Thursday, December 30, 2010

Random events by the character

While the Catalan side moves for this 6th turn are being resolved and drawn on a map, I've been thinking about my Imagi-Nation's characters and their particular stories. I've been letting my imagination freely fly so far, with no influences on my scenes other than the military campaign results, eventual readers suggestions and my own thoughts on each character's actions. There had been few general guidelines so far about them, except maybe for young Mireia, Marquis de Vilana and Lady Elisenda, who have admittedly acquired some starring roles. Even in those three cases, however, I really have no detailed storyboard behind, and this can become a real nightmare in some occasions, when you have no inputs or intuitions about each one's next scene.

So that I've thought it would be better to let Mythic GME help me, in a way not that different as explained some says ago about campaign events by the country. Therefore, from now on, at every turn start I'll be rolling a die for each character, with the aim to find out which of them get a Mythic GME event. General mechanics will be more or less the same as for countries. That is, there will be a first 1D100 roll against a probability of, let's say, 10% to obtain an event. For each result equal or less than 10, Mythic GME tables will be checked to find out what kind of event it is. I'll be posting results at this blog, so that every visitor can read and help me decypher them...

Here you are my complete list of characters so far:

1 - Claire Baizanville: 47 ... failure
2 - Count of Erill: 24 ... failure
3 - Diego De Soto: 99 ... failure
4 - Duke of Popoli: 21 ... failure
5 - Fiona McGregor: 23 ... failure
6 - General Prado: 63 ... failure
7 - General Villarroel: 98 ... failure
8 - Lady Elisenda Folc de Cardona: 62 ... failure
9 - Lieutenant Leibnitz: 01 ... success
10 - Loys d'Hauteville: 24 ... failure
11 - Major Ramón Lanuza: 84 ... failure
12 - Marquis de Vilana: 61 ... failure
13 - Mireia Perelló: 84 ... failure
14 - Rafael Casanova: 11 ... failure
15 - Others? 68 ... failure

According to results, it seems that maybe Lieutenant Friedrich Leibnitz might get a special event this turn. Rolling 1D100 against the Event Focus Table, I get 47: "Move away from a thread". Hum. If I roll again 1D100 against the Action Table, I now get 60. Once again, against the Subject Table this time, I get 42. According to tables, this pair of dice mean "Abuse a plot". Well, not the most self-explaining statement in world, don't you believe?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back to 1713: Two Crowns' moves

All fronts, 21st August 1713

For a second consecutive turn, the Spanish armies took the initiative and re-started their slow but apparently unstoppable advance towards the Catalan capital city of Barcelona.

This way, the Army Group South left their headquarters at Tivissa and marched along the old Via Augusta road at the maximum speed they were allowed to. They didn't bother stopping face to Tarragona walls, because they were aware the city was being garrisoned by Imperial troops and these would not surrender the place until the English fleet came to take them out from the Peninsula, as agreed with Queen Anne. However, the Spanish General Areizaga cared to leave a whole battalion of Burgos IR encamped face to the city gates, with the mission to prevent any entry attempt by the Catalans -just for case. He was persuaded their enemy would try to control Tarragona before his Army was able to relieve embarking Imperials, so he had commited himself to prevent this to happen.

In the meanwhile the commander of Army Grup Centre, General Vallejo, who had refused attacking at El Bruc after being reported the extremely difficult terrain where the Catalan army lead by General Bellver had fortified itself, cautiously ordered intense scoutings to be performed by the flanks of both facing armies, seeking a more favourable crossing point. His army was now complete after the arrival of two delayed Line Cavalry regiments, except for a couple of battalions having joined the Army Group South, so he enjoyed an enviable strength compared to their enemies.

On their side, the Army Group North encamped close to the battlefield they'd just won at Ponts few days ago, with the aim to re-compose ranks and wait for dispersed troops to join them again. In front of them, the Segre Rive looked like a wide open gate potentially allowing for the whole Pyrenees area to be occupied and cleant up of Catalans. However, a defiant stronghold still stood a few miles away from General Bracamonte's troops, preventing them to progress eastwards any more: Cardona fortress, never taken before by the Two Crowns.

However, the Spanish Commander-in-Chief Duke of Popoli noticed with high concern that their French allies had performed no move for a second consecutive week, so that he ordered urgent words to be sent to King Philip in Madrid, letting him know something was far from running as expected with the French, and asking for some kind of diplomatic action to be taken -or otherwise to reinforce his own army with at least as many soldiers as French troops kept neglecting their duties as allies.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Expeditionary Brigade

An out-of-time musing, 2nd half of the Century

Let's suppose for a while our Principality of Galatea/Catalonia has not only survived the War of Hispannic Succession, but also that, as a result of her early doubtless alignment with the Allies during the War of Quintuple Alliance (formerly known as the Quadruple one :D), our Imagi-Nation achieved the restoration of most of the peninsular territories belonging to the former Crown of Aragon (henceforth "The Confederation").

Well, let's also briefly suppose that a wise policy envisaged by Princess Elisenda permitted our re-born Confederation to pass through the War of Austrian Succession without irreparable damages, although the Galatean status of co-principality between the Empire and Gallia/France would have inevitably made arise a number of heavy external pressures. Most would have been drastically cut by Princess Elisenda by crowning herself as Queen of those Confederation territories other than the Principality, before any of the opposing sides in the WAS could recover from their war effort and appropriately react to. However, such daring action would have upset Gallian diplomacy and put under alert the Hispannic Court, thus feeding a significant tension increase in Western Mediterranean.

The successful rebellion of Sicily against their new Bourbon rulers would have been warmly welcome by Galatan authorities, because it seemingly would come to re-balance powers in the region. In such circumstances, the rather unexpectedly announced Imperial expedition against the newly born Kingdom of Sicily would have taken the Galatans by surprise. Old Queen Elisenda wisely would choose to summon an extraordinary joint session of her kingdoms' Parliaments to debate the request of Empress Maria-Theresa, and there she'd effectively confirm what she feared: the "Corts" or Parliaments of Galatea and Hesperia/Valencia would reject to officially get involved in a war they judged not to be defensive, while the "Stamenti" parliament of Arborea/Sardinia (eventually under higher Austrian influence) would accept with little debate a limited contribution to the Imperial war effort.

In the end, it would be agreed the formation of an Expeditionary Brigade consisting of 3 Line Infantry battalions and 1 Light Horse regiment, under Arborean command. It would have been a politically costly agreement, however, that would come to add further, heavy internal tensions to the already existing external ones.

As Princess of Galatea -a territory nominally still under Imperial co-protection-, Queen Elisenda felt in the need to personally respond to the Empress request, committing one Battalion of her prestigious Royal Galatan Guard to the projected Brigade. A second Battalion would be provided by the "Stamenti" of Arborea, who also would offer their recently created Hussars Regiment. On their side, neither the Galatan or the Hesperian "Corts" consented to draw troops of their own for an allegedly agressive campaign, but they'd accept one the Confederate Regiments of Sea Fusiliers (=Marines) to be dispatched in the Brigade. In about one month's time, the expeditionary corps would be concentrated in the city of Cagliari (Arborea) and ready to sail for Sicily under escort of Arborean warships and Confederate privateers.

It's worth to note that this Expeditionary Brigade is a part of the Galatan Confederate Army, so that they've nothing to do with the Beerstein's Galatan Mountain Fusiliers Regiment, which is a foreign contingent in permanent service of the Reich Duchy instead.

Here you are the illustrated list of units belonging to the Expeditionary Brigade destined to join the Imperial offensive lead by Reich Duke of Beerstein in Sicily:

It can be seen, through these plates, that the Galatan Army followed an increasingly stronger English influence, that from an early adoption of a 3-lines deployment and firing by the platoon during WSS, it gradually evolved by the 1750s to also extend to uniform designing.

Shortly after WSS, King's Colours pattern also suffered a substantial change when the old Virgin Mary pattern was replaced by a St. George Cross design with the arms of the respective Confederate State on it. Regimental Colours saw their religious images replaced too -probably due to an increasing huguenot French post-war immigration flow and the approval of a Religious Tolerance Act.

Uniforms colours went progressively associated to each particular corps in the Army, so that blue was established as Infantry's own colour in the peninsular States, while iron grey prevailed in Arborea. Red became the distinguishing colour for Sea Fusiliers, and yellow was kept by the Royal Guard.

The last plate shows King's and Regimental flags of all the Expeditionary Brigade units, so that they can be adapted by Bill of Beerstein to his own wargaming miniatures.

[I admit this one to be an allegedly cunning bid, by placing the Expedition under Arborean/Sardinian command instead of a strictly Galatean/Catalonian one. As it is still hard to determine what will be the future of my 1713 Imagi-Nation, I've chosen to do this because, while it seems clear that Sardinia is a part of my Galatea at the end of WSS, no one knows the imagi-island's future... so that, as a matter of fact, it is unclear who has actually shipped the Brigade: whether my Galatea or Savoy ;) ]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Random events by the country

After the comments and suggestions my latest post, now I realize I'd have a quite better generic knowledge on 18th Century History, this way I would have it far easier to apply random events derived from an eventual use of Mythic GME...

In the end, I've thought it better posting from now on my Mythic GME dice rolls, so that any benevolent reader can help us determine such events -if any! As as example, I'm posting now the results of such rolls between 5th and 6th turns. Although in this occasion dies haven't been favorable to let arise any new event, at least it's a good pretext to show you the (quite simple) mechanics of it all...

I've simply divided Europa into 20 broad regions, and have thrown a die for each one, with a 10% probability of getting an event. Results have been:

1 - Ottoman Regencies of Tunis & Algiers: 41 ... failure
2 - Morocco: 59 ... failure
3 - Great Britain & Ireland: 25 ... failure
4 - Netherlands, Flanders & Lorraine: 24 ... failure
5 - Spain (Castile): 14 ... failure
6 - Aragon & Valencia: 48 ... failure
7 - Portugal: 72 ... failure
8 - Naples & Milan: 12 ... failure
9 - Savoy & Sicily: 46 ... failure
10 - Pontificial States & Malta: 54 ... failure
11 - Venice: 100 ... failure
12 - Genoa, Florence & others: 98 ... failure
13 - France: 67 ... failure
14 - Austria & Bohemia: 22 ... failure
15 - Hungary: 64 ... failure
16 - Bavaria: 26 ... failure
17 - Hannover & Prussia: 43 ... failure
18 - Saxony & Poland: 13 ... failure
19 - Rest of Germany: 81 ... failure
20 - Rest of Europe (+Turkey): 31 ... failure

True these weren't the best results to show you any big thing, but at least the aim that, if any of the 1D100 rolls obtained a result equal or less than 10, then there would have been an important event in that country. What kind of event, it would have been determined by Mythic GME... Sure the procedure should be refined -for example, assigning higher or lesser chances to certain countries, but it seems a good beginning anyway.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New turn, and... Over 10,000 visitors!?

The map above represents the campaign situation at the start of turn 6, which is about to begin and will be running from 21st to 27th August 1713. At this point, both playing sides are supposed to write their orders and afterwards it will be rolled a die to know who has won initiative and moves first. A few precisions should be made before starting, however:

First of all, the armies engaged in a battle on the previous turn must spend this complete turn resting and recomposing ranks. This affects the Spanish Army Group North as well as their opponent, Marquis de Poal’s column, who engaged to each other at the Battle of Ponts. On one side, Franco-Spanish troops have to remain in place for the whole turn to recompose ranks, while the Catalan force must move to the closest friendly town –which is Cardona. Unlike their opponents, the Catalans won’t be in the need to stay in place for a whole turn, because they had suffered no casualties or disbanded units -but the retreat towards Cardona is still compulsory. A further column needing a whole resting turn is that one lead by the Military Deputy, defeated days ago at Tivissa Battle and still fleeing for a friendly town. Might it be Vilafranca, if they managed to persuade local authorities to open gates to them...

Once the military situation has been briefly reviewed, let’s also deal a little bit on the current diplomatic environment. As lately perceived through the lack of activity on the northern front, there is some kind of non-declared truce between the Principality and France –this implicitly meaning a French stand-by while negotiations at Rastatt are being effectively unblocked, thanks to the proposal of Marquis de Vilana. Nevertheless, it should be noticed that such situation is far from being stable, largely depending on factors beyond the sole will of Catalans. Therefore, it would be wise having in mind that military actions could be resumed at the most unexpected moment, unless a definitive peace is agreed before.

Last but not least, allow me a few words on random events. We had considered esecially relevant two of these events (death of Queen Anne and French involvement in the campaign), and therefore had them scheduled in our campaign, so that at the end of each turn both must be checked according to a variable probability. However, we're still missing the possibility of actually unexpected events potentially influencing the course of war, while actual inter-actions with other EvE Imagi-Nations have been fewer than expected -albeit those actually happened are extremely valuable. Therefore, we're still experiencing some unsatisfaction degree at this point: how to 'remotely move' the Hispannic diplomacy, their war effort or even relevant events happened in Spain, for example? -either an unexpected death or a cunning alliance, a missing Americas convoy, a setback in the colonies...?

I'm afraid that our only chance to give a life of its own to this campaign facet is getting back to the Mythic GM charts; so that at the end of each turn we would roll a die for every potentially relevant Nation, and try to guess from results what kind of event has happened there subsceptible of influencing war -it sounds to me as trying to read a Tarot, but I can hardly imagine any solution else.

There was something to talk about individual characters too, but let's better leave it for another day, don't you believe?

Oh yes, about the title of this post: it has caught me by surprise, I didn't expect such a regular attendance to this humble weblog. My most sincere gratitude to all those visiting The Defiant Principality from time to time, and a request to all of you: please don't hesitate to leave your comments, opinions or suggestions -for, as you've just read, we not only welcome them, but do actually need them!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Tarragona, 20th August 1713

Deeply depressed as she was, Mireia made a titanic effort to overcome her intense sorrow and poured into the work of her elders, helping them to prepare remedies and cures, as she had been taught to. However, her only way to meet some kind of inner peace was during her aimless wanderings along the intricate streets network of Tarragona. In one of such walkabouts, Mireia found a half hidden gate in a forgotten alley, which led to a wide boulevard running between the ancient Roman wall and the modern one the British had recently built. The boulevard was well paved and sided by wide patches of grass, with a line of tall trees on each side that provided a pleasant refreshing shade, and Mireia got fond to walking along that road. Sometimes she crossed with soldiers, but they were normally quite busy and did never bother her, so that she felt safe and confident enough to go increasingly often there, despite her mother's warnings.

One day she was delayed longer than usual and reached an area where she had been never before. A large square Roman tower invaded much of the boulevard, making it narrower. Beyond the tower, she discovered an ancient bronze statue on top of a stone column. It was an archaic and fascinating sculpture, depicting a she-wolf nursing two children. The empty basins of the she-wolf eyes seemed to be staring fixedly to her, and Mireia perceived in its inside a strange and powerful presence making her feel disturbed -although not frightened in fact.

She confidently continued her walk without realizing it was getting late, so that the evening got her by surprise in that unknown area of the wall. After finally realizing how late it was, she started to undo the way, but then a gang of threatening men barred her way, staring at her with a disturbing smile on face.

-What are you doing here alone, my pretty?
-Were you looking for some fun, perhaps?

Scared, Mireia tried to dodge them and run away, but one of them grabbed her arm and brutally threw her to the ground. In a matter of seconds, three men had frozen her and lifted her skirt. Terrified, she tried screaming, but one had their mouth firmly covered, while the others started tearing her dress and grabbing her body. She understood what they were about to do and panicked, but this only served to excite them even more.

Suddenly, a terrifying grunt was heard at their rear and the men turned around, just to see how something as black as night threw itself upon them. They had only time to perceive a terrifying pair of amberine eyes before some huge tusks wildly ripped out their throats. For a few brief moments, the night was filled with roars and shrieks of terror.

And afterwards a deep silence.

The scene had been witnessed by someone, however. An elderly gypsy woman saw the shadow switfly going away, leaving three blooded bodies on ground behind. She then observed a terrified, crying Mireia incorporating and running away -so she decided to follow the girl. At the ancient Roman tower, Mireia continued her run without noticing anything, but the woman did: the old bronze sculpture wasn't there.

-Who are you really, girl? -the old gypsy woman whispered, crossing herself up.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Imperial withdrawal, nearly completed

On the way, 20th August 1713

Most of the Imperial units still in the Principality have finally converged in the outskirts of Vilafranca town, not too many miles away from Tarragona city. Everything has gone as smooth as Count Wallis expected, with no major incidents. All of the units now are forming one single, long column...

...except for the one farthest to destiny: delayed by the extremely rough terrain as well as the vicinity of the just fought battle of Ponts, the Bagni Regiment is still quite far from the meeting point of Tarragona -maybe too far for arriving in time to be embarked in the English fleet... Fearing this could actually happen, Colonel Bagni has just decided to send a fast courier in inform Count Wallis in Tarragona about their position as well as their likely delay, hoping their high commander will manage persuading the English to wait for them...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Battle refused at El Bruc

Col of El Bruc, 19th August 1713

In the village of Castellolí few miles before the col of El Bruc, General Vallejo and a group of his officers are attentively watching the landscape before them, while patiently waiting for news from the scouting detachments sent for exploration of the area. Behind these men, the Spanish Army Group Centre is also expectantly waiting, standing along the main streets in town.

The small detachments soon start coming back, and on everyone's lips there is the same opinion: the col of El Bruc is a mousetrap. The valley is narrow and intensely wooded, with few open plains or crops, and is surrounded on either side by a cliff range not too high, but showing steep slopes that become vertical to the top. There is no other way to overcome the col apart from the road itself, which runs up to the valley bottom before abruptly climbing through a narrow passage, in an ininterrupted series of zigzags. A real mousetrap.

Even worse, most detachments have observed the presence of enemy troops on the cliffs. The Catalan army of General Bellver, whose forces are quite balanced with his own troops, have already occupied all the most strategic and well protected places. Vallejo understands that, if trying to cross the col under such circumstances, his troops would be decimated from the heights.

-We can not battle-thinking here. This damned col is closed to us -concludes the experienced general, who then adds: -This valley is a deadly trap, we risk losing our entire army if venturing into these badlands. As a matter of fact, I'm certain the longer we remain in this valley, the more risk we run of being encircled. We'll be getting back to Igualada.

His officers then stare at him with surprise: -But Sire, Duke of Popoli's orders are strict...

-...True but leave indeed some room for interpretation -Vallejo replies-. If we are to pass through this damned col, it must be following a different path. I assume responsibility for this. Back to Igualada.

Friday, December 10, 2010

News from the battlefield

Cardona fortress, 18th August 1713

Early in the morning, General Manuel Desvalls was intensely watching the horizon from the ramparts of Cardona, the fortress under his command. A few miles west, his brother Antoni Desvalls, Marquis de Poal, would likely be fighting against the Two Crowns force that had penetrated into the Segre river high valley. According to his own accounts, both armies would already have clashed around Ponts town.

The Spanish troops lead by General Bracamonte almost doubled those of his brother, and their superiority in light troops would probably have prevented any ambush attempt, so Manuel feared the Catalan army would have been pitched in a battle in open field ... Outnumbered and with no tactical advantage as they were, the Catalans risked a complete disaster, and the lack of news from his brother was a really bad omen.

Suddenly, General Desvalls sighted on the west road a man riding at full speed. When the rider got closer to the fortress, Desvalls could distinguish he was clad in the uniform of his brother Antoni's Dragoons Regiment.

-Open gates!!! Open way for that man!!! -Desvalls shouted, as he rushed in the fortress courtyard.

-What news are you bringing? -He hurriedly asked to the soldier, who was exhausted and dirty.

-Yesterday, Sire; we faced the enemy yesterday. A ranged battle lasting not less than four hours. Their Dragoons attacked us by both flanks at once, with the aim of destroying our artillery and surrounding us ... They launched several assaults, once and once again, but they were rejected with heavy losses.

-Ah good, and what about the centre?

-They took the entire width of the half dry river bed to move their infantry along it, an entire brigade of four regiments, Sire. It was a dreadful sight to look at that formation, half a mile wide. However, those braves of the General Deputation IR were able to hold them back for a long while too, with the single help of my own Dragoons Regiment. Enemy assaults were countered with intense musketry volleys, just as we had been taught by the English, so that their entire first line fell back with lots of casualties. But in the end, they managed to regroup and launch a co-ordinated assault driving our line back.


-And your brother decided not to risk any more, Sire, so that he ordered withdrawal. We had to leave battlefield to the enemy, but our army withdrew in complete order after having suffered not even a single casualty, while theirs are counted by dozens... Unfortunately, we had to leave the cannons on the field. They are on the march to Cardona, Sire.

Desvalls sighed with relief, and friendly tapped the soldier shoulder: -cannons can be replaced, unlike good soldiers. Congratulations, my boy. Go inside, you'll find warm water, hot meal and a good bed.

[The battle of Ponts was fought last Wednesday, using Close Fire & European Order (CFEO) rules. It was a really funny and exciting experience. A chronicle and photos to follow shortly!]

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Convoy

Barcelona harbour, 17th August 1713

At the sight of the small fleet he had been hurriedly gathering on the last days, General Prado could not avoid the thought that it was a good thing to be sponsored by the overseas traders' powerful guild. Thanks to these influent businessmen, he had been granted not only three small cargo ships to carry his expedition, but had been assured the convoy protection by the two currently active warships in the still half-born Catalan Navy.

Besides, it had been agreed with the recently arrived Maltese frigate to sail off Barcelona harbour all together, forming a joint convoy for mutual protection until their arrival in Majorca island. It was a good bid for the Catalan ships, for no warship of the Two Crowns was expected to risk incurring in a major diplomatic incident by shooting or being shot by a Maltese ship; but the advantages of such a temporary association were also perceived by the Maltese captain, who had in charge the hard mission of safely carrying Lady Elisenda in Genoa, where an Imperial legacy would be waiting for her.

General Prado had managed to persuade Colonel Corradó giving up in his fruitless trials for the projected IR11 Our Lady of Sorrows Regiment completion, to follow him instead in his own enterprise across the Islands. According to the plan both men agreed, they would sail for Majorca along with the men already enlisted by Corradó. At their arrival to the island, the 3 companies of the unborn Regiment would be splitted into 2 groups, so that Colonel Corradó would stay in Majorca along with two of these companies, which would become the core nucleus of two new Regiments -one of which would be put under direct command of the island’s Viceroy, while the other one would be assigned to the Sea Fusiliers force projected by the tradesmen. In the meanwhile, General Prado would continue his trip towards Sardinia island, along with the third company -with a similar target in mind. Both islands’ authorities were expectantly awaiting their arrival, because their respective lands dramatically lacked a solid defence setup, so that the need of a professional military advisor was eagerly noticed.

It was a clear day that morning, and a favorable slight breeze predicted a quick and easy journey, so that the small fleet set sails to the east without delay, leaving the heavily protected port and entering open sea, amidst a considerable public expectation.

[OK, this scene might be interpreted as some kind of alibi to show you my latest essays on the naval front... Not so really, but anyway this is a nice opportunity to talk about it... I felt a bit lazy about the beautiful albeit complicate models of Langton and similar, so that I've been searching for an easier alternative, and perhaps have finally find it among the number of dollhouse furnitures and complements in market: these actually small ships (none of which is larger than 4 cm) are coming ready sailed and painted, so that I've just had to add some paper ensigns and pennants to some, and little else. True that flags seem a bit disproportionate, but the ships themselves are so small that I had no other chance if wished the flags to be recognized! For similar size & visibility reasons, I've had to glue ensigns on top of mizzenmasts instead of placing them at the ships stern as expected... Anyway, they look actually pretty. I only guess if they'll be resistant enough to carry with a tabletop naval battle...]