How to turn the Viking situation to our advantage ...

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How to turn the Viking situation to our advantage ...

Postby Cekiya » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:34 pm

... Or Baris' plan to be a landed knight.

Notes
-Olokand? Did not occur where we thought it would hit. Were the morganettes wrong? They were to strike in Gardiren.
How to respond:
What military respond Ewen has a hand
Do we go north do we go south?
We have potentially learned through the Ladies of the Paladins that they split forces.

Add thoughts, add corrections, add answers. This is where it begins ... Ok not that profound but I hope kicks something off.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:28 pm

Well I do not recall precisely why we were expecting Tonot / Gardiren as the likely arrival point, but beseiging the royal heir is certainly exciting. As I believe we all have only the haziest concept of the geography north of Kaldor, there might not be much to speculate on in this regard, but any ideas are welcome.

As for Sir Ewen's military assets, I need to comb through my notes before posting an official list. But the larger question can be immediately grappled with. Should Sir Ewen only field the subportion of his troops which are common knowledge and expected?

My initial instinct is to answer strongly in the affirmative. Keeping the Thardan Lads secret means: 1. eyebrows remain unraised, 2. secrecy and future surprise at their eventual employment is maintained, 3. Kaldor fails to benefit from their skills, 4. losses of hard-to-replace Thardan troops to Vikings is avoided, 5. Viking prospects against Kaldor are not hampered unduly, 6. the Ravinargh home front is defended whilst we are up north, and 7. the possibility of an as-yet unplanned surprise surgical Thardan operation in Tashal while the flower of Kaldoric chivalry is up north is retained.

Perhaps we can think of other benefits?

Disadvantages include the most obvious: having only a minor force at our disposal up north, as opposed to a more impressive one.

So, as I say, my initial impulse is to field what only the king will expect, but perhaps we should discuss possible strategies to use up north before we rule the Thardan lads out.

Thoughts?
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Postby Matt » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:10 pm

I have put a poetic map of Kaldor into the dropbox. Van, you, of course, have access to the old Kaldor article as a reference book.

I believe, way back upon your initial arrival in Kaldor, Para informed you to expect the attack, and she predicted Gardiren would be the target as the Harbaalese would come down Noron's way. This, obviously, was in error, though whether she was wrong then or something changed, you do not know.
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Postby Sir Baris » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:26 pm

I agree we should keep the Thardan lads as backup, and to defend the homefront. Our many enemies have used our absence as an excuse to hurt us before, best not to give them another opportunity.

And I vote we go North. That's where the action is.

During the session we discussed the possibility of offing some enemies during the coming fighting, say Vemion, but it occurs to me we don't have to stop there. Who else can we kill/arrange to die so as to destabilize Kaldor? Perhaps, if we come in command of troops, or certain information we can or cannot choose to pass on, can we arrange for armies to meet their end, or at the very least be reduced?

Btw, Rachel and I watched the first episode of Downton Abbey: really good.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:24 pm

Recap for Dave: At the end of the session, Sir Harth arrives at Raven Hall and escorts Sir Ewen and Sir Baris to Hag Hall. There, Rahel and Elena of Lerik (the Deryni woman who killed Sir Lyndar Bastune) are in conference with Elena's sister, a lexigrapher in Olokand who just had arrived from there by Deryni portal. The news is that some 500 vikings (presumably Harbaalese) in longboats have sailed down the river Kald into Olokand and invested the castle, trapping Prince Brandis within. Due to her arrival by instantaneous portal, we have a three or four day lead before the news arrives in Tashal. (We, as Cekiya and the GM note above, had been expecting Gardiren, to the east, to be the invasion point.)

This raises interesting questions, like whether the vikings have already plundered Baseta and Setrew, or bypassed them. Probablty bypassed, as they evidently surprised Olokand. After the countryside around Olokand, next stop down the river is Tashal, but that's quite a long haul, so my initial hunch is that they will limit themselves to the Olokand region.

I agree with Teddy, and can imagine some ways we can influence things. While the King and his earls will likely shape the response and lead the strategy against the vikings, it seems to me that Sir Ewen and his (new) allies, heirs to a barony and an earldom, can perhaps push for the young blood being allowed to play a critical role. While Sir Ewen is viewed with suspicion, which on one hand may militate against the king giving him a starring role, on the other hand it may occur to higher-ups that letting Sir Ewen play an important role might have the benefit of getting him killed. So we might be able to push for centrality knowing that the temptation to allow Sir Ewen to get himself slaughtered by vikings might be too strong for some folks to resist.

With Ewen's ability to implant suggestions, if Ewen is present in war councils, etc., he might attempt to plant suggestions in the minds of others. Like splitting your forces unwisely, leaving a flank exposed, suicidal but glorious charges, underestimating viking savvy, etc. As others are killed or prove themselves lousy generals, we maneuver to take more and more control...
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Postby Matt » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:16 pm

Sir Ewen's military assets can be summarized as follows:

Sir Baris, Tora, and Uldis

A company of Thardans - 18 medium foot (14 spears, 4 longbows), 2 sergeants, 1 captain

Dickon's company - 16 medium foot, 2 sergeants, 1 captain

Varayne - 1 knight, 3 light foot, 3 yeoman (1 medium foot, 2 longbows)

Inbernel - 1 knight, 1 squire, 4 light foot, light horse squadron (1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 2 sergeants, 6 troopers), 4 yeoman (2 medium foot, 2 longbows)

Claydon - 1 knight, 1 longbow, 4 light foot, 3 yeoman (2 light foot, 1 light horse)

Selepan - Scutage for 1 knight and 1 squire

Other assets - Sir Rollard, Finbar, Muga

Essentially, this is a baron's level of force, albeit a touch light on knights.

Note: using all the forces listed above would denude the manors and Tashal properties of all defenses.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:30 pm

Thanks for posting this; count me as remiss in not having pulled it together myself in a timely manner.

"Denude" sounds like awfully poor decision making, just on the face of it.

From a different direction, it occurs that Sir Ewen now has additional resources, viz, his wife's earthly riches, plundered and protected by strong wards (CS!) at Raven Hall. As a short or long term proposition, Sir Ewen could retain a mercenary company or two by throwing Thilisa's wealth around. Using our 3-4 day lead to get any available mercenary companies under Sir Ewen's banner would allow Sir Ewen to keep his "secret" troops under cover, avoid denuding the home and hearth, and incidentally prevent non-Ravinargh forces from retaining said mercenaries. Haven't thought through every angle on this (could look suspicious if the time frame is not finessed, etc.), but perhaps we can discuss?

I think we need to argue about, and decide on, a broad question first, though. Do we wish to go north weak, so as not to unwittingly assist Kaldor, or strong, on the idea that more men means more prestige, influence, etc. I'm inclined in favor of the latter, but am open to arguments that keeping the troops hidden and the powder dry is the way to go in the first phase of things.

Ideas or thoughts?
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Postby Sir Baris » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:06 pm

I think we should go north as strong as we can without tipping our hand. So take some men from your lands, if possible, and replace them with Thardan lads, so your lands are not defenseless. Chances are they won't be attacked, and no one will be the wiser that you have some Thardan soldiers available.
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Postby Matt » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:36 pm

There are at least three mercenary companies in Tashal that you know of:

Rathbar's Raiders - a company of light foot

The White Ravens - upper east side, composition unknown

Unknown company in the vicinity of Hag Court

Of course, there are likely others outside the city.
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Postby Sir Baris » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:18 am

Do we know how much mercenary companies usually cost?

Also, if we decide to take all of the mercenaries out of the equation, we should approach them all at the same time. If one gets word we went to the others, they will realize something is up, and may up their prices, or worse, tell someone else that something is up.

OTOH, if we go and say "Come with us right away," they may realize something is up already and then ask for a premium price.

Can we structure the deal so they don't realize that? We are hiring you for use in the future. ::sign deal:: Oh, by the way, the future is now.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:46 pm

Yes, definitely something to be concerned about. I was thinking our cover story might be that Sir Ewen, enthused after his agreement with Scina Dariune and Prehil at Balim's party, begins recruiting mercenaries to fight under his banner down south against the Pagaelin, should Prehil's dad get the green light from Haldan. And he hires a few mercenary bands because he wants to pull his weight, and not be shown up by an earl's son and a baron's son in terms of manpower. Which "coincidentally" leads to Sir Ewen being flush with mercenaries when the news hits Tashal. And we still have the apparent logistic impossibility of Sir Ewen getting news before the King, so how could it look suspicious?

Do you think that flies?

Money, though, is not much of an issue. I have no interest in penny-pinching Thilisa's dough now that the moment of truth has finally arrived. Sir Ewen will spend that stuff like a drunken sailor if it gets him closer to his goals, and the downfall of Kaldor. We just need to decide for sure that we want to mercenary ourselves up, and also consider whether the king or some other noble could requisition the mercs out from under my nose?

This leads me to wanting to, as much as we can know right now, make sure I understand what can and can't happen when the king declares a state of emergency...

Sir Ewen, best as I can tell, owes ten (!) knights fees for Varayne (session 45) but only twenty pounds annual scutage for Inbernel and Claydon (session 65), its subsidiary manor. So if the king raises an army, does Sir Ewen owe the ten knights equivalents plus what Sir Herrill owes for Selepan, or is that an economic arrangement not mirrored by military obligations? And what potential forms could those military obligations take? And can the king requisition beyond that? We don't want to retain mercenaries if the king can just confiscate them...
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Postby Matt » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:48 pm

A company of light foot consisting of 16 LF, two corporals, one sergeant, and one captain would run about 600d per month plus booty. No booty double the amount.

A company of medium foot or bowman would be about twice that. Quality and reputation can affect these costs, of course.

Note the Thardan model has the captain separate and would have an additional sergeant for a total of 21.
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Postby Matt » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:02 pm

Sir Ewen wrote:Sir Ewen, best as I can tell, owes ten (!) knights fees for Varayne (session 45) but only twenty pounds annual scutage for Inbernel and Claydon (session 65), its subsidiary manor. So if the king raises an army, does Sir Ewen owe the ten knights equivalents plus what Sir Herrill owes for Selepan, or is that an economic arrangement not mirrored by military obligations? And what potential forms could those military obligations take? And can the king requisition beyond that? We don't want to retain mercenaries if the king can just confiscate them...

No, Sir Ewen owes scutage, and has paid it. The ten knight's fees amount to £100 - very steep and clearly the serekela's way of keeping a valuable manor's income. He owes only £20 for the other three manors, or two knight's fees. In effect, Sir Ewen is providing 12 knights through scutage, which means his obligation ends there. Of course, in a national emergency, everyone is expected to give above and beyond. In this case, that would mean showing up with an appropriate retinue.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:47 pm

Good deal, maximum flexibility then.

I remain inclined to go in strong, to maximize Sir Ewen being a big, as opposed to a small, player in this.

Rathbar's Raiders will be a must, for obvious campaign historical reasons...

Perhaps Sir Baris might like to sponsor one (at least?) mercenary company to be recruited under Sir Baris's own banner? Riffing on my suggestion posted above, Sir Baris can be in competition to not be outdone by Sir Ewen, thus explaining why he shifts from keeping an inn to sponsoring mercenaries?
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Postby Lord Ewen » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:56 am

On the other hand, it might be better to not dilute the prestige the party brings to the fight by splitting the force; I don't know, just playing with different ideas here...

Has Sir Baris considered the fact that these are basically his co-religionists who are beseiging Caer Olokand? Any thoughts on how to use this to our advantage?
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Postby Arva » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:58 am

We have used the Rathbar Raiders before in the past, haven't we? They seem like the more obvious choice.

I agree with Van's (Ewen's) reasoning with hiring the mercenaries. Perhaps talk with Prehil or his dad one more time, just to cement your interest in the cause.

Now, isn't Varayne held by Ewen for the Archbishop? Would he be pleased if Ewen pulled a few more men than needed for the confrontation up north or would he just not care? What is the relationship between the king and archbishop? Pulling more men from Varayne seems logical, since it is closer to the capital than the other manors Ewen has.
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Postby Arva » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:00 am

One more thing...What about Sir Rollard and Finbar? Will they be counted as Ewen's men since they work for Thilisa?
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Postby Lord Ewen » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:45 am

Remember, the archbishop is peeved that the king is pressuring him to relinquish Varayne to the crown, and expects Sir Ewen to come up with a rationale for preventing this.  Maybe the king is pissed that he gave Ewen such a sweet deal on the three manors, while the archbishop is getting an exorbitant ten knights fees for Varayne.  But I'm not sure, frankly, whether pulling more men from Varayne will make much of a difference; the lieges here are only interested in their annual take, I imagine. 

As for Finbar and Sir Rollard, I am sure they count as Ewen's men in the broad sense, but not sure of the proprieties or prudence of stripping a pregnant noble lady of her security captain whatever the national emergency might be. I would think one of them at least would be expected to remain with the lady, given her station, although perhaps there is precedent for a king summoning all able-bodied men in a grave circumstance. I doubt the crisis will be perceived that way, though, at least in the beginning. 
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Postby Lord Ewen » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:43 pm

A few more thoughts, with some admitted repetition of above:

Get mercenaried up.  Denies others access to any merc groups we have hired. Increases our retinue size. Looks like Ewen too big for own britches, maybe.  Given surprisingly strong retinue size, and leaning on Prehil alliance if possible, leverage for a seat at the table which is above, strictly speaking, our station. 

Once at the proverbial table, use Sir Ewen's ability to influence others to shape some lousy military decisions along the line of classic blunders.  Divide forces imprudently, feed units into battle piecemeal, stage glorious but suicidal cavalry charges, encourage temporizing in the midst of crisis, etc.  Focus on getting as much of the flower of Kaldoric chivalry slaughtered as possible. At the same time make noises of respectful dissent when these bloopers take hold, so as to appear wise in retrospect. 

Send Cekiya behind enemy lines to betray critical intel to the Vikings. Hope she doesn't get caught. 

Consider how many more companies of Thardans Sir Ewen might be able to squeeze in under wraps right under the noses of the Kaldoric nobility.   Use Thilisa's life savings to bankroll as needed.  Use manors, or use Thilisa's cash to obtain another building or two in Tashal, to quarter them. Lord Graver could start sending them over in groups of two and three to be assembled as full companies once in the kingdom.  Why wait to get more Thardan troops inside Kaldor, why not start now?

Arrange for assassination of Caldeth now, as in very soon, making Sir Ewen de facto Earl of Vemion during the crisis. Make look like accident, with national crisis lending some obscuring chaos perhaps, but at least diminishing leisure of the king to looking into a suspicious looking death. Going to have to be done eventually, let's get it over with. Send Cekiya out to whack him, hope she doesn't get caught, or pay Escallus lots and lots of Thilisa's cash to have her father murdered.  Keep it in the family.  :twisted:
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Postby Matt » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:23 am

Okay, the three merc companies in Tashal:

1) Rathbar's Raiders. A company of Light Foot.

2) White Ravens. Eastside, a company, type unknown.

3) Company of the Blue Boar. Hag Court, ten Medium Foot, ten Shortbowmen, twenty Light Foot.
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