Campaign Chronicle: The Matter of Britain

Anno Domini MMXXII - Historia Bellum Ludi Monadnockus


Contents

Start of Play: Winter 494 AD

Spring, 495 AD

Summer, 495 AD

Autumn, 495 AD

Spring, 496 AD


^ Start of Play: Winter 494 AD

Protagonists

There are four sides in this conflict:

      Britons: This is army list 146, Post Roman British. Welsh allies may be used. Arthur's Sarmatian Knights may be used, but Saxon mercenaries may not. (Assume the year 495 AD for the purposes of lists.)

      Picts: This is army list 99, Caldedonian, Scots-Irish, and Pictish using the Pict option. Saxon allies are allowed.

      Scotti (Scots-Irish): This is army list 145, Later Scots-Irish. Saxon mercenaries are not allowed.

      Saxons: This is army list 100, Saxon, Anglo-Saxon, Frisian, Jute. No allies are allowed.

All lists are to be as per the 4th Edition of the Art de la Guerre rules, 300 points.

Rules can be found here: PDF, HTML.

At the start of play, the sides control the following areas:

Britons/Welsh

  1. Gaul
  2. Ynys Weith
  3. Durotrigia
  4. Atrebatia
  5. Dumnonia
  6. Powys
  7. Dyfed
  8. Gwnedd
  9. Rheged
  10. Cerniw
  11. Ynys Mon

Picts

  1. Caledonia
  2. Dalriada
  3. Gododdin
  4. Bryneieh
  5. Strathclyde

Saxons

  1. Regia
  2. Cantia
  3. Londein
  4. Linnuis
  5. Ebrauc

Scotti

  1. Connachta
  2. Munster
  3. Ulster
  4. Leinster
  5. Ynys Manaw

The map at the start of play:

Players

Britons: Kurt, Kelly (not sure which of you is Artorius and which is Merlin - you can tell me!)

Picts: Mark

Saxons: Jonathan, Dan

Scotti: Bill, Adam


^ Spring, 495 AD

Order of Play (# of Areas/Armies): Scotti (5/2), Saxons (5/2), Britons (11/3), Picts (5/2)

Scotti: Two invasions are launched across the Manx Seas, one from Leinster into Gwynedd, and the other from Munster into Dyfed. Both are opposed by the Britons. In the mountainous terrain of Gwynedd, the Scotti manage to defeat the army sent against them, although it was not lead in person by Arthur. (At least for now, the Britons have lost the Welsh heartland to the invaders, and in future it may be that Taliesin or Aneirin will compose a famous poem cycle titled "Y Gwynedd" instead of "Y Gododdin"...) The invasion from Munster came ashore near to the Penmaen Dewi headland, at the southern end of Ceredigion Bay. Here, on the open slopes below Carn Llidi, Arthur rode to meet the Scotti, and drove them back into the sea.

The map after the battles between the Scotti and Britons:

Saxons: The Saxon horde has collected itself and moves in two different directions: an invasion of Atrebatia is launched from Londein, and an invasion by sea is mounted against Gaul from the estuaries of the Thames and the Medway in Cantia. Despite the pleas of the desperate inhabitants, no British forces come forth to stop the Saxon attacks. Both the Briton's settlement in Gaul and the fields of Atrebatia now belong to the Saxons.

Britons: The reason for the failure to defend their territories in Gaul and the south becomes clearer when the British ships arrive at the Ynys Manaw (the Isle of Man). With the resident's forces either busy over-running Gywnedd, or feeding the ravens on the fields of Dyfed, there is no one to stop the Britons from taking control of the island.

The map after Saxons and Britons have made their moves:

Picts: The Picts, seeing that the Britons are occupied fighting the Scotti in Wales, have moved into Rheged, now Pictish territory. At the same time, an expedition against the Britons on Ynys Manaw is organized. While (purportedly) in his cups, the Alban King (for so he insists on being called, despite just being a Pict), was heard to make the following pronouncements:

    "As the minions of the dead-god-upon-the cross have seen fit to defile the hallowed ground of the sacred isle, the Albidosi (whom the Romans so derisively and incorrectly and insulting called 'Picti' or 'Painted People'), have no choice but to declare a holy war to liberate that most blessed island, Ynys Manaw."

    "Fully aware that we could have marched into a second, undefended region, and that by sailing to the sacred isle we risk the loss of an army should we fail at our task, nevertheless honor and faith demand that we face the foe, man to man on the isle of Man."

    "Let it further be known that, as we understand it is the birthday of King Liamhás of our Scotti brethren, should we prevail we will return the governance of the sacred isle to its rightful protector, as it is both fitting and right that we should - and because what can you give a man who has everything for his birthday?"

(To which last question a Welsh bard at the court was heard to quip "Amphibious chariots?". If the Alban king heard the remark, he pretended not to - good bards have been hard to find ever since the Romans showed up and killed them all!)

In the event, the Albans triumphed over their British opponents, re-taking Ynys Manaw and turning it over to its former owners, the Scotti.

The map is now as shown below (the end of the Spring season):


^ Summer, 495 AD

As Spring gives way to Summer, the remnants of Roman civilization in Loegres are in sore distress. On the continent, Lesser Britain has fallen to the Saxons, and they are pushing west from the Channel. The Scotti have seized northern Wales, and the Picts are pouring down from the north. The Spring has brought a torrent of bloodshed and misery to the Britons - an unholy alliance of barbarians threatens to erase the last semblance of civilization from the "Emerald Isles." But will the alliance hold?

Order of Play (# of Areas/Armies): Picts (6/2), Britons (7/2), Saxons (7/2), Scotti (6/1*)

[*Minus an army due to failed sea invasion of Dyfed in Spring 495 AD]

Albans/Picts: After their successful re-conquest of Ynys Manaw in favor of their Scotti allies, the Picts make no signs of organizing for any new incursions into those areas they do not already rule. (Woe betide those who might trespass upon their realm, however, for they remain both armed and vigilant!)

Britons: Having lost Ynys Manaw to the Picts, the Britons now turn their attention to the Saxons rampaging through their realm. Two invasions are staged: one striking east from Powys into Londein, and the other from Durotrigia into Atrebatia. The Saxons have gathered their war-bands in response, and will fight to keep a hold on their territories. Two battles will result - first, the struggle for Atrebatia, and second, the Battle of Londein...

Arthur leads his knights against the Saxons in Atrebatia, in the open country of the Salibury Plain. Although the field is hotly contested, Wyrd does not smile on her children - instead, she leaves them cursed and dead, slain by the followers of the White Christ. Atrebatia is once again ruled by the Britons.

The map after the battle:

After an exchange of envoys and lengthy deliberation (accompanied by a suitable quantity of libation) the Britons have announced, by the decree of Artorius, Dux Bellorum, that Ynys Weith will be bestowed upon King Liamhas of the Scotti as a new portion of his domains:

    It has come to the attention of the Britons that we wrongly invaded the Island of the indigenous Scotti People, and attempted to appropriate their territory in an act of Britonish Colonialism. While this indiscretion is in the past, we would like to pay reparations for our wrongful act of aggression by giving the Scotti's the Isle of Wight. We pledge to be better in the future and to struggle always as allies in the fight for social justice and equity.

And so it shall be!

Battle is joined in Londein between the Saxons defending their homes and the invading Britons. Although Artorius is not on the field, busy fighting in Atrebatia, the Britons manage to defeat their foes.

Saxons: The Saxons are busy in a desperate defense of their lands against the Britons.

Scotti: The Scotti announce their intention of spending the winter in Gaul, where they hear that the weather is milder. Without any warriors to defend their lands, Gaul is seized by the minions of King Liamhás.

At the end of the Summer campaigning season, the map looks like this:


^ Autumn, 495 AD

The summer has ended and the tables - like the leaves - are starting to turn. The alliance between the Scotti and the Britons has placed them in the ascendant, at the expense of the Saxons, now starting to lose ground and the ability to muster the hosts needed to defend their lands. The Picts bide their time in the north, waiting no doubt to see where their next opportunity for plunder and profit will arise.

Order of Play (Areas/Armies): Britons(8/2), Saxons (4/1), Picts (6/2), Scotti (8/2)

Britons: The Britons do not mount any invasions in the autumn, choosing instead to sharpen their blades and await an attack from their foes.

Saxons: The Saxons have amassed their forces on the coast, and will be sailing to reclaim their territories in Gaul from the Scotti.

Although it was a hard-fought battle, the Saxons were defeated in the end, and the remnants of their defeated force thrust back into the sea. The Scotti will retain their control of Gaul, at least for now, and the Saxons will be reduced to enduring the hostile attentions of their neighbors for the following season, as all of their noble warriors learned that swimming in chainmail is much, much harder than it looks! They will consequently not be able to raise an army for the coming Spring campaign season.

Picts: Coming to the aid of their Saxon allies (well, at least a regular source of mercenaries for them) the Picts will send two bands south. One will move overland from Rheged into Powys, to challenge the Britons. The other will embark in a huge fleet of coracles to raid the Britons in Londein from the sea. In both cases, the Britons will resist!

The Picts' incursion into Powys was defeated. The pig-farmers of Wales can hold their heads up proudly, safe in the knowledge that - at least for now - the northerners (and their sheep) have been repulsed.

Londein did not fare so well. After it was over-run by the Picts, Artorius actually started paying the bards to not sing about it! No tales of glorious last stands, nor dying for one's country - just nothing. (He has a reputation to maintain, after all.) The silence of the Britons speaks volumes about the magnitude of their defeat, however.

After proclaiming himself "a river to his people" the Pictish leader has gifted Londein back to the Saxons, his sometime allies. (Where he gets the idea that the Saxons are "his people" we are not exactly sure. It's easy to get confused when there are so very many lovely sheep about, I suppose.)

Scotti: The Scotti have wisely decided to spend the winter months across the narrow seas in Gaul, and resisted the urge to do any last-minute pillaging.

The map now looks like this:

There will be no more campaigning now that the weather has turned cold. It has been a momentous year for the many now-deceased participants and innocent victims of the year's raids and battles, and a pretty grim slog for everybody else. Britannia remains in turmoil!

Perhaps the struggles of a new year will prove more decisive...


^ Spring, 496 AD

Order of Play (# of Areas/Armies): Saxons (5/1*), Scotti (8/2), Picts (6/2), Britons (7/2)

[*Minus an army due to failed sea invasion of Gaul in Autumn 495 AD]