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Downloads Home » Single Player Scenarios » Way of the Buddha

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Way of the Buddha

Author File Description
Al_Kharn the Great
File Details
Version: Age of Empires II (2013): The Forgotten
Style: Build and Destroy
Requires The Forgotten Expansion

Play as Rennyo in a spiritual journey of liberation set in feudal Japan

Story Excerpt

His feet did not hurt.

Callused and hardened like the pinkish-brown bark of the Senkaki maple and sheltered in the skeletal husks of weathered sandals, they had carried Rennyo on his seventy-three year journey to the Pure Land; his feet softly writing impermanent kanji on the dusty mountain paths beside the patterned knobs of his walking stick. The words written by his feet were the same as those repeated with whispered conviction: the Nembutsu, the Mindfulness of the Buddha. "Namu Amida Butsu", homage to Immeasurable Light.

His feet did not hurt.

They did not know the turmoil that had afflicted the islands. They did not hear the cries of battle between servant and master echo through the pine needles in the mountain passes. They did not hear the death rattles of the Emperor's authority with each crashing wave against the rock-strewn beaches. They did not hear the whispered death poems of dying samurai in the shadows of the quiet bamboo groves beneath the silver moon. Such was Nippon in this strange age of division, of Gekokujo, the low becoming high; of Sengoku, warring states.

His feet did not hurt.

He stood before the remnants of an ancient shrine below the long mountain pass. Here. Here, he would rebuild his temple, ravaged years ago by the Tendai warrior monks of Mount Hiei. Here, he would defend the wronged people, their lives torn asunder by the wars gripping the country. Here would be the beacon illuminating the islands with the Immeasurable Light of Amidu Butsu.

His feet did not hurt.


Rennyo's Path is as the spokes on the wheel of Dharma. It radiates from the remnants of an old shrine astride a waterfall captured by a turning mill. To the southwest, amid the palm-covered jagged crags, is a village with a dock on the rocky beach. Across the water to the south among pine and bamboo lies a hamlet with fertile fields on the outskirts of a walled coastal settlement. Across the water to the east are rocky islands and coves home to fierce Wako pirates who terrorize the local fishermen and coastal villages.

Radiating again from the old shrine but to the north along the mountain path are the Tendai monks, a rival school of Buddhist thought, known for their tough-footed marathon monks who daily make the journey through the mountains. To the west of the Tendai is the chief town of Kaga prefecture, bisected by a waterway filled with the bustle of merchant fleets and defended by a mighty coastal castle. Finally, scattered about the land like leaves to the autumn winds are the Yamabushi monks in their secluded mountain hermitages, bearing relics of the Buddha from far-off lands.
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Official Reviewer
Map Design5.0
'Way of the Buddha' is a scenario by Al_Kharn the Great following the actions of a Buddhist monk, Rennyo, during the Sengoku period in Japan. The story itself is quite fascinating and I would term this one of the more creative scenarios I've played recently.

Playability: 4+
The emphasis this scenario places on monks makes for an incredibly cool experience. You have to literally convert everything until you get some villagers with which to build a base. When you combine this mechanic with varied sidequests such as finding Yamabushi monks, converting the Tendai monks, acquiring a Turtle Ship, and defeating pirates, you get a rather immersive and fun experience. The playability suffers a tad from poor pathfinding caused by the inability of the HD Edition to handle off-grid objects, as well as some bizarre behavior from the AI that detracts from the challenge, but it's overall quite fun.

Balance: 4
The balance could use a little polishing. The beginning can be quite hard when the AI starts attacking and you've had to convert units to get any army and villagers at the start, but it is by no means impossible, just perhaps a tad frustrating at times. Once you establish yourself though, there is no danger of losing and the challenge disappears because the AI doesn't adjust the level of pressure with your level of development. A small army of massed ranged units kills anything they throw at you. Some of the quests can provide a nice challenge, though, especially converting the Tendai monks as they always seem to convert your monks first. I started to throw a couple skirms ahead of my monks as fodder so they would be converted and not my monks.

Creativity: 5
The aforementioned creative aspects plus additions such as a custom soundtrack and a creative design style and mode of storytelling make this an obvious 5. I honestly begin to be amazed at how the author continues to produce such creative content. A lot of inspiration, I guess!

Map Design: 5
The map suited the scenario very well. Not only was it beautiful and diverse all around, but it was also excellent for the gameplay. The player has to control the water and guard three routes through which the enemy might attack. The towns were masterfully designed, as were the many mountain passes. Off-grid objects hurt a bit as aforementioned, but it would be unfair to deduct from two categories for a small issue such as this. You know your design is on point when it not only looks good but also enhances the gameplay. Well done!

Story/Instructions: 5
As usual, the author impresses us with organized, clear instructions, an immersive story, and a unique mode of storytelling. As I played the scenario, I truly felt like I was in Rennyo's shoes, an effect achieved by precious few designers. I daresay I even underwent a personal spiritual journey of sorts while playing the scenario!

Additional Comments:
Despite room for improvement in certain spheres, this scenario is a must download. Cheers to Al_Kharn for giving us yet another masterpiece to enjoy!

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Map Design5.0
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Size:8.24 MB