Civ Proposal: Nanzhao

I already made a similar thread about 5 plausible Asian civs to add into the game several months ago, now this is a reworked version. For those that haven’t seen my earlier thread, please refer to this link: 5 plausible civs for a new DLC expansion centered on Asia - Age of Empires II: DE / II - Discussion - Age of Empires Forum

The civ that I’m going to focus on is Nanzhao.

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Nanzhao (738 - 1253)

Civilization type: Archer and Defensive

Architecture: Generic East Asian (a new generic East Asian architecture set shared with Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans; Japanese would continue using the current East Asian set, while Mongols would use a new Inner Asian set along with the Tanguts)

In-game language: controversial, either Loloish or Kradai

Wonder: the Three Pagodas of the Chongsheng Temple

Civilization bonuses:

Monastery provides +5 population

Starting from the Feudal Age, all Archery Range units gain +1 pierce armor with each advancement in age (Feudal Age +1 / Castle Age + 1 / Imperial Age +1), for a total of +3 pierce armor

Have access to the unique defensive building Shanzhai / Shancheng (will elaborate on it later)

Team bonus:

Monastery +2 LOS (8 instead of the normal 6)

Castle Age UT: Lacquered Leather Armor, team unique units gain +1 pierce armor (Food 200 Gold 250)

Imperial Age UT: Tea and Horse Road, when each cavalry unit has been trained, 10% of its gold cost will be returned. For instance, a Cavalier costs 75 gold to train, when it has been trained, 7,5 gold (8 gold) in game will be returned.

UU1: Luojuzi, a skirmisher with high HP and the speed of a Eagle Warrior, and unlike normal skirmishers this one costs gold to train. According to Xin Tang Shu (new records of the Tang Dynasty) compiled by the Song historian Ouyang Xiu, Luojuzi was the title given to the elite troops of the Nanzhao army. These troops were trained for speed and endurance, wore a red lacquered leather helmet and a bronze buckler shield. They were likely skirmishers since the javelin was a common weapon among the tribal peoples of southern and southwestern China.

Stats

Cost: 40 Wood 40 Gold

HP: 50 / 55 (elite)

Attack: 4 / 5 (elite) pierce

Attack bonuses:

+4 / +5 (elite) vs Archer

+3 vs Spearman

+3 vs Cavalry Archer

+2 / +3 (elite) vs Cavalry

Rate of fire: 3.05

Frame delay: 5

Range: 5

Minimum range: 1

Accuracy: 95%

Projectile speed: 7

Melee armor: 0 / 1 (elite)

Pierce armor: 5 / 6 (elite)

Armor classes: Archer, Unique Unit

Speed: 1.2 / 1.3 (elite)

LOS: 7

UU2: Bo / Raeu Tribesman, hill tribes that once inhabited Southwest China (some say they were related to the Andamanese but that rests to be proven) often causing troubles to the Sinitic settlers, trained at the Barracks when Castle Age is reached, has no elite upgrade. Deals bonus damage against the Militia line and against Eagles. The most unique feature of this unit is that it attacks 15% faster on elevated terrains.

Stats

Cost: 35 Wood 35 Gold

HP: 75

Attack: 8 melee

Attack bonuses:

+2 vs Eagle Warrior

+2 vs Swordsman (new armor class, comprises of militia and its upgrades)

+1 vs Standard Building

Rate of fire: 2.0 (1.7 on elevated terrains)

Melee armor: 1

Pierce armor: 5

Armor classes: Infantry, Unique Unit

Speed: 1.2

LOS: 6

Unique Defensive Structure: Shanzhai / Shancheng (means “Hill Fort” in Chinese), a defensive structure similar to Krepost and Donjon, smaller than a castle but larger than a tower, however unlike the other two this one can only be built on elevated terrains and not on flat grounds. It costs 100 Wood and 200 Stone to be built.

Tech tree:

Barracks: no Eagles and no Champion

Archery Range: no Hand Cannoneer and no Thumb Ring

Stable: no Camels, no Paladin, no Steppe Lancer, have access to the Battle Elephant but without its elite upgrade

Castle: no Hoardings

Siege Workshop: no Bombard Cannon and no Siege Onager

Dock: no Fast Fire Ship, no Heavy Demo, and no Elite Cannon Galleon

Blacksmith: no Leather Archer armor, no Ring Archer Armor, and no Bracer

Monastery: full

University: no Bombard Tower and no Treadmill Crane

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If they are to speak kradai then why not simply name them T(d)ai and let them cover all the tai people of medieval age? I mean it is a bit more well known name than nanzhao.

Also all the tai people they were all related to each other during the medieval period and started diverging into different distinct cultures lao, thai, ahom, kra etc. only in late medieval when they migrated to different areas of South East Asia and mixing with locals.

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Because the ethnic group of the ruling elite of Nanzhao is still controversial, some scholars claim they were Loloish/Yi speakers, while others claim they were Kradai speakers. Nanzhao was likely a multi-ethnic kingdom.

And also I intend to use Nanzhao to represent the various tribes that once inhabited Southern China. Tai as an ethnolinguistic name appeared relatively late and is more associated to the Siamese in SE Asia, but not to the Kradai tribes in Southern China.

Do people make multiple monastery’s to this to become useful?

Pretty sure you cant code something like this,even if you can this becomes totally useless unless there is a hill on a useful location.

Isnt this the same as anormal archer line unit? Im also not a big fan of having ranged units in a barracks.

Are they not more similar to Vietnamese people than Tai?

Isnt this the same as anormal archer line unit? Im also not a big fan of having ranged units in a barracks.

It’s not an archer unit but an infantry unit, I imagine it to be armed with a trident-like weapon and a rattan shield.

Are they not more similar to Vietnamese people than Tai?

The majority of southern minorities in China speak Kradai and Hmong-Mien languages, whereas Vietnamese speak an Austroasiatic language. Only the Wa and the Blang minorities in the extreme southwest corner of China speak Austroasiatic languages.

I think I mixed up uu1 and uu2 :upside_down_face:

UU1 Luojuzi would be trained at the Castle, whereas UU2 Bo / Raeu Tribesman would be trained at the Barracks.

Nanzhao-period painting, showing a group of dark-skinned Andamanese looking tribesmen trying to attack a pale-skinned Sinitic-looking monk, seems that my Bo / Raeu Tribesman should have a bonus attack against monks. What do you think?

Extract_of_the_Nanzhao_Tujuan_scroll

Bull rider would make an awesome uu.

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This is almost useless. People rarely use more than one or two monasteries. If it was 10 or 15 pop it might be worth it.

That’s quite close to Vietnamese in some ways, especially as they also have an anti-archer unique unit. Maybe if it gave +1 melee in castle and another in Imperial? You might want to add the archer armor back in though.

Ok, but maybe also give monks extra LoS as well if you want to really incentivize monk play.

This is good.

Maybe, but it doesn’t seem much better than just decreasing the cost. Maybe if cavalry would give a certain amount of gold every time they kill an enemy unit?

Unique units are ok, but how would this work? Is it any terrain level above the average level?

No. That is way too impractical. What if it got +1 attack for the level of elevation it was built on? ie. if it is on elevation level 1, it gets +1 attack, if it is on level 7 it gets +7. This could either increase base damage, or count towards extra arrows. I might be good if it could also train a unit of some sort, because Kreposts and Donjons both train unique units.

Maybe have it missing one tech, not sure which if you are having all the other bonuses.

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This bonus is completely useless. If it doubled the LOS, it might become slightly useful.

Way too small to be useful. Even if it were 20 it’s still not great, that’s basically just a 75 wood monastery, which is okay once, but a single 100 wood castle age bonus is pretty meh.

Maybe ‘can build monastery in feudal age, monastery gives 15 population space’?

This would be no different from a discount. Giving it back when the unit dies might be better.

This seems to overlap with the Vietnamese UU a lot. Fast anti-archer archer? Maybe something else.

Why not just have a civ bonus to make buildings do additional damge/range when built on a hill?

Again, this really overlaps with the Vietnamese. What if you made it melee armor, instead, and added dark age? +1 Melee Armor per age, for a total of +4 in Imp. Archers with 7 melee armor would actually be pretty cool, especially against hussars.

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You can make even 10 or more. You don’t build that much monastery, so with just +5 you don’t see much difference.

Well, it may work, but I would suggest to remove the last archer armor, so overall it’s just +1 in post imp.

It’s still a good bonus. In feudal and castle age you are always ahead, you can delay the armor upgrades, and you save resources on the last armor upgrade.

That’s meaningless. You usually build your monastery in your city, what’s +2 LoS on just a building.

Like, you should instead give more LoS on monks, it would be at least more useful, but it have to be like double their actual LoS.

Overall, most of the bonuses starts on castle age, and there is no eco buff, so I don’t think that this civ can really do much on arabia.

Well, that’s makes your ranges units and the PA bonus useless…

This was a thread from last Sep, since then I’ve changed a lot of ideas about this potential civ, and I’d like to do a new civ proposal about the Nanzhao.

Nanzhao

Archer and Monk civ

Civ Bonuses:

Mills will auto-generate a water buffalo every 3 min of game time, starting from Feudal Age

Gains +10 gold for each successful conversion (pushes for aggressive monk play in the Castle Age)

Archers move 5%/10%/15% faster in Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age

Team Bonus:

Monastery provides +10 population

Unique Techs:

Castle Age:

Lacquered Leather Armor

Team unique units +1 pierce armor (Food 200 Gold 250)

Imperial Age:

Tea and Horse Road

Trade Carts bring back both gold and food, and team players can buy Knights at their markets. (Food 500 Gold 500)

Unique Units

UU1: Luojuzi, a skirmisher with the speed of an Eagle Warrior and with a small bonus attack against cavalry, and unlike normal skirmishers this one costs gold to train.

Stats

Cost: 40 Wood 20 Gold

HP: 35 / 40 (elite)

Attack: 4 / 5 (elite) pierce

Attack bonuses:

+4 / +5 (elite) vs Archer

+3 vs Spearman

+3 vs Cavalry Archer

+2 / +3 (elite) vs Cavalry

Rate of fire: 3.05

Frame delay: 5

Range: 5

Minimum range: 1

Accuracy: 95%

Projectile speed: 7

Melee armor: 0 / 1 (elite)

Pierce armor: 5 / 6 (elite)

Armor classes: Archer, Unique Unit

Speed: 1.2 (base speed) / 1.32 (Castle Age after civ bonus) / 1.38 (Imperial Age after civ bonus)

UU2: Raeu Tribesmen, trained at the Barracks when Castle Age is reached, and has no elite upgrade. It attacks 20% faster on elevated and marshy terrains.

Stats

Cost: 30 Food 15 Gold

HP: 60

Attack: 8 melee

Attack bonuses:

+3 vs Ship

+3 vs Fishing Ship

+2 vs Eagle Warrior

+1 vs Standard Building

Rate of fire: 2.0 / 1.6 (on elevated and marshy terrains)

Melee armor: 1

Pierce armor: 5

Armor classes: Infantry, Unique Unit

Speed: 1.2

Nanzhao Tech Tree

Barracks: missing Eagles

Archery Range: missing Hand Cannoneers and Parthian Tactics

Stable: missing Steppe Lancer, Paladin, and Camel Rider; have access to Battle Elephant, but without the elite upgrade

Siege Workshop: missing Siege Onager and Bombard Cannon

Castle: missing Hoardings

Dock: missing Shipwright, Fast Fire Ship, Elite Cannon Galleon, and Heavy Demo Ship

Blacksmith: full

Monastery: missing Heresy

Market: full

University: missing Siege Engineers, Bombard Tower, and Treadmill Crane

Mining Camp: missing Gold Shaft Mining

Mill: full

Basically, I envision this civ as a rather aggressive civ that focuses on Castle Age aggression. In the Castle Age they have many options, their unique unit Luojuzi deals bonus damage against archers and also somewhat counters cavalry, the other unique unit Raeu Tribesman can serve as a meat shield in front and counters anti-archer units (such as Eagles). And combined with some Knights, Battle Elephants, and Monks, their army can be quite intimidating in the Castle Age. And it reflects actual history quite well (since the Nanzhao was quite expansionist in the late 8th and throughout the 9th century). However, in the Imperial Age they start to fall behind, since they lack strong units in late game (missing Paladin, Elite Battle Elephant, Bombard Cannon, Siege Onager, etc.). This again reflects actual history (Nanzhao’s successor Dali was more peaceful and conservative, and got conquered by the Mongols in 1253).

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I think I get what you’re trying to do here historically, and overall I like the concept, but gameplay-wise I really think you should at least provide avenues for staying power in Imp rather than just leaving them high in Castle Age and dry in Imp. I would let them have either the Elite Raeu Tribesman or the Elite Battle Elephant, but remove the corresponding blacksmith armor tech for the one you chose. That way you have something late to mix in with your late game UU and FU arbs without them becoming overpowered, and you have more options than just their archer play to lean on. As far as my opinion on the bonuses and techs go:

-Instead of the Mills auto-generating Water Buffalo, how about allowing them to train them for a set price for no pop space? Maybe something like 50 food? It would serve the same purpose, and I’ve already seen several instances of that being coded in already. It would also serve as a positive feedback loop, and serve as a wood-saving mechanic in water maps, making it a hidden bonus there.

-I think the +10 gold per conversion is fine, but should be switched with one of your UTs instead. This technically allows for infinite gold for as long as you have enemy units/buildings to convert, and should be treated as such imo. IDK about the cost balance for this though, so maybe this might be the better way to implement this.

-I hesitate to say anything about the archer bonus, only because I’m fairly sure archers being kind of slow were the original devs’ intention of balance for them against infantry and cavalry, but it’s also fair for a raiding civ to have some type of speed bonus for units. Archers are also the only speed bonus we haven’t seen. I’m undecided on if this should change in some way, but it still feels kind of “off” to me balance-wise.

-The Team Bonus seems fine imo, if a little underwhelming. Everyone builds at least one Monastery though, so it will consistantly add something for your team, especially at the time where the game usually starts ramping up if no rush strats were used.

-I think the Castle Unique Tech is pretty decent overall, not terribly strong but not necessarily weak either. maybe up the cost a bit to 300/350 F, 250 G. It is a team bonus tech after all.

-The Imp Unique Tech is the only one that confuses me; The Trade carts thing sounds fine, but what do you mean by buying knights? Buying a batch of them immediately for a sum of gold? Or just using the Market as a second stable only for Knights? Either way, I would consider upping the price of this tech if it allows you another method of unit generation, and allowing a player to summon a batch of units all at once repeatedly for a price is a bit OP imo.

As far as the UUs go, an anti-Cav skirm is… interesting, I’m not gonna lie, but I’m not sure if the speed for skirm units should tie into the speed bonus for archers. I figure you want to keep the raiding potential high, but there have been separations before between archer bonuses and skirm bonuses in civs past, so I’d keep the archer speed bonus off of the skirm UU, and probably skirms in general. They’re plenty powerful enough imo since they counter one of their natural counters already.

The Tribesman seems to me like an attempt at creating another Kerambit Warrior with situational usage: similar cost, similar usage, full pop space instead of 2 for 1, hits harder than KW, dependant on terrains for advantage. While I am fine with spammy cheap units designed to be meat shields, the pierce armor is a bit high for so cheap a unit. Imo the answer here is to either up the cost or lower the armor, and perhaps just give them 5% increased attack speed in general since map generation is random and unable to be counted on in the first place…

As far as the techs, I see nothing wrong in general other than the changes I proposed earlier. It makes sense an 8-9th century civ doesn’t have gunpowder, and strong siege/ navy seems wrong to me for the playstyle you want here, so that’s as far as I’ll go.

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Thanks for your suggestions. I don’t really have responses or answers for all of the points that you’ve made, so I’ll just selectively respond to the most important ones.

Yes, I think instead of mills auto-generating Water Buffalo, maybe having the mills train them at a set price for no pop space is a better idea.

The team bonus is a bit underwhelming I agree, but then again I don’t have a better idea for a monk-related or monastery-related team bonus.

I believe one of the new Indian civs has already taken the bonus of trade carts generating both gold and food so I’d have to think of something else. By buying Knights at the market I mean using the Market as a second stable only for Knights (not Cavaliers or Paladins), which implies that if one of the teammates’ civs doesn’t have access to Knights (such as Meso civs or some of the new Indian civs), then after researching this tech they now have access to Knights at their Market. Yes, the price for this unique tech needs to be increased.

Yes, maybe it’s better to keep the archer speed bonus off the skirm UU, cause it’s already a quite fast unit even at 1.2.

Regarding the Raeu Tribesman, I designed it as a meat shield for Nanzhao archers and a situational or terrain-dependent defensive unit, and not a expendable zerg rush unit like the Karambit, hence the reason I give it a high pierce armor. However, if you find it to be too similar to the Karambit, then I have an alternative idea for the second UU of the Nanzhao, one that is both historical and would bring something new to the game. Poison Crossbowman, trained at the Archery Range when Castle Age is reached. It will function similarly to the Jungle Bowman in AOE 3, inflicting damage for a duration of X seconds after the projectile hit the target. And to balance things out, Nanzhao would lose access to the Arbalester upgrade in the Imperial Age. What do you think about this idea?

As a Tai person I believe the elite were Lolo or Yi. It would be cool to have both in game though. Nanzhao and Siam or Tai civ.

you must really hate fighting agianst archer civs

never mind that sounds great in feudal, great in early castle, decent in late castle age, and actually terrible in Imperial age. Seriously Imp arbalest lack TBR, Bracer, and 2 melee armor

Hmm… That could very possibly break Meso civs, considering they’re only supposed to have Xolotl warriors for horse units. Also, with the new Indian civs coming up, it could also break them as well. You’d have a mandatory meta civ pick for team games for any of these civs.

No no, I like the Raeu Tribesman concept, it’s pretty good on paper. I’m just saying that on certain maps, it’s terrain bonus would be useless since they don’t include those terrain types, so they’d end up acting as normal units. That’s all I really meant by that.

That said, I like your Poison Crossbowman suggestion too. It would put an interesting twist on surviving engagements against them, and they would definitely be counterable with the missing armors. Missing arbalest is fine too, if you add them in, since it would push you to go for them instead. Alternatively… you could do them like the Houfnice, lock them behind a tech in the archery range and upgrade them from Arbalesters.