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jajagappa

Windstop, the Waters, and the Skyfall

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At Chimériades, JC GM'ed a game where we, as Lunar soldiers, had to HQ to feed the army inside Sartar/Heortland after the fall of Whitewall.

We re-enacted the birth of the Maize by Hon-Eel.

My Pelorian character suggested to re-enact "Lodril warms Oria" instead, but thooz impOOOrtant people from the High Command, they ain't paying 'ttention to us loughly peasants in the rank'n file...

;-)

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2 hours ago, Patrick said:

Shouldn't the Glowline protect Tarsh? I thought they weren't impacted by the Great Winter...?

Both the Glowline and Lunar magic will protect Tarsh - but it's still within the zone of the Great Winter.  Ernalda is dead - no earth magic.  Instead, farmers will need to turn to the bloody corn rites of Hon-eel to get their crops to grow, and Lunar magicians will use the Moonglow to keep the air warm (though stagnant since no winds blow), and others will use moon powers to draw waters up from the earth to provide water for man, beast, or plant.

 

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2 hours ago, Patrick said:

re-enact "Lodril warms Oria" instead

It's unknown whether the death of Ernalda has any effect on Oria - my guess is Oria goes to sleep in the affected area.  But they can certainly call on Lodril to warm the earth, even if the goddess sleeps.

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The Windstop was full of unexpected consequences, highlighting how dangerous Lunar magical engineering is.
 
The Lunars' didn't expect what happened, and they didn't expect Ernalda to go to sleep.
 
The Lunar garrisons across Dragon Pass and Prax don't seem to have been prepared - and although their losses were probably less than those of the civilian population, of whom a sixth seem to have died, this must have contributed to the weakened control of the regions. Keeping garrisons at strength in a year long winter requires a major logistical effort. Whilst the Lunars could probably barge supplies as far as Furthest, unless the Oslir started to run low, pushing supplies much further by land would be intensely difficult.

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13 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

they didn't expect Ernalda to go to sleep

Except of course for the Shargashi who strangled her!

But I'd agree that the Lunars would be surprised as well, and their priestesses will be very busy trying to divine the will of the Red Goddess and learn the quests they can take to reveal Her wisdom and blessings to the populace.

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6 hours ago, M Helsdon said:
Keeping garrisons at strength in a year long winter requires a major logistical effort. Whilst the Lunars could probably barge supplies as far as Furthest, unless the Oslir started to run low, pushing supplies much further by land would be intensely difficult.

Lunar foraging parties certainly raided to supplement what they had.

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19 minutes ago, Ian Cooper said:

Lunar foraging parties certainly raided to supplement what they had.

No doubt, but foraging and raiding can only gather what can be found, and this would be insufficient to maintain an entire static garrison for a year. When ancient armies are on the move they can, to an extent, sustain themselves by foraging and raiding because they are moving through 'fresh' territory. However, this reduces movement and makes the army dangerously reliant upon exploiting local resources. These can be withheld either by the expedience of hiding them, meaning it takes even more effort and time to find them, making the army increasingly exposed to enemy action, or by a policy of scorched earth. The Scythians enacted the latter very successfully against Darius the Great, meaning that many Persian troops died of starvation...

However, when an army is in winter camp, in an ordinary winter, it can't survive by foraging and raiding because only a distinct area around it is easily accessible: it takes increasing time and effort (which itself uses up supplies), and added risks of ambush and accident to widen the area exploited. Once the surrounding area has been exploited and exhausted, if the garrison has no winter stores of its own, and no resupply, it will perish.

This would be even more severe in the Great Winter: the Lunars could seize supplies from nearby settlements, but would have to rely upon their own stores and any supply caravans that managed to get to them. I suspect that the death rate of civilians in Sartarite cities was even higher than among the rural population, because the garrison would take complete control of the city stores.

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2 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Lunar foraging parties certainly raided to supplement what they had.

The problem is what's left to raid and forage? 

Since the Windstop begins on Windsday, Deathweek, Darkseason, the grain for the year has been gathered.  The clans will have stored the spare grain for the winter.  The Greenstone and Clearwine Earth temples and likely most cities will have stored grain as well, but the magics to preserve and protect those grain supplies may disappear at that point.

Some animals will have already gone into hibernation (in areas where they would do so).  But the cattle and sheep herds will be vulnerable to the cold and lack of fodder - perhaps a few weeks, a season at most, and many of these will be dead.  Wolves and ravens will begin to mass to hunt (not to mention trolls).  For the clans to survive, they'd likely slaughter as much as they could and let it freeze dry (assuming it doesn't get corrupted by chaos and the like). 

The Lunar foragers will go after the clan centers, then, to take what food they can and haul it back to the cities where the Lunar garrisons will have retreated for the winter.  Desperate clansmen will either go to the cities as well, swear the Lunar oaths in order to get some food back; or they will attempt to flee to places like Tarsh, or perhaps Nochet if they think there may be food there (a few may make it). 

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Well, one interesting point is the sequence of events. I am not sure the Lunar Army would seize the locals' reserves early enough to be safe from trouble.

Lets's say you are a Lunar Commander in occupied territory (Sartar, Prax, Far Place, Esrolia...)

Dark season, 1621: strange things happen. No winds at all, clouds stuck in the air. Your spies and contacts tell you the locals have lost most of their magic. 

But your magic is unaffected; you're unlikely the run a lot of Earth or Storm magic in the army.

Well, that will keep them busy, and give you a rest. You inform the High Command, and wait for the news.

And the news are great! Whitewall fell, Orlanth is dead, these barbarians have finally lost all the annoying magics they normally use and that were such a pain in 1586/1602/1613/all the time really...

Now, it's a cold winter for sure. Damn, the river even froze. So you keep maneuvering to a minimum, celebrate with the troops inside the barracks, and look forward to a Full Moon Year...

Storm season comes: still no wind! So you feel as great as the Red Emperor: bring in the priestesses, now is the time to make converts, some will no doubt realize the error of their ways...

So you feel as great as the Red Emperor: bring in the priestesses, now is the time to make converts, some will no doubt realiz the error of their ways...

it's a cold winter, really. Well, at least it isn't snowing. Maintain patrols, in case some desperate weirdoes wanna make suicidal attacks and join their god in death... And prep for Sacred Time.

Sacred Time: your Lunar ceremonies work splendid, Yanafal Tarnils is super-strong. The villagers & locals seem to be still unable to contact their gods. So far, so good...

Sea season 1622: man, that is a cold winter really. Worst you've seen for a long time. Would be good to be at home, protected by Kalikos; but let's not say it aloud, lest we lower the troops' morale. We have stored grain anyway. Supply will arrive next week: do make sure patrols escort it, those rebels may wanna complement their plates with moonbroth.

End of Sea season: the locals haven't been able to sow. The newborn cattle mostly die, because there's nothing left for them. They will have a very bad year, and a hard time paying their taxes in Earth season (which, depending on your mood and inclination, may give you sadistic vengeful joy, or feel sympathetic). Maybe you should suggest to the General to exempt converts from taxes, you'll get recruits in no time.

Fire season: something goes wrong. Really wrong. It's still as f*****g cold as in Winter, but we're getting close to Yelm's High Holy Day. Your priests and magicians don't understand why. Could it be a parting shot from Orlanth when he died?

All the High Command is upset, and the Lunar College of Magic is questing in all directions to fix it of course. But who knows when? You are busy safeguarding the supply chain - the Emperor himself mobilized resources from the Heartlands to feed the Army, Hail the Moon!

The Teelo Norri soup is more successful than ever. Many locals are starving - stubborn b*****ds.

At the High Command, they say the new Reaching Moon Temple will protect the area. But how long will it take to uphold the ceremonies, I wonder.

Earth season: it's still winter, and only the supplies keep us alive. The situation is becoming critical, and we got some bad news: that petty king called Broyan returned and killed some of our troops in Heortland. I keep it to myself, the men's morale is very low. There is no tax to be taken, I am glad the exemption of the Full Moon Year applies to converts and subservient clans; all I can do is try to uphold order and protect trade, so the troops are fed.

Dark season 1622: it's still cold, but now it's also windy. Snow has returned! If supply caravan are late next week, we will all starve.

I have sent a full regiment ahead to ensure safe passage. If they don't bring any news in 2 days, we will all leave the fort and head back home, but there will be no food left to plunder on the way...

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Another topic related to the Windstop is what actually happens when people and animals die. As this is (mythologically) the Great Darkness, the dead are confused and don't know where to go. The living and the Dead become mixed once again. People can't tell who is who. Some of those that don't loose their magics, like Daka Fal will begin there age long task of separating the living from the dead. Issaries followers start to show the dead how to get on the path to the Underworld, likewise, demons come the other way.

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4 hours ago, Patrick said:

I have sent a full regiment ahead to ensure safe passage. If they don't bring any news in 2 days, we will all leave the fort and head back home, but there will be no food left to plunder on the way...

Bad news: in cold weather, with ice on the ground, an organized military unit can't march many miles a day, even on a Royal Road. A regiment can march around 15 miles a day in reasonable weather - but the distance between Roman mansios and camps along their roads was 11 or 12 miles - and 15 miles a day is a high average for infantry carrying packs and their supplies. In this event, I suspect infantry might manage 7 or 8 miles a day, and cavalry 12 or 13 miles a day, but: at the end of each day there are going to be casualties. Horses and other riding animals are going to die without adequate food and shelter, and whilst the soldiers can eat them, the strength of the unit is going to diminish. Think of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, but worse...

These distances suggest the foraging distances for Lunar Garrisons - a radius of no more than five miles, assuming they want to get back to base by nightfall. Because if things are bad during the day, at night they are going to be far far worse. There are going to be trolls, and worse things out there...

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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

The living and the Dead become mixed once again. People can't tell who is who.

This could start with the souls of the dead hanging around confused near their dead bodies, visible only to the few left with sight. Then, as the number of souls builds up, they start to manifest in their confusion. As the trouble continues, the dead bodies, in increasing numbers, start to demand food and other resources as if they still lived.

There is no longer a border between the mundane and the underworld for Daka Fal, Issaries or even Humakt to detect. Hell on earth? Or worse?

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9 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Bad news: in cold weather, with ice on the ground, an organized military unit can't march many miles a day, even on a Royal Road

Unless they're within the joyous and warm light of the radiant Moon!  And remember this is the Extra Full Moon Year!!!  Which implies there are two full moons in a week in which to draw on Lunar magic.

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13 hours ago, David Scott said:

The living and the Dead become mixed once again.

Yes!  And this will certainly be true in Esrolia where the Dead rise from the necropoli, especially Korovaka (and with minimal/frozen water, the Dead can escape again).

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14 hours ago, Patrick said:

You inform the High Command, and wait for the news

With the Fall of Whitewall, the Red Emperor declares the Extra Full Moon Year.  I think this will be passed on quickly by courier as well as magical means (e.g. visions seen by the priestesses, etc.).  The priestesses are likely to direct the Lunar army sooner rather than later, even in the Provinces.

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16 hours ago, David Scott said:

Another topic related to the Windstop is what actually happens when people and animals die. As this is (mythologically) the Great Darkness, the dead are confused and don't know where to go. The living and the Dead become mixed once again. People can't tell who is who. Some of those that don't loose their magics, like Daka Fal will begin there age long task of separating the living from the dead. Issaries followers start to show the dead how to get on the path to the Underworld, likewise, demons come the other way.

Another relevant excerpt from Sun County 1621 – 1627: The Great Winter & The Time of Two Counts:

With the Windstop came other terrors. Fertility blessings failed as animals and children began to die the womb, gravely endangering their mothers as well. Out of the Great Bog came swarms of locusts, both normal-sized and giant. With them came gangs of ravenous wild trollkin, some even riding the huge flying insects. They swept through the farmlands, stripping all the vegetation in their path. In their wake came a plague of famished traskars and cliff toads, driven from their usual lairs by hunger.

Even more disturbing, chaos horrors emerged from a great eruption of sinkholes that appeared around the abandoned village of Rabbit Hat, formerly a center of the illicit hazia trade. As the fields dried up, more such holes began to appear all across Sun County. Investigating parties sent in by Vega Goldbreath found themselves in a dangerous and confusing network of excavated tubes, suggesting a disturbingly widespread subterranean infiltration of the land by Krarsht, the Devouring Mother.

Meanwhile, on the river a strange sea-monster, its breath like a poisonous cold mist, wreaked havoc. To the Count’s vexation, the Great Ballista at Harpoon was useless, lacking arrows to slay it. Even Sor Eel’s soldiers couldn’t kill the monster and eventually it made its way upriver to the Rubble, where it is said to have disappeared into the Puzzle Canal.

The leaders of Sun County were sorely pressed dealing with these calamities, but the real crisis lay in the dwindling supply of food. As even harsher measures were enacted against hoarding, people began to accuse their neighbors of being in league with Krarsht.

But worse was to come: that Sacred Time, the customary rituals to renew the world utterly failed. Perimides the Chaste, the aged high priest, collapsed at the High Altar, spilling the sacred libation. He was carried away, raving about a red-clad seductress. As the shocked celebrants went to symbolically awaken the high earth priestess, Penta Goldbreath, they found she could not be roused. Meanwhile, a creeping rot spread from the spilled libations to the sacrificial food offerings (and was later found to have spread to the granaries). Evil spirits began to assail the assembled worshippers, and in horror they realized some in the crowd were actually the undead of Nontraya: those who had already died of hunger. In the confusion, the sleeping Penta vanished - some said she was carried off in the jaws of a great horned wolf.

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7 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Unless they're within the joyous and warm light of the radiant Moon!  And remember this is the Extra Full Moon Year!!!  Which implies there are two full moons in a week in which to draw on Lunar magic.

Too bad on days when the Moon is at Half, Crescent, Dying, or Black...

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5 hours ago, MOB said:

To the Count’s vexation, the Great Ballista at Harpoon was useless, lacking arrows to slay it*.

(*because, as noted elsewhere in the document, the Sun Domers had used up all the machine's arrows during the Cradle episode the previous sea season. An expedition had been despatched to cut some more from the Tall Timbers above the Leaping Place and float them back down the river, but nothing was heard from that party during the Great Winter and it was presumed lost)

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On 12 September 2016 at 3:14 PM, Charles said:

This could start with the souls of the dead hanging around confused near their dead bodies, visible only to the few left with sight. Then, as the number of souls builds up, they start to manifest in their confusion. As the trouble continues, the dead bodies, in increasing numbers, start to demand food and other resources as if they still lived.

I actually think that their souls/spirits don't leave their body's. The whole basis is that when you die, your physical and spiritual elements separate and are direct the right way. 

12 hours ago, MOB said:

Evil spirits began to assail the assembled worshippers, and in horror they realized some in the crowd were actually the undead of Nontraya: those who had already died of hunger.

Zombies is what they become...

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

I actually think that their souls/spirits don't leave their body's. The whole basis is that when you die, your physical and spiritual elements separate and are direct the right way. 

Zombies is what they become...

and that too! 

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14 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Too bad on days when the Moon is at Half, Crescent, Dying, or Black..

Half still has normal magic level. 

Depending on how you might play it, you could have a 4-day period, rather than a 3-day one, where you have normal or greater magical power.  Enough to give your unit a 'Moonwarm' to last you on a patrol/raid against nearby clans, take what you can, and get back to the garrison.

Not saying it's not going to be difficult for the Lunar units, but at least they've got working magic. 

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On 12.9.2016 at 0:13 PM, David Scott said:

Another topic related to the Windstop is what actually happens when people and animals die. As this is (mythologically) the Great Darkness, the dead are confused and don't know where to go. The living and the Dead become mixed once again. People can't tell who is who. Some of those that don't loose their magics, like Daka Fal will begin there age long task of separating the living from the dead. Issaries followers start to show the dead how to get on the path to the Underworld, likewise, demons come the other way.

This has been called by later scholars the "Schrödinger Time"

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