William the Conqueror was dead. He had left behind two quarreling Sons and a Kingdom whose crown was sought by many. The Anglo Normans controlled London and the Northern towns; Plymouth, Bristol and Poole had declared for the Norman Duke Anand, another son of the Late Williams'; The Scots under Sarath Sasix had chosen the occasion to wage war against their neighbours; The Vikings, having made a pact with the Irish, were now using Dublin as a base to achieve what Hardrada failed to in 1066. And the Welsh remained silent, amassing troops and waiting for the best occasion to strike...
For the Uninitiated: Notes on Contemporary Events
1106 AD: The Anglo Normans under Jolly 'Talker' Mottengad made the first claim for the Crown. Owing to his presence in London when William died, the young Prince soon made himself the King, seating himself firmly in the Throne after defeating his brother Duke Anand from Normandy in the First battle of Tinchebrai.
The victory prompted Sarath Sasix, then Earl of Kent, to lobby for extending the influence of Kent into Normandy. His short reign in Tinchebrai came to an abrupt end when the Duke Anand made a comeback in the Second battle of Tinchebrai. Forced to flee, Sarath Sasix took up refuge in Scotland from where he later lead a revolt against the Norman occupation of the Coastal towns.
1108 AD: A Scot uprising in Gamrie was brutally crushed by the Normans under Duke Anand following the Battle of Gamrie. Sarath Sasix was presumed killed in the battle. But it later became evident that the Normans had been betrayed by one of there own allies who had smuggled away Sarath Sasix with the intention of posing a threat to future Norman conquests.
1110 AD: The tide turned for Jolly 'Talker' Mottengad when his brother Duke Renjith ousted him from the throne of England. Ever resourceful, Jolly made his escape to the Norse lands where he forged an alliance with the Vikings. Having married the princess of all Norse lands, Jolly later became the King of all Vikings. He was soon scheming for revenge...
1114 AD: All hell breaks loose! Vikings land by the thousands in Dublin; an expeditionary Viking force establishes a foothold in Scotland by capturing Dumfries and the surrounding lands. Plymouth, Poole and Bristol declare for the Normans! The Scots revolt! And the Welsh scheme for independence...
Mohanus 'The Rus': A grizzled old adventurer commander from the cold windswept lands which are farther than the farthest Viking outs post. No body new where this man, or as some called it, this apparition originated from. What everyone agreed on was that he could fight really well. Mohanus and his men landed in ships in various places in coastal Scotland. After ravaging the lands and defeating the Scots decisively, they left as suddenly as they had come. The English Throne is safe until they return.
Duke Renjith 'The Drunken Master': Youngest of William's heirs. Duke Renjith was the kind of person no one would expect to pull a palace coup and oust his brother from the throne. Deemed a loyal subject of King Mottengad, this man had used his political skills to claim the Throne for himself. Renjith is popularly known as the Drunken Master, a title he had earned after it became evident that his best decisions were always made after consuming barrels of ale. In retrospect, getting the throne had been the easiest part. The empire was now under siege from all sides. "Curse the Scots! Curse the Vikings! Curse the Normans!" Will the Crown remain in the hands of Anglo Normans?
Duke Anand 'The Swearer' Mohan: Second Son of William. Charming Socialite, Brave soldier, sensitive soul. Anand had tasted both victory and defeat in the years following his father's death. He had reclaimed Tinchebrai, and had successfully plotted to occupy parts of England. Now had come the time to realize his dream of ruling all of England. Anand set his 'social compulsions ' aside and vowed that he would see his way through this time. And when the axe falls, he thought, it would not fall on the Anglo Normans alone...
Sarath Sasix: Born in Kent, exiled to Scotland. The Loyal son of Kent was now a Loyal son of Scotland. Sarath Sasix intended to help the Scots realise their dreams, as well as try and regain his beloved Kent. Sarath was a quick learner. Ambushes decided battles, fanatics were his shock troops, so on and so forth. The time had come to put his knowledge to use in a decisive fashion. Under his leadership, The Scots would finally teach their neighbours a lesson or two in warfare...
Lord Dinus: The Welsh were always silent. They remained so now also. But the wily Lord Dinus, once a close associate of Duke Anand's was not be to discounted for not making any warlike noises. Dinus was waiting. Waiting for the opportune moment to strike, to foster Welsh pride once again. The Anglo Normans and the Normans would regret the day they made enemies of this cunning man from the mountains...
Jolly 'The Talker' Motttengad: First Born of William. Jolly had once been crowned the King of England, he still relished the pleasant memories of his brief rule. Jolly had defeated one of his brothers, but had to flee from another. Currently he is the King of All Vikings. He has but one intention which is to regain what is rightfully his: The Crown of England. Helping him is his beautiful and cunning Norse wife whom the world does not fully know yet; legend says that this woman has always been madly in love with him. Will The Talker be able to defeat the Anglo Normans, the Normans and the Scots? Will the Welsh undermine his schemes? Only time will tell.
Note: There is also a boardgame style Hex Map for the campaign.
Battle is Forced!!
Border of 'Held Lands' July, 1115. Young Farnham, Son of the missing Duke Farnham was in Milton Keynes when word came of Norman aggression and movement across the deemed border. He later wrote about the turn of events to his teacher Arthur Millister, the Honourable Bishop of York.
"Your Reverence, I hope that this letter finds you in best of spirits and good health. My duties are taking me to the border with the Normans. We left Milton Keynes yesterday, after Duke Renjith decided that it would be wise to check the Norman advance before it enters the premises of London itself. Battle was almost joined en route; the Normans sought to attack us. Only Duke Renjith's prompt thinking helped us retire without truly engaging."
"We Anglo Normans are not cowards either. We trapped the enemy a scant week from when he threatened us. The Wily Duke outwitted the Normans and won a flank march on them! For your Reverence's information, such an action has gained us for the battle which is to be fought on the morrow of my writing to you. Kindly include Duke Renjith and his brave men in your daily Prayers, for which all of us here will be eternally grateful."
"With the Lord's Grace, all will be well. I hope that when I next write to you, those Norman Gents would have been shown the best way out of our treasured lands. Yours in Service, Robert Farnham."
Battle is Won!! Milton Keynes is Safe!
From Near Milton Keynes August, 1115. "Your Reverence, I write this letter in great pain and great happiness. You might wonder at the contrast, but be assured there is every reason for me to feel both at the same time. My body now bears the marks of battle and the wounds are yet to heal completely. The battle for Milton Keynes, blessed little place as it is, was anything but holy. Rivers of blood ran wherever the eye went, crying humans, bleating animals, shouting soldiers all added to the terrible maelstrom of that battle."
"But we won, as Duke Renjith had so correctly predicted (Bless the man!) and it somehow comforts me to know that all this blood and sweat spent will save hundreds of lives and our precious land from the hands of marauders. I must confess however, dear reverend, that this is not the end. We English cannot rest until the plague that is Normans are wiped off forever from the face of this world. You may not be surprised to know that our so called Allies, those madmen from across the seas did not turn up at Milton Keynes. Bah! They did not even come to the mainland, choosing instead to watch from the cosy hearths in their newly found Irish homes."
"Please do not be worried if my next letter is late. I am sure that under Duke Renjith's leadership we will redeem the prestige of the English Crown and defeat all marauders. Godspeed. Yours in Service, Robert Farnham."
The Battle of Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes is safe! Read more about the battle in Battle of Milton Keynes.
From Russia, with Love
Excerpt from some of the popular ballads of Scotland In the terrible year of the Wolf, 1115, the mighty Lord was displeased with the men and women of Scotland. To punish the sins, the Lord unleashed upon the land the worst of Hell's Demons, a blood drinking, man killing hulk of a man called Mohanus the Rus. No one really knew where he came from; his men spoke of lands far away and colder than was known in Scotland; they spoke of vast plains as big as entire highlands. Clad in a Lion skin cape, with a sword in his hand and a savage smile on his face, Mohanus the Rus could breathe fire.
With this fire did he burn the castle of Aberdeen, with his fangs did he tear the oaken doors open. And off he went, the lovely lady of the castle, Glenna the Beautiful in his hand. Alas! When her lover Sarath Sasix 'The Sasacas' knew of it, he wept tears like the rains of Moray. When the tears dried, off went the man with the best the realm could offer. Theirs was to find the Rus and Kill him.
But devils are not killed by Mortals, and the Divine willed that Scotland should suffer for its faults. The demon Mohanus drank Glenna's blood and was revitalised; He set forth and fried the Scottish army with the flames from his mouth. The man rode a dragon, the wings of which were black, and as the dying men of Scotland watched, the lands burned and the armies scattered. But then the Lord was satisfied, we had paid our price. The Demon went back to where he came from laughing like mad.
The Dragon? The hideous creature took a liking to Scotland, and with permission from its master, sank deep into the Ness. There it dwells in the Loch, a sentry posted by the Mohanus the Rus!
The Battle of McGregor's Hill
The mysterious and bloodthirsty Rus defeat the Scots! Read more about the battle in The Battle of McGregor's Hill.
There will be no Scotland!
As narrated by Stuart Murphy, veteran of the battle of York The Lord save Scotland! (Murphy himself was an Irishman with strong empathy for the Scots) Sarath Sasix 'The Sasacas', still healing from the mental and physical wounds he received at McGregor's hill led his men in a valiant attempt to overthrow the English from York. That he did, thanks to the newly gained mule-mobility of the army. There was nary a man among his advisers who wanted to fight the English on their own terrain, but Sasix would not budge. And so it happened, the Scots swept aside the border guards and York fell with hardly any effort.
Alas! if only we had stayed in York to reap the benefits of our march. But again, the Devil himself induced the late Sasix to retake the home of his fathers, Leicester. Any man worth his salt knows that once a Noble Lord is ousted, he stays ousted. Sasix may have been born an Earl, but that title had long been taken from him. Why, O why did he then insist on visiting the Halls of Leicester? (sigh) all that is past now, I guess. In any event, we marched out of York, only to meet Duke Renjith and his ferocious Knights en route. We had been cooly assured by our Scouts that there was NO English army within miles, curse the stupid Scouts!
The battle? You ask me about the battle? I tell thee, hell hath no more fury than a Knight aroused. Only they slaked their lust on Scot blood! I myself esca
ped by the grace of the prayers of my dear Mama, God bless her! And Sasix, poor man, lost his life. Of one thing I am sure. There will be no more Scottish contenders for the English Throne.
Waltzes of theThegns: The Battle of York
Duke Renjith and his army vanquishes the Scots! Sarath Sasix is slain! Read more about the battle in Waltzes of the Thegns.
The Welsh Uprising
From Near Leicester September, 1115. Young Farnham was in an elated mood. The time for battles had come to an end - for now. It was time to get back to his correspondence. Taking up his quill, he began to write.
"Your Holiness, after defeating the Scots in York, Lord Renjith and his army indulged in such decadent celebrations that it makes my mind reel at the mere thought of it. How could the King condone such an orgy in such terrible times? But I understand that it is mine not to ask why but to obey the King's orders. In any event, the celebration ended sooner than expected and we marched to Leicester. En route, news came in that the Welsh - can you believe it - were invading Leicester in league with that Norman renegade, Lord Anand Mohan. The man had been renounced by his own army; how dare he poison the minds of such allies as the Welsh to march against England?!!"
"But there is such a thing as Heavenly Justice for we routed the Welsh in the battle for Leicester. Sad as it is, the flower of our chivalry also reaped the harvest of their earlier gluttony and lust in the battle. We lost a thousand of our Knights to measly peasants! Lord have mercy on their souls! The cheerful news is that Lord Renjith will now be crowned King. The Norman Lord Anand, The Welsh warlord Lord Dinus and the Renegade Sarath Sasix Sasacas are all dead. There will be no more claims to the Throne. The coronation is set for next market day and I hope to be in London in time. I will write to your reverence from London."
A Tale of Knights: The Battle of Leicester
Duke Renjith and his army vanquishes the Welsh at a very high cost. Read more about the battle in A Tale of Knights.
Epilogue: The Coronation
London September, 1115. In the year of the Lord 1115, Lord Renjith was crowned King of England in an impressive ceremony which will be remembered for years to come. The king was led up the aisle by Reverend Arthur Millister, the Bishop of York, and was crowned King by the Bishop of London. The Master of the Ceremonies was Young Farnham, son of Lord Farnham 'The Bold'. Young Farnham seemed excited, for the moment of glory for the King whom he had served so loyally had come. This in turn meant that his own star would be in ascendance henceforth.
His head high and the Crown glittering in the sunlight, Renjith accepted embassies from various peoples. The First were the Welsh under Sir Arthur Cripps. They brought with them gifts in gold and silver. Renjith touched the gifts with his hand in acknowledgement and Young Farnham took delivery of them. Then came the Scots, with gold, gems and iron. Renjith smiled graciously and gestured at Young Farnham to take them. The Irish made an appearance too, having driven Mottengad the English-turned-Viking from their midst. More gold for the treasury. They were followed by the nobles from various counties. A tired Lord Renjith was soon seated, merely waving at the gifts.
And when the queue seemed to be over, a stranger walked in right up to the dais where the King sat. In his hand he held a covered silver plate. "O King! Mohanus the Rus sends his regards!" Renjith started. There was something unusual in the voice of the man which made his sit up. He waved his had for Farnham. "Farnham?" Not seeing his man, Renjith asked his aide. "Where did Farnham disappear?" The aide mumbled apologetically. "The young Lord asked to be er. excused, Sire!" Renjith grunted. He turned to the bearer. "Show us".
The messenger removed the cover. On the plate was young Farnham's bleeding head. The mouth of the dead man's head was open and bore a message roll. With trembling hands, Renjith took the message and read it "Greetings English King! Enjoy the comforts of your throne - until we meet again!! Signed, Mohanus The Rus."
Notes on Rules Used
This campaign has been conceived based on fictional events following the Battle of Tinchenrai, which saw the Sons of William clash for their fathers throne. We are using Piquet - Theatre of War for the campaign,Tim Peterson's ACW Rules for making random maps, and modified Medieval Warfare for the actual battles themselves.
Notes on House Rules, modifications etc.
In case you are wondering why MW is being used for the battles while Piquet is used for the campaign, here is a little explanation. We like the basic principles of Piquet - variable length turns, army characterization, morale chips etc. However the rules do not cover the Medieval era quite well. In particular we find Piquet's combat mechanics for Ancient/Medieval battles less interesting than SAGA's Medieval Warfare or Ancient Warfare. We feel that Medieval Warfare simulates the variety in weaponry and their effect in combat better than does Archon, the Ancient/Medieval supplement of Piquet. Lack of easy to choose army lists is another reason why Medieval Warfare was chosen for the battles.
Consequently, we are using Medieval Warfare(MW) with the best of Piquet thrown in. Henceforth our MW battles will feature aspects such as variable impetus, sequence decks and morale chips. The excellent combat mechanics and morale rules of MW will be retained without any change. We hope that such amendments will make victory in unequal engagements possible. By nature, MW tends to limit the chance of winning for the smaller side in uneven battles.
When it comes to playing Campaigns, however, there is little to choose from. Having used Theatre of War (ToW) for an earlier campaign, we opted to use ToW with some modifications. First of all, ToW's movement rules were modified to reflect the difference in mobility of Cavalry dominant armies such as Normans, as compared to predominantly foot like Vikings and Scots. Unlike pure ToW where separate movement cards are used for moving in Light, Medium and Dense terrain, we use a single movement card with different movement rates(costs) for various armies. For example, Vikings can move 2 sectors in water using a single move card, whereas Normans move 1 sector on water and 2 on land. Similarly Scots get to move faster in their home ground and are slowed down in other territories including water.
The "Advantage Level" concept in ToW also needed to be married into MW. For this, we used a simple substitution. Every advantage level merits the owner 50 + 1D100 of army points. This is less complicated than the elaborate and rather cumbersome mechanism given in ToW. Also, players no longer get to choose an entire army like when they are playing a tournament game. We have devised a method to automatically select a representative army for a given number of points. Like wise, Generals cannot be handpicked either. These will be drawn randomly from a pool of 10 or so generals made prior to the campaign.
Read in more detail about our House rules.
The Players: Dinu Balakrishnan (aka Lord Dinus), Ravi Mohan (Mohanus 'The Rus'), Anand Mohan (Lord Anand 'The Swearer' Mohan), Jolly Mottengad (Jolly 'The Talker' Mottengad), Sarath Sasikumar (Sarath Sasix 'The Sasacas') and Renjith Suryanarayanan (King Renjith of England).