The Relic is a special object in Age of Empires II. Relics are depicted in-game as medium-sized, white constructs with orange-red roofs. Relics usually begin scattered around the map. A relic can only be carried by Monks. When it is placed in a monastery, the relic slowly generates Gold. If more relics are collected, more gold is generated.
In the story campaigns, relics are often mission objectives. They are usually initially kept in enemy monasteries and/or guarded by enemy units. In skirmish mode, there are always five relics scattered about the map. In standard Random Map mode, if a player captures all five relics, then after a period of time (determined by the size of the map) he/she will win the game. However, in all other game modes, owning five relics does not give the player any privilege other than the standard gold flow.
Civilization-Specific Notes Edit
Some civilizations have bonuses regarding to relics. The Hunnic technology Atheism increases the period needed to pass for a relic victory. Thanks to their team bonuses, Aztec relics produce thirty-three percent more Gold. Aztecs also possess much tougher monks, improving their chances of surviving the task of retrieving a relic.
Relics are very important to any long-duration games, particularly on maps with scarce gold. Thus, it is very important to attempt to gather many as soon as the Castle Age is reached. During the Dark and Feudal Ages, using scouts to pinpoint relic locations and building a few archers and infantry to deter enemy monks from snatching free relics can be useful. Monks are completely vulnerable while collecting relics, so it is important attach a patrol with them to make sure they don't get killed. Researching the fervor technology is useful for making monks retrieve relics more quickly (and thus more safely).
In the late game, relics can be an pivotal point in deciding where battles are fought. The successful theft of a relic is generally a very large victory considering both the usefulness and versatility of extra gold. Relics should be closely guarded and contained within monasteries that are difficult to reach and easy to defend; optimally, they should also be scattered across several monasteries to avoid losing all of them should the monastery that contained them fall.
The Relics in-game are representations of holy objects in real life. Such objects include the Shroud of Turin, pieces of the True Cross, the Holy Grail and others. Holy relics helped promote a form of early tourism for pilgrims, helping finance religious institiutions (represented by the flow of gold in-game).
The influence of religion in daily life during the Middle Ages, especially in Europe, was exemplified by the attraction and trafficking of religious relics. The burial sites of saints became the focus of pilgrimages. A church or monastery that owned even a few bones from a saint or a small piece of the true cross drew pilgrims. In time a market for saintly bones developed and rich men competed to acquire such relics and endow them to local religious institutions. Attracting pilgrims and believers was good for the local economy. The most famous relic of the period is the Shroud of Turin, purported to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. This shroud was acquired in the Middle East and brought to Italy in the late Middle Ages.