What would Chunel do?

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#26 Post by Noron » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:55 am

@Peter the Skald - I played out the Solori campaign so far. This is a summary of how the five keeps were taken. I can give more details if you are interested. You'll need a clear picture of southern mainland Melderyn for this to make sense.

Step 1. The Solori plan the campaign in detail for months, training, gathering info, etc.

Step 2. Circling the Cundras - Racyn - Fosumo in a west-north-east maneuver, 500 warriors manage to arrive just to the north of Yael before any alarm can be sounded (there are rumours of strange going ons, but nothing more). They scale Yael's keep early at night; they massacre the inhabitants; then splitting into three groups they meticolously they pillage the surrounding manors before dawn arrives, taking care that nobody flees to the north (the most natural escape destination would be Racyn or Fosumo to the southwest in any case).

Step 3. The Solori then quickly march north, and assault Gythrun with the same tactics, except that they use spirits summoned by their shamans to enter the keep. But Gythrun has more manors than Yael, so the execution is less then perfect and a few lords escape.
In the meantime, the sheriff of Birenshire has heard of the sack of Yael, and with half the combined troops of Cundras, Racyn and Fosumo marches north to find out what's happening. He finds Yael taken and held by some of the Solori, with their main force having marched north to Gythrun. He leaves a small portion of his troops to pin the Solori holding Yael and marches north with the remainder.

Step 4. In capturing Gythrun, the Solori have also captured the earl's Karune and two niviks (they timed their attack based on their presence/future arrival). Leaving a few dozen men in Gythrun with most of the loot and captives, they embark, and travel south by ship, bypassing the wide wings of scouts that the sheriff had sent north exactly to avoid this sort of maneuver (but who would have thought of the Solori sailing?) They briefly stop at Yael, falling by surprise on the men the sheriff posted there, and massacring them. Their own men in Yael have, in the meantime, worked the captives day and night at underminining the walls, so they leave Yael empty and slighted (most of the captives and a token force to control them are marched south, the remaining Solori and a few VIP captives travel by ship).

Step 5. Shorthly before the sheriff reaches Gythrun, the Solori reach Racyn. At dusk, they trick the deputy sheriff into thinking they are refugees fleeing from Yael and Gythrun (this confirms the news the deputy has received so far, so he's led to believe them). He lets them disembark, and, with some extra help they planted in Racyn some time before, they take the keep in a bloody and vicious surprise attack that costs them no more than half a dozen men.
Little afterwards the sheriff, with forced marching, arrives in Gythrun. Sending out scouts in the countryside, he comes to the erroneous conclusion that the Solori this time faced stiffer resistance than they expected, and thus having spent all their impetus they've settled in the keep to tend to their wounded and face him from a position of strength. He starts to besiege what is, in fact, a much smaller force than he thinks (the Solori use a number of tricks to boost their apparent numbers).

Step 6. Vague word of the fight in Racyn reaches Fosumo, and slightly later Cundras, together with a(n alleged) plea from the deputy sheriff to the commanders of the two keeps to send every man they can: Racyn is being attacked by a mass of Solori crossing the river from the south, with the Yael attack being probably just a diversionary maneuver to draw troops north. It's a very believable half-truth, and the commanders of Fosumo and Cundras, realizing that if the Solori situation ends in a disaster they'll be the ones who get the blame, send most of their (remaining) men with all haste to Racyn, leaving only skeleton garrisons to man the keeps. These troops cross to Racyn piecewise, thinking it still untaken, and are easily captured.
In the meantime, the sheriff hears of what's happened at Yael, and realizes he's been tricked. He faces a dilemma - split his forces again, or leave the Gythrun Solori free to attack further north? He decides to leave a small force, hopefully reinforced soon by the assistance he asks the northern barons, with orders to retreat and watch rather than fight if confronted by a sortee from Gythrun. He then leads his other men south, towards Racyn, with haste. Still north of Yael, he hears that Racyn has been taken. He marches south with even greater haste, hoping to relieve Fosumo.

Step 7. The sheriff finds Fosumo occupied by the Solori: the deputy commander there (correctly) estimated that the skeleton garrison he had would be inadequate for defending it against the vast hordes of Solori that he'd heard had overrun Racyn, and it would be better to concentrate all defenses at Cundras, ideally preventing the Cundras troops being (futilely) sent to an already fallen Racyn. The Solori simply moved in a token force, and began slighting the keep from the inside using captives as a workforce.
As in Gythrun, the Solori holding Fosumo attempt to appear more numerous then they really are. Not wanting to divide his troops further, and realizing that Cundras is the only keep standing south of old Elorinar, the sheriff marches the entirety of his tired troops towards Cundras.

Step 8. In the meantime most of the Solori have stealthily moved upriver and intercepted the Cundras forces sent to assist Racyn. In a night ambush their poisoned arrows disperse and massacre the Laranians. They do this just before the much smaller force from Fosumo arrives on the spot - at which point it gets surrounded and surrenders.

Step 9. By the time the sheriff reaches Fosumo, the Solori have already invested Cundras, now manned by little more than a skeleton garrison but determined to make a final stand. And what a stand they would make - the deputy commander is a true and shining example of Laranian virtue - except that the Solori use captive women and children to move ladders to the walls and dig tunnels. Where a less noble general would have shot them down, the Laranian commander surrenders in exchange for their lives and those of his men.

Step 10. The Solori occupy Cundras just before the exhausted troops of the sheriff reach its walls. In fact, only a small portion of their troops occupies Cundras. The rest slip away, and systematically start pillaging manor after manor in Fosumo-Cundras-Racyn area - manors that are undefended, since their yeomen and knights have already been drawn away. The sheriff takes a few days to realize this and then foolishly begins to play a hide-and-seek game with the Solori pillagers, that surprisingly quickly (or perhaps not so surprisingly, considering the dirty tactics that the Solori use, like well-poisoning) whittles away half of his remaining forces.

Step 11. Demoralized and short on food (when he first left Racyn he did not expect the situation he's facing now) the sheriff finally decides that Birenshire is lost, and begins a long retreat northwards. The Solori keep nipping at his heels, and every night he loses men. Just before he's reached safety, the Solori fall on what little is left of his troops and take him prisoner.

Step 12. The Solori then march northeast, to Gythrun, where they surround the troops the sheriff has posted there - which have not yet been reiforced (the northern barons are slow and wary in moving to war, and keep the troops they have raised to defend their lands rather than rush them south into a situation they have only heard rumours of). Believing the Solori far more numerous than they are, and seeing the captured sheriff, the last of Melderyn's forces south of old Elorinar surrender without a fight.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#27 Post by MDMann » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:20 am

I also think Chunel will act. He must and he knows it. If he doesn't he'll face rebellion from his mainland possessions, the earl of Harden proclaims Elorinar. Since he sees Melderyn as weak as seceeds for the 'good of his people'. He then attempts peace with the Solori. Pass or fail he can make the attempt.

Thay either rebels and joins Elorinar or is attacked by her (over some manufactured reason). Win or lose it serves Harden well. Orbaal also attempts to sack Thay as word of Melderyns weakness reaches them. For plunder and to avenge the slight on their honour. If they don't the king in Geldeheim faces rebellion himself. Besides it's a golden opportunity to unite the north. If the odds look less appealing be could send rebellious clans on the raid, binding them to him or ridding himself of them.

Kaldor takes Chybisia (relatively bloodlessly) as Melderyns implied threat is hollow. Even if they have to wait until after the succession they take Chybisia with ease.

No, Chunel knows all this. It's better to fight and lose than this.

Most likely he goes with option 3. He agrees to the peace pro tempore. He gets his third hostages back, leaving some troubling opposition as prisoners. He reinforces the mainland quietly. He sends ambassaors. He makes sure he gets the sherif back before hanging him. In a show of mercy he let's the sheriff commit suicide with honour. The secret service swing into action. Mostly they want information. They carry out plausible opportunistic key assassinations, making them appear accidental and through several removes.

The hodiri often raid the solori for slaves. Chunel arms them and agitates them. Causing great trouble on the Solorian western borders. In the spring they're goaded into major attacks. Chunel offers to mediate (he's kept the bargain so far see) in return for the rest of his hostages. In the peace deal he agrees to help the Solori but only if he can have Birenshire back. He agrees to punish those responsible for earlier attacks. He offers a few token reparations and pledges to keep the peace. He then strips the LoP of some manors with show trials and keeps the keeps.

By summer, the status quo is returned. There's peace with the Solori, Chunel is stronger than ever. The LoP is severely rebuked (not the church) and Melderyn still hasn't fielded an army of used (overt) magic.
Per Sir Veer.

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Re: What would Chunel do?

#28 Post by Nightly Knight » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:14 am

A most interesting discussion I stumbled onto. I'm using this for my own campaign, so thanks Noron.

I am going with a few of the ideas here but I'd also be interested in discussing them.

Also I'm wondering if the leader of the Solori might not be a Mahdi like figure to the barbarians, and also have the aid of magic. The flavour I'm thinking would work is the RE Howard story "Beyond the Black River" in which the Picts are led by a powerful shaman who can conjure demons and fell beasts to do his bidding. Somehow he has united many clans together and their ferocity and unexpected raids are withering the botrder defenses. I liked the atmosphere of this story--the sense of brooding mysterious forests, the brutality and cunning of the savage Picts, the strangeness of the magic, the sense of civilization on the edge of untamable wilderness.

For running the actual adventures I have devised two: one to rescue hotages, and I'm converting Slave Pits of the Undercity, the old AD&D adventrue for that; then follow up with Tomb of the Lizard King being converted. The first I am calling "The Ruins of Gythrun" and the second is called "The Forest Devils".

I went with the idea that Chunel, worried about the hostages, tries to use negotiation as a delaying tactic, but this is misunderstood by some of his barons, particularly the Earl of Nurisel and the Earl of Elorin. The PCs' party use the tensions to suggest that the alliance the Loalans are seeking could be achieved if they help by rescuing the hostages. They then will bring them to Harden, where the plot of the next phase of adventure will take place and lead them to pursuing the Solori leader to his lair to kill him. If they do this the Solori confederacy collpses without their charismatic magical leader.

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