Spanish army sent after him and adding the survivors to his forces.
- At Nautla, the region's Aztec governor, Cuauhpopoca, defeated 2,000 Totonacs after they stopped paying tribute to the Aztecs on the advice of the Spanish. The Totonacs were supported by forty Spaniards, and the Aztecs killed eight including Juan de Escalante, whom Cortéz had made governor of Veracruz while he went to Tenochtitlan. Cortéz later had Montezuma recall Cuauhpopoca and some of his men to Tenochtitlan and executed them.
- Tlaxcala did not fight at either Centla or Nautla, though Nautla took place around the same time the Spanish and Tlaxcalans sacked Cholula in the interior.
- The Aztecs did not capture horses before La Noche Triste, though they killed or injured three at Nautla. The Tlaxcalans also killed one or two in their own war against the Spanish and paraded the head and legs of one around their settlements as proof that the Spanish could be defeated.