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Thread: Karl Ritter

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    Karl Ritter

    Discussion thread for Karl Ritter. If you would like to add a comment, click the Post Reply button.

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    It's great that someone thought of some history for Karl Ritter because the original books leave him and his descendants with absolutely no info at all. However, I would like to point out a couple of details that go against the canon. It would be great if those details could be corrected so that we can avoid contradictions.

    1) The text seems to suggest that pikes (awl pikes) are a Brecht invention and that Anuireans called them glaives. In the game, however, only Anuireans have pikemen troops. Brecht have no pikemen except for Massenmarch Talons. It could be assumed that Massenmarch adopted the Anuirean tactics during the Imperial occupation (Massenmarch units are actually a copy of Anuirean if you look at the stats). It could also be theorized that pre-Gorgon Kiergard had similar troops, which could explain the source of Karl's pike mercenaries, but I don't think Anuireans thought pikes and glaives were the same thing.

    2) The text says that Daen's army stood their ground at the ruins of Blacktower Castle. Previous castles built at the site of Blacktower weren't necessarily called Blacktower. Also, according to the Player's Secrets of Roesone, the decisive battle where Roesoneans stood their ground took place near the town of Harviel, after the Roesoneans were pushed out of Caercas. Otherwise, the idea of Karl's pikes carrying the day against Diemean knights is great.

    3) The mentions Rjurik longbows which are superior to Anuirean shortbows, but Anuireans are mentioned in the books as inventors of longbow. Also note that compound/composite bows are unsuitable for use in cold and wet weather, leaving Khinasi as the only place on Cerilia where they would be superior to self bows.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    The canon makes little sense on these matters, so I promptly dispensed with it.

    Typically its not horsey people who invent the anti-cavalry weapon, its people without horses. Both the Swiss and the Flemish developed excellent pikes, and in this case, the commercial Flemish in defense of their towns against the foriegn horsey people (the French) serves as the best explanation for who invented the pike tactics (the Brecht) and why. Given their social and political organization, the Brechts would be largely focused on the troops that towns raised, with an auxiliary from the market dependent countryside. This suggests that pikes, or some similar tightly packed socially cohesive force is the bulk of Brecht military force. Its characteristics, including its resistance to cavalry and its vulnerability to infantry makes the most sense.

    Are you suggesting that Blacktower castle was once near to Harviel? What is the second objection precisely?

    The Rjurik have superior archery stats on their warcards generally. The Rjurik have a hunting nation which uses the bow as a part of their daily livelihood. Overall, I think the best explanation for this is that the Rjurk commonly wield the best weapon. The Anuirean archers are pictured with shortbows. Examples of English longbows found archaeologically show very high draw weights. For example of longbows from the Mary Rose typically had draws greater than 143 lb. That the Rjurik use a superior bow in range and damage is best attributed to the statistics of a compound longbow, and it comports with their lifeways, which is always a necessary precondition for military excellence. People fight as they live. So, the Anuireans might be most common to use a conventional longbow as described in the PHB, but the Rjurik step up to the better stat block of the compound longbow because they are the English longbows in analog, while the Anuireans are the French knights.

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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    Does everything have to be exact European analogues?

    Anyway, I think Anuirean longbows are pretty well established in canon, without any need at all to dispense with them.
    Cheers
    Bjørn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Everything has to make sense on some basis. The only two I am aware of are logic and experience. If its not logical or it didn't happen somewhere, I'm not writing it.

    Feel free to add your own material, though.

    The canon support for longbows is weak, they are listed as available weapons. The pictures show shortbows.

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    1) Only the Anuireans have pikemen warcard among humans. I also find it logical that nation most exposed to the knights would develop the pikes, and Anuireans have been making war among themselves for the last 500 years. Maybe the pikes were developed during those 5 centuries? Sure, there probably were knights in the days of the Empire, but maybe they weren't scary enough to force the development of pikes.

    2) I'm just quoting the Player's Secrets: "This town is famous as the site of Daen's Roesone's greatest victory over the forces of Diemed. In 475MR, Roesone had been pushed out of Caercas by a might Diemean army, but the canny old baron turned and stood his ground here, catching the Diems by surprise." Castle Blacktower was built only after Roesone achieved independence.

    3) I'm mostly looking at warcards stats when making comparisons between units. I guess the illustrator didn't really know the difference between various kinds of bows. Here's my interpretation of missile stats for foot archers:
    5 - Elves armed with Longbows
    4 - Longbows or Composite Longbows or Crossbows
    3 - Shortbows

    I guess I'm more interested in filling in the gaps than reinventing the setting. Anyway, thanks for the story again. With those three changes, I'll fit it right into my Roesone-based campaign

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I made a few tweaks, hopefully they make various people happy.

    I worked on the basis that the welsh longbow (called the English longbow in civilised parts ) was the basis of the Anuirean longbowman, but squared the circle by making it native to Mhoired/Talinie (the celtic side of Anuire) - as this is in the north it is reasonable to assume that there is a lot of cross trade with the Rjurik justifying both having similar weapons.

    Shortbows being cheaper and easier to use are probably preferred by both...

    The Brecht have presumably fought the Anuireans, Basarji, and Vos on an off for a while - all of whom have some form of mounted units. Plus who knows what they fought in Aduria, so I think we can get away with pikes for them. Besides some form of massed unit with long pointy objects is probably native to all the tribes.
    Last edited by AndrewTall; 04-12-2009 at 04:51 PM.

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless One View Post
    I also find it logical that nation most exposed to the knights would develop the pikes, and Anuireans have been making war among themselves for the last 500 years.
    But they have knights to fight knights. The reason the Flemish and Swiss developed pikes was because they did not have knights and needed to defend themselves against them. Likewise the French always had the poorest knights because their style of war and the spirit of offense was not suitable for pikes.

    The Ruins of Empire was first, and in some regards its gets everything (although in some regards its gets less, there are more elite specialty troops in Brechtur, which I find hard to believe since their spirit is more towards the sea and to trade than to land warfare, but such are the warcards) and they were given plenty of every unit.

    If you're playing a Roesone (or South Coast) campaign, where the earliest materials covered, you'll have a fine campaign without considering the origins of pikes or superior bows. However, if you run a campaign in Brechtur and Rjurik, you have certain problems. After all, you can make arguments for native pikes in Anuire (the cities revolt against the lords, and what are Medoere and Roesone, but in revolt against Diemed, but this is a local explanation) but when you try to devise campaigns elsewhere, you find all the troop types are better in Anuire.

    It makes more sense that each region has its own specific advantages in war. So how does one determine what these are? One can look at the warcards, look at the culture, its own history, real life analogs of the cultures in question, and the kinds of power centers at work. A Haelynite, aristocratic society is going to produce a chivalrous knightly army, surrounded not with equally competent and effective archers and pikemen (because no society values everything good) and the Rjurik and Brecht (and so on) something else.

    When I wrote the Karl Ritter material, I didn't do so in the vacuum or with an eye only to Roesone or the South Coast. I think it needs to make sense in a context that would work for a Rjurik or Brecht campaign. Roesone has these Rjurik and Brecht connections through Ritter and Bjording. So, are the Brecht and Rjurik no better than Anuireans, or Anuireans with funny accents and names, or are they better than Anuireans at something. I view the Rjurik as axemen and archers because the warcards, Rjurik history, the way the Rjurik live, and the way Vikings and Anglo-Saxons fought, all support this kind of proposition.

    If one is an aspiring warrior in Rjurik, one becomes an archer, unless one has the wealth and means, or the connection and support, to become a huskarl. In Anuire, do people really look about and think, could be a great pikeman, or man at arms, or archer, or something else (of course knight, like huskarl, is to expensive without wealth or patronage)? I think heavy infantry, the man at arms is the elite fighting man in Anuire (if you can't be a knight). Pikemen and archers get what's left and are either formed from people are didn't choose but were either conscripted, or fight this way because they are either townsfolk (pikemen) or frontiersmen (archers).

    I'm not interested in re-inventing the setting, I am interested in thinking about the setting as a whole, not just in one place and one moment. If you start filling in the gaps in other parts of the map, what the South Coast has to say about anything doesn't get you very far.

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    Administrator Green Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Everything has to make sense on some basis. The only two I am aware of are logic and experience. If its not logical or it didn't happen somewhere, I'm not writing it.

    Feel free to add your own material, though.

    The canon support for longbows is weak, they are listed as available weapons. The pictures show shortbows.
    No, canon support for Anuirean longbows is rather adequate:

    "Troops skilled with the Anuirean longbow are greatly feared throughout Cerilia."

    "The predominance of knights in Anuirean warfare ended with the introduction of pikes and LONGBOWS."

    p. 61/63 of the BR book; I'd rather focus on that..rather than try to explain it away based on some low-grade sketchwork on a warcard.

    I'm all for explaining things within a context and I'm not saying the BR canon is not without flaws and holes...but in this case I have to say its more than clear enough.

    Anyway, Anuireans are shock cavalry people...but they also have developed anti-shock cavalry weapons to a fine art...pikes and longbows.

    Now, one might without contradicting canon, claim that pike use came from Brechtür while the longbow originated with the Rjurik. Anuireans have interacted with those cultures for a long while. But the creation of Roesone is such a recent event that I would not find it at all plausible that the pike/longbow was not already commonly used in Anuire.
    Cheers
    Bjørn
    DM of Ruins of Empire II PbeM

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Knight View Post
    But the creation of Roesone is such a recent event that I would not find it at all plausible that the pike/longbow was not already commonly used in Anuire.
    I didn't say it didn't. I tried to give Ritter and Bjording something to do besides stand around and admire Daen Roesone.

    If you want the Anuireans good at everything and everyone else to be second rate, that's fine. After all, the Brecht are good fencers. Of course fencing is a style of personal combat, not military formations.

    Also, if you want to pick your sources, that's fine. But to call the art work poor and pretend the text can't be insulted either is disingenuous. Frankly, I don't think the text was given any more thought than the art.

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