Act of war
An act that leads to war between two factions - an assassination for example.
In M2TW there are six type of agents: Spies, Assassins, Priests(/Bishops/Cardinals), Princesses, Diplomats and Merchants. Check the "Agents" section of this thread for further information.
An alliance pact can be reached through diplomacy. In this pact both the factions involved promise to help each other in case either of them gets attacked.
Breaking an alliance will decrease your global reputation as well as your relations with the former ally and may eventually lead to a war, so be careful!
An army in Woodland terrain can ambush. In an ambush battle the defending alliance aren't allowed to deploy their troops, which gives the attacking alliance an ideal chance to a surprise attack.
"Americas event"/"The world is round"
An event occurring between the years 1446 and 1454 AD. This event unlocks a new area on the Campaign Map and allows you to sail over the Atlantic to America with a big ship such like a caravel.
To expand very quickly (usually at only one border at a time).
Fleets can blockade hostile ports. This happens by right-clicking the port. A port under blockading can't trade, and can be freed only through destroying the blockading fleet (in case they don't leave by themselves).
A feature of Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms that enables the defenders to pour boiling oil on the attackers from the gatehouse. This happens automatically when the gateway is held by the defenders.
Castles are population centres focused on military tasks and professional recruitment. The levels of castles are (in order) Motte and Bailey, Wooden Castle, Castle, Fortress and Citadel.
You can't change the tax rate of a castle.
A castle may be converted into a city with some buildings remaining.
When a settlement has been conquered, there is an option to either exterminate, sack or occupy the settlement. Exterminating will make the population angry as well as destroy some buildings and kill citizens, but it brings also a substantial amount of money to your coffers. Sacking gives you a good hold of the local population. Occupying is the peaceful way of conquering - the citizens and buildings will be left undamaged, but they may protest your takeover.
Central plaza is the target area in siege battles. When the central plaza has been hold by the attackers for three minutes, the battle will end.
The bonus in melee attack stat a unit receives when engaging in melee.
Circle and shoot
Missile cavalry's ability to circle while shooting, making them more difficult targets for enemy missiles.
Cities are population centres focused on economical tasks. The levels of cities are in order Village, Town, Large Town, City, Large City and Huge City.
Cities are more effective at producing artillery troops than castles.
A city may be converted into a castle with some buildings remaining.
Crusades and Jihads are "Holy wars", war journeys aiming to capture a settlement.
The Pope may call a Crusade, or you may ask him to call one. However, a Jihad can be called by any Imam with piety rating higher than four. Crusades or Jihads can be called only to certain settlements.
To join a Crusade a general must have at least eight units. Crusading units have no upkeep costs. A crusading general also has access to powerful crusader units through mercenary recruitment.
During deployment both armies can plan their formation secretly in the opposite ends of the battlefield before the battle starts. When you're ready with your deployment, press the "Start Battle" button.
Sharpened Stakes may be deployed during the deployment phase.
Disasters in M2TW mainly stand for earthquakes and storms. Earthquakes cause damage to buildings as well as the citizens of the region. Storms may appear on the seas at times, so you might want to keep your ships out of their way.
Distance to capital
The distance to your faction's capital decreases Public Order as well as your generals' Loyalty. The longer the distance, the greater the effects appear.
If a ruler gets the wrath of Pope on himself, the Pope may excommunicate him. Other Christian factions are likely to attack factions with excommunicated rulers, so you may want to avoid this.
Fight to death
A routing unit may start a fight to death if surrounded - they can't escape and they turn to fight their last battle. Due to this always leave the enemy a way to escape to decrease your casualties.
Fire at will mode
A missile unit in Fire at will mode will shoot enemies within their range without orders. If there are allied units too close to the enemy, they won't fire at all.
Using flaming arrows is a special ability of most archer units. Flaming arrows require a longer reload time and cause less casualties but have a significant effect on unit morale.
The currency used in Medieval II: Total War.
In M2TW you can build a fort when there is a general leading your army. A fort can be built to defend an important strategic target, such like a mountain pass, or to provide your men with a shelter when withdrawing from large enemy forces.
Friendly fire means that your men are shooting allied soldiers. To avoid this always put your gunners and crossbowmen in the front line.
Garrison units are units that have a free upkeep in a castle or a city, depending on the buildings built. For example a castle could provide room for three garrison units which could be Sergeant Spearmen for example.
When your army is holding the gateway, no boiling oil or arrows from the towers can be launched on your men. Thus getting control of the gateway is an important step towards the occupation of a settlement.
The gate of a settlement can be crushed by a battering ram (see "Siege Equipment").
In a settlement there is usually a governor - he's one of the generals who are staying in that settlement at the time. Pious and chivalrous generals make great governors, and the most pious one present is automatically set for governor.
You can set your units in Guard Mode by pressing the shield button in the bottom right corner of the battle UI. Units in Guard mode won't chase down enemy units, and try to fight defensively.
An event occurring between the years 1290 and 1300 AD. This event gives you the access to gunpowder weapons - use them with care!
In M2TW there are several Guilds, each of which have their own bonuses. There are also Chapter Houses of religious orders available, as well as the Hanseatic League for Northern European factions. See the link to DarkKnights Guide to Guilds at the bottom of this post.
A common abbreviation for the Holy Roman Empire. "hre" is also the name of HRE in M2TW codes.
Loose formation can be toggled for most units by clicking the formation button at the bottom right corner of the battle UI. A unit in loose formation will suffer less from missile fire, but is more vulnerable to enemy charge.
In M2TW you can arrange a marriage between a princess and a general. If the couple is from separate factions an alliance will be formed. A general who has got a princess for his wife will have increased Loyalty stat.
Mercenaries are hardy warriors who fight for the one who pays the best. You can recruit mercenaries outside of a settlement (captains can't recruit mercenaries). The selection of these soldiers varies from region to region, and so may the recruitment costs. Using mercenaries can be effective as they can be recruited immediately - but note that it can be seen in their cost!
A military access can be achieved through diplomacy. When you have a military access you can take your armies to the lands of the other part of the agreement without penalties.
Movement points define the distance a character or army can move in one turn. The area of potential movement is displayed green when you select the character or army.
At times you may see your settlement being hit by an epidemic - these plagues may be devastating, especially later in the game when the Black Death arrives. Usual plagues last for a couple of turns and will kill some population, while the Black Death is something you don't want to see - it spreads fast and will kill most of your population.
Moving a character from an affected settlement into one free of plague may cause another epidemic (you may try and use spies to spread the plague into a foreign settlement). Plagues can also kill an affected character.
Constructing buildings that increase Public Health (such like Churches) will decrease the chance of plague striking your settlements.
When a unit routs, prisoners can be taken by the enemy. After the battle you can either release, ransom or execute the prisoners. If the ransom offer is declined, the prisoners will automatically be executed - that's why you want to consider if the enemy has enough money to pay the ransom.
Generals and bodyguard soldiers are worthy prisoners.
Public Health affects the likelihood of a plague taking place in the settlement. It can be improved by building Church buildings, as well as City Halls and some other buildings.
Public Order defines the happiness of the population in a settlement. Public order can be improved for example through garrisoning troops, setting a governor and decreasing the tax rate.
If Public Order goes low you may face a riot, or in the worst case a rebellion.
Radar Map is displayed at the top right corner of the battle screen. You can zoom in and out to get a general view of the battle.
On the Radar Map green arrows represent units controlled directly by you. Blue arrows are allied units, and red represents the enemy.
Generals' ability to rally their troops. Rallying increases the morale of routing troops nearby and may just make them turn around and continue fighting.
The general's bodyguard unit loses this special ability when the general dies.
If Public Order goes low enough in a province, a rebellion may take place. Practically this means that a Rebel army appears in the region, decreasing the income produced your settlement. They may also stop land trade if the army is standing on a road on the Campaign Map.
In M2TW the Campaign Map is split to more than one hundred regions (often referred to as "provinces"). In a region there's always one settlement (or "region capital") representing the population of the region. Once the settlement is conquered the whole region will fall under the rule of the conqueror.
Reputation indicates your standing towards other factions. If you tend not to keep your words, they may not be likely to form alliances with you. On the other hand if your reputation is very good they'll be more likely to agree on diplomatic agreements.
If Public Order of a settlement gets too low, the result will be a riot - or in the worst occasion, a rebellion. To prevent riots from occurring, construct buildings that improve public order and keep garrison troops in settlements.
Usually a riot lasts for a turn or two, and the rioters will kill a few soldiers as well as destroy some buildings.
Spies can be used to cause riots in foreign settlements.
When a unit's morale breaks the men will rout from battle. This is indicated by a flashing banner.
Prisoners can be taken from routing units.
If a routing unit has no direction to escape to, they'll temporarily change to "Fight to Death" status.
A settlement is the centre of a region. There are two kinds of settlements: cities and castles, each having their own pros and cons (see "City" and "Castle").
Some units have "Sharpened Stakes" as their special ability. This means that in the development phase of the battle sharpened stakes can be deployed in front of the unit. This will guard the unit from cavalry charges, as not a single horse can run through this barrier alive.
Shock-troops are units often equipped with an axe. They are fierce warriors whose charge can crush the backbone of the enemy army, so use them wisely.
When an army attacks the region capital of a province, a siege will be laid. The siege will end when the settlement runs out of food, the attacker succesfully attacks and conquers the settlement, or the defender succesfully attacks the attacker and drives the attacking army away.
During a siege, various siege equipment can be built. Each piece of siege equipment requires a certain amount of build points. Their amount depends on the size of the attacking army - the bigger the army, the more towers, ladders and battering rams you can build.
Siege equipment includes battering rams, ladders and siege towers, which can be used in a siege battle to get inside the city walls.
Skirmish mode can be toggled at the bottom right corner of the battle UI. A missile unit in Skirmish Mode will avoid melee, running away from the enemy as they get closer. This may, however, drive your missile units too far from your main army and leave them vulnerable to a cavalry attack.
Most units in M2TW have special abilities. They can be used - again - at the bottom right corner of the battle UI, or by pressing Ctrl + F.
A stack stands for the selection of troops in an army. Thus a full stack means an army of twenty units.
The Black Death
The Fog of War
The Fog of War (just FoW in short) covers the area (of the Campaign Map) you can't currently see. The Fog of War can be turned off by opening the M2TW console and typing in "toggle_fow".
The Mongol invasion
The Mongols arrive from the East during the 13th century. These fierce warriors are vast in numbers and rely on the bow as well as dread. Remember that the Mongol invasion is scripted - don't trust in peace with them, but prepare for total war.
The Pope is the religious head in medieval Europe - he's a powerful person, so deal with him carefully. The Pope may announce a Crusade against a Muslim or Pagan settlement, or a settlement under control of an excommunicated ruler.
A Pope is elected amongst the preferati (the three most pious ones) Cardinals. Everyone of the College of Cardinals may vote. Always make sure you'll vote for the winner of the election - they Pope, once elected, may not forgive your opposition. Also, the Pope tends to like his former liege the best.
The "Pope-o-meter" indicates the Pope's opinion of European rulers.
The Pope-o-meter can be viewed in the faction info window (to open it click your faction shield when on the Campaign Map). It indicates how much the Pope likes each faction.
The Strategic/Campaign Map
The Campaign Map is where you make all the decisions and move your characters and armies.
The Timurid invasion
The Timurids will arrive late in the campaign from South-East. They have elephants, so you had better be careful...
You can check the terrain by moving your cursor on the location of your choice. The terrain has a major effect on battles - the heights and vegetation of the battlefield are reflected on the Campaign Map and vice-versa.
An army in the Woodland terrain can set an ambush.
Trade rights with another faction can be exchanged through diplomacy. Once established you'll get more income from trade in their lands, as well as a little portion of the income the foreign Merchants generate from resources inside your realm.
Trade routes can be seen as green dashed lines in the sea on the Campaign Map. They indicate which settlements are trading with each other at the time.
Traits & ancillaries
Traits and ancillaries define the stats of a general. See the "Traits" section of this thread for further information.
To play defensively and to expand very slowly.
The unit banner, varying depending on the unit type, is the indicator of the unit's status. A flashing banner indicates a routing unit.
Units that do well in battles gain experience. Unit experience is shown as chevrons in the top corner of the unit card.
Unit experience increases the melee attack stat of the unit in question.
Morale stat defines how likely the unit is to rout from battle. Low-quality units usually have low morale - it increases as the quality of training increases.
Upkeep cost is a payment you have to pay each turn to have a unit in your service. Horses, weapons, food and men aren't free - having more soldiers than you can afford may push you into a bankrupt!
You can see units' upkeep costs on their info cards (right-click the unit card to open the unit info tab).
If someone has totally been beated up in war you can offer them vassalage. This makes you the liege of the foreign ruler, having no actual effect but it's just an indication of your might.
Watchtowers can be built by a general in your regions. This will increase the line of sight, allowing you to see the environment of the watchtower without a character or army being present.
Wedge formation is the special ability of most heavy cavalry. When in wedge they may split up the enemy, but this comes at the cost of bigger casualties, especially at the front of the unit, less kills and worse manoeuvrability.
In a tough situation you can order your units to perform a withdrawal. If you don't tell them to stop withdrawing they'll leave the battle once they reach the border of the battlefield, being able to be used in the next battle.
Zone of Control
The Zone of Control is used to refer to the nine tiles around an army. If a non-allied army moves in one of these tiles, it loses all its movement points.
An allied army in the Zone of Control can join in battle as reinforcements.