The Onrushing Tide is the fifth and final scenario of the reworked Bari campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. It recreates the final Byzantine stand at the siege of Bari in 1068-71 against the onslaught of Norman conquerors.
Young men seek renown on the battlefield, thinking war a noble affair. Little do they know that their quarries are in vain. There is nothing but chaos, the screams of dying men, and the stench of death.
I long for peace and cheer. I can hardly remember the sound of music in the streets and the noises of a bustling city on market day.
They have been replaced by the din of battle, the whistling of rocks hurled by Norman catapults, and the solemn evening tales in the taverns told by those who cannot forget the carnage of each day.
My father approached, holding a sword and his old helm, breastplate, faulds, and greaves. "They are yours now. For 200 years, our family has proudly served this city, but today you must leave this place.
I am too old for the journey, but if you live, my death will not be in vain. Someday, you will tell your son this story with the same pride as I have. Fight well today, escape, and secure yourself that future."
- Starting Age: Castle Age (actually Feudal Age, but the player advances as soon as the scenario begins)
- Starting resources: 500 food, 500 wood, 750 gold
- Population limit: 200
- Starting technologies: Squires, Pikeman, Long Swordsman, Light Cavalry, Crossbowman, Elite Skirmisher, Conscription
Differences between difficulty levels
- On standard difficulty, the player also starts with Ballistics researched.
- Andreas Nautikos must survive.
- Wait for instructions from Stephanos Pateranos.
- Destroy the Norman siege engines.
- Sabotage the lumberyard in the Norman camp.
- Destroy the Norman tower east of Bari.
- Visit the outlying Mills and escort the food stored there to the Castle in Bari.
- Defend Bari from the Normans.
- Destroy the Norman shipyards to the northeast and to the south of Bari.
- Destroy Norman Blacksmiths to capture the arms stored within.
- Destroy the outlying Monastery to capture the gold held there.
- Stephanos Pateranos leads the defense of Bari, while Andreas Nautikos commands only a portion of its army. As a result, you can neither construct your own buildings nor build an economy.
- Allied Monks can heal your soldiers, but they will not leave Bari to follow you into battle. In the case that you happen to obtain your own Monastery, you can search for Relics.
- Do not waste energy attacking the main Norman camps. Concentrate on the tasks that Stephanos Pateranos gives you.
Your scouts report:
- Initially, Andreas Nautikos (1, Purple) is being briefed by the catepan of Bari, Stephanos Pateranos.
- The city of Bari (2, Red), located on the Adriatic coast, is currently besieged by vast Norman armies.
- The Normans (Yellow and Cyan) have encircled Bari with several camps. They will storm the city with droves of swordsmen, Crossbowmen, Spearmen, siege engines, and their fearsome Knights.
- The Adriatic Sea is a good potential escape route from Bari, but its waters are controlled by several Norman vessels (6, Orange).
- Player (Byzantines): The player starts with a hero, some other military units, and a small amount of resources. Their goal is to assist in the defense of Bari by weakening the vast Norman Army. They have no Villagers of their own and will have to obtain resources by assaulting Norman camps.
- Bari (Italians): Bari is a massive city located to the southeast. The city is being sieged from many directions, and they will train Pikemen, Knights, Crossbowmen, and Long Swordsmen for defense. They consist of two AI players, with one of them merely representing the countryside-look outside of Bari. Certain parts of the city will be under the player's control once the siege begins.
- Norman Besiegers (Sicilians; Franks before Lords of the West): The Norman Besiegers are overall passive and will not attack on their own. However, they do have many Norse Warriors, Knights, Scorpions, and Spearmen in camps scattered around the map.
- Norman Army (Sicilians; Franks before Lords of the West): The Norman Army has a strongly-fortified camp to the west and will try to overwhelm the defense of Bari. They consist of three AI players, with only two of them being active. They will train Pikemen, Knights, Crossbowmen, Battering Rams, Serjeants (Throwing Axemen before Lords of the West), and Trebuchets. Initially, only one of them will send a constant attack against Bari, but once the player finishes all main objectives, they will start a joint attack against Bari and send in more advanced units.
- Norman Navy (Sicilians; Franks before Lords of the West): The Norman Navy has several Docks, Sea Towers, a total of two Trade Workshops, and some ships to the south and east. They only build War Galleys and Fire Ships.
On hard difficulty, completing the objectives as quickly as possible will make the scenario more challenging as a large wave of Cavaliers and champions will spawn in the corners and assault Bari as soon as the objectives are complete.
Immediately send the army through the north-west gate to visit the first Mill. Send cavalry and Andreas ahead to deal with the archers and Scorpion. As soon as the cart spawns at the Mill, send it to the Castle (do this for all carts that spawn at all Mills as the player will receive 1,000 food for each cart). As units are wounded, send them back to Bari to receive healing from a Monk at one of the two Monasteries in Bari. Both Monasteries are initially hidden by fog, but both are somewhat close to Bari's Castle. Continue north from the first Mill and destroy the first Blacksmith. Be careful not to let the units follow a Villager or archer of Yellow back to their base, as Yellow has a large force that they will send to chase the player. After destroying the first Blacksmith (and getting Bracer and Chemistry from the destruction), continue north and take out the lumber yard (the player will get substantial amount of wood from this). Do not worry about destroying any other buildings. As soon as the lumber yard is destroyed, move the army south and send Andreas to the Monastery alone to kill the two Monks guarding it because Andreas cannot be converted. Avoid the Norse warriors as best as possible (Andreas will likely lose 1/2 to 3/4 of his hit points) and then lure them back to the army. Try to situate the army on a hill so the archers do more damage to the Norse warriors. After the Norse warriors have been killed, destroy the Monastery. After this, garrison the archers in some of the towers in the north-west of Bari, as the Normans will attack shortly. Wait until a Trebuchet or Trebuchet shot arrives to engage the main army of Yellow as the player can often attack from the rear and take out the Trebuchet, then lure the cavalry back to some of Bari's reinforcements.
It is possible to visit the Mill in the southwest immediately after destroying the Monastery but before Yellow attacks. However, it is risky to attempt, as Yellow might attack while the army is away. Again, send Andreas ahead (assuming he is not low on hit points) and kill the single Mangonel with him while the rest of the army mops up the rest.
As soon as the Normans attack, the player should be given a few buildings within Bari and have vision of the whole city. Immediately train a few Trade Carts and two Monks and begin researching some technologies at the Blacksmith. Send the Trade Carts to one of the allied Markets in Bari (the one directly south of the player's Market should give 17 gold per trip). It is possible to hold out at Bari indefinitely without completing objectives if the player has a steady stream of gold, so making more Trade Carts early on might pay off.
Send one of the Monks to the coast just outside of the north-east most section of Bari's wall. Move north with the Monk and grab the Relic. Keep near the coast to avoid alerting any of the units guarding the north-east Mill. Once the player has dealt with the units near the south-west Mill, send the second Monk to pick up the Relic north of the south-west mill.
With two Relics and a steady trade income, the player should have enough to research all relevant technologies. Monks are very useful in this scenario, but the technologies allowing the player to convert other Monks or to avoid conversion are useless as the player has already killed the only two enemy Monks on the map. After holding off the initial wave or two from Yellow, the frequency and difficulty of waves become much less. Archers and around 10-12 Knights supported by healing Monks should be enough to hold Bari through most of Yellow's attacking waves without suffering many losses (make sure to heal the units after each engagement and keep the Monks back).
After stabilization, feel free to complete any remaining objectives. If an objective remains incomplete, the main attacking wave will not occur, so the player can spend time building up the army. Although likely not how the scenario was meant to be played, the stables in Cyan's northern-most base continuously spawn Knights. Taking a force of Knights and Monks to the northern-most base, the player can convert Cyan's Knights as they spawn to effectively generate infinite Knights. The player can convert Houses and other buildings around the map to expand the population limit to 200. The player can also convert the rams in Cyan's northern base to assist with destroying both of Yellow's base (although this takes a long time, it is possible to do with the infinite Knights generated by converting Cyan's units and building a few Battering Rams). If Yellow is destroyed, the waves assaulting Bari stop and defending Bari for 20 minutes becomes trivial.
Once all the objectives have been completed, a large force will spawn and attack Bari. The player will be given some more buildings and tributed some resources to build even more units. The player must defend Bari for 20 minutes, as well as ensure only a small number of Norman soldiers are still attacking the city after the timer expires. After this, the player will be given control of Bari's Navy and tasked with destroying the enemies at the bottom and top of the sea. After this is done, the player will win the scenario.
The morning sun shone on the shores of the Aegean. I was speaking to a miller when I heard shouts from the harbor. Racing to the docks, I recognized several Barians disembarking from a battered vessel.
The tidings were grim: Bari was in Norman hands and my father had fallen valiantly along with it. I thought of his parting words, but I doubt that I will ever don his armaments again. Like my ancestor Panos, I have seen enough battle for ten lifetimes.
I think I shall travel the Empire from Thessaly to Anatolia, seeking work as I go. With all luck, I will earn enough wealth to buy a house in the countryside, and raise miles of vineyards on the hillside.
Perhaps, one day, when I recount the tale of my family to my children and grandchildren, I will be able to conclude it with how we have found peace at last.
- This scenario is the only campaign final scenario in which the player is restricted to the Castle Age.
- This scenario takes place nearly 50 years after The Best Laid Plans. In this time, the Norman mercenaries have moved from seeking adventure and profit to outright conquest of the entire of the Byzantine Catepanate of Italy. While not mentioned by name in this scenario, the siege of Bari was commanded by Robert Guiscard, who is one of the protagonists of The Hautevilles campaign. The was the culmination of a decade of campaigning against the Byzantines, at which point Bari was the Byzantines' last major foothold in Italy.
- The scenario draws on several aspects of the siege. The Normans initially assaulted the walls, hoping to take the city by storm, but were repulsed. Following this, the Normans attempted to cut Bari off from sea by constructing a fortified bridge across the port, but were again thwarted, allowing Bari to remain in contact with Constantinople. However, the Normans defeated an attempt by a Byzantine army to relieve the siege. By 1071, a new relief force under a new catepan, Stephenos Pateranos, was dispatched, but the Norman sea blockade was able to scatter the fleet. Paternos got through, but seeing the defence of the city was untenable, negotiated a surrender. Paternos and the surviving Byzantines were initially imprisoned, but later allowed to return to Constantinople. With the fall of Bari, five centuries of Byzantine presence in southern Italy came to an end.