appalachians_0001.zip —


Appalachians is a new random map script created to make a representation of a geographic area not included by ES in the original map set, and to create an interesting, variable map with the possibility of defensive play.



A random map script for AOE3
by RF_Gandalf

Appalachians is a new RMS created with 2 goals: 1.) to make a representation of a geographic area not included by ES in the original map set, and 2.) to create an interesting, variable map with the possibility of defensive play. I suspect that there are many who will appreciate the variation in gameplay that this map offers.

The map represents the 'Ridge and Valley' section of the Appalachian Mountains This area, which extends from central Pennsylvania into northern end of Georgia, is characterized by long 'folded' parallel ridges, some of which run for hundreds of miles without breaks, and the interspaced valleys. There are some passes or gaps through the mountains carved by streams or rivers. These are generally very steep ridges, heavily wooded, 2500-5000 feet high and not passable except by foot without making some type of road thru the wilderness. During the American colonial period these ridges were a substantial barrier to westward expansion and transportation, and were the scene of significant conflict between the French (with their Native American allies) and the English.

The map randomly choses between two basic setups - either a single central ridge flanked by parallel trade routes, or a pair of parallel ridges with a trade route running the length of the central valley. Teams or players are lined up on opposite sides of these central features. The ridges may be interrupted by a 'gap' or pass, and each ridge ends a few tiles short of the map edge. Each ridge or ridge section, made of cliff terrain, also has a few narrow ramps or passageways to the ridgetops, which can also provide access to the other side of each ridge. 

It is possible to wall off 1/2 or 1/3 or 2/3 of the map relatively easily (depending on the map features and your chosen walling points), using walls to close off any gaps, ridge ends, and ramp passageways over the ridges. In single player it might be relatively hard to adequately wall off and hold the multiple small choke points, but in a team game it becomes easier by working together to divide up these tasks. You need to pick your walling points carefully - you do not want to exclude NA villages or the trade routes from your claimed section of the map if you can avoid it. Scouting is extremely important on this map to be sure you know the location of all of the passageways thru the mountains.

There are 4 different terrain patterns or 'skins' for this map - taken from the ES maps New England, Carolina, and Great Lakes (both green and snow versions), with appropriate fauna and treasures for each version. Another variable feature regarding map appearance is lighting - there are 2 possibilities for each of these 'skins'.

There are either one or two NA types per map, placed in a variety of fair, symmetric patterns and combinations on the ridges or valleys. The NA will be chosen randomly from Cherokee, Iroquois, Seminole or Nootka. I am aware that Seminole and Nootka are not really from this geographic area, but I wanted to include additional foot unit types for variety. So when you see either Seminole or Nootka, think Shawnee or Catawba or Lenni Lenape(Delaware) or other tribe involved in Colonial era conflicts in the Appalachians.

There is random variation in the number and placement of the Trade Post sockets on the two patterns of Trade Routes. There also is variation in the plentiful fauna types on the different terrain patterns. The maps contain adequate herdables(cows or sheep), and more-than-adequate silver and forest on each map. 

Player position and location will vary randomly. In the real world, these Appalachian ridges all run approximately in a NE-SW orientation but for the purposes of variety and gameplay they can also run from the top left to bottom right (NW to SE) on this map. There is full support for Free-For-All play with any player number.

To play this map, the two files (Appalachians.xs and Appalachians.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM. Please do not place them in the game's install folder - that will not work. When you start up a skirmish game in Single-player or Multiplayer, use the small blue 'Custom Map' button, which allows you to then select one the random maps in that My Games folder from the drop-down window.

The .xml file has been updated to show a map description at the startup screen.

I have enjoyed making this very different random map script depicting an area that I am very familiar with. Thank you to ES for giving us the tools to do this! Hope you enjoy the map.

Feedback appreciated!

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