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The Belly of the Beast is the third scenario of the reworked Alaric campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. It is loosely based on Alaric's second invasion of Italy (409 A.D.).

Intro Edit

Romans spread that Stilicho was ready to make a deal with Alaric. Our hopes were raised, but as weeks passed with no news, we knew that more Gothic blood would have to be shed.

The Romans resented Stilicho for making a pact with 'barbarians'. When parts of the Western Roman Empire were overrun by usurpers and invaders, they blamed Stilicho. He soon learned the hefty price of Roman politics: they declared him an enemy of the state and had him executed.

In a frenzy of hate, the Romans followed Stilicho's execution by murdering all soldiers of Germanic descent. Then, in another rush of blind rage, they turned on the families of those soldiers, and murdered them too.

The survivors flocked to Alaric, begging him to raise an army and march with them into Italy to exact vengeance.

Alaric coldy answered them, 'The Romans have never known fear, but that will change.'

Scenario instructions Edit

Starting conditions Edit

Objectives Edit

  • Defeat Aquileia.
  • Defeat Cremona.
  • Send an envoy to the emperor.
  • Defeat Sarus.

Hints Edit

  1. The Visigoths can reach the Imperial Age and support a population of 210. Gunpowder is unavailable to the 5th century Goths.
  2. As Italy has been weakened by several Germanic invasions, you can take your time to build up your forces - the enemy will be slow in preparing theirs.
  3. Avoid approaching Ravenna until the emperor is willing to speak with Alaric. The Visigoths do not seek to destroy the Roman Empire, but simply to obtain a better bargain from it. Nevertheless, sack the Roman cities in Northern Italy to demonstrate your tenacity.
  4. The strength of the Visigoths lies in their numbers.

Scouts Edit

Your scouts report:

  • Situated on the Adriatic coast, the city of Aquileia (3, Blue) has rather strong fortifications. Taking it with just infantry and no siege weapons might prove difficult. Aquileia will train Pikemen and Crossbowmen.
  • South of the Visigoths is the city of Cremona (4, Yellow). Its strength lies with its army of Knights, swordsmen, and Scorpions, which can counter Gothic Huskarls.
  • Ataulf (5, Cyan) has taken control of part of the Gothic army to assist Alaric. Once he is strong enough, he will deploy the typical flood of infantry that the Goths are known for, but until that moment he will need support and protection.
  • Rumor has it that the Gothic commander Sarus (6, Purple) has joined the Romans. He is a longtime rival of Alaric and knows him well.

Players Edit

  • Player (Goths): The player starts with a sizeable base in the northeast and a Castle west of the base.

Ally Edit

  • Ataulf (Goths): Ataulf has a similar base and slightly more forces southeast of the player.

Enemies Edit

  • Ravenna (Italians): Ravenna is a largely passive player found on the western margin of the map, which can only be reached after defeating Aquileia and Cremona, and crossing a river and then a narrow passage defended by Watch Towers and soldiers. It has a larger fortified base on an island to the northwest, and a smaller base south of it, that is only protected by Palisade Walls and switches mostly to Sarus's control after his betrayal. Several Cataphracts and Legionaries are scattered through Ravenna's territory, while a fleet of Galleons protects the section of the river north of Cremona.
  • Aquileia (Byzantines): Aquileia is a large, fortified city in an archipelago to the east. It is the most dangerous enemy because it is just south of Ataulf's base, but also difficult to assault due to a moat limiting access to a few chokepoints.
  • Cremona (Italians): Cremona is a large, semi-circular walled city near the center of the map, southwest of the Gothic forces. It is the weakest of the Italian cities.
  • Sarus (Goths): Sarus controls some buildings and units within Ravenna's territory. After betraying the player, all buildings in Ravenna's southern base also switch to Sarus's control, including a Castle.

Strategy Edit

Outro Edit

For all the Romans did to us, it seemed logical for Alaric to seek their downfall, but that is not what he wanted. After sacking the cities of Northern Italy, he met with the Roman Emperor, Honorius. Alaric's demands were reasonable and humble, a sign of reconciliation between our two peoples. And all would have gone well, had it not been for the Gothic commander Sarus.

Sarus had vied with Alaric over the Visigothic kingship and had lost dishonorably, instead entering Roman service. Jealous of Alaric, he ordered his soldiers to attack our king by surprise and kill him.

Luckily, Alaric and his men survived the assassination attempt, and escaped.

Trivia Edit

  • This scenario is chronologically set at the same time as the first three in the HD Alaric campaign (All Roads Lead to a Besieged City, Legionaries on the Horizon!, and Emperor of the West). Of the three, it has most in common with the third, featuring Alaric's forces trying to reach Emperor Honorius in Ravenna and introducing Sarus as an enemy.
  • Cremona is also an enemy in the third Barbarossa scenario, and Aquileia in the sixth Attila the Hun scenario. As in the latter, the player must destroy some cities in northern Italy before trying to reach the Western Roman Empire's capital.
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