Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Autumn 994: The Battle of the Dembroix Hills

My dearest Cedders,

We had the most wonderful battle yesterday. We were over in the southern part of what used to be Valkae and those Altengard oiks had invaded the lands we had liberated, so that the Valkae people could live in happiness, peace and freedom under the benevolent rule of King Edward. So there I was with a few of the girls from the pony club and the sausage-eaters marched straight over the hills towards us. I must say that their knights looked rather fearsome in their finery and on those huge destriers. It quite makes a girl weak at the knees, you know. Not, of course, that I was considering anything like that in reality. After all, we do have an understanding, don't we? And I will manage to meet up with you in Harbottle at some point.

Anyway, the battlefield was rather hilly, as the name of the area suggests, and there was a shallow gully running across the middle of it. It was dry and not at all deep, but it was enough to provide some cover. A small copse lay off to our right flank. Our army deployed as usual with the archers in the front rank and the cavalry on the left wing. Altengard deployed with their knights facing our cavalry, their light horse on our right flank and a mass of infantry in the middle.
 So, what did the general tell us to do first? I'll tell you. He told us to deploy on the left flank and then immediately ordered us to gallop over to the right flank. So we did that with ribbons blowing in our ponies' manes and a lot of whooping and hollering. The girls were rather excited, you know. Just as well we did that, you know. The Altengard light horse were all over the archers there and we sure showed them. They did not stick around long once we got there.
 But then we had to rush back over to the left flank again. The Altengard knights were causing problems and Sir Geoffrey needed our help. A bunch of archers were also redeployed to meet them. It got really messy, what with all the arrows and galloping and yelling going on. Most of the yelling seemed to be coming from Dansforth. His apprentice had forgotten the bats' ears and toad's testes for his important spells, and nothing seemed to be going right for him as a result. Well, that's what he said.
 The Eskelin knights were not very keen. They abandoned Sir Geoffrey and left him to fight on his own. Pretty soon, Sir Geoffrey chose to find a local inn to lurk in, instead of fighting. Well, his armour was all scratched and dented and he was not happy. It was about this time that a lucky arrow struck down the Altengard general. His men managed to carry him off, but he was cursing a real blue streak. I have never heard such language before! I shall have to have a word with his mother, and tell her to sort her son out.
 With the cavalry melee over, we had to race after that hero fellow, Sir Dietrich von Bern, or whatever he was called. He was intent on joining the melee in the centre of the battlefield. The poor Treyine archers were taking a hammering from the Altengard arquebusiers and Sir Dietrich was determined to make things worse, which he certainly did. It was just fortunate that the Tropilium ballistae were on form today. You would not believe the havoc they wrought. I have never seen artillerists be so accurate with their shooting. It was incredible. It was about this time that the girls decided that enough was enough and headed for the nearby hillside for our picnic. Ham, lettuce, fresh bread and lashings of ginger beer. It was a lovely picnic and we had a great view of the rest of the battle.
Sir Dietrich was determined to do everything he could, and he did, but the Treyine infantry held up well and drove him back time after time. His servants, lackeys and minions were being cut down left, right and centre, but still he tried to fight on, until a lucky artillery shot spooked his horse and he too left the field. I could hear him cursing his destrier all the way back to Attenum City. That left only some Altengard infantry. Tired and worn out, they did not last long. Treyine held the field, but only a few of our infantry were left. It was one of the bloodiest battles I have ever seen, truly a glorious day. I can't wait for the next one.

Yours ever,
Barbax Gutripper

This was a pretty intense battle. The Altengard knights made a powerful charge against the Treyine left flank, sweeping around the end of the line of archers. The Treyine knights were only just able to hold them up until archers could be redeployed.

The hero was nigh on invincible. Individual infantry units could not hurt him, but did manage to force him to retire, which caused most of the hits on him supplemented by a few lucky arrow and artillery shots.

The Altengard general was wounded (OOF) and the Treyine general and his unit routed, so both sides finished the game with no general.

The artillery was spectacularly effective, which was a total contrast with how we have seen it perform previously.

The final result left Treyine the victor, but they had practically no troops to follow up that victory with. This is the sort of victory that could cripple the victorious army if the rules allotted permanent casualties to victorious armies as well as to losing armies.

National Morale
Both sides passed 1 die, so National Morale is reduced by 1 for both of them.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Chasing a Black Cat in a Dark Room - Mangu vs. Mirish AAR

Fighting against the Mangu is very difficult campaign wise. Being mounted and having good morale (Rep 5) they are hard to kill after the battle. Fighting the Mangu is tense because if they win they can crush your army in the After the Battle Major Pursuit.

"General, the Mangu are advancing."
General Pereira slipped his helmet on and joined the cataphracts.  Quickly surveying the battlefield he noticed something was amiss. The Mangu usually tried to envelope both wings of the enemy but this time just the center was moving forward.
He ordered the army forward but with his mounted troops at half speed to match his center of elephants, levies and skirmishers.

 Here's the set up.

The Mangu center, composed of foot troops move out alone and engage the Mirish center. 

 As the Mangu center crumbles, Pereira orders an all out advance at full speed on the wings and in the center.

The lighter Mangu horse inflicts casualties on the heavier armored Mirish cavalry but as they fire and retire they take casualties as well and their bodies break up. Net, net, both wings cancel each other out and take losses, some routing away, others retiring.

 The Mirish center, having routed off the Mangu center bear down on the Mangu leader and his reserve.

The Mirish center, elephants, infantry inflict casualties on the Mangu center but rout off.

Pereira now attacks with the cataphracts, wizards, and hero against the weakened Mangu reserve. As the Mirish close off the rear the attacks go home.

Mirish scores four hits in the mounted melee and the Mangu leader is at risk. Having the leader with the unit keeps it around for a second round of melee and the leader is wounded twice, the bodyguard routed. Leader Lost Test is taken, the Mangu leave the field.

Casualties on the Mangu side are light as the light cavalry are hard to catch and being the cheapest point cost units they are at risk first. One Mangu Skirmisher unit is lost (boxcars) and the Mangu leader captured.

The Mangu tried a feigned flight in hopes of drawing the Mirish forward then collapsing on their from the wings but they didn't have enough troops to do it. Being outnumbered and out-armored and fighting a mounted army as well they could't isolate the Mirish forces.  The pllan would work better against an infantry army.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Autumn 994 - The Battle of Gnita Heath

It was a fine Autumn day when the armies met on the heath at Gnita. The Tereken army consisted of just 500 hardened warriors, a small mercenary band of Eskelin knights and a handful of youths armed with rocks and slings. The Capalan army numbered the finest spearmen they could field and two lances of the best armoured knights in Talomir.
Naturally, the Tereken army was confident. They would fight and die, and their names would be sung in the songs of the scops forever afterwards.
 As the Capalan general ordered the advance, the Tereken knights swiftly rode to meet the enemy knights. The young men accompanied them, ready to rain rocks on the Capalan knights. Wulf the Mystic and Geir the Unseelie began to chant and the bodies of the dead from previous battles arose beside their position. Gnita Heath was the most common route of advance into Capalan territory and many warriors had fertilised its soil with their bones. Lord Uhtred was determined to take any advantage he could get against the Capalan soldiers. They owed him for the ache in his bones when the winters were cold, which they always were; the wound they had given him before had never quite healed right.
Uhtred cheered as a contingent of Capalan knights were driven back by the Eskelin knights, and swiftly cursed as the Eskelin knights were driven from the field by the Capalan general, who pursued them hotly. His young skirmishers had all been ridden down in the process. No doubt they were already feasting in Valhalla. Meanwhile the Capalan wizards were ineffectually trying to make an incantation work. A cloud of purple smoke over their position suggested that all was not well. Seeing his chance, Uhtred ordered his huscarles to turn about face and charge the enemy knights. With a loud cry of "They don't like it up 'em!" the huscarles lifted their spears and shields and planted them firmly in the bottoms of the Capalan cavalry, who immediately fled, taking their general with them. Suddenly the Capalan army disintegrated. Only the spearmen remained, huddling together for comfort. The captain of the spearmen, seeing that he outnumbered the enemy 3:1 ordered the charge at the rear of the Tereken warband.
The spearmen made contact but the enemy stood firm and fought back even harder. Very soon the huscarles had disposed of the spearmen facing them, while the revenant heroes were being cut apart, but did not seem bothered. Uhtred ordered the about face once more and charged the spearmen. This final charge was too much and the remains of the Capalan army fled. The field belonged to Tereken and Capalan was no more.

I really expected the Capalan army to carry the day, so I planned to target the enemy general and try to remove him from the field. If I could kill him, then I thought that Tereken might lose the battle but that Capalan would be more likely to capitulate when I rolled national morale. As it happened, Steve chose to charge with the general, which played right into my hands. When Capalan made the Leader Lost test, only the spearmen stood. The average Rep of 3 in the Capalan army is truly appalling and really requires all the troops to stay together in contact with as many of their own as possible. This makes the army unwieldy, but is necessary to prevent the kind of disintegration that happened.

This battle was also notable for the sudden success of my Magic Users. I am not a great fan of Magic Users in RrtK because I think that you need too many of them working together for them to be cost effective, but the stand of undead that I raised was well worthwhile, and a single successful blast spell against the Capalan knights made the difference between rout and victory.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Autumn 994 - Campaign Update

The Abyss took a real kicking in the Summer and has decided to rebuild its army rather than invade anyone else this season. Altengard will continue its invasion of Treyine, while Mirish seeks further revenge upon Mangu and Stygustan reinforces success by further invading Tropilium. The peace treaty between Capalan and Tereken has finally concluded and Tereken has responded by assaulting Capalan as quickly as they can get their army together.

In other news, the Brazier of Durmun has reappeared in the hands of the Tropilium Empire. They now control two of the three artefacts needed to force the surrender of all the nations of Talomir.

Battles this season:
Tereken attacks Capalan's only remaining province.
Altengard attacks Treyine in Valkae.
Stygustan attacks the only remaining Tropilium province that it can reach.
Mirish attacks northern Mangu.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Summer 994 Tropilium vs. Stygustan - Ager Dedecus

"Slave grab me a stylus and ink!" General Manlius Gluteus Maximus bellowed as he returned to his quarters in the provincial magistrates palace. He was still covered in sweat and blood from the battle and knew he must hurry to send news of this latest defeat on to the Emperor.

As he finished, Maximus knew there was no way to put a positive spin on this crushing defeat. He had bungled the invasion of Stygustan, he had been ignominiously thrust from the field on home soil. There was only one way to save his family name. After sending the report by courier he had the slaves draw him a hot bath and he opened his veins like the true son of a Senator that he was. In this he would wash away the stain from his family's honor.

Well that one went a little bit pear shaped. Massed bow fire is just devastating. The main problem for the Legions was they didn't get to charge, I should have held them back a little. The Stygustan forces held together well, much better than expected and the chariots did much better with their fire this time around. The magic is very interesting when you treat both sides as NPC, my only complaint was that I only rolled for Defend spells the whole game. I need to revisit the push back follow up rules as I thought I figured out a further nuance I had not noticed before. I also need to make a set of markers to remind me of who is activated. I kept track of hits on a roster this time, but could have still used dice.

The entire Tropilium army was routed but only the Archers were caught in the pursuit. Only one Archer and one Infantry unit routed for Stygustan. So if national morale holds we could have a repeat of this battle.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Summer 994 - Dead Walkers of the Mountain Tarn

In an uplands valley in the former nation of Naz Goth, the Treyine army faced the invading undead hordes. They anchored their right flank on a hill with a mountain tarn beside it and deployed their archers behind stakes. The Abyssal general deployed his outnumbered troops on a hill, seeking whatever advantage he might gain from that.
Undead to bottom of photo, Treyine to top
 The Treyine general launched his meager cavalry force on the flanks first and the undead redeployed their skirmishers to harass the Treyine troops.

This did not last long as the Eskelin knights on the Undead left flank rode over both the Undead archers and the ghouls that were supporting them. They pursued the routing ghouls out of the valley. On the right flank, the Hykar cavalry sought to turn the Undead flank, but wound up fleeing instead. Seeing this, Sir Geoffrey Chambers charged the White Company knights into the Undead cavalry and promptly decided that he preferred discretion to valour.

Charging back into the fray, the Eskelin knights were driven back once more, their horses blown and their will to fight almost eradicated. The Treyine infantry left the safety of their stakes and marched forward.

The fight for the hill was short. The Undead routed half a dozen units of Treyine archers but were no match for the better armed and armoured infantry and knights that stood behind them. The Undead infantry were destroyed and only their cavalry and centaurs remained. The Undead cavalry began a charge that ended with half a dozen more Treyine units routed, but then they paused at the wrong moment and were caught by the Treyine general. His charge destroyed them quickly, while the Treyine archers feathered the centaurs with more arrows than they had bodies for. The battle was over.

In the pursuit, the Undead lost their cavalry, centaurs, zombies and a unit of ghouls. These losses caused Undead morale to crash and they immediately sued for peace.

This was a fun game to play, and I was particularly pleased with the Undead cavalry. They wrought havoc wherever they went, but I think the end was never really in doubt. A combination of low Rep and low numbers meant that the Undead would have to be really clever and lucky to defeat Treyine. Had the numbers on each side been equal, however, ...