The Mountain Siege is the second scenario in the Le Loi campaign in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas. It is about how Le Loi and his forces defending the fortress from the Ming Chinese invasion, while trying to escape at the same time.
The Ming heard rumors of this rebel king and vowed to crush him before his seeds of rebellion could take root. Disaster struck the Vietnamese rebels when the Ming defeated them in battle and forced them to retreat to the Chi Linh mountain fortress. Encircled by a large Chinese army and with no hope of help from the outside, Le Loi's situation became grim. Supplies would not last long and the Ming cannons had already begun to batter the old walls of the fortress. The end of Le Loi and his rebellion seemed imminent...
Then, disaster struck the Vietnamese rebels. Defeated in battle and chased by the Ming army, they retreated to a mountain fortress in Chí Linh but realized upon their arrival that there were few supplies remaining within. The mountain fortress had become a dead trap, with the Ming armies encircling it from all sides. The situation was dire for Lê Lợi and his fellow commanders on top of that barren mountain. The Ming brought a large army to assure that none of the rebels would be able to escape, and the destruction of the rebellion seemed inevitable.
- Starting Age: Imperial Age
- Starting resources:
- Population limit: 150
Differences between difficulty levels
- On standard difficulty, the player starts with the Cavalier upgrade researched.
- Le Loi must survive
- At least one Castle in the fortress must keep standing
- Destroy the two towers guarding the road east
- allied soldiers must escape east
- Le Loi must escape east
- Le Loi is restricted to 150 population because of the lack of supplies.
- Make sure to defend the gates at all cost. Once they are breached it will be much harder to defend the fortress.
- Most resources can be found out east so try to clear it for your villagers.
- Due to a shortage in supplies, the construction of siege units is impossible.
Your scouts report:
- The Vietnamese are held up in a mountain fortress together with commander Le Lai (green). He will try to keep the Ming at bay but time is running out.
- The Ming Army (blue) are besieging from all sides. Their strongest presence is in the west over the river but they have also started moving into the eastern highlands. It will not be long before they completely surround the fortress.
- The main assaults from the Ming Army (cyan) will consist of Chu Ko Nu, Long Swordsmen, Pikemen, Crossbowmen, Rams, and Knights. Once more supplies arrive, the Chinese will upgrade their units and have trebuchets to dear down the fortress walls.
- Le Lai (Vietnamese) are located in the center. Their forces consists of Rattan Archers, Battle Elephants, Onagers, and Halberdiers.
- Vietnamese Army (Vietnamese) are located in the center. Their base is small, but quite well-fortified. Their forces consists of Rattan Archers and Halberdiers. After the first wave of attack by the enemy is repulsed, they will give all their units and buildings to the player.
- Ming Army (Chinese) are scattered around the player's base. They have a huge amount of forces, consisting of Chu Ko Nu, Arbalesters, Halberdiers, Champions, Onagers, Scorpions, and Trebuchets. They are passive and will attack the player or the Vietnamese army when they are in their sight.
- Ming Army (Chinese) are located to the northwest, southwest, southeast, and northeast. They have a large amount of forces consisting of Chu Ko Nu, Arbalests, Halberdiers, Champions, Onagers, and Scorpions. They are the most dangerous threat and will attack the player relentlessly. As time passes, they will upgrade their units and start constructing Trebuchets, so the player has to be on their guard.
In the beginning, after receiving the fortress from the Vietnamese Army while the Ming start to attack, pool the scattered army together and then start clearing the path to the corner. Bring Le Loi along as he needs to be in the corner eventually (do not hide him in the castle). It is best to begin south so the player can get to the berries and gold pile. At the meantime, produce Villagers to gather resources as many resources as possible in the base, or send them to the east to gather more (do not forget to send some military units to protect them), and build some buildings such as Stable or some Towers to defend the base. New Town Centers in the east are a good idea, as there is no farm space in the base.
Train some soldiers (particularly Battle Elephants, if possible upgrade them to Elite Battle Elephants) and Monks and join with the army that was given in the beginning and divide them into two forces: one that will defend the fortress and the others that will go to the east. This way, the player may be attacked by the Ming but they will just have some small groups. Minimize casualties, and head to the east and destroy the two towers guarding the road to the east.
Once all the towers are destroyed, some Vietnamese soldiers (usually a group consisting of Halberdiers and Rattan Archers) will start leaving the fortress, and the player is told to cover the retreat (by sending some of the player's army to protect them until they reach the road east). Actually, instead of committing units, it is better to plug the passageways the Ming would use to intercept by building very large buildings to block the gaps. There are three such entrances from the northeast and two in the southeast, and all these routes can be blocked by constructing very large buildings, such as Markets and Siege Workshops (walls are disabled in this scenario). A tower can be constructed on the other side and manned with Villagers or archers to prevent Ming from breaching the barricade.
This will allow the player to focus on defending the base, which comes under very heavy attack in all directions, and where a single un-responded ram or Trebuchet can undo tons of hard work.
It is vital to clear all possible paths from the fortress the corner, as the allied troops choose one at random and the player does not want them to get into ambushes.
To protect the base, the player must snipe Ming siege which begins with solitary Capped Rams but soon becomes multiple Siege Rams and Trebuchets in several different directions. They will also bring giants armies of all types of units. Light cavalry is ideal as a cheap and fast response to siege. The player should make sure to have a strong food economy and plenty of Stables. Eventually, the player would need heavier units to hold the line as castles and gates go down. It is best to use Elite War Elephants and Onagers by this point; they can eliminate a lot of units very quickly.
After 40 soldiers reach the destination, Le Loi should already be in the corner or right next to it, so the player will win instantly.
Alternative (offensive) strategy
Alternatively, the player can choose to destroy the Ming Army's (Cyan) production buildings in order to stop the unending onslaught. Battering Rams, Trebuchets, and Petards are unavailable in this scenario, but the player still has access to Elite Cannon Galleons that can be used to take out enemy buildings.
For this strategy to work, the player has to focus on booming east of the starting enclosure on three or even four Town Centers, accessing as many gold piles as possible very fast. Gather all the starting troops (Le Loi included, as the unit can easily die inside the fortress) and head southeast through the gate, defeating enemy patrols until the berries and the gold pile that lie to the east are secured. After that, gather all troops and head north through the northern gate and secure the gold pile near the northern gate. From there, the player can move slightly to the east on a straight path in order to secure the path to a third gold pile that can be used later. Once these resources are cleared, the survivors should return to base and all Rattan Archers garrisoned in the Green Castle adjacent to one on of the Eastern gates. Filling that Castle to its limit is important early on, as it has the potential to kill hundreds of units backed only by Light Cavalry to protect it from the occasional ram.
In the meantime, queue up Bracer and Chemistry. Chemistry is required for the Cannon Galleons. Later, the player should get Plate Barding Armor, Elite Rattan Archer, and either the Cavalier or Elite Battle Elephant upgrades.
All starting Villagers (except the ones near the gold and stone) should be tasked to build a second Town Center near the newly secured berries to the east. Task one villager to build Houses, as the player is close to the population cap at this point. Set the gather point of the starting Town Center on the berries within the enclosure. Eventually, the player will want a third Town Center to the north (near the gold). Train a Monk and collect the Relic.
Inside the fortress, the player should have at least four Stables (one is pre-built), two Barracks and two Archery Ranges. The main objective is to destroy enemy siege units - rams for the first 20 minutes or so (Light Cavalry will work great, but after that the player will need either Cavaliers or Elite Battle Elephants to tank the enemy).
The fortress is entrenched by a moat that is guarded by enemy towers. At the 12-minute mark, the player should send a Villager to the shallows south of where the berries were and construct a Dock there. This spot is in the range of a single enemy Keep, while most of the other spots are within the range of at least 2. The dock will get attacked, but, if repaired, will hold. Research Cannon Galleon (no longer needed if playing the Definitive Edition) and Elite Cannon Galleon and queue up three of them. The gather point should be chosen carefully, or the Galleons will be destroyed by the Keep. It is advisable to use the grid to find the spot that is out of the Keep's range. Use the Cannon Galleons to destroy the Keeps and Bombard Towers along the shoreline. Eventually, the ships will reach the southern bridge to the fortress where they should destroy the enemy's Castle and any production building within range.
Roughly at this point, the enemy will begin fielding Trebuchets and Cavaliers and defending will become more challenging. Thankfully, the attacks now will come only from the east, as the south is taken care of. The player has to build a new Dock in the next portion of the moat in order to progress. This can be challenging, as the attention will be split between the siege at the eastern gate and the construction at the south gate. The enemy will try to deny the construction of a new Dock, so the player has to be persistent and make sure to train at least two Cannon Galleons. The ships should then proceed demolishing the fortifications on the riverbank until reaching the next bridge. Make sure to destroy the Castle and production buildings within range as well. This will alleviate the stress on the defending army. Ming's Army's southern base now should have only an Archery Range and a Siege Workshop left standing, and the southern gate would be assaulted by Arbalesters, rams, and Onagers only - all of them easily countered by a small group of Light Cavalry. Thus, as long as the player has about 10 units of Light Cavalry standing at the south gate, they can focus on defending the west.
By the point the second Castle is destroyed, the player has either won or lost the scenario. If by that time the the player has a sizeable army standing (capped at 150 population), the ending will be a breeze. If, however, the enemy has breached the fortress and its units are all over the base, it would be probably best to restart and try again. In case the player has enough troops left, they have to cause a distraction in order to buy time and place a Dock on the new section of the moat. The enemy will make a final stand and resist any attempts to place a new Dock fiercely. However, once the player manages to produce at least two Cannon Galleons in the new "pond", the scenario is practically won. As before, the ships should be used to destroy the Keeps, Bombard Towers, the final Castle and then all production buildings within range. Then the land troops (better bring a lot of elephants) should finish whatever buildings the enemy has left standing. All surviving troops should be reinforced and sent south to finish off the last two remaining cyan buildings. Ming's Army (Cyan) should resign at that point.
After that, clearing the road east becomes trivial, as there is no pressure. The player should take care to train about 40 Battle Elephants and destroy the blue bases in the north and southeast (on the player's side of the moat) before clearing the escape rote. Both bases should be inactive (i.e. would not produce troops) as long as the escape route hasn't been cleared. Some of the buildings in the southeastern base are within range of Cannon Galleons and can safely be taken out from the water. The southeastern base is protected by a Castle, but the player should ignore it and focus on taking out the production buildings around it - the number of Battle Elephants lost to it can be too high. As long as all production buildings are destroyed, Ming's Army will not be able to train units and use the to interrupt the escape attempt.
Throughout the game, regular Galleys can be used to defend the bridge sections, as the enemy will ignore them most of the time.
Le Lai, the player's ally, is not very reliable in this scenario. Despite training powerful units, its scripting is poor and those units will often just stand ground inside the fortress.
Just as defeat seemed inevitable, Le Loi's second in command, Le Lai, and his men sacrificed their lives to save what was left of the Vietnamese Rebellion. They mounted their horses and led a final charge right into the Ming besiegers. In the ensuing confusion, Le Loi and the rest of the army escaped through the fortress' drainage system. One witness who saw the charge said that he saw the spirits of the Vietnamese ancestors riding along Le Lai and his men as they plunged into the lines of Ming pikes. It was a sad day for Le Loi and the Vietnamese. They had lost much and all that remained of the resistance was smoldering ashes and dead bodies. However, the tale of Chi Linh spread throughout Vietnam and lit the spark of resistance. The Vietnamese people were no longer willing to tolerate the Ming occupation.
When all appeared to be lost, one of Lê Lợi's commanders, Lê Lai, devised a plan. While Lê Lợi and the main bulk of the army forced their escape through the less defended eastern flank, Lê Lai pretended to be Lê Lợi and led a frontal charge right into the Ming forces. Rushing into the mass of Ming soldiers, followed by his loyal men in the early morning sun, Lê Lai's final charge can be described nothing but glorious.It was a sad day for Lê Lợi and his men to have lost such a brave commander. Lê Lai died so Lê Lợi and his men could continue the fight, and so they did. The rebels became more determined than ever before.
- The scenario hints state that the player is unable to build siege units. Actually, only rams and Trebuchets are disabled; Cannon Galleons, Scorpions and Mangonels can still be produced.
- In the Definitive Edition, before update 50292, the objective stated that 40 rebels must escape along with Le Loi, but the actual number of escapees was set at 60. This bug got fixed with update 50292 and now only 40 rebels need to escape along with Le Loi.
- Despite being able to train units free of cost, all computer players still need to have their production buildings intact in order to keep up production.
- While Hoardings is available in this scenario, it will not benefit the player's Castle, since it originally belonged to Le Lai, therefore just wasting the research cost.
- If enemy units get too close to the refugees' spawning area, the refugees will fight the enemy units instead of leaving the fortress as they should. To prevent this from happening, the player can station archer units to the left of the spawning area to kill any enemy units before they get too close.
- This scenario is based on the story Le Lai rescued Lord, in which Le Lai disguised himself as Le Loi by wearing his cape and led 500 troops, with 2 elephants, to attack the Ming and give Le Loi and his army enough time to escape. Le Lai's plan was successful but he was captured and executed by the Ming while his troops were crushed in the battle.
- There are two Le Lai units in this scenario: the Two-Handed Swordsman version appears next to Le Loi in the beginning of the scenario and the Champion one appears in the Monastery in the fortress after Le Loi reached the east. Both units will attack the Ming.
- However, this is ahistorical, as Le Lai led his army to lure the Ming out of the mountain to give Le Loi and the Lam Sơn insurgent army enough time to escaped at the meantime whereas in the game, Le Lai Champion version appeared solitary after Le Loi and the Vietnamese army escaped.