The Royal Peacock is the third scenario of the Bayinnaung campaign in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas. It is based on Bayinnaung's rise to power as the new king of Toungoo Empire following Tabinshwehti's assassination in 1550.
1550 AD. Year Twenty of the reign of King Tabinshwehti.
I am the chief minister of a kingdom without a king. The man from Portugal has corrupted King Tabinshwehti. My lord has taken to drinking and forgotten both the ways of Buddhism and the blessings of the nats. He leaves with the foreigner for weeks at a time on long, wine-filled hunting trips. Even when he is in court, the King orders executions in drunken fits!
Many of the kingdom's officials have pleaded with me to depose the King and rule Burma justly. But though I love my country, I cannot betray my brother!
I should have known rebellion would come. A monk named Htaw, brother of the dead Hanthawaddy king, incites a revolt in the south. The King is leaving on yet another hunting trip but he has ordered me to take the army to defeat this rebel. I will follow my King's instructions but I am concerned. A minister named Sawhtut is eager to see me leave. I do not know what trouble he has brewing.
Differences between difficulty levels
- On standard difficulty, the player will get 800 food, 800 wood, 800 gold, 650 stone upon reaching Bayinnaung.
- On moderate/hard difficulty, the player will get 300 food, 300 wood, 200 gold, 150 stone upon reaching Bayinnaung.
- Bring word of king Tabinshwehti's death to Bayinnaung.
- Choose one of the following:
- Build and defend a Wonder.
- Defeat all 4 of the pretenders.
- Kill or convert Smim Sawhtut before reaching Bayinnaung.
- You are restricted to a population limit of 200.
- Some of Sawhtut's men feel guilty for their crime. They will either run away from a Monk's chastisement or be converted to Bayinnaung's cause.
- There is more than one way to get word out of Pegu. There is also more than one way to kill Smim Sawhtut.
- Allying with an enemy provides an immediate respite but peace strengthens them. It is a gamble that you will become more powerful than them in time.
- You must destroy Sokkate's camps to stop his uprising.
Your scouts report:
- Loyalists in Pegu are attempting to reach Bayinnaung, located southwest of the Burmese capital. Only he will restore order to Burma.
- Smim Sawhtut (2, Red), the king's assassin, controls Pegu and the Battle Elephants of the royal guard.
- Thado Dhamma Yaza (4, Blue), an esteemed advisor to Tabinshwehti, believes he should be king and fields Ballista Elephants.
- Smim Htaw (5, Orange), a Mon prince turned rebel monk, commands a devoted following of Monks and devout Buddhist warriors.
- Sokkate (6, Yellow) of the Toungoo Hills commands a popular uprising. His supporters are poor soldiers but are numerous. Only by dispersing their camps will they be defeated.
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- Player (Burmese)
- Pegu (Burmese) is the city from which the loyalists have to escape in order to reach Bayinnaung.
Neutral, possible ally for a short time, then enemy
- Smim Sawhtut (Burmese) is the King's assassin and one of the pretenders for the throne. Once Bayinnaung is reached, he takes over the city of Pegu, but his economy is vulnerable southeast of the fortified city. His army consists of infantry (Champions and Halberdiers), Battle Elephants, and Mangonels.
Enemies, possible allies for a short time
- Thado Dhamma Yaza (Khmer, Bengalis since Dynasties of India) is another would-be usurper, Tabinshwehti's father-in-law. His fortress is southwest of Pegu and his Castle Age army consists mostly of Ballista Elephants, but also Scorpions and Battle Elephants. Like Sawhtut, most (but in his case not all) of his economy can easily be raided, being located southwest of his base (his gold and stone mines are in the northeast, near his Castle and Pegu).
- Smim Htaw (Burmese) is the brother of the King killed in the first scenario, and the third pretender. His base is located on two islands in the south and in the Castle Age he trains Long Swordsmen, Arambai, and Monks, and also builds War Galleys (he also has some initial Fire Ships).
- Sokkate (Burmese) hail from the very east. They have no economy but spawn small bands of troops regularly, consisting of Karambit Warriors, Skirmishers, and Archers.
The loyalists' escape and the assassin's repentance
The player starts with only a male Villager and a "Blind Lame Priest" (a Monk who cannot move). In order to move the Battle Elephant road block, the Priest has to start converting one of them, which prompts the rider to run away, making way for the villager.
Now there are two [more?] ways to get word out of the city (both can and should be done to explore more of the map), west or east. When heading west, the villager has to be garrisoned and then ungarrisoned in the Pegu Fire Tower, and then, when approaching the western gate, a Gaia Light Cavalry (an Envoy in the Definitive Edition) can be taken over, which then can reach Bayinnaung via land.
The eastern way is blocked by a crowd of priests, but a Gaia Monk can be found there, and he can convert a Karambit Warrior on the other side of the crowd. The Karambit Warrior can then kill the priests to allow the Monk passage. When heading southwest afterwards, Smim Sawhtut, the King's assassin, can be seen and converted from maximum range (the Monk might have to regenerate his faith beforehand). When Sawhtut is converted, his forces set their diplomatic stance to ally temporarily via the diplomacy button. Convert all of Smim Sawhtut's units and sack Pegu (?). In the harbor, a Gaia Trade Cog can be found, which can then bring word to Bayinnaung via the river, while also collecting a Heavy Demolition Ship and a Monk along the way. Remember that the Burmese lack the last upgrade for the Demolition Ship, so use this only Heavy Demolition ship wisely.
In the Definitive Edition, once Sawhtut is killed or converted, his entire faction (red, same color as Pegu) will be defeated, instantly changing to ally with Bayinnaung and then resign. This is counted as 1/4 of the pretenders defeated in the objectives. Beware that in the Definitive Edition, Smim Htaw (Orange) and Thado Dhamma Yaza (Blue) will NOT offer any alliance if Smim Sawhtut is defeated this way.
Once Bayinnaung is reached one way or another, his troops and a few Villagers are taken over and the player can start building a base, for example northeast of Bayinnaung's initial location, east of some Gaia Yurts. A safer location is the west tip of the map with a Town Center of Thado Dhamma Yaza, cut off by water and only with a narrow shallow to travel on land, ideal for defense and also prevent Thado Dhamma Yaza from setting up his third town there. The new objective is to either build a Wonder or defeat all of the four pretenders.
An uneasy alliance
Shortly after reaching Bayinnaung, Smim Htaw and Thado Dhamma Yaza will each offer an alliance, if the player sets their stance to ally with one or the other. While this gives the player some respite in the beginning of the game, it will later come back to haunt them, as this gives them 9,000 (blue) or 10,000 (orange) resources respectively and the Imperial Age for free, while otherwise they stay in the Castle Age. Like the longtime Age of Empires player has come to suspect, once one of the other 3 pretenders is defeated while the alliance holds, the uneasy ally will backstab the player. Therefore, the player should only ally with one of them if going for the Wonder victory.
In the Definitive Edition, they only offer an alliance if Sawhtut is still alive and (Red) is not yet defeated by Bayinnaung.
Offense is the best defense
The starting Arambai, as well as Bayinnaung, the picked up Monk, and the Light Cavalry (for line of sight) can be sent immediately east to raid Sawhtut's economy. When micromanaged carefully (and the Monk is used to convert a Battle Elephant), they are able to take out all of Sawhtut's initial army and the Town Center (with Bayinnaung tanking it) and the Villagers afterwards, rendering Sawhtut unable to perform any role for the remainder of the game, and he can be saved for last (or not eradicated at all, should the player prefer to build a Wonder).
Immediately afterwards, the player can shift their attention to Rakkate's camp, but they have to make sure to let the first wave of their spawning units pass, so they can be smashed at the player's Town Center, and none of the raiding party dies. To defeat Rakkate, their Barracks and Archery Range, as well as their Storages have to be destroyed.
The little army can then head southwest to use the Arambai to harass Htaw's gold miners (on a smal island) and farmers. In the meantime Htaw's first wave, containing Monks, should have arrived at the player's Town Center and subsequently have been killed. When Htaw's navy arrives however, the player should retreat to the shore, to convert his initial Fire Ships, which can then sink most of the War Galleys.
Thado Dhamma Yaza's wood and food income can also be diminished by raiding his farms and lumbercamps southwest and west of his base with a separate raiding party.
Of course, during all this raiding and conquering, it is imperative not to neglect building up an economy and defending the base.
The peacock's feathers or claws
The scenario can either be won by defeating all four pretenders or by building a Wonder, the decision is up to the player. Castles are a great way to defend a Wonder, as no enemy has serious Siege Weapons, but Sawhtut has Battle Elephants at his disposal (if not dealt with beforehand, see above), which can become dangerous in large numbers, if no defending units are posted nearby.
Once a Wonder stands for 200 years (16 minutes and 40 seconds of in-game time) or all four pretenders are defeated, the scenario is won.
Alternative strategy (exploit)
Used in the Definitive Edition. Instead of trying to reach Bayinnaung, do the exact opposite - avoid him at all costs. The opponents will not start the game until the player's first objective is complete. With the Monk from Pegu, and the Monk from the island a little south from Pegu, the player will be able to convert all of Sawhtut's units. Start by converting Sawhtut himself which will turn him into an ally, then change stance to neutral and convert the rest. With this small force, the player can tear down the gates of Pegu and spread out. None of the players in this scenario have Murder Holes researched, making their buildings easy pickings.
Start going east from Pegu, convert a scout and Villagers, and head further east to destroy Sokkate. With the elephants and two Monks, this should be an easy task, even if one or two waves of his units manage to spawn. If the player would like to build a Town Center, they can gather the resources for it by re-allying with Pegu and garrisoning the converted Villagers in their Town Center after they have a load of wood or stone.
Continue south and deal with Smim Htaw. Just send in the elephants to deal with the towers and retreat to heal up as necessary. The player can convert the archers, but their damage output towards buildings will be minimal. Beware of two Monks that might try to convert the elephants. The player should kill them and convert any elephants back to their side. After destroying the towers, send the elephants to deal with the Castle.
Thado Dhamma Yaza is the last opponent remaining, located outside the western exit from Pego. Repeating the strategy from Smim Htaw, just destroy the outer towers, so the player can send in the elephants to destroy the Castle in peace. The player can convert the Ballista Elephant, but at this point it is not necessary. Once the last opponent resigns, the player will win the scenario without ever setting sight on Bayinnaung.
The easiest way
Instead of reaching Bayinnaung, the player can change diplomacy to convert most of Pegu's units, then try to convert some Villagers outside Pegu's Gate. Once converted, collect wood and garrison them in Pegu's Town Center (remember switching back to ally). After collecting 100 wood, the player can build a Lumber Camp, allowing further economy developments. Since the AI will not be active unless the player meets Bayinnuang, it will be significant easier to finish.
Sawhtut paid two swordsmen of the King's bodyguard to enter my brother's tent as he slept. Their pockets heavy with the traitor's gold, they drew their swords and beheaded my brother. His body was found by a monk and quietly cremated. I would throw away this crown if it brought my brother back but he is among the nats now.
The nats were tricky just as my mother told me. They took my brother from me. I should not be King, I should not be the Cakkavatti, but the nats made it so. I reject them.
- Historically, Smim Sawhtut was captured and beheaded after a skirmish with Smim Htaw's forces outside of Pegu.