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c0d5579

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Gudfrid seems like a clever lad, more than a little on the brutal side. In game terms, guessing Skilled Tactician, Cruel, Viking (probably soon to be acquired if not already).
 

Stuyvesant

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You do a great job of walking the line between showing the awful violence and cruelty of the Viking raids without being too graphic. A neat trick, LD.
Director says what I wish I had had the words for. :) You don't gloss over the violence and brutality that these campaigns entail, but the descriptions are never gratuitous. Very well done. It shows me what happens, but I don't feel like I'm reading anything exploitative.
 

Lord Durham

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Not too hard at all. Wonderful to see some proper Viking stuff. Nothing like a good pillage ;)

Wonderfully written, as ever. That Frank was certainly wise to comply - the threat of Uncle Ivar is a potent one.
Indeed. Pillage is good. Gudfrid finds Uncle Ivar a useful ace-in-the-hole for unruly thralls. Thanks for the kind words.

I remember when I was a wee lad and first started learning more than stereotypes about Vikings, I was very impressed about them sailing upriver to Paris and wandering around in Russia and all. So I'm looking forward to these guys looting Paris and Chartres.
Chartres and Paris are definitely on the menu, though their carefree jaunt through the French countryside may not last. Like you, when I was a wee 'un I had no idea the Vikings were so wide ranging.

Ah, old history books, educational in so many ways... Got into trouble with your family? Money problems? Get yourself down south for a spot of nice weather and the opportunity for some ready cash :D
Yes. Halfdan views France as his personal ATM. :)

So what do the feeble followers of Hvitakristr fear even more than the fury of the Northmen? Well, now we know - it's the indifference of that dormant chthonic kraken-headed elder god that certain of those Northmen have started sacrificing people to!

Brilliant writing, Lord Durham - believe me, I'm taking stylistic notes for my next AAR. Please do keep it up!
Based on what I've read in your current AAR, you don't need to take many notes. Halfdan and his followers have found it extremely expedient to use Ivar's religion as a control tool, when needed. Not that Ivar's impressed, no doubt.

Finally caught up with this AAR. Excellent work, Bruce; I love the way the "present" day (1932) and the "historical" sections play off each other. :)
Thanks for dropping in, Sascha. I know you don't frequent these forums much anymore (our loss). Due to the positive feedback, the two sections will continue to play off of one another, and possibly closer than you think ;).

Good to see that Gudfrid exhorts to Odin like a proper Viking and not the alternative. I hope that the raiders end up sacking Paris but I have a sneaking suspicion that something will go wrong sooner or later, either being intercepted by Frankish forces or foul.
Gudfrid is a good Pagan. And regarding the Grand Raid, you may be on to something... ;)

It really drives home how unpleasant a business this pillaging is - quite apart from the basic 'steal everything that isn't tied down'.

Gudfrid's not very pleasant, but I can't deny he is clever and knows how to get things done. Threatening people with Ivar... nasty, but very effective. Even though Gudfrid probably doesn't approve of Ivar's dealings with the Old Ones, he's more than happy to use his uncle's reputation as a tool (wait, that didn't sound right. I meant that Gudfrid is more than happy to use his uncle's reputation as a means to achieve Gudfrid's own goals, even if he doesn't approve of Uncle Ivar).
Couldn't have said it better myself :). Of course, the threat works best on those who have witnessed, or have first hand account, of the sacrifices and other nastiness under the ancient religion. Otherwise, Gudfrid will have to continue doing what a Viking does best.

You do a great job of walking the line between showing the awful violence and cruelty of the Viking raids without being too graphic. A neat trick, LD. Brings home why Europe was so terrified of the Vikings, and shows why they were so hard to fend off. Think of them as Mongols of the Sea, able to strike anywhere within twenty miles of a seashore or river bank with no warning...
Thanks, P. I'll admit I'm a little more constrained than I thought I would be, though that may or may not change. I definitely don't want to sugar-coat the nastiness. Mongols of the Sea. I like that.

You're going against West Francia so soon? This will be a glorious campaign indeed!
Halfdan needs the money, and the Seine looked so inviting :).

An evocative scene! Love that image, too -- wow.

Rensslaer
Thanks, Renss. It was a case where the image prompted the description. I had originally covered the boat trip in the Monmouth recap, intending to start with the looting of Evreux.

Gudfrid seems like a clever lad, more than a little on the brutal side. In game terms, guessing Skilled Tactician, Cruel, Viking (probably soon to be acquired if not already).
Well, he has 'underhanded rogue', which isn't really cruel, but serves in a pinch to get things done with a little manipulation. He hasn't acquired 'Viking' at this point either. Good character guesses, though.

Director says what I wish I had had the words for. :) You don't gloss over the violence and brutality that these campaigns entail, but the descriptions are never gratuitous. Very well done. It shows me what happens, but I don't feel like I'm reading anything exploitative.
Heh. I save 'gratuitous' for my published stuff :). I decided to tone back certain aspects when I remembered from my Mod days that the age group reading these AARs varies widely. It appears I've struck the right balance. Thanks for your comments, S.


I hope to have my next update ready this week. Continued appreciation for the great feedback.

On a side note, I just came across this group in Australia that train in Medieval martial arts. They go by the name of Knights of the Free Company. Hmmm. I know I should have trademarked that name.
 

adamclason

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Fantastically written, you leave me with a hunger for more, more, MORE! ^^

I have shamefully forgot most, if not all, of the gruesome and raw history of the Vikings and their raids, being a student of the Abrahamian religions during medieval times - completely ignoring Norse history. To be more precise, Islam & Christian science up until the Holy Wars (for Iberia) and the knowledge exchanges (christian philosophers reaching the Library in Córdoba).

But ah, reading this made me thirst for more knowledge. Off to the library I go... after I get off this nine to five T_T
 

Lord Durham

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Fantastically written, you leave me with a hunger for more, more, MORE! ^^

I have shamefully forgot most, if not all, of the gruesome and raw history of the Vikings and their raids, being a student of the Abrahamian religions during medieval times - completely ignoring Norse history. To be more precise, Islam & Christian science up until the Holy Wars (for Iberia) and the knowledge exchanges (christian philosophers reaching the Library in Córdoba).

But ah, reading this made me thirst for more knowledge. Off to the library I go... after I get off this nine to five T_T
Yes, yes, YES!! Thanks for reading, and thanks especially for the kind words. An AAR covering Abrahamian religions in Spain would be an interesting read. Hope you had fun at the library. Pick up anything of interest?


I am currently working on an update. I had trouble reconciling some events, considering some of the action takes place concurrently in Britain. But I think I have a handle on it. That's where these Interludes come in handy. I hope to have something ready today or tomorrow. Most likely tomorrow.
 

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Of Raiding Chartres and Paris


February - September 868

Therefore, did Gudfrid bid some small assemblage of Vikings to guard the spoils of Évreux aboard the fleet, and doing so, did depart Évreux and marcheth into Chartres.

Now, following the River Eure, Gudfrid did continue his plunder, the company that were with him unwavering in their slaughter and pillage, causing a path of death and destruction until espying the city of Dreux.

It is said that Dreux once was home to the Celts in times long past before settled by the Romans. As it is, whatsoever defences did exist had suffered greatly from centuries of disrepair and yea, neglect, and did the Vikings loot the city with ease.

Such too became the fate of Chartres, at the mouth of the River Eure, once again built on the foundations of a Roman settlement, having never recovereth from a Norman raid thirty years previous. And finally did the Abbey of Bonneval succumb to the same misfortune, bestowing upon Gudfrid much rewards.

Then, casting eyes to Paris, did Gudfrid lead his men forth, laying waste forthwith to a village by present day Montfort-L'Amaury. Then did he rape the lands about the fortified City of Paris, though lacking the strength to capture it as his Grandfather accomplished years prior, then persisted by looting the Monastery of Saint Denis and plundering the lands about the fortified settlement at Meaux before laying siege. As it happened, word of this most grievous raid did reacheth the ears of the King of West Francia, who forthwith dispatched Duke Ramnulf of Poitou and some men from the war with Saxony...


From 'Being the Secret History of Geoffrey Monmouth'





They occupied a hill to the west of Meaux...


September, 868 - The Battle of Meaux

Gudfrid spared a wistful glance toward Meaux. His Frankish thrall had told him the town was originally a Gaulish settlement, older than the Romans who subsequently occupied it, and whose fortifications the current inhabitants had improved and now hid behind. But little of that mattered to the young Viking. He was prepared to starve the town into surrender, until news of an advancing army scuttled those plans, and the Vikings prepared for battle.

They occupied a hill to the west of Meaux, forming their skjaldborg: the shield wall. The core infantry, those armoured with mail, numbered around two hundred and forty-five men and held the front lines, standing three deep. Behind them were one hundred and six lightly armed Norsemen, adding almost two additional lines of depth. And behind those waited thirty light cavalry, out of sight, on the reverse slope.

The Frankish army had approached to within bowshot. In the fore were arrayed some one hundred and eight archers, and immediately behind, offering a modicum of protection, were eighty-eight spearmen. Seventy-seven heavily armed soldiers occupied the wing of honour, while ninety-seven light infantry held the left. Behind the center sat a small force of sixteen cavalry, the banner of Duke Ramnulf hanging limp in the windless air.

Gudfrid, standing in the front line, glanced back at his own raven banner. Beside him stood Hrothgar, a long time veteran under Halfdan and nearly twice Gudfrid's age. "We are evenly matched," the young Viking said.

Hrothgar grunted. "Pity for them. Take away the advantage of their archers and we have victory."

Suddenly the Frankish archers advanced a step, nocked arrows, raised bows and let loose.

"I guess they don't wish to parley," Gudfrid mused as he joined his men kneeling in the front row. Those behind stepped up and added their shields to the wall.

Arrows struck, impacting against the reinforced wood. Men cried out as some shafts found gaps and caused wounds, or in a few instances, death. The onslaught was quickly followed by another volley, and another.

Hrothgar looked over at Gudfrid, a thin smile playing on his bearded face. "How long do we wait? Until they use all their arrows?"

"No." Turning to a man in the second row, a horn slung over his shoulder, Gudfrid said, "Two more volleys then sound the charge." To Hrothgar. "We should cover the distance in good time and give those archers a fright. Agreed?"

The big Viking tightened his grip on his axe. "Agreed."

Two volleys later the deep tone of the horn sounded, and as a single entity the massed Vikings broke from the hill and rushed for the Frankish lines. As expected the archers panicked, and managed another ragged volley before turning to flee. But in their way stood the spearmen.




...and with great battle oaths slammed into the enemy...


The Vikings swiftly closed on the Franks, and with great battle oaths slammed into the enemy, knocking archer and spearmen alike to the ground with their shields and lashing out with sword and axe, hewing exposed chests and uncovered heads. The enemy center collapsed, and the Vikings gave up a great shout.

However, the swift victory proved near disastrous. Plunging deep into the center exposed their flanks, and the Frankish infantry on both wings rushed in, dealing great damage until Gudfrid and Hrothgar could rally the men. There followed a series of the individual contests, all manner of discipline vanished as each side fought with savage abandon, until ultimately the Franks lost heart and fled, leaving the Vikings masters of the field.

Gudfrid squatted on his haunches, one hand stroking his chin, when Hrothgar strode up and stood tall over him. The young Viking cursed, then said, "It was too near a thing."

Hrothgar shrugged. "There is a lot to be said for early victories. They can easily lead to defeat. At least we rallied the men and won the day. Take solace in that."

"Aye, but we lost too many." He stood, and cast a glance at the distant town of Meaux. "We cannot continue the siege."

"No we cannot. And you should know our cavalry returned with prisoners. They say another army comes. Let that brighten your day."

Gudfrid smiled. "I see. Was this Duke Ramnulf among the captives?"

"No."

"Well, we have done enough here. It is time for home." Crossing his arms, Gudfrid looked over the sprawling land of the Franks. "I think Father will be pleased."

"No doubt he will. No doubt at all."





"Aye, but we lost too many."
 
Last edited:

c0d5579

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It's a pity CK2 forces you to besiege holdings in a set order. "So we came from the north... step one, march past that juicy city and the cathedral, and attack that castle in the south!" In your case, admittedly, the map makes sense of their wanderings, and for that matter shows part of the problem. Why march that far south and out of position if the goal is to pillage to the northeast? From a Viking standpoint, might have made more sense to go Chartres-Orleans-Paris, though Orleans has no river access.

Liked the battle description. I had expected a Poitiers, with the light cavalry acting as the Captal de Buch's right-hook charge, but this makes more sense in the 800s... though a Poitiers-plan victory would have been ironic facing a Poitevin duke.
 
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J. Passepartout

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In the event that any of the Cthulhuites capture a duke or somebody, is he as likely to be sacrificed as anyone else, or will they take ransom and buy a bunch of tasty lower class folks to slay?
 

VILenin

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Great stuff Lord Durham. I'll echo the praise for your portrayal of the Viking raids, unflinching without being gratuitous. Also, I like how you've kept the Mythos element in the background thus far; we all know it's there but it remains a threat for our imaginations to worry over while you establish the characters in the story. Looking forward to more!
 

SirkTheMonkey

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A nice update. It's a slightly odd feeling seeing a battle with hundreds a side as being important when campaigns have gotten you used to seeing such numbers as being insignificant with a 'real' battle needing tens or even hundreds of thousands of men to matter.
 
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Stuyvesant

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A successful campaign of plunder. Yes, Gudfrid is right to state he won a costly victory, but it could have been a defeat. And at least he can now retreat before he is caught by a larger army. Oh, and on a practical side: fewer surviving Vikings = more loot for the survivors. :) But maybe Gudfrid is thinking longer-term than the quick infusion of gold this one raid brought.
 

Revan86

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I've had battles like that one where flank-action really starts to matter; they can get pretty tense. A difference of just a couple of points of morale can mean the difference between victory or rout. Great update, Lord Durham, and looking forward to more from Ivarr, not to mention the modern-day interludes!
 

Surt

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The plunder must have been great for such a small army to move inland!
 

Lord Durham

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It's a pity CK2 forces you to besiege holdings in a set order. "So we came from the north... step one, march past that juicy city and the cathedral, and attack that castle in the south!" In your case, admittedly, the map makes sense of their wanderings, and for that matter shows part of the problem. Why march that far south and out of position if the goal is to pillage to the northeast? From a Viking standpoint, might have made more sense to go Chartres-Orleans-Paris, though Orleans has no river access.

Liked the battle description. I had expected a Poitiers, with the light cavalry acting as the Captal de Buch's right-hook charge, but this makes more sense in the 800s... though a Poitiers-plan victory would have been ironic facing a Poitevin duke.
A Poitiers type victory against Duke Ramnulf was just too tempting :). This is pretty well how they fought. The first 3 to 5 lines were the most heavily armed and armoured, with the lighter armed adding bulk from the rear. I took a bit more liberty with the Franks to explain how Gudfrid lost as many troops as he did. Face it, tactics back around that era were pretty well non-existent in Western Europe. Form your lines, charge, fight, rinse and repeat. You make sense about the direction of Gudfrid's raid, though for role-playing purposes I had them follow the river in Evreux, return to the waiting ships, then set out for Chartres and Paris.

In the event that any of the Cthulhuites capture a duke or somebody, is he as likely to be sacrificed as anyone else, or will they take ransom and buy a bunch of tasty lower class folks to slay?
Well now, that's a good question... ;) Perhaps the higher up the nobility chain the greater the reward from the old tentacled one.

Great stuff Lord Durham. I'll echo the praise for your portrayal of the Viking raids, unflinching without being gratuitous. Also, I like how you've kept the Mythos element in the background thus far; we all know it's there but it remains a threat for our imaginations to worry over while you establish the characters in the story. Looking forward to more!
Thank you for the great feedback VILenin. Always good to hear from new readers. You are right, I don't want to overplay the Mythos part. It doesn't mean there won't be more nastiness, but there will also be references like, "Hey, did you hear what old Ivar did this time?" :).

A nice update. It's a slightly odd feeling seeing a battle with hundreds a side as being important when campaigns have gotten you used to seeing such numbers as being insignificant with a 'real' battle needing tens or even hundreds of thousands of men to matter.
It does seem strange, but in fact armies and battles back in those days were often small affairs. Even the Great Heathen Army was estimated to be little more than 5,000 men (that number is from 'Battles of the Dark Ages' by Peter Marren - 2006).

A successful campaign of plunder. Yes, Gudfrid is right to state he won a costly victory, but it could have been a defeat. And at least he can now retreat before he is caught by a larger army. Oh, and on a practical side: fewer surviving Vikings = more loot for the survivors. :) But maybe Gudfrid is thinking longer-term than the quick infusion of gold this one raid brought.
Unfortunately for Gudfrid the loot will go into the war-chest, though I suspect the ancillaries won't be lacking. The campaign turned out better than I expected. It was originally going to be a raid on Evreux, but when the Vikings ran into no opposition I figured Gudfrid would push his luck. Hence Chartres and Paris. That's when the Franks woke up and sent men.

Where will you go next?
Gudfrid is going home. Halfdan has been fighting all this time, so an Interlude is in order to tie the events into a neat package (I hope).

I've had battles like that one where flank-action really starts to matter; they can get pretty tense. A difference of just a couple of points of morale can mean the difference between victory or rout. Great update, Lord Durham, and looking forward to more from Ivarr, not to mention the modern-day interludes!
Yeah, I think the Frankish archers accounted for much of the Viking losses. Thanks for the kind words. An interlude is next.

The plunder must have been great for such a small army to move inland!
Hi Surt. Thanks for reading and commenting. Like I mentioned above, opposition was non-existent until the looting of Paris was well underway. And these guys, being Vikings, have a love for shiny objects... :)


I hope to have an update ready by the weekend, if not earlier. Thanks for reading and posting feedback.
 

c0d5579

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Your point about tactics is well-taken; there's basically zero command and control, so subtlety has to go out the window. Everyone understood dressing and alignment (one more reason for putting your most experienced man on the rightmost end of your line, everyone dresses off of him), but when battlefield communications technology is limited to flags and drums, and you're eyes-front to keep from eating a spear, even that breaks down. About the only way you can use cavalry as cavalryeffectively on a battlefield like that is independently during actual operations, trying to raid the enemy's camp, or as a pursuit force. You could fight them as dismounts, but they'd lose their mobility edge and lose a percentage as horse-holders.

I don't see why the Old Ones would care about a human duke any more than a human thrall, actually. "As flies to wanton boys" and all that. If anything, the ransom from a duke could pay for a nice new lodge for the Esoteric Order of Dagon, restoration of the altars, quests for manuscripts...
 

DensleyBlair

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Two-hundred and twenty-nine Vikings roaming northern France? Well, this could get very interesting quite soon. Especially if the Poitevin keeps poking his nose where it probably shouldn't go...

I foresee a few close battles yet – in between the plunder, of course. Hopefully this little jaunt will end in some good old-fashioned sacrifice ;)
 

Lord Durham

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Your point about tactics is well-taken; there's basically zero command and control, so subtlety has to go out the window. Everyone understood dressing and alignment (one more reason for putting your most experienced man on the rightmost end of your line, everyone dresses off of him), but when battlefield communications technology is limited to flags and drums, and you're eyes-front to keep from eating a spear, even that breaks down. About the only way you can use cavalry as cavalryeffectively on a battlefield like that is independently during actual operations, trying to raid the enemy's camp, or as a pursuit force. You could fight them as dismounts, but they'd lose their mobility edge and lose a percentage as horse-holders.

I don't see why the Old Ones would care about a human duke any more than a human thrall, actually. "As flies to wanton boys" and all that. If anything, the ransom from a duke could pay for a nice new lodge for the Esoteric Order of Dagon, restoration of the altars, quests for manuscripts...
I was thinking along the lines of noble-bloodlines as opposed to not-so-noble-bloodlines being an important factor. Maybe it doesn't matter at all. I'll let Ivar decide if and when the time comes.

Two-hundred and twenty-nine Vikings roaming northern France? Well, this could get very interesting quite soon. Especially if the Poitevin keeps poking his nose where it probably shouldn't go...

I foresee a few close battles yet – in between the plunder, of course. Hopefully this little jaunt will end in some good old-fashioned sacrifice ;)
Well, there was a little chasing of forces around a couple of provinces, but with a large Frankish army on Gudfrid's tail I figured story-wise it was time to cut bait and go home.

Oh bloody hell, Lord Durham, Vikings and Eldritch things, how did I not notice this entity squirming through the ill-lit corridors of AARland? Count me subscribed.
Hate to break it to you, but this is your second post :). Cthulhu's been known to do things with the mind, so no matter. I'm just glad you are reading!

I hope his brother is not jealous when he finds out about all these French exploits, he might decide he wants to outdo him, and, you know, Paris is well worth an unholy mass...
I have no control over Ivar or any of the other brothers, so who knows? It's possible Paris may be in a world of hurt sometime down the road, though at present the Boneless one has his hands full up in Scotland.


I should have the next update ready today. It's not a long one, though.

On another note, I just found out my short story The Pariah will appear in next month's Lovecraft eZine. Anyone interested can read an excerpt here. The tale takes place in Cuba, after most of the planet has been ruined by global warming. Of course, there are nasties from beneath the sea ready to take advantage of the poor survivors...
 
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