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The Breath of the Dragon is the third scenario of the Vlad Dracula campaign in the Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. In this scenario, the player is playing as Slavs.

Intro[]

The punishment for all offenses was death, for Dracula needed to make an example of criminals. Under his strong rule, trade was reopened and the economy blossomed. Proud of his achievement, Dracula placed a golden cup in the central square of Targoviste. The cup was never once touched throughout his reign."

I was shocked. The fear of the stake was surely enough to prevent crime, but to rule Wallachia while simultaneously evading the plots of the boyars was no small feat.

"Dracula invited all of the boyars to a feast, and asked them how many rulers they had seen perish due to treachery. None had seen fewer than seven reigns, while some had even seen thirty! Furious, Dracula arrested them all and marched them here, to the former ruin of Poenari Castle!"

"For months they labored to rebuild the castle, toiling even after their clothes fell off! Those who survived were slain. Finally, Dracula had eradicated the fickle, conniving Boyars. He replaced them with loyal followers, be they knights or common peasants."

"Strong again, the Dragon was ready to breathe a flame that would engulf his enemies, the Turks."

"The punishment for all crime and dishonesty was death -- impalement to be specific, for Dracula needed to make an example of criminals just as he did with Vladislav II and the Danesti clan. Under Dracula's strong rule, trade was reopened, the economy flourished, and Wallachia was utterly void of crime. Dracula was proud of his achievement, and placed a golden cup in the central square of Targoviste."

"The cup was never once touched throughout his reign. However, Dracula was angered by vagrancy and begging, so he had all of the poor and sick boarded up in a hall and then had the building set on fire!" I was shocked. "The fear of the stake was enough to prevent crime, I'm sure, but how was Dracula able to strengthen the economy and evade the plots of the Boyars at the same time?"

Smiling the whole time, his host continued: "Dracula's restructuring was almost complete, but he was still faced with the problem of the Boyars. Dracula invited them all to a feast, and asked them how many Voivods they had seen in their lifetime. None had seen fewer than seven reigns, while some had even seen thirty! Furious, Dracula arrested all of the Boyars, and marched them here, to the former ruin of Poenari Castle!"

"For months they labored, rebuilding the castle and toiling after their clothes fell off! Finally, the Poenari Castle was rebuilt, and Dracula celebrated by impaling all Boyars who had survived the ordeal! Finally, Dracula had eradicated the fickle, conniving Boyars, and he was eager to put his own aristocracy in place. Knights and common peasants alike were made lords and given lands based on their loyalty to Dracula.

Between their inherent loyalty to Dracula and the fear of the stake, none ever dared rebel. Strong again, the Dragon was ready to breathe a flame that would engulf his enemies, the Turks. Hearing wind of the movements of a Turkish army, he led his grand army out to meet them in combat. The first glorious battle would be fought at a mountain pass northwest of the fortress of Giurgiu..."

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Differences between difficulty levels[]

  • On Standard, the Stone Mine area near Obluciza and the Lumber Camp area near Orsova won't have any tower defending it. Darstor no longer have any Bombard Tower inside its walls.
  • On Hard, Obluciza will start in the Castle Age instead of the Feudal Age.

Objectives[]

Main[]

  • Vlad Dracula must survive.
  • Conquer Giurgiu by destroying its Castle and all towers.
  • Defeat all enemy towns and fortresses by destroying all of their Town Centers, Castles and Wonders.

Secondary[]

  • Destroy all of Orsova's (4, Yellow) Lumber Camps to stall your opponents' naval production.
  • Destroy all of Obluciza's (5, Green) Mining Camps to prevent your enemies from building more towers.
  • Destroy all of Rahova's (6, Cyan) Mining Camps to halt the training of enemy Janissaries.
  • Destroy all Mills belonging to Novoselo (8, Orange) to cut the enemy food supply.

Hints[]

  1. Dracula now rules Wallachia and thus has access to the Slavic technology tree. He is limited to a population limit of 150.
  2. The Turks have a firm grip on both sides of the Danube River. If Vlad's Wallachians are to contest their rule and raid the region they will need to obtain a stronghold first.
  3. The strongest Ottoman citadel is Darstor. It is well fortified and has a strong garrison. Several nearby Bulgarian and Wallachian towns provide it with supplies, so it would be wise to attack these towns first to weaken Darstor's garrison.

Scouts[]

Your scouts report:

  • Dracula's army (1, Red) has arrived on the road northwest of Giurgiu after ambushing a Turkish regiment and is poised to raid the Danube region and northern Bulgaria. The city of Giurgiu (2, Purple) is well fortified but has few defenders, so if the Wallachians can acquire siege equipment it should be easy to take the city and use it as a base from which to raid the region.
  • Across the Danube River from Giurgiu lies the fortress of Darstor (7, Grey). It is occupied by the Turks, who have a strong military presence there. Expect to face Janissaries, Heavy Camels, Hussars, Bombard Cannons, Galleons and Cannon Galleons.
  • To the west, on the Wallachian side of the Danube, Orsova (4, Yellow) supplies timber to the nearby Turkish troops and local towns for shipbuilding. They have a highly mobile army consisting of Magyar Huszars, Cavalry Archers, and Knights.
  • East of Giurgiu, Obluciza (5, Green) is mining the rich stone deposits north of their city. This stone is used by the local towns to fortify themselves against Vlad's raids. Their Boyars, Archers, and Monks will not be easy to deal with.
  • Across the river, in northern Bulgaria, the village of Novoselo (8, Orange) is known for its fertile farmland. This food is sent directly to the Turkish garrisons. Only defended by Skirmishers and Light Cavalry, Novoselo is a rather easy target.
  • West of Darstor lies the Bulgarian village of Rahova (6, Cyan), famed for its rich gold mines. Their gold finances all unique units in the region, but most importantly the Janissaries in Darstor. The village relies on infantry for its defense, but if given time it will also build rams and go on the offensive.
  • All of Vlad's adversaries will construct warships so long as they have the supplies for them.

Players[]

Ally[]

  • Wallachians (Slavs) is located just south of the player's starting position. They have a Town Center, some Mills, and villagers outside and inside of Giurgiu. After the player takes control of Giurgiu, they will resign and give all their units and buildings to the player.

Enemies[]

  • Ottoman Army (Turks) is the first opponent the player will encounter. They are in control of Giurgiu, a walled town, which is in the middle of the map. The player will take over the entire Giurgiu after destroying the Ottoman Army castle and towers in Giurgiu.
  • Darstor (Turks) is located in the southeast of the map, and being the primary force of the five Ottoman towns to be subdued by the player, after capturing Giurgiu. They rely on Orsova (wood), Rahova (gold), Novoselo (food) and Obluciza (stone) for resources, in order to build a formidable force. To defeat them, destroy their Castle and Mosque (in the Definitive Edition, all of their structures must be razed).
These towns are supplying Darstor with resources to build up their military, and subduing each of these towns would sabotage the supply. Each of the following towns will resign and pay a token of tributes after their main building is destroyed.
  • Novoselo (Bulgarians) is located in the east of the map, on the south/right bank of the Danube River. They supply food for Darstor, which is crucial to build an army. To subdue them, destroy their Town Center.
  • Obluciza (Slavs) is located in the east, somewhere north of Novoselo. They supply stone for Darstor. To subdue them, destroy their Castle.
  • Orsova (Magyars) is located in the southwest of the map, near the spot where the Cerna River meets the Danube River on the left. They are the greatest threat out of the four supply towns, as they frequently invade Giurgiu with Knights and Cavalry Archers. They supply wood for Darstor, which is crucial to build ships. To subdue them, destroy their castle.
  • Rahova (Bulgarians) is located in the south, on the right bank of the Danube River. They supply gold for Darstor, which is crucial to create Janissaries. To subdue them, destroy their Town Center.

Ally[]

  • Wallachians (Slavs) is located just south of the player's starting position. They have a Town Center, some Mills, and villagers outside and inside of Giurgiu. After the player takes control of Giurgiu, they will resign and give all their units and buildings to the player.

Ally → Enemy → Ally → Enemy[]

  • Ottoman Army (Turks) is the first opponent the player will encounter. They are in control of Giurgiu, a walled town, which is in the middle of the map. The army will arrive the forest in the northwest at the 90th second, and the player is supposed to ambush them and attack. Later the player has to send Vlad Dracula and four soldiers to capture Giurgiu by garrisoning into their Castle (the diplomacy is 'ally' again after the ambush battle and while Dracula is on the way to Giurgiu). If either the castle is taken down, or the guards in Giurgiu discovered Dracula's plot, the diplomacy is set to 'enemy' again. There are a few Guard Towers and a Bombard Tower in Giurgiu, which the player can garrison either Dracula or any of the four soldiers to take over the tower. Besides that, Giurgiu has a Town Center, a Barracks, a Market, a Blacksmith, two Docks, several Houses, as well as two Mills outside the town. The player will take over the entire Giurgiu after defeating the Ottoman guards in Giurgiu.

Enemy[]

  • Darstor (Turks) is located in the southeast of the map, and being the primary force of the five Ottoman towns to be subdued by the player, after capturing Giurgiu. They rely on Orsova (wood), Rahova (gold), Novoselo (food) and Obluciza (stone) for resources, in order to build a formidable force. To defeat them, destroy their Castle and Mosque.

Enemies → Allies[]

Each of the following towns will become 'allies' with the player and pay a token of tributes after their main building is destroyed.

These towns are supplying Darstor with resources to build up their military, and subduing each of these towns would sabotage the supply.

  • Novoselo (Slavs) is located in the east of the map, on the south/right bank of the Danube River. They supply food for Darstor, which is crucial to build an army. To subdue them, destroy their Town Center.
  • Obluciza (Slavs) is located in the east, somewhere north of Novoselo. They supply stone for Darstor. To subdue them, destroy their Castle.
  • Orsova (Magyars) is located in the southwest of the map, near the spot where the Cerna River meets the Danube River on the left. They are the greatest threat out of the four supply towns, as they frequently invade Giurgiu with Knights and Cavalry Archers. They supply wood for Darstor, which is crucial to build ships. To subdue them, destroy their castle.
  • Rahova (Slavs) is located in the south, on the right bank of the Danube River. They supply gold for Darstor, which is crucial to create Janissaries. To subdue them, destroy their Town Center.

Strategy[]

In the Definitive Edition, neither the ambush nor the stealth segment exists. Instead, Vlad must capture three Bombard Cannons to destroy the Gate, towers, and Castle. The Ottomans have only a minor presence in the town, making it trivial to defeat them once their fortifications are destroyed. However, since the Wallachians will hand over the entire Giurgiu to the player after all Ottoman towers and the Castle are destroyed, surviving Ottoman units will start attacking any building or Villager in the sight - which the most vulnerable ones are the two Villagers near the former Castle site (where there are two Janissaries).

In contrast to the more straightforward opening act, the second part of this scenario is significantly harder in the Definitive Edition, as all five of the player's opponents will aggressively raid the player as long as they're standing. While the player's initial Castle will give the player a slight buffer at first, they'll need to hastily fortify Giurgiu's northern outskirts while they build up their economy. Be sure to pick up the Relic in the western part of the map (where the ambush occurred in the HD version) - that extra gold will be needed in the long run. The player can also cancel the Castle foundation to get back the stone cost if the player wish to relocate the base to somewhere else.

Eliminate Rahova early - their base is hard to reach because the player must pass by Darstor's front gate to reach it, but the town itself is weak enough that they should be able to defeat them with their surviving initial troops. With Rahova out of the way, the player will have a much easier time building up a navy to protect Girgiu's shores until they are strong enough to go on the offensive. By destroying their Town Center, the player will also receive a large influx of gold, which will be useful for producing Boyars to defend Giurgiu against early attacks.

After withstanding the first wave of enemy invasions, quickly build up a large army to destroy either Obluciza or Orsova. Obluciza is much stronger in the remake, due to their diverse army of Boyars, Monks, Crossbowmen, and siege weapons, so the player won't be able to hold everybody off for long if they're not defeated soon enough. Orsova is equally threatening, especially if they get an opportunity to take control of the river with their navy or get a chance to reach the Imperial Age (Note: They will advance on hard difficulty) - walling them in while dealing with Obluciza will help buy the player time to build up a strong force to deal with them.

Darstor's wood supply heavily relies on Orsova and Obluciza. If the player can defeat them at the early stage, Darstor will not be able to mass warships. This makes it significantly easier for the player to control the river with their own warships. However, as the Slavs, Elite Cannon Galleons are unavailable to the player, so they must be careful of Bombard Towers along the river, as they benefit from the Turks' +2 range bonus.

By the time only the technologically weak Novoselo remains of Darstor's allies, the player should be ready to invade Darstor. Be sure to take advantage of the Slavs' Druzhina technology, which will cause Darstor's Heavy Camel Riders and Hussars to drop like flies to massed Halberdiers. Boyars are a good counter to their Bombard Cannons and Elite Janissaries, but the player can rely on Hussars instead if low on gold. Unlike the original version of the scenario, Darstor will not surrender until all of their units and buildings are destroyed, so the player should take out their military buildings early to slow down their constant influx of new soldiers.

Alternative Strategy

It is possible to defeat all enemies without having to capture Giurgiu, should the player find it too difficult to keep the five enemies at bay.

The player can defeat two of the five towns with their starting army. As Obluciza will provide three Villagers and stone, while Orsova surrenders their wood when they resign, they should be the prime targets. Obluciza will be a tough cookie to defeat, as they have Monks, archers, Boyars and some ships in command. The player should send a Hussar to strike a Monk and wait for their units to pour out of the town to kill the Hussar. Send the Hussar as far away as possible, and lure the enemy units away from the town to yield less casualties. Once Obluciza is safe, the player can proceed to destroy the Castle and Monastery. The same strategy goes for Orsova. Once the player obtains the wood, stone, and Villagers, the player should assign them to start building a town with the resources alotted. Once Orsova and Obluciza resign, the production of ships from Dastor becomes much slower. The player can start booming the economy relatively easier and do not have much pressure on the river.

The player can take their time to boom and build up their army and then launch attacks on the remaining enemies across the river. No enemies will go on the offensive until Giurgiu is taken.

Vlad Dracula is leading his army on the path in the northwest of the map, discussing their plan of an assault on the Ottoman army. The Hand Cannoneers suggest to have them ambush in the forest on the eastern side of the path so that the enemies would not know what hits them, while the Hussars suggest to ambush on the western side of the path and prepare to assault from there. Note that the Ottoman army would arrive in 90 seconds time, and if the player has any unit standing in the middle of the path, the ambush would fail and the casualty would be greater. The Ottoman army will have two Bombard Cannons which will come last, though easy to be taken down, they are a great threat to opponents standing close together. The player shall place all ranged units together in the east, while all melee units in the west.

After a bloody fight that annihilated the Ottoman army, Dracula is set to take down Ottoman-controlled Giurgiu, in the middle of the map. The player would have to travel southeast along the path and see a Trade Carts, which the player is to chase after and nab it. Dracula will disguise himself as a trader (technically a King) while there would be two Pikemen and two hand cannoneers hiding in the Trade Cart. The player shall bring both Dracula and the Trade Cart into Giurgiu. The rest of Dracula's army would be left behind, waiting for Dracula's signal.

Upon entering Giurgiu, the Trade Cart will be deleted and the four soldiers will come out. Dracula manages to enter, with his ability to speak Turkish. While the player's aim is to capture the Castle, the player shall capture the towers by garrisoning any of the five units into each tower. However the player must try not to have the four soldiers together, as if they enter the corner on the right of the Town Center and there is any Ottoman soldier there, they would raise suspicion of the Ottoman guard. If Dracula himself gets near the broken bridge where there is an Ottoman Cavalier, the cavalier will also be suspicious, as the 'trader' looks familiar to him. If any of the player's unit attempts to get near the castle while the Janissary is there, he would be stopped by the Janissary and being ordered to turn back. Whenever the player raises suspicion by any Ottoman guard, the unit must leave the sight as soon as possible or else after 15 seconds the Ottomans will get alarmed and begin fighting the player. Though technically optional, it is advisable that the player captures the tower in the middle of the river, on the eastern side of the broken bridge, in order to take down the Janissary banner and distract the enraged Janissaries, so it would be much easier to capture the castle.

As the player captures or destroys the castle, signal would be sent to Dracula's army and they would rush to Giurgiu, and the Ottomans would be alarmed and another fighting would be on. Therefore, the player must defeat the Ottoman guards in order to capture the entire Giurgiu. The player should destroy the two Battering Rams first, as they are a great threat to the castle and towers, and the player must keep the castle standing till the end of the game.

Once Giurgiu is captured, the player prepares to conquer the five remaining Ottoman towns - Darstor, Orsova, Rahova, Novoselo, and Obluciza. Darstor is the main force of the town, but must rely on the other four towns for resources. Therefore, the player should conquer the four smaller towns to sabotage the enemy supplies. By conquering any of the four supply towns, they will beg for peace with the player and pay a token of tribute. Orsova is supplying wood for Darstor, Rahova is supplying gold, Novoselo is supplying food, and Obluciza is supplying stone. The player should take down Obluciza and Rahova as soon as possible, to mine in their abundance of Stone Mines and Gold Mines. After the four supply towns are conquered, Darstor will be weakened enough for a direct attack to succeed.

Outro[]

This wise man, whomever he was, was certainly no commoner. I wondered aloud if perhaps he had fought in the wars of which he spoke.

My question was answered with a grin and a nod. I was awed - to encounter a soldier who had survived those years of turmoil and bloody warfare was rare.

"We sacked Giurgiu, Darstor, Novoselo, Dridopoyrom, and many more towns," he muttered, revealing the scars on his arms. "Our strikes were swifter than bolts of lightning. Yes, we have peace now, but I have never found it. Not a single day goes by when I do not think about it."

This man, whomever he was, was certainly no commoner, and had quite an arsenal of knowledge. I wondered if perhaps he had fought in the wars, so long ago. Our host had risen again to leave the room, and returned minutes later, a grandiose tome in hand. He opened it and began reading to himself. Soon, I spoke again. "You know much of Dracula's quest for power. Did you fight under him then?"

My question was answered with a grin and a nod. "Where else did you fight?" I asked. "There were so many battles during that time, it is said that every man in the kingdom marched on one campaign or another. It's a miracle that we have the peace that we have now!" At my mention of the word "peace", our host whirled around to face me, glaring.

"Giurgiu. Darstor, Novoselo, and Dridopoyrom. And many more," he said while revealing the scars on his arms. "Our strikes were quicker and more elusive than bolts of lightning. The strange thing, though, is your mention of peace. Yes, we have peace now, but I have never had peace here," he told us, gesturing to his head. "Not a single day goes by when I do not think about it."

Trivia[]

  • Voivode Dracula and the Wallachians are represented as the Slavs in this scenario despite not technically being Slavic. This is probably because, although Romania's ethnic and lingual origin is Latin, medieval Romanian culture was very similar to that of the eastern Slavic states at the time, most notably their Eastern Orthodox faith and political system dominated by a Boyar aristocracy.
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