• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.

    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Mar 14, 2003

i. Introduction

This AAR will touch upon several of the game elements from the first chapter of the game. It will mostly describe; use of interface, strategy decision-making, gameplay action and only 'some' of the game content you can expect tofind once you start playing the game proper. Some quests and battles will be skipped over, so that when you play the game for yourself, you can expect lots of surprises.

However, there are some** SPOILERS ** so if you want to savour the experience of game in its entirety, the perhaps you should start playing the game now! Otherwise if you are interested in what the game may bring, pleaseread along. All comments are welcome. Just dont break the rules or I'll send Merlin after you or worse... Morgana!

ii. Background

Who knew that so much, could go so wrong! Time waits for no mortal man, or that which he builds... nor does it restrain its touch upon great kings. For in the once beautiful and prosperous lands of Britannia, the heart ofthe kingdom, an accursed blight fills the land with death, disease and despair. A thing most foul and horrid. Of origins unknown. Malignant. Insidious. Unyielding. It stalks the lands. Skulking from village to castle, touching the peaks of the highest hills and the floors of the lowest valleys. It has even penetrated heart of the one true king - Arthur. To leave him mortally wounded.

So it has been left to you - Crown Prince William, son and heir to his most virtuous lord, to rally a mighty army. To lead them across this once united realm. To seek, find and destroy the enemies of your father. In the hope of reuniting the people of this great land. So they may once more know peace and prosperity.

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In order to begin yourquest you must face your first difficult quest. One which will determine your role, the sort of morality that sways your heart and the starting forces your army will set out with for its first battle. And perhaps a lot more besides. In your heart you know that you are a champion of the people.

I. The Game's afoot!

As courtiers and peasants rejoice at the sight of you their lord and master, hope fills their hearts. You know however, that the journey ahead will bea long and arduous one. Filled with many a peril.

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Immediately, you call together your subordinates and inform them of your first objective. It seems that one of the local fiefdoms once loyal to your father, has changed sides. In doing so, the once loyal lord has been usurped and imprisoned in his own dungeon. This cannot be allowed to stand! Liberating Nottingham will no doubt make a great addition to the course.

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During the preparations it is strange but an unseen presence seems to be guiding you on your way. Helping you to make the right decision and take the correct course of action. You can't help by think back to a name, your father mentioned only once when you were in Camelot's great library. A name you had almost forgotten. Could this strange presence be Merlin, or perhaps his familiar Tutorial... Whatever or whomever it is, you know in your heart it is here to help. It seems to appear whenever any new challenge presents itself. Perhaps it senses your need for new knowledge!?!

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As your army's preparations draw to a close, you are ready to lead your forces in their first encounter of the campaign. As they stand in long steady lines, ready for the march to your target, you sense a mixture of doubt and trepidation in their eyes. You know you will need to depend on leadership skills and tactical acumen if you are to save the lives of as many of your men as possible.

Soon the long march to Nottingham begins and any emotions you may have had are cast aside,as the impending encounter beckons. Lucky for you, for soon youreach the once enchanting forest of Sherwood. Now who knows what lies beneath the layers of its once majestic canopy. Halting your army on the fringes of the woodland, you take a handful of your best men and scout around it's edges. Before long your first dilemma greets you like a sea of uncertainty.

** SPOILER: A working ANIMATED version of the above quest events can be seen here **


And so begin the Tales of Legend...
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II. Of Heroes and Units

As both sides square upto each other, it is clear that the enemy have the advantage ofnumbers.

They will almost certainly be able to out-shoot William's own contingent of archers, with a higher volume of arrows, unless higher ground can be secured. The number of light infantry companies between each side appears equal. So any attempt to restrict combat solely to areas of forest may result in a stalemate of sorts. The enemy outnumbers our hero's forces with heavier infantry also. While possessing twochampions against a lone Prince William confers yet an additional disadvantage in terms of damage capability which can be delivered during a particular moment in time. More so if both of these individuals possess any special powers.

It is solely the two units of mounted cavalry that give William an unmatched capability interms of mobility and the capacity to attack isolated groups, eliminating them before any aid can arrive to help them repel any attack.

It looks as though any rigid plan of battle that Prince William's forces attempt, willresult in defeat, or at least heavy casualties, resulting in victory by only a narrow margin. Therefore, it is probably best to consider aflexible plan and attempt to push the enemy's forces into terrainthey may not find ideal to fight upon and attack them there. Meanwhile, William's forces should try to stay within the confides ofthe forest canopy, where they can to restrict the amount of damage the enemy bowmen can inflict on the smaller force. Flexibility though will be key.

III. HEROES – William Pendragon

A quick look at ourmain character demonstrates his strengths as a leader. He is a champion, so his prowess is in combat and the field of battle. Each character has three character panels which hold specific information. From right to left, they are General Information, Character Skills and Personal Inventory/Artefacts.

In the GENERAL panel,we can see that William possesses a nominal amount of Leadership – he is after-all untested, and a fair magic shield defence. His obvious strength is his great melee capability, while also being difficult to kill with a high repository of hit-points. His ability with magic and reserves of mana (useful for spell and alsospiritual/magical abilities) are modest. While defence is poor. Hopefully this weakness will not be as exploitable he should be on the offensive for most of the time. In any case his personal retinue should be able to protect him, from any potential close shaves.

The SKILLS panel shows that he currently possesses two skills. The first is innate orpassive called – VIGOUR. This provides a bonus to health of 5%,while the other is an active ability. One that must be executedagainst a target. This is called – BLESS. This magical abilitycan be used to double the damage caused by a friendly unit against anenemy, while in combat. You can see from the large number in the top left of each panel, that this hero has reached an experience level of two. So he already has skill points to allocate. For now these will remain unallocated, until after the battle.

The final panel isessentially an inventory, showing the current ARTEFACTS in thecharacter possession. Right now, William has none. Though he issure to gain at least one artefact after this battle has been concluded and possibility more, if any can be taken from the corpsesof the dead enemy champions.


It is vital for acommander to know the abilities and limits of his troops, as much asknowing those of his enemy. Among the ranks of William Pendragon'sarmy are notably; companies of Light Infantry, Cavalry and Thorn Legions. As well as a number of bowmen.

By selecting each of the units in the army roster (located at the bottom of the screen),you can bring up detailed information on each unit type. General information arrayed at the top and includes: experience level, company size, cost of recruit and any captains that have risen through the ranks.

Formations that the unit is able to take up can be seen in the middle of each panel. There are a range of such types, with each unit limited to knowing a maximum of four. Those shown can be assumed by the particular unit. Among them are: HORDE - for fast movement and limiting casualties from ranged attack, SHIELD WALL – providing greater defensive cohesion, for slower movement speed and WEDGE – for an enhanced penetrating attack. DIAMOND – Greater protection from all-sides, but an almost complete lack of mobility.


Below is a montage of units under William's command. You can see that Cavalry units possess the ability of Mobility: +25 Movement. Thorn Legions possess: Spear-wielder: +200 passive damage against horsemen and monsters. While Ironguard units have the trait of Heavily Armoured:+80 passive shooting defence


Here is one detailing those of the enemy's units. Only their armoured infantry possesses any type of ability, which is Armoured: +40 passive shooting defence.

So in reality, though the enemy has more numbers the quality of William's troops, level the playing field considerably. As long as no major miscalculations are made during the course of the battle, it should be won fairly well –though with some inevitable casualties. Though as the capabilities of the enemy heroes remain clouded from view, so they may produce some form of shock or surprise. Especially if they hold any powerful offensive capabilities, that can be used to rain down carnage on William's forces. Then the power of his magic shield will have tohold true against this threat.

Now the time for talk is done. Prepare to savour the first taste of battle. May it be sweet. Let the hostilities commence....
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The mission: Free Sir Agravaine (by defeating the Sherwood traitors)

Mission rewards received are as follows:

Hero: Sir Agravaine
Major Item: Soul Ring +60 Fire Damage, and in addition (+10 Spell-power after winning five battles & +1000 HP after winning ten battles)
Minor Item: Leeching Greatsword +100 HP for each slain warrior
Gold: +2000


The battle lines are drawn and the men and horses of both sides ready to smash the other side and defeat them. A quick look at the first field of battle shows the main sector of battle - a valley, to be flanked by impassable hills on either side. This will no doubt focus both sides into the central valley area, where the bulk of the fighting should take place. The actual valley is liberally covered with clumps of trees. This area of woodland is split horizontally roughly down the middle, where there is a large expanse of open ground. A natural killing ground for archers and cavalry. It could also be ideal for heavy infantry to fight upon.

Nearby on the right flank are two Sidhe towers. Ownership of these would provide the capability of casting damaging spells against the enemy or imbuing allied units with bonus abilities, if they are within range of the location. These specific locations possess the magical Crystal shards spell, which can cause damage to nearby enemy units.

There are three other victory locations, but two are deep within the territory of the enemy. One of them on the other hand is shielded by one of the hill ranges (to the left) and is more accessible to our forces. In addition, the weather is good and it is day-time. Good news for the enemy's side as they have the superiority in archery numbers, so the basic range and sight will be unaffected by these conditions.

Perhaps the most important feature of the battle-field is a low ridge, just ahead of Pendragon's main force. Lying next to this is a line of forest that makes a natural and idea defensive position of sorts. At least it is better than standing exposed on open ground. Positioning archers here will increase their range by a little and force attempts by the enemy to approach them on foot, to manuever through neighbouring trees. Where ranks of light and heavy infantry will be waiting.


Pendragon's army is arrayed as follows:

Left Flank


Right Flank


The plan is a simple one. Or at least straightforward. To form a defensive line just behind the area marked HILL BASE (nearest to the bottom of screen). To have a mix of units in the centre and on either flank, in order to deal with any possible combination of forces that the enemy sends to any sector of the battle line. The cavalry on each flank will peel off and attempt to secure ownership of the three nearest victory locations, if time and the situation permits. They will then return to take up positions on the flanks and look to join any melee on open ground. Preferably targeting any archery units in the open. The remaining infantry units will stay within the confides of the woodland, taking up horde formation, in an attempt to minimise casualties. As the enemy infantry approaches it will switch to shield-wall or wedge formations, depending on the unit and attack enmasse.

While this is happening, both units of bowmen will shoot together into the enemies own archers, switching their fire from one unit to another. The location chosen of where each unit is to meet the enemy's charge will depend on which on i) the type of enemy unit attacking and ii) the allied unit facing them.


The horns have sounded and all to quickly units from both sides scramble to reach their primary objectives. Pendragon's cavalry company on the right flank reaches it's first Victory Location and attempts to turn it to the side of the Prince.

On the left flank, the other company of cavalry makes good progress towards its own Victory Location objective. Some of the enemy forces are lost from sight as they move through the dense underground of the woods far to thenorth. A tutorial alert triggers (on the left of the screen), if this feature is an unfamiliar. To see the tutorial, you must click on the alert. Its good to know that Merlin's familiar is ever-present.

Time continues to passby as the bulk of Pendragon's forces reach their goals and ready themselves for the coming onslaught. The enemy forces continue on their forced march. Most at some point disappear from view, only to reappear when the the line-of-sight is restored.

Before the enemy reaches the KILLING GROUND, the first Victory Location is take by Pendragon's side, as can be seen by the icon at the bottom left of the control panel of the interface. Though it has taken too long and the cavalry unit may not have enough time to secure the location of the nearby second one. At least not if it is to be ready to repel the high numbers of enemy forces now moving with all haste towards the Pendragon battle-line.
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So much for planning! Our hero's troops make it to the desired location of the front-line,but the cavalry on the right flank isn't able to make it to the second victory location in time. Even though the enemy is forced to manuever through the dense forest, it arrives in good time, to within firing range of both Pendragon's companies of archers (seen below inthe very centre of the pic). With such a myriad of targets to choose from, it becomes a proverbial turkey shoot. However they are used to target the quickest advancing enemy units, until the first enemyarchers get in range.

The problem with the plan becomes apparent fairly early on. Some of the enemy units including the archers stay out of reach and only move into range of Pendragon's bowmen, while under the protection of woodland. So initially, targeting them only produces a minimum of casualties. The additional range afforded by the elevated ridge is worthwhile, though not enough of a boon to make much of a difference. As the enemy archers find their range and shoot at Pendragon's front-line of infantry, while remaining in the relative protection of their side of the forest (see pic below). Still Pendragon's forces are protected - for now.

However, the bulk ofthe enemy forces soon begin move in an inverted V across the entire breadth ofthe valley. (see pic below) This is no surprise really as no general would attack piecemeal if they possessed superiority of numbers. The core of the centre consists of a couple of waves of heavy infantry followed by Sherwood archers and Sir Raghnall with his retinue. While on Pendragon's left flank another enemy hero – Sir Marrok leads his own retinue, a group of mounted troops!! They are moving fast. Very fast. With his own cavalry out of position on that side, Pendragon's forces may not be able to hold that flank. At least not without some additional help from the centre.

As the enemy forces close with Pendragon's army, the enemy's archers move within range and begin to target the opposing bowmen. To begin with only two of the enemy's units are able to fire on Pendragon's own bowmen. Both sets of groups exchange fire and since both are on open ground casualties are taken by each side. However, Pendragon's bowmen are in Horde formation, better skilled and are targeting the same unit with one volley at a time. This is producing far better results than the enemy's own method. Though if this continues, Pendragon's bowmen will be wilted down in number sooner than later.

As the enemy's leading elements on both flanks reach within striking distance of Pendragon's front-line, both sets of forces are let loose on the enemy. On the right flank, Pendragon's units of light infantry attack the enemy force in the woods and the Ironguards attack enemy infantry that is caught part way out of the forest, on open ground. While on the left flank, Pendragon's Ironguards attack their foes in the open.

The enemy hero Sir Marrok makes it past Pendragon's line and heads up to the victory location # 3, where Pendragon's cavalry unit is attempt to seize control of it, on the left front. Now all hell is breaking loose, with the enemy's archery units – two around 60% and two at 100% health firing at the centre line. Pendragon arrayed in the centre has a dilemma to make. Does he charge out and meet the remaining enemy infantry in the open or does he wait in the cover of the woods? Hoping his forces that are already engaged on the flanks can inflict a quick defeat on their opponents, so they can join his force in a final assault on the remaining enemy host. And what of the cavalry on his right flank. Where could they be?

Whats more, the enemy heroes begin to use their powerful abilities on Pendragon's outnumbered forces. Can the situation get any worse?

Comments are welcome - :)
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The crash of steel upon steel echoes across the valley as warriors from both sides charge into their foes. Screams of anger, fear and excitement accompany them. Fuelled by the adrenaline no other human act can bring.

At the isolated victory location on the Pendragon left flank, the royal cavalry secures the victory location just in the nick of time, as the traitorous Sir Marrok's troop moves into toattack the lone company of Pendragon horsemen. With nowhere left to turn this company of riders about-faces and charges to meet Sir Marrok and his mounted troops, head on. Though closely matched in battle, the numbers are with Pendragon's royal riders. Who now have the support of the nearby Sidhe Tower and its ability – the Magical Shard spell. After a brief encounter the Pendragon riders dispatch the enemy hero and his smaller retinue. Though not before taking a number of casualties.

Soon after the victors ride hard and fast back towards the Pendragon left flank hopefully in time to lend their support, against the overwhelming numbers the enemy has there, against Pendragon's two infantry companies.

On the right flank a different story is unfolding (see pic below). Stopped from acquiring the abilities of the Sidhe Tower, the other company of Royal horsemen was able to charge against an enemy infantry unit caught in the open. Moving at such speed the mounted warriors were able to trample the enemy force, adding additional damage to their standard attack.

Around the same time,the enemy's centre line with Sir Raghnall and his retinue in tow are met on open ground by Pendragon and his infantry. Sir Raghnall begins to Cleave through the ranks of Pendragon heavy infantry, causing tremendous casualties. This in turn causes the Prince himself to lead his own retinue into the fray.

It is as Pendragon reaches the melee, he invokes the magical ability to Bless on the infantry unit that met Sir Raghnall and his forces, and is taking most damage. Across all three sectors of the battle line warriors are pitted against warriors. The tipping point of the battle is about to be reached. By coincidence at this point in time the magical shards spell of the closest victory location (on the right flank) completes its cooldown and becomes available again. Could this be a sign?

Seconds seem like minutes. The minutes, hours. After what seems like an eternity, Pendragon's forces edge into a slender advantage. Soon one of the enemy's companies of infantry is broken. Its members crushed by the quality of Pendragon's forces. This is followed by another. Both units of infantry now free of their charges, turn their attentions to assisting their nearby valiant comrades, helping to press the growing advantage to their favour. Behind the ridge, still continuing their ranged attacks, Pendragon's bowmen ceaselessly continue to rain down arrows, upon the exposed enemy archers. With every volley a fresh
rank is slain, their bodies are smashed prone, down onto the blood soaked earth.


Bowmen 1: 64 dead
Bowmen 2: 55 dead
Light Infantry 1: 57dead
Light Infantry 2: 4dead
Ironguards 1: 6 dead
Ironguards 2: 1 dead
Iron Legion: 31 dead
Royal Cavalry 1: 5 dead


Precise details are unknown. Three companies eliminated. All other units are down by at least a quarter of their number.

The tide continues to favour Lord Pendragon's army. Pretty soon his forces overwhelm the remaining enemy infantry units. One by one. With each of his units freed from action, their attention is turned to assisting those allied units that remain entwined in the throes of combat. Having despatched Sir Raghnall himself, Pendragon leads his retinue (above) to the next skirmish.

In turn, each enemy infantry formation that met Pendragon's forces is despatched, leaving a few embattled companies standing against tide of death. Islands in a sea of vengeful steel. The remaining numbers of enemy archers, wayoff to the rear continue to perform their job, though they look ready to flee at the earliest sign of approaching cavalry.

In reality though the few scattered enemy troops continue to offer a meaningless defence. For the battle is almost won. Quality not quantity it appears, is king...
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With each stroke and slash of a weapon, one more of the enemy's numbers fall. Stabbed. Chopped. Bashed and shot. The last vestiges of Sir Raghnall and Sir Merrok's infantry are put to the sword.

Knowing the encounter to be lost, the enemy's archers begin to flee away from the Prince'sarmy. Deep they run. Into the protective cover of the forest's canopy. Soon they are lost from sight. Safe. Or so they believe. Behind them, chasing packs of royal cavalry chase them down, spotting them though the dark camouflage of the forest green. Pointing with lancers and shouting for all they are worth, they guide the surviving Pendragon archers where to shoot. The enemy fall in two and threes. Cut down in a hail of deadly arrows. Most die quickly. The injured and the those that avoid the deadly shafts of accurate arrows, succumb to the chasing infantry. When they caught up to, they are quickly despatched.

The field of battle belongs to Pendragon. But not without cost.

With the tightly fought battle now over, a subordinate rides up from the mass of death anddestruction that litters the battlefield, locating Prince William tobring him the casualty reports from each of the company commanders. The news is grim, though it could would have been a lot worse, but for the quality of his troops and some ever-present Pendragon fortune. There has been loss of life, but a victory after all - is avictory. And victories bring rewards – such as in the spoils ofwar.

As the last of the casualties is rounded up and taken to shelter, a breakdown of actual casualties is shown to the Prince. The enemy fought and died to thelast man.

If morale were a factor, it would be an immeasurable bonus to Pendragon's army. As it is, in addition to the experience gained by William's army, a bounty of gold was collected from the the bodies and supply train of the defeated. No doubt it will be used to replace and train the fallen warriors that gave their lives for the cause. Most importantly an ally has joined the cause. Sir Agravaine the imprisoned knight,champion of the Sherwood refugees has been freed. He is free, and free to join the cause, to help find a cure that will raise William's father from his malaise – and heal the king .

Sir Agravaine is a Warlord. A type of hero best suited to the management of fiefdoms. Fiefdoms are essentially captured or liberated counties in the realm of Britannia. Like other heroes, he has in own retinue. A few specialized skills and as yet no significant artefacts to bring to battle. He has a number of particular traits. The Trader trait acknowledges a certain ability to set traders at ease. When visiting a location with a trader, the trader will always put up for sale anadditional artefact. He possesses the Shrewd trait which providesan additional 25% XP when completing a quest. Finally, the negative (red) trait – Dislike of Cavalry will result in 25% less cavalryavailable from locations where they can be purchased from, within any fiefdom allocated to the hero.

Lastly, a handful of artefacts were gained in the aftermath of the encounter. These now reside in Prince William's personal inventory and will be divided between himself and Sir Agravaine, where possible. With this first and important victory complete. It is now time to turn to matters befitting a new lord. The matters of statecraft.

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Nearby on the right flank are two Sidhe towers. Ownership of these would provide the capability of casting damaging spells against the enemy or imbuing allied units with bonus abilities, if they are within range of the location. These specific locations possess the magical Crystal shards spell, which can cause damage to nearby enemy units. Thank you for sharing!:D

R4R4 3DS
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