(Updated on 02/20/16
||Build and Destroy
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In the tumultuous and dangerous land of Verstonia, the wrathful gods favor the one who builds a shrine in their honor on Galderton Hill
Inspired by "The Seas of Egressa" and "Mare Nostrum", "Galderton Hill" is a roleplay (RP) scenario that is not your everyday game of AoK. Taking the reins of power of one of 8 factions, you must tend to the growth of your empire, conduct diplomacy, foster commerce and trade, and plot your path to hegemony. There is a set of rules governing one's actions with regard to diplomacy, expansion, and warfare that must be enforced and followed by all players. Punitive power lies with the other players should grave infractions be committed, but let us hope that things do not come to that!
This scenario is designed in AoC (UserPatch), but will be playable in AoC, AoE2HD, AoF, and AoAK for maximum compatibility across the various versions of AoK.
The map quite literally centers on the grand stone city of Aldria, an ancient power that dominates the land of Verstonia. Though once a noble and righteous people, the Aldrians, through excessive wealth, decadence, and fear of mortality have given themselves over to the worship of dark powers that offer immortality in return for service. Fallen into superstition, cruelty, and the oppression of their vassals, the Aldrians undertake a mad initiative in the name of their gods: bleeding the land and people dry of resources to build grim shrines and thereby demonstrate their malevolent piety.
Though no faction is at war at the start, this aggressive quest will force all players to action, whether for the sake of self-preservation or in spiritual opposition to the dark powers controlling the Aldrians and threatening the existence of Verstonia. Through strong leadership and shrewd diplomacy, you must grow your empire and achieve your objectives in a world twisted by ambition and betrayal.
Contrary to most RP maps, this map is not centered on an ocean, and so will be dominated by land trade and warfare. Nonetheless, it is divided by several rivers, so investing in water-based trade may be wise and maintaining a small protective fleet would be wise. Furthermore, your civilizations will not play as they would in a normal game of AoK. Certain technologies, units, and even unit lines have been disabled for certain factions to balance the game and drive players away from conventional play.
The players and their motives:
The great city on Galderton Hill:
Player 1: Aldria; Britons: situated on Galderton Hill and dominating the surrounding landscape, Aldria is protected by formidable stone walls and steep cliffs encircled by a deep, wide moat. As the major city in the region, it is the center of commerce and much trade passes through the three massive causeways leading into the city. Aldria wants to maintain control over its three vassals and through domination of the region secure the resources necessary to construct four grandiose shrines (wonders) in the center of the city.
The three subservient vassals:
Player 2: Voringia; Franks: Aldria's northern vassal, Voringia is rich in resources and holds much fertile land. Their prosperity often makes them the target of mounted Valan raiders pouring out of the north. In response to this threat, the Voringians have developed a potent heavy cavalry force backed by imposing axe throwers. Their goal is to end their exploitation by the Aldrians and defend themselves from nomadic invasions.
Player 3: Lindshire; Teutons, or optionally Slavs if playing AoF: situated to the southwest of Aldria, Lindshire is weary of Aldrian control and of the three vassals will most aggressively seek independence. Although the subject of raids from the Sundsvars and Thorsfoldings on their borders, the Lindish have lately improved relations with their nomadic neighbors and may attempt to form a political union with them, establishing a rival empire.
Player 4: Rovion; Byzantines, or optionally Italians if playing AoF: is of the three vassals the most loyal to the city, being governed by a minor branch of the royal family of Aldria. The Rovionese live in constant fear of the Morathians, with whom they have poor relations and rely extensively on the Aldrians for protection. Incredibly pious, the Rovionese are obsessed with gathering holy relics and are fanatically opposed to the dark powers. When the seeds of rebellion are sown, Rovion must choose between its bond with the city, the welfare of its people, and its staunch piety.
The four outlying nomadic factions:
Player 5: Valon; Huns, or optionally Magyars if playing AoF: a confederation of nomadic horsemen bred in the wastes of the dreaded Valonian desert, the Valans sweep out of the north and have set their eyes on the rich, fertile lands south of the barren Mountains of Geroth. They are not whatsoever religious but have a fierce love of gold and are intent on plundering the riches of the major powers, as well as acquiring arable land that can sustain their people.
Player 6: Morath; Mongols: nomadic horsemen of the east famed for their cruelty, the Morathians are fervent worshipers of the dark gods, the antithesis of the Rovionese and their worst enemy. Above all, they wish the destruction of Rovion and the other vassals of Aldria. However, they view the Aldrian worship of the dark gods as heretical because the Aldrians seek to demonstrate piety through erecting marvelous structures and promoting order rather than destruction and chaos. The Morathians have a unique choice - will they pursue the destruction of all other nations through military might, or assimilate and join the power struggle through more peaceful and diplomatic means?
Player 7: Sundsvar; Goths: once secretive, indigenous woodsmen, the Sundsvars have now revealed themselves and emerged as a formidable fighting force, laying claim to the western marches of Verstonia. Normally a peaceful people, they are nonetheless vicious when provoked and should not be taken lightly. Their primary goal is a political union with Lindshire and maintaining independence from Aldria in the hope of establishing a merchant republic.
Player 8: Thorsfold; Vikings: the wildcard of the scenario, the Thorsfoldings have no part in the religious tumult of the region, worshiping the Aesir (Norse gods) instead. They have a love for battle and are fearsomely strong warriors, but above all wish the peace and prosperity of their people. Though their holdings lie in and just outside the snowy Mountains of Lundmark, they find the rich land of Verstonia much to their liking. Should conflict arise, they will have to pick a side and fight or risk being trapped and forgotten in the resource-poor south of the map.
The Citadel on Galderton Hill | Thorsfolding Village | Sundsvarn Forest | Valan Camp | Raven's Crag | The Morathian Steppe | An idyllic setting | A trade caravan | Lindish fortress | A crumbling temple to the gods of old | The Count of Rovion surveys his town | Voringian town | The Sundsvars have hastily erected a camp | A rural fortress
+ A comprehensive list of instructions, credits and playtesters can be found in the readme that ships with the file and within the scenario itself.
+ A companion PDF document also ships with the file to provide players with a bit of backstory relating to the world in which the scenario is set.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
'Galderton Hill RP' is an eight player multiplayer scenario designed primarily by HockeySam18, but with help by Lord Basse among others.
PLAYABILITY: Anyone who has a history with custom multiplayer scenarios would know how frustrating it can be trying to find 7 other players to lobby with and more so willing to commit the time, but the reward for doing so is always worth it. 'Galderton Hill' is one such file, but players can expect an enthralling world centred around the backdrop of Verstonia, in which 8 unique kingdoms vie for supremacy in a game that will be defined by dubious alliances and plenty of backstabbing. The potential for many exciting experiences here is virtually unlimited, but it's also a nice change of pace from the usual online random map gaming. 5
BALANCE: Balancing a multiplayer scenario is perhaps the most challenging aspect. It is often important to take into consideration the context of the game and not just observing each of the player's starting positions in the hopes of quantifying a fair rating here. In the case of 'Galderton Hill', many of the game's lesser civilisations begin in a shaky alliance with the game's most powerful player in the fortified city of Aldria, but overtime will find a way to break off from their overlord in hopes of achieving their own cultural dominance before another player is able to achieve theirs. While some civilisations are definitely better placed than others, there are usually more immediate dangers to counter this such as closer enemies or less resources. The player will also have to work within the binds of the fictional world, in which forming alliances, trade pacts, and organising brutal betrayals, is pivotal to survival and more so to victory. Trust no one, but be open to everything. 5
CREATIVITY: 'Galderton Hill' follows in the footsteps of a relatively new form of multiplayer scenario, that of an online role playing game, complete with a fictional world, well thought out civilisations with varying strengths and weaknesses, and a comprehensive and intriguing back story. There is nothing here that is even remotely lacking, while the creative objectives each civilisation is tasked with in order to overcome and win the game offers great replayability, as players can always opt to play a different civilisation on the next run. 5
MAP DESIGN: The map design in this scenario is masterfully designed, flawlessly even. Each parcel of land is designed with such care so as to compliment the civilisation inhabiting it, from the cold winterscape of the Norse-inspired "Thorsfold" to the south, the nomadic "Valonian Confederation" to the dry north, or the heavily fortified city of the Kingdom of "Aldria" in the centre. The world is really brought to life with the personalities of each civilisation, with abundant renaming, terrific terrain mixing and well thought out settlements. There can be no complaint here. 5+
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: I've always appreciated a multiplayer scenario that goes above and beyond and provides some context to the game in the form of story and hints. While not always necessary for online gaming, the added depth here is in fact a boon to the game play experience. The author has provided an entire cultural background to each of the eight civilisations, as well as unique objectives which each player must strive to achieve. While some of these can be achieved militarily, others are economical only, which is a refreshing change in thought and influences the strategy each player must undertake. The hints are detailed and concise but not overwhelming. The only complaint being here is that there is so little time to read through all the text while playing online to really appreciate the level of detail the author has given this. As such, it is best to familiarise yourself with the game before playing it competitively. 5
CONCLUSION: 'Galderton Hill' is a flawless RP that provides online gamers with more than just the usual random map quality, but a whole new world where playing within the context of the story is as rewarding an experience as can be expected.
In a sentence - Masterfully designed, 'Galderton Hill' will provide hours of online entertainment within the fictional world that is Verstonia.
In closing - A must download!
[Edited on 03/22/17 @ 12:19 AM]