The Scourge of God is the first scenario in the Attila the Hun campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. It is based on the time when Attila was co-King of the Huns with his elder brother Bleda in 434 - c. 445 A.D., but with the order of events changed for dramatic reasons.

Intro[edit | edit source]

A severed head on a pike seemed such a grisly trophy to be displayed in the chapel at Châlons. And yet it took me weeks before I got up the nerve to ask Father Armand why he kept it. The ancient priest stared out the window for a long time, recalling days gone by. 'I was there', he said finally. 'At the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields... fighting alongside Aetius and Theodoric the Goth.' I knew there had been a battle here, decades ago. Peasants still overturn skeletons and broken shields with their plows from time to time. 'Who was it, Father?' I asked him. 'Who were you fighting?' He turned back to regard me, paralyzing me with his old-man's stare. 'Attila the Hun,' he said. And then he told me the story. The Huns rode out from the wilderness sometime in the 370s, eager to feast on a Roman Empire weak from internal corruption and the expansion of other barbarian tribes. It was the Huns who drove many of these other barbarians before them. They were terrifying warriors from the steppes of Asia, their bodies disfigured from ritual scarring, their legs deformed from a near lifetime in the saddle. Despite their fearsome aspect, the Huns might have been little more than raiders, had it not been for the leadership of Attila. He called himself the Scourge of God. Attila and his brother Bleda led the Huns not just to raid, but to devastate Scythia and Persia.

A severed head on a pike seemed such a grisly trophy to be displayed in the chapel at Châlons. And yet it took me weeks before I got up the nerve to ask Father Armand why he kept it. The ancient priest stared out the window for a long time, recalling days gone by. "I was there," he said finally. "At the battle of the Catalaunian Fields... fighting alongside Aetius and Theodoric the Goth." I knew there had been a battle here, decades ago. Peasants still overturn skeletons and broken shields with their plows from time to time. "Who was it, Father?" I asked him. "Who were you fighting?" He turned back to regard me, paralyzing me in his old-man's stare. "Attila the Hun," he said. And then he told me the story. The Huns rode out from the wilderness sometime in the 400s, eager to feast on a Roman Empire weak from internal corruption and the expansion of other barbarian tribes. It was the Huns who drove many of these other barbarians before them. They were terrifying warriors from the steppes of Asia, their bodies disfigured from ritual scarring, their legs deformed from a near lifetime in the saddle. Despite their fearsome aspect, the Huns might have been little more than raiders, had it not been for the leadership of Attila. He called himself the Scourge of God. Attila and his brother Bleda led the Huns not just to raid, but to devastate Scythia and Persia.

Scenario instructions[edit | edit source]

Starting conditions[edit | edit source]

Objectives[edit | edit source]

  • Attila must survive.
  • Attila must make sure Bleda is killed and return to the Huns' camp. Only then can the Huns ride against their enemies.
    • Defeat 2 of your 3 remaining enemies (the Scythians, Romans, and Persians).
    • OPTIONAL: Rescue Hun captives from the Roman fort to the south.
    • OPTIONAL: Free the Scythian Scout from the Roman fort. He promises a reward.
    • OPTIONAL: Bring Attila to the Scythian village to the west to discuss an alliance.
    • OPTIONAL: Send 10 Horses to the Scythian palisade so the Scythians can supply Attila with soldiers.

Hints[edit | edit source]

  • 1. Bleda may be defeated in several ways; you can change your stance with him to Enemy and attack him, see that he dies in an accident, or refuse his challenge altogether and flee the Hun camp.
  • 2. Look for allies in unlikely places. The Scythians (green) are not on good terms with the Romans (blue) so it may be possible to convince the two to fight against each other.
  • 3. The Huns may only reach the Castle Age.

Players[edit | edit source]

Player[edit | edit source]

  • The Player (Huns) initially commands no troops as all of the Huns are loyal to his brother, Bleda. After a short intro, the player gets to control Attila. The Hun base is in the northeast of the map.

Ally → Enemy[edit | edit source]

  • Bleda's Huns (Huns): After defeating Bleda, his Huns join the player.

Enemy → Neutral → Ally[edit | edit source]

  • The Scythians (Mongols) have a scattered but well-defended encampment to the west. Because the Scythians are a nomadic people, there are unmined reserves of stone in their area. They field mainly Cavalry Archers and Skirmishers.

Enemies[edit | edit source]

  • The Western Roman Empire/Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines) has a fort to the southwest where it holds some Hun Villagers captive. They field Archers and Men-at-Arms, but do not advance past the Feudal Age because they have no Town Center. They are renamed as the Eastern Roman Empire in the Definitive Edition.
  • The Persians (Persians) have a walled gold mine near the Hun camp and a fortified city across the bay to the southeast. They hoard lots of gold, and their army consists of Mangonels, Knights, War Elephants, and War Galleys. In Hard difficulty of the Definitive Edition, the Persian player will often send Villagers into Hun territory to hunt, mine, and build Stables to spam Knights behind enemy lines.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Attila's brother, Bleda the Hun, betrays his brother while hunting the Iron Boar. Attila must kill Bleda, allow the boar to do the same, or escape the Hun base and start up his own town from scratch. To win, defeat any two opponents: Scythians, Persians, and/or Romans. The Scythians will form an alliance with Attila if he frees their prince from the Roman camp and then delivers 10 Horses to them.

Ways to kill Bleda[edit | edit source]

There are many methods to ensure Bleda dies, each with different benefits.

Attack Bleda directly[edit | edit source]

Bleda will lead Attila in the forest in order to lure and kill the Iron Boar. At this point it's best to change diplomacy against Bleda and start attacking him with Attila. Attila is statistically superior to Bleda and can kill him.

After Bleda is killed, return to the camp and stay close to the larger group of Tarkans to the right. Soon a group of archers, loyal to Bleda, will accuse him of unfairly killing Bleda. The Hun Commander (a stronger Tarkan) will counter-accuse them of plotting against Attila. A fight then breaks out, the larger group of Tarkans will join Attila, while the few to the left remain under Bleda's control. Concentrate on killing the archers. As soon as all archers are killed, all remaining Hun units and buildings join Attila.

Have Bleda die in an "accident"[edit | edit source]

Another way is having Attila lure out the Iron Boar, and Bleda will follow and attack it with him. When the boar is lured out, have Attila retreat. Bleda will call him a coward and face the boar alone. Because the boar is strong with a lot of HP, it will kill Bleda.

After Bleda is killed, return to the camp and stay close to the larger group of Tarkans to the right. The dialogue that runs will be exactly the same as before. Kill the archers and the rest of the Huns will join him.

Flee the Hun Camp[edit | edit source]

If Attila decides to keep close to the Tarkans for a while, the Tarkans will demand to follow Attila. After a while, a few will join him. They will tell him to go to their families across the river. Take Attila and the Tarkans to a bridge to the southwest. Eventually Bleda will disown him and set stance to enemy. Continue on the bridge and encounter a group of Villagers. They will join him and give him starting resources. Prepare quickly, as Bleda's Tarkans will attack the camp (in The Conquerors, Bleda himself will join in on the attack but killing him won't ensure victory, a Tarkan must also die; in the Definitive Edition, Bleda stays in the Hun camp). When Bleda dies, Attila becomes ruler of the Huns.

This is the only method to get the villagers and their resources. If Attila becomes ruler any other way, they will not appear.

Kill the Boar with Bleda[edit | edit source]

Attila can also take the honorable path and kill the boar alongside Bleda. Upon the boar's death, Bleda will thank him for his help, then betray him and order his archers to fire on him. Have Attila quickly retreat to the Tarkans. Once there, Bleda's diplomatic stance will quickly change to ally. The Tarkans will be outraged at Bleda's betrayal and deem him unfit to rule. The Tarkans will then all join Attila. Kill Bleda and his archers, and all the Huns will be under Attila's control.

Let Bleda start fighting the boar, run away and run back[edit | edit source]

Go near the Iron Boar so Bleda starts attacking. When he does so, make Attila run back and cross the bridge in order to get four Villagers and some resources. After Bleda is killed by the boar, run back to the Tarkans before the Archers arrive (staying on on the same side of the river as Bleda's camp before the town may be better). Doing so will trigger the dialog of the archer saying Attila has betrayed Bleda and the Hun commander's dialogue but as soon as he finishes talking Bleda will resign and the dialogue "When Attila comes back to the camp he will be the only leader of the Huns" will play while all Tarkans undamaged, archers, and the Hun camp extra resources and four extra Villagers pass onto the player's control, making this the best start possible.

Attacking the Romans[edit | edit source]

Immediately start researching Feudal Age and task the Villagers to start gathering food. With the remaining Tarkans, start attacking the Romans before they become too much of a threat. The Tarkans should ideally be able to get rid of their Men-at-Arms and Archers. Focus on taking out the towers, followed by military buildings. Capture the Villagers and use a Tarkan each to free the Villagers and the Scythian prince (represented by a Scout Cavalry). Once the Romans lose all of their buildings, they will resign.

On hard difficulty, the Romans also have a Castle. Since the Romans do not produce Castle units, the player should focus on taking out the towers and the remaining military buildings first, which are all out of the Castle's range. Since the Romans do not have Murder Holes, the player can take out the Castle with the surviving Tarkans.

Forging an alliance with the Scythians[edit | edit source]

Once the Scythian prince reaches his Village, the Scythians will extend an invitation to Attila to discuss an alliance. Station Attila in the marked area. The Scythians will request 10 horses, which if provided carries a reward of a number of Mangudais. If Attila sets diplomatic stance with them to neutral or enemy, they will switch to enemy, so be careful. Once provided with Mangudais, the Scythians will provide the same number again if all Mangudais under player control are killed.

Defeating the Persians[edit | edit source]

The player has the choice to defeat the Scythians, but the Persians are the most sensible choice. Gather as many Cavalry Archers as possible. Build a Castle near the shallows connecting the Persians to lure the Persian warships, Knights and Mangonels. Build a Dock and assemble 8-10 Fire Ships to take care of the Persian War Galleys. Eventually the Scythians will also start attacking the Persians. In The Conquerors, the Persians will not retaliate against the Scythians due to a Diplomacy error, significantly thinning their numbers, but this bug is fixed in the Definitive Edition. Use a few rams to break the Persian Gates, Towers, Castle and Town Center. Once the Persians lose all Villagers, they will resign.

Alternatively, the player can defeat the Persians early in the game if they send Attila and all of their starting Tarkans to attack their base as soon as they gain control of Bleda's base. Since the Persians start in the Feudal Age, they will not yet have a land army, nor will their Towers and Castle benefit from Murder Holes. The player should reach their base by the shallows crossing just outside the Roman base. As soon as the player breaches their gate, they should send all of their units to attack the Town Center, preventing the Persians from advancing. Afterwards, the player should destroy their Castle and whittle down their Villagers. The Persians will resign shortly afterwards, sparing the player a major threat later in the game.

Outro[edit | edit source]

I asked Father Armand more about this legendary Attila the Hun, whom the stories always treat as more of a monster than a man. 'He was a man,' the priest said, 'but he did not look like the Romans, nor did he worship the Roman god. That was the cause of all that was to follow.' Father Armand shivered as if from the cold breeze that blew in from the chapel's open window. Kingship among the barbarians was not by divine right or lineage, but by who had the strongest will. Attila was the strongest of the Huns, and he reinforced his position by brandishing a rusty old blade and proclaiming it to be the Sword of Mars, the old Roman god of war. Attila had a custom of fiercely rolling his eyes, as if he wished to enjoy the terror that he inspired... He had a power over other men, so that many chose to join him. Many foreigners joined his council, Scythians and Burgundians and Goths. It was not uncommon for Romans to do so as well - several decades prior, the son of a prominent Roman family had been sent to the Huns as a hostage to ensure peace. The name of this boy was Flavius Aetius, a name not soon to be forgotten.

I asked Father Armand more about this legendary Attila the Hun, whom the stories always treat as more of a monster than a man. "He was a man," the priest said, "but he did not look like the Romans, nor did he worship the Roman god. That was the cause of all that was to follow." Father Armand shivered as if from the cold breeze that blew in from the chapel's open window. "Kingship among the barbarians was not by divine right or lineage, but by who had the strongest will. Attila was the strongest of the Huns, and he reinforced his position by brandishing a rusty old blade and proclaiming it to be the Sword of Mars, the old Roman god of war. Attila had a custom of fiercely rolling his eyes, as if he wished to enjoy the terror that he inspired..." "He had a power over other men, so that many chose to join him. Many foreigners joined his council, Scythians and Burgundians and Goths. Most notable among these was the son of a prominent Roman family sent as a hostage to ensure peace between Romans and Huns. The name of this boy was Flavius Aetius, a name not soon to be forgotten."

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In The Conquerors, the Scythian prince is not the hero Scythian Scout but actually a Scout Cavalry with high hit points. The hero unit replaces him in the Definitive Edition.
  • In The Conquerors, Bleda the Hun is not classified as a hero but as a common unit, doesn't regenerate health, and can be converted by Monks in the Castle Age. However, he is reclassified as a hero with the usual traits after The African Kingdoms.
  • In the Definitive Edition, the Western Roman Empire is changed to be the Eastern Roman Empire which is a better fit geographically and historically.
  • In The Conquerors, if Bleda is provoked to chase Attila across the river he will also convert automatically to Attila's side along with all other Hunnic units across.
  • The Roman dialog "Our arrangement was with Bleda! We will not turn the captives over to Attila, you must take them by force!" will trigger when the player places any unit near the Roman camp, even if said unit is Bleda himself converted.
  • Converting Bleda will not defeat, nor turn his remaining Huns to the player's side, but manually deleting Bleda after converting him can trigger them to do so.
  • Attila and Bleda are classified as Infantry despite being mounted, enabling them to garrison rams. They also receive no multiplied damage from anti-cavalry units like Spearmen and Camel Riders.
  • Despite being advertised as carrying 700 food, in The Conquerors it's not actually possible for Villagers to harm, hunt, or harvest the Iron Boar. Only military units may damage and kill it.
    • In the Definitive Edition, it is possible to harvest food from the Iron Boar. However, each Villager shot will only deal 1 minimum damage to it, so it is better to have Attila significantly weaken the boar first.
  • In the Definitive Edition, Bleda the Hun's icon is changed to that of Subotai, despite his unit already having a unique icon in the Scenario Editor.

Historical comparison[edit | edit source]

  • The map is loosely based on Eastern Europe, the main river being a mashup of the Dnieper (north-south flow, near the Scythians homeland), and the Danube (frontier between Romans and Huns). The 'island' occupied by the Persians resembles northern Anatolia, with the Aegean Sea west and the Black Sea north, and their small overseas colony near the Huns mirrors the Crimean port cities that were ruled from Anatolia. However, both Anatolia and Crimea were ruled by the Eastern Roman Empire, while Persia was further east. The shallows that connect Persian and Roman territory correspond to the Bosphorus straits, where the Eastern Roman capital, Constantinople, was.
  • The scenario begins with Bleda's death (or Attila's flight, alternatively), which happened around 445 A.D. In reality, Attila and Bleda invaded Persia and the Roman Balkans while ruling together, in 435-440 and 440-445 A.D. respectively. The Huns turned their attention to the Romans after being defeated by the Persians.
  • The death of Bleda during a hunting trip is based on Gothic historian Jordanes's claim that Attila killed him during one.
  • The destroyed Roman camp on the Hun side of the river is likely a reference to a market established north of the Danube to facilitate trade between Romans and Huns by the Treaty of Margus, in 435 A.D. It was destroyed by the Huns in 440 A.D., after they accused the bishop of Margus of ransacking the Hun royal graves nearby.
  • The Roman base is likely Margus itself (now Pozarevac, Serbia), which was destroyed at the beginning of the Hunnic invasion of the Balkans. This city was part of the Eastern Roman Empire, not Western as shown in the original version of the scenario. The Huns actually had good relations with the Western Empire in this time.
  • Instead of rescuing Hun prisoners from the Romans, the Huns demanded that the Romans handed over some tribes who had defected because of their opposition to Attila and Bleda. Two of the tribes leaders were then crucified for converting to Christianity.
  • The presence of "Scythians" may seem anachronistic as archaeologists consider that the Ancient Scythians assimilated into the Sarmatians by the 2nd century A.D. However, the Romans continued to use the name Scythians for peoples in the Ukrainian and Romanian steppes, even after the Huns conquered the Sarmatians in the 4th and 5th centuries. Alternatively, the name "Scythian Peoples" is used as a general term for ancient Eurasian steppe peoples, including the Sarmatians and the Ancient Scythians (who are called Pontic or Western Scythians in such case).
  • The Scythian chief Leipoxais is named after a mythical Scythian chief mentioned by Herodotus.
  • In The Conquerors, the outro mentions young Flavius Aetius living as a hostage of the Huns under Attila. In reality, this happened much earlier, under the reign of Uldin in 410 A.D., and Aetius returned home some ten years before Attila and Bleda ruled. In the Definitive Edition, it is said that it happened "decades earlier".

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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