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

The Icelandic Vikings

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Starting Roster

Prologue

Though the name of Gunnblasdt the Savage was feared throughout the barren lands of the far north, his fame had been slow to spread to those living in the lands to the distant south. Other than by Leif, Lord of the Norse-Gaels, his blood brother, the Godi of Iceland was only known by reputation: a fierce man, as tough in battle as the weather in his homeland; a Warlord mentioned only occasionally, in tales told around the fireside on dark winter nights. The harsh climate of Gunnblasdt's homeland was certainly one of the reasons for his reputation, for it takes a tough people to survive the icy nights of a land where the sun itself disappears for days in the depths of winter. And the last winter was especially hard for the people of Iceland. Many good men died, their livestock, wives and children perishing with them, and the land was made barren by relentless ice and frost.

Later, when the spring arrived, Gunnblasdt and his men took stock. Much had been laid waste, but all was not lost, for the hulls of their longships remained strong. Now, without farmland to tend, the men were free to raid and plunder foreign lands, as Norsemen will. And so, swords and spears were sharpened, and shields made strong, and the Godi sent word to his Oathsworn, Leif, to be ready to join him in battle in the year ahead, together to raid and conquer richer lands.

Roster after raiding Dalraida, Campaign Season 1

Campaign Season One

Gunnblasdt chooses to raid the Scots in Dalraida. Perhaps he is coming to the aid of his blood brother against the enemy that threatens to invade his land, or maybe his longships have become distracted by plunder along the way...

Raiding Scottish Shores

In those last days of winter, as the snow and ice gradually receded, progress was made, but slowly. The longships were finally repaired, strengthened, waterproofed, and made ready for the journey south. For weeks the men laboured, loading provisions for the journey, weapons and shields for the venture. And finally, later than planned, offerings were made to the gods, and farewells to loved ones, and the dragon-prowed war vessels of the Icelanders hoisted their sails and set out to sea at last.

The crossing was rough, as is usual in the early part of the year across the deep ocean separating Iceland and the islands to the south. Undeterred, Gunnblasdt's fleet fought its way across the open sea, braving its wind and waves, and withstanding the worst of the weather, making its slow progress towards the shelter of the barren islands off the west of Scotland. Here, they anchored, refreshing their supplies, taking time to rest and repair the damage their ships had taken from the battering sea. It was here that they heard news of the Laird of Clan Tavish, the blood feud he had sworn against Leif, Gunnblasdt's blood brother, and rumours that the Scots were making preparations for war, to descend out of the highlands to invade the lands of Strathclyde. Joining forces with Leif to raid was suddenly no longer a priority; instead, Gunnblasdt now saw an opportunity to help his oathsworn by taking the fight to the Scots. And so the Icelandic fleet moved further south, hugging the coast, until they found a sheltered cove. Weighing anchor, they made their way ashore an inland, where they knew there were farmsteads rich ion cattle and sheep that they could plunder.

Following the left bank of a river, about a mile inland they heard news of a Scots warband moving in their direction from the north, on the other side of the river. Some distance upstream, as the river followed a wide curve, there was a shallow crossing-point; a strong defensive position. The Vikings picked up their pace in an effort to get there first, but by the time they had arrived, the Scots were ready for them. Gunnblasdt's men fought bravely, throwing themselves at their foe, but they could not break through to cross the river. Held back, with several of their number dead, and no hope of victory, they retreated back to their ships, and made their slow way back across the sea to home.

The Vikings lose the Battle at the Ford against the defending Scots.

Gunnblasdt may have been aggressive and impetuous, but it was his wisdom that had led to his being made Godi in his homeland. Now, he used that wisdom; the failure of the year's raiding was unacceptable and he would take steps to see that it did not happen again. Over the winter he took counsel of his elders, and when spring of the following year arrived, he had more cunning in battle and was more ready for the seaon ahead than ever before.

The Vikings roll Warlord Experience on the Fate Table at the end of Campaign Season 1. Gunnblasdt chooses to roll on the Special Rules table and gets The Penny.

Roster after choosing defend options, Campaign Season 2

Campaign Season 2

This season, Gunnblasdt chooses to defend. He gains one point of wealth from increased trade and recruits an additional four Warriors. To his displeasure, the shores of Iceland are attacked this season by Scots raiders, intent on revenge against the oathsworn of Leif the Lucky.

Roster after the Scots raid, Campaign Season 2

Raided by Avenging Scots

Despite Gunnblasdt's attempt to make use of The Penny and bribe Tavish's men he Scots successfully attack the Icelanders before the Vikings are able to mount serious resistance, and escape with the herds.

Gunnblasdt spent -1 point of Wealth to enable The Penny special rule and lost one other because of losing the battle. His warband lost two Warriors, but he rolled ten Warriors on the recruitment table, which was fortuitous because he as he had only one Wealth at this time his options were limited. He decided to add six new recruits to bring the existing unit of Warriors on his roster to full strength.

Roster after the Scots raid, Campaign Season 2

The Icelandic Vikings roll Poor Harvest on the Fate table at the end of the Campaign Season. They lose 1 point of Wealth, and reduced to zero Wealth, Gunnblasdt is no longer able to field his Warriors.

Roster after raiding Norway, Campaign Season 3

Campaign Season 3

The Icelandic Vikings, in desperate need of wealth, determine to raid the Norwegian Vikings in Vestfold. This year is going to be challenging for them, though, as they will be raided in turn by Anglo-Saxons, Danish Vikings and Franks.

Raiding Norway

Gunnblasdt was desperate. The coffers were bare and he could not pay for his warriors, or make use of The Penny. He had no choice but to raid in search of gold. With jealous eyes he looked to his Viking neighbour Ubbason across the eastern sea, where there was gold in plenty to take.

Landing safely on the coast of Vestfold, the Icelandic warband moved inland, where their enemy had hastily mustered a force to defend at a river crossing. Gunnblasdt led his men in the attack. They fought strongly but the defenders held, despite their own Warlord falling, and the Icelandic Vikings were beaten back. Unable to cross the river, they fell back to their boats nursing their wounds.

Gunnblasdt lost one berserker, one hearthguard and two levy. He chose to recruit two hearthguard as berserkers.

Iceland in revolution, end of Campaign Season 3

Seeking Sanctuary from the Franks

Word soon arrived in the Great Hall of the approach of more raiders from distant lands - Frankish warriors raiding the northernmost parts of the world for claves. And so, the beleaguered Gunnblasdt assembled the surviving members of his warband in a desperate attempt to protect his people. As the villagers ran to the sanctuary of the old tower, Gunnblasdt stood in the centre of an open area, his hearthguard and berserkers beside him, levy archers in front, looking for the enemy, while to his left and right the enemy advanced.

The first to act, Gunnblasdt ordered his levy to advance, shooting arrow after arrow and inflicting many casualties on the enemy archers until they became exhausted. The Franks who had suffered fell back, out of range, while their second unit of archers occupied a small building. Determined to be rid of them, Gunnblasdt ordered his berserkers against the building. But alas all did not go to plan. The berserkers died, leaving two archers standing, and suddenly Gunnblasdt relised the peril within which he was caught. The mounted Franks had slipped around his flanks and were amongst the fleeing villagers, capturing them to take away as slaves. Caught in the middle, Gunnbasdt split his force to attack both flanks. On his right, eight hearthguard chased the enemy knights - but were too slow to catch them - while on the left Gunnblasdt charged the enemy warlord alone.

As peasants ran about them, Gunnblasdt and Charlemal fought a duel in that lonely part of the battlefield. Heavily fatigued, though, the Icelandic Lord was vulnerable, and unable to hit the Frankish Lord (whom they say Steel Cannot Bite) even once, was severely wounded and himself captured by the enemy. Leaderless, the Vikings could not hold back the raiders who duly made off with their prize of slaves and the captive Gunnblasdt.

With Gunnblasdt gone, Iceland became a country in disarray, and it was not long before the people, empowered by the removal of their oppressive Jarl, rose in rebellion. The country was thrown into chaos for the remainder of the year.

The Anglo-Saxons Raid

And so, when the Anglo-Saxons raided at the end of the year, there was no organised force to oppose them. The raiders ran amok, taking all the gold they could find - but their prize was small, much of the remaining wealth of Gunnblasdt's land having already been taken by its own people during the revolts. In due course, the Anglo-Saxons left the Icelandic shores to return home.

At the end of the year, Iceland is in chaos. Yet there are those that hope that from the ashes of the revolution a popular hero will rise to lead the people back to glory, and to make Iceland great again.

Alan has chosen to leave the campaign, and so the fate of Iceland remains unsettled at this time. The umpires have decided that if a new Warlord is to take on this faction, Iceland will recommence at the start of Campaign Season 4 as if beginning the campaign again.