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Willow

The Anarchy: Tribute, Raiding, and Saxons

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I'm a few sessions into the Anarchy, and am starting to get into the gritty bits of the sandbox, particularly paying tribute to Saxon lords, getting raided, and maybe raiding back in return.

A few questions, all more or less interconnected:

1) Just how much does it cost to pay tribute, anyway?

The Harvest section (of GPC) says it costs effectively 3lb. with the simplified harvest system; the actual nature of the tribute is 100 cattle and 100 pounds of silver.  About 120 manors are sworn to Count Roger, some of those knights will be bad actors, but that should come out to about one cow and 1 pound of silver per manor... for a grand cost of 1.5lb.

(As a side question, is it legal, within the feudal contract, for Regent Ellen to levy these kinds of taxes?  I would think an Arbitrary check would be in order for any Baron who attempted to do so.)

 

2)  Just how much does it cost to not pay tribute?

The downside of not paying tribute is getting raided, which is typically 30% of one's income  (according to Book of the Estate).  Presumably, the Saxons who demand tribute and aren't paid will perform raids, but will they really raid the entire county?

If one tells all of the Saxons to sod off, does each additional raid increase the intensity of the raid?

 

3)  What sort of protection does tribute get, anyway?

The knights in my game figured if they paid tribute to one Saxon lord and the other one raided, they might be able to cry foul to that Saxon, that they hadn't fulfilled their end of the bargain for protection.

(For what it's worth, I think Cerdic will tell them 'so sorry, a raid is not an invasion, but if you swear fealty, you will get my FULL protection.')

So what is an invasion?  Attacking lands with the intention of holding them?  And how might a tributary lord to their tributary state getting invaded?

 

4)  The East Saxons are all the way over in Caerwent.  To raid Salisbury, they'd have to either march through Silchester (seems unlikely), or sail around and go through Wessex (who nominally owe Salisbury protection.)  Just how are they getting there?

(As an aside, it seems gutsy as hell for the Saxons to send their crown prince to negotiate tribute with people who are basically their hereditary enemies,  The only thing that seems to be stopping someone from capturing a Saxon prince or two and ransoming them or putting them to the sword is the threat of total war.  And again, Essex is all the way over there...)

 

5)  The player knights are salivating at the idea of doing some counter raids, and sacking some lands on their own.  The average vill/manor is guarded by a knight plus two footmen, but how many Saxon warriors are going to reside in the same area?  Thus far, they've seemed like one endless doomstack of troops, getting reinforcements from across the seas whenever the plot calls for it.

I imagine the knights will be bringing along family knights, and maybe some footmen promised bonus pay.  The question then is, how is the plunder from a raid typically split?  At the end of the day, that's likely for the knights to decide, but the NPCs might have some basic assumptions based on ancient traditions and whatnot.

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6 hours ago, Willow said:

I'm a few sessions into the Anarchy, and am starting to get into the gritty bits of the sandbox, particularly paying tribute to Saxon lords, getting raided, and maybe raiding back in return.

A few questions, all more or less interconnected:

1) Just how much does it cost to pay tribute, anyway?

Well since one pound sterling is defined as the value of one pound of silver then 100 pounds of silver would be worth £100 (maybe less if they are based on Roman pounds vs. Imperial ones, but lets not go there)

 1 cow is worth about 80d.(milk cows are worth 120d and oxen are worth 180d ) or four cows to the £. 100 cows would be worth about £25 minimum. That works out to a total of around £125-175 with an average  of around £150.

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The Harvest section (of GPC) says it costs effectively 3lb. with the simplified harvest system; the actual nature of the tribute is 100 cattle and 100 pounds of silver.  About 120 manors are sworn to Count Roger, some of those knights will be bad actors, but that should come out to about one cow and 1 pound of silver per manor... for a grand cost of 1.5lb

Well except for it being Count Roderick/Robert and not Roger your correct. But keep in mind that while the Count has around 150 manors, only 30 or so are held by landed knights who must pay tribute. The rest are owned directly by the young Count (and control in regency by his mother the countess).  So it looks like the landed knights are paying about £90 with the Countess paying the remaining £60. But it's not really that way. Since Cerdic is demanding 100 pounds of silver and harvests are in goods, then Ellen must be converting goods into  to coin at a 2:1 ratio. So the tribute is closer to £250, meaning the Countess is paying  £160 and the vassal knights £90. 

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(As a side question, is it legal, within the feudal contract, for Regent Ellen to levy these kinds of taxes?  I would think an Arbitrary check would be in order for any Baron who attempted to do so.)

Technically. legal isn't really the term here, as it's not like a vassal knight could call the cops and report this. This would be an impost or arbitrary tax of some sort. That said a noble can also call for a voluntary tax, and considering the situation the Countess and that does ask her advisors so it's not all that Arbitrary, at least not on her part. Cerdic probably gets a check. 

Some knights might complain about it (at court) but considering the Countess is really the victim of a shakedown those knights won't exactly look all that loyal for complaining or leaving her footing the entire  bill. Loyal knights would want to help their liege, and keep in mind that it is well within a lord's rights to strip vassal of their land if they feel said vassals are being disloyal. It's not like the Countess has many options, it pay or fight and either way the vassal knights will have to do their bit.

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2)  Just how much does it cost to not pay tribute?

As much as the Saxon raiders can steal. 

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The downside of not paying tribute is getting raided, which is typically 30% of one's income  (according to Book of the Estate).  Presumably, the Saxons who demand tribute and aren't paid will perform raids,

That actually several questions together and the answer is a bit more complicated that the way you put it. 

First off yes the Saxons get away with 30% of a manor's income, or about £3, the same as the tribute, but  as per page 45 of the Book of the Estate, the raid also damages 3 lots on the manor, which reduce the income of the manor by 1 each until they are recovered(per page 46) . It usually takes a stewardship roll to recover one lot, with the Gentlewoman bonus providing a second lot, so most manors will take 3-6 years to fully recover from a raid. So not only does the manor lose the income from the raid, but also for the next few years. 

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but will they really raid the entire county?

Probably not. Especially places that on the out side of the county like Vagon. But then consider what happens. If you were a knight who got raided and suffered hardship while a knight in a manor 5 miles away didn't, maybe you might go raid him? How about if he refused to pay tribute? What is he going to do about it if you do? Complain to the Countess? Maybe he's a nice guy and chips in to help his neighbors and shares the burden somewhat? Or maybe some neighbor on the other side of the county goes raiding because Salisbury looks weak and vulnerable?

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If one tells all of the Saxons to sod off, does each additional raid increase the intensity of the raid?

Only if they raid more than once per year. But the lot damage is cumulative. What that means is something like this:

Year 1: Manor produces £10, but gets raided and loses £3 income, leaving the knight with £7.  3 lots take temporary damage, and the Steward is able to recover 1 lot over the Winter Phase

Year 2: Manor produces £8 due to lot damage, but gets raided and loses £3 income, leaving the knight with £5,  and take 3 lots take temporary damage, and the Steward is able to recover 1 lot over the Winter Phase

Year 3: Manor produces £6 due to lot damage, but gets raided and loses £3 income, leaving the knight with £3, and take 3 lots take temporary damage, and the Steward is able to recover 1 lot over the Winter Phase

Year 4: Manor produces £4 due to lot damage, but gets raided and loses £3 income, leaving the knight with £1, and take 3 lots take temporary damage, and the Steward is able to recover 1 lot over the Winter Phase

Year 5: Manor produces £2 due to lot damage, but gets raided and loses all it's income, leaving the knight with no income, and take 2 lots take temporary damage (because that's all thats left), and the Steward is able to recover 1 lot over the Winter Phase

Year 6+: Manor produces £1 due to lot damage, but looses it all to raiding and the steward can only recover the one lot back over the winter. It will never get any better until the raids stop.

That is assuming the Steward makes his skill roll every year. In play it is probably worse.  It cheaper to pay the tribute.

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3)  What sort of protection does tribute get, anyway?

Probably nothing. It's like a mob protection racket. Your mostly paying for protection from them

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The knights in my game figured if they paid tribute to one Saxon lord and the other one raided, they might be able to cry foul to that Saxon, that they hadn't fulfilled their end of the bargain for protection.

You could, but... 

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(For what it's worth, I think Cerdic will tell them 'so sorry, a raid is not an invasion, but if you swear fealty, you will get my FULL protection.')

Is probably about right. Maybe a smart diplomat could try to invoke Cerdic's Honor passion to get help, but it's a longshot. Even if he does decide to help he might just get the other Saxon leader to reduce his demands. Then again he might just help out to show the Countess why she should swear fealty to him. 

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So what is an invasion?  Attacking lands with the intention of holding them? 

Bingo! Give yourself a prize. 

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And how might a tributary lord to their tributary state getting invaded?

How might they appeal or how might the other lord help? 

To appeal you send a messenger to the one who you are shelling out too and say "So & So in invading, we need help, and you said you would help." Then you have to hope that the one you are paying tribute to (Cerdic) decides to help, probably by sending men to help defend you lands. Then you have to hope that you win, and that once the fighting is over Cerdic doesn't decide you have such a nice place that he doesn't want to leave.

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4)  The East Saxons are all the way over in Caerwent.  To raid Salisbury, they'd have to either march through Silchester (seems unlikely), or sail around and go through Wessex (who nominally owe Salisbury protection.)  Just how are they getting there?

Probably by working a deal with Cedric or some other Saxon in the South to get permission to go through their lands - for a cut of course.  

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(As an aside, it seems gutsy as hell for the Saxons to send their crown prince to negotiate tribute with people who are basically their hereditary enemies, 

It's not so gutsy when said enemy is weak and disorganized. 

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The only thing that seems to be stopping someone from capturing a Saxon prince or two and ransoming them or putting them to the sword is the threat of total war.  And again, Essex is all the way over there...)

Yup. You kill Cerdic and you paint a target on your back and hoards of Saxons invade your lands and take them. Meanwhile most of your neighbors keep their heads down and hope the Saxons leave them alone for a few years so that they can strengthen their forces. Britain is still recovering from the wars at the end of Uther's reign, and lacks leaders, especially a High King to unite everybody. 

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5)  The player knights are salivating at the idea of doing some counter raids, and sacking some lands on their own.  The average vill/manor is guarded by a knight plus two footmen, but how many Saxon warriors are going to reside in the same area?  Thus far, they've seemed like one endless doomstack of troops, getting reinforcements from across the seas whenever the plot calls for it.

Saxons probably are using a manor system, as much as a bunch of semi-defended farms with the leaders having long houses where they keep their warriors, but lets keep it simple and assume that they are manors for game purposes.Your PKs can probably pull off a raid or two, assuming they can get . Getting into Saxon lands is easy, and quite a few of thier farmsteads would be semi-defended at best. But since it takes several days to raid, they PKs will probably run into a good sized group of warriors before they get out. Then there is the risk of the Saxons doing a counter raid in response to the PKs counter-raid, or maybe even just taking on a weregeld (blood price) for the men the PK killed while raiding. So the might  PK split  £3 from raiding and the Saxons up their tribute next year to £105 in silver because of the men the PK killed. 

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I imagine the knights will be bringing along family knights, and maybe some footmen promised bonus pay.  The question then is, how is the plunder from a raid typically split?  At the end of the day, that's likely for the knights to decide, but the NPCs might have some basic assumptions based on ancient traditions and whatnot.

The PKs would split the same amount as they would loose in a raid. About £3 per "manor" or equivalent. But to raid a manor in one day the PKs would need 32 times the number of defenders. If we assume 3 defenders per "manor" then that means the PKs need 96 men to raid a manor in a day. So if the PKs take 3 in plunder, and give 1/3rd of that to their liege per custom, and approximately another third is split among the foot solders, the knights get to split £1 between them.

Now with a little luck they might be able to stick around for several days and raid a few manors, but then they run the risk of running into the Saxon war band that will eventually be sent after them, which should  be considerably larger than the PKs force.. So it's not easy, doesn't pay particular well, and could have repercussions.

 

Yes it sucks. That's the whole point. The Saxons have the Brits over a barrel and theres not much the Brits can do about it. The good news is that the Brits get their revenge when Arthur comes to power. The whole tribute thing is to help show just why having a High King, especially Arthur is so badly needed.

Edited by Atgxtg

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Atgxtg gave a good answer in above, although I note that Raid doesn't cause 3 permanent damage, only temporary ones. Fully agreed that the tribute payment is just to keep THESE Saxons from raiding (danegeld) rather than paying for them to protect you against other Saxons. That would take swearing allegiance to a Saxon King. Then he is supposed to give you protection, too (and probably doesn't demand tribute from you anymore, but expects you to bring knights to fight in his wars and raids).

Do keep in mind that not all Salisbury lands are in Salisbury! Countess Ellen will be lucky to have 100 or so manors sworn to her during the Anarchy. Also, I wouldn't worry about the conversion rate, since if you use that, you again end up in a situation where it is better to risk getting raided than pay the tribute (see the link below).

Here is a link to the post I just made with some GMing advice for Anarchy:

 

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6 hours ago, Morien said:

Atgxtg gave a good answer in above, although I note that Raid doesn't cause 3 permanent damage, only temporary ones.

Yes but income that still reduces the manors income until the lots are recovered with Stewardship and Gentlewoman bonuses. Worse still income is collected before lots are recovered, so the knight is better off paying the  the £3 in tribute, rather than losing the £3 in income this year, £2 the next, and £1 the year after that (=£6)- or more if the Steward fails some rolls. 

6 hours ago, Morien said:

Do keep in mind that not all Salisbury lands are in Salisbury! Countess Ellen will be lucky to have 100 or so manors sworn to her during the Anarchy.

Yes, plus probably a few knights will go on a land grab during this time, while Salisbury is relatively weak. An estate holder in a remote location could grab a manor or two and reduce her holdings further. Especially if the Countess has to focus of defending the borders against Saxon raiders. 

6 hours ago, Morien said:

 

Also, I wouldn't worry about the conversion rate, since if you use that, you again end up in a situation where it is better to risk getting raided than pay the tribute (see the link below).

 Even with the conversion rate, paying tribute is the most economical choice.  The best a raided manor will do is break even per my example above, unless they can drive off the raiders, or the wife has the gentlewoman bonus. That is assuming you are using the lots system from Estate, which the OP seems to be doing. 

But if just using the GPC both results are about the same, but I could see this escalating to pillaging if Ellen is stubborn about paying, or if multiple Saxons raid at once.

I also suspect there is probably a bit of a deal going on between the Saxons to lay off those who pay tribute to one of them, as paying tribute is no longer workable if the manor still gets raided. Plus that would prevent the manor from generating the income required to pay the tribute next year, killing the golden goose. I'm not saying there is a formal agreement between the Saxons and a pecking order, but I suspect they know who is paying tribute to who and tend to leave them alone that year. Usually. I also suspect that if Ellen always plays Saxon C but never pays A or B then A and B will probably get annoyed and consider raiding. But then I also suspect that if Ellen always payed Saxon C then he might consider that he is gaining ground here an possibly put the word out to leave Salisbury alone. I think it all depends on how the diplomatic stuff plays out. If Ellen is considering swearing fealty to or even marrying (!) Cerdic then he probably protects her for a year or so while the negotiations are going on. If, after a few years, he thinks she is playing him, then he stops protecting her. 

 

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes but income that still reduces the manors income until the lots are recovered with Stewardship and Gentlewoman bonuses. Worse still income is collected before lots are recovered, so the knight is better off paying the  the £3 in tribute, rather than losing the £3 in income this year, £2 the next, and £1 the year after that (=£6)- or more if the Steward fails some rolls. 

BotE, p. 44 (emphasis mine): "Temporary Damage indicates a loss of income as foodstuffs and goods are taken away or destroyed. This is recovered naturally on their own without special help in the next year. Burned crops are replanted, stolen food and goods are regrown and made anew. Gentlewomen can diminish Temporary Damage through their skills even on the same year that the looting is done."

So if you get raided, your income this year takes 3 Lots of damage, but you can recover on this same year +1 with Stewardship and +1 with Gentlewoman. So usually, a Raid is -2 Lots and that is it.

Permanent damage is the one that you try to recover year after year: 1 automatically if Gentlewoman, 1 on a successful Stewardship (Reconstruct) and 1 if you pay half the Lot and succeed in Stewardship (Rebuild).

Are you using the latest version of the book? v1.3.2?

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Even with the conversion rate, paying tribute is the most economical choice.  The best a raided manor will do is break even per my example above, unless they can drive off the raiders, or the wife has the gentlewoman bonus. That is assuming you are using the lots system from Estate, which the OP seems to be doing. 

See above. The issue with the conversion is that it means you take 2 Lots of damage for sure, whereas the Raid is a maybe 2 Lots of damage. It depends how aggressive the Saxons are. If they will definitely raid and cause that damage, then it might be worth paying and preserving your manpower. But otherwise, it seems stupid, from the economical standpoint.

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I also suspect there is probably a bit of a deal going on between the Saxons to lay off those who pay tribute to one of them, as paying tribute is no longer workable if the manor still gets raided.

I disagree. GPC is clear that on some years, multiple Saxon Princes are asking for tribute, and that the Saxon kingdoms are also mutually hostile at times. Sussex vs. Kent, Cerdic vs. Port, Angles vs. Everyone...

Edited by Morien
Added the permanent damage & version

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17 minutes ago, Morien said:

BotE, p. 44 (emphasis mine): "Temporary Damage indicates a loss of income as foodstuffs and goods are taken away or destroyed. This is recovered naturally on their own without special help in the next year. Burned crops are replanted, stolen food and goods are regrown and made anew. Gentlewomen can diminish Temporary Damage through their skills even on the same year that the looting is done."

So if you get raided, your income this year takes 3 Lots of damage, but you can recover on this same year +1 with Stewardship and +1 with Gentlewoman. So usually, a Raid is -2 Lots and that is it.

Permanent damage is the one that you try to recover year after year: 1 automatically if Gentlewoman, 1 on a successful Stewardship (Reconstruct) and 1 if you pay half the Lot and succeed in Stewardship (Rebuild).

That's not the way it looks in Page 46. 

WINTER PHASE: STEP 4
The sequence of Step 4 each winter is:
1. Check Available Value. How many Lots?
2. Recovery of Temporary Damage:
- Gentlewoman: 1 Lot, automatic
- Stewardship: 1 Lot on a success
- Russet Monks: 1 Lot on a success

Collect Income for the year. If it is less than
10 Lots (undamaged), see Shortage Results,
below.
4. If the holding has Permanent Damage, it may
be repaired by:
- Gentlewoman: 1 Lot, automatic
- Rebuild (if funds were invested last year): 1
Lot on a Stewardship success
- Recovery: Stewardship roll (see Table 3.8)

5. Invest money for Rebuilding, or for new Improvements,
but not both.

 

So it looks to me that it takes several years to get three lots back from temporary damage. 

The difference with permanent damage is that it tends to cost more and impedes the building of improvements.  

 

 

17 minutes ago, Morien said:

Are you using the latest version of the book? v1.3.2?

Yup.

17 minutes ago, Morien said:

See above. The issue with the conversion is that it means you take 2 Lots of damage for sure, whereas the Raid is a maybe 2 Lots of damage. It depends how aggressive the Saxons are. If they will definitely raid and cause that damage, then it might be worth paying and preserving your manpower. But otherwise, it seems stupid, from the economical standpoint.

No it doesn't. If you pay tribute and convert goods to coin,  you don't take any lot damage, you just lose income. But with a raid you suffer temporary lot damage, specifically 3 lots per Estate (although I agree with you that it could vary depending on how much time and effort the Saxons put towards it), and as I pointed out it take time to for those lots to come back. Now if a Knight has a wife with the gentlewoman bonus and a Steward and Russet Monk , both with Stewardship 20, he can recover 3 lots in one year, but for most knights it will take at least 3 years to get the lots back, with a reduced income in the meantime. 

 

17 minutes ago, Morien said:

I disagree. GPC is clear that on some years, multiple Saxon Princes are asking for tribute, and that the Saxon kingdoms are also mutually hostile at times. Sussex vs. Kent, Cerdic vs. Port, Angles vs. Everyone...

The key phase is "at times". There are probably other times where two Saxon Kings come to an arrangement with one extorting one side of the kingdom, with the other King extorting the opposite side. Then other years they have a falling out over who got the better deal and both extort everybody. 

But if Cerdic is trying to get lands to submit to his rule, he has an incentive to show that doing so is advantageous to those under his protection.  

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Do keep in mind that not all Salisbury lands are in Salisbury! Countess Ellen will be lucky to have 100 or so manors sworn to her during the Anarchy. Also, I wouldn't worry about the conversion rate, since if you use that, you again end up in a situation where it is better to risk getting raided than pay the tribute (see the link below). 

Good point!  Feudalism is a hodgepodge framework, and some of the estate holders in Salisbury are going to owe fealty to the King (even though there isn't one), not the Count(ess), and may either feel (rightly) that they don't owe the Countess anything, or (Prudently) that joining forces in some arrangement is a good idea, and some of those who do owe fealty will try to use this opportunity to test the boundaries.  At the onset of 496, I figure she has about 60 knights at her disposal, mostly household knights, many of them hastily knighted after the disaster at St. Alban's.

 

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Now with a little luck they might be able to stick around for several days and raid a few manors, but then they run the risk of running into the Saxon war band that will eventually be sent after them, which should  be considerably larger than the PKs force.. So it's not easy, doesn't pay particular well, and could have repercussions.

Realistically, how long will this take to organize?  According to the Salisbury travel map in 5.2, just about anywhere is going to be within a day's ride of some castle, and one might assume other counties are similar.  So a day to the local jarl's castle, maybe a day to properly organize, and a day back?  Spending two days raiding a single manor in a hit and run is probably not unreasonable.

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WINTER PHASE: STEP 4
The sequence of Step 4 each winter is:
1. Check Available Value. How many Lots?
2. Recovery of Temporary Damage:
- Gentlewoman: 1 Lot, automatic
- Stewardship: 1 Lot on a success
- Russet Monks: 1 Lot on a success

Collect Income for the year. If it is less than
10 Lots (undamaged), see Shortage Results,
below.
4. If the holding has Permanent Damage, it may
be repaired by:
- Gentlewoman: 1 Lot, automatic
- Rebuild (if funds were invested last year): 1
Lot on a Stewardship success
- Recovery: Stewardship roll (see Table 3.8)

5. Invest money for Rebuilding, or for new Improvements,
but not both. 

My impression regarding Temporary damage is the same as Morien's- in this section, the recovery of temporary damage is before income, allowing it to be mitigated by Stewardship/Gentlewoman Bonus/Monks- so even if raided for 3 lots, with the right set up, one might not suffer any reduced income.  But it does say specifically that it goes away on it's own.

The lack of an explicit step in the winter summary does muddy the waters a bit, and the Estate sheet isn't much help either, the Lots just being checkboxes.

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I gotta go with Kipling's assessment here:

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We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
  No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
  And the nation that pays it is lost!

If Saxons want £3 or else raid, the  valorous Knight downgrades his standard of living to Poor Knight voluntarily (since that's what's going to happen anyway if he pays) takes the £3 thus saved plus whatever extra income he's got from manor improvements and hires himself a few scouts and extra decade or two of foot each Summer, and then tells the Saxons that any raids will be repaid three-fold against not only the raiding party but his neighboring allies as well, and that he will make sure they know why. Your peasants will respect you for living lean and protecting them rather than making up the shortfall on their backs.

If the Saxons do come to test your mettle instead of choosing some other target that doesn't have the extra protection, you FIGHT! If they want to steal labor's fruits from those you are sworn to protect then, before God, they will pay for it in blood! Even if they roll you for £3 anyway. making good on that promise of retaliation once should make up the loss, the second time will pay for the mercs, and if all three are successful you can hire them back next Summer without going down to Poor Knight, or live lean again and hire even more.

(Multiple raids against small-medium holdings you can roll quickly with a +/-5 or better manpower advantage is the mathematically optimal path for the BotE raid rules. You're much better off moving on to pluck more low-hanging fruit somewhere else than sticking around to plunder or ravage for diminishing returns and greater risk of enemy relief appearing.)

Maybe do one raid into Sussex even if they don't come after you. Pay for your mercs and put the fear of you into them.

That is how you warlord!

Edited by JonL
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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

That's not the way it looks in Page 46. 

WINTER PHASE: STEP 4
The sequence of Step 4 each winter is:
1. Check Available Value. How many Lots?
2. Recovery of Temporary Damage:
- Gentlewoman: 1 Lot, automatic
- Stewardship: 1 Lot on a success
- Russet Monks: 1 Lot on a success

Collect Income for the year. If it is less than
10 Lots (undamaged), see Shortage Results,
below.
4. If the holding has Permanent Damage, it may
be repaired by:
- Gentlewoman: 1 Lot, automatic
- Rebuild (if funds were invested last year): 1
Lot on a Stewardship success
- Recovery: Stewardship roll (see Table 3.8)

5. Invest money for Rebuilding, or for new Improvements,
but not both. 

 

So it looks to me that it takes several years to get three lots back from temporary damage. 

The difference with permanent damage is that it tends to cost more and impedes the building of improvements. 

You are misunderstanding.

Year 1: The manor is raided and takes 3 Lots of Temporary Damage. Since income is not collected yet, this has no immediate consequences on the knight's standard of living (which was paid from previous year's income).

Year 1, Harvest/Winter phase: Do the recovery rolls for Temporary Damage to recover the lost income IN THE SAME YEAR. Let's say you succeed in Stewardship, recovering 1 Lot. This means your income is 8 Lots (-2) for Year 1.

Year 2: The rest of the Temporary damage is recovered automatically, as per p. 44. If there is no more raids, you have your full income in Winter Phase. This is what sets it apart from Permanent Damage.

Trust me. I exchanged plenty of emails with Greg when I helped him in the BotE revision after BotW. This is how it is supposed to go.

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2 hours ago, Willow said:

My impression regarding Temporary damage is the same as Morien's- in this section, the recovery of temporary damage is before income, allowing it to be mitigated by Stewardship/Gentlewoman Bonus/Monks- so even if raided for 3 lots, with the right set up, one might not suffer any reduced income. 

Yes the get the temporary recover first. I goofed there on the sequence, but the temporary damage doesn''t all come back in one year unless a manor has all three sources of recovery and makes both Stewardship rolls. That's a highly unlieky combination. So odds are the manor is going to be down some income this year and for the next few. 

2 hours ago, Willow said:

 

 

But it does say specifically that it goes away on it's own.

That's not how it is written in the book though. Per page 47 section 2, pasted below rolls are required for the recovery. (except for the gentlewoman bonus, which is why the gentlewoman bonus is so awesome.

2 hours ago, Willow said:

The lack of an explicit step in the winter summary does muddy the waters a bit, and the Estate sheet isn't much help either, the Lots just being checkboxes.

There is an explicit step in the Winter Phase Summary,  on Page 47 and it goes:

WINTER PHASE: STEP 4
The sequence of Step 4 each winter is:
1. Check Available Value. How many Lots?
2. Recovery of Temporary Damage:
- Gentlewoman: 1 Lot, automatic
- Stewardship: 1 Lot on a success
- Russet Monks: 1 Lot on a success

3. Collect Income for the year. If it is less than
10 Lots (undamaged), see Shortage Results,
below.
4. If the holding has Permanent Damage, it may
be repaired by:
- Gentlewoman: 1 Lot, automatic
- Rebuild (if funds were invested last year): 1
Lot on a Stewardship success
- Recovery: Stewardship roll (see Table 3.8)
5. Invest money for Rebuilding, or for new Improvements,
but not both

So if a manor is raided and take 3 temporary lots of damage, then while recovery of temporary damage comes first, it isn't really automatic recovery, unless you are talking about the gentlewoman bonus, it takes Stewardship rolls. So in ,most cases it will take a few years to recover all the lots, and income will be lower than if you paid the tribute. Now if someone has a wife with the gentlewoman bonus, and a Steward and Russet Monk with 20 Stewardship skills, then they can just laugh raids off (which, IMO is wrong as good should have been lost, but that's another argument), but for most knights, with only a Steward with something like a 15 skill to rely on the odds are that it will take them about 4 years to recover the lots and the income. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

You are misunderstanding.

Year 1: The manor is raided and takes 3 Lots of Temporary Damage. Since income is not collected yet, this has no immediate consequences on the knight's standard of living (which was paid from previous year's income).

 If you paid the tribute your standard or living wouldn't have an immediate consequences for exactly the same reason. Harvest if next years income.

Quote

Year 1, Harvest/Winter phase: Do the recovery rolls for Temporary Damage to recover the lost income IN THE SAME YEAR. Let's say you succeed in Stewardship, recovering 1 Lot. This means your income is 8 Lots (-2) for Year 1.

Year 2: The rest of the Temporary damage is recovered automatically, as per p. 44. If there is no more raids, you have your full income in Winter Phase. This is what sets it apart from Permanent Damage.

Trust me. I exchanged plenty of emails with Greg when I helped him in the BotE revision after BotW. This is how it is supposed to go.

Okay, but why? If that's how it supposed to work then two neighboring knights should just raid each other every other year. Gain £3 now but lose £2 next harvest. Rest up a year  and then do it again.

It doesn't make sense to me that the damage just automatically goes away or that goods lost can be "recovered" from nowhere.

Edited by Atgxtg

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1 hour ago, JonL said:

I gotta go with Kipling's assessment here:

If Saxons want £3 or else raid, the  valorous Knight downgrades his standard of living to Poor Knight voluntarily (since that's what's going to happen anyway if he pays) takes the £3 thus saved plus whatever extra income he's got from manor improvements and hires himself a few scouts and extra decade or two of foot each Summer,

Nice idea but mercs are expensive. A single man at arms costs £½ for 30 days service. So to have one around for six months would eat up the £3. And you have to hope the raiders don't come in one of the unprotected months- not that one guy will make all that much difference. Alternatively you could hire 4 knifemen under the same conditions. 

You could get more protection by just putting men on the payroll permanently, you could get three men at arms year round for the price of one merc, or 6 footmen, or 12 poor grade footmen. But then you'd have to keep then year after year or deal with the additional raiding when you release

1 hour ago, JonL said:

and then tells the Saxons that any raids will be repaid three-fold against not only the raiding party but his neighboring allies as well, and that he will make sure they know why. Your peasants will respect you for living lean and protecting them rather than making up the shortfall on their backs.

What are you going to go raiding with. You need 40 foragers to be able to raid someplace in 4 days. Unless you are some sort of lord, you probably can't field 40 men. 

And since you told all the neighbors that you would go raiding your lands are defenseless while you're away so you'll be lucky if there is anything left to come home to. 

1 hour ago, JonL said:

If the Saxons do come to test your mettle instead of choosing some other target that doesn't have the extra protection, you FIGHT! If they want to steal labor's fruits from those you are sworn to protect then, before God, they will pay for it in blood! Even if they roll you for £3 anyway. making good on that promise of retaliation once should make up the loss, the second time will pay for the mercs, and if all three are successful you can hire them back next Summer without going down to Poor Knight, or live lean again and hire even more.

While defending your ground is fine, the money you get back from raiding won't even come close to making up for things. First you have to pay the mercs. Then you need to get a large enough force to raid. Then you have to pull it off successfully. Then you need to give £1 to the Count, per custom. Then you have to reward your troops (especially your non-mercs), or suffer the selfish check. Very unlikely that you break even.  

Meanwhile you own lands are now wide open to other raiders. If I were one of the neighbors that you threated to raid because of Saxon X, I wouldn't go after him, I'd wait until he raided you and then hit you. If your away raiding I get a free ride, and you take a bit hit to your income and won't be able to afford any mercenaries next year And if a half dozen bands of Saxons have the same idea, your manor is toast.   

 

1 hour ago, JonL said:

(Multiple raids against small-medium holdings you can roll quickly with a +/-5 or better manpower advantage is the mathematically optimal path for the BotE raid rules. You're much better off moving on to pluck more low-hanging fruit somewhere else than sticking around to plunder or ravage for diminishing returns and greater risk of enemy relief appearing.)

Yes, but hiring enough mercs to make it profitable usually costs more than the benefits you reap, and leaves you own lands wide open, and the drawback of being raided multiple times outweigh the benefits of raiding multiple holdings. Now if you got £100 sitting around back home you can hire a lot of mercs and go to town, but for most knights during the arnarchy period that probably isn't an option. 

1 hour ago, JonL said:

Maybe do one raid into Sussex even if they don't come after you. Pay for your mercs and put the fear of you into them.

That is how you warlord!

It sounds tough, no doubt. But without the money and men to back up that boast the knight is just a paper tiger. If Cerdic comes into your lands with 300 Saxon warriors you probably can't do much except send word to Sarum and hope the Countess can gather enough men to drive the raiders off before they do permanent damage. You not talking one small group of Saxons here, but a large force being sent to "teach you a lesson". 

Why do you think Ulfius pays? He's the richest most powerful Noble in Logres during the Anarchy, but he still pays, because the British forces are weak and lack leadership, especially central leadership.  So he pay up, keeps a record of what he's paid to when, and bides his time until the situation changes and he can get back everything he paid up, plus some. 

Of course if you got a ton on money lying around to muster a huge army so you can meet force with force then you have a whole different world of possibilities. 

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Okay, but why? If that's how it supposed to work then two neighboring knights should just raid each other every other year. Gain £3 now but lose £2 next harvest. Rest up a year  and then do it again.

I guess in principle they could, although raiding actually also damages the peasants. Granted, they could have a gentlemanly agreement to limit their depredations on just each other's flocks, etc. but as the GM, I would severely discourage such rules-lawyering, and impose Arbitrary and Selfish checks.

The intent behind it was that when such a calamity hits, the Gentlewoman and Stewardship become useful, in getting people to pull together, tighten the belt a bit, find ways to streamline things and make the impact less. Maybe the household eats less meat the rest of the year, and hence the lambs normally slaughtered for food are allowed to grow and replenish the flock the next year. This is all explained on p. 46.

When the 'Raid' is simply to enrich the lord, there is much less of an incentive for the people to suffer privations and work harder.

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On 5/22/2019 at 10:54 PM, Willow said:

(As an aside, it seems gutsy as hell for the Saxons to send their crown prince to negotiate tribute with people who are basically their hereditary enemies,  The only thing that seems to be stopping someone from capturing a Saxon prince or two and ransoming them or putting them to the sword is the threat of total war.  And again, Essex is all the way over there..

If you feel it's too gutsy for you taste, don't do it. Send a messenger without any political value, even a prisonner released with a message.

But it's a felony and a great breach of hospitality to kill or capture a host or a messenger. It will cost you massive loss of honor and hospitality, and worst, your reputation. After that, no one will trust you or treat with you. But it's possible, of course. It's the Anarchy after all!

On 5/22/2019 at 10:54 PM, Willow said:

5)  The player knights are salivating at the idea of doing some counter raids, and sacking some lands on their own.  The average vill/manor is guarded by a knight plus two footmen, but how many Saxon warriors are going to reside in the same area?  Thus far, they've seemed like one endless doomstack of troops, getting reinforcements from across the seas whenever the plot calls for it.

Why not? It could even work (even if the Saxons don't follow the 1 K/2F rule).

After that, they will learn there is a word called reprisal. Saxons are not stupid, and they want to be feared. Personaly, the year after if the raid succeeded, I will sent a large force of Saxons to teach a lesson.

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3 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

If you feel it's too gutsy for you taste, don't do it. Send a messenger without any political value, even a prisonner released with a message.

But it's a felony and a great breach of hospitality to kill or capture a host or a messenger. It will cost you massive loss of honor and hospitality, and worst, your reputation. After that, no one will trust you or treat with you. But it's possible, of course. It's the Anarchy after all!

Another thing to keep in mind is that it is not as if the Saxons don't have other princes.

Someone captures the Aetheling of Essex and demands that they stay out, or else. To agree to stay out makes them look weak and signals that their emissaries are there for the kidnapping and extortion. Much better to get the army together and make a real example of the offenders and the oathbreakers. If they kill the Aetheling, well, that is just one more reason to start sacrificing people to Wotan... Even in the very best case scenario of the King of Essex deciding to not endanger his favorite son, how long would it take before one of the rival brothers figures that this is a good way to get rid of the eldest with his own hands clean, or one of the petty kings decides that the old king is not worth following and it is better to start raiding on their own?

At the same time, all the other Saxons figure that the captors are not worth negotiating with and raid them on general principles, to also teach a lesson to safeguard their own emissaries in the future.

Now, if the Aetheling is stupid enough to get captured while raiding, that is a somewhat different kettle of fish from Honor & Hospitality perspective, but then the King might be less inclined to value such a son highly. :P

Edited by Morien

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My prices from memory were a bit off, but If paying fighters (weather temps or full-time staff)  to go take stuff is a net loss, then either the cost of the fighters or the return on raiding is mis-priced, or else no one would do it.

Similarly, if anyone who went raiding got pounced on by marauders with incredibly good timing and intelligence needed to coordinate their movements to your comings and goings from the next kingdom over, no one would do it.

Looking back over my notes of yore, the magic number was to drop 15 Libram on 10 footmen and 5 Sargeants, bring levies for your foragers (which they can do just fine between planting and harvest) rand then hit several small targets, while leaving hard targets alone. Basically,  chevauchée, which is entirely in keeping with the anachronistic Mallory-era military idiom that Pendragon inserts into the Dark Ages.

If this sort of stuff is supposed to be part of the game (especially during the Anarchy), why should the GM smack you down with super-coordinated roving bands or retaliations with 10 times your force? If chevauchée is doing-it-wrong, why are we playing a game about Knights?

The Cymri during the Anarchy have no expectation that a future savior is in the works. Waiting only makes their enemy stronger. Ulfius's approach only looks sensible because Arthur eventually shows up to save the day. Without that, he'd be doomed, just like Vortigern was. If you're not actively fighting the Saxon menace, you're waiting for the next wave to come and make your lands the next Wessex. If you're not trying to drive them into the sea, you may as well either join with Cerdic or pack up ,go kick some Gaels out of Cambria and become the proto-Welsh, because hunkering down and paying tribute is slow-motion suicide.

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1 hour ago, JonL said:

My prices from memory were a bit off, but If paying fighters (weather temps or full-time staff)  to go take stuff is a net loss, then either the cost of the fighters or the return on raiding is mis-priced, or else no one would do it.

It depends on why and how they do it. There is an official adventure where a PK leads the group raiding and goes through the whole rewards gained and division of spoils and by the time it's all over the final rewards for most characters was trivial in game terms (say 80d), although that would still be  something like two weeks income for a knight.

1 hour ago, JonL said:

Similarly, if anyone who went raiding got pounced on by marauders with incredibly good timing and intelligence needed to coordinate their movements to your comings and goings from the next kingdom over, no one would do it.

Not if you alerted all the neighbors of your plans. They'd probably all post scouts on their borders and wait to spot your troops on the move. 

 

1 hour ago, JonL said:

Looking back over my notes of yore, the magic number was to drop 15 Libram on 10 footmen and 5 Sargeants, bring levies for your foragers (which they can do just fine between planting and harvest) rand then hit several small targets, while leaving hard targets alone. Basically,  chevauchée, which is entirely in keeping with the anachronistic Mallory-era military idiom that Pendragon inserts into the Dark Ages.

Ah, unfortunately per the latest rules of KAP you can't take the levy with you. ONly the King can muster them to war. 

 

1 hour ago, JonL said:

If this sort of stuff is supposed to be part of the game (especially during the Anarchy), why should the GM smack you down with super-coordinated roving bands or retaliations with 10 times your force? If chevauchée is doing-it-wrong, why are we playing a game about Knights?

They aren't super coordinated, they are forewarned. The last thing you want to do is tell someone that you are going to come raid them, or when you are going off to raid another. It gives them time to prepare defenses, hire troops, move valuables, etc.

As far as the Anarchy goes the whole point is that Salisbury, like most of Britain is basically at the mercy of the Saxons. If it were as easy to resist them as you suggest, then the Countess would so so. The reality is that during the Anarchy the Brits are shorthanded and missing a lot of leaders because of the events at Saint Albans. So they don't have the ability to stop the Saxons. That's why the major Barons pay tribute. So if the Countess can't muster the forces to drive the Saxons off, I doubt most landed knights could. 

 

1 hour ago, JonL said:

The Cymri during the Anarchy have no expectation that a future savior is in the works. Waiting only makes their enemy stronger. Ulfius's approach only looks sensible because Arthur eventually shows up to save the day.

No. You missing the point. Many Knights and especially leaders died at Saint Albans. Ulfius/ tactic are:

  1. To wait until the next generation grows up and can fight.
  2. Ulfius is also planning that the Brits will select a new High King to unite the people. If you look at the HRB and other sources the Brits always get raided, invaded and beaten when they lack a High King.
  3. He expects the Saxons to turn an war with each other. One of the reasons behind his allying with Aelle. Ideally if Silchester and Salisbury allied with Aelle and took out some of the other Saxon Kings, the Brits could then al join together and drive out Aelle.

The reasons why his tactics don't work is because the Brit leqaders mistrust each other, to give power to rivals and that it ultimately takes an outsider to do so. Plus the Saxons Kingdoms never went to war with each other.

But fighting the Saxons piecemeal, especially during the Anarchy, wouldn't work. The Brits, already shorthanded, would just lose by attrition. They needed time to rebuild thier forces and elect a new High King. 

 

1 hour ago, JonL said:

Without that, he'd be doomed, just like Vortigern was. If you're not actively fighting the Saxon menace, you're waiting for the next wave to come and make your lands the next Wessex. If you're not trying to drive them into the sea, you may as well either join with Cerdic or pack up ,go kick some Gaels out of Cambria and become the proto-Welsh, because hunkering down and paying tribute is slow-motion suicide.

No. Vortigern's doom, wasn't bring in Saxon foederanti. That tactic did work historically for the Romans, for the Brits in the past (Berroc Saxons).and  even worked for Vortigern, at first. What doomed him were three things. The first being catering to Hengest's whims, especially after he after he married Rowena. The second was his essentially turning his back on his British subjects once he got his new bridge (again Rowena). Lastly was the betrayal and murder of Constantin and Constans. Had he not made all three of those mistakes he would have been in a much better position. Unfortunately he doesn't realize the truth of the situation until Long Knives, and by then his fate is pretty much sealed.

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8 hours ago, Morien said:

I guess in principle they could, although raiding actually also damages the peasants. Granted, they could have a gentlemanly agreement to limit their depredations on just each other's flocks, etc. but as the GM, I would severely discourage such rules-lawyering, and impose Arbitrary and Selfish checks.

Me too. I would treat is as basically the same as raiding your own lands. 

8 hours ago, Morien said:

The intent behind it was that when such a calamity hits, the Gentlewoman and Stewardship become useful, in getting people to pull together, tighten the belt a bit, find ways to streamline things and make the impact less. Maybe the household eats less meat the rest of the year, and hence the lambs normally slaughtered for food are allowed to grow and replenish the flock the next year. This is all explained on p. 46.

I understand the intent. I just don't like the implementation. Basically, if they could do that without it impacting their income, then shortages wouldn't be as much of a problem. Plus I just don't see things like looses in food and livestock automatically replenishing themselves. 

8 hours ago, Morien said:

When the 'Raid' is simply to enrich the lord, there is much less of an incentive for the people to suffer privations and work harder.

True, but a lot of the feudal system is like that. Especially in the Early periods of KAP. Bottom line is that it sucks to be a serf, and being a freeman isn't much better. But realistically raids harm the raided more than they enrich the raider. 

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57 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

As far as the Anarchy goes the whole point is that Salisbury, like most of Britain is basically at the mercy of the Saxons. If it were as easy to resist them as you suggest, then the Countess would so so. The reality is that during the Anarchy the Brits are shorthanded and missing a lot of leaders because of the events at Saint Albans

While nobody said it would be easy, the power vacuum post St. Albans, is precisely the time for PKs to step up and be those leaders. Forge the alliances, build the castles, unite the rivals for mutual defense, put the fear of God into the invaders or die trying. If the Saxons are so unstoppable, why did they stop?  If they could effortlessly crush resisting Britons, the'd be continuing to do so.

57 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

ONly the King can muster them to war. 

What king is going to forbid this, the same dead one who isn't around to tell you not to build a wall around your manor? We're talking about the Anarchy here.

There's time once Arthur arrives for personal tales of star-crossed romance, family drama, fairy forests, meditations upon holiness in a fallen world, glorious tournaments, and all that. The Anarchy is the sole opportunity in the timeline for the PKs to be Big Damn Warlords and take the reins for themselves before the next generation gets back on the plot railroad. The obstacles are as surmountable or not as the GM decides to make them. Why operate from the premise that the PKs must be hemmed in and meekly hope for the storm to pass while doing side quests for the Countess to pass the time?

57 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

No. You missing the point. Many Knights and especially leaders died at Saint Albans. Ulfius/ tactic are:

  1. To wait until the next generation grows up and can fight.
  2. Ulfius is also planning that the Brits will select a new High King to unite the people. If you look at the HRB and other sources the Brits always get raided, invaded and beaten when they lack a High King.
  3. He expects the Saxons to turn an war with each other. One of the reasons behind his allying with Aelle. Ideally if Silchester and Salisbury allied with Aelle and took out some of the other Saxon Kings, the Brits could then al join together and drive out Aelle.


How does that work out without Arthur? We don't have to speculate. That's the world we live in.

Edited by JonL
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43 minutes ago, JonL said:

While nobody said it would be easy,

You certainly implied that it would be. As I mentioned previously it's a great idea, but not something most PKs will be alble to implement.

43 minutes ago, JonL said:

the power vacuum post St. Albans, is precisely the time for PKs to step up and be those leaders. Forge the alliances, build the castles, unite the rivals for mutual defense, put the fear of God into the invaders or

That is going to be pretty difficult for vassal knights. They don't have the connections, status, or wealthy to do so. What baron is going to ally with a lowly knight who has no army to speak of? Now, PKs who are officers has some pull with the Countess and Estate Holders might be able to accomplish something, but the opportunities to actually accomplish anything of a signficant scale are limited. Maybe if a PK manages to marry the Countess. 

43 minutes ago, JonL said:

die trying.

No "or" about it. It would be die trying. 

43 minutes ago, JonL said:

If the Saxons are so unstoppable, why did they stop?  If they could effortlessly crush resisting Britons, the'd be continuing to do so.

Several reasons:

  •  The Saxons had no need to push forward at present.
  • Secondly, invading a place and securing is difficult and costly. Even if someone has an enemy outnumbered, if that enemy is making a last ditch stand on their home territory they will fight tenaciously and inflict heavy casualties on the attackers even if they loose.  Especially if the enemy has any sort of fortifications. The Medeival rule of thumb was that you needed 3:1 odds to even consider assaulting a fortification. The thinking was that the defenders would kill two attackers before they could scale the walls. 
  • Whoever did try to push forward would be vulnerable to attack. Both from Brits and from other Saxons. 
43 minutes ago, JonL said:

What king is going to forbid this, the same dead one who isn't around to tell you not to build a wall around your manor? We're talking about the Anarchy here.

Good point. Although that would still be a risky tactic, since if the defenders fight you off, you could lose a lot of your workforce and suffer income reduction.

43 minutes ago, JonL said:



There's time once Arthur arrives for personal tales of star-crossed romance, family drama, fairy forests, meditations upon holiness in a fallen world, glorious tournaments, and all that. The Anarchy is the sole opportunity in the timeline for the PKs to be Big Damn Warlords and take the reins for themselves before the next generation gets back on the plot railroad.

There are just as many opportunities in other Periods for PKs to be BDW's, in fact,  probably more. Most PKs simply don't have the means to become warlords during this era, and the major theme of the era is that things are going bad for the British, not go forth and conquer. I've seen some posts on various forums where some people have had thier character take over the County or some such, but most of that seems to happen with GM who just let the players succeed at whatever they want. 

43 minutes ago, JonL said:

 The obstacles are as surmountable or not as the GM decides to make them.

Yes, although the GM should pay attention to the situation presented. 

43 minutes ago, JonL said:

Why operate from the premise that the PKs must be hemmed in and meekly hope for the storm to pass while doing side quests for the Countess to pass the time?

They don't meekly wait for the storm to pass, they rebuild thie forces and try to find a new High King but fail.. The whole idea is that Saxon power is on the rise, the Brits are in decline. It's all part of the story of Arthur. It's like saying "Why start with the premise that Uther dies?"

The central theme is not that the the Brits should stop sulikng and stand up for themselves, but instead that they need to bide thier time to rebuilt and unite.

 

 

Now I'm not saying that the PKs can't try to fight the Saoxons, or move up in the social ladder, but I am saying that your view that the PKs should just go out and kick the Saxons butt is very risky and not all that easy to pull off. If it were as easy to fight back and you seem to think then the Countess would have told the Saxons where to stick their deamnds for tribute. Ulfius is probably the most powerful British warlord in the South and he doesn't ally with Aelle for nothing. 

The situation is that the Brits don't have much of a chance to defeat the Saxons and drive them out at the start of the Anarchy Period. If doing so was as easy as you made out, then the various Barons would have done it.

 

43 minutes ago, JonL said:

How does that work out without Arthur? We don't have to speculate. That's the world we live in.

Let's keep the modern world out of this and deal with the Arthurian one.

What you are missing is that what you suggest wouldn't work without Arthur either. The Brits didn't fail because the didn't fight back, but because they lacked Arthur. That's the whole point of King Arthur. Without him the Brits lose and the Saxons conquer Britain. That Arthur stopped them is the central point in the story, and why the legend sprang up in the first place. 

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9 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

What you are missing is that what you suggest wouldn't work without Arthur either. The Brits didn't fail because the didn't fight back, but because they lacked Arthur. That's the whole point of King Arthur. Without him the Brits lose and the Saxons conquer Britain. That Arthur stopped them is the central point in the story, and why the legend sprang up in the first place. 

That, by the way, is why I am feeling a bit lukewarm about Nanteleod in GPC. He kinda makes it seem that even if Arthur wouldn't exist, one British king would eventually manage to unite the island, and that with just a little bit of luck, Nanteleod would have been that King.

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30 minutes ago, Morien said:

He kinda makes it seem that even if Arthur wouldn't exist, one British king would eventually manage to unite the island, and that with just a little bit of luck, Nanteleod would have been that King.

Except, no one does.  From the time the Romans left, even with one high king, the British were not united.  All of the various leaders who could become that one dies.  IMHO, it isn't until the British are feeling completely outclassed from the years of Anarchy, that someone tries the idea of the grand tournament to raise a king that everyone would agree would be there king.  When it turned out to be Arthur, they still did not unite and Arthur had to fight a few (ok,many) battles until he finally unites the British and they defeat the Saxons.

 

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25 minutes ago, Morien said:

That, by the way, is why I am feeling a bit lukewarm about Nanteleod in GPC. He kinda makes it seem that even if Arthur wouldn't exist, one British king would eventually manage to unite the island, and that with just a little bit of luck, Nanteleod would have been that King.

I suspect that Nanateleod is an example of a good man with the right idea, but one who will ultimately fail. Probably through treachery. What seems to happen in the sources is that the Brits are unstoppable when united, but fall to pieces when they aren't. All their great defeats tend to be because of in-fighting and inability to unite  rather than to the capabilities of the enemy. Of course there is a lot of pro-British "spin" there, but King Arthur is a national symbol.

But the overall theme is that the Brits would be fine if they could just stop the in-fighting and band together. The basic timeline seems to be: 

 

Romans leave, Brits divided = Brits get raided by the Picts, irish, Saxons, and Huns

Brits can't agree on who to  make  High King (i.e. nobody wants to make a rival stronger)= raids continue.

Constatin (outside but with a family line claim to the throne) comes in and unites the Brits = Brits defeat everybody, times are good.

Vortigern takes the throne through treachery = Picts rise up again.

Vortigern turns his back on his own people in favor of Hengest and the Saxons = Saxons gain power and the Brits are divided and weak again.

Vortimer rises up against the Saxons, other Brits flock to his banner = Brits (mostly) drive out the Saxons.

Vortigern fails to back Vortiner against the Saxons = Vortiner killed, Knight of Long Knives.

Aurleius arrives, unites the Brits = New High King, Saxons beaten back.

Uther takes over, but fails to unit the people = about a standstill.

Uther dies, Brits weak and divided = Saxons get more powerful again

Brits fail to unify= things continue and even get worse.

Arthur shows up, become High King and Eventually unifies the Brits again = Brits crush the Saxons.

Arthur creates the round table, most Brits are loyal = A golden age where the Brits manage to conquer just about everybody and Arthur is the High King of most of civilized Europe.

Lancelot, Guinevere and Mordred betray Arthur, round table split, Brits divided again = Saxons conquer Britain.

 

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6 minutes ago, Hzark10 said:

Except, no one does.  From the time the Romans left, even with one high king, the British were not united.  All of the various leaders who could become that one dies.  IMHO, it isn't until the British are feeling completely outclassed from the years of Anarchy, that someone tries the idea of the grand tournament to raise a king that everyone would agree would be there king.  When it turned out to be Arthur, they still did not unite and Arthur had to fight a few (ok,many) battles until he finally unites the British and they defeat the Saxons.

 

I think that has to do with the whole divine right of Kings bit from fedual thinking. Constantin, Aurelius, Uther,  and Arthur succeed because they are of Royal lineage which can be (tentatively) traced back to Roman Emperors. So they are the rightful rulers in the eyes of God, while everyone else isn't. 

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