The Story of Our Founders is the first scenario of the Gajah Mada campaign in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas. It is based on how Raden Wijaya founds the Majapahit Empire by both finishing off the dying Singhasari Kingdom and outsmarting the Mongol invaders.
What drives a king and his people to expand their lands to the very edge of the unknown? Why are the people willing to sacrifice and that of their families for a ruler they have never met?
The legends of our ancestors are what drive us. The way people speak of our predecessors and what they managed to achieve. Everybody has heard of the great Srivijaya Empire – a great power of the past that exerted its rule upon all the islands and even dared to dictate high tolls to the Indians and Chinese trading ships that passed between them. Sadly, that same greed also led to their downfall.
The animal that we hold in highest esteem in our culture is the Kancil, and foreigners laugh at us when they hear about it. 'Why would you ever think so highly of such a small and benign creature?', they ask. But that is because they know nothing of its heart. Despite its unimpressive appearance, the Kancil has the ability to overcome any obstacle, defeat much larger adversaries through sheer cunning, and possesses a bravery like that of no other animal.
Just like the kancil, small and benign as we are now, we will raise a new empire from the ground up – the Majapahit Empire – larger and stronger than any before it! Our legends will ripple through the ages and we will be remembered!
- Starting Age: Castle Age (actually Feudal Age, but the player advances as soon as the scenario begins)
- Starting resources:
- Population limit: 75 (increased by 5 per captured village, up to a max of 125)
- Wait for instruction from Raden Wijaya.
After receiving instructions:
- Defeat the Singhasari (2, Blue).
- Defeat Kediri (5, Cyan) by destroying their castle.
- Defeat the Mongols (3, Green).
- You are restricted to the Castle Age and a starting population of 75. Every village you capture, however, increases your population limit by 5 up to a total of 125 total population. Additionally you are not allowed to build new towers.
- You conquer villages by destroying the towers within them. Once a tower is destroyed, one of your towers will replace the old one. Battle Elephants are great for taking down enemy towers.
- Your technological level is lower than that of your enemies, and several of your Castle Age technologies are not initially available, but Mongol and Javanese equipment scattered around the map can compensate for this.
- The Mongols cannot be trusted. Their ultimate goal is to subdue all of Southeast Asia!
- The Castle in Kediri gets regular supplies over land which are used to train more soldiers. Blocking these supplies will help weaken their defenses.
- The Karambit Warrior is weak, but only takes up half the population of a regular unit and can be easily massed.
Your scouts report:
- Our great ruler, Raden Wijaya (4, Orange), is rebelling against his overlord, Kediri. Here in eastern Java he plans to build a new kingdom named Majapahit.
- The Mongols (3, Green) had sent diplomats in name of Kublai Khan to demand tribute from the Indonesian kingdoms. However the Javanese humiliated their diplomats and now a Mongol army has arrived on Java to punish them for it. Since we are both enemies of Kediri they might be willing to form a pact against them at one point. The Mongols have brought their famous horses with them and will raise an army of Light Cavalry, Cavalry Archers, Mangudai and siege units.
- To the east are the Singhasari (2, Blue), a former strong kingdom, now dominated by the Kediri. They will be very aggressive and attack us with Crossbowmen, Cavalry Archers, Battle Elephants, Long Swordsmen and Mangonels.
- To the west of us lies the fortified castle of the Kediri (5, Cyan). It is in a very strategic position and Kediri maintains control of the surrounding villages from her. As long as they have the supplies, they will train Knights, Crossbowmen, Pikemen and Battle Elephants.
- Player (Malay)
- Javanese (Malay) form the villages dotting the landscape. They are allied to all players and perform an immersive role.
Neutral, possible ally, then enemy
- Mongols (Mongols) are the forces of Kublai Khan, invading the area. They are hostile towards the player's enemies, and living by the motto "my enemy's enemy is my friend" they suggest an alliance with the player after conquering a few villages. After one of the two enemies is defeated, however, they betray the player and switch their allegiance back to enemy. Their base is in the very south of the map and they field a hard-to-counter army consisting of Light Cavalry, Cavalry Archers, Mangudai, Mangonels and Battering Rams. They will usually beat Singhasari by themselves.
- Singhasari (Malay) is the former territory of the collapsed Singhasari Kingdom and now has been occupied by Kediri loyalists. Their base, guarded with Walls and Watch Towers, is located to the east. Their army consists of Crossbowmen, Long Swordsmen, Battle Elephants, Pikemen, Cavalry Archers, and Mangonels. They will usually be conquered by the Mongols. They resign when their Town Center is destroyed.
- Kediri's Castle/Kediri in the Definitive Edition [Malay) is, as the name suggests, a very well fortified stronghold in the west. Their units also guard the Javanese villages. Given the resources, which arrive by trading carts spawning at 3 different points on the map, they train Knights, Crossbowmen, Pikemen and Battle Elephants.
The player starts in the Castle Age, but with only Dark Age technologies researched, the aging up being done via trigger.
While the initial population cap is 75, it can be raised by conquering villages (+5 per village, up to 125). This is done by destroying the Watch Tower guarding the village, upon which a player's Watch Tower will spawn upon a player's unit walking nearby the remains of the former enemy Watch Tower. The player's Watch Tower can also in turn be destroyed by enemies, so they should be guarded by units, preferably Pikemen, because they can deal with Battle Elephants and Knights while the tower makes short work of ranged units. However, the player cannot construct new towers, so they have to rely on units or Castles for defense. The player should still research the Guard Tower upgrade, though.
As a potential strategy, the player could also surround the towers with houses, preventing enemy units from getting into melee range of them (or at least from getting a full surround) and forcing them to destroy the houses first. Houses are cheap and have decent durability against anything except siege weapons, so they can make good impromptu walls for the towers provided there is enough space, and allow the player to save their stone for Castles.
The player starts with a small but easy-to-defend base in the north of the map. The space is very constricted, but additional room can be acquired by chopping the wood to the north, which reveals a larger area filled with additional resources, most importantly gold.
Two Relics can be found in this scenario: one in the center of the map and the other west from Singhasari's base. The player can pick up the first Relic as soon as they train a Monk and the second one when it is safe to do so.
There is various "equipment" to be found on the map, the most useful being a Siege Workshop in the west, spawning a Trebuchet and two Siege Rams, which have to be protected at all costs, as they can't be replaced, with the player limited to the Castle Age. Getting the other equipment can be useful too, as it means the player can save resources that they would otherwise have to spend on technologies.
Those technologies are:
- Infantry: Long Swordsman (which includes the Man-at-Arms upgrade), Pikeman, Chain Mail Armor (as well as Scale Mail Armor) and Tracking. In the Definitive Edition, Tracking is automatically researched from the beginning of the game, but is still mentioned in the in-game message.
- Cavalry: Light Cavalry, Bloodlines and Husbandry. Despite the in-game message saying otherwise, Bloodlines (which the Malay do not have access to in their technology tree) is not researched.
- Archers: Crossbowman, Elite Skirmisher, Bodkin Arrow (as well as Fletching), Leather Archer Armor (as well as Padded Archer Armor) and Thumb Ring.
- Villagers: Hand Cart (as well as Wheelbarrow), Two-Man Saw (in reality only Double-Bit Axe is researched), Heavy Plow (as well as Horse Collar) and Gold Shaft Mining (as well as Gold Mining).
Building a base and conquering the villages
The player starts with a small base, unupgraded army and ample resources to quickly expand the base and upgrade the units. The base is very defensible with only one small access which can easily be walled of.
It might be a good idea to construct a dock very early, as the Malay have cheaper Fishing Ships and Fish Traps (plus the Fish Traps last much longer, making them a good long term investment, providing safe food source (unlimited food in the HD Edition)) as no enemy has any fleet whatsoever and one of Singhasari's gold mines can be attacked from the river. The player should be careful not to sail too far south though, as Singhasari has some towers.
A Lumber Camp should be constructed north, as behind the trees there is more space and resources, and when cutting too far south-east the villagers will be in range of Singhasari towers.
At the beginning of the game the player mostly has to deal with raids by Singhasari and the Mongols; however, they also fight each other, so the player should focus on defense and taking villages.
Before venturing out, it might be a good idea to build a Blacksmith and research some upgrades to strengthen the sizeable but weak army. When heading southwest immediately there are some Gaia Battle Elephants to be found which can easily conquer the first village.
Malay Battle Elephants are arguably the worst of all civilizations, lacking Bloodlines and even Chain Barding Armor, but in turn they are 30% cheaper, costing 84 food and 49 gold. Even without the upgrades, they are probably the best melee unit, and preferable in any way over Knights, of which the Malay have the worst of any civilization in the game. An exception is fighting ranged units, as the AI can kite the slow elephants indefinitely.
The opponents train very diverse armies, so it's quite hard to counter them effectively. Monks are the best counters to enemy battle Elephants, and can also heal the bulky elephants of the player.
When the player either conquers five villages or has 35 military units, the Mongols offer an alliance. This should be accepted, as not only does their raiding cease, they also focus their attention towards Singhasari and eventually beat them, so the player can focus mostly on the villages, letting the two enemies wear out each other's resources and dealing with the Mongols later.
Another important side task at this stage of the game is to cut off Kediri's Castle of resources. Their supplies arrive via Trade Carts which spawn at three set points at the very edge of the map: North-west, south-west and south-east, so it is a good idea to either station some fast units there or simply wall off the entry point with Palisade Walls, making the carts stuck. Without those supplies, they are unable to train any new units, allowing the player to concentrate on the Mongols.
The betrayal of the Mongols
When one of the two other enemies is defeated (most likely Singhasari, because as mentioned before, the Mongols will eventually overwhelm them and destroy their Town Center, prompting them to resign), the Mongols will betray the Majapahit. However, the player can choose to betray the Mongols themselves at any given time via the diplomacy button, if they see an opportune moment, but this is not advised. The Mongols will also turn back to enemies when the player constructs a building in their base or brings significant numbers of military units into their main base to the south.
Before this happens, as mentioned before, it is advisable to take care of Kediri's Castle's supply lines, allowing the player to focus on the Mongol threat. Just when about one player is about to be defeated, the player should be prepared to fight the Mongols. They will become an enemy if the player builds anything close to the town. Building a Castle with many villagers just outside of their town with troops to defend it just before they turn enemy will prove very helpful to attack the Mongols.
The Mongols' army is very hard to counter (for unit list check the "Players" section). Knights would normally stomp any of their units, but, as mentioned before, the Malay Knights are abysmal, so the player has to be creative with a wide variety of units themselves when fighting the Mongols. Massed Skirmishers and some Pikemen can be used to hold the Mongols while using siege weapons (the acquired Trebuchet can be really helpful) to destroy their production.
Their base is quite well defended, but their Castle and some of their military production buildings can be besieged by Trebuchet from a small beach north-west of their moat. The beach should be fortified beforehand though (while they are still allies), as their Mangudai make short work of any siege weapons.
After their Castle is destroyed, the Mongols will resign, giving all of their remaining Villagers and buildings to the player. Therefore, the player should focus on taking down the Mongol Castle, and try not to destroy any other building or villager.
Besieging Kediri's Castle
If the aforementioned preparations are taken (cutting off their resources, keeping the Trebuchet), conquering Kediri's Castle is a mere formality. The Trebuchet can make short work of their Towers, Gates and Castle from afar, if protected by other units, while the enemy can't reinforce their army.
With all three enemies defeated, the scenario is won.
While the scenario and the map were exactly the same when the Definitive Edition was released, some changes happened with update 50292. Now the player starts with a Castle but less troops, the "equipment" is scattered around more camps, and the Mongols will build a second Castle and their resign conditions are not clear. Now the Mongols are capable of defeating Singhasari on their own, and then go on to attack the player.
Since the Mongols are way more aggressive than Singhasari, one way of preventing their future attacks is by sending a Siege Tower (with nine Karambit Warriors and one Villager garrisoned) to the west of Mongol Town Center and drop a Castle there. Since the Mongols are neutral, they will not attack the Villager while they are building the Castle. When the Castle is built, garrison the Villager and train Petards to destroy the Town Center, and then let the Castle kill any Mongol Villagers that get too close. In the event that a Mongol Villager attempts to build a Castle, the player can send their Villager to attack the Mongol Villager when the Castle is too close to being built, which will make the Mongols cancel the construction and waste the stone. Eventually the Mongols will resign and all their Villagers and buildings will pass to the player's control.
Singhasari will resign when their Town Center is destroyed and most of their Villagers are killed, so the player can defeat them with a group of at least 20 Battle Elephants. The player can take a shortcut by chopping the trees to the right of their starting base, but at the same time be careful that Singhasari may attack through that direction if the path gets cleared.
Kediri relies on their Trade Carts, so the player can prevent them from arriving at Kediri's Castle by dropping a Castle on their Gate (which will also prevent Kediri's military units from leaving their base because they will be killed by the player's Castle). However, be careful that Kediri will be very aggressive (despite not building siege weapons) before they finally run out of resources, so the player should garrison the Castle with archer units and keep a Villager inside it to repair it when necessary.
And this is how our founder, Arya Wiraraja[sic] created the Majapahit Empire from the small village he was given. Defeating his Javanese overlord and the mighty Mongol invaders, by being cunning just like the kancil. I'm certain that the gods have favored him and his family. This is why I, Gajah Mada, commander of the elite guard of the Majapahit kings, have sworn to serve them for the rest of my life.
- In the scenario, it is mentioned that Raden Wijaya has defected from Singhasari and went out to establish his own empire. In reality, Raden Wijaya was the son-in-law of Kertanegara, the last king of Singhasari that was assassinated by Jayakatwang, the Duke of Kediri. Raden Wijaya soon was forced to flee the palace and sought help from Aria Wiraraja, the Duke of Madura. The reason for this change of story is unknown, but it's probably for gameplay reasons.
- As seen above, the outro incorrectly claims that Aria Wiraraja was the founder of the Majapahit Empire, where it was Raden Wijaya that should be mentioned. This is most likely an oversight by the developers.
- The intro mentions that the Srivijaya Empire is already collapsing, which is partially correct; by the time of the scenario, the Srivijaya Empire had been badly weakened following the war against Chola-Khmer coalition as well as the Pamalayu expedition. It would eventually collapse when Gajah Mada himself led the Majapahit conquest of Sumatra, coupled by the rise of Samudera Pasai in the present-day Aceh.
- The Mongols were in fact betrayed by the Javanese in a surprise attack on their main camp shortly after Jayakatwang was captured and executed, not in the battlefield.
- The Mongols were absurdly placed in the southernmost end of the map, although it's clear that they landed in a port city in Northern Java.
- The Mongol troops were led by Gaoxing, Ike Mese, and Shi-Bi.
- The Mongol invasion of Java was the last expedition in Kublai Khan's reign.
- When Kediri's castle is destroyed, Raden Wijaya states that "It is time for the Majapahit to become the one true Indonesian empire". However the word Indonesia first appeared in the 18th century.
- Update 50292 was meant to fix an issue where units would get trapped when capturing the Watch Towers. Not only did this not get fixed, but also several other bugs appeared, as shown in this video. The most concerning bug, the player controlling the Persians instead of the Malay, was fixed in the following week, with hotfix 50700. Another bug, the player being unable to either research Husbandry or find it in the map as "cavalry equipment", was fixed in a later update and now the player can find Husbandry as "cavalry equipment".