Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Lords of the Prairies (DLC proposal to rework Tortuamerican civs and more!)

Overview

So the TLDR of this concept is to:

  • Create a baseline foundation for Tortuamerican civs, in order to be more faithful to the cultural divides between Tortuamerica and Mesoamerica
  • Adjust the Lakota and Haudenosaunee to share a basic roster of units and buildings
  • Introduce the Iron Confederacy and the Comanche as two new civilizations

Shared Foundation

The four of these civs would share a basic selection of buildings;

  • Warhut (unchanged)
  • Corral (unchanged)
  • Dock (unchanged)
  • Town Center (minus the Haudenosaunee)
  • Three Sister’s Garden (a farm for 10 that can swap between wood and food)
  • Trade House (shared by all, but each has their own unique take on the Trade House)
    • This is how the Native gain access to Mercenaries
  • Community Plaza (reworked)
    • I will go into depth on the rework of the Community Plaza further down, when I explain the general military of the nations, which is where this will become relevant.
  • Native Embassy
  • Walls
    • For the Haudenosaunee and Iron Confederacy; the Lakota and Comanche cannot build walls

The four of these civs would share a basic selection of units;

  • Bare Bowman
  • Bare Spearman
  • Green Lancer (lancer cavalry)
  • Green Mounted Bow
  • Villager (except for the Lakota)
  • Medicine Healer (a model of both male and female versions of this would be ideal)
  • Starting Hero
  • Green Spear
    • Alarm unit
  • Green Bow
    • Alarm unit

Beyond this, most things for each civ would become fairly unique.


the Lakota

Because this one is dear to me (and the most complex) I’m starting here.

Unique Buildings

The Lakota economy is, by far, the most complicated of the four Nations for two simple facts: First off, we are the only civ that can’t mine in the game. The Haudenosaunee, Iron Confederacy, and Comanche are all capable of mining - hell, the Comanche are gonna be all over that sh!t with their gold-heavy military. Secondly, the Lakota can’t use the Three Sister’s Garden without first sending a card, a trait they share with the Comanche. The Iron Confederacy and the Haudenosaunee are both capable of using it from the beginning.

  • Trade House
    • The Lakota put their Trade House on mines for optimal usage, gaining a % off coin cost to techs in the Trade house when it is on a mine. Within a radius of the Trade house…
  • Buffalo Pound
    • The Buffalo Pound enables the Lakota to hunt endlessly throughout the game… at a cost. The only manner in which the Lakota can collect coin is by hunting, during which Khuwa will convert a portion of the food they collect into gold (or they’ll generate a small trickle of gold, whichever the game’s engine can do), but it will be small and nearly unnoticeable. Only be collecting near a Trade House will this gold income become substantial enough to be viable. Both the Buffalo Pound and the Trade House start with a build limit of 1 in Age 1 and gain +1 build limit with each age up.
  • Tipi
    • The Tipi has a small economic aura to nearby Khuwa, to increase yield amounts from natural resources, as well as increase the damage and health of Khuwa. It is purely an economic building, and no longer pertains to the Lakota’s military.

So, while the Lakota economy may be more complicated than the rest of the three nations, it is also the simplest - Your goal as the Lakota is to hunt everything on the map, because your units cost a ridiculous amount of food, your Khuwa are more expensive villagers, and your buildings have half the normal wood cost, but cost an equal amount of food. You want all the food you can hunt.

Unique Units

The Lakota have four unique units, and a handful that are available from Cards, Age-Ups, and expensive techs, alongside their unique Villager and Hero.

  • Khuwa
    • Literally meaning “Hunter,” the Lakota lack normal Villagers, which are replaced by mounted villagers that can move faster, gather faster, and have a stronger ranged attack that they will prefer over melee. On the other hand, Khuwa are significantly more expensive, have a lower build limit, and gather slower from buildings than normal Villagers. Due to the Lakota not having the ability to build walls and their economy relying on spreading out, Khuwa are more prepared to deal with the possibility of having to fight than other villager units. Khuwa have more upgrades available to them than other villagers.
  • Heyoka
    • The Lakota hero is the Heyoka, the Contrarian Clown. ###### ### horse backwards, throwing her lance at enemies, and smacking people in melee with her bow, she is the Thunder-Dreaming pariah-hero of her people. She deals melee damage at a range and ranged damage in melee. Bearing the markings of Wakinyan, the Thunderbird, her job is to remind people that all of this thing we call life is just a game and not to take it too seriously. With the ability to convert human Treasure Guardians to her side and an aura that grants nearby allies +0.1 melee, siege, and ranged armor, the Heyoka looks to defend her people and her land.
  • Warriors
    • The Lakota special units consist of the Kitfox Soldiers, the Crow Riders, the War Badgers, and the White Marked. All are cavalry units - the Kitfox is a melee lancer that can dismount and become a powerful pike, the Crow Rider is a powerful cavalry archer, the War Badger is a sneaky cavalry unit with an AoE attack, and the White Marked is an all-around powerful cavalry unit with an exceptional siege attack. The White Marked is unlocked naturally in Age 3, the Crow Rider is given by the Warchief on aging-up, the War Badger is unlocked with cards in Age 2, and the Kitfox Soldier is produced through Plaza upgrades, requiring the conversion of any number of White Marked, Crow Rider, or War Badgers to be present on the Plaza to acquire.

Community Plaza

With the introduction of the Lakota Akicita, now is a good time to introduce the reworked Community Plaza and how it will effect the and form the center of these four nations.
It is important to keep in mind that Villagers need only be tasked on the Plaza for the duration of the Ceremony - after the Ceremony is complete, the Plaza need not be used, unless you want to change the active Ceremony. As a result, however, Ceremonies take much longer to activate than they do currently.

Warrior-Making Ceremony

There is an important “Ceremony” relevant to the Akicita - the Warrior-Maker Ceremony. This is done to acquire the strongest unit from each nation, and is only done through the conversion of other, civ-unique warriors on the Plaza.
The Lakota can create the versatile Kitfox Soldier, the Haudenosaunee can create the stealthy Bone Carrier, the Iron Confederacy can create the fierce White Bear and the Comanche can create the swift Wolf Riders.

Each nation has a collection of units they can create, based on the shared, generic units, that are uniquely available to them through cards, poltician age-ups, or are simply unlocked through ages.

Each Nation has four unique empowerments relating to the Warrior-Making Ceremony: These are ways of choosing which of your Warrior Societies are the dominant society - for the time being.

  • As an example, when the Lakota elevate their War Badgers to the Lead Akicita position, War Badgers will gain additional health, damage, and a larger AoE attack. When the Kitfox is elevated, it will gain additional health, damage, and gains the Deflection Aura. When the Crow Rider is elevated, it gains additional health, damage, and fires much faster. When the White Marked is elevated, it gains additional health, damage, and a bonus into buildings on its siege attack, along with more range.

Healing Ceremony

All units near the Plaza are swiftly healed over time, with the speed of healing increased per villager tasked on the Plaza.

Grandmother Gift's Ceremony

For the next X seconds, increased per villager used in the ceremony, yield amount is increased from all natural resources.

Further Ceremonies

The ceremonies needs more thought put into it than I can do for the moment, however, but the general idea of how they would work in the new update is solid and clear - You task X villagers onto the Plaza, choose a Ceremony, and the Villagers will perform said Ceremony over the next 30-60 seconds, and the effects of the Ceremony go into effect when the Villagers are finished with it. Medicine Healers may replace villagers over time, but no nation may have more than 10 Medicine Healers and 10 villagers on their Plaza at a time.

It is a device for planning ahead, not for making on-the-spot decisions, with the exception of the Alarm Ceremony, which would grant a burst of Green Spears and Green Bows at the Town Center.

Khuwa are not more effective at the Plaza than normal villagers.


the Haudenosaunee

Comparatively simple to the Lakota, the Haudenosaunee focus on wood as hard as the Lakota focus on food. From villagers that cost wood (Hi, India!) to buildings that are naturally stronger and more expensive, the Haudenosaunee revolve around maintaining their forests and trees and - most importantly - growing their own wood whenever and wherever they can. With a focus on range and defense, the Haudenosaunee will turtle up and defend their area, but do not think they cannot attack - with a Clan Mother who can hide her allies under brush and quickly heal on the battlefield, the Haudenosaunee focus on stealth raiding and attacking from the shadows whenever and wherever they can.

Unique Buildings

The Haudenosaunee center on two buildings, and don’t have a focus on their Trade House, as the Lakota do.

  • Longhouse
    • The Haudenosaunee feature a unique Town Center, granting them 50 population on its own, and no other buildings can grant population for the Haudenosaunee. As they are unable to build another until Age 3, they will hug this building and defend it. Three Sister’s Gardens near the Longhouse will enjoy an increased gather rate when near Longhouses.
  • Too’te Lodge
    • A relatively small, minor defensive building with the ability to garrison units to increase its attack, the Too’te Lodge will spawn trees over time near it. With a card, they can train Villagers as well. While gathering wood near a Too’te Lodge within the trade radius of a Trade House, Haudenosaunee villagers will generate a small income of food as well.

The Haudenosaunee economy focuses primarily on gathering wood and maintaining a steady source of wood around themselves.

Unique Units

The Haudenosaunee have the unique ability of having Warrior Society units that wield powerful European technologies, though they have less than the other nations.

  • Clan Mother
    • While not typically known as a warrior, the Haudenosaunee Clan Mother scouts for her people to find the best place to build their Longhouses. She fights with a rifle, earned in combat from her younger days, and can recruit human Treasure Guardians and to heal her allies quickly, she is a powerful defensive hero. While near allies, she will increase their maximum health, and can be carded to increase her own by a massive amount and grant her both the Deflection Aura as well as the ability to temporarily hide all units around her, even from “Sees-Stealth” type units - but if any of these units move, the camouflage will break for all of them, and lasts but a short while.
  • Warriors
    • the Haudenosaunee feature only three Warrior Society units - the Big Hollow, a pair of soldiers arming a cannon, the Mourning Bowman, a powerful archer, and the Hollow Scout, a swift warrior armed with a rifle with a large LoS.
    • Additionally, the Haudenosaunee have a mantlet and a ram, but these are not considered viable units for the Warrior-Making Ceremony.

Iron Confederacy and the Comanche

So, unfortunately, I’m sort of running out of room and ideas at the moment, but wanted to make a shortlist of what I believe would be the ideal usage for the creation of the Iron Confederacy and the Comanche.

Iron Confederacy

Comprised of both woodland and prairie nations, the Iron Confederacy would provide a unique angle to create a culture explicitly out of pieces of other cultures - in this case, the Nakoda, the Anishinaabe, and the Cree would be the foundation of the Iron Confederacy, which would allow for usage of both the current Lakota + Haudenosaunee building assets to be used in their creation, and they would uniquely be capable of taking advantage of buildings like the Haudenosaunee Too’te Lodge and the Lakota Buffalo Pound, although likely not to the same extent as their cousins.

Comanche

I have long believed that the current gameplay of the Lakota would be better suited to just about any other prairie nation out there - the Lakota, at their heart, have always played a defensive role in military excursions, and abhor war to the point where we entirely lacked gods of war or battle in our pantheon until late into fighting with Americans, at which point both Sungmanito, the Wolf, and Anwi, the Sun Chief, were prayed to in times of battle. Neither were known to be associated with war prior to this.
The Comanche would take over most of the current Lakota gameplay, from their heavy rush-focus and early-game focus to their focus on tipis, with Comanche tipis being primarily offensive tools as opposed to the more defensive economic usage the Lakota have for them.
Along with the ability to mine, the Comanche would be more of a callback to TAD’s Sioux than anything else and allow the Lakota to better inhabit a space reflective of their own history. The gameplay of the Lakota simply fits a much more aggressive people, and the Comanche are exactly that.


Final Thoughts

Although the Iron Confederacy and the Comanche would require much more work to become functional, both civs would be fairly simple to create and the Comanche in particular would bring a level of name-recognition that a Native American DLC would require the most, and the Iron Confederacy would certainly be capable of backing that up as a secondary civ.

If the full work was put into it, the AI for the Lakota now could be re-skinned and given to the Comanche without changing much beyond his name, as Quanah Parker would do much the same thing that Gall does now. This would give space and time to rework the Lakota AI to a much more suitable personality, one that better suits the new goals of the reworked Lakota - Chief Eagle Woman, giving AoE3 its fourth female personality.

Of the four civs present, the Lakota may have been the most matriarchal amongst them, and having a male calling the shots would have been unusual for the time. (No, people like Sitting Bull were not leaders of anything beyond their own bands - Eagle Woman led multiple tribes, not just a small slice of a single tribe, like Sitting Bull did, and Crazy Horse never led even a band.)

The leader of the Iron Confederacy may require some digging - the descendants of Poundmaker are already displeased with his portrayal in the Civilization series, so unless the devs were willing to understand what differences would be wanted, Poundmaker is likely not a good choice.


If you’ve taken the time to read through this in its entirety - ####### This took three days to type up and has been sitting in my active tabs for far too long. Thoughts are much appreciated!

20 Likes

I’ve read all of it and like it for the most part, even though I doubt the devs would release all of this as a single dlc. I’m all in for new native civs, but I think that updating existing ones should be a priority, maybe in order to set the ground for these potential new civs.

Overall, your concept is interesting, but I have to disagree with the idea of a basic shared unit roster. What’s point? Personnally, I think that just giving existing ones proper names and skins (just like the euro units got in the last few updates) would solve the problem.

As for the plaza, I don’t get how is your concept any different in terms of magic? To me, it still appears like magic buffs due to a ceremony. Not that I don’t like it, I’m just wondering how is your concept less offensive than the original? Same thing with the haudenosaunee hero’s ability, how is that not magic?

And lastly, even though I think the Iron confederacy would make a great addition to the game as an umbrella civ, many people won’t like it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it because the sioux were considered way too “umbrella” that they were renamed lakota in DE?

Please, do not take any of this as criticism, feel free to not agree with me and I hope you can answer my questionnings. I appreciate the effort you put into this concept and I think the devs should definitely consider some of your ideas.

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Wow, a lot of effort has gone into this - thank you.

In regards to the ‘conversion’ in the Plaza for the various warriors - is this literally the case of sending existing units into it to ‘upgrade’ them into a different unit? If so, I rather like that - almost like using your younger warriors as a ‘resource’, coming of age or experience to become a tougher unit.

3 Likes

I’m always on your side, Ana. I like that you took the time to write down your ideas. Something that I don’t understand, or that makes me noise has to do with the ceremonies. I don’t think that in terms of gameplay it’s good to send units and lose them for a minute (or more), even if they come back stronger later, mostly because of the fast pace of the game that AOE3 has. Maybe if the units at the ceremony didn’t occupy population I could see it.
I think that many of these changes that you propose could be implemented in a very simple way and would not be very far from the reworks that we have already seen.

2 Likes

There is a lot of fertile ground here. Mostly interesting takes that would be nice to play with. I really like the explorer propsed changes

My only 2 thoughts off the top of my head
-capped to 50 pop in age2 is death in many matchups, some civs can mass far beyond that. Its forcing the civ to run to age3 and even then force tcs which is major wood investment, wood also needed for buildings and units. I would suggest maybe something like tc add 30 pop but all buildings add plus +5 or so pop so it scales nicely and doesnt force a bottleneck early age3 (i regularly pop 60+ sub 9 minutes) all while making them unique.

-super stealth is probably too abusable, but maybe something like “in stealth near explorer no speed malus” to allow surgical strikes while not back to days of invisible JPK zoning armies off

Cool stuff tho, and im usually a big critic. Also not fan of lancer cav aka chinacos for every civ since its hard to balance them especially age2, maybe just keep them hussar like but thats mostly nitpick

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Small correction:
One descendant used his elder status to publicly voice disapproval of the inclusion in Civ6. The Cree DLC’s development was supported by other descendants (who provided traditional choral music for the DLC), including said elder’s own brother. So we can say the Cree communities are far from unanimously opposed to being portrayed in strategy games.

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If they do make a stink about it, Big Bear would be another good option.

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The shared unit roster is to help cut down on necessary new assets for further civs in the region. It’s why making a European civ is so much simpler than making a new Asian civ, and I’d rather make it easier than harder to implement further new Native Americans.

It still is, but at least this way it’s heavily limited (only 3-4 ceremonies total) and villager seconds aren’t completely sacrificed for the bonus, only for the time it takes to “research” the bonus, at which point the villagers can return to their work.

The Iron Confe###### is something that existed as a confederacy of multiple nations. It isn’t an umbrella civ anymore than the US is an umbrella civ of the States.
“Sioux” is an umbrella term in that it refers to WAY more than just the Oceti Sakowin - on my post about the Native Mercenaries, I added an idea for the Osage Giants. If you read that, I note that the Osage are also a Siouan people.
But the Osage were not referenced, nor likely even known about when the “Sioux” name was used originally for the Lakota.

Yes, exactly! That is how a Warrior-Making Ceremony would have worked, and if the devs are insistent on including ceremonies, then let’s make at least a couple that are historical and worked the same way we used them.

I was thinking maybe just a free Longhouse wagon on age-up, like the Portuguese. That would honestly make the most sense.

Then Poundmaker would make an excellent AI leader for the Iron Confederacy.

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Maybe they can build additional TC-Longhouses at age II as a Civ Bonus (or something like have a limit of 1/2/4 Longhouses in ages I/II/III), but can be nerfed in some other ways…

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I get it, makes sense. But in that case I think they would need unique skins depending on the civ. As an example, it doesn’t make sense to me that native civs are currently sharing the same canoe/captured mortar skin. I’m not sure about the names though.

1 Like

The Captured Mortar needs to be a Haudenosaunee unique unit. There is zero chance any of the other civs would have used anything similar.

If the prairie civs must have artillery, a Horse Gun would work for the Lakota and Comanche and the Light Cannon would be fine for the Iron Confederacy.

3 Likes

I knew for a fact that aztecs never used artillery, for the others I wasn’t sure. Thanks for the info! I was just using this as an example to explain why shared units would need their own skins, at least for civs who are regionally distants from each other.

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They could work like villager skins, one plains set, one NE woodlands set.

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Pointing about treaty, there are some issues. If natives got mortars and Lakota the ability to build walls (age IV) was for a reason. Wall-less bases are too vulnerable. (And not a good idea for a defensive civ??)
Mortars are needed to stop wall spamming, otherwise we would going back to 2021 spot.

While warrior ceremony can be interesting, it is as useless as SK and dog soldiers current ones. Waiting for actual units (no generals like daymios) from the base to be in the front is a poor design. Becoming this mechanic the norm is a bad idea.

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I am going to genuinely say that not being able to defend your own base wall-less in a long game is more of a skill issue than an issue with the civ design. Defaulting to walls is more of a lack of ability to think outside the box - The Lakota Heyoka increases building durability, unit durability, and Khuwa are significantly stronger than even CDB when it comes to fighting, with cards and normal techs available to them to increase their own fighting ability. They are not cheap, and they can defend themselves remarkably well, as Tipi are specifically tailored to increase the defensive capabilities of the Khuwa.

Spread your base out so no opponent can target your entire eco at once and scatter in military buildings and Warhuts around. You’ll be fine.

Not mortars specifically, just cannons in general. A horse gun with modified stats would be fine.

It’s no more useless than shipping in units from defensive bases. The Lakota in particular have the unique advantage of being able to put their Plaza in a forward base, while other Natives would need to work more around putting it somewhere easily defendable - But the fact that it doesn’t require constant Villager interaction and can be functional by Medicine Healers alone is enough to put it wherever you need it. Given that the economic benefits of the Plaza are minimal now - only the Grandmother’s Gifts ceremony is economic - it doesn’t make sense to keep it back in your own base anymore.

As I said, my comment is about treaty. Anyone facing a unwalled based would run to siege your buildings and economy (that cant be spread due to TC radius).

If siege elephants got higher range was because an army can stop them from sieging walls and advance. Same happened with AK and their bonus vs walls (and many other buffs).
Another example would be russian forts/blockhouses spamming units or ethiopian monasteries or african palaces. Long range siege is needed while a long range horse artillery seems strange (Field canons arent the best sieging neither)

Maybe @Erchere can give another POV for treaty

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I love how you provided an alternative for the Lakota coin gathering mechanic in case your first one wouldn’t work with the engine as it is and then you just went ahead and included the extremely convoluted Plaza rework that’d require extensive engine reworks anyways lol.

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I was debating adding an alternative as well - Rather than any Ceremonies at all, it’d just be a button to empower one of your specific warrior society units with additional bonuses and be a place for expensive techs that would be needed with a lot of the cards that would need to get replaced to make room for Mercenary cards.

Hm… I think what could be even easier to implement is to simply have the option for every warrior to be upgraded individually on the spot. You could have it be done near a building, although that’s slightly more convoluted.

Yeah I’ve thought about that too (though from a Grenadier ‘upgrading’ to grenade launcher button on the unit) but yeah it could be somewhat convoluted to have it within a building radius.

I do get the unit-turns-to-another-unit thing as well, and if it’s done well it could be a nice, fairly simple mechanic that’s not to out there as a civ ‘gimmick’.

An old RTS game called American Conquest had this mechanic for all military units, meaning you had to have a steady amount of villagers to send into barracks to get your Musketeers - which whilst really easy to grasp, felt a little unnecessary. However a small element for a few Native American civs would be fine and actually be fitting.

So essentially you’re fine and dandy with your base unit roster, however should you wish to get some tougher or more specialist units, sending your younger, less experienced warriors to the Plaza to take on new roles/come of age all makes sense.

Gameplay wise I guess your standard roster could be considered a resource in itself - at the Plaza the high tier units cost standard resource (i guess a token amount if you’ve already paid for the original unit) as well as a unit for it to be ‘converted’? Would this happen by 'garrisoning: your units in the plaza and then any elite unit being trained will use a standard unit from its ‘bank’ of warriors? (I’m guessing that would be the simplest and less abstract looking way) or would the building target the nearest viable unit when trying to train the higher tier unit and convert instantly?