The old empire had fallen, but it had not fallen far. In corners of its old domain the factions held out. In Rasaec and in Yepmop the claimants to the throne of Emor eked out an existence of sorts. The old territories had broken away however, and the tribal lands had slumped back into their usual anarchy. Sutnop had returned to its old mix of civilization and despotism, while the unconquered might of Aihtrap maintained its military and cultural threat to the southlands. In the far north, Ainattirb, mist covered and mysterious continued without the firm stamp of Emor sandal with whatever awful rites were performed there.
In the centre, Emor itself and the Old Lands were reinvigorating. The imperial overstretch which had precipitated the civil wars and collapse of empire was a thing of the past, and an enthusiastic senate and reformed military, with the new young ruler, were starting to seek the reconquest of the rebel lands.
In his study in the Imperial Palace at Emor, the new emperor, Sutsugua, pondered. His grandfather’s will had read, in full: ‘Dear Son, there are no soldiers, there is no money. Best of luck.’ By dint of abandoning the outlands his father’s concentration on survival had paid off. He had built a bit of industry in Emor so the city could keep itself in carts and weapons. The political and military structures had been renewed. At his death, Emor had been ready to strike to reclaim the lands that were rightfully hers, who had been revelling in their freedom for two generations. Now, there was an army. Now there was money. The question was how to use them?
To the south, the Kingdom of Sutnop had reconstituted itself. As the old saying went ‘Sutnop always rises again.’ Further south still, Old Emor, in the shape of Yepmop, a pretender to the imperial throne held sway, influencing the lands of Gracia still further south. Striking south was an attractive option, but Sutnop had a large and effective army and, if backed by Yepmop, could be a very testing target.
Northwards, the tribal lands of Cillag were an easier target. Divided into three tribal areas, it might just be that each could be over-run in turn. The possibilities would then be either to turn on Ynareg, or to settle with the Rasaec break-aways. Sutsugua shifted in his seat. “Divide and conquer” his father had told him. He must find out how tightly the Cillag tribes bonded together.
Now, I’ve not gone completely mad (or at least, no madder than last time) but I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and describe a campaign. The above is the opening backstory of the said campaign, which is set in an imagined continent. So far, all I’ve got is a blob map of the countries and their relationship to each other, and the writing above. All the tools so far have been a pen, a piece of paper, a list of the Roman era armies I have, and a bit of imagination.
It was noted on one of the other solo-wargaming blogs recently, that it is all very well trying to set up a campaign like Tony Bath’s Hyporia, but actually it is an awful lot of work and you’ve forgotten why you did it when you’ve finished. I agree, and I’d go a little further, too, arguing that this is not, in fact, how Hyboria started. After all, the write ups in Battle and Military Modelling were under the title ‘The Campaign That Grew’. The most complex bits came along later.
Some sort of narrative campaigning is actually much easier. Of course, you can include or not whatever you like in terms of detail, and you can use whatever system you like to create incidents. In the above, so far, we are now at the point where I introduced a random element to determine the relations between the Cillag tribes. To do this I stole, I think, an idea on national diplomacy from an article in an old Lone Warrior, and I’ve got a table of the tribes. A D6 was then rolled and it turned out that two of the tribes were at war: T-sae and Ht-ous.
‘Bother,’ I thought. 'I’m going to have to paint some more Gauls.’
However, the narrative can continue:
“There is war, sire.”
“T-sae and Ht-ous, sire.”
“This may give us an opportunity. Who is winning?”
“There are threats and raids, sire. Not much else is happening. Maybe after planting they will fight.”
“We need to find their intentions. See to it.”
Firstly, a note on names. I am not good at names, plus I do need to keep track of the real world prototypes of the Fuzigore nations. In the above, the names are, more or less, the real world ones spelt backwards (as if you’ve not already worked that out). Stuart Asquith once wrote that it was really no good, for example, running a War of Spanish Succession campaign with a fortified city called Lille, because everyone would imagine that they had to besiege it. Changing the names, or making them less obviously historical can tackle this problem.
So, where now?
The next move is actually to focus in on one individual and his adventures in spying from Erom on Cillag. I’d always envisaged the campaign working on multiple levels. The accuracy of the information that Sutsugua will have depends on how well my hero, a junior wine merchant called Ocram, succeeds in his mission. But perhaps more of that some other time.