What would Chunel do?

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What would Chunel do?

#1 Post by Noron » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:49 am

In my campaign, king Chunel is facing a rather momentous decision - for Melderyn, and for my campaign too! As a GM, I'll make the decision for him; but I'm interested in what you think his choice could/should be and why, since there may be angles that I have not considered.

Ok, here's the situation. It's early fall of 720, just after the harvest. Over the course of just a few weeks a force of several hundred Solori (witnesses say "thousands", but surely there are not that many?) with a series of lighning-fast actions, sophisticated strategy and almost impossibly brilliant maneuvering emerge from the woods of Solora and raid Yael, Gythrun, Racyn, Fosumo and Cundras. They capture all the keeps. They slay all resistance and almost all adult males, take everyone else into slavery back into Solora, with the exception of the inhabitants of a few manors surrounding Gythrun who manage to flee to safety. They take all the food accumulated for the winter and many goods (weapons, steel tools etc. - including three ships from Gythrun's harbour). They burn to the ground everything they can't carry away, including all the manors, and in a feat of remarkable engineering they even manage to slight the keeps. Apparently, their legendary hero Matasum has returned to lead them with frightening effectiveness.

Word gets to Cherafir by means of a young scholar, a Shek-Pvar scion of a minor manor lord, accompanied by the sheriff of Birenshire, sir Brynet Mery. He claims to have been in Gythrun at the time it was taken; he was spared because he was known to the Solori, having spent some time living among them to study their customs, and being regarded by them as a "man of honour". The scholar says that the Solori had come to regard the Melderyni as evil, greedy, dishonourable men - as evinced among other things by the fact that they attack the Solori and try to steal Solori land even though the have plenty of their own that they do not use (basically, the wilderness between Gythrun and the Nuem settlements). So the Solori had decided that they would either cleanse the land of the Melderyni scourge, or die trying.

The young scholar says that he managed to get an audience with the chiefs of the Solori, and explained them that really not all Melderyni were evil. He told the Solori that the Melderyni that they fought in the Nuem valley were among the most evil and dishounorable ones of their people; since nobody in Melderyn wanted them as neighbours, they had been pushed beyond the fringes of the kingdom. The king of the Melderyni was an old man living in an island beyond the sea, and was not entirely aware of what was going on. Apparently the Solori were half convinced, and sent him over to act as an ambassador/intermediary (with the sheriff in tow) to tell Chunel they'd be willing to cease their hostilities immediately, under the following conditions (which they regard as very generous - they would be insulted at any attempt of bartering them down):

1. The Solori will forgive the Melderyni king; even though a chieftain bears the responsibility for what his people do, they understand it's not easy to keep in check such a dishonourable and unruly lot, particularly when acting so far away from one's supervision.
2. They will recognize the ancient boundaries of the old kingdom of Elorinar (the ruins of Gythrun being roughly on the border) and not cross over unless provoked, or unless welcome guests of one of the Melderyini chiefs.
3. Similarly, the Melderyni will recognize that the land south of those borders belongs to the Solori, and will not cross over unless invited by one of the Solori chiefs, remaining only as long as they are welcome guests.
4. The Solori will return 1/3 of the captives immediately, 1/3 in 10 years if the Melderyni keep their terms, and the remaining 1/3 in 20 years if the Melderyni keep their terms.

The young scholar says he's very ashamed that he did not quite tell the Solori the truth, but that he thinks that in this way he's saved countless lives. He goes on to point out that the Solori are known to be almost ridiculously honourable; if Chunel accepts and keeps his end of the bargain, they will surely do the same and guarantee a safe southern frontier to Melderyn's mainland possessions. While accepting the terms means giving up essentially all of Birenshire, that land is now a wasteland, and it's not as if Melderyn has, or will have for many decades, lack of uninhabited lands (e.g. all the land north of Thay). Rejecting the terms, on the other hand, is likely to lead to bloodshed and wanton destruction and, even if Melderyn eventually prevails, a slightly larger kingdom but one with a long frontier with the dangerous Hodiri.

The Peonian "Love & Peace" church seems likely to be all in favour of the deal. Most of the Mangai too - war is bad for most business. The church of Save K'nor I'd say is also midlly in favour - although one of their abbeys has been raided, the priesthood is safe among the captives and the lands would still fall inside the new Melderyn borders. The Laranian church (fighting orders included) is obviously outraged, but many regard it as the cause of the whole mess, including part of the church itself. I'm not sure about the position of the various earls, but they lose nothing by the deal: Cundras and Fosumo were held by a Laranian fighting order; Gythrun was the seat of the earl of Biren, who died heirless in the attack; Racyn was held directly by the king through his sheriff and Yael for the king by one of his barons. In fact, the king can probably see his personal power grow, since he can likely claim back for the crown the lands of the earl of Biren, that were mostly spared by the attack (including the keeps of Parnam, Jothet, Menio and Ramere).

So. Does Chunel accept the Soloran peace offer? He has but one day to decide - the Solori believe it's an obvious decision that any honourable man would make immediately, like offering to pay the damages caused by one's wayward slave.
Last edited by Noron on Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#2 Post by Gothmog » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:15 am

My 2d. Any king that excepts those terms and leaves his people in the hands of barbarians for decades is not fit to wear the crown. I'm fairlly sure the Laranian church will not abide by those terms either and would force the issue.
Ok, let me get this straight. These guys come in, trash the place, slap Agrik & Larani around, and the most intelligible thing they said was "Zog!"?

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#3 Post by Noron » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:32 am

Gothmog wrote:My 2d. Any king that excepts those terms and leaves his people in the hands of barbarians for decades is not fit to wear the crown.
I thought hostages were often kept for a lifetime? And the alternative is that they all get slain, before the king can do anything about it. And many others probably with them.
Gothmog wrote: I'm fairlly sure the Laranian church will not abide by those terms either and would force the issue.
Well, what do you mean exactly by "the church"? The fighting order of the Lady of Paladins, which held the Cundras and Fosumo keeps, has been effectively annihilated. So they can't "force the issue". Their Kaldor branch is still around, but many of their reblenas have been saying for years that their Melderyni bethren wasted resources and courted disaster with the unfair and unchivalrous "Soloran crusade" - and right now they have more pressing concerns with the Kaldoric succession looming... The Laranian primate took no action to stop or condemn the crusade, but we read he was "deeply disturbed" by the issue. And almost every other party involved really sees that, right or wrong, it was the order of the Lady of Paladins that made the conflict with the Solori escalate.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#4 Post by Krazma » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:52 am

The king of Melderyn has some unusual resources to call upon. I wouldn't consider him helpless in the face of this ultimatum. Whatever magic has transformed the Solori into an seemingly unstoppable army can probably be countered.

A lot depends on what role the PCs play in all this.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#5 Post by Noron » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:14 am

Krazma wrote:The king of Melderyn has some unusual resources to call upon. I wouldn't consider him helpless in the face of this ultimatum. Whatever magic has transformed the Solori into an seemingly unstoppable army can probably be countered.
Indeed, the "Bujoc solution" :) There are some issues with it, however. Even with the Bujoc, Melderyn took at least several months to stop them. So basically, Chunel has three options.

1. Chunel accepts the terms.
2. Chunel cleanly refuses the terms, and faces the wrath of the Solori. Note that the Solori as I described them are not an "unstoppable army": even without unusual resources, Melderyn can probably beat them up over a few months (winter may slow operations down, but definitely by the end of the next spring). The problem is what happens in those months. The hostages have a good chance to get killed. The Solori are likely to ravage another large chunk of the countryside. And when Melderyn has prevailed, what has it gained that it can't gain by accepting the peace offer - some wasteland devoid of all life with an hostile border that needs to be defended?
3. Chunel pretends to accept the terms, but only to buy time, and he eventually betrays them. Say, he has some curse strike the Solori and dreams sent to their chieftains about their ancestors being upset with their new home etc. etc.

You are arguing that Chunel would go for option 3, right? So, at least for the time being, and at least nominally, he accepts the peace offer?

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#6 Post by Krazma » Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:03 pm

Noron wrote:You are arguing that Chunel would go for option 3, right? So, at least for the time being, and at least nominally, he accepts the peace offer?
What I was getting at is that Chunel doesn't necessarily have to respond at all. He can rightly argue that anyone who can transform the Solori into a force capable of wiping out an entire fighting order and destroying multiple castles and keeps is probably worthy of the attention of the White Hand. And they have a much wider range of choices than the three you've given Chunel. And even if you don't want to involve the fabled mages of the Mages' Isle, there's still the very effective Melderyni "secret service" who should be very concerned with these events, and probably working on several contingencies.

Regardless, the most critical question is how your PCs fit into this mix. Are they associated with Chunel, the Solori, or another interested party?

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#7 Post by Derfman » Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:19 pm

For reasons stated, I don't see the conditions being accepted. Immediate return of prisoners being a minimum adjustment. All of this is subject to GM 'adjustment'.

I also twitch a bit (or more than a bit) at the level of success you give the Solori, but I always say in such cases, if you and your players are having good games, you are doing it right, even if purists like myself twitch a bit.

We have our pHarns for a reason.....

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#8 Post by Rothesay » Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:18 pm

I agree that Chunel cannot accept these terms. Both for the reason Gothmog states - he cannot remain king if he does, and the reason Krazma states - he has other options.

There's a reason one doesn't flock with Melderyn, and your Solori have just done so. It's one thing to ignore what the Laranians are doing, but quite another to ignore the raiding of castle, manor, and keep. The Kings of Melderyn are traditionally rather patient, but there are limits. I imagine Chunel would not respond to them at all, and put in motion whatever solution he chooses quietly, and it will all be over by the time the snow melts.

As Derfman says, we all have our pHarns. In mine, the Solori would be flirting with cultural suicide, and would be very much at the mercy of Chunel. If you had chosen any other kingdom on Harn for this scenario, the results would be very different.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#9 Post by Noron » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:30 pm

Krazma wrote:
Noron wrote:You are arguing that Chunel would go for option 3, right? So, at least for the time being, and at least nominally, he accepts the peace offer?
What I was getting at is that Chunel doesn't necessarily have to respond at all.
That's the equivalent of refusing. The Solori assume that the scholar tricked them, and vow never to commit the same mistake again. Then they rampage. Yes, they do know they are risking extinction, but from their point of view extinction by inaction was guaranteed. More importantly, they have already committed to rampage, by promising it. And to a Solori, his word is as binding as a natural law.

Ok. Everyone seems to assume that Chunel will not go with the peace offer. Had he been any other feudal monarch, I would have agreed. But Chunel being Chunel - a master of realpolitik with a good deal of practical cynism and an interdimensional education (we know he's studied Terran treaties of war and politics etc.) I would have expected him to avoid an immediate, direct confrontation - accepting the terms instead, and then sending his various agents to try and understand what was going on and solve the situation behind the scenes.

Hmmm. Time to ponder this a little further.
Krazma wrote: He can rightly argue that anyone who can transform the Solori into a force capable of wiping out an entire fighting order and destroying multiple castles and keeps is probably worthy of the attention of the White Hand.
Uh? No. The White Hand patrols activities of the Shek P'var, making sure that they do not violate the P'varic code (at least not a second time :)). In my campaign they have investigated the issue, and have narrowly decided that there was no violation of the Shek-Pvar code so far. In fact, as I read it, the White Hand would probably intervene to smash any attempt of Melderyn to solve the issue through the use of magic.
Krazma wrote: And even if you don't want to involve the fabled mages of the Mages' Isle, there's still the very effective Melderyni "secret service" who should be very concerned with these events, and probably working on several contingencies.
Sure. But it takes them time. Again, the problem is not dealing with the Solori, it's whether to accept their peace terms and end the hostilities now, or accept war. I'd argue that a war is somewhat more costly even to a victorious Melderyn than accepting the peace terms, even though it would be much more costly to the Solori. But the Solori have already committed to it, and the choice is now in Chunel's hands.

See: if a robber were to tell you "give me 100$ or I'll blow both of us up", you could rightly laugh in his face and refuse the 100$ -- he'd never blow himself up. But if the same robber somehow managed to prove to you that the bomb is now outside of his control, and will blow up on its own unless the 100$ are transfered to his bank account, you pay. Game theory and the power of commitment!
And this is exactly the situation with the Solori. They have vowed to blow themselves up, and anyone who knows the Solori knows that they'll keep their word, for good or ill, even if it means total annihilation. Most feudal kings would not grasp this. Chunel, with his interdimensional education and a secret service far beyond that of a typical feudal monarch, realizes it perfectly. Thus, the Solori have turned their weakness (the fact that their word binds them utterly) into a strength, and Chunel's strength (his intellingence) into a weakness.
Krazma wrote: Regardless, the most critical question is how your PCs fit into this mix. Are they associated with Chunel, the Solori, or another interested party?
The PCs are (secretly) allied with the Solori :)
The Soloran success is mundane (with the exception of a little shamanic magic), but they are guided by a virtually supernatural intelligence with an understanding of strategy and tactics far beyond that of feudal Harn. On the other hand, there are strong supernatural forces arrayed against any supernatural force Melderyn will try to field.
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Re: What would Chunel do?

#10 Post by Noron » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:41 pm

Rothesay wrote:I agree that Chunel cannot accept these terms. Both for the reason Gothmog states - he cannot remain king if he does, and the reason Krazma states - he has other options.
What I fail to understand is why "Chunel cannot remain king if he does". What does he face, a baronial rebellion? An angry Larani who comes down from Dolithor and smacks him down?

This is important. If there is some force that inescapably commits Chunel to action, the picture becomes very different then if it's just "expected" of a king to fight against folks attacking him. Note that Chunel simply laughed away the Chybisan "secession", something most feudal kings would not have done.
Rothesay wrote: As Derfman says, we all have our pHarns. In mine, the Solori would be flirting with cultural suicide, and would be very much at the mercy of Chunel. If you had chosen any other kingdom on Harn for this scenario, the results would be very different.
Actually, the Solori would not have done this on their own. In my campaign a cold intelligence was awakened to guide them, making the most out of every asset they have (and even out of apparent weaknesses, like the fact that they can't renege on a promise, or that they won't wear armour).

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#11 Post by Noron » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:30 pm

Derfman wrote:For reasons stated, I don't see the conditions being accepted. Immediate return of prisoners being a minimum adjustment. All of this is subject to GM 'adjustment'.
Note that 1/3 of the captives get returned immediately.
This could really bring back to Melderyn everyone but the serfs.
I believe that in most feudal war treaties serfs stayed where the land stayed, right?
On the other hand, most feudal war treaties did involve hostages, in particular noble hostages, that were often kept for a lifetime. So I guess it would not be unreasonable for the Solori to require that a few VIPs remain in their hands at least for the first decade.
Derfman wrote: I also twitch a bit (or more than a bit) at the level of success you give the Solori, but I always say in such cases, if you and your players are having good games, you are doing it right, even if purists like myself twitch a bit.
We have our pHarns for a reason.....
Actually, I regard myself a purist too :)
Mine is a pHarn only in the sense that a plausible, if improbable, event took place after 720 (or rather, before 720, but with any significant impact on history only after 720). It's a little as if I had Earl Troda Dariune suffer, in his childhood, from some illness that imperceptibly weakens his heart, so that he dies of a heart attack immediately before Miginath. This would probably make my pHarn evolve very differently from most other pHarns, but it's not something that runs against canon, even if it's not by itself part of canon.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#12 Post by Peter the skald » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:16 pm

Well, I see Chunel as a reasonable man, so he would reject the terms and annihilate the Solori. It is just not reasonable that such miltary success be perpetuted from such low power base. Also unfortunately the definite consequences of agreeing would drive the actions of the king...as oppossed to the possible consequences of rejecting the offer.

If/when Chunel is faced with further unreasonable military success; his mood might be different and actions more concillatory...or more extreme; take your pick. Anyhoos; some hostages are gonna die :evil:



I also find the premise of such a succesful Solori jarring, and the explanation
The Soloran success is mundane (with the exception of a little shamanic magic), but they are guided by a virtually supernatural intelligence with an understanding of strategy and tactics far beyond that of feudal Harn.
inadequate for me. I would argue that even the greatest tactitian and strategist would not come from such a low base, to get so far, so quickly. But that is probably an argument for another thread.
Plots and schemes are the same thing..

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#13 Post by Krazma » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:36 pm

Noron wrote:
Krazma wrote: He can rightly argue that anyone who can transform the Solori into a force capable of wiping out an entire fighting order and destroying multiple castles and keeps is probably worthy of the attention of the White Hand.
Uh? No. The White Hand patrols activities of the Shek P'var, making sure that they do not violate the P'varic code (at least not a second time :)). In my campaign they have investigated the issue, and have narrowly decided that there was no violation of the Shek-Pvar code so far. In fact, as I read it, the White Hand would probably intervene to smash any attempt of Melderyn to solve the issue through the use of magic.
Okay, if you've already followed this path, then it's a moot point. However, for an example of how the Shek-Pvar might intervene to thwart threats to Melderyn, see the Cape Renda Disaster entry in HârnDex.
Noron wrote:
Krazma wrote: Regardless, the most critical question is how your PCs fit into this mix. Are they associated with Chunel, the Solori, or another interested party?
The PCs are (secretly) allied with the Solori :)
The Soloran success is mundane (with the exception of a little shamanic magic), but they are guided by a virtually supernatural intelligence with an understanding of strategy and tactics far beyond that of feudal Harn. On the other hand, there are strong supernatural forces arrayed against any supernatural force Melderyn will try to field.
This trumps all other considerations, regardless of how debatable some of your other points may seem to myself or others here. If in your campaign, the Melderyni are the antagonists and your PCs are allies of the Solori, then what your pChunel decides to do (or not do) needs to fit that reality and make for the most interesting and fun story for you and your players.

Just to be clear, though: The Solori success is mundane, except for being guided by a virtually supernatural intelligence. So, someone is intervening with powers/knowledge beyond what is native/natural to Hârn, and the mages of Melderyn have investigated this and decided that it not only isn't a threat to them, but that it would be a violation of the Shek-Pvar code to respond to it? How would you have them respond to something like a demon or other non-SP threat running amok in Hârn? If they have investigated enough to reach this conclusion, it seems like the Melderyni would have a pretty good understanding of their foe by now.

If so, then I would suggest that you could present the PCs with one or more challenges involving Melderyni attempts to free their hostages, take out the intelligence guiding the Solori (is that a PC?), or otherwise mislead/confuse the situation. Though it seems like you've stacked the deck against whatever Melderyn might do, if that's the deck you are playing with, then I think you ought to just pick whatever card sounds like the most fun for your game.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#14 Post by Derfman » Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:11 pm

I'll repeat the following again, because it bears stressing:

"If you and you players are having good games, you are doing it right".

Can't stress that enough.

All our critiquing is good stuff, but "if you and your players are having good games, you are doing it right".

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#15 Post by Noron » Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:18 am

Krazma wrote:
Noron wrote:
Krazma wrote: He can rightly argue that anyone who can transform the Solori into a force capable of wiping out an entire fighting order and destroying multiple castles and keeps is probably worthy of the attention of the White Hand.
Uh? No. The White Hand patrols activities of the Shek P'var, making sure that they do not violate the P'varic code (at least not a second time :)). In my campaign they have investigated the issue, and have narrowly decided that there was no violation of the Shek-Pvar code so far. In fact, as I read it, the White Hand would probably intervene to smash any attempt of Melderyn to solve the issue through the use of magic.
Okay, if you've already followed this path, then it's a moot point. However, for an example of how the Shek-Pvar might intervene to thwart threats to Melderyn, see the Cape Renda Disaster entry in HârnDex.
That's actually evidence for me of how the Shek-Pvar will categorically not intervene. Harndex says it was the magi of Melderyn; but pretty much everywhere else we read that the source of the Cape Renda storm is undefined, and that there are rumours that it was Melderyni magic (or divine intervention etc.). Then again, there are rumours that the storm that on Terra destroyed the Invincible Armada (that Philip II of Spain had sent to conquer England) were the deed of witchcraft, or the punishment of God.

If Melderyn could do such stuff with impunity, they would boast about it. Instead, they neither deny nor affirm they did it, which is walking a fine line between being smacked down by the White Hand (if they say yes) and losing the "oh these guys are scary" aura the episode gave them (if they say no). The most convincing explanation I can find is that it was really a freak storm, and the Melderyni secret service just cultivates the rumours. Otherwise, they would have done something similar to prevent the Rape of Thay, right? Or think of the Bujoc, rampaging through Elorinar. It took a long time for the Melderyni agents to intervene (two full years after Elorinar had officially become part of Melderyn, from 223 to 225, I just checked). And those agents are only suspected of having been magi. But what they did was just diplomacy, plus a discrete "disappearance" with no witnesses at Telumar.
Krazma wrote:
Noron wrote:
Krazma wrote: Regardless, the most critical question is how your PCs fit into this mix. Are they associated with Chunel, the Solori, or another interested party?
The PCs are (secretly) allied with the Solori :)
The Soloran success is mundane (with the exception of a little shamanic magic), but they are guided by a virtually supernatural intelligence with an understanding of strategy and tactics far beyond that of feudal Harn. On the other hand, there are strong supernatural forces arrayed against any supernatural force Melderyn will try to field.
This trumps all other considerations, regardless of how debatable some of your other points may seem to myself or others here. If in your campaign, the Melderyni are the antagonists and your PCs are allies of the Solori, then what your pChunel decides to do (or not do) needs to fit that reality and make for the most interesting and fun story for you and your players.
Ah, no! I really want to have a "realistic" decision. I can have a fine game either way. I just came to a point where really, there's a big decision in the air, and I'm not quite sure which way to take. More precisely: if I just look at the situation superficially, I say "why would mighty Melderyn bow to such an inferior force? It makes no sense". But if I analyze the situation coldly and rationally, putting on a balance the gains and losses, I'd lean towards Chunel accepting, as long as he can somehow pretend that it was a victory for him (the Laranians messed up, and he intervened with subtle diplomacy convincing the Solori to lay down arms). I was hoping for the forum to give me arguments one way or another, stuff I had missed. What's only marginally useful is "he'd certainly act this way" without arguments. What's not useful at all is "your game, you choose".
Krazma wrote: Just to be clear, though: The Solori success is mundane, except for being guided by a virtually supernatural intelligence. So, someone is intervening with powers/knowledge beyond what is native/natural to Hârn, and the mages of Melderyn have investigated this and decided that it not only isn't a threat to them, but that it would be a violation of the Shek-Pvar code to respond to it?
No. The magi of Melderyn have not investigated it. The White Hand is not "the magi of Melderyn".
Remember. This stuff is happening very, very suddenly. Two weeks, with news of it having arrived only a few days ago.
The White Hand has accidentally found that a Shek P'var was involved in the unification of the Solori. They paid a visit to him, and he proved to their satisfaction that he did not use the Art in the process. With a warning that he was stepping a really fine line, they left. Now they are monitoring the explosive situation, ready to smack down anyone who tries to bring the Art to bear on it. The Shek P'var in question fully agrees with and encourages this policy.
Krazma wrote: If so, then I would suggest that you could present the PCs with one or more challenges involving Melderyni attempts to free their hostages, take out the intelligence guiding the Solori (is that a PC?), or otherwise mislead/confuse the situation. Though it seems like you've stacked the deck against whatever Melderyn might do, if that's the deck you are playing with, then I think you ought to just pick whatever card sounds like the most fun for your game.
Oh, the PCs have a lot of other stuff they are dealing with. Basically, all they'd like is for the Soloran situation to calm down. They fervently hope Chunel accepts, and the case is closed.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#16 Post by Noron » Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:38 am

Peter the skald wrote:Well, I see Chunel as a reasonable man, so he would reject the terms and annihilate the Solori. It is just not reasonable that such miltary success be perpetuted from such low power base.
Why? As I stated before, try to list the advantages and disadvantages of accepting vs. rejecting the offer instead of relying on general statements like these.
Peter the skald wrote: Also unfortunately the definite consequences of agreeing would drive the actions of the king...as oppossed to the possible consequences of rejecting the offer.
What consequences do you see?
Peter the skald wrote: I also find the premise of such a succesful Solori jarring, and the explanation
The Soloran success is mundane (with the exception of a little shamanic magic), but they are guided by a virtually supernatural intelligence with an understanding of strategy and tactics far beyond that of feudal Harn.
inadequate for me. I would argue that even the greatest tactitian and strategist would not come from such a low base, to get so far, so quickly. But that is probably an argument for another thread.
I would not mind discussing it here! Why do you say so? This and more has been done in history.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#17 Post by Rothesay » Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:19 am

Noron wrote:
Rothesay wrote:I agree that Chunel cannot accept these terms. Both for the reason Gothmog states - he cannot remain king if he does, and the reason Krazma states - he has other options.
What I fail to understand is why "Chunel cannot remain king if he does". What does he face, a baronial rebellion?
Yes.

And more. He'll lose the support of the CoE.

The first job of a king is to protect his realm. If he cannot do that, he loses fear, respect, and legitimacy. His overthrow or murder is only a matter of time at that point, unless he can reverse the situation.

You've put Chunel in a box here. A shire burned, castles and manors raided, an earl murdered and who knows how many more. Hostages taken whom he must agree to leave as hostages for years to come as a surety for his good behavior. All the while some barbarians call the shots. A lot of folks around Melderyn right now must be thinking the Solori crusade wasn't prosecuted hard enough!

If Chunel agrees to these terms he's dead or deposed. As a student of realpolitik, he knows that. He can agree to buy time if he must, but it's the Solori or him, and that isn't a hard choice. Oh, and those hostages? Totally expendable. A crown hangs in the balance.
Note that Chunel simply laughed away the Chybisan "secession", something most feudal kings would not have done.
No one seriously considered Chybisa part of Melderyn - it was always a joke and still is.

All that having been said, I agree with the others that the point is to have fun. It's not that big a deal to burn down Melderyn in that service, especially if it isn't a long-running campaign. 8)

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#18 Post by Rothesay » Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:24 am

One other thing that occurs to me - Chunel can likely call for aid from Emelrene if he needs to. They have a stake in Melderyni stability.

And I agree with Krazma - the Shek Pvar are unlikely to stand by while Melderyn is imperiled. That non-interference directive is for others.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#19 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:57 am

Peter the skald wrote:
Well, I see Chunel as a reasonable man, so he would reject the terms and annihilate the Solori. It is just not reasonable that such miltary success be perpetuted from such low power base.
Why? As I stated before, try to list the advantages and disadvantages of accepting vs. rejecting the offer instead of relying on general statements like these.
Not sure what the question of why? refers to here? Why I see Chunel as reasonable? I can answer that if you want?

I think the advantages/disadvantages have been explored well by yourself and others....but I think my point was not to focus on lists of pro's and con's but to decontstruct/analyse/criticise such listings.

Peter the skald wrote:
Also unfortunately the definite consequences of agreeing would drive the actions of the king...as oppossed to the possible consequences of rejecting the offer.
What consequences do you see?
Huh? bit confused here as the consequences had already been delineated by your good self and others?? I was trying to drive the focus on the nature of two consequences...The acceptance of the 'deal' results in clear results...mostly negative for chunel....whilst the rejection of the deal has the possibility of a plethora of results for chunel...some disastrous; some I assume great (crushing of Solori, freeing of hostages etc etc..) The other point I was trying to put forward is that Chunel does not absolutely know the nature of his foe/probability of outcome and would bet on a more favourable outcome than the deal proposed....

Unless...he finds out the true/probable nature of the outcome... from reliable esoteric/divine/mundane sources. This imho would certainly sway actions. The whole reason I started my responses that Chunel is a reasonable man is because I felt it had not been presented to him that the solori success was unreasonable...ie he would respond like it was an improbable occurance (I believe their success as even espoused as such by your good self).

Ergo I think until chunel realises something is proprerly out of kilter....he will react with the standard toolkit..
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Re: What would Chunel do?

#20 Post by Krazma » Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:58 am

Noron wrote: No. The magi of Melderyn have not investigated it. The White Hand is not "the magi of Melderyn".
Remember. This stuff is happening very, very suddenly. Two weeks, with news of it having arrived only a few days ago.
The White Hand has accidentally found that a Shek P'var was involved in the unification of the Solori. They paid a visit to him, and he proved to their satisfaction that he did not use the Art in the process. With a warning that he was stepping a really fine line, they left. Now they are monitoring the explosive situation, ready to smack down anyone who tries to bring the Art to bear on it.
A few points of clarification about the White Hand and the Pvaric Code:
Among the largest of the secret orders is the Order of the Gentle White Hand, headquartered in the Cherafir chantry on Melderyn. Made up of masters of various disciplines, its purpose is to protect the guild’s interests by exposing fraud. (Arcane Lore p8)
The Shek-Pvar (sorcerers’ guild) is a branch of the Guild of Arcane Lore. (Arcane Lore p8)
Some members of the guild are active in Melderyni politics. One sits on Cherafir’s city council and five others are members of the Council of Eleven. (Cherafir C2-1)
The White Hand is a functional unit of the Guild of Arcane Lore, which includes the Shek-Pvar. I'm not sure who you think they are if not the mages of Melderyn.
A mage who uses magic to harm the Kvikir (ordinary folk) or who brings a House of Lore (chantry) into disrepute, will be opposed by other Shek-Pvar, either because they are ethically hostile, or because they believe the organization is threatened by too much visibility. (Shek-Pvar 5)
The function of the White Hand isn't to "smack down anyone who tries to bring the Art to bear on it", it's to deal with threats to the GOAL and its interests. Often those threats are simple charlatans (frauds and others who bring disrepute through their actions), but they can be renegades, too. Helping bring about the wholesale destruction of a fighting order, killing an earl, and basically burning a shire to the ground is -- IMO -- plenty to get a Shek Pvar declared renegade; whether he cast a spell in the process is not the key issue.
If six or more masters agree, a mage can be declared Renegade. An infringement may prompt only a warning from a master, group of masters, or chantry; this varies from chantry to chantry and convocation to convocation.(Shek-Pvar 5)
Chunel has enough masters on the CoE to virtually ensure any mage who is deemed a threat to Melderyn is able to be declared a renegade.
It is the duty of all Shek-Pvar, regardless of convocation, to oppose a renegade. Shek-Pvar are not expected to commit suicide to oppose a powerful renegade. It is enough to quickly report any encounter or knowledge of a renegade’s location to the nearest chantry or independent master. (Shek-Pvar 5)
This pretty well sums up why life could get very interesting for the Shek Pvar in question. And why Chunel doesn't have to respond directly.
Regardless of the outcome, the Shek-Pvar will try to rectify a renegade’s actions. The masters who declared the mage a renegade have the primary responsibility to perform this task. This complex process may require the memory of the renegade to be removed from the minds of dozens of Kvikir. (Shek-Pvar 5)
"Rectifying" the renegade's actions would likely involve restoring the status quo. Now, clearly, that doesn't bring back the dead or rebuild destroyed keeps, but it likely means steps that would nullify any threat posed by the Solori.
Last edited by Krazma on Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#21 Post by Peter the skald » Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:09 am

Peter the skald wrote:
I also find the premise of such a succesful Solori jarring, and the explanation

The Soloran success is mundane (with the exception of a little shamanic magic), but they are guided by a virtually supernatural intelligence with an understanding of strategy and tactics far beyond that of feudal Harn.

inadequate for me. I would argue that even the greatest tactitian and strategist would not come from such a low base, to get so far, so quickly. But that is probably an argument for another thread.
I would not mind discussing it here! Why do you say so? This and more has been done in history.
Okey dokes! just did not want to hijack thread which was about opinions on chunel choices with opinions on backstory tactics!!!

My basic gripe would be with the explanation given for the level of Solori success...which could be explained away with they were lucky :lol: A lot of this is based on instinct btw; away from material, but.....it feels to me like the success promoted is a level above Napoleon's resurgance or the vietcong's victory in vietnam....if only in time.

I can envisage excellent strategy and tactics (often the enemy of each other :lol: :twisted: ) acheiving the results stated over time...but to use a metaphor the backstory feels like they rolled an 8 when they only had a plus one....(on a d6 obviously!!!!)
Plots and schemes are the same thing..

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#22 Post by Leitchy » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:35 am

Peter, I think that's just the way your mind works. I don't find it hard to believe at all. Most manors and even castles are defensible only when there's advance warning. The way this was described by Noron, it was an all-out, coordinated (by some mysterious method) assault by every available fighting resource the Solori could lay their hands on. Swift, decisive and coordinated...attributes worthy of Genghis Khan himself...in a small way. :) So I have no problem with the premise.

Now, on to the aftermath and what Chunel would do...

The Solori are using terror tactics, so he wouldn't/couldn't take Option 1. He would not give in, only appear to. I find that I'm in the "Option 3" camp. Yes, he cannot be seen to give in to the "outrageous" (to everyone else, perfectly reasonable to the Solori) demands of a bunch of upstart barbarians. But unless he's a frothing maniac himself, he'll realise that he won't be able to mobilise a sufficiently large army to dispatch the Solori without them knowing about it. Which means many, MANY more deaths. Something that he's obliged to try to protect.

So my thoughts are that he has to discuss the situation with his earls and barons, get them to start mobilising quietly and in the meantime try to get some solid info about what's happening with the Solori. Who the heck is this Matasum and what's it all about? We KNOW it's about the Solori realising it's all or nothing time, but Chunel probably doesn't know that, nor does he have a feeling for the psychology of the tribes (no-one does, really).

I don't agree with the thought that if Chunel doesn't act to wipe out the barbarians, he's dead or deposed. It's been mentioned that Melderyn's government is an exercise in pragmatic realpolitik. Yes he has to act, but he doesn't have to behave in a knee-jerk fashion; he can be far more considered, far more sneaky than Earthly medieval kings; who were the biggest bunch of over-privileged, opinionated, self-important gits in the world, really. None of whom were as well educated as Chunel. Which describes most other kings in all of HarnWorld of course, but Chunel (and to a lesser extent, Andasin of Kanday) is different.

I fully expect the Solori to be out-guiled by Chunel, especially given the resources he can call on. Would they be wiped out?? Hell no! If he can, Chunel would absorb the Solori into Melderyni society; they have some real strengths that would be a great advantage to the kingdom in the future.

But if there's a malign supernatural influence at work, all bets are off and he'll do anything necessary to extirpate the problem.
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Re: What would Chunel do?

#23 Post by Noron » Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:11 am

Rothesay wrote:
Noron wrote:
Rothesay wrote:I agree that Chunel cannot accept these terms. Both for the reason Gothmog states - he cannot remain king if he does, and the reason Krazma states - he has other options.
What I fail to understand is why "Chunel cannot remain king if he does". What does he face, a baronial rebellion?
Yes.
Which barons/earls would rebel? Why? This is all very interesting. But I need to make it concrete. Not a vague "bad stuff happened, so Chunel must act, because a king acts when bad stuff happens."
I've pondered this, and I can't find a single baron or earl who would benefit from refusing the peace terms. Could you name one? I've tried to put myself in the shoes of each one of the crown's tenants, and if the king asked me what I suggested, I'd say "peace".
Rothesay wrote: And more. He'll lose the support of the CoE.
Again, can you substantiate this with motivations? The way I see it, the CoE would all be in favour of "let's sign the peace agreement now, so we can have the time to untangle this sudden Solori situation over the next few seasons. And remember, canonically the CoE strongly suggested (under king Etobron) to avoid giving Cundras and Fosumo to the Lady of Paladins - probably because they had foreseen something like this would happen. Accepting the peace terms really puts back the situation the way they wanted it in the first place.
Rothesay wrote: The first job of a king is to protect his realm. If he cannot do that, he loses fear, respect, and legitimacy. His overthrow or murder is only a matter of time at that point, unless he can reverse the situation.
Right. So. How can Chunel best protect his realm?

If he accepts the peace terms, not a single leaf, sheep or peasant will be harmed. His frontiers will be more secure. Some of the current captives will remain hostage for some time, but hey, they'll still have it far better than being killed outright (something which will almost inevitably happen otherwise), and a little diplomacy over the next few seasons can probably untie that knot as well. Chunel can claim that as soon as the Soloran insurrection came to his attention, he stopped them cold, and turned them into peaceful, if surly, neighbours.

If he refuses the peace terms, each and every one of his (surviving) earls risks seeing one of his baronies ransacked before a defense can be mounted (and since the Solori managed to raze FIVE keeps to the ground over the course of a few weeks, it's not really such a remote possibility). The captives will be most likely killed. Trade will suffer. If and when the Solori are destroyed, Melderyn will have a long border with the rather more dangerous (and far more numerous) Hodiri. In fact, the ensuing chaos is far more likely to invite a Hodiri attack or, say, the rebellion of the earl of Harden, than a situation in which peace is immediately re-established.
Rothesay wrote: You've put Chunel in a box here. A shire burned, castles and manors raided, an earl murdered and who knows how many more... If Chunel agrees to these terms he's dead or deposed.
Once again, I struggle to understand. By whom? People make things happen. Who would move against Chunel? How? For what gain? Give the names. Then put yourself in the shoes of these folks and ask yourself "What would *I* do in their place?"

The way Chunel can spin the story is this. And it's even the truth.
"The Lady of Paladins stirred up a lot of trouble with our neighbours thanks to their foolish antics; worse, they stirred up trouble that they lost control of. This whole situation is their fault. They should have been punished sooner, and we would certainly punish them now, except that they have been obliterated by their own stupidity. Good riddance.
Now. Our good cousin Larryn, earl of Biren, and our faithful baron Yael, were also destroyed in the process before word of what was happening even reached us. Terrible. We grieve for them and again, we would punish the Lady of Paladins for this if they were still in existence. We could move to reconquer their lands, but they are wastelands now, without heirs and without manors and really without anything of value to our people and kingdom. And the war would undoubtly prove costly, causing grief and wanton destruction to the rest of the kingdom. Should we imperil out of such a foolish, prideful whim our subjects? No, we have a duty towards them. Without fighting even a single skirmish we got the Solori to quiet down and settle in the lands that they now hold (which have no value for Melderyn as they are) and we'll make sure that peace is kept. Anyone who attempts to stir up more trouble will feel our wrath in earnest!".

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#24 Post by Peter the skald » Tue Nov 24, 2015 3:30 am

Peter, I think that's just the way your mind works.
Hey, I fooled someone into thinking it works... :lol:

I take on board points that Chunel is likely/capable of acting in a sneaky/machiavellian or concillatory/realpolitik manner. I think my reasoning on his likely response is based upon what I think he thinks he knows at this point...I think he thinks it would be possible to crush the Solori and also beneficial/advisable to do so... (I do not think he is likely to be deposed if he doesn't.....but do think, he would think, any other response would weaken his position/standing/reputation. He is lucky in that this is Melderyn; most other kingdoms would be less forgiving of a complex response.)

If he knows/believes how much hard fighting the Solorihas become due to the existence of a (supernatural) uber general then of course this might change his likely response. I am not sure how much Chunel knows about the reality of the situation?

I think it would be good fun to see the failure of a good old medieval response; but I like scenes with kings angrily pacing and throwing things at servants.... :twisted:

If I was Chunel and party to all the info I would possibly go even further...make the Solori chief/general an Earl and bring him into the fold...useful to have geniuses inside the tent....
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Re: What would Chunel do?

#25 Post by Noron » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:58 pm

@Krazma - even though it's somewhat tangetial to the discussion.

The following is what I believe to be canon, and if it is not, it's still my pHarn.
From my sources (away from my books right now) the White Hand is a secret society that investigates violations of the Shek P'var code and hunts down renegades. The (very Save K'norrian) spirit of the code of the Shek P'var is that magic is a dangerous and precious thing, to be studied for its own sake rather than as a tool to bend the world and other men to one's will, and not to be given freely left and right lest it fall in wrong hands.
So, use of magic for military purposes is a big no-no. Note that a Shek P'var can still hold important positions at court, but they must be positions that have nothing to do with magic - a Shek P'var baron is ok, for example, as long as he does not use magic to aid his rule (and if is secretly a Shek P'var, so much the better). Or they can be positions that involve magic, but they must be "sage" positions in which the Shek P'var advises on the nature of the universe (but does so ever cryptically - no wanton spreading of knowledge!) rather than casts magic to "get stuff done" for the king.

Finally, the Guild of Arcane Lore, like all Harn guilds, ferociously protects its privileges. This means that its internal decisions will categorically not be taken to favour this kingdom or that, lest the guild becomes a tool of the state (on the other hand, the guild has no qualms about kingdom-wide decisions being taken in its favour, and this is the reason why Melderyn interests are so often aligned with interests of magi: but it's because the magi lobby Melderyn to serve their cause, rather than the other way around). Chunel can't ask the Shek P'var masters of the Council of Eleven "hey, there's this guy who's causing trouble to our kingdom ... no, magic is not involved, but he does happen to be a mage so please, can six of you declare him a renegade and hunt him down? ". If they did, they'd find themselves declared renegades and hunted all over the seven worlds, with the case being publicized wildly to avoid having anything similar happen in the future.

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