Big Bill Beesley ran the whetstone down the edge of his blade, every rasp echoing round the campfire like a scream. He'd spent the morning sharpening his bill, a break for lunch, now he was starting on his bollock dagger. It was getting on Jocelyn's nerves, every scrape felt like fingers down a blackboard.

"Are ya gonna do that all day?" she snapped, her voice dripping with scorn.

"Aye," Bill replied not even bothering to look up. He followed that up with "Reckon I might an all" in-between two more rasps with the whetstone.

"What in Virtue's name for? There's no sign of 'em! They're all holed up - they ain't coming. The swamp's as quiet as a millpond on a still day." It was true - following orders from on high they'd been laying low in Bregasland for weeks now. The plan was to keep out of sight and then hit the Jotun when they got an opportunity. Good plan, only problem was the bloody Jotun weren't playing ball.

"Constant tapping breaks the stone." Bill responded. He looked about to run the stone again, but then thought better of it and looked up. "Friends o' mine from Neap's Heath are looking to get a piece of that raid folks are talking about. If there's a chance to make good money and clobber the Jotun while we're at I'm in. So best to be ready eh?"

"Ya fecking idiot. We ain't getting no orders to go running off on some hare-brained raid into Jotun lands. We'll be stuck here in these bloody swamps." Jocelyn pointed a hand at the surrounding marshes. She didn't need to point in a particular direction.

"Ha! You will be Joss. But come the Equinox, my two years are up... I get my warrants and I get to keep my weapons and armour. So I reckon you'll be stuck here Joss... but not me. I've always wanted to see what the Jotun lands were like..."

Big Bill Beesley's voice trailed off as he waited for Jocelyn to respond. When nothing came, he picked up his whetstone and resumed the work. Best to be ready after all...

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The Jotun may be in for a surprise. A nasty surprise.

Overview

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Click for audio version

For decades the Jotun orcs have raided the Empire's western borders, bands of warriors pressing deep into the border territories, looking for battle and opportunities to loot wealth and take thralls. Sometimes these raids are a prelude to an invasion, probing the Empire's defences, dowsing for any weaknesses their armies might exploit. Sometimes the raids are a feint, designed to draw the Empire's forces away to allow a full-scale attack somewhere else.

Turnabout is fair play as the Marcher proverb has it... and it is long past time to bloody the Jarls' noses.

Getting In

  • The Marcher National Assembly has urged the people of their nation to prepare for a raid against the Jotun territory of Skallahn
  • With the aid of allies in Wintermark and Navarr, preparations are being made for the assault to follow the Spring Equinox summit

A raid on Skallahn is a dangerous proposition. The Jotun are a highly militant people, they keep large standing garrisons on their major settlements, they have watchtowers and beacons. Raiding the Jotun is just an order of magnitude more difficult than raiding the Druj, the Thule, or even the Grendel. The Marchers and their allies can expect to face fierce resistance from every Jotun warrior they encounter and outright hostility and opposition from every orc thrall.

And that assumes they can even get there. Reaching Skallahn would be easy if the Empire held Western Sermersuaq, but that half of the territory is in Jotun hands. A handful of military units could easily slip through the Jotun lands, even scores of them could get through, but not without being noticed. Not without the alarm being given. Not without warning every Jarl in Narkyst that the Empire was coming.

We the Marcher Assembly call upon the fisherfolk and eel farmers of Bregasland to harness their knowledge of boating to add additional deck hands to the fleets of the Marches as they raid Hordalant. Do not fear to act; only be shamed by inaction.

Jacob Tanner, Winter 383YE, Upheld (Primacy 124-0)

A better option would be sail to Skallahn if possible. The Marcher assembly overwhelmingly backed the judgement of Jacob Tanner calling on the people of Bregasland to use their boats to help with the raid. There are countless coracles and skiffs in Bregasland, most are far too small to be of any use, but a few folk own a fishing vessel that could transport people and they are all ready to do. There is also a small fleet of Marcher fishing vessels at Odds' End, but even together, there just aren't enough decent sized ships to transport a force of warriors to Skallahn of the size being talked about.

In addition, the Wintermark Assembly backed the Judgement of Maarit Suvidottir with a greater majority - urging any Winterfolk who can to offer aid to their endeavour. The people of Westerhal have pledged their fleet of fishing ships to the raid. If these fleets abandon all attempts to fish this season, and devote themselves to smuggling the Imperial warriors into Skallahn, then the raid is just possible.

What would make a bigger difference is if enough captains of independent fleets committed to help with the raid. It will not be easy - there is no tradition of naval raiding in the Gullet, neither Wintermark nor the Marchers have much experience with it and none of the ports are large enough to facilitate large numbers of soldiers embarking and disembarking, but a fleet is much more useful a fishing vessel. Of course, the Marchers may get help from other nations, the Freeborn and some of the other nations on the Bay of Catazar put a big emphasis on naval combat, but their fleets are a long way away and will take time to reach the Gullet. Any Imperial Fleet can support the raid, but fleets from nations that don't have any port on the Gullet (that is everyone except Wintermark and the Marches) will take a 1 rank penalty to the effectiveness when contributing to the raid.

War is a thrice-ploughed field.

Marcher

Where Are We Going?

  • The Marcher national assembly can choose to direct their champions to engage military, economic, or spiritual targets
  • The Empire has completed a map of Skallahn but it has come too late to allow the prognosticators to make the kind of detailed preparations they made for previous raids
  • To make effective use of the map - the Empire will need to be more flexible in the targets they attack

Unlike similar raids that have taken place in the past, the civil service don't have enough information to prepare a detailed briefing on two or three different options that the Marchers could attack, analysing what could be accomplished. In any case, because the Imperial forces will be spread out across Skallahn, it would be incredibly difficult to coordinate them all to come together to attack a single town or settlement. Instead, the best plan the civil service can devise is for the Marchers to adopt a completely flexible approach. The civil service recommends that the Marcher Assembly issue clear guidance, in the form of a statement of principle, laying out clearly which kind of targets to hit. They might recommend that the soldiers infiltrating Skallahn target the military facilities; raid the economic infrastructure; or focus their attacks on the Jotun's sacred sites.

The Empire has recently constructed a spy network in Skallahn and by the time of the next summit, they will have the first reports back on the territory. Commanders of military units who supported the spy network will have valuable information on key locations that could be struck, as well as a map of the surrounding geography which will be essential. Every Imperial hero who is contemplating taking part in the raid would be well advised to get a copy of the map - it will be crucial to the success of the raid once they get to Skallahn. But the map will come too late for the civil service to make an extensive analysis of the territory to allow them to provide a definitive list of individual targets as they have done in previous raids. Instead, the prognosticators advise a more flexible approach to take advantage of the information the map provides once the raid is underway.

From the rudimentary information the Empire has from the spies so far, they know that Skallahn is a rich prosperous territory - there are rumours of Bourse resources and it is the seat of the Ustigar, the Jarl of Kierheim, who is said to be the wealthiest of all the Jotun jarls. Old reports from previous conflicts in Skallahn describe a land dotted with temples. The Jotun build enormous shrines to their "gods" called Kirkja, that are looked over by their godhi. These Jotun priests have considerable status and influence in Jotun society, acting as advisers and guides to the Jarls. It is also a certainty that the territory will have numerous important military targets. The Jotun are a highly militant nation, they field more armies than any other barbarian nation and sustaining that level of force requires massive investment in mines, forges and smithies and the other infrastructure needed to outfit and arm warriors for battle.

As a consequence, the prognosticators are able to provide some insight into what the impact of each of the three different "flavours" of the raid might be.

The answer lies in the soil.

Marcher

Consequences

  • The outcome of the raid depends on whether it primarily targets military, economic, or religious targets
  • The impact of the raids will be determined by the total strength of the fleets and military units assigned to the raid

There are three possible options for the raid, to attack military, economic, or religious targets. The Marcher Assembly can choose one of these three options by passing a Statement of Principle through the Marcher Assembly to guide the raiders. If more than one contradictory statement passes, then the one with the greatest margin in its favour will take effect.

Taking Part
A military unit can be assigned to take part in the raid of Skallahn by selecting Raid Skallahn from the independent action dropdown during downtime. As this a raid, in which military units are expected to spread out across the territory, enchantments that effect paid work, such as Shroud of Mist and Shadow will be effective.

Whatever option the Assembly plumps for, every military unit will acquire significant wealth from the raid, mostly in the form of valuable metals such as green iron, orichalcum and weltsilver, but also small quantities of beggars lye, iridescent gloaming and ambergelt. They may even be able to seize some of the Jotun's most valuable commodities - potentially allowing some of the military units to come away with mithril, white granite, weirwood, or ilium!

Military: Steelweaver's Crucible

  • Targeting military facilities will damage the Jotun ability to provide emergency to build and resupply armies

Initial reports from the scouts who have been spying on Skallahn mention the Steelweaver's Crucible, a vast forge at the foot of a great mountain. Apparently, the smoke rises from the forges day and night, as the thralls labour to produce weapons and armour for the Jotun armies. The master of the Crucible is said to be a living statue, six-foot tall and cast from bronze with four arms. Each arm is so strong that it can wield a blacksmith's hammer and the statue works tirelessly beating mithril to fashion four weapons at a time. Doubtless, this extraordinary site is simply the most notorious of its kind in Skallahn. If the raiders are encouraged to target military infrastructure, they can attempt to locate the Steelweaver's Crucible and other forges, smithies, tanneries and similar, all of which are used to produce vital weapons and armour with which to equip the Jotun armies.

If the Marchers and their allies seek out military targets, if they look for Steelweaver's Crucible and other facilities like it, then they can inflict significant damage on the Jotun war machine. In this case, the Imperial prognosticators calculate that for every full 10,000 points of military strength that are assigned to the raid, the Jotun will be unable to carry out emergency resupply or raise a new army for a season. This means that if the total strength is 20,000 force, then the effect will last two seasons, if it is 30,000 then the effect will last for three seasons and so on.

Economic: Kierheim

  • Targetting economic infrastructure will damage the Jotun ability to built and repair their fortifications

Kierheim is almost as famous as Sarvos or Tassato. Said to be the closest thing the Jotun have to a city, the walled town is the seat of Ustigar, one of their wealthiest and most cunning jarls, who is said to have the ear of both the King of Narkyst and the Queen of Kallsea. The port is known to be heavily fortified but those who have visited it, say that it has a stark beauty to it. In the centre of the town, directly in front of the jarl's keep there is apparently a series of great fountains, built by Ustigar's father, each of which is filled with exotic fish of every imaginable colour. Kierheim is wealthy, there is no doubt about that, but it is very well defended. There might well be easier targets the Empire could attack that are just as rich.

If the Marchers and their allies seek out economic targets, if they risk attacking Kierheim and other settlements like it, then they can inflict significant damage on the Jotun economy. In this case, the Imperial prognosticators calculate that for every full 10,000 points of military strength that are assigned to the raid, the Jotun will be unable to build or provide emergency repair to any of their fortifications for a season. This means that if the total strength is 20,000 force, then the effect will last two seasons, if it is 30,000 then the effect will last for three seasons and so on.

Spiritual: Ulfrskelf

  • Targetting sacred sites will cause the champions of the Jotun to pull back to defend them

Allegedly, the sacred temple of Ulfrskelf lies somewhere to the north of Kierheim, if such a place really exists. According to the legends, this is where Ulven, the oldest of the Jotun faðir "died". The Jotun claim that Ulven was so strong that even the bottomless sea could not drown her, so when she felt her strength fading, she went north to seek out the belly of the world, the Omphalos, the point where the Howling Abyss meets the mortal world. She finally found what she was looking for in Ulfrskelf, but it was buried beneath the stone so she tore the mountain apart with her bare hands. From the rocks, she fashioned a bridge to carry her and her followers over the Abyss. Those who were too scared to cross fearing the wails of anguish that emanated from the Abyss became the first thralls.

Obviously, it is a preposterous story, but the temple at Ulfrskelf is definitely real. If the Marchers and their allies seek out religious targets, if they attack the kirkja and Ulfrskelf if they can find it, then it will threaten the power of the godhi in Jotun lands. As a result, all the independent Jotun champions, the banners that support their armies, in much the same way that the Imperial military units support Imperial armies will be recalled. These groups are known to operate with the support and aid of the kirkja and they will be called back to Skallahn to protect them. In this case, the Imperial prognosticators calculate that for every full 10,000 points of military strength that are assigned to the raid, the Jotun will be unable to field any orc champions for a season. This means that if the total strength is 20,000 force, then the effect will last two seasons, if it is 30,000 then the effect will last for three seasons and so on.

The civil service caution that the Yegarra and the other human champions do not worship the Jotun gods and as such they will not be recalled - only the Jotun orc champions will return to protect their temples.

Sow, tend and reap; fight, toil and weep.

Marcher

Rewards

  • Military units and fleets that take part in the raid will receive metals and forest materials in place of their normal production
  • Some military units may be able to claim Bourse resources

The rewards for the raid should be excellent - Skallahn is a rich territory and part of the point of a raid is to make off with the enemies resources. A starting military unit can expect to receive rewards equal to 2 ingots of green iron, weltsilver and orichalcum as well as 4 more random metals and 4 random natural materials. Upgraded or enchanted military units will receive proportionately more.

In addition, Skallahn has valuable Bourse resources. Normally such treasures would be gathered up by the civil service and handed to whoever had been appointed to lead the raid, but here all the military units are being encouraged to act independently, to attack when the best opportunity presents itself. As a result, whatever loot each military unit acquires will be their own, and there will be no possible way the civil service or anyone else can tell what they have acquired.

Not everyone will be lucky enough to get an opportunity to grab Bourse materials, but the civil service prognosticators calculate that for every full 10,000 points of military strength assigned to the raid, the Empire will be able to loot ten random Bourse resources, wains of white granite, weirwood or mithril - or rings of ilium. Who is lucky enough to grab a Bourse resource will be entirely random, some citizens will get lucky, and some won't.

Fleets will also be able to support the raid, they will receive equivalent rewards, although the penalty for fleets from nations other than Wintermark or the Marches will apply to their rewards as well. Fleets will not be in a position to look any Bourse materials.

Getting Out

  • Escaping Skallahn presents a significant challenge
  • Depending on how much military strength is committed, the raid risks stretching the military infrastructure of the entire Empire
  • The impact of the raid my be felt by every military unit in the Empire

It is one thing to get into Skallahn... getting out might be another matter. Once a wave of attacks start across the territory, the Jotun will quickly go on high alert. It will very quickly become impossible for the Marchers and their allies to get out the same way they got in. The fishing vessels can smuggle the military units into the territory if no-one is expecting them, but the Jotun will be guarding the shorelines once they realize what is happening. At that point, it will be practically impossible for the soldiers to sneak past them to reach the boats.

Fortunately, there is another way out of Jotun lands. The Navarr Assembly backed the judgement of Corey Wayfarer with a greater majority - urging any Navarr who can to offer aid to their strategy. The Marchers have their beaters and the Highborn have their unconquered, but no nation in the Empire can rival the Navarr for the ability to lead a group of people through enemy territory. Before the Empire was formed, the Navarr stridings spent decades picking their way through hostile territory, finding ways to avoid patrols and evade authorities. Even now that most stridings confine their wanderings to the Empire's borders, there are still those Navarr who pride themselves on walking the trods as far as they can go, regardless of who controls the lands they are passing through. With the help of the Navarr scouts and pathfinders, the Empire's heroes can slip over the border of Skallahn into Sermersuaq and once there find their way through the enemy lines to the regions controlled by the Empire.

Of course, the Jotun will know what is happening by that point. Their armies will be on high alert, and they will have patrols out searching for the Empire's forces. But it won't matter if there are encounters between Jotun and Imperial soldiers by that point, not once the raids are over and everyone is leaving Skallahn. It's too late then for the Jotun commanders to warn anyone about what is happening.

Even with the help of the Navarr, it won't be easy. The grim reality is that though there will be a lot of fighting in Skallahn more people will be lost trying to slip through the Jotun's lines than attacking the Jotun. Such is the way of war. The more people that go... the more Imperial casualties there will be.

The Imperial prognosticators calculate that if the total military strength on the raid is less than 20,000 then there won't be any long-term impact. If the total force (from fleets and military units) is over 20,000 but under 30,000 then every single military unit in the Empire will suffer a one rank penalty for a season - reflecting the difficulty in replacing so many lost soldiers in such a short space of time. The penalty increases by one rank for every full 10,000 points of military strength above 10,000. This means it will be a one rank penalty between 20 and 30,000; a two rank penalty between 30 and 40,000 and so forth.

There are some ways this penalty could be ameliorated. The key problem for the Empire's military units is not getting out of Skallahn, it's crossing Jotun held territory in Sermersuaq. If the Empire can wrest control of one or more of the regions that border the Jotun lands that will make it easier for the soldiers to get back safely. The prognosticators calculate that If the Empire is able to gain control of either Suaq Wastes or Stark by the end of the coming campaign season, then this will reduce the penalty by one rank to a minimum of zero. If the Empire is able to gain control of Tanikipari by the end of the season, then that will also reduce the penalty by one rank to a minimum of zero (both effects are cumulative).

Opting Out

  • The National Assembly of a nation may urge their people not to take part in the raid
  • This will protect their nation from the fall out of the raid at the price of extending the effects on other nations
  • A nation whose assembly opts out of the raid will have greatly reduced effectiveness if they still take part

The other way a nation might avoid suffering the consequences of the Skallahn raid is if their national assembly calls on their people to disavow any participation in it. Any national assembly could pass the following mandate.

Wisdom teaches us to despise folly and chastise those who spread it. This raid is folly and we send {named priest} with 15 liao to chastise any military captains who contemplate joining it.

Synod Mandate, Any National Assembly


If a national assembly endorses this mandate, then any military units or fleets that go on the raid will be 50% less effective, receive 50% less rewards and be unable to acquire any rare resources, but their nation will not suffer any penalty from the raid.

However, that just means the burden of the losses will fall more heavily on the other nations. If three or more nations disavow the raid, then the penalty on the remainder will last for two seasons. If six or more nations endorse the mandate, the penalty will last for three seasons and if nine nations refuse to support the raid then the penalty will last for a year. If all ten nations pass the mandate, then support for the raid will collapse and the option will no longer be available.

Raphael i Zamora i Riqueza has asked the Freeborn Assembly to pass the following alternative mandate.

While raiding is a proud tradition of the Brass Coast, Vigilance calls to protect those you care about above all else. We send {named priest} with 15 Liao to encourage the military captains of the Brass Coast to follow the example of Guerra and liberate all those who are held unwillingly in Feroz, instead of raiding for profit.

Synod Mandate, Brass Coast Assembly


Nathair Autumngale has asked the Navarr Assembly to pass the following alternative mandate.

Sacrifice is both our Hearth Magic and our aspiration to Pride. We should recognize the sacrifices made by the Freeborn in ceding Feroz, whose people now need our aid. We send {named priest} with 15 doses of liao to encourage Navarr military captains recovering from combating the Vallorn not to go raiding in Skallahn, but to support the rescue and extraction of those trying to escape Feroz.

Synod Mandate, Navarr Assembly


Tobias Field has asked the Dawn Assembly to pass the following alternative mandate.

Pride demands the sternest measures in battle and crusade. We should stand shoulder to shoulder with our heroic comrades of Highguard and declare death to the Druj and an ending of their empire. We send {named priest} with 15 does of Liao to encourage Dawnish military captains not to go raiding in Skallahn but instead to look east and the close and glorious conquest of the Barrens.

Synod Mandate, Dawn Assembly


If any of these mandates are passed, then the military units or fleets of that nation that go on the raid will be 50% less effective, receive 50% less rewards and be unable to acquire any rare resources, but their nation will not suffer any penalty from the raid.

A special alternative mandate is available to the Varushkan National Assembly, should they wish to focus the attention of the nation on the Ossium problem.

Complications (conjunctions)

  • Three conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate have been identified that offer complications and opportunities to Imperial heroes

To complicate matters, the civil service prognosticators have identified three large conjunctions at the coming equinox - all of which will affect the Skallahn raid in some way. Two conjunctions at the gathering lead to the shores of the Gullet along the western coast of Kallavesa. Here, enterprising citizens are already laying down preparations for the raid, caulking small boats, fixing carts, and unloading supplies already sent from Meade in preparation for the Marcher-led endeavour. The third involves engaging a Jotun patrol, suspicious of the movement of Imperial captains, that threatens to expose the Skallahn spy network.

Conjunction
The information presented here details the background and objectives for one or more conjunctions of the Sentinel Gate. Details relating to the day, timing, gate size, and any additional information will be summarised on the Wind of Fortune conjunction page for the event, usually one of the last of the winds to be released.

For most conjunctions we've suggested Imperial titles that might be most fitting to take overall responsibility for ensuring that an opportunity is organised. Whilst the named individual has been deemed the most appropriate 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 muster point by the Sentinel Gate to provide further information to any citizens wanting to know more.

Sometimes it is necessary to make small adjustments to the timing or size of skirmishes, owing to delays or availability of crew that arise between the time of publication and when an encounter runs at the event. Details will be finalised on Friday afternoon of the event before time-in. Please do check the details of a conjunction you are interested in before using the gate to ensure that you have the full and up to date information. You can check a conjunction by casting Detect Magic (Discover Conjunction) on the Sentinel Gate in the presence of a ref.

Steward's Landing

  • Jotun raiders threaten the staging post where boats to support the raid are being prepared
  • Driving off the orcs and concealing the staging post will allow Steward Jarvey Oddsboy to send their own warriors on the raid
  • The civil service suggests that Gregor - the Grandmaster of the Shuttered Lantern - might organise such a mission

Steward’s Landing lies close to Odd's End in Mitwold, on the opposite bank of The Gullet from the Kallavesa West Marsh. Many small boats are being prepared here, by fisherfolk along the southern banks of the shallow sea from Otterly to Mead. When the signal is given, they will help transport willing raiders north to the staging post near Westerhal. While preparations are taking place under utmost secrecy, such a large-scale endeavour is hard to conceal. The need to hide preparations has become more pressing as locals have observed a force of Jotun warriors coming ashore from thrall-rowed ships onto the salt flats on the edge of Bregasland. Jarvey "Strongoar" Oddsboy, the steward of the small Marcher household who oversees Steward's Landing needs the aid of Imperial heroes to fight off the orcs. He also requests the aid of a coven of magicians able to cast the Vale of Shadows, to help conceal his fisheries (and consequently, preparations for the raid) from the prying eyes of Jotun scouts and Bregas rebels alike.

Success and Failure: Successfully driving off the Jotun will prevent them learning of the preparations taking place at Steward's Landing, and allow the steward to send 500 strength in his own livery to support the raid. Driving the orcs away and performing the Vale of Shadows ritual on the steward will mean they are able to risk sending not only their own soldiers but those of several neighbouring farms and smaller households along on the raid, providing a total of 1,500 strength.

Failing to drive off the orcs, or not shrouding Jarvey's holdings at Steward’s Landing, will mean he will feel the need to focus on defending their household while the raid is taking place, and they will not provide any additional warriors to support the attack on Skallahn.

Lansipari Pines

  • A family of hylje are being troubled by Jotun orcs
  • If the orcs can be dealt with, the hylje will be able to help support the raid by providing assistance getting back over the border into the Empire
  • The civil service suggests that Raal Dunn - the Mediator of Hyljehal - might organise such a mission

The Lansipari Pines are a wood above the northernmost point of Lansipari in Tanikipari, far to the rear of Jotun forces in Sermersuaq and close to the Skallahn border. Here, determined Suaq hunters have made contact with a village of the seal-kin known as the hylje. Since the invasion of the icy expanse by the Jotun the inhabitants of the area have kept a low profile, surviving out of sight and avoiding rousing suspicions of a veteran Kirkland unit stationed nearby. On hearing of the planned raid and the turning of the war against the barbarians the leaders of the community are quick to offer support, but on one condition. The hylje here are skilled trackers and explorers, but their fighting force is limited. They are keen to avoid open confrontation with the Jotun, and request that the Empire removes the threat to their village so that they can be free to offer support. A forceful attack would shatter the orcs, breaking their morale, and driving them from the vicinity of the seal-kin’s dwellings.

Success and Failure: Successfully driving off the orcs will free the hylje to support the Empire not in the attack on Skallahn, but in the aftermath. Along with their kin in other parts of Wintermark, they will provide escorts and waterborne aid to the military units returning from the raid. This will significantly reduce loss of life and resources, and lower the penalty suffered by Imperial military units in the wake of the raid by one rank.

Starkmarsh

  • A band of Jotun orcs suspect the existence of the Skallahn spy network
  • The orcs need to be eliminated if the spy network is to remain secret
  • The civil service suggests that Cayleb - the Imperial Spymaster - might organise such a mission

Along the northerly cost of West Marsh is Starkmarsh, a particularly morose stretch of the Kallavesa marshes. A group of Navarr scouts, encouraged to help in Skallahn by their National Assembly, bring a timely warning. A warband of Jotun warriors has crossed the border here in the wake of the last few military units supporting the Skallahn spy network. The scouts believe that these Jotun seem to have grown suspicious after sighting Imperial forces and tracked them back over the border into Kallavesa. The Navarr are confident that they haven't actually captured any Imperial spies or discovered any concrete evidence for the existence of the spy network. If they are able to report their suspicions to the Jotun generals, however, it's certain that the Skallahn spy network will go the same way as the Hordalant spy network. Worse, it will alert the Jotun to the fact the Empire is spying on them.

Success and Failure: Eliminating all the orc warriors will prevent them alerting the Jotun generals to the presence of the spy network. The Jotun will not connect the Empire's raid to any espionage activity, meaning they will be unlikely to look for any spy network unless given significant additional cause. Ensuring the force includes some fleet-footed fighters able to chase down any stragglers would improve the likelihood of success.

If more than three Jotun escape to share their suspicions, the Jotun will surely discover the existence of the Skallahn spy network. They will take steps to locate and destroy it but more importantly perhaps the Jarl of Kierheim will warn his peers that the Empire is spying on the Jotun kingdoms. This will increase their level of alertness, and it will become significantly harder to spy on the Jotun for the next year. The thresholds required for a successful spy report using a spy network in Jotun territory - which currently includes Liathaven in the south - will be doubled. It is also possible that some jarls may seek the aid of night eternals in shrouding their lands from magical scrying.

Game Design (Edits)

We've updated this wind of fortune to include an element to allow fleets to participate as well as military units.

When we wrote the wind of fortune, we deliberately excluded fleets because naval raiding forms no part of the Marcher or Wintermark cultural make-up. The Marchers main focus is farming and on raising yeoman military. Wintermark are canonically not vikings, there are no longships there. The Imperial nation that does naval raiding really well is the Brass Coast. This is reflected in the resources that players usually take - per player, the Brass Coast has nearly five times as many fleets as Wintermark and more than twenty times as many fleets as the Marches. When we create plots we aim to gear them to the themes of the nation - so plots about naval raids occur on the Bay of Catazar spearheaded by the Brass Coast.

But we made a clear mistake when we wrote this wind of fortune, because we suggested that the fishing boats of Odds End and Westerhal would enable thousands of soldiers to be smuggled into Skallahn. We did that to try and reflect player actions in the Synod and to create an interesting story - as these tiny boats drop warriors off all along the coast.

The story is absolutely crucial in setting the terms for the scenario. Having written this account of how the raid would play out, it was completely preposterous that a player with a fleet resource couldn't help with the raid. If the soldiers are going there by ship, then it defies belief that ships can't help. Our original claim that they can roleplay that they are helping is not justifiable in a game that places such a strong emphasis on reflecting players' actions in the outcomes as far as possible.

Hence we've changed our mind and altered the flow of the text slightly to incorporate fleets. We've added a small penalty for some fleets to reflect the fact that it's difficult for fleets from nations that don't have any berths on the Gullet would take time to reach the area. But beyond that fleets can now help out.

We will try not to make this mistake again! Any raiding opportunities that happen along the Empire's western border will involve daring raids for military units to slip across the border and cause chaos for the Empire's enemies. That reflects the proud military traditions of the Marchers and the Wintermark which is heavily focused on land. Any naval raids will occur on the Bay of Catazar. That reflects the bold naval traditions of the Freeborn and their maritime rivals. After this raid, the Jotun will adjust their defences so no more naval raids on their coastline will be practical, which further underlines the unique nature of this opportunity!