The Sons of Roland: Precious Loot in Saddles

Ok, ok. I said I wasn’t going to write an AAR this time around. And I’m not, I swear. But this week I particularly need money. So…

The Sons of Roland

  • I Know Nothing, I Am From Barcelona: There has been some confusion on where I’m playing, so I’ll set it straight. I am definitely playing Barcelona. Now it’s true that in the gross world of mere matter, my actual physical location is, yes, Holland. Obviously this doesn’t, you should excuse the pun, matter. In spirit, in the true reality, in my heart, and above all in the sight of God I am playing Barcelona. If necessary I will conquer my way across France, but it’s probably easier to turn Holland into an industrial powerhouse and burn so much coal that global warming gives me the nice Mediterranean climate, while turning the impostor location south of the Pyrenees into a baked desert.
  • The Sons of Roland: I’ve changed my dynasty name from “de Errolan” to “van Roland”; there is no particular need for Roland to be from Spain. All that’s actually known about him is that he was lord of the Breton March and died in the retreat across the Pyrenees. So, rapid retcon: Roland first became known in border skirmish and raid against the Moors Saxons; he courted and married a wife in Asturias Holland; and his legacy to his children was Durendal, “the sharpest sword in all the world”, and a tradition of leading the battle against the heathen from the front.
  • Precious Loot: The refrain of Rolandskvadet, the Song of Roland, literally runs “Ride they out of the Frankish lands / with precious loot in saddles”. This is my bid to extract some precious, precious loot from our AAR rewards, which I’ll use for mercenaries. Machiavelli wrote, but everyone already knew, that who has good soldiers can always get gold, but who has gold, cannot always get soldiers.
  • Free and Unlimited Elections at 4 to 3: Some time after Dragoon, acting as the Hand of History, formed the Holy Roman Empire, I found myself in a position to inherit the Empire; that is to say, I had the most votes. However, by the Grace of God, the emperor was a hale and hearty man of 40, and obviously not likely to die in the near future, so I resigned myself to fighting my immediate neighbours over crumbs, like a loyal Elector, and in no way recruiting all the human players to conspire against the AI. The proof of this is that when the Emperor died a few months later, the electors hadn’t stayed bought did not elect me, but rather Jems, a new player, my neighbour to the west. So, obviously, I had nothing to do with the death, and any complaints I may have made about bribed electors, hanging chads, and recounts, were jokes intended to josh the winner, in a comradely spirit that recognises the Emperor as first among equals.
  • Lorraine Campaign: My southern neighbour, Mike, made the mistake of being a young girl for a while, which made the Pope willing to grant a claim on Lower Lorraine to an adult male who is a proven warrior against the infidel; we can’t be having with border marches being held by women, much less women not of age. With levies and mercenaries, I could raise 2700 men; Mike, 2400. However I had deeper reserves of money; and since the war was fought in his lands, I would occasionally get some loot, letting me extend my campaign for another month or two. We fought two battles, both of which I won, by the skin of my teeth. Every so often I would check Mike’s treasury, and see that he could pay his mercs for another ten months, then six, then five… then Dragoon joined on Mike’s side, with an additional 1000 men. I didn’t retreat fast enough, and was brought to battle. I gritted my teeth and planned to come back when Mike’s mercenaries were gone; and by some miracle I won! Outnumbered three to two, my heavy infantry held their ranks and threw back wave upon wave, and in the end it was the Franks who broke and ran. And just then, Mike’s treasury suddenly increased massively; did he find some secret Jews? A clandestine supporter? Marry some lowborn merchant’s get, trading his noble blood for a pot of filthy gold? Who knows; but it didn’t help. I was able to siege the barony that put me over the top just before he could hire new mercenaries, and gain Lower Lorraine as the Pope intended.
  • Felix Nube: Mike inherited back two of the three counties I had taken from him with the Duke title.
  • Burgundian Campaign: With my new title I had claims on Loon and Liege, held of the Duke of Burgundy; I attacked, and this time my armies got hammered in two successive battles I should have won. The RNG giveth, the RNG taketh away; praised be the name of the RNG!
  • Second Lorraine War: With my levies reduced to half size, and my treasury drained, Mike very naturally attacked to get his own back. He was again allied to Dragoon, and had enough money for a mercenary company, giving a total enemy army of 3500 while I could raise 600 men. This war is still ongoing at session’s end, and is the source of my strong need for gold. (So to the extent you’ve enjoyed this AAR, thank Mike). While my military options are currently somewhat limited, I am exploring the diplomatic ones; and, all else failing, it’s only one county and the restoration of the situation before the Lorraine Campaign.

Situation 793. Note the large, hostile army sitting on the disputed territory in Lorraine.

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