The Successor is the first scenario of the Rajendra campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Dynasties of India.
The road to greatness is alight with the wailing of broken soldiers and the whispered weeping of their women. Yet the men who are the cause of this suffering must pay them no heed.
The Chola dynasty is like the elephant of the forest: a beast that can thrive only by wrecking the weeds beneath it as it marches through the undergrowth.
Like the elephant, we must seize whatever opportunity we find to grow stronger, even when it means crushing those who stand in our way.
My father never tires of telling me this story, but I doubt that I will pass it on to my son when the time comes to teach him the ways of emperors.
Our family has ruled parts of Tamil country for over a thousand years. Other dynasties rose and fell in the time that it took our ancestors to blink, yet greatness continued to elude us.
That all changed when my father came to power. As a newly crowned ruler, he took the name Rajaraja: the king of kings — a name that turned out to be prophetic.
He has conquered many of our neighbors and turned the small Chola kingdom into a powerful empire...
...an empire which I am set to inherit. It is my destiny to be as great a ruler as him; perhaps an even greater one.
Despite his many accomplishments, there is a shadow in his gaze. He has achieved the greatness that he sought, but in doing so he has become corrupted by darkness.
He tries to instill this darkness in me, with these fables of greatness through domination... but I do not believe that greatness and corruption are inseparable.
History is evidence enough. After carving out his vast empire, Ashoka, greatest of all rulers, turned to a life of service to his people: he built hospitals for the sick and dug wells for the thirsty. Rich and poor alike throve during his reign.
Is that not true greatness: to not just rule, but to rule justly?
Father just shakes his head whenever I tell him this, or laughs at me if he is in a good mood. Yet he has given me a chance to prove him wrong.
We are at war with our old rivals, the Chalukyan dynasty, and he has tasked me with invading their lands.
I will wage a just war. When I return to Thanjavur, Rajaraja will know what his son is capable of.
- Starting Age: Feudal Age
- Starting resources: None, then 400 food, 600 wood, 200 gold, 100 stone
- Population limit: 120
- Starting technologies: Man-at-Arms
- Starting units:
Differences between difficulty levels
- On Standard difficulty, Kerala will not rebel against the player and their diplomacy will remain ally throughout the scenario.
- Wait for instructions.
- Scout the Chalukyan position and exploit whatever weaknesses you can find.
- Plunder the Chalukyan capital of Manyakheta by destroying at least four of their Universities.
- Capture the Chalukyan fort by killing its defenders. Whatever buildings you leave untouched will be yours come morning.
- Send a single soldier through the forest to start a fire by the elephant enclosure. If you send more than one man, the Chalukyas will be alerted to your presence and the mission will fail.
- Defeat the Chalukyan garrisons in the local villages. The liberated villages will send you resources once you start fighting the Chalukyas.
- Alternatively, destroy Mills in the local villages to steal their supplies.
- Rebuild Kerala's military buildings by constructing Barracks, Stables, Archery Ranges or Siege Workshops in the flagged areas. Depending on what you build, Kerala will assist you with different troops.
- Improve army morale by using your heroes in combat. This takes the form of extra attack points all of your soldiers, which is lost if your heroes are unhorsed (killed).
- Rajendra is limited to the Castle Age and a population of 120.
- Attacking the Chalukyan camp directly during the night will be futile. Scout for weaknesses to exploit and try to do as much damage to the enemy as possible, but remember that you will get no reinforcements until dawn arrives.
- Your allies in Vengi are too weak to take on the the enemy on their own, but by pooling your forces you can outmatch the otherwise superior Chalukyan armies. You can tell them when and where to attack using flares.
- Dravidian Barracks technologies are discounted — use them to swiftly gear up against a stronger opponent!
Your scouts report:
- Rajendra (1, Red) has arrived in Chalukyan lands with a small vanguard, while the rest of the Chola Army (7, Green) is on its way from the southeast.
- To he east lies the allied town of Vengi (2, Purple), ruled by an offshoot of the Chalukyan dynasty. It will aid you both economically and militarily, but on own it is significantly weaker than its Western Chalukyan rivals.
- The Chalukyan Army (3, Blue) has made camp across the Tungabhadra river at he center of the map. It will be your most formidable opponent and will held a wide array of units, including Elephant Archers, Shrivamsha Riders, and heavy infantry.
- To the north lies the Chalukyan capital of Manyakheta (4, Cyan), whose formidable walls may prove to be a tough nut to crack. It is mostly concerned with securing its defenses, but will attack from time to time, primarily with Chakram Throwers, Crossbowmen, and Armored Elephants.
- To the south, Kerala (5, Yellow) was recently conquered by Rajendra's forces. If only for fear of further retribution, the Keralans could be persuaded to join your side in the war — but be warned: they may turn out to be fickle allies.
- Scattered across the land are local villages (6, Grey) guarded by Chalukyan Garrisons (8, Orange). These downtrodden locals could prove useful as a source of either tribute or plunder.
- Player (Dravidians): The player starts out with a raiding force consisting of some Light Cavalry headed by the Prince and his General. After the timer expires, they gain villagers and resources to set up a base.
- Vengi (Dravidians): They have a walled base in the east and will mount attacks against the Chalukyans. They will also trade with Kerala.
- Local Villages (Dravidians): 6 villages dot the map. As the player destroys the Chalukya Garrisons in each they receive more in tribute from the villages, and the Chalukyas less.
- The Chola Army (Dravidians): The player loses control of Rajendra to the Chola Army as he leaves the battle when the news from Thanjavur arrives.
Allies → Enemies
- Kerala (Dravidians): They join the battle when the player constructs military buildings in their base, but rebel when the news from Thanjavur arrives. They will not rebel on Standard difficulty and remain allies for the entire scenario.
- The Chalukyan Army (Gurjaras): The main enemy who send out periodic attack against the player and allies (including seized Local Villages).
- Manyakheta (Gurjaras): The Chalukyan capital primarily fights defensively.
- Chalukyan Garrisons (Gurjaras): The garrisons have control over the Local Villages at the beginning, their soldiers patrol some of roads, and some troops also join the battle when it starts in the morning.
One of the clues says that the player should "Scout for weaknesses to exploit and try to do as much damage to the enemy as possible, but remember that you will get no reinforcements until dawn arrives". The player might be tempted to interpret that as a call to liberate the Local Villages, but that is ill-advised. The reason is that they will be branded as traitors and subsequently obliterated by the enemy after the Local Villages make their first tribute to the player. The gains are too meager to be worth the losses and thus the villages should be looted instead (or left until after sunrise). The allies might still liberate the villages on the player's behalf and trigger their obliteration. However, 1) it appears that a glitch has allowed a number of destroyed villages to still be liberated, and 2) the player will have more than enough soldiers eventually, to make their liberation worthwhile.
Instead, there are two things the player should do before the timer expires: The player should send a single unit through the narrow path in the forest just east of the main Chalukyan army base to reach the Palisade Walls with elephants inside. This will trigger a fire, leading to the elephants stampeding and escaping the enclosure. The effect of this is that the Chalukyan Army (blue) will no longer be able to train elephant units when the battle starts in earnest. It is best to send one of the hero units for this, as they have greater survivability than the Light Cavalry.
The second is to eliminate the forces in the fort just north of Kerala. Doing so will allow control of their facilities to be transferred to the player, and give the player either 1) more buildings to build a military with, or 2) a useful bait to delay the enemy while the player builds a base. Either outcome is beneficial. Once the above are done, the player has the option to scout the map, but doing so is unnecessary.
Then further on, the player can send any unit to locate Kerala, which is to the south of the player's starting location. This will trigger the secondary objective to build 4 military buildings for them in order to win their assistance. It will also give the player access to a Market with an easily-defended trade route.
Arming the player's allies
Once day breaks, Villagers will arrive, which the player can build a base with.
Additionally, if the secondary objective to build 4 military buildings for Kerala has not triggered, it will do so. Archery Ranges are not recommended, since most of the units that Kerala builds from them are not Archers, but Skirmishers, which are extremely weak compared to the offerings from the other buildings. Building four Archery Ranges will create a Kerala that is so weak that it is unable to defend itself.
On any difficulty other than Standard, Kerala will eventually betray the player when news from Thanjavur arrives (triggered when the Chalukyan Army is destroyed). To counter that, simply build a Castle near Kerala's Town Center. Hence, the advice on the military buildings to be built for Kerala remains unchanged.
Building the player's economy
As in a number of scenarios in this expansion, there are three sources of income: Villagers gathering resources, trade income, and tributes from Local Villages. The player is advised to build a Dock and Fishing Traps at the waterway above Kerala, because Farms might be vulnerable to land attacks.
Defense and Offense
Contrary to the hint, the biggest threat from the enemy comes from Manyakheta, which possesses Trebuchets. Defensive players who depend on walls and Castles will want to maintain a healthy number of Scout Cavalry to be sacrificed to take them down whenever necessary. Other than that, the game is straightforward. Vengi, despite the hint that they are too weak to take on the enemy on their own, are actually pretty powerful. Even without help, they are capable of defeating the Chalukyan military on their own, or at least, the Chalukyan Castle just above its base.
The player will, however, need to destroy Manyakheta's Universities on their own. The help that Vengi is able to give in that regard is meager at best.
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Days and nights merged into a restless blur as I rode back to Thanjavur. My mind was empty, as if every thought and emotion had hidden in comers beyond my reach.
It was not until I came into the palace and saw my father's body that I woke to find that the nightmare was real. The king of kings was dead.
Seeing my father's cold, grey face, knowing that he would never tell another tale about the elephants of the forests...
...l wept for the first time since I was a boy.
He had died of old age; a quick, painless death, his wives told me, as if the abruptness with which he had left the world was any consolation for his departure.
As soon the tomb guarding his ashes had been sealed, the crown was thrust upon my head. I had longed for this day, but grief clouded whatever joy the occasion should have brought.
For the common soldier, dying is small fry. Suffer as they might, they know that it is their destiny to die for their betters...
...but when you are among the men whose fate it is to shape the world, when every potential future that you could have created flickers out of existence as you gasp your final, miserable breath...
...dying is too much.
It will be long before this pain subsides. Yet I must rule in spite of it.
- The Successor deals with Rajendra's military campaigns alongside his father Rajaraja between 993 and 1002.
- The Chalukyas in this campaign are portrayed by Gurjaras, whereas the actual Western Chalukya Empire that the Cholas fought was a Kannada empire, who are a Dravidian people just like the Tamils (that the Chola dynasty belonged to). The similarly-named Chaulukya dynasty of Gurjaradesa, also known as the Solanki Dynasty, belong to the Gurjara civilization, but this dynasty had neither any wars nor even shared any borders with the Chola Empire.