AoE4 Variant Civilization Concept: The Jurchens

I feel I could have done much more with the Jurchens, but I wanted to finish this up before the next Variant Civ announcement, in case they decide to announce the Zhu Xi legacy.
While the Devs wanted to focus more on the Song Dynasty itself.

Researching the Jurchens was rather difficult, as it required a ton of digging and filtering out the many Jin-dynasties that were, and it showed itself that rather lackluster info about the Jurchens once you learned the Rise and Fall of their empire. Everything else kinda falls into obscurity, besides their famed heavy Cavalry. Very few landmarks are also left behind from them. So I ended up having to incorporate many of the OG Chinese landmarks into it, keeping the landmarks mostly located in the Northern-Song territories.

I wanted to try to see if we could make a Variant of the Northern dynasties instead, this is why I decided to go for the Jurchen Legacy itself (no pun intended actually). This group of people played a very central role up to the present modern era in Chinese history and were famed for their Military strength and brilliance, despite rather lackluster abilities at seas… But They Conquered, got conquered, and then reconquered!

This was also my attempt at a Variant Civ of the Chinese, so I wanted to retain a lot of the Chinese features, yet trying to make it different. So My initial thought behind the design was to “How to turn the Dynasty system in reverse”, instead of Landmarks unlocking Dynasties, you have Dynasties unlocking landmarks.
But at the same time allowing the player to Choose and keep the Dynasty bonus they wish to have, playing more into that style of Dynasty.

The Jurchens


Aggressive, Flexible, Administrative

Difficulty: 3/3


  • Unique heavy cavalry Tie-Futu

  • Unique scout unit the Jurchen Scout

  • Stables are 33% cheaper

  • Can produce Early Horsemen.

  • Chemistry technology granted for free in Feudal Age

  • Town Center, Keeps, and Outposts use Handcannon Slits.

  • Professional Scouts granted for free in Dark Age.

  • Can build all landmarks.

  • Is able to generate and collect taxes from age II

Jurchen Raiders – Scouts can capture wounded villagers, dropping the captured villager at your TC turns them into your own.

Chief Executives – Choose an Administrator to change the governing style of the Jurchens.

  • Liao Administrator (Starting Administrator re-purchasable for 100G) :
    Production speed of Cavalry units increased by 20%, Blacksmith Technologies 20% cheaper, Scouts move 12% faster while carrying villagers/deer carcasses., Unlock building of the Fogong Temple Landmark. (Age II)

  • Jin Administrator (Available in Age I 100G):
    Reduces cost of all Military units (Except for Siege) by 15%, and Economical Technologies by 20%, and Grants access to Granary and Zhuge Nu in AgeII. Unlocks Building of the building of Imperial Academy(AgeII) and Chengling Pagoda Landmark(Age III),

  • Yuan Administrator (Available in Age II 250G):
    Increase unit speed movement speed by 15%, Allow infantry to create advanced siege weapons in the field (Springalds and Mangonels), Grant access to Fire Lancers in Age III, Unlocks the Astronomical Clocktower Landmark (Age III)

  • Ming Administrator (Available in Age III 375G) :
    Increases all unit hit points by 10%, Traders provide 20% more gold at drop off, Increases research speed of Technology by 100%, Grants access to Pagodas. Unlocks the Great Wall Gatehouse landmark (Age IV)

  • Qin Administrator (Available in Age III 375G):
    Reduces the cost of Gunpowder Technology by 50%, Handcannoneers are 17% cheaper and produced 10% faster, Granting access to Grenadiers. Unlocks the Dragon Pavilion landmark. (Age IV)

The Administrator activates the Dynasty of their respective names. One can only have 1 Administrator active at a time. Changing to another Administrator increases the cost by 100 gold each time.

Unique Landmarks

Feudal Age:

  • Fogong Temple (Requires Liao Dynasty) – Reduces wood cost of all buildings by 33%, Wood cost of Siege units reduced by 20%

  • Imperial Academy (Requires Jin Dynasty) – Allows production of Imperial Official, otherwise functions the same as the Chinese landmark

Castle Age:

  • Chengling Pagoda (Requires Jin Dynasty) – Functions as a Monastery, Relics stored in this building generate collectible taxes
  • Astronomical Clocktower (Requires Yuan Dynasty)- Functions the same as the Chinese Astronomical Clocktower.

Imperial Age:

  • Great Wall Gatehouse (Requires Ming Dynasty) – Functions the same as the Chinese Great Wall Gatehouse.
  • Dragon Pavilion (Requires Qing Dynasty) – Units in Formation gain +1 range and melee armor, if a unit dies all nearby units in formation receive 35% attack damage.
    Grants access to Unique Technology; The Eight Banners and Eight Banner Households


The Forbidden Palace

Unique Buildings:

Same as the Chinese ones.

Unique Units:

  • Jurchen Scout (100F):

    Replaces the Scout with a ranged attack instead of melee. Able to Capture wounded units, carrying them back to the TC will turn them into Villagers of your own.

  • Tie-Futu (110F 140G):
    Replaces the Lancer, Armored Cavalry when in Formation of 3 or more Tie-Futu’s they gain the Giaozo Ma aura that slows enemies movement speed by 10%

  • Jurchen also has access to Chinese Dynasty units via respective Dynasties granted by active Administrators.

Unique Technologies:

  • Iron Shackles (Age II 75F 75G): Scouts can capture wounded military infantry Units which turn into Villagers when dropped off at the Town Center.

  • Silver Monetary Reform (Age III 200F 300G): Resources bought from the market cost 20% less gold.

  • Guaizi Ma (Age III, 75W 200G): Tie-Futu in formation with 3 or more units gains an aura that slows down enemies movement speed by 10%

  • Metal Chains (Age IV 150F 750G): Increases the effectiveness of Guaizi Ma by 10%

  • The Eight Banners (Age IV #### 700G): Allows for activating additional 2 administrators. Research at the Dragon Pavilion

  • Eight Banner Households (Age IV 300W 700G): Military structures of the same kind connected to their influence decrease production speed by 3% to a maximum of 15%. Researched at the Dragon Pavilion

  • Jurchens also have access to other Chinese technologies, exception of Ancient Techniques, Thunderclap Bombs, and Extra Materials.

Additional Notes:

Architecture: Same as the Chinese ones, but with more emphasis on the precedent of living in tents amidst the Chinese style architecture. So in essence, during the Dark and Feudal Age, and even the Castle Age, Jurchen houses would be a mix of Tents and regular houses.

Naval units: Same as the Chinese ones.

Language progression: Jurchen people had their language, but started to adopt the language spoken by the Han people they governed over, and quickly became the dominant language.

The Jurchens would speak a mix of the Chinese language we hear from the Chinese in the game, but their Cavalry, especially the Jurchen Scouts and Tie-Futu should predominantly retain their Jurchen language.

Landmark references:

Fogong Temple:

The Pagoda was built by the Khitan emperor Daozong of Liao known as Hongji, at the site of his grandmother’s family home.
Having survived several large earthquakes it became quite famous in the rest of China nicknamed Muta, the Timber Pagoda in English.
The Pagoda symbolized the death of the Buddha which Emperor Hongji might have associated with his deceased father. Its construction date also corresponded with the end of the Buddhist Kalpa, which signified the end of an Era, and thus would signify the temple as the ultimate death shrine to the Buddha of the age.

Chengling Pagoda:

The Chengling Pagoda was first built in 867 to serve as a shrine for the mantle and alms bowl of Linji Yixuan. The original pagoda was ruined and replaced during 1161-1189 (Jin Dynasty) by the present-day structure. The present pagoda stands on a substructure known as a Sumeru Pedestal

Dragon Pavilion:

Dragon Pavilion is the main part of the Dragon Pavilion park located in today’s Kaifeng city.
Six Dynasties located their capital here, and the site where the pavilion is located was the place of the Dynasties Imperial Palaces. And was the Capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, most of it being destroyed during the wars that eventually led to the Song Dynasty having to cede their northern territories to the growing Jin Dynasty.
During the Ming Dynasty, a mansion was established here for the Emperor’s son with a garden. During the Qing Dynasty, a hall was added where the emperor’s tablets were placed, thus granting the name of Dragon Pavilion. (As the Chinese Emperor would often embody the title dragon)


The Forbidden Palace.

Unique Unit:

Jurchen Scout:
Health: 110/130/155
Attack: 5/6/8 +10vs scout
Rate of Fire: 1.5
Armor: 0/0/0
Pierce Armor: 0/0/0
Speed: 1.625

Note: Can allow capture of low-health villagers (and infantry with upgrade), and carry them back to the TownCenter to be converted to villagers.

Health: 190/230/270
Attack: 19/24/29
Rate of fire: 1.38
Armor: 4/5/7
Pierce Armor: 4/5/7
Speed: 1.63

Note: When grouped with 3 or more Tie-Futu it gets an aura that reduces nearby enemies’ unit movement speed.


At first, I thought this was going to be an easy and quick research to turn into a Variant Civ concept, but boy was I wrong on that one.
While there is plenty of information about the Jurchen and the Greater Jin Dynasty (The absolute worst Dynasty name to pick for accurate research in the non-Chinese speaking language as there is Early Jin, Later Jin, Greater Jin, in some cases, Qin and Qing dynasty gets mixed in).

So while there is a plethora of information about the Jurchens and their conquest of China, there is very little information on what else they did other than being Sinicized which further made them lay claim to rulership over the entirety of China.
But details into their armies, even their famed Tie-Futu or “Cataprachts” of the Chinese were rather lackluster.

Now who were the Jurchens? They were a group of Semi-nomadic people who lived a typical lifestyle of the steppe people north of China. Much like the Mongols they were centered around the leadership of a Khan and tribal communities, but unlike the Mongols, they were agricultural and settled villages and towns, on top of having parts of the villagers living nomadic pastoral life following the herds of animals, particularly horses for grazing, but returning to their respective towns after a long hiatus.

This made them rather acknowledged for Horse-raising and much China sought after and bought Horses from the Jurchens in return for luxury items such as silk from the southern Song Dynasty and metalworking from the northern Liao Dynasty, known as the Khitai.

The Jurchens were originally ####### of the Khitai, and led many raids into Goryeo, today known as Korea. Being the steppe people they are, they were known for their horse archery and terrorizing exposed towns and villages, raiding them for riches and resources, and in particular getting hold of Slaves.

They had to contribute to the greater Khitan Empire of the Liao Dynasty.
The Khitans would send envoys that would constantly pester the Jurchens for tribute, and while it was customary to grant unmarried Jurchen women to the Khitan guests for what would be called today, ###### ######### The Khitan Envoy started to demand getting hold of the Married Noble women of the Jurchens, with force.

This is something they would be a step too far that they would later regret doing, and when the Khitan Emperor was having a great feast, he demanded that all the Jurchen chieftains dance before him. And this was shown to be the last straw of Humiliation for a single Chieftain known as Wanyan Aguda refused to dance. He later unified the various Jurchen tribes and rebelled against the Khitan overlords, forming his own Dynasty, the Jin Dynasty, proclaiming himself, and deservingly so as the Emperor of the Jin Dynasty, (Jin = Gold) eventually toppling the Liao Dynasty, famously winning a battle where the Jurchens were said to be outnumbered 30 to 1. But their use of Cavalry tactics, and especially the usage of their Heavy Cavalry later known as Tie-Futu, aka Iron Pagoda’s, Iron Towers, and Iron Buddhas (They had many English translated names).
They would skirmish with their Light-ranged cavalry and bait them into the Heavy Cavalry formations that would annihilate the forces caught between the Jurchen light and heavy Cavalry, scattering away before the main enemy army would be able to reach them. Slowly picking off the enemy’s Cavalry and flanks, and eventually trampling over the main army once they were left weakened and vulnerable.

This granted them quite a lot of fame, defeating such a numerically superior army, and thus more Jurchen tribes and even other people groups under the Khitan rule decided to join the Jin Dynasty and fight back against the Khitans.
Even the Chinese Song Dynasty allied as it was finally an opportunity to get rid of their long-time rival and thorn in their north, the Liao Dynasty.
The Jurchens quickly became a strong military force, especially with their meng’an mouke system, which was the same as the Mongol Mingghan system, Meng-an being the Mongol word for Thousand, dividing their forces into social-military units of 1000 households, based on a decimal system.
This allowed for the quick incorporation of new military forces as they expanded their empire. And became the Basis of the later Qing Banner system.
They eventually conquered the Khitan Empire, driving what remained of them away to form the Qara-Khitan empire further west, and the rest of the Khitan people were quickly turned into the Oppressed, as they had Oppressed others before—being a society reliant on slaves, to becoming slaves themselves.
They ended up expanding southwards, coming into conflict with the Song, defeating them, and claiming the northern Song territories with their superior Military strength.

Eventually, they adapted the local culture and became heavily sinicized which shifted more and more focus away from their military structure over to a more civil structure, more effective at governing such a vast empire.

However, they would eventually be toppled by the growing Mongol Empire, which utterly destroyed the entire Jin Dynasty, fragmenting the Jurchen people. Many of them quickly integrated into the later Yuan empire, and especially among the more nomadic Jurchen tribes fully accustomed to the Mongol nomadic ways.
However, when the Yuan dynasty fell and the Ming dynasty took over, the Jurchens were divided into primarily 3 groups, Wild Jurchens, Jianzhou Jurchens, and Haixi Jurchens.

Wild Jurchens having returned to ####### and Haixi Jurchen siding with the Ming Dynasty.
The Jianzhou Jurchens were more Sinicized and retained a lot of the heritage of the Jin Dynasty, under the rulership of their Chieftain Nurachi, they eventually gained enough wealth and power to form their empire, the Qing Dynasty, which eventually toppled the Ming Dynasty and became the ruling dynasty up until the modern age.

Next up:
Mongol Variant: TEMUJIN

If you liked my civ concept and want to check out more here are link to the reddit threads (This forum dosn’t allow me to update old threads and changes done to them over time)
Check out these others I made:

Southeast Asia:

The Majapahit Empire

The Dai Viet Dynasties

The Burmese Empire

The Champa Kingdoms

The Thai Kingdoms

The Khmer Empire

East Asia:

The Korean Dynasty

The Japanese Shogunate

The Jurchens - Jin Dynasty (Chinese Variant) ← You are Here!


The Norse Vikings

The Scottish Kingdoms

The Spanish Empire

The Portuguese Empire

The Dutch Empire

Middle East:

The Ottoman Empire

Nizari Emirates - The Order of the Assassins

Crusader States - The Order of Templars


Native american Concept overview


The totem of the Jin Dynasty’s Jurchen is the Spear Falcon, and using this flag would be more appropriate.

Thanks! I couldnt find any other symbolism for the jurchens. I based it off the Mural painting of the jurchen army and their banners they were flying.

Because they are a people. What you are looking for to represent them as a state, is the late Jin Dynasty (also known as the Great Jin) which is featured in the Mongol campaign.

I love this suggestion, but I don’t think devs will care about it. From faction naming discuss, I feel devs care no forum voice.