The Successor - Act Two: Initiation
Posted on 03/12/13 @ 06:17 PM (updated 03/31/13
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*** This scenario received the awards for Best Gameplay, Best Story, Best Score and was named "Release of the year" in the AOKH Game of the Year Awards of 2013 ***
It was the year 1369. Four years had passed since Krall, formerly known as The Successor, had been crowned as king of Ravenia in the never-ending cheers of Kron citizens, after the demise of the evil Fanarian governor Willan. However, only half of his father's land was now free from invaders and war. The other half of Ravenia, the Sylvanian province, was still under Tugai dominion and Sylvanians suffered every day at the hands of the brutal barbarians from the steppes...
VERY IMPORTANT: To experience the game as it was meant to be played, make sure you have the files from Act One in your installed folder, because the sound files found there are used extensively in this second installment. They are very important, especially for the cinematic moments, so please take the time to include them! You'll find act one available for download >>>HERE<<<
In order to install Act Two, copy the .cpx file in the campaign folder of your Age of Empires II the Conquerors root folder, and the sound files in the sound/scenario folder.
The recommended settings for playing this game are: a resolution of at least 1024x768, normal speed, music off. Using other settings might ruin the game experience. While playing, make sure you always have "chat to everyone" selected in the taunts section. It is vital for the taunt-based moves to work later in the game.
1) A much stronger emphasis on the RPG aspect. You'll control one unit most of the time, improving his skills, stats and equipment throughout the game. In addition to that, the usual fixed force battles, puzzles, etc.
2) The game contains two scenarios. The first is playable and the second is a cinematic. The total gameplay time is over 6 hours (probably a lot more depnding on how much you enjoy exploring). There are around 1900 triggers in total.
3) A huge map featuring improved map design compared to Act One, including an updated and playable version of the city of Hansbrok (rated 4.7).
4) A storyline that builds up on the First Act and sets the stage for the Final one. Old and new characters, non-linear narrative with lots of twists and turns, lots of cutscenes.
5) Tons of side features and easter eggs. Remarkable interactivity (for AOK standards) in terms of character improvement: improving stats through exploration and quests, economy system, levelling up that changes character's appearance/equipment, learning useful skills and special moves. Almost every single NPC in the game (there's lots of them) will talk to you.
6) An extensive and immersive soundtrack in the vein of the previous Act.
CREDITS are to be found in the readme file. A special thank you goes to Excelsior, Shieldwolf23 and Khan Ivayl, for their contribution to shaping the game, and to Blackforest Studios for their support and for being awesome in general.
Thanks for downloading. Please comment and review, I am always looking for feedback :)
UPDATED 31.03.2013 fixing some bugs and balance issues. Related to the change view bug - there's nothing I can do about it, your best bet is to reload and try again, close all other applications running in the background or play on a more contemporary machine. With a pentium I3 processor and 4gb of RAM, I've never encountered any crashes while testing. Can't guarantee for anything lower than that.
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It's far from a perfect campaign, but for those die-hard AOE players, who want a new challenge, its great. Be persistent and save the campaign often and do not be frustrated when the game freezes up often.
[Edited on 07/07/13 @ 11:57 AM]
THanks a lot for the (very) in-depth review ;)
"by the way... it would be great if people refrained to post any spoilers about the
story , as I'll probably moderate them ;) it wouldn't be nice to spoil it for other
people." - Panel
A review is already a spoiler, one can always find relevant hints only from reading a
review in here. So here's my barrage of spoilers.
* * *
I don't praise mortal souls easily. Even my girlfriend wasn't told how much she's way
hotter than my wife. Praise could spoil a sweet girl or a talented individual. Praises
and words of encouragement are two different things. Too much praises could
instead lead to discouragement, as in case of complacency... as in Sloth... as in Sin!
Of course we don't want to praise Panel too much too openly because that's
equivalent to revealing spoilers to him while he's on the quest for all the five relics of
designing greatness. So let's play hard to impress, pretend that his "The Successor" is
not-there-yet... so Panel must work harder, and does not sin.
I hate you, Panel, for the following reasons:
1) You enticed me to purchase the I-Sword, which I did (no resources cheats). That 600
gold I spent would have been better spent on meat-shield troops, and actually would
have won me the last battle -- at first attempt! Had to revert to last saved-game,
made a couple of attempts before good men finally triumphed over evils i [...spoilers]
2) You're master of cliffhanger. After I spent long hours grooming Vallar from a mere
day-dreaming shepherd to a mighty general you took away my mouse as you [... spoilers]
3) I knew there's reason for a small pond existed in the walled city of Narwan, but
seriously, the unceasing flame in the nook by the west wall would have been the
better answer for the bandit's resolute, right?! Right?! I knew why the bandit
followed only Patrick. I knew the side-quest was minor important, the answer
shouldn't be difficult. But I don't know why I searched nearly half of the map. Laugh
all you can, I also threw the bandit into wolves den to scare the living daylight out of
him but only getting him killed as the result. He still wouldn't talk, and I had to restart.
Combat wise I'm okay, can micro assorted units quite well, lured Ice Boars in a circle
with ease, had even led Vallar to complete the joint-mission with Mara in Narwan at
first try at the challenge/episode. But the bandit side-quest had made a big fool out
of me, including many restart in case some triggers didn't work in the earlier attempts.
4) In this next case, I really feel like spanking you. No doubt you conveniently
highlighted the "enclosure area" on the map in Zarn but I'm a player who followed
strictly what's written in the Objectives tab. So when the objective asked me to take
the sheep to the enclosure area behind the clergyman's home, that exactly what I did
-- I looked for his HOME! Hellooooooo! But on every door in Zarn I knocked there was
no such thing as BEKAL'S HOME. I was stuck in Zarn for 2 hours, mind you.
Why I kept on trying, not giving up? Aha! That's the effect your scenario had had on
me. If this was a movie I would certainly watch it again. But maybe I should go back to
play it again, this time on Hard Difficulty.
* * *
P/S Panel, you did great improvement with the characters dialogues in this Act 2, love
the English (If you haven't read my comment in Act 1). I expect the Act 3 would be
even better presented. Can't wait.
HOWEVER, after playing the first 2 sequels, I'm sure Act 3 can't surprise me with the
story plot already. I bet Krall [...spoilers, more or less accurate] You just got to work
harder with the storyline in Act 3. Because... if and when it becomes PREDICTABLE,
Kriv forbids, your campaign scenario will lose hardcore fans like me. There's no
surprise left in the trilogy, I suppose.
Okay, bring it on!
"While playing, make sure you always have "chat to everyone" selected in the taunts section."
This is very, very important actually. Failure to do this simple thing would make you
want to shoot your neighbour's dog afterward. You wouldn't want to lose the special
skills -- Dodge, Fatal Blow, and Bloodlust --, would you?
Errors encountered during play were usually the changing of ownership after cut-
scene. Save game before approaching the blue flag. Other than that the scenario is
running okay on my computer.
The monk in Ice Village remained my colour after transition. The naughty side of me
wanted to make the monk convert a villager but then I remember there's no build
options for villager anyway, other than building farms. The Ice boars looked very
(comment moderated for spoilers - panel)
[Edited on 08/06/13 @ 08:11 AM]
Devil_Spankalot, thanks for the new feedback. I will need to spoiler-proof your comment later today. But it's okay for now, most people will be afraid to start reading that huge text.
From the conclusions you draw about where the story is going, I can only assume that you did not play the second scenario included in the campaign (the cinematic one), or else you didn't watch it too attentively. That one answers many of the things you brought up (and you were wrong on several of them :p ).
Also, don't worry, I have a few surprises up my sleeve to keep this from becoming predictable in the final Act.
As for point 4) that you brought up: not only was that enclosure highlighted, I even set a change view effect to identify it for the player without the shadow of a doubt :p Agreed though it would have been a good idea to change the yurt's name.
[Edited on 07/31/13 @ 07:54 AM]
Panel, you mean the non-playable Scenario in the First Act, right? I've watched that.
My position remained unchanged. But of course Mr Director knows better.
About the enclosure and view effect. Maybe I was too preoccupied with something
else, the same mistake I NEARLY did when the view effect dragged the screen to the
Siege Units while I was busy organising troops in the battle front. It was hectic micro
with three points to defend. One time I had to restart simply because I forgot to
change the Mayor stance to defensive and he got killed because he moved too far
into the melee. I also have to catch him (and assign a number to him) as immediately
as he turned to my colour.
HARD Difficulty. Panel, I've got some big news for you -- I beat your hard difficulty
quite easily. The bigger news is I also changed the storyline, without losing the
trigger effects. No cheats, all were done using the natural capability of units found in
the scenario. King Krall COULD NOT kill Vallar. He tried to do it -- because that's how
the script was made --, but after many futile attempts he went away cursing. You
probably want to know how this ALTERNATE Ending is possible in your scenario.
I suppose I must share with you this new experience, in case you need to do some
editing to your scenario so as to prevent other players from discovering the Alternate
Ending. I figured this out while playing on Standard and Moderate Difficulty, but
applied it only in Hard Difficulty. It was a straight victory, meaning NO RESTART from a
But before we go to my "Scenario" remake, let's talk about possible flaws in your scenario.
In all three difficulty levels I found 4 persistent errors during play (I'm not sure
though whether they were errors or were actually meant to function in that manner):
The monk at IceLake Village didn't change colour after the battle. Monk remained as
my unit till the end (and remained trapped behind the building).
The forest between Western and Southern gates in Hansbrok didn't completely block
passage through, and it could result in Vallar prematurely triggering the Siege Envoys
while exploring the city walls.
(I'm pretty sure this is an error)
There was a section of boulders and cliff on the map in Narwan city -- pay attention to
the eastern wall next to the castle -- which do not block completely passage through.
Exploring along the stone walls Vallar and Patrik could walk up to the eastern gate
where they find Dogan and his horde are waiting to storm the city, although at this
point the Dogan horde are not supposed to come into play just yet.
The mission Saving Widow Mara in Narwan city. For some uncanny reason there's a
Friar Tuck appearing from a nearby forest (left of wall) to partake in the fight. Friar
Tuck converted one of Dogan's guards and healed Mara and Vallar right after. I'm sure
at this point Friar Tuck is not meant to come into play just yet.
Now back to my storyline, the Alternate Ending.
I will tell it to you in a style which is understood by you and other people who have
played this scenario, but people who have not played this scenario would still be
kept in the dark. So I hope that can somehow prevent spoilers, at least not too many
The main objective in this Alternate Ending is to save Vallar from King Krall. While all
other main objectives in each chapters are dutifully performed, some of the
secondary objectives have been ignored, for the better good.
Title: Me and Tismina, and a dog named Fido.
TISMINA: Whoa! I am in Hansbrok?! Great city, I like it here! But I thought I was
supposed to go to Narwan.
VALLAR: You would've been raped and killed -- not in that particular order --, if you'd
gone to Narwan. Now you understand why I'd asked you to wait for me at the Lumber
Camp until I call for you.
TISMANA: The lumber camp owner was mad at you. But he's already dead anyway.
The Tugai were heartless beasts they killed everyone and razed Zarn to the ground. I
took shelter in IceLake VIllage after the invasion. Only two of us had escaped the
massacre in Zarn.
VALLAR: Make it THREE! Fido survives and he now lives in Sylvanian Northern Peak.
Fido has been great help to me during the adventure, many times the dog had saved
me from wolves and bandits. He also explored the map extensively for me. We can
take Fido back to Zarn soon. I'd wanted to take Fido to Hansbrok but the Oracle said
Fido would die from unknown disease while on the Eastward journey.
TISMANA: Can't wait to see Fido again.
VALLAR: You're also my life-saver, Tismana. In fact, you're the true Sylvanian heroine
in this campaign against the Tugai. The wood you collected was enough to make
spears and combat gears for 10 Elite Berserkers, 20 Elite Skirmishers and 20 Pikemen. I
also made 1 tower from that. The IceLake Village gave me wood but your contribution
surpassed their wood amount by 3 folds. YOU saved that village, Tismana, and later
on YOU saved Hansbrok, too! I'll make sure Overlord Panel erects a statue in your
TISMANA: (*Blushing) I don't feel like a heroine, more like a slave (*laughing). It was
such an arduous back-breaking job collecting the wood for three years (3 hours game time).
VALLAR: Hansbrok shall never forget Tismana the little lady from Zarn who walked
courageously to the middle of the battlefield to repair Siege Onager and Heavy
Scorpion near a castle burning hot. And she's the only villager in the entire map who
can repair siege units.
TISMANA: As two only survivors in our village, we can start rebuilding Zarn, Vallar. I
could become your wife. I'm willing. We can have many children who are proud to be
VALLAR: I'd like that, and would certainly take you as my wife IF you don't mind me
taking Mara to live with us.
TISMANA: I thought you had returned the widow to the Refugees Village!
VALLAR: People in that village only desired revenge. But Mara desired freedom for
Sylvania. Beside, it's not a MUST to return Mara to Refugees Village. She decided to
accompany me to Hansbrok, instead. She waited at the mountain foot for a month
while I completed my Initiation with the Oracle. She's a good friend to travel with.
We killed many Ice Boars, giants, Whitefangs and Cataphracts. Without her I would
have been killed many times over. She was also among the five people I selected to
defend the Mayor in Hansbrok. If I may use a metaphor, she is my right hand,
Tismana, and you're my left hand. (*Grinning) And I'd like to keep both hands in my bed.
TISMANA: Was she there when King Krall made an attempt on your life?
VALLAR: Unfortunately, I needed her to command my personal army in Tugai
stronghold. King Krall took me to a forest quite far from Hansbrok. My hands were
tied behind my back. He charged at me with a dagger but he could not get near me...
because my pikemen had formed a wall around me. They were not allowed to harm
the king, so they Stood Ground shoulder to shoulder. The king left us unharmed,
embarrassed at his own foolishness. But I'm sure he will try again. I'll be well
prepared for that.
TISMANA: But I thought you said the place was surrounded by thick forest only you
and King Krall can enter the place. How did your Pikemen get there?
VALLAR: (*Smiling mischievously) A big thanks to the Siege Onager I captured from the Tugai.
TISMANA: (*Laughing) I'm sure Overlord Panel didn't expect you'd abuse his siege unit.
VALLAR: I returned the Siege Onager to the enclosure, as instructed by him... but only
AFTER the forest clearing job. A slight delay in delivery I'm sure he won't mind.
TISMANA: I have another idea. We can also use the Siege Onager to hunt for treasure.
We've discovered all the five relics, haven't we.
VALLAR: Yes, we have. They say treasure is found if you dig right of Hansbrok. But
digging is not what Siege Onager do. Our next mission is to look for that fella who sell
shovel at the market. I have no luck with that. Maybe you can help me. Or maybe we
can go tell Overlord Panel we give up on treasure hunting.
TISMANA: But don't you give up on me.
VALLAR: Never! Let's go inside and make Zarn babies.
[Edited on 08/06/13 @ 08:24 AM]
Haha, that was precious. It's great that you've found the time to discover my super secret easter egg alternate ending which I never even thought about. Talk about replay value :)
I won't even edit your comment that much, for the most part people would be too confused by what you did to even consider it a spoiler.
"Panel, you mean the non-playable Scenario in the First Act, right?"
No , I meant the one in Act Two.
"The monk at IceLake Village didn't change colour after the battle. Monk remained as my unit till the end (and remained trapped behind the building)."
That one was intentional actually. It was the only way I could make sure Vallar gets healed, if not the monk might go into "spastic mode" and try to run and heal some other allied unit (while he was blocked by the enclosure).
The others are bugs, thanks for bringing them to my attention.
I took your advice -- delete name, create name again, and start the scenario again.
Yep! I found the non-playable 2nd scenario for Act II on my computer finally. You're
right, the Act 3 promises many interesting events, and surprises.
Sorry for spamming this thread but I just can't wait to tell you something I must tell
you. Have finished playing **** (other scenario). Nice storyline, I give that to him.
Nice language. Nice graphic as well. Nice creativity. But the file ended in my Trash
Bin! Like many other scenario files.
Nope! That's not what I expect to enjoy during my free time, esp when the game
become so frustrating, even on Standard Difficulty. Clearly the five-star rated ****
is made specifically for people who have been playing scenarios on Hard Difficulty
for centuries with one eye closed. Therein lies its weakness. It cannot attract
people like me who wants REASONABLE fun game, not insane micro game.
I was right about "The Successor". You've got the right things in all the right places. I
must say your campaign scenario is way much better than **** in comparison, in
many aspects. You use only one map throughout the whole campaign, but you can
bring out the feeling during the game as if the map is so huge and that we travel far
and wide in the journey. It sucked us into the screen, so to speak. This psychological
effect is unintentional I'm sure. But it's really amazing how your map experience
can make us feel as if we just come back from a hunting trip somewhere.
And there's always that characters building in your campaigns, which is a very big
plus factor. You don't only develop the central characters, which is a common habit
in others scenarios. You also give more roles to the Extras (accompanying
characters)so well that by now I can remember Mohan and Tarran, and also
Fanarians and Tugai, and WhiteFang! I hope to hear from my favs -- Mara of Narwan
City or Kimu and the Bastard Riders -- in Act 3. Or maybe that Little Girl in Act 1 can
make a cameo in Act 3. There's got to be good purpose Krall and Tarran took the
trouble to return her to her father in Badlands, right. And I'm sure by now she's
grown into a beautiful young lady.
Keep giving us the side-quests. Give us cryptology and mysteries and piasters found
in the forest. Give us more villagers who can 'talk' to us. Give us drama and
suspense. Give us politics. Give us more war. Give us even bigger map we don't
mind going 7 feet in the ground. You're on the right path to excellence, Panel, if you
haven't already. We cheer you on. Go-go, Panel!
* Email me please once Act 3 is out.
[Edited on 08/06/13 @ 08:32 AM]
"This psychological effect is unintentional I'm
I actually have this in mind when I do a huge map. It's the only reason why I go through the trouble of doing 2000+ triggers for a map like this. I want the player to feel as if he's part of a real world. I didn't know if it was worth it, but I guess it is judging from your comment.
Don't hold your breath for Act 3 though. I'm still in my "recovery" period from scenario design. I'm thinking about it though, especially the storyline, which is still very rough at the edges. It will take at least a few months before I start it though, and could take more than one year to complete it (optimistically).
Only one word to this.
Wait,I already sayd ten.
Dear (lord)Panel,just started an inception here.
(*thinking)Anyway,where I was?Oh,yeah,I got it.
****IN-AMAZE-ASOME!JUST LOVED!I will post my complete comment in some days,for now I gtg.
Oh,b4 I leave: I used Taunt 27 just some seconds before the victory screen.(of course,I took more than 2 hours)
Uhhh ok I feel really stupid now but am i the only one that can't find the treasure?
I got a general idea of where to go but there is a lot of *That Direction* to go in and so I'm very confused also do i need to be on foot or can i find it on the horse someone please help me I've been trying to find this treasure for THREE HOURS now....... No really three hours I'm not joking.
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