New Civ Concept: The Dians

Earlier I made a civ concept about the Nanzhao ( Civ Proposal: Nanzhao - Age of Empires II: DE / II - Discussion - Age of Empires Forum, but now I decided to remake another civ concept based on the Nanzhao one, and rename the civ as the Dians. I decided to change its name for 2 reasons: first is that Nanzhao was a kingdom’s name not a people’s name, whereas “Dian” could refer to both the ancient kingdom in Yunnan and its people, hence more suitable according to the civ naming convention of AOE2. Secondly, I want this civ to not only cover the kingdoms of Nanzhao and Dali, but also other Non-Sinitic tribes or ethnic groups that had inhabited this region, such as the Bo or Pu, the Raeu or Kleu, the Li, the Yue, the Nanman, the Dong, etc. I’ve seen some other civ concepts for this region that use the name “South Chinese”, but that is both anachronistic and absurd, “Dian” is much more suitable. Without further ado, let’s begin introducing the civ.

The Dians

Time: 3rd century BC to 1253 (I selected 3rd century BC as its start date because that was around the first time when Dian and other Non-Sinitic tribes in the south started to appear in Chinese records, and 1253 as the end date because that was when the Dali kingdom got conquered by the Mongols and much of Yunnan ceased to be an independent polity, with the exception of the Jinglong Tai Kingdom in the Sipsong Panna region who still maintained some form of autonomy)

Language: Chinese (other Asian languages such as Tai or Burmese could work, but to keep it safe it’s best to use Chinese)

Architecture: Generic East Asian with distinct castle (this topic deserves its own thread, but Generic East Asian could be a new architectural style for Chinese, Dians, Jurchens, Koreans, and Vietnamese, whereas the current East Asian style could be reserved for the Japanese only, since it’s largely based on the Japanese style, and the Mongols could have a new nomadic Inner Asian style shared with Tanguts/Tibetans)

The castle could be based on the ruined Hailong Fortress in Guizhou. Granted it was a 14th or 15th century fortress built in the Ming era, similar styles had been in use in this part of China since at least the Song Dynasty. It has a lot more stones and isn’t similar to the in-game East Asian castle at all. In fact it gives me a vague Andean vibe.

Ruins of the Hailong Fortress

Wonder: the three pagodas of the Chongsheng temple, built in the early 9th century during the Nanzhao period

Civ Type

Archer and Monk

Civ Bonuses:

Mills can train water buffaloes that cost no pop space for 50 food each, starting from the Feudal Age

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

Foot archers move 5%/10%/15% faster in Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age (only applies to the archer line and not to skirmishers. The base speed for an archer is 0.96, and after speed boosts in the Imperial Age it will have a speed around 1.1, but judging by the fact that we have some infantry units going 1.2 and 1.3, I don’t think this will break the meta)

Have access to the unique production/defensive building called a Zhai (will elaborate on this later)

Team Bonus:

Team monks gain +1 pierce armor (with Slavs unique tech being changed from Orthodoxy to Detinets, the monk armor bonus can be given to a new civ)

Unique Techs:

Castle Age:

Lacquered Leather Armor

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

Imperial Age:

Tea and Horse Road

Team players can train trash Knights at their markets for 120 Food and 0 Gold (Food 700 Gold 750, can only train Knights at their markets and not Cavaliers or Paladins, and the Knights trained at the markets have basic stats and are not affected by Blacksmith upgrades, so don’t expect to defend your trade lines with these trash Knights only)

Unique Units

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


Cost: 40 Wood 30 Gold

HP: 35 / 40 (elite)

Attack: 4 / 5 (elite) pierce

Attack bonuses:

+2 vs Archer

+3 vs Cavalry Archer

+2 / +3 (elite) vs Cavalry

+1 / +2 (elite) vs Camel

Rate of fire: 3.05

Frame delay: 20

Range: 5

Minimum range: 1

Accuracy: 95%

Projectile speed: 7

Melee armor: 0 / 1 (elite)

Pierce armor: 4

Armor classes: Archer, Unique Unit

Speed: 1.2 (not affected by the civ bonus as it is a skirmisher)

The appearance of the Luojuzi skirmisher could be based on the traditional war attire of the ethnic Yi people, as we have evidence from ancient paintings to show that such armor styles were in use during the Nanzhao/Dali period

Barracks Unique Unit: Raeu Tribesman, trained at the Barracks when Castle Age is reached, and has no elite upgrade. It attacks 20% faster on elevated and marshy terrains (such as hills, shallows, or mangroves, etc.), and can be used to guard choke points with shallows. It can also be trained in the Zhai.


Cost: 40 Food 25 Gold

HP: 60

Attack: 8 melee

Attack bonuses:

+6 vs Cavalry

+5 vs Camel

+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: 2

Armor classes: Infantry, Unique Unit

Speed: 1.15

The appearance of the Raeu Tribesman could be based on these Bouyei warriors wearing rattan armor. Bouyei and neighboring Kam-Sui minorities in Southern China are thought to be the descendants of the Raeu or Kleu.


And instead of using a normal spear or sword, it could use the trident. Though not a common weapon, tridents had been used in Southern China, SE Asia, and India for hunting and warfare. Since we still lack a unit that uses the trident, this one could be it. Here’s a picture of a Southern Chinese trident.


Now onto the Zhai. The best English translation for this word would be a “fortified settlement”, and it was quite common in the southern parts of China in the past. I envision it to be a production/defensive building akin to the Blockhouse in AOE3, which combines the function of a Barracks and a Watch Tower, though obviously would have a lower range than the tower. Like the Watch Tower, it only shoots out one arrow each time, but unlike the tower the garrisoned units cannot make it to shoot out more arrows. This would make it different enough from the Krepost and the Donjon, which are more Castle-like in nature. The Zhai is able to train Raeu Tribesman and Villagers, and can only be built by Villagers, but only the Raeu Tribesman is able to garrison inside it to heal. I haven’t really think of the stats and the cost of such a building, does anyone have any suggestions?

To sum things up a bit, the Zhai is a production/defensive building that is able to train the unique unit Raeu Tribesman and also the Villagers, and shoots out one arrow each time at an enemy unit within range. Only the Raeu Tribesmen are able to garrison inside it and it will heal them automatically when garrisoned, but unlike garrisoning in towers or castles, this will not make the Zhai to shoot out more arrows. Basically an adequate building to start a forward base with, more offensive than defensive in nature I would say. And in case you’re wondering, nope it cannot be used as a drop site for resources like a Town Center, it simply trains Villagers.

To keep the game balanced, only 2 Zhais are allowed to be built in each game. However, if one or both of the Zhais got destroyed by the enemy, they can be rebuilt. A Zhai costs 200 Wood and 200 Stone to be built, has a HP of 2,500, and has a range of 6.

The appearance of the Zhai could be modeled based on the Diaojiao Lou or stilted house, the traditional style of residence of the Tai-Kradai and Hmong-Mien people in Southern China

Tech Tree

Barracks: missing Eagles and the Halberdier upgrade (since they have the Luojuzi to counter cavalry giving them Halbs would be overkill)

Archery Range: missing Hand Cannoneers, Elephant Archers, 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, Armored Elephant, and Bombard Cannon

Castle: missing Hoardings

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

Blacksmith: missing the last archer armor upgrade

Monastery: missing Heresy and Redemption

Market: full

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

Mining Camp: missing Gold Shaft Mining

Mill: full


It’s hard to judge without a tech tree to accompany.

I will say too many team based bonuses and UTs. +1 Pierce for some UUS is going to put them over the edge and is a bad idea.

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What if it’s changed to +1 melee armor, would that be better?

Can potentially be Op with some UU infantry units like TK or Kamayuk. But interesting.

Don’t really like that tbh… Even in 1v1 having 120 HP trash knights can be broken. But needs to be tested yeah.

This unit looks really strong and seems to have no real counter to me (except siege). I think you should overthing it and design it more specifically for certain situations.

Also way too strong for the cost, with 1/3 armor 11.

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Don’t really like that tbh… Even in 1v1 having 120 HP trash knights can be broken. But needs to be tested yeah.

Nope I never mentioned they have 120 HP, you misinterpreted what I said. I said these market trash Knights each costs 120 Food and 0 Gold to train. And their stats are basic, meaning that they only have 100 HP and does not benefit from any Blacksmith upgrades.

I could consider the other points you’ve raised though.

Then they will be useless… idk…
Maybe if they cost 135 F each it could be balanced if they are like “FU” knights just. Thing is… Why is this a Team Tech? If you don’t have trade at this stage of the game you will have no chance even if you have trash knights…

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Really the problem is that the bonuses are all team based. Still there’s no tech tree so I can’t say that maybe one of the UTs for the civ itself that serves its military.

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This unit looks really strong and seems to have no real counter to me (except siege). I think you should overthing it and design it more specifically for certain situations.

I think they can still be countered quite easily by massed Knights/Cavaliers/Paladins or by Light Cavs/Hussars, considering their relatively low HP, their minimum range, and their speed though fast still won’t outrun cavalry.

Eagles/Woads/Huskarls are also good counters to them.

They literally deal basically the same dps to cav as the archer line… that’s the thing. if you just have a few melee units to make it hard for the cav to engage they kill cav basically as fast as archers. And this with way lower gold cost.


I edited the cost of the 2 unique units of this civ, would the new costs make them more balanced?

It’s less about the cost…

Imo the bonus vs cav is the problem with the Luojuzi and the Pierce Armor for the Raeu. Skirmishers are supposed to be bad vs cav and infantry vs archers, it’s how the game is designed. Or you design a unit that is specifically intended to counter what it should counter. But then it needs to be creatively weaker vs something else.

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I added a potential tech tree for this civ, any comments or thoughts?

The RoF on the UU is slow. I get why but if it’s meant to be their answer to cavalry then there’s a big issue getting in the way: Minimum range. If a cavalry is within the dead zone then the cavalry wins. Compared to a Genoese Crossbow who can still get a few stinging shots off on horses if the gap is closed.

Therefore if the minimum range is a balancing factor I wonder If this civ in China would be a fine fit for Camels. It would help alleviate their cavalry weakness. It doesn’t matter if the UU is fast because it can’t outrun most cavalry meaning it won’t have the omph to melt them as fast as GC or Pike/Halb. It’s not expensive thankfully.

As anti-archer it also comes up short with the lack of Last armor. Generic Full Up ESkirms are far more effective vs archers because they take that much more hits. Even this civ’s Elite Skirms do better because they come from a building that needs no stone and cost no gold.

I’m not sure how to feel here. The civ feels like it’s a little too pushed towards team play meaning its 1v1 power falls off.

Edit: wait 50g for this low power min range archer is just too much.

Well, Luojuzi has the speed of 1.2 and also a slight anti-cav bonus, and if paired with the Raeu Tribesmen as meat shields to soak up damage then it can achieve the necessary anti-cav effect. And don’t forget that they also have 1.1 speed crossbowmen in the Imperial Age due to the civ bonus, which could also be added into the mix. The idea is to have these 3 types of units with similar speeds work in tandem. And for anti-archer there are even more options, you can use the Luojuzi, the regular Elite Skirms, the speedy Dian archers to troll enemy archers, and the Raeu Tribesman can also serve as an anti-archer unit to a certain extent, since it does have 3 base pierce armors. To give this civ the last archer armor upgrade and access to Camel Riders would make them way overpowered, not to mention that Camel Riders aren’t historically accurate for a civ based in Southern China.

And I just adjusted the gold cost of Luojuzi to 25, which I think is a reasonable price.

I don’t understand what your intentions were? To literally create an OP civ?

Nevermind this overly cheap, uncounterable, kills everything monstrosity, why do they have the equivalent of cheaper Malian +Celt (just realised theyre fast aswell! :rofl::joy:) longswords that don’t need any tech?

When you design units , unless you want people to laugh you off, you HAVE to consider counters, drawbacks for advantages

Compare the Genoese xbow(something remotely similar to yours) to the normal xbow, notice what its drawbacks are, then come back and tell us your UU is balanced

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Maybe it’s just me but I think the main UU is pretty bad. It’s base power is low, it’s RoF is 3.05 likely NOT boosted by Thumb Ring so Genoese Xbows AND Halbs do better DPS vs cavalry per unit and it has min range which is not conducive to fighting the fastest unit in the game. Even 1 base melee armor isn’t enough. Where this unit probably shines is vs Cav Archers because with an attack speed essentially meaning whatever it’s DPS is is technically divided by 3 means it just doesn’t seem all that be all end all unstoppable and if your cavalry close the gap it’s like cav vs Skirms but worse because it’s a unit from a castle that costs gold.

Maybe I’m missing something to my calculations however.

This leads to the biggest issue the frame delay is 5. Not .5 but 5.

As for the other UU it seems weak. It’s too slow to be seen as an Eagle replacement, lacks the damage output of a Champion and even with 3 PA it can be cut down with enough archer Fire. Is it worthless? No but it’s still infantry. It’s cost effectively murdered by 2H Swords and Knights and Elite Eagles can run circles around them. All in all I think other than 3 PA it’s got little going for it. Boat murder is so meme it hurts.

I’ll reiterate the real issue is just how team focused all its UTs are which means even if the civ is or isn’t great it’s potentially late game powerhouse teammates are even better.

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Wait 23 second frame delay for Mangudai? Funny I though Cav archer was 1 sec delay and Mangudai were faster.

Man, you only make it worse.

If you don’t know what it is better just don’t talk about it.

What casusincorrabil presumably is trying to politely explain after making a little joke about it here is that these frame delay numbers are not measured in seconds, but in frames of the attack animation, which are substantialy faster. A frame delay of 5 is pretty fast.

It’s kind of confusing, because sometimes the “attack delay” is given instead, and that is the same stat but measured in seconds.

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