Part 20: 1331: Raiding
The year starts with a terrifying omen--the gods have given US our marching orders. Kick some goddamn ass!
Of course, we need trained warriors to kick ass, so in the first month of the sea season I ordered four more weaponthanes hired. More than just slightly more skilled footmen, weaponthanes lead our men, construct our fortifications, patrol our lands, and hone their skills to be better than any part-time warrior could ever hope to be. An intermediary step between farmer and weaponthane is the Hunter job--hunters don't get much food, but are excellent skirmishers, patrol our lands as part of their job, and do a half-dozen other minor things besides--if we ever decide to swell the size of our clan through recruitment, making the new members hunters is a definite possibility.
I considered the possiblities of consulting with the gods, but we don't know any rituals of Humakt--and as this is the last season of the Sea, we wouldn't have time to both research AND cast a spell before the war season.
Instead, I'm sending some guys to go steal some cows from the Jenestni.
If we send too many warriors, they will be spotted and have to fight. The Bayberries are the weakest of the nearby clans.
You don't say! Having someone who knows combat backwards and forwards sure is useful--normally your ring isn't this direct with their advice. But when it comes to wacky hyjinx, it's the personal grudge that really sells it. I've sent six of our finest thanes to steal some cows, along with nine warriors--the harvest can spare that many easily.
A wild success! They've taken twice their number in beasts. The chances of being spotted depends on a number of factors--the number of patrolling guards, the number of hunters, the presence or absence of watchtowers, and so forth.
Anyway, the fire season started without incident--the planting was done, so it was time to raid! Sending too many soldiers is a bad idea--it's easier to see you coming, so the defensive force is larger, and if you don't leave anyone to defend the tula opportunistic neighbors will show up and steal your cows. In addition to the weaponthanes and spearmen, the auxiliaries are non-combatants who carry supplies and tend to the wounded--including them reduces casualties in war.
I've called upon the Badger clan (which owes us one) to send warriors to assist us in our raid against the Jenestni.
This is the raid screen. Looks like we hit 'em when they're at their weakest. What now?
Sacrificing to the gods makes us stronger in combat, but also takes forever... if you sacrifice, and your enemy doesn't and charges, your ritual is ruined and you're at a disadvantage. If we don't sacrifice and charge, and our enemy does sacrifice, we have the advantage. But sacrificing gives an advantage of some sort if it isn't ruined by a charge, I'm just not sure what.
Alright, I have never seen a sacrifice be completed, one side or the other always interrupts the ritual. It's a bad technique, you should do your magical rituals before you go to the enemy's tula and meet their warriors.
The objective is what we're there for. Plunder is general smash and grab, while Burn Steads is an attempt to destroy homes and farmland and generally a dick move, while Killing as Many as Possible is an attempt to neuter their military might. Destroy Fortifications is a more tactical form of vandalism, and destroys the walls, forts, and watchtowers the enemy may have constructed, leaving them more vulnerable to attacks in the future. Seize Their Land doesn't work unless they're neighbors, and only works then if you're much, much stronger than they are. Taking Captives is for grabbing random warriors to ransom off back to the clan--or keep as Thralls, which can be used in the fields or sacrificed to the gods. Finally, Survival doesn't accomplish anything if you win, but sharply reduces the damage you take.
Finally, the tactics are how you fight. Skirmish is a highly mobile war style, where you minimize casualties taken at the cost of damage dealt, and is especially effective if your clan has a lot of hunters, which ours doesn't. Certain blessings make certain tactics stronger. Maneuver relies on the combat skill of the raid leader (Ortossi) and is generally more effective on your home territory. Charge skips all the faffing about and hits 'em square in the face. Finally, Evade is running away.
How do we do this?