Ransom at Ctesiphon (Ctesiphon in the original) is the third scenario of the Pax Romana campaign in Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome. The Romans must recover their treasures from bandits and deliver them to Ctesiphon.

Scenario instructions[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

After some 500 years of gradual recovery from Alexander's conquest and Greek rule, Persia has revived as a world power and now threatens the eastern flank of the Roman Empire. Emperor Valerian, "Restorer of the Orient", set out to conquer the Sassanids, who now rule nearly all the land between Mesopotamia and India. After a brief campaign against the Persian King Shapur I, Valerian was captured and held prisoner in the Persian capital of Ctesiphon.

A caravan of gold and precious goods was dispatched to Ctesiphon to ransom Valerian and ease tensions between the Persians and Romans. The cavaran was ambushed, however, and the ransom stolen. Parthian and Palmyran bandits still hold hidden enclaves in the Zagros Mountains. You are to restore order in this area, recover the ransom, and deliver it to Ctesiphon.
—In-game section

Starting conditions[edit | edit source]

Objectives[edit | edit source]

  • Recapture the three wagons (Artifacts) and deliver them to the palace (foot of the Wonder) in Ctesiphon.
  • Destroy all Palmyran and Parthian Stables.

Hints[edit | edit source]

  • Building walls and towers should be your first priority. The enemy knows you are coming and is planning a surprise attack.
  • There may be a few Roman villagers in the region. Use them to help grow your forces.
  • Beware of Sassanid forces, for they will not hesitate to capture your tribute.
  • Avoid conflict; do not let anyone, including your allies, near your tribute.

Players[edit | edit source]

Player[edit | edit source]

  • Player (Romans): The player starts with a small force in the western edge of the map. Another force starts in the center of the map but will be killed immediately by Persian raiders.

Allies[edit | edit source]

  • Sasanian (Persians): The Sasanian capital Ctesiphon is located in the eastern corner of the map. They have no economy and are entirely passive.

Enemies[edit | edit source]

  • Parthian (Persians): The Persian base is located in the northern corner of the map and is well protected by cliffs, walls, and towers. The base guards the second artifact and blocks the entrance to the third
  • Palmyrans (Palmyrans): The Palmyran base is located in the center of the map at the coast, next to the gaia units the player obtains. The base is fortified. The Palmyrans also own a navy which can be ignored.
  • Persian raider (Persians): The Persian raiders are present with several bands and a small fortress guarding an artifact. They also capture the first artifact from the player at start.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

You start off with a group of soldiers to the northwest, and a cavaran under attack at the center of the map. The caravan will be destroyed in seconds. Take your soldiers south, until you find a Granary and three Villagers. Start building a base.

Roman Sentry Towers cost only half the original price, use this to your advantage and build lots of them, as you'll be attacked soon. Train soldiers. You'll face lots of Horse Archers, so train Cavalry to chase them down. The first Artifact  is the one in your original caravan, found at the center of the map. The second is to the far north, in the red town, and the third is found west of that, protected by brown towers.

You'll have to pass through the enemy towns to get the artifacts, so take your time and level them, so they won't bother you again. Once you acquire the Artifacts, keep them at the back of your army, with a few guards. If the artifact gets converted by your ally, you will need to kill the allied unit that converted the artifact in order to get it back. In the original non-definitive edition, the ally will not retaliate if you change diplomacy and attack his units.

History[edit | edit source]

Historical notes[edit | edit source]

Roman expansion to the east beyond Syria was only temporary due to the revival of the Persian Empire. On several occasions eastern campaigns met with disaster. Shapur I (AD 240- 272) defeated three Roman emperors, conquered Armenia, Iraq, and part of Arabia, and overran the Kushan Empire near Afghanistan. The Emperor Valerian was captured and ended his life as a slave. At the same time barbarian raids and invasions increased at the Rhine and Danube frontiers. By 260 AD the empire was in extreme peril. It was rescued for the time being by a series of strong warrior emperors, most of who were commoners from the Balkans who rose through the ranks of the army.
—In-game section

Victory[edit | edit source]

Your quick and effective action in the East has restored much confidence in Rome. Unfortunately, the Persians were not swayed by your offer, and former Emperor Valerian will live out his life as a slave. All was not lost, however. The Palmyrans have been convinced that the Persians are the real enemy and will support us.
—In-game section

Loss[edit | edit source]

Your failure to recover the ransom has led to the execution of Valerian. Our Eastern Empire is now in turmoil while civil war rages back in Rome for the right to succeed him. The tribes of Germania are moving over the Rhine and Danube while Romans fight each other. Thanks to your incompetence, we may close the curtain on the Roman Empire about 200 years early. Report to the Siege Workshop for duty as Ballista bolt receptionist.
—In-game section
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