Raising the Banners is the first scenario of the Kotyan Khan campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. It depicts Kotyan rallying the remains of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation and allying with the Kievan Rus' to oppose the Mongols around 1222, in the lead-up to the Battle at the Kalka River.
When we first heard the rumors of their approach, we thought the Mongols were but mere bands of raiders, not unusual on the steppes. But when spies from east told us that the Mongols had utterly destroyed the Persian Empire, putting its civilians to the sword and burning its cities to ash in three short years, we realized that we had severely underestimated them.
Not much later, our own people faced this new scourge. Our Kipchak brethren to the east fought bravely but were easily defeated and several of their khans were captured.
The Mongols buried the Kipchak khans alive underneath a podium on which the Mongol commander, Subotai Ba'atur, sat to celebrate his victory. The Mongols called it an honorable death, only reserved for nobility and royalty. I believe that these Mongols are evil demons, sent to torture us.
Only the western part of our once mighty confederation remains, and with it the great Cumania has become a mere shadow of its former self. However, one of the khans, Kotyan, recognizes our peril and is rallying all of the tribes to unite against the invaders.
Putting aside his pride, he has turned to our sworn enemies, the Rus, and is asking them to join the fight. They may be hostile towards us, but we have no other choice. The Mongols will scourge this earth and enslave everyone on it. Let us hope that the Rus princes come to realize that too, before it is too late.
- Starting Age: Feudal Age
- Starting resources: None
- Population limit: N/A
- Starting units:
Differences between difficulty levels
- On standard difficulty, the player starts with Fletching researched.
- Only Kotyan Khan can raise troops. You will lose if he dies.
- Visit 9 tribes.
- Convince the Rus' to join your cause.
- Visit both Rus' principalities.
- Free the Rus' prince.
- Destroy the Mongol Castle.
- The tribes of Western Cumania will only talk to Kotyan. Still, it is not a bad idea to use your other cavalry to scout the map and locate all of the tribes before sending Kotyan to meet with them. There are some hostile forces in the region, but you can easily evade them.
- The sudden and rapid expansion of the Mongols devastated the Cuman morale. If the Mongol scouts reach a tribe before Kotyan does, the tribe will be subjugated and will become hostile towards you.
- Kipchak horsemen have a less powerful attack than most mounted archers, but years of experience on the steppe has taught them to fire instantly. Use this strength to outmaneuver Mongol Cavalry Archers.
- A direct assault on the Mongol Castle will likely prove fatal. Try to lure its arrogant Mongol and Tatar defenders into the open with a feigned retreat before attempting to raze it.
Your scouts report:
- Kotyan Khan (1, Green) initially commands very few men. He must visit the Cuman tribes (4, Cyan) that are scattered across the Ukrainian steppe to gather more.
- The Rus' principalities of Kiev (2, Red) and Galicia-Volhynia (3, Blue) are located to the far north. They are not hostile to the Cumans at the moment, but they are not friendly to them, either. It will take a sign of goodwill to earn their trust.
- The Mongols (6, Orange) have an encampment to the east. It should be avoided until you have the siege equipment to take it. Tatar scouts (5, Yellow) will venture out from the encampment in numbers to intimidate and coerce Cuman tribes.
- Player (Cumans): The player begins with Kotyan and a few units in the southwestern corner of the map.
- Kiev (Slavs): Kiev has a small, but walled Castle Age base to the northeast, and some Pikemen, Knights, and Boyars. Like most AI players, it is largely inactive.
- Galicia-Volhynia (Slavs): Galizia-Volhynia has another small, non-walled Feudal Age base near the north, with some Knights and Boyars, and an isolated Monastery west of Kiev.
- Cuman Tribes (Cumans): The Cuman Tribes have 9 camps scattered through the map with 5-6 Kipchaks, Cavalry Archers, Light Cavalry, or Steppe Lancers that Kotyan must visit before the enemies do.
- Tatar Scouts (Tatars): The Tatar Scouts have patrols consisting of a few Light Cavalry, Horse Archers, Steppe Lancers, and Keshiks moving through the map, and a camp to the northwest with a few Cavalry Archers, Mangudai, a Monk, and a Mangonel.
- Mongol Scouts (Mongols): The Mongol Scouts have similar patrols and scattered additional forces in strategic spots between Cuman camps. Some Mangudai, a Monk, and a Mangonel guard a Watch Tower north of Kiev; and two Watch Towers and a sizeable force of Cavalry Archers, Mangudai, Kipchaks, Steppe Lancers, Keshiks, and Men-at-Arms guard a Castle south of it. In addition, every Cuman camp that is visited by Tatar or Mongol Scouts before the player will switch over control of their forces to the Mongol Scouts.
This is a baseless scenario where the player must recruit most of their forces by visiting the nine Cuman camps before the enemies do. In consequence, the player should concentrate on visiting the camps first, while refraining from exploring, visiting the Slavs, or fighting the Mongols and Tatars, unless it is strictly necessary.
Kotyan Khan is the only unit that can recruit the camps to his cause. Fortunately, his very high health, armor, and passive regeneration allow him to run straight past enemy groups to achieve his objectives. However, the Mongol camp to the east often sends out groups of Tatars to recruit the same tribes. If both Kotyan Khan's units and Tatars are in the camps at the same time, the neutral Cumans in the camp remain neutral until either the Tatars or player's units are slain. Kotyan Khan's initial forces are about as strong as each Tatar group, though after recruiting more camps to his cause he can overpower them fairly easily. The Tatars reach the camps to the east first, so reaching them early and intercepting more Tatars leaving the Mongol encampment will prevent more Cumans from being coerced into joining the Mongol horde.
When all nine camps have joined either the player or the Mongols, the player should go to the Tatar camp northwest. Kill the Tatars and open a way through their Palisade Walls with ranged units to minimize casualties, as melee units will be vulnerable to their Monk and Mangonel, and snipe these with Kotyan himself (since as a hero he cannot be converted, and has a powerful ranged attack). Near the third Palisade, a Rus' Prince (Knight) will ask to be freed. Break the Palisade and follow him to Galizia-Volhynia. When the Prince reaches its Town Center, three Knights and one Boyar will turn to Kotyan's side; two allied Monks will appear near the Monastery and can heal nearby units, and Kiev will unlock its gate to the Cumans. Stop by the Monastery to heal the wounded and visit Kiev, who will request to destroy the Mongol Watch Tower north of the city. Kill the ranged units with the same strategy used with the Tatars (though it is not necessary to break their Palisades to reach the Tower), and rush the Tower with melee units. After this, Kiev will provide three more Knights and a Boyar within the base, four Battering Rams and twelve Pikemen south of the Mongol Castle, and a request to destroy it.
Do not rush the Castle right away, or the Mongol melee units will destroy the Rams before they can damage the Castle. First, lure as many Mongol units as possible with ranged units, and kill them out of the Castle and Watch Tower's range, retreating to the Monastery to heal if necessary. When the garrison has been depleted enough, attack the Castle directly from the south with the Rams, while using the ranged units to kill any remaining Mongol units, and ungarrison the Pikemen if it is not enough to keep melee units from attacking the Rams.
The Rus principalities were not easy to persuade. However, when news reached the Rus princes that a large Mongol army was riding west toward the Dnieper River, they accepted Kotyan's offer. Now, a united army of Rus soldiers and Cuman horsemen stand together to face the incoming Mongol horde.
It is a magnificent sight to behold as our combined armies march to meet the Mongols on the field of battle. Beams of sunlight dance on the shields of Rus foot soldiers, the full body armor of the Boyars and the iron-clad Cuman horsemen.
If this odd coalition of Rus' and Cumans can stand united, we might have a chance of withstanding this scourge from the east.
- The next scenario is set in the same map during the following summer.
- After crossing the Caucasus, Chepe and Subotai encountered the Cumans and their North Caucasian allies. The first battle between them was indecisive. The Mongols turned to subterfuge and tricked the Cumans into abandoning their allies, whom the Mongols would rout. The Mongols then attacked the Cumans as well, labelling them betrayers who deserved death according to Mongolian law (as they did earlier to Mongolian generals who betrayed their khan and attempted to switch sides, and Khwarezmian cities who surrendered). Nevertheless, the Cumans were in a dilemma, because the Mongols would have also massacred them had they stood by their allies to resist the Mongols.