If the enemy is in range, so are you. - Infantry Journal

The Franks

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Starting Roster

Prologue

Charlemerde, the old king, was ill. He'd been lying in his bed for days close to death, the attention of the doting physicians making little difference. Death would come soon, thought his son, patiently waiting at his side in the way expected of the royal heir.

Charlemal reflected on his father's life. So many years of pampered luxury, avoiding politics and war. Worse, the old King hoped to die contented that his son would stay safe; that he would follow his father's example and do likewise, as he had always been encouraged. But Prince Charlemal was not his father. Though he dare not show it, the Prince saw the old man as an effete, pathetic figure. His life had achieved nothing more than to perpetuate the tradition since the time of Charlemagne of Frankish Kings who failed to live up to the achievements of their predecessors. That could not be allowed to continue. Already, acting behind his father's back, he had plundered the royal coffers to finance a small force of likeminded men and their followers. Soon, he thought, the old man will die, and then, trusting God to guide him, the son will rise and bring glory once again to the Franks.

Roster after Hard Ruler and Defending are resolved, Campaign Season 1

Campaign Season 1

Because of the Hard Ruler trait, Charlemal recruits 4 Levy at the start of the Campaign Season. The Franks then choose to Defend.

Two days later, a priest at his side, Charlemerde breathed his last. The old man died contentedly, having made his peace with God and with his son's reassurance that all would be well. Oblivious, it seemed, to the nervous uncertainty of the servants attending him in his last hours. As his father's spirit finally departed, the kneeling Prince, the new King of Francia, bowed his head in prayer, the priest beside him misinterpreting his thoughts.

"He is in Heaven now", the priest gently spoke. Words of kindness, yet misplaced. Charlemal raised his head and slowly stood. "Yes, Father", and you are with me - all of you". The servants exchanged glances as their Lord's stern gaze fell among them. They knew the consequences of failing to obey. "There is more need of you now in my army. By tomorrow, you will be ready to fight, and more will join us soon". Charlemal turned away from his father's corpse, and strode out of the chamber. God had answered his prayer.

By the end of the year, the months of practice had proved their worth, and these new recruits had become proficient enough as archers to join the ranks of the main army, ready to fight in the years ahead.

At the end of the Capaign Season the Franks roll Upgrade Levy on the Fate table, and so upgrade their one unit of four Levy to Warriors.

Starting roster, Campaign Season 2

Campaign Season 2

As is customary in the land of the Franks, at the beginning of each year a few young men are selected from the villages of the land to join the ranks of the army. Thus, the ranks of the Frankish warband swelled.

Because of his Hard Ruler trait, Charlemal recruits 4 levy at the start of the Campaign Season.

Roster after successfully raiding Norway, Campaign Season 2

Raiding the Norwegian Vikings

The Franks, now ready for war, choose to raid the Norwegian Vikings in Hedemark.

After a long sea journey into the cold lands of the north, the Franks landed in a fjord in Hedemark and headed inland, catching up with a Viking force led by Ubba Goldtooth, who were escorting a baggage train laden with treasure in an attempt to move it to a safer place. An early assault by Frankish mounted knights caught the Vikings by surprise. A counter-attack by his much feared Berserkers was unsuccessful and the Vikings fell back to protect the baggage train.

Urging his men on, Charlemal's knights captured one of the baggage elements before their own destruction but the remaining two made a bid for escape while the battle, now centering around a duel between Ubba and Charlemal, hung in the balance. With the two Warlords and their supporting warriors fighting a protracted battle over a low hill the two baggage pieces moved steadily towards the safety of the opposite table edge on the Viking far right and the Franks could only respond by rushing a unit of warrior archers to block their exit to victory.

In a mighty duel, Ubba was struck down and killed, and with their leader fallen the surviving Vikings and baggage guards fled the field. Charlemal gave thanks for his victory in his first battle, and the Franks returned to their boats with their plunder, their task complete.

A lengthier report of this battle can be read here.

The Franks gain +1 point of Wealth and +1 CVP for heir successful raid. Because Charlemal is an Aetheling with the Dragon's Hoard motivation, and his Wealth score is greater than his Land and Reputation scores, he gains an additional +1 bonus CVP for the victory. The Franks lost 1 Hearthguard and 2 Warriors. They merge the Warriors with another unit on their roster and recruit a new unit of 6 Levy. Finally, they choose to spend 1 point of Wealth on a War Banner which they assign to one of their Warrior units.

Roster at end of Campaign Season 2

The Franks roll Choose on the Fate table at the end of the Campaign Season, and pick Warlord Experience. They elect to roll on the Special Rules table and Charlemal gains Bravery.

Starting roster, Campaign Season 3

Campaign Season 3

At the start of the season, because he is a hard ruler, Charlemal recruits an additional four levy. To follow-up the success of the last year's expedition, the Franks decide to cross the seas again, this time to raid the Icelandic Vikings at Svinafell.

Roster after raiding Iceland, Campaign Season 3

Raiding the Vikings in Iceland

This sea journey was the longest, moving from one corner of the map to the opposite, and so it was late in the Campaign Season when the Franks made landfall at Svinafell. In search of slaves to help with the wine harvest, they moved inland towards a tower, having learnt that this was where the peasants of that land were seeking shelter. The plan was to intercept and capture these peasants on their way toward that sanctuary.

Soon, the raiders reached the tower, only to find that just beyond it, Gunnblasdt, Jarl of the Icelandic Vikings, had set up position in wait. News of their landing must have travelled ahead of them. Gunnblasdt stood in the centre of his men, hearthguard and berserkers beside him, a screen of archers in the vanguard. The Franks advanced, two units of archers led by Charlemal himself to the right of the tower, near a small building, foot and mounted hearthguard taking position on the far left.

Before the Franks could act, the enemy began to shoot, and many arrows fell on the lead unit of archers, until only a handful of them remained, clustered around the banner, which they realised was not the correct one. Someone had left the proper Frankish flag at home, but it was too late to do anything about that now. These Frankish archers fell back quickly, out of range, while the other unit advanced into the building, leaving Charlemal alone and unprotected on the right flank. Meanwhile, out of sight of the enemy, Frankish knights charged forward, hunting down civilians.

The Icelanders, focussed on removing the Frankish archers, charged their berserkers against the building. Casualties were high, but the defenders held sway, and the berserkers were slain. Only then did the the enemy realise the danger - while they had been winning the fight in the centre, the Franks had slipped around their flanks, rapidly capturing slaves. Charlemal's knights had timed their move well, for they were able to fall back quicker than the enemy could approach, and they escaped with their prize.

On the opposite side, meanwhile, Jarl Gunnbasdt was taking matters into his own hands. Seeing Charlemal alone, he fancied his chances and charged, and a mighty duel was fought beyween those great Lords, while terrified civilians ran about around them. But Gunnblasdt had underestimated the difficulty. Heavily fatigued, he was vulnerable, while Charlemal, whom Steel Cannot Bite, and who had secured a stack of extra defence dice as well which it turned out he never needed, was not only well protected but able to deal the damage too. And so Gunnblasdt fell, severely wounded, and was duly trussed up and tossed onto the back of Charlemal's horse and taken for a slave himself, along with a selection of assorted peasants.

"I could do with a footstool to get on and off my horse," Charlemal declared. "The King of Iceland will serve very nicely in that role." And thus it came to pass.

Charlemal's raid was a success. Not only will the Icelandic slaves be a great help with the wine harvest but he gains +1 CVP for the win and because he is an Aetheling with the Dragon's Hoard motivation another +1 bonus CVP because he has a nice big stack of gold. With a reasonably lucky roll he also gains +2 Wealth from the raid. He lost three Warriors and therefore removes one of the four-man units on his roster and merges the one remaining man with his 7-strong warrior unit. He recruits 2 HG but chooses to only add one of these to the roster.

The Frankish skald has composed a version of the tale of the fall of Gunnblasdt which you can read here. Subsequent to particular assertions made by the Frankish Lord, the skald's ability to make his poems rhyme is now considerably improved from the first Chapter of the Song of Charlemal.