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Reign of Blood is the first scenario of the Montezuma campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors.


Passed down to you by Cuauhtémoc, Eagle Warrior of Tenochtitlan. An omen appeared above the forest, the shape of an ear of corn, but blazing like daybreak. It seemed to bleed fire, drop by drop, like a wound in the sky. I am a warrior, not a priest, and knew not what to make of such a sign.

I consulted with the seers and magicians to see if another great war was coming, but they answered only in riddles. "The gods want more sacrifice," was their answer. That was always their answer.

Much of our empire of rain forests and volcanoes has been conquered in the name of sacrifice. The magicians tell us that we must make a sacrifice every single day for the sun to continue to rise.

It took the relay teams two full days to carry my message the two hundred miles to our city of Tenochtitlan. After two more days, my uncle, Montezuma, emperor of the Aztecs, sent his reply.

Montezuma's priests foretold that the god Quetzalcoatl might soon return from his long exile. How else to explain the omen?

Montezuma ordered my warriors to increase their efforts to consolidate the rain forest between our lands and those of our enemies. We must establish control over four shrines that are sacred to Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent.

Because the Aztec Empire is mighty and constantly expands, we have made many enemies. We must defend these shrines from our enemies in order to prepare for Quetzalcoatl's eventual return.

Scenario Instructions[]

Starting Conditions[]

Differences between difficulty levels[]

  • On Standard difficulty, the player receives 3 Watch Towers to help guard their base, and Murder Holes is already researched.


  • Capture the 4 shrines (Monasteries) sacred to Quetzalcoatl.
  • Place a sacred Relic in each of the 4 shrines (Monasteries).


  1. The Aztecs are restricted to the Castle Age and a population limit of 75.
  2. You must defend the shrines that are sacred to the god Quetzalcoatl. Making new Monasteries will not be sufficient to please him.
  3. Your enemies will attempt to destroy the shrines in order to embarrass you before the gods. Therefore, do not attempt to claim the shrines until you can defend them.
  4. Aztec Monks are very powerful when fully upgraded. Once you capture a shrine (Monastery) and have advanced to the Castle Age you can train Monks.


Your scouts report:

  • Montezuma's forces (1, Green) begin in the Feudal Age with only a few soldiers. These few must defend the Aztec town from early attacks.

Your enemies are three;

  • The Tlatiluco (2, Red) are located to the west. Their army of swordsmen and Eagle Warriors can be dealt with relatively early.
  • The Tepanaca (4, Orange) dwell to the north of your town. Their walls may keep you out of their town until you have siege weapons. They train Archers and Eagle Warriors.
  • The Xochimilco (3, Purple) are your most dangerous enemy. They live far to the north and train Archers and Scorpions. Do not engage them until you have many Eagle Warriors at your command.


  • Player (Aztecs): The player begins with a Town Center and a few Eagle Warriors and Villagers in the southeast.



To win, the player must garrison all four Relics scattered around the map inside each of the four Monasteries. The player will not win after defeating all the enemies, and it is not necessary to defeat any enemies. The player cannot advance to the Imperial Age and cannot build Monasteries.

Tlatiluco has a small base in the southwest defended by a single Watch Tower. They will resign when they have less than four Villagers and lose their Town Center.

Xochimilco starts with the largest town in the northwest will a Castle. They will resign when they have less than four Villagers, lose their Town Center, and lose their Castle.

Tepanaca starts will a small base, but is the most defended player out of all the enemies with four Watch Towers and a Castle. Their starting army consists of seven Archers and two Eagle Scouts. Their west wall is defended with two Watch Towers, while the east wall is undefended. They also have a double layer Palisade Wall containing several Jaguars east of their east wall. They will resign when they have less than four Villagers, lose their Town Center, and lose their Castle.

Soon after beginning, one of the player's Villagers will warn of wild Jaguars coming to the village. Take the starting Eagle Scouts and kill all jaguars as they come from the northeast, before they reach the Town Center if possible as this will not interrupt the Villagers' work. After that, scout north and west to locate nearby mines, Javelinas, and Turkeys.

There are only four Relics, each near a shrine, and no enemy can pick them as they cannot build Monasteries of their own. The two nearest shrines are near the roads west of the starting base; the third is at the north of the map, only accessible after crossing the Tepanaca base, and the fourth is beyond a river west of Xochimilco. It is advisable to build up before capturing the shrines, as they will have to be defended from the enemies. In particular, building walls and towers on the elevated ground north and west of the starting base, beyond the mines but before reaching Tepanaca territory or any shrine, is a good way to free troops and neutralize early enemy attacks. Early defenses can get overhelmed by sheer enemy numbers (especially in the Definitive Edition), but they become virtually impermeable after fully upgrading them, since no enemy can build siege weapons besides Xochimilco's Scorpions. Defending the shrines can be accomplished by either stationing troops, or building towers and walls near them.

The Tepanaca start with a gate and walls on their southern flank. In The Conquerors, it is possible to avoid them altogether by following the road of the nearest shrine and attacking Tepanaca from the west, but in the Definitive Edition, this path is also walled (there are also Watch Towers behind both). Beyond there is a couple of towers in a small lake, forcing attackers into the center of the Tepanaca base which includes a Castle on a cliff. It is also possible to enter the base from the east by tearing down two lines of Palisade Walls and dealing with Jaguars between them, but this will also lead straight into the Castle.

Send a sizeable force of upgraded swordsmen, Skirmishers, and siege weapons against the Tepanaca. Do not think of simply capturing the Tepanaca shrine with an Eagle Scout in a suicide mission, because this will spam several Eagle Scouts coming from the north towards the shrine and they will destroy it. The Tepanaca also always build an Archery Range just east of the shrine, where they train Archers and Skirmishers.

Reaching the westernmost shrine requires dealing with the defenses of Tlatiluco (two towers on the water road) and Xochimilco (a Castle and several military units, both ranged and melee). Prior to the Definitive Edition, the shrine is separated by a river, which Xochimilco must at least be driven away from the river shore before the player can build a Dock and Transport Ship to cross the water. Obviously, this either requires bringing in some Villagers under the soldiers' protection (along with a few Mangonels), or converting some from the Tlatiluco and Xochimilco with Monks. In the Definitive Edition, if the game has dragged on long enough, the shrine will be accessible by foot, as Xochimilco Villagers will have chopped many trees. So once the shrine is captured, the player should defend it. The shrine is further defended by Jaguars, but since wild animals ignore Eagle Warriors and Monks, it is not actually necessary to kill them before reaching the shrine and capturing the Relic.

Trading is discouraged, due to the map having plenty of Gold Mines and the first captured Relics providing additional gold already. If the player wishes to do so anyway, the best Market is Tlatiluco's, as their military capacity is the easiest to cripple without actually defeating them, and their Market is further than the Tepanaca's and therefore more profitable. It is also inadvisable to train Jaguar Warriors due to their high cost and vulnerability to ranged weapons.


When my warriors had captured the shrines and defeated the Xochimilco and Tlatiluco, we made the long journey back to Tenochtitlan, laden with gifts for Emperor Montezuma: jade, feathers, and of course, prisoners.

The sheer vastness of our city on the lake seemed staggering after having been in the rain forest for so many days.

Emperor Montezuma lives in the most sumptuous rooms with his wives and concubines. While we spoke, he drank frothing chocolate from a golden cup. Musicians played their drums and flutes and masked women danced.

When my uncle, Montezuma, first ascended the great pyramid many years ago to become emperor, there was a great celebration. Yet now some question his leadership. He sometimes makes decisions slowly, and rarely does he lead the warriors into combat.

Montezuma's priests informed us that Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, would soon return to Tenochtitlan to reclaim his kingdom. Since I had helped prepare for his coming, I was given a new obsidian macana and promoted to the rank of Jaguar Warrior. There was more feasting and dancing that night. The air was heavy with perfume.

But I noticed as I walked down the steps of the emperor's palace that the omen still hung heavily over the lake, spraying sparks over the midnight sky. So says Cuauhtémoc, Jaguar Warrior of Tenochtitlan.


  • This scenario was the only one included in the The Conquerors demo.
  • This is the only scenario in the campaign where neither the Spanish nor the Tlaxcalans are present.
  • In the Definitive Edition, it is no longer possible to reach the Tepanaca shrine without walking near the towers in the lake; however, the towers themselves can now be reached by walking over shallows.
    • There are also some shallows-looking textures added to the river west, but these cannot be walked over, so it is still obligatory to build a Dock and Transport Ship to reach the last shrine.

Historical comparison[]

  • According to Ensemble Studios, the scenario was designed to showcase the new Mesoamerican civilizations, architecture, unique units, trees, and animals for the demo, and was not based on any historical military campaign.
  • Though Tepanaca and Xochimilco are depicted as Mayans, in reality they were Nahua peoples, just like the Tlatiluco and the Aztecs themselves.
  • Furthermore, all three enemies lived near Tenochtitlan and were conquered by the Aztecs long before the time of the campaign. Montezuma actually campaigned against the Mixtecs, Huejotzincans, Tlaxcalans, Cholulans, and Zapotecs.
  • On the other hand, it is true that Montezuma tried to consolidate the empire's rule over lands conquered by his predecessors, more than just expand, and this included taking direct control of strategic temples and fortifications.
  • The omen mentioned in the intro was a comet seen over Tenochtitlan in 1517. According to the indigenous sources recorded by Sahagún and Durán, it was the first of eight bad omens that preceded the Spanish conquest.