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Season of Fire and Salt.jpg
War changes, and the warrior must change with it.

Overview

Over the last three months, Imperial forces are engaged in military campaigns against barbarian forces. Sometimes those engagements have been wide ranging and dramatic, other times they have been more sedate. Continuing the approach we took last year, we're presenting a summary of the campaign on this page. Where there's more dramatic action, or where there are opportunities, we've given a wind of war its own page. We're also continuing to provide information about the battle opportunities, listed in the theatres that they concern.

As always, how much or how little of this information you choose to know in character is up to you. Part of the purpose of Winds of War and the Winds of Fortune is to make players aware of things their characters should know, based on what their roleplaying says they have been doing, and to maintain the Empire as a living, breathing place where all kinds of events take place beyond the scope of Anvil.

It should go without saying that we ask everyone to abide by the rules about online roleplaying with regard to the military campaign. It's important that the key in-character activity of the Empire world takes place at events. The game is busier and better if everything that can happen in the field, does happen in the field. Military planning and political discussions should happen at events. For this reason we generally discourage too much downtime roleplaying between events and put strict limits on what can be done online particularly using our forums and Facebook groups.

All that said we now present a summary of the key military activity in the Empire - both with links to the expanded Wind of War pages and notes about other important things that have happened that didn't need a full battle campaign write-up.

Season of Fire and Salt

It is the season of fire, when the wind howls and the snow falls and we huddle together for warmth. It is the season of salt, when fresh food is a luxury and we discover perhaps too late whether we have set enough of the year's bounty aside to see us through to the next year. And it is the season of war. But when is it not, given the times in which we live? But for the first time in a long time, war rages not only on the borderlands, but in the heart of the Empire itself, and this Winter the fire may rage and swallow all we hold dear, and the salt flow in our tears and our rage.

The armies of Cold Sun, the scions of the Day realm, continue their assault against the heart of the Empire. From Varushka to the Brass Coast, from Hahnmark to Bastion, they bring only destruction and death. Some stand against them, others are forced to flee, or fall. We record the annals of triumph and despair as a list of Things That Burn.

In the west Imperial soldiers and Jotun warriors dance. A complex game of strategy and positioning, manoeuvring, feint and counter-feint. Where armies clash, blood flows in a river, but until they do the tension builds and builds until – as we know, as we've seen before – it is released in a tempest of violence and sorrow. In Against the Jotun we hear stories from the lands where the sun sets, in frost, in fire, and in the shadow of the cinnabar hills.

In the east, toward the Mallum, the four armies of the Empire are in the Barrens, each pursuing a different course. Where their paths weave and cross, they create ripples. They leave echoes of their passage. They buffet the people they come near, change them, sometimes profoundly. They cast a long shadow, the armies of the Empire, and sometimes it is easy to lose perspective, to lose sight of the fact that there are always at least two sides to any story. The latest chapter of the story of the Barrens is told here, in Ripples and Shadows. (OOC NOTE: This Wind of Fortune is written from a different perspective than normal. We've also added a content warning. The text includes depictions of brutal violence and feelings of helplessness. The campaign summary is out-of-character and matter-of-fact and sums up the events without going into detail. It can be found here.)

South, then, to the shores of the Bay of Catazar. What begins in a court of white granite, passes through darkness, and onto the land between the mountain and the sea. Follow the trail of the Imperial armies, down the Apulian Way, and into the Broken Shore. Here we learn a little of what lies Between Stone and Salt.

And in the City of Nets, once the armies have passed down the Apulian Way, they wait. Peace with the Grendel is ended; they know the Salt Lords will seek Retribution for the treachery of Kaliact. Will exact a price for the hubris of the League in accepting them. The garrison of Ballagruh to the north make the long trip across the wasted plains and hills, under the shadow that lies over Spiral, to reinforce the city. Their fear is fed by that thing which squats in Screed, and for many night is tossed with dark dreams of a terrible flame and an awful price extracted for their Audacity. But as the Winter Solstice nears... there is no sign of the Grendel.

Once the gates of the Court of the White Fountain close, and the armies are on their way to Mareave, the sentinels resume their watch on the unceasing sea. The new port at Elos has the potential to threaten the Grendel mastery of the Bay of Catazar, and they must surely know of it. Though the Brilliant Star has been warped by Cold Sun, the mithril can still be mined, and the rulers of the Broken Shore love mithril even more than they love salt, or coin. Sentinels from Cargo have come down the river to Naris, ready to fight alongside their siblings. Together with the citadels and spires of Redoubt, they watch the horizon for signs of ships. But as the Winter Solstice nears... there is no sign of the Grendel.

There are spies in the City of Masks, but the Wolves of War are there to root them out. A few weeks after the Autumn Equinox, the Fire of the South arrives, tired from their long march, but ready to fight to defend the city. The Grendel have never conquered the City of Masks. They may have held that old city, the Jewelled City, for a few months, but that was long ago and the past is another country. Yet everyone knows they covet it, covet its wealth, its people, its place on the Bay. Some fear a reckoning. As the League has taken a city from the Grendel, so they might take a city from the Salt Lords, so they might choose to balance their scales by taking a different city. Some point to the Asavean embassy as a sign the Grendel will not come for fear of angering their allies. Others point to the Sumaah embassy, and the recent destruction of the Cavabianca Docks and are much less sure. As the Wolves hunt, and the Fire carouses, both keep one eye on the sea. The Colossus watches with them, and so do the soldiers of Our Lady of Pride. A few merchant vessels report attacks by orc pirates, a few fail to arrive at port entirely. But as the Winter Solstice nears... there is no sign of the Grendel.

Reumah's Rest watches from the cliffs, Vigilant against any threat to Necropolis or the Black City. Crown's Quay may not match the three cities of the Bay in grandeur but it is still a major port. And the Grendel interest in the Necropolis is well known. There have been too many visitors during the uneasy peace, and while their espionage ring may have been rooted out, the fact the orcs of the Broken Shore cared enough to establish it in the first place speaks volume. They will not let the Grendel take the beaches of Necropolis, though. The chapters stand ready, and the news from Bastion where the faithful of the Empire protect the White City from the monstrous attackers fills their hearts with Pride and Courage. "How can we fail against flesh and blood, when we have such an example to inspire us?" Some secretly hope an attack does come, that they may have the chance to test their virtue against heretics and blasphemers. But as the Winter Solstice nears... there is no sign of the Grendel.

And finally the Salt Guard, and the Billowing City, the Sapphire of Madruga. Siroc. The entire Grendel armada assails Madruga. Their armies take the City of Thousand Sails, and then their Asavean allies burn it to the ground. A wave of orcs sweeps across the territory, conquering and looting. As the Winter Solstice nears, the territory is lost to the Empire - although it has not been claimed by the orcs either. A sea of tears shed by the Freeborn. One of the greatest Imperial cities turned to ashes, little more than A Beacon of Smoke.

Battle opportunities

Imperial prognosticators have identified three possible major conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate at the coming summit. The Military Council will muster on Friday night, and the generals will select two of them to be taken up by Imperial heroes. At the moment the full details of these battle opportunities are not clear; more information will be provided nearer to the event.

All battle opportunities are Combat Highly Likely environments.

LocationOpportunityOppositionDayLearn More
MadrugaIntercede at the LyceumGrendelEither DayTBC
MadrugaPrevent the destruction of the Shining PillarGrendelEither DayTBC
MareaveInfluence the complex politics in MareaveGrendelEither DayTBC
Nation Force Weight
Brass Coast 19
Dawn 48
Highguard 21
Imperial Orcs 5
League 20
Marches 25
Navarr 51
Urizen 15
Varushka 14
Wintermark 57

The sides for the battles will be chosen by the generals in the Muster of the Imperial Military Council on Friday night. Each of the two battles must have at least 134 and at most 141 force weight sent on it.

Conjunctions

The Sentinel Gate also allows smaller groups of Imperial citizens to reach locations all over the Empire where their intervention might change the course of events. Many of these conjunctions involve combat, but there are also a variety of other opportunities presented by the magic of the Gate.

For most conjunctions, the Civil Service has identified the Imperial titles that are the most appropriate to take overall responsibility for ensuring that a response is organised. Whilst the individual has been named by the Civil Service, there is no legal requirement for them to coordinate a response or travel on the conjunction. They may delegate oversight to another individual of their choosing. As always, Imperial war scouts will be on hand at the Sentinel Gate to provide further information to any citizens wanting to learn more. They can provide updates on the barbarians' goals, guidance on how to engage the enemy troops or advice on how to avoid casualties and return back to Anvil in safety.

Sometimes it is necessary for us to make small adjustments to the timing or size of encounters at the time of this publication and when an encounter runs at an event. Details for the conjunctions on Friday will be finalised on Friday afternoon of the event before time-in (18:00) whilst details for the conjunctions on Saturday will be finalised on Saturday before time in (10:00). Please check the details of any conjunction you are interested in as soon as possible to ensure that you have the full and up-to-date information; it might also be sensible to check again shortly before the planned time of the encounter. You can check the details of a conjunction by casting Detect Magic (Discover Conjunction) on the Sentinel Gate in the presence of a referee.

It's very important to pay attention to the accessibility note for each conjunction, which covers the likelihood of combat. Further details about the accessibility of a conjunction are available both before and during the event. You can learn more about this on the accessibility page.

Friday

TBC

Saturday

TBC

Military Considerations

Several territory pages now contain details of strategic obstacles presented or advantages provided by movement through or fighting in those lands. There are also several fortifications that follow different rules. Several armies or nations have special rules or opportunities related to the orders they can issue, which should be borne in mind when discussing military strategies during the Winter Solstice.

  • Billeting: Any Imperial army can take the Billet order in Upwold or Mitwold. Link
  • Dawn: Dawnish armies cannot take the Cautious Advance order or the Give Ground order. Link
  • The Marches: Marcher armies cannot take the Give Ground order. Link
  • The Marches: Marcher armies fighting in Upwold, Mitwold, or Mournwold each receive an additional 1000 strength. The Strong Reeds receive an additional 1000 strength when fighting in Bregasland. This lasts until the start of the Winter Solstice 385YE, or until they leave Bregasland in the case of the Strong Reeds. link.
  • Varushka: Varushkan armies involved in the same campaign as an army from the Brass Coast or Wintermark generate 10% fewer victory points. If armies from both nations are present, the reduction is increased to 20%. Link.
  • Varushka: Varushkan armies can take the Hospitality of the Boyars order whilst in Ossium. Link.
  • Wintermark: Wintermark armies can take the Fight with Honour order. Link.
  • Wintermark: Wintermark armies fighting against the Jotun will gain 10% more victory points but inflict 20% less casualties. Link
  • WIntermark: Wintermark armies fighting against the Jotun have their casualties taken reduced by 10%. This effect continues as long as the Winterfolk continue to fight honourably. Link
  • Zenith: Any Highborn or Urizen army attacking into Zenith from Morrow gains a 20% bonus to any territory captured and suffers a 10% reduction in casualties inflicted. Link
  • Morrow: Any Highborn or Urizen army that defends in Morrow against an army attacking from Zenith gains a 20% bonus to defend territory and suffers a 10% reduction in casualties inflicted. Link