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Sacred Waters is the fourth scenario of the Rajendra campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Dynasties of India. It depicts the Chola expedition to North India.

Intro[]

I was reminded the other day of a story that I had nearly forgotten: the tale of the god Indra and his battle against the mighty serpent Vritra.

The Vritra had taken all of the rivers of the world hostage, causing a global drought. Only by destroying the ninety-nine fortresses of the Vritra and slaying the beast itself was Indra able to liberate the waters.

The priests would call me sacrilegious, but to me this tale has a hidden meaning. I am facing a Vritra of my own, and that monster is the great lie that I have lived until this day.

The ninety-nine fortresses are the little lies that are still burrowed into my soul: my irrational fear of corruption, my distaste for violence, and that misplaced care for the so-called innocent.

Only when I destroy these inner fortresses can I unleash the greatness within me and become a ruler whose name will live on for millennia. To do so, I must look beyond our traditional enemies.

Far to the northeast lies the land of Bengal. It is here, where the sacred Ganges meets the ocean, that I will achieve my greatest triumph yet.

I have announced a march on the Pala Empire that rules Bengal. General Araiyan has already left at the head of a large vanguard. Together, we will bring holy water from the Ganges back to Chola lands, so that the gods may bless our realm...

...and if I can defeat one of the greatest empires in the known world in the process, then all the better.

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Differences between difficulty levels[]

On Standard difficulty, there is no Fortified Tower and fewer Keeps near Mahipala's Docks, and no Sea Towers in the sea.

Objectives[]

Main objectives[]

  • Rendezvous with General Araiyan near the Bengali army's camp.
    • Defeat Mahipala by destroying his three Castles.
  • Seize Kalinga by killing its defenders.
  • Seize Utkala by killing its defenders.

Secondary objectives[]

  • Bring Rajendra to conquered (or allied) cities to gain control of their production buildings.
  • As long as you have food stockpiled, your soldiers will regenerate HP when you taunt '110' for a cost of up to 500 food.
  • Kill King Indraratha to end the Kalingan resistance.
  • Bring Supply Ships (Trade Cogs) to any Dock under your control.
  • Bring the lost Relic Cart to the Monks in Utkala.
  • Raid local villages for food by destroying their Markets.
  • Improve army morale by using your heroes in combat. This takes the form of extra attack points for all of your soldiers, which is lost if your heroes are unhorsed (killed).

Hints[]

  1. Rajendra begins in the Imperial Age with a population limit of 200 that does not require houses to maintain, but cannot construct any slow-moving siege weapons except for Armored Elephants before reaching General Araiyan.
  2. You have no economy of your own in this mission and cannot train economic units such as Villagers or Fishing Ships, nor any Trade Cogs or Transport Ships. Instead, you will receive resources from your allies in Vengi, as well as the towns that you conquer on your way to Bengal.
  3. To win, you must strike a balance between restraint and expediency. Rushing ahead to defeat Mahipala before his army reaches its full strength and his Wonder is completed could stretch out your supply lines, but advancing slowly will allow the Bengalis to fully build up, making the final battle harder to win.
  4. Raiding the countryside and completing side quests will slow down your march, but the resources and otherwise inaccessible technologies that they provide could prove indispensable later on.
  5. Mahipala's economic buildings lie on the banks of the Ganges, making them vulnerable to naval raids.

Scouts[]

Your scouts report:

  • Rajendra's army (1, Red) has arrived in the allied town of Vengi (2, Purple). You will be able to augment your starting forces here, but you cannot linger for too long before resuming your march towards Bengal.
  • Kalinga (4, Cyan) is close to Vengi, and its defences are comparatively weak. It will defend itself mostly with Elephant Archers and infantry.
  • Beyond Kalinga lies the heavily fortified city of Utkala (5, Green), whose walls could prove too great a challenge for a head-on assault. It will defend itself primarily with infantry, Arbalesters, and siege weapons.
  • At the end of the road lies the Pala Empire, ruled by the great Bengali emperor Mahipala (6, Yellow). He has made camp by the banks of the Ganges and will train a vast and diverse army, which includes the fearsome Ratha, the Bengali chariot of war.
  • General Araiyan (3, Orange), a veteran from the campaign against the Chalukyan Empire, has established a forward camp near the Bengali position, where he awaits your arrival.
  • Scattered throughout the countryside are local villages (8, Grey) that are prime targets for raiding. You may also run into packs of bandits (7, Blue), but these should prove no match for your imperial army.

Players[]

Player[]

  • Player (Dravidians): The player starts in the south in the territory of the Chola vassal Vengi with a large army and navy, but no economic units or ability to obtain any, and thus is unable to construct new buildings or collect resources other than tributes.

Allies[]

  • General Araiyan (Dravidians): is himself present in his camp set up outside Mahipala's base, with a large army of Urumi Swordsmen, Pikemen, Elephants, and Skirmishers, awaiting the player's arrival. He also takes over control of Kalinga when it is conquered by the player.
  • Vengi (Dravidians): has a city in the south of the map and grants player access to many of its buildings when Rajendra is in the city (same as Kalinga and Utkala when they are conquered), they are unable to provide any other economic or military assistance.

Neutral[]

  • Local Villages (Bengalis): 4 villages are scattered around. They are passive and can be treaded upon easily as most villages have only a few spearmen, one of them also has two Monks. Their Markets can be demolished to loot their resources.

Enemies[]

  • Kalinga (Bengalis): is the first enemy on the Chola army's march north. It has a walled city but a relatively small army and weak defenses. When conquered, its King Indraratha escapes beyond the jungle in the west to his mountain fortress and starts fielding a new force from it and two nearby military encampments to retake Kalinga and then attack the rearguard of the Chola army.
  • Utkala (Bengalis): is the second enemy on the Chola army's march north. It is a well fortified city with a decent garrison. It can be assaulted in more than one way.
  • Mahipala (Bengalis): is the third and primary target of the Chola expedition. He has a highly fortified city with a large army pitched outside his city readied for battle, and fields Rathas, Elite Elephant Archers, Champions, Arbalesters, Battle Elephants, Armored Elephants, and Trebuchets to staunchly defend his base. His navy of Galleons and Fast Fire Ships patrol the Bay of Bengal to sink the Chola navy and its supply ships, and has erected Sea Towers and Keeps on small islets in the bay as well as on the Bengal coastline and in the eastern jungles. He also attempts a Wonder victory.
  • Bandits (Bengalis): have an encampment in the central forest, west of Utkala, which can be accessed only when the Utkala priesthood requests Rajendra to find and return the Relic Cart stolen from them by the bandits. They have a small force of infantry, archers, and some scorpions.

Strategy[]

Short tips[]

  1. Rajendra must be kept alive at all cost. Without him, it is impossible to control a Dock (until the rendezvous with Araiyan's forces after conquering the first two cities), and without any Dock, it is impossible to receive additional resources.
  2. Make sure that the first (Vengi) Castle is not too heavily damaged. They provide a good place to garrison Rajendra to keep him alive, and control the Vengi Dock, which is closest to where the resupply Trade Cogs spawn. Even though the player will have access to a second Dock after rendezvousing with Araiyan, it is located deep in enemy territory, and hence the resupplying Trade Cogs are vulnerable to being destroyed while travelling toward it.
  3. Killing Indraratha of Kalinga will grant the otherwise inaccessible technologies Bracer and Ring Archer Armor, which will benefit the player's ships as well as Archery Range units greatly.
  4. If the rebellion is not put down by killing King Indraratha, the section of Kalinga that the player conquers in the initial stages of the scenario will betray the player shortly after the player leaves the area: Consider destroying all possible military buildings when controlling the city.
  5. Send your army through the forest path between the two local villages west of Utkala to gain access to four damaged Trebuchets (that start losing health when kept unpacked) with access to the city from the northwest from a higher ground.
  6. Distract the enemy before sending all the Armored Elephants forward to destroy the Wonder, the enemy Castles can be dealt with later.
  7. If the player struggles to keep the enemy troops at bay, garrisoning a few soldiers at Utkala's Castle may distract the enemy until the military is rebuilt.
  8. Enemy ships do not only spawn from the enemy Docks, but from thin air somewhere in the middle part of the waterway.
  9. Bringing the Relic Cart to the Utkala Monks gives the player access to valuable rewards: Chemistry and access to Elite Cannon Galleons.
  10. If any of of Utkala's Castles are still standing when taking control of its buildings with Rajendra, the player can train new undamaged Trebuchets from them.

Outro[]

Despite suffering humiliation at my hands, Mahipala refuses to bend the knee. He retreats and leaves eastern Bengal open for raids, and in doing so he saves his dynasty from annihilation.

A part of me admires his staunch resistance; but that is a part of me which must die. There can be no admiration for one's enemies, no respect for those who refuse to accept their place in the world that I am creating.

For now, I will leave Mahipala to pick up the pieces of his broken pride. Another even greater predator has drawn my eye...

Trivia[]

  • Sacred Waters deals with the Chola military expedition to North India between 1019 and 1024.
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