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Ivar Pathfinder
03-10-2011, 12:53 PM
This thread, as of course the title indicates, is for the purposes of my thoughts, ideas, criticisms, all that jazz, towards the plot points and events regarding the Stoft area of the RP. The attention is specific because for the moment the only character I currently play is a Skallding. As I am also obviously a member more of the newbie variety, take this all with a grain of salt, as it were.

Currently, the most prominent plot-line to be occurring within Stoft is the Sankan attack. So, my attention starts there; addressing the pertinent thread, thus far:

Grimstone is immediately described as being “leaderless." This is a point I must emphasize. The Sankan attack occurs just short of three weeks following the Grimstone wittan. Three weeks would be a substantially long time for a major hub of a culture to exist without some form of centralized leadership. There would, in absolutely no conceivable sense, be any way that the township would be leaderless. At least, that is without one caveat: that there wasn’t some twist to the wittan that was to occur that simply hasn't happened (in the context of OOC, as it hasn't yet been written), or there was some event that one might presume happened in the time between the wittan and the attack, that in some way left Grimstone devoid of leadership. I can only perceive this as being quite unlikely, though. The possible alternative being that after Laketown's conquest, they abandoned any notion of retaining control. This seems obviously absurd given two points: Stigr’s sham marriage to Yrda for its political sake, and the following wittan to, of all things, decide upon a new Jarl. Even if it was not Stigr that assumed the Jarlship of Grimstone - and if not, why the marriage to Yrda, then - there still would have been Raganhar or even Ivar, if pressured into it for the sake of duty to family.

If one is safe in assuming that the Pathfinders had any intention of holding onto their conquest, instalment of core governance would have been paramount. Moreover, that governance would without question need to include some measure of military presence. This would be as much to ensure that the Pathfinders could sustainably hold onto Grimstone (rather than being quickly deposed in turn by what remained of Gimstone reavers and/or disgruntled populace) as it would be for anything else. This segues into another point.

That military presence, even if small, would likely ensure that, even if Grimstone fell, it would not be without marked loss on the part of the Sankan attackers. The Skalldings are a battle-hardened people, the surviving reavers that would have been in Grimstone (be they Pathfinder, or what remained of Stormhold) would be seasoned warriors, and they would also have the advantage of terrain and defensive emplacements (even if said emplacements were in some degree of disrepair still following the Pathfinders’ own attack). The actual details of what side wins would take into account several points to follow, but would undoubtedly be a bloody affair regardless.

Now, this naturally leads to a few questions though. Just how many men were involved in this Sankan attack? Was it a quick, concealed attack of a smaller force, thereby relying on the element of surprise to expedite a quick and decisive victory? If so, Grimstone would not necessarily have fallen quite so easily as has been portrayed, and that type of assault might even preclude the general ransacking that has been written as occurring. Was it then a major assault involving multiple ships and a large contingent of men? If this were more the case, inevitable Sankan victory would have been more likely, but how could that type of military manoeuvre have gone completely unnoticed as to allow the Sankans to, as seems to have been the case, just stroll in and wreck up the place? There could have been any manner of potential fishing vessels, raider longships, etc., that could have spotted the Sankan fleet while it was en route. And that’s beside the point that any reasonably large force’s movement speed across any terrain is always mitigated simply by the logistics of moving a large amount of people (trained soldiers or otherwise). The larger the force, the slower it moves and the more readily it’s spotted, thereby allowing word to be relayed to nearby townships. There are so many details and points that are just simply left… unexplained.

Moving passed that, however. Disregarding the above points purely for the sake of continued discussion and/or brainstorming, this calls into question the inevitable fate of Stoft as a whole. There are several possible options if one were to account for a largely decisive Sankan victory:

Firstly, the attempted total eradication of any and all Skalldings throughout Stoft. One might see this as potentially extreme. However, consider that to Forsilvrans, Skalldings would conceivably be viewed as “barbarians”; moreover, with slavery illegal on the Forsilvran mainland, Skallding life would potentially mean extremely little to the attackers. If having already crippled any militant resistance by the Skalldings, it's entirely reasonable to claim that there would be little reason for the Sankan attack to stop short of total extermination. There is, however, the point to consider that the unerringly complete eradication of all Skalldings would be a momentous task. Simply picture the sustained search for every individual of a people across three separate mountainous and forested islands, to which that said people so happen to be native to no less.

Secondly, the attempted occupation of Stoft by Sanka. This would likely lead to the instalment of a new “lord” of Stoft – the particulars to be worked out by the potential player(s). In such an event, though, this annexed territory could reasonably be claimed to exist outside the boundaries of mainland law, among other things circumventing the illegality of slave usage and ownership (at least within the confines of annexed Stoft). Furthermore, what would then remain of Skallding raiders and reavers may then find themselves invariably drawn into a sustained guerrilla war against the would-be occupational force. If nothing else, it’s a potentially arcing plotline to be used if anyone were interested in that.

There are several core questions that do need to be addressed, preferably I would imagine by some sort of general consensus:

Do the Sankans and their allies achieve some manner of (arguably) decisive victory, or do they suffer enough in the way of defeat to prompt them to retreat?

If they are victorious, in what manner do they deal with their new conquest? Raze everything to the ground and eradicate the islands’ native peoples, occupy it as annexed territory (or potentially some other option that someone may bring up)?

If Stoft is occupied, what changes occur under the new regime? For instance, are slaves freed, kept, etc.? What happens to the remainder of the civilian population?

P.S. I apologize somewhat for the length. This may be a bit much for some people to read.

Regina Ambrosios
03-10-2011, 02:33 PM
Doing this quickly but, this is what's been put in the thread(s):

-Stigr's the jarll. He ordered a retreat, withdrawing the Pathfinders and leaving Grimstone to its fate. Grimstone's a little under 2,000 people before the Pathfinder's original attack, considerably weakened, etc. I didn't bother writing out the attack, but the combined forces of Ashpool, Letalis, Shadowmere and Sterlyn outnumber them. A lot. We've got superior weapon and it's... Romans vs. Gauls (or Germanic tribes anyway). With the Gauls already having their ass kicked by internal warfare. Yes it's scrappy. Yes the Forsilvrans lost people, and they'll lose a hell of a lot more in Hengill. I'm not going to call the rolls of the dead before we get done with the campaign though. And someone might want to kill their PC, and that' up to them too.

- I didn't bother writing out the entire Grimstone attack. I don't love intricate descriptions of troop movement. Yes, the Ashpool/Letalis/Sterlyn/Shadowmere forces vastly outnumber the Grimstone defenders, and even more when Stigr rightly decides to retreat and try to hold Hengill/Pathfinderville/wherever, letting the Forsilvrans decimate Grimstone.

- Hengill is way larger. Hengill is going to be a bitch of a battle. They didn't just get their city burned a few weeks earlier in a raid, and they're not reeling and half defeated already. Check out my announcement somewhere around here as I gave the Sankans the dates for the Hengill attack and a parley with the Pathfinders. So obviously something's going down to halt the Hengill attack.

However...

- Wooden fortifications against a military used to attacking castles. Not a recipe for happy times on the part of the defenders.

- The province lords maintain standing armies. A trained, professional force vs a culture that values independent valor and strength? See: Rome vs the Germans.

- Check out what's happening on the mainland. Also... there are a few twists coming up in the Hengill stuff that I'm not going to spoil. Before we can complete this conquest we're going to have to go home and kick someone's ass on the mainland. I won't say whose. I bet y'all can get it in... oh, three guesses. Maybe four, if you count Auron. And I'm guessing that unless Victor chokes on an eel, Auron gets a personality alteration, Alrik finds magic healing elixer and a one-up mushroom, and/or Leo has a sudden attack of sanity... it might be a while before we worry about Stoft again. Unless Stoft acts on its alliance with Victor (although two cities down and a third possibly severely hurt by the end of this little episode.... they might think twice about that idea).

- I'd have to check it again but I think Stoft is laid out as being about 10,000 people before the volcano takes out Salte and before the Sankans and Pathfinders roll through Grimstone. The islands are inhospitable and not a place that's going to support a heavy population. Sanka... is a fairly populous region, and has the gold to buy the service of a heavy extra load of mercenaries, even when it doesn't have several hundred Letalis troops and a few hundred more Sterlyns.

- There is a major technological gap between Skalldings and Skallding methods and their Forsilvran counterparts. Stoft is drawn up to be barbarous, and more primitive. Hides, furs, wooden huts, a lack of stonework. That doesn't make them stupid or lesser warriors... but when they're up against a force that is a well-oiled military machine and waaaaaaaaay outnumbers them, with superior armor and weaponry? In the end, Xerxes still gets through the pass, and the 300 make a pretty story.

Like I said though, the mainland's about to make any worries about Stoft being mushed more than a bit moot, since the Forsilvrans are about to have way more urgent matters to attend to.

As for the true fate, that'll be decided in the parley. Hopefully someone's gonna make an awesome diplomacy roll.

Troy Mercado
03-10-2011, 02:51 PM
See, I hardly claim to be an expert on Stoft, or to know what is defining where it is going, but if there is one thing I do know, it's military. So that's what I will respond to with my two cents. The rest of it, I'm going to leave to someone who has a direct link to Stoft and knows about it. The military attitude is something I have infact thought about at length and can answer that, though.

Skalldings reavers are battle hardened, yes, but the problem is, they are hardened against each other and militia forces of the main land. Maybe at worst, a squad or two of army forces that are defensive. They're used to seeing last ditch desperation stands, with people fleeing from them in the backgrounds and being on the attack. Put them against an army that instead of fearing them, marches on undaunted and they lose their advantage. Battle cries and blood curdling roars sound less threatening when they're trying to hold their ground.

The key things in particular that is making the Forsilvrans plow through is that they have a huge advantage in several areas, as far as I can see. First of all, troops. If we look at, say...Strom as an example. With a very low estimate of 10,000 people per city, that gives them 80,000 people. If we use a lower estimate of how many of these joins the army, say 30,000, then cut it down to an 8th of his force that comes along (Since he didn't bring many) That leaves 3,200 or so troops. On the flip side, let's say the shanty towns (High end estimate) also have 10,000 people there. At high end estimate, lets say 6,000 of these are troops. Rex's tiny contribution alone is half of the troops for an entire town. (More on this in the next part). Bearing in mind the Ashpools are bringing far more, accompanied by various other forces and that we are using the worst case scenario for the Forsilvrans and really...it's not surprising they are being overrun.

Secondly, the technology difference is immense. The Skalldings do not wear heavy armour, relying on raiding techniques. Now, granted, heavy armour can be made to work against it's owner, but imagine a cavalry charge of armoured troops and armoured horses against a crudely armoured force of axe-wielders (Which, just to mention, are awful for dismounting cavalry due to their large and unwieldy nature.) and they are in a difficult position when facing even odds. Now, just to bring it back as an example, Rex's 3,000. Against 6,000 that are attacking and can use the terrain to their advantage, even if they are lighter armed, it would be much more of a fair fight. But the Skalldings are on the defensive and it's unlikely all 6,000 would be in the same places because of the various fronts they are being attacked from. You get a rigidly rooted, lightly armed defense force. It's been said time and time again that Skalldings do not retreat, so cowering away is not an alternative until the Forsilvrans strike. Although, if they do get into positions to raid the troops, it wouldn't be in the centre of towns, because they'd be drawn into the fray and there would be no effective ambush spots, so the Forsilvrans would still be able to go about and slay at will in the towns, really.

Thirdly, experience. Skalldings have raided and burned a town in Sanka to the ground. Likely, there was some survivors, so it's easy enough to assume that Jacques will have heard of their tactics, their attacking style and informed his allies. On the flip side, no solid army has been drawn against the Skalldings at any point, or even against Forsilvrans, so the Skalldings don't have the knowledge of how they fight, what they do. Only so much can be guessed when fighting an unfamiliar foe, until you've fought them enough to overcome their mistakes. Also, Forsilvran troops will be trained for taking stone walls and metal gates. Wooden fortifications would be like child's play.

Don't get me wrong, the Skalldings wouldn't just roll over and die. But their blades and armours are not up to the same spec, they are outmanned by a vast margin and they're on the backfoot unless they want to leave their own people to die. Any one of these three, I could explain away. Maybe even two, but all three I find it difficult to rationalise the Skalldings being able to mount enough to gain the Forsilvrans anywhere near a costly victory. Blood would be spilled, but far far more of the Skalldings.

...Yeah, I'm not obsessed.

(Also, didn't refresh, so if I restate anything Summer did, I apologise!)

Eydis Gatekeeper
03-10-2011, 10:47 PM
Hi!

Here is my two cents. Considering I am the end-all, beat-all of Stoft (yep, that's right, I'm saying it) and I actually AM Stigr AND Eydis AND Raganhar (wow... look at me) I of all people would know what is going on. And honestly, I'm going to break it down realllllllll nice and simple-like.

Grimstone was not tossed into the hands of the Sankans. They earned that victory. The ground ran red with Sankan AND Skallding blood. Go Sanka!

Hengill will not be so easy. Stigr is pissed. And even worse? Eydis is pissed.

And since none of us are military tacticians in real life (or are ME) then please have faith that everyone will be happy. I appreciate everyone's input. No one is getting walked on (trust me. If anyone is getting walked on it is me.) Skalldings are scrappy. That's why they have evaded Sanka for years. But they are also being attacked on their home turf. It's a toss up.

So everybodyyy relaxxxxx and if you have concerns, please contact ME (you know dat e-maillllll!) I want to hear them! But I DON'T want them shoved in my face.

love love love

Victor Castell
03-10-2011, 10:48 PM
Ok, I already know what Jesse said, here are some of my other questions:

I keep hearing about this force that vastly outnumbered the Skalldings. We have said in the past that the waters around the island are difficult to navigate for large boats which is why the skalldings use the smaller more manageable longboats. I'm willing to amend a say that any small craft can go in, not just longboarts, because that really makes more sense, but a small craft only carries around 10 people.

A force of 2000 people would require the launching and landing of 200 boats. Not impossible, but agreed that you're not just going to cake wake onto the island.

In addition, remembered or not, the Skalldings, knew a month ago about this coming force when Victor Castell sent Eydis Gatekeeper a letter. They had time to prepare. They had time to at least lay some traps, plan a strategy, etc.

Also, they are not portrayed as mind-less fighters, at least by RP done in the past by their creator, but men who follow a leader and work together just as well as any other force. To assume they are just disorganized men running around fighting against disciplined soldiers means that previous RP of their well planned attacks haven't been read or recognized.

Another issue I have, is that Grimstone, in my opinion, was NOT decimated. The Pathfinders attacked the Stromhold complex of maybe 100 people and then held a Wittan to have a leader of the rest of the 1900 freemen who live there. Where it said anywhere that we just destroyed the city I don't know. I know that impression was given, but it was not my opinion, and I feel like these things never got to be well communicated because any chat we had about this always became drama and hostile and well, Sanka wins because Stoft is god-modded.

I'm not saying that the Sankans wouldn't win. But I agree with Jesse that the way that thread was portrayed seemed awfully one sided.

EDIT: Can someone explain to me how they got their horse to the island?

Rhovanion Selidor
03-11-2011, 02:43 AM
EDIT: Can someone explain to me how they got their horse to the island?

Sorry, that one's on me. I asked about it in the c-box before posting and was given the go-ahead, but I probably should have floated it by more people and re-checked the bit about geography in the Stoft info thread. I'm really sorry! From now on I won't mention it in posts and we can pretend it didn't happen.

Should we halt posting on the battle threads until this can be worked out? I don't want to upset anyone. :(

Rex
03-11-2011, 05:01 AM
Ok, I already know what Jesse said, here are some of my other questions:

I keep hearing about this force that vastly outnumbered the Skalldings. We have said in the past that the waters around the island are difficult to navigate for large boats which is why the skalldings use the smaller more manageable longboats. I'm willing to amend a say that any small craft can go in, not just longboarts, because that really makes more sense, but a small craft only carries around 10 people.

What I would point out is the key word - Difficult to navigate. Not impossible. So the large ships could navigate it. I'm willing to say it drives them off course, but really, there's nothing to say that they would be unable to get to the island with the large boats.

In addition, remembered or not, the Skalldings, knew a month ago about this coming force when Victor Castell sent Eydis Gatekeeper a letter. They had time to prepare. They had time to at least lay some traps, plan a strategy, etc.

Sure, they knew they would be coming, but really...that's not going to change a lot. Ambushes and traps, fine. But they've still never fought against a full invasion army, so they won't automatically know the best tactics to fight against something that huge. Bear in mind that like I say, their strategies and strength lies in speed and raiding, not protracted war. This is what they've been forced into and it is where the Forsilvrans hold a huge advantage.

Also, they are not portrayed as mind-less fighters, at least by RP done in the past by their creator, but men who follow a leader and work together just as well as any other force. To assume they are just disorganized men running around fighting against disciplined soldiers means that previous RP of their well planned attacks haven't been read or recognized.

Wasn't trying to suggest that. The point is, though, that they are having to respond to attacks on them. That puts any force, no matter how disciplined, on the back foot. Where do you array your forces? How many go where? Responding to an attack is so much more difficult than marching your troops straight towards someone.


This is all I have time for at the mo. Will be back later and I intend to discuss more.

Christopher Mallory
03-11-2011, 05:53 PM
Thank you all for your input and your comments. In the future, for a plot of this magnitude, I would appreciate if members have concerns or comments to please address them directly with admins or those involved in the plots via email, private message, or instant message. I feel you get a more direct answer, and it makes it less impersonal.

The plot concerning Stoft and Sanka has been discussed and agreed upon by both acting Province Lords or equivalent. The point of Forsilvra is to maneuver through the plot and survive despite the constant monkey wrenches being thrown at you. I apologize to anybody who feels they have not had input in this particular plot, but every so often, the staff here likes to create plot to surprise members and there have been many times an admin or province lord has withheld the details of a plot from other members before it has been posted. We as members were then expected to adapt to them without any input, and we continue to expect that for this level of rp.

This is not to say that members have no input. If you have concerns or questions, you all are more than welcome to come to any one of your province lords. We also continue to encourage you to create plots with others for the development of characters or settings. But, there are certain plots that for varying reasons will not be divulged until it has happened. An example of this would be Raine's Scarlet Feast. Only a select few members knew that it was coming, had no time to prepare, and had to react as it happened. It benefited the game and showed the members that this still IS a game and that every so often, we have to be on our toes.


Plain and simple, there is no debate. End of discussion.

If you wish to discuss the details of the plot already in motion for understanding or perhaps advice on what to do, feel free to send a message to Friday or Summer and they will be happy to explain what has happened, why, and answer any questions you have regarding it.