This was a weird idea I had. What if fictional civilizations from fantasy stories were included in Age of Empires II? THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN, but what would they look like?
In case it wasn't clear, this is an exercise in imagination. Feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments.
- Source: Plato and derivative works
- Architecture: Mediterranean
- Specialty: Cavalry and Navy (Atlantis was the island of Poseidon, and as such has expertise concerning his domains over the Ocean and Horses. Furthermore, Plato's vague description of Atlantis's military suggests a disproportionately large cavalry force and a fleet of 1200 ships.)
- Unique Unit: Turma (A cavalry archer that deals bonus damage against archers. Taken from Age of Mythology, where the Turma is one of many uniquely Atlantean units.)
- Cost: 55 Wood, 55 Gold
- Standard: 60 HP, 7 Attack, 4 Range, 0/1 Armor, 1.3 Speed
- Elite: 70 HP, 8 Attack, 4 Range, 0/2 Armor, 1.3 Speed
- Castle Age Unique Tech: Orichalcum (Buildings gain +3/+3 armor. Based on the use of Orichalcum, apparently a sort of copper and zinc alloy, in certain Atlantean buildings.)
- Imperial Age Unique Tech: Analog Computing (Ships move 10% faster and have +2 Line of Sight. Based on the discovery of artifacts such as the Antikythera mechanism, which is sometimes attributed to the Atlanteans. These Analog Computers could have been very valuable to navigators, as they were primarily astronomy tools.)
- Stables and Docks are 25% cheaper
- All Ships are 10% cheaper (Both a military and economic bonus, based on the massive Atlantean navy.)
- Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor, and Plate Barding Armor are free (Generic Cavalry bonus)
- Farms have +75 Food. (Based on the Critias account that their were two harvests per year due to a favorable climate and extensive irrigation.)
- Team Bonus: Fishing Ships have +2 Line of Sight
- Infantry - Missing Champions and Supplies (Based on numbers provided by Plato, Heavy Infantry was not a major part of the Atlantean military. Thus, Militia lack their final upgrade and supporting technology.)
- Archers - Missing Hand Cannoneers, but Slingers are available. (Heavy Cavalry Archers and Parthian Tactics are kept to reflect Atlantean horsemanship. There is no reason to believe the Atlanteans had Gunpowder, but they supposedly had thousands of Slingers in their army.)
- Cavalry - Have Hussars, Paladins, and Battle Elephants, but NOT Elite Battle Elephants. (Elephants were supposedly native to the island of Atlantis, but their use in the Atlantean military isn't described by Plato. Hussars and Paladins are included to reflect the massive contingent of Atlantean cavalry.)
- Siege - Missing Bombard Cannons. (The Atlantean conquest of North Africa implies that they had effective siege equipment)
- Monks - Missing Block Printing (Plato described Atlantis as advanced, which at the time would be referring to philosophy as much as technology. Thus, only one Monastery technology is missing.)
- Navy - Missing Cannon Galleons
- Defenses - Missing Keeps, Arrowslits, and Bombard Towers.
- Economy - Missing Two-Man Saw. (Atlantean territory included few forests)
The Atlanteans are notable for a few reasons. First, they have one of the most complete technology trees in the game, with their only major omissions being Champions and Gunpowder units. However, they are primarily a civilization that splits its attention between Cavalry and Naval focuses. Their Feudal Age Scout Rush and Castle Age Knight Rush are aided by having cheaper Stables, free armor upgrades, and more Food per Farm, while their naval plans benefit from heaper Docks and Ships as well as improved Line of Sight on Fishing Ships.
Later in the game, the Atlanteans can diversify their cavalry-heavy military by including a vast variety of units, including Halberdiers, Arbalesters, Heavy Cavalry Archers, Turmas, and Siege units. Their defenses are bolstered by Orichalcum increasing Building armor, and their Imperial Age navy is faster and sees further using Analog Computing.
The Atlanteans lack any obvious weaknesses, but they can still be matched by other civilizations, often by using similar strategies. The Atlanteans can not do a Scout Rush on par with the Magyars, can not do a Knight Rush on par with the Franks or Berbers, and do not have warship discounts on par with the Koreans or Vikings. Even in terms of unit diversity, they are matched by the Chinese, who have cheaper technologies, and the Spanish, who have very effective gunpowder units. Therefore, the Atlantean player can not be too predictable, and must instead try to surprise their opponents with the strategies they use. For that reason, it is not a bad idea to try for an Archer or Crossbowman Rush, especially since the Atlantean Tech Tree fully supports those units.
- Source: The Lord of the Rings
- Architecture: Central European (Gondor draws from many influences from across Europe. Central European architecture is chosen due to the similarities to the Vikings, Goths, and Lombards. Mediterranean Architecture would also be appropriate.)
- Specialty: Defensive
- Unique Unit: Rangers (Foot archer unit notable for their speed. Somewhat comparable to the Plumed Archer, but it sacrifices a bit of HP and Speed for higher Range.)
- Cost: 50 Wood, 50 Gold
- Standards: 40 HP, 5 Attack, 5 Range, 0/1 Armor, 1.1 Speed
- Elite: 50 HP, 6 Attack, 6 Range, 0/1 Armor, 1.1 Speed
- Castle Age Unique Tech: White Tower (Increases the HP of Towers and Castles by 20%. )
- Imperial Age Unique Tech: Anduril (Increases the attack of the Militia and Ranger lines by +2. Literally the sword wielded by Aragorn, forged from the remnants of the older sword Narsil.)
- Wonder: Citadel of Minas Tirith
- Walls have 50% more HP (Based on the seven walls of Minas Tirith)
- Barracks upgrades and technologies are 50% cheaper. (Illustrates the readiness of Gondorian infantry forces.)
- Hoardings is free (Minor defensive bonus)
- Stone Mining and Stone Shaft Mining are free
- Team Bonus: All buildings have +1 Line of Sight
- Infantry - No major missing technologies. (Infantry was the core of the Gondorian army, and was well trained and equipped.)
- Archers - Missing Hand Cannoneers, Heavy Cavalry Archers, and Parthian Tactics. (Gondorian Foot Archers were decent enough, but this illustrates their lack of gunpowder and weaker horsemanship compared to the Rohirrim. Technically they shouldn't have Crossbowmen, but Gondorian archery deserves better than Feudal Age units.)
- Cavalry - Missing Hussars. (Gondorian heavy cavalry was far from weak, as seen with the Swan Knights. However, they lack the flexibility of the Rohirrim.)
- Siege - Missing Siege Onagers, Bombard Cannons, and Siege Engineers. (Though not exactly unskilled at siege, the steady decline of Gondor in the Third Age and their policy of defending against Mordor means that they are hardly siege experts.)
- Monks - Missing Heresy Faith, Illumination, Block Printing, and Theocracy. (The Gondorian Monastery is weak as the represent the decline of Gondor during the era of illegitimate stewards, as well as the lifeless nature of Gondorian leaders compared to those of Rohan.)
- Navy - Missing Fast Fire Ships, Heavy Demolition Ships, and Cannon Galleons. (The core Galleon line and supporting technologies are available due to Gondor's naval history, but supporting classes of ships are missing due to this legacy having declined by the end of the Third Age.)
- Defenses - Missing Bombard Towers. (Gondorian defenses were strong.)
- Economy - Missing Gold Shaft Mining.
The Gondorians are potentially a powerful civilization. They are designed so that players can quickly begin mining stone, build strong walls and fortifications, and play defensively for a while. They are a slow civilization to build a powerful military, with their only offensively minded bonus being cheaper Barracks upgrades (though this does save over 1200 Food and nearly 700 Gold by the end of the Imperial Age). However, once in the Imperial Age, they can field a powerful military with Champions, Halberdiers, Arbalesters, Elite Rangers, and Paladins.
The best way to combat the Gondorians is to hit them early. This has to be timed carefully though: do you Drush them before they can build their powerful walls, or try to wait until the Castle Age to knock these walls down with siege weapons? If you have to face them in the Imperial Age, your best bet is to have already secured enough map control to outlast the Gondorians while they were hunkered down.
- Source: The Legend of Zelda
- Architecture: Mediterranean (This was a difficult decision, as different buildings in the Legend of Zelda series draw from a variety of European, Middle Eastern, and East Asian sources. The Mediterranean style is because various locations in the series use Greco-Roman architecture. The Great Fairy Fountains, Forest Temple, Shadow Temple, and Temple of Time in Ocarina of Time alone are just a few examples. However, the Gothic design of many buildings could easily justify Central European architecture.)
- Specialty: Infantry
- Unique Unit: Hyrulean Soldiers (Sword and Shield-wielding Infantry. Appearence is based on the Hylian Captains)
- Cost: 50 Food, 30 Gold
- Standard: 70 HP, 9 Attack, 0/1 Armor, 0.96 Speed
- Elite: 80 HP, 12 Attack, 1/1 Armor, 0.96 Speed
- Castle Age Unique Tech: Bombchus (Petards deal +50% damage, Gunpowder units deal +30% damage)
- Imperial Age Unique Tech: Red Potions (Hyrulean Soldiers and nearby units [besides siege and ships] recover 20 HP per minute)
- Wonder: Temple of Time
- The Militia line has +1/+2/+3 Attack in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age. (Represents the Triforce of Power)
- Technologies are researched 20% faster (Represents the Triforce of Wisdom)
- Infantry and Archers have +1 Pierce Armor starting in the Castle Age. (Represents the Triforce of Courage, which protects against magic. Its delayed effect reflects how Link is often the last member of the main cast to be part of a game's story.)
- Repairing units and buildings requires 35% less resources. (Based on the recoveries Hyrule expereicnes after every disaster.)
- Team Bonus: Infantry have +2 Line of Sight (Based on Hylians using technologies like Pictography)
- Infantry - No major missing technologies. (Most Hylian soldiers appear to be infantry. Weapons used by Hylian soldiers and knights include one and two-handed swords, spears, and halberds)
- Archers - Missing Arbalesters, Hand Cannoneers, and Parthian Tactics. (Bows are a common weapon in the Legend of Zelda series, but are rarely used by Hylian NPC's. Crossbows in particular are only found in spinoffs, not even being found in Breath of the Wold despite its large variety of weaponry. Although gunpowder is relatively well known in Hyrule, firearms are not used.)
- Cavalry - Missing Hussars, Paladins, and Plate Barding Armor. (Though the use of horses is fairly common in the Legend of Zelda, Hylians besides Link don't appear to be experts of fighting on horseback. Note that most depictions of Hylian Soldiers and Knights portray them fighting on foot. Even Link rarely fights on horseback using melee weapons, instead seeming to prefer a bow.)
- Siege - Missing Siege Rams and Siege Onagers. (Hylians apparently rarely conduct sieges, more frequently focusing on internal security or ocassionally offenses on foes without extensive fortifications. However, they have mastered the use of cannons in warfare, as they and explosives are a common sight in the Legend of Zelda series.)
- Monks - Missing Block Printing (The Hylians have a deep religious history, being direct descendants of humans who lived alongside the goddess Hylia. The country of Hyrule is littered with elaborate temples.)
- Navy - Missing Elite Cannon Galleons and Shipwright. (Hylians get access to Fast Fire Ships doe to their access to fire-based weaponry and Heavy Demolition Ships and Cannon Galleons due to their access to Explosives. They miss Shipwright and Elite Cannon Galleons because they are more of a continental culture.)
- Defenses - Missing Treadmill Crane and Arrowslits.
- Economy - Missing Two-Man Saw. (Considering how the Lost Woods is a notorious deathtrap in Hyrule, this makes sense as a minor economic weakness)
The Hylians are an Infantry civilization that also has access to powerful Bombard Cannons and Monks. By the Imperial Age, their Militia line is as powerful as any other, with extra attack and pierce armor. Starting in the Imperial Age, their access to Hyrulean Soldiers with Red Potions causes their entire army to heal over time, giving extra value per unit. The same applies to their buildings and ships, as they are cheaper to repair. Their improved speed researching technologies helps them dozens of times over the course of the game, as well as making them more flexible than they otherwise would be.
The main weaknesses of the Hylians are their lack of a great economic bonus and their subpar Archers and Cavalry. Their lack of a major economic bonus hurts early on, though later on their regenerating units and cheaper repairs will save a lot of resources. Unfortunately, there is no direct answer for the lack of Arbelesters or Plate Barding Armor, though at lest their extra Pierce Armor alleviates that weakness somewhat.
The obvious Hylian strategy is to try to rush opponents with Men-at-Arms in the Feudal Age or Longswordsmen in the Castle Age. This works fairly well thanks to their Militia line having so many bonuses, especially by the Castle Age. In the late game, they can mix swordsmen with great Bombard Cannons and Monks along with solid Halberdiers, Elite Skirmishers, and Heavy Scorpions.
- Source: The Elder Scrolls
- Architecture: Central European (Ignoring the obvious Viking influences on Nordic culture, many buildings built by the Nords resemble buildings in the Central European architecture set.)
- Specialty: Infantry and Defense
- Unique Unit: Companion (Member of the Warriors' Guild of Skyrim. As the actual Companions used a wide variety of weapons, their representation here is meant to represent the Nordic specialty of using two-handed weapons, specifically Battleaxes. They thus are notable for their high Attack power.)
- Cost: 70 Food, 30 Gold
- Standard: 70 HP, 11 Attack, 2/2 Armor, 0.85 Speed
- Elite: 100 HP, 15 Attack, 2/3 Armor, 0.85 Speed
- Castle Age Unique Tech: Talos Worship (Monks gain +30 HP. Based on the loyalty people had towards their deity of choice.)
- Imperial Age Unique Tech: Dwemer Metal (Infantry units gain +2/+1 Armor. Based on the Dwemer metal found in ruins across Skyrim being used to construct new weapons and armor.)
- Wonder: Palace of the Kings
- Villagers have +2 Attack and +10 HP. (Reflects the Nordic attitude of being a warrior culture, where common citizens would own and be able to use weapons)
- Buildings do +50% damage when attacking from higher elevations, rather than +25%. (Based on the mountainous terrain of Skyrim)
- Monks heal units 100% faster. (Based on the common use of religious institutions for providing aid to the poor.)
- Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor, and Plate Mail Armor are free.
- Team Bonus: Infantry units have +2 Line of Sight
- Infantry - Missing Halberdiers. (The Nords are a martial culture that places a specific emphasis on melee combat on foot. They are missing Halberdiers due to the general lack of polearms across much of Tamriel.)
- Archers - Missing Arbalesters, Heavy Cavalry Archer, Hand Cannoneers, Parthian Tactics, and Ring Archer Armor. (Crossbows are only found in the Dawnguard DLC of Skyrim, implying that they exist but are generally rare. Besides that, we witness nothing resembling firearms and very little horseback archery. Note that the Nords lack any Archery/Marksman racial bonuses in Oblivion or Skyrim.)
- Cavalry - Missing Hussars, Paladins, Husbandry, and Plate Barding Armor. (Cavalry has been used by Nords in the past, though this is largely known via in-game texts as opposed to being seen in action. In general though, Skyrim's geography is unfavorable to cavalry, and what we do see of horses shows them being used for economic purposes.)
- Siege - Missing Siege Rams, Heavy Scorpions, and Bombard Cannons. (Urban battles and sieges in Skyrim mostly seemed to rely on catapults, as seen in the Battles of Whiterun and Windhelm.)
- Monks - Missing Heresy. (The Nords have worshipped both their own pantheon of deities and that of the Imperials. They are notable for their widespread refusal to ban Talos Worship when this was dictated by a peace treaty. Religious institutions are commonly seen helping the poor in major cities.)
- Navy - Missing Heavy Demolition Ships and Shipwright. (Skyrim's largely continental geography conspires against its naval capacity. However, a few notable cities, namely Dawnstar and especially Solitude, still have a fair amount of sea traffic.)
- Defenses - Missing Architecture and Bombard Tower. (The cities of Skyrim are largely well protected by walls and geography. The fact that many of these features were either not entirely Nordic creations, be they constructed by other groups or natural features, is the reason they lack Architecture.)
- Economy - Missing Crop Rotation and Caravan. (Refelcts the limited agricultural output dictated by Skyrim's geography and the Nordic policy of isolation.)
At a glance, the Nords are vaguely comparable to the Teutons. Though their Archery Range and Stable are far from impressive, they have a focus on Infantry, Monks, and Defenses.
The main economic bonus of the Nords is an indirect one that increases the Attack and HP of their Villagers. It may seem minor, but has several implications. Nordic Villagers can take on two wolves in succession, can fight back against Feudal Age raids, and take an extra hit or two while running to a Town Center. This makes sure that their economy is resistant to raids and accidents with wild animals.
Nordic Infantry get free armor upgrades when reaching a new age, in addition to getting +2 Line of Sight as a Team Bonus. In the late game, the unique technology Dwemer Metal grants them even more armor, giving them a total of +5/+5 armor. Nordic infantry are also supported by their unique unit, the Companion, a sort of cross between the Champion line and more powerful infantry units like the Teutonic Knight. Defensive buildings, which have a largely complete technology tree, gain an extra attack bonus from being placed on high elevations, allowing Nords to easily defend cchokepoints. Nordic Monks are also great, with an increased healing rate, only one Monastery technology missing, and the unique Technology Talos Worship granting additional HP to Monks.
Of course, the Nords have major weaknesses in the Archery Range and Stable. Though they fortunately have Bracer, their lack of Ring Archer Armor and fully upgraded archery unnits besides the Elite Skirmisher leaves them with a major hole in their army. Cavalry is about as badly off, with missing Husbandry and Plate Barding Armor. All of this leaves the Nords potentially vulnerable to ranged units. Furthermore, they are weak in late-game trash wars, lacking any fully upgraded trash unit. One partial remedy to the Nords' weak ranged game is to use Siege Onagers. Though generic, they still have Siege Engineers, making them effective against ranged units.
- Nords live in Skyrim, the northern part of Tamriel, first part of Tamriel settled by humans
- Atmorans were the predecessors of Nords, had war with the Snow Elf culture
- In the First Age Nords eventually ruled Skyrim and parts of High Rock, Cyrodil, and the Dunmer Islands
- History of rebellion when under foreign rule
- History of feeling isolated, even when ruling over or under other cultures
- Jarls elect a High King
- Even during the Civil War, parts of Skyrim like Riften still prospered
- Limited value of higher education and/or magic
- Lack much of a centralized army, instead each Hold has its own guards to act as militarized police
- Hold Guards are typically equipped with Leather and Chainmail Armor, a Sword, a Shield, and possibly other fur items of clothing. They may also use a bow or other slight equipment switches.
- Source: The Lord of the Rings
- Architecture: Central European (Rohan was inspired by old Germanic peoples and states.)
- Specialty: Cavalry
- Unique Unit: Eored (Cavalry unit similar to a knight, but with an anti-infantry bonus.)
- Castle Age Unique Tech: Longspears (The Spearman, Skirmisher, and Steppe Lancer lines gain +2 attack.)
- Imperial Age Unique Tech: Mearas (Horse-based Cavalry units gain 30 HP. Based on the famous breed of horses.)
- Wonder: Edoras
- Stables work 30% faster (Based on the Full Muster of Rohan)
- The Scout Cavalry line can be trained (but not upgraded) from Town Centers
- Horse Collar is free
- Bloodlines is free
- Villagers have +10 HP
- Team Bonus: Cavalry units do +1 damage against Infantry.
- Infantry - Missing Supplies. (Too closely related to Gondor to be awful, but weaker than a generic civ with the full tech tree)
- Archers - Missing Crossbowmen, Arbalesters, Hand Cannoneers, and Bracer. (Archery was not a Rohirrim strong point.)
- Cavalry - Have Hussars, Paladins, and Elite Steppe Lancers. No major technologies missing. (Rohirrim cavalry are strong.)
- Siege - Missing Siege Rams, Siege Onagers, Bombard Cannons, and Siege Engineers. (The Rohirrim have little experience in conducting sieges)
- Monks - Missing Sanctity and Illumination. (Not that bad actually, as made clear that they fight alongside Gandalf, who is basically an angel in the Tolkien mythos.)
- Navy - Missing Cannon Galleons and Shipwright.
- Defenses - Missing Bombard Towers. (Reasonably strong, as seen in their source material)
- Economy - Missing Two-Man Saw.
The Rohirrim are a very cavalry-oriented civilization, something reflected in their bonuses and tech tree. Their Light Cavalry and Knight lines are excellent, made more effective by the faster working stables. They lack a strong economic bbonus, but the combination of free Horse Collar and sturdier villagers give them a bit of an edge in the early game. One oddball trait they have is the ability to train Scout Cavalry from the Town Center. This can be used to help with a Feudal Age Scout rush, or simply provide another way to help defend Town Centers that are under attack.
The Rohirrim feature some major weaknesses. Their technology tree is somewhat restrictive. Although they can still use Imperial Age Infantry units, they don't get Supplies. Crossbowmen are entirely unavailable, as are Hand Cannoneers (though the Eored fills their role somewhat), leaving the Rohirrim relying on Elite Skirmishers and Heavy Cavalry Archers without Bracer. Their Siege units are also lacking, though they at least have decent Monks.
The Rohirrim are a one trick pony. But at least it's as broad a trick as "cavalry rushes," meaning they can pull off solid Scout or Knight rushes. And in a last resort, their trash game isn't all bad thanks to their Longspears tech improving the attack of the Spearman, Skirmisher, and Steppe Lancer lines.
- Arthurians/Cameloters (King Arthur)
- Haradrim (Lord of the Rings)
- Kekistan (Internet Culture)
- Narnians (Narnia)
- Sheikah (Legend of Zelda)