The Rood and the Dragon - the Anglo-Saxon scenario


Retired Moderator
Nov 14, 2003

The Challenge

The year is AD 480. Nearly seventy years have passed since the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britannia. The island, rich and unprotected, has been invaded by wave upon wave of barbarians from northern Europe - Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes. They have conquered or assimilated the Romano-British peoples of the south and east of Britannia. A new era dawns.

As the warlord of one of the new Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, you must struggle for supremacy with your fellow invaders. Each lord is desperate to carve out an empire in the new lands. There will be battles and wars ahead the like of which this island has never seen before - but there will be glory and honour. For a warrior wins renown in battle, and through conquest comes prosperity and the establishment of a lasting culture. Each warlord dreams of being pronounced Bretwalda - the overking of all of Britannia. But few will achieve it.

The land of Britannia is rich, flowing with many rivers, covered in game-rich forests. But land is scarce, and there is competition. To the north is the land of the Picts, a powerful, warlike people, able to mobilise great forces from their highland retreats. To the west are the remaining Romano-British kingdoms - old, secure, and powerful. You cannot challenge them yet - but you can spread and develop faster than they can. Their age is waning, and a new age is coming.

And greater powers stir beyond the seas. In the far west is the land of Ireland, an ancient culture, never conquered by the Romans. There still flickers the flame of antiquity and the learning of the ancients. Ireland could yet extend its cultural sway over the whole of Britannia. From Ireland, and from the European continent to the south, rumours reach you of a new religion - the Christian faith. At some point you will have to contend with missionaries who will seek to convert you and your kingdom. Christianity offers cultural and educational prizes beyond imagination. Will you raise the sign of the Rood - the Cross - throughout your lands, or would you do better to keep to the faith of your forefathers, and honour the pagan gods through battle and glory?

And to the east, rumours grow of another power - a mighty people who sail over the ocean in dragon-prowed ships, wielding great axes, seeking plunder and spoils. Build your kingdom quickly and root it in strength - for the Vikings will surely put it to the greatest test.

Your people have invested you with power and honour. Will you repay them in kind? Will you rise to the challenge? Will you win glory on the battlefield and blessings from On High? Will you seize the title of Bretwalda - or will you die in the attempt?

The Scenario

Like the "Fall of Rome" scenario, the player faces the challenge of building a new kingdom from scratch in a world still dominated by the old. The Romano-British kingdoms are strong, and they can field more powerful units than the Anglo-Saxons. But it takes them longer to build up an army, and ultimately the Anglo-Saxons will defeat them - if they seize the opportunity. For the mountains of Wales are easily defended.

At the same time, Ireland threatens a Culture Victory. The Anglo-Saxons must build up their culture quickly. They cannot hope to outstrip Ireland, but if they catch up sufficiently, they will stave off the wave of philosophers and theologians threatening to invade their shores.

You can become Bretwalda if you amass sufficient Victory Points, mainly through the glories of battle. Capturing the key locations of Britannia, marked by Victory Locations, may also help. The pagan religion of the Anglo-Saxons, with its glorification of war, offers a quick way to do this and to build up a powerful culture at the same time to see off the Irish threat. The Pagan Thegn, the Anglo-Saxon Unique Unit, can capture trophies in battle, which can be returned to the Warrior Hall for display and a quick culture hit. But this will not work under Christianity. And some pagan buildings only work under paganism. However, Christianity offers many more cultural buildings, the best Wonders, and faster research. Eventually, all the kingdoms will have to convert if they are to become strong enough to face the new threats of the future. A key decision will be at which point to abandon the old gods and embrace the Rood.

The Anglo-Saxons will have to be strong indeed when the Vikings appear. With their unstoppable Berserks and their thirst for conquest, only a king as powerful and resourceful as Alfred the Great can hope to save Anglo-Saxon civilisation from complete annihilation. Will you match his achievements?


- Ten playable Anglo-Saxon kingdoms
- Nine unplayable kingdoms
- Over 30 units to build
- Over 60 technologies to research, spread over three ages
- Complete civilopedia on everything

Rule changes

There are only four luxuries available in this scenario - Wool, Gold (now a luxury), Silver, and Barley. Of these, only Wool is visible at the start of the game.

You cannot settle on Plains. This is unlikely to cause much of a problem since Plains are found only on the fringes of Scotland and Ireland.

You cannot build any boats that will safely cross Sea tiles. And Ocean tiles are completely impassable.

The Golden Age lasts for only ten turns, not twenty. However, the unhappiness caused by whipping buildings and drafting citizens also lasts for only ten turns, not twenty. Those Anglo-Saxons were pretty hardy.

The Palace is cheaper than usual, reflecting the ease with which capitals were moved in the early Middle Ages.

The minimum research time for any tech is five turns, not four.

There are no scientific leaders. This is the Dark Ages!

If an elite unit is victorious in battle and generates a military leader, you actually get not a military leader but an army. In other words, you don't have the option of rushing a building with him, but you can load other units into him immediately. Note that you can't have more than one army at a time, so if your army gets obsolete, you'll have to kill it to have a chance of another one appearing.

There are no artillery units. What kind of wuss are you?

Since the Anglo-Saxons weren't known for covering Britain with mines, the mine graphic has been replaced by a little hamlet. It still has the same effect, though. You also get Sn00py's irrigation graphics, since they look so much more English than the default.

The Download

The download files and instructions are here. Look out for the optional soundtrack, which you can download for that fully immersive Dark Ages experience!

Update - 23/07/11 - This is an updated version, which not only fixes all the glitches reported in the first twenty or so pages of this thread, but adds new features and a thorough graphics overhaul. It includes two biq files - Rood, which is the updated version, and Rood Classic, which is the older version (1.5) with the new graphics.


If I've missed anyone out, or even accidentally included anyone, please let me know!

Particular thanks go to R8XFT for sorting out problems with the leaderheads and other glitches, and producing the excellent adviser and pop head graphics. Thanks also to those who played the first version of the scenario and found all the bugs!

Leaderheads are by R8XFT, Grandraem, and embryodead.

Units are by Sandris, Kinboat, utahjazz7, and CivArmy s. 1994.

Terrain graphics are by aaglo, MeteorPunch, mrtn, Pounder, R8XFT, Sn00py, Ares de Borg.

Some tech graphics are by Odintheking.

Some building graphics are by Bjornlo, Drift, Embryodead, Lusikka755, mrtn, and Ukas.

Some Wonder graphics are by AK47, Bjornlo, Drift , StrOmod, and Ukas.

Diplomacy graphics are by Traianus.

Quotations are based on translations by -

Beowulf - Francis Gummere
The Seafarer - Karl Young
The Wanderer - Michael Alexander
Widsith -Douglas Killings
Dream of the Rood - Jonathan Glenn

And the banner at the top of this thread is by Asclepius. Thanks!

Please note: the terrain shown in most of these images is Ares de Borg's Terrain Pack II beta. I recommend this terrain pack, but it is not included in this download.

First, this is where you will be staying during your visit to Anglo-Saxon Britain. Please note that the management takes no responsibility for nocturnal attacks by the cursed offspring of Cain or their mothers.

A minor disagreement between Deira and Lindsey. The king's loyal athelings line up to convey his regards to the people of Lindsey.

The lord applauds his pagan ways, and in his heart he'll always stay pagan born... The Anglo-Saxon UU does his thang.

This should be interesting - especially for anyone who lives in between.

The king has a funny feeling that things might be about to change around here.

London calling to the faraway towns - now war is declared, and battle come down...

this seems like a very comprehensive senario,
although76.8mb, this is goin to take me ages...

first comment!! :goodjob:
This looks fantastic! I am greatly interested in Saxon history and have only just finished reading "From Roman Britain to Norman England" by P.H. Sawyer, so this should really whet my appetite. Thank you!
Hope you like it! And forgive the historical inaccuracies, should you spot any. In my defence, I'm a theologian, not a historian. And yes, the file is a bit of a monster, for which I apologise... be glad I didn't put music in!
I'm downloading it now. I'll let you know what I think once I hve given it some play.
Plotinus, I'm having a quick game as the West Saxons and I just thought I should let you know how good I think this scenario looks. Simply excellent! :goodjob: How long have you been working on this? It looks very professionally finished and to a really high standard.

The scenario loads fast and plays quickly, but it certainly isn't easy. I'm having a hard time maintaining my research without going bankrupt. The tech tree looks very interesting and rewarding.

I'm especially impressed with the attention to detail in the Civ responses, like Queen Bertha saying 'Kent is the garden of England, keep off the grass' and 'Put the strawberries back'! :lol:

Great work, I'm going to enjoy playing this!
I'm playing Mercia (Monarch, agressive) and am having little success. I tried an early attack on Powys and took their capital. But then things slowed down and now I'm under attack by about 4 other civs. I'm behind in tech and only have 4 cities.
sounds ACE! d/ling now, will report back soon
very cool, thoug that wonder that gives your ships +2 movement crashes the game as soon as its ready
Good concept, although everyone seems to get a huge surge in tech once they start meeting each other.
Fëanor said:
very cool, thoug that wonder that gives your ships +2 movement crashes the game as soon as its ready

Goddammit! I *knew* there'd be something like that. Evidently I forgot to assign it a Splash. I'll try to sort it out. In the meantime - er - don't build it.

And thanks for the comments, Asclepius - I'm glad it's appreciated! I did want to make it as atmospheric as possible. It took ages to do but I'm so busy with other things that I didn't have much time to work on it, hence the long gestation period!

I'm impressed that BJ took Powys' capital! I should say that I did try not to make this scenario too easy, partly because I was a little disappointed that most of the Firaxis Conquests were really about hanging in there and amassing enough victory points or whatever. There was never much doubt that you would win, provided you were fairly competent (maybe I've been playing on too low a level, though - but I do find the transition from Monarch to Emperor less than pleasant). So with this one I wanted to make it a bit more of a challenge and a doubt, and also give the player specific problems to overcome, such as the presence of larger and more advanced factions close to hand. Of course it's not easy to assess the difficulty of something like this; if you find it not right then simply play at a different difficulty level. But I found that the key to getting ahead was to make contact with all the Romano-British and Irish as quickly as possible, since they are more technologically advanced, and do lots of trading. You can sell to the more backward ones (which tend to be those on the east coast, because they have done less trading with the British) and build up your cash. Also, the easiest kingdoms to play are generally those that did well in real life: Northumbria and Wessex are probably easiest, with Deira, Kent and East Anglia also good choices. I found Mercia a bit of a challenge: it doesn't have the best terrain but it does have quite a lot of resources that can be traded. Real iron men will try Lindsey or Hwicce, of course...

Also, the tech progression is meant to be fairly fast in the first age (I don't like those scenarios where it takes 20 turns to research everything and you feel like you get nothing new all the time). It slows down considerably in the second, which is why you may wish to convert to Christianity and start building monasteries.
Plotinus said:
There are no artillery units. What kind of wuss are you?
The kind who once reduced a size 25 metro to a size one town with no improvements and redlined defenders in the first volley.

This lools like a very solid scen. I'll be trying it out ...
The Last Conformist said:
Essex sometimes speaks of itself as "Mercia" during diplomacy (when asking you to leave their territory, IIRC).

*That's* annoying - I thought I had successfully deciphered the mysteries of the Diplomacy file. I'll look into that too and hopefully post any corrections necessary pronto.
can we see more screenies, i'm not at my civ playing computer and i would like to see the whole map
First of all, this scenario is superb. The detail in the civilopedia entries is fantastic - definately one of the best civilopedias I've seen, if not the best. There's some nice ideas for civ advances. I'm really impressed overall.

Secondly, thank-you for using my leaderheads - it really does make it worthwhile doing them when they're used in scenarios such as these.

However, the fact that some of the foreign advisor/civilopedia icons/leaderheads are not the right ones does take the shine off what is otherwise an excellent piece of work. You said that we can live with that....and we sort of can....but it's so much better to have all the graphics where you'd expect them IMHO.

Right, I'm off to try my luck at this scenario again ;) .
Overall, a great Scenario, but the first time I played, I suffered a diplomatic loss like 1-2 hours in.
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