Asian hero models and names (compilation and continued discussion)

Trying to continue on these older discussions:

Why I don’t like monks
First of all monks have weaker relations with their in-game function as scouts. Explorers of course are the ones that make most sense. The other military leader-types can still be somewhat justified if you consider it as some abstract way of representing their commanding of the army, like campaign heroes do. Monks in general are neither scouts nor military leaders.

Also the monk is too specific as a role (not that the name itself cannot be unique, in fact different civs already have different monk names; not suggesting it should use the same name as others). As we now have customizable hero skins, this name makes less sense.
You can justify most other skins for explorers/generals/warchiefs/princes. An explorer can dress like, say, Francis Drake, or Francis Drake can work as an explorer. (not counting the meme skins of course) Basically anyone can work as an explorer, if he/she explores.
Monks are not. They have specific social status and very strong images. Zheng Yisao is not a Shaolin master. Some ninjia is not a sohei. Some EIC officer is not a brahmin. Nor would monks dress like that.

If the role is a more generic one, that encompasses more identities and images, then these could be justified. For example, a “prince” or “lord” (we’ll talk about better names later) can be or dress like monks, ninjas, EIC officiers, pirates, etc. But not vise versa.

Basically if you really want to represent the few examples of monks that were also military leaders, it’s better to have a leader unit with a monk skin rather than a monk unit.

In short:
A generic, all-encompassing name with a specific skin is okay.
A specific name with a skin not specific to its role is odd.

Personally, I don’t like the religious-centered representation of Asians either.

What to do
Change the default Asian hero model and name to a more generic role like prince, lord or general (or equivalences in the respective language).

Or for more flavor, use some folk hero or knight errant type of names:
Youxia for Chinese
Ronin for Japanese (the mercenary unit needs fo be renamed to Kensei, or Shinan/Master Samurai etc.)
Bahadur for Indians (I know this word is Turkic so let me know if there are more fitting ones).

The current default monk models can be either turned into a custom skin, or more radically, assigned to the respective native sites as a native hero obtainable from techs, as we already have some. And in fact each monk already has their respective native site.

In addition I’d suggest the disciple to replace the rattan shield as Shaolin native unit (with the same stats). The rattan shield has little to do with the Shaolin Temple. It should be repurposed as a mercenary unit or sth.

What about the hero skins?
Luckily, all custom Asian hero skins are NOT monks (which again justifies getting rid of the monk name). So one can simply replace the default skin with a new one.

EDIT: if heroes are to de-couple from monks, the re-arrangement of mercenary, hero upgrade and religious buildings is also relevant:


Indian hero could be called as Zamindar, seems suitable since they exist since Mughal India, British Raj, and also included in rebellion against the British. They are feudal rulers and also seems to be the leader or owning Mansabdar.


Fortunately while developing my Filipino civ I found out Babaylanes ended up leading rebellions many a time, so they do fit the role of a military leader about as well as randomly being monks.

I’ve always felt the choice of having a General lead a colony to be rather lazy, I don’t see the leader of an entire army leading a random town in the middle of nowhere. I know that’s what Americans have so far, and there’s some degree of justification in that the leader of a rebellion would be commanding a smaller camp of settlers compared to the general of an already established nation.

Never been completely convinced about having Princes or whatnot, but it’s absolutely not the worst idea. Guess Lords fit as rulers of a far off, remote province that’s just settling a town.

I am totally against removing default skins. Giving all civs a new skin for free that is always unlocked so players always have a alternative choice I would totally be in support of.


would feel weird to call the Japanese hero/es “ronin” considering you (the player) are their master lol


I can understand the developers trying to allow players to customize a hero’s identity through skins. However, the problem is not really solved, and having a pirate lady train a group of monks to follow her is still very weird.

The starting heroes of the Native American civs have an inspiring aura so they are supposed to be leaders of tribemen like chiefs. The starting heroes of the African civs have a fealty aura so they are supposed to be royal members like princes. The starting heroes of the federal civs are able to plant an inspiring flag so they are supposed to be military leaders like generals.

Once the healing capability is transferred to a trainable healer unit introduced in the Monastery, the starting heroes of the Asian civs have nothing in common except the ability to stun enemy. I don’t even think that they need to have a common role or identity.

The characteristic of the Chinese starting hero is that it can train warriors, so it should be a role who are proficient in martial arts and have leadership status. I’ve always liked the idea of ​​an Armed Caravan Leader and Armed Caravan Escorts, they can make the identity of traveling around and building TPs more sense. Alternatively, Viceroy (Zongdu) and his guards would also be a suitable choice, making the role as a provincial ruler for a new territory of the empire more reasonable. Going even further, the Armed Caravan Leaders and Escorts may have a chance to receive economic-themed bonuses, such as trickling export when moving to encourage constant scouting, and the Viceroy may have a chance to receive military-themed bonuses like inspiring the army.

The characteristics of the Japanese starting heroes are archery attack and the smoke bomb ability, and they have to be 2 or more for finding animals and building Shrines. Given the Japanese historical explorations in Ezo (Hokkaido) and Sakhalin, it would pretty make sense to just remove their monk status and make them simply samurai explorers. Even ninjutsu masters are better than ronin because they have a lord to serve and make scouting enemy bases, using smoke grenades, and stealth more reasonable.

The Indian unit roster is the most needed for reworks, and there is no reason why heroes should not be included. Once no longer used for healing, the Indian hero has no need for a second one. We could have just made it a powerful feudal lord on elephant back, as shown in the official promotional art image. Zamindar and Mansabdar are absolutely suitable to be the role of the hero but they have been used in the game already, so maybe Taluqdar, Jagirdar or even Raja and Nawab can also work for it.

Becoming a skin is the easiest and considerate for nostalgic players. At that point, just introduce a new ordinary healer unit named Monk into the Monastery.

Or if we let them continue to exist as units…

  • A non-heroic warrior monk named “Abbot” instead of ordinary Monks can be trained in the Monastery for the Chinese. It will have the skin of the current Shaolin master, become a healer with powerful attacks, and can also train Disciples who are also healers.
  • Sohei Archers become non-heroic and become the second unit of Zen Temple. There is technology in the Monastery that allows the Japanese to train Sohei Naginata and Sohei Archers without population and upgrade them in the Monastery.
  • The ordinary Monks and the Brahmins can be together as trainable healer units in the Monastery for the Indians. The Brahmins here will be no longer heroic units with extraordinary combat power, but rather expensive and effective healers. They are even possible to trickle XP or inspire surrounding villagers or warriors as further abilities.

This is not necessary. Literally, many units are not directly related to the religious holysite where they are located.

From another perspective, it is not impossible that the rattan shield, a common weapon in southern China and parts of Southeast Asia, was used by Shaolin monks. Just as even though the Spanish conquistadors in Asia are literally ahistorical, it makes perfect sense for Western missionary groups to use European gunpowder weapons to defend churches.


That’s what I mean though.

In fact, if the Asian “leader” units like daimyo and mansabdar were not designed as a separate unit type, I think they were the most obvious choice.

I remember back when I first saw the TAD website I thought the daimyo was the hero unit. Since DE the “hero=some sort of leader” role has been solidified further so I think it should also apply to Asians.

In addition if we want to still make them consistent among the civ group (like how all African heroes are “princes” and all federal American heroes are generals, etc.), I think “official” could also work as a theme. Like:
Chinese: Zongdu, Zongbing or equivalent (the Huang Jian skin then fits prefectly)
Japanese: Metsuke or Bugyo
Indian: Zamindar
Or, for clarity, Imperial/Shogunate/Raj Official/Magistrate, etc.
These both fit the leader role and reflects these nation’s strong central powers.

Youxia is actually a pretty good fit for the role. It encompasses the wandering traveler vibe without having a forced wordy name. And it fits all the Chinese skins.

Ronin and Bahadur are poor fits for heroes though. Those should be mercenaries or standard units. Daimyo is by far the best choice for the Japanese leader, and India has tons of options like Zamindar or Raja that could work.

Meanwhile russian lady bear in a pink ballerina dress casually strutting along, unaffected, moistured, fully focused, in her lane…

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You are very welcome.

First of all monks, and especially asian ones, are subject of exploration. In bouddhism especially, it is a well known practice.

Secondly, skins should NOT be considered in the thought process. You already know that skins have been commissionned by the direction and designed by the marketing board to achieve the objective of making more money. They do not represent the devs’ intentions, nor have any historical or gameplay relevance/importance.

At the very least it gives these civs a certain identity (americans = officer ; african = king ; europeans = explorer ; ameridians = warchief ; asians = religious). A rework could then be done considering these considerations, while keeping their peculiar identity.

In the end, the Asian explorer should keep a religious nature, but could be reworked into something more historical. But please, not yet-another “officer”/“lord”/“commander” ALA Mexico/USA/Africans.

Well, rename the default shaolin monk to “Drunken Master Jackie Chan” and count him as another memeskin. Problem solved?

Need evidence.

If adding one more skin and changing the name can make many of (I’m not using all because I know someone would jump out and say bear bear bear) the skins more consistent, I see nothing lost.

That’s the exact purpose of my post.

It also reminds of a suggestion I think someone made in regard to the Asian explorers. He suggested, if I remember well, for Japan some sort of cartographer, and other interesting suggestions for asian civs.


Cartographer is not very unique to East Asians imo.
And it has little to do with fighting while the in-game Chinese and Japanese monks play more fighting role than many other heroes.


The daimyo can become a hero but I am very opposed to a daimyo becoming a starting hero.
Theoretically there should be only one hero Daimyo in a new territory, but it should be acquired as part of Shogunate (or Tenshu if the name is changed) when built. It should not be the starting hero of this civ, because it is neither suitable for having 2, nor has archery attack, nor suitable for the theme of building Shrines, and it already has a identity in training and inspiring military units.
I don’t want to drastically change the core gameplay of the civ just to make Daimyo the starting hero.

Like I said, once they’re no longer healers, they have nothing in common except the stun ability. I don’t think they need a consistent or common theme. In my opinion this is self-limited. I would like to see a ruler like Viceroy/Zongdu for the Chinese and meanwhile non-rulers like Samurai Explorers/Cartographers for the Japanese, or a folk character like Armed Caravan Leader for the Chinese and meanwhile a feudal lord like Zamindar for the Indians. If possible, each one can have chances to gain unique indentity or capabilities based on its role, either economic-themed or military-themed.

The Cartographers mentioned here are the Samurai Explorers mentioned in my previous reply. It’s just a matter of naming.

With the support of the Tokugawa Shogunate, those samurai explorers, such as Ino Tadataka (1745-1818), Mogami Tokunai (1755-1836), Mamiya Rinzo (1775-1844), and Matsuura Takeshiro (1818-1888), explored, measured and mapped the lands of Ezo and Sakhalin and were instrumental in Japan’s northward expansion. Those explorers did have an inherent role as cartographers. At the same time, their theme won’t conflict with being multiple, archery attacks and shrine building so the change could be very simple.

I’ve mentioned it previously in another thread and I see it’s touched upon by someone on here as well, but Viceroys (with whatever regionally appropriate naming conventions) is the way to deal with this, should religious leader heros ever be changed out for something else (unlikely).

Why? Because Viceroys dabbled in both bureaucracy and conflict. They are not boring out-right military generals and they weren’t pious conflict-avoiding fellows. They were in charge of running regions, prefectures, territories but also often wanted glory in war.

Gameplay wise, this gives us a hero who could give us economy as well as military benefit who thematically ties into building new settlements.

That’s what I suppose daimyos should be.

Chinese and Indians have plenty of official names for similar positions, Zongdu, Zamindar, etc., but Japanese “viceroys”, shugo daimyo before Sengoku period or fudai/tozama daimyo in Edo period, are all “daimyos”. Daimyo is such a broad term that covers almost all similar roles. And now it is a core part of Japanese civ design that cannot be easily overhauled.

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At least Bugyo (奉行) is a more suitable choice than Daimyo for the starting heroes, even though it is a pity that naming the heroes under an official like bugyo would be difficult to refer to the explorations in Ezo and Sakhalin.

The term bugyo was a title assigned to samurai officials by the shogun or daimyos, and a broadly defined title that may be for a local official similar to a governor or a government agency official similar to a commissioner. A local fiefdom, province, or city can reasonably have more than 1 bugyo who performed duties similar to mayors, sheriffs, and judges. If people don’t like overly specific terms like bugyo, I have no problem with just and simply naming the starting heroes “Samurai Official”.

If the Daimyo could be hero unit, it should be similar to Padre, up to 1 basically and obtained when reaching a certain Age. I’ve always wanted hero Daimyo to be accessible when advancing the age with the Tenshu (the renamed Shogunate), which would mean that the territory is promoted to a new domain and there is the daimyo, the feudal lord of this domain.

In the home city, players could choose skin for the the starting heroes (whether Samurai Explorers/Cartographers or Bugyo) as well as the hero Daimyo. And hero Daimyo’s skins could be the existing Mototada, Kiyomasa, Masamune and Shogun Tokugawa, and even potential females such as Ii Naotora and Tachibana Ginchiyo.