Saturday, June 27, 2009

The week that was

IL2 Campaign - RAAF, 1942 New Guinea, P40E

I have flown my third mission over Moresby. I actually played it most nights, having up to three attempts at the mission per night. The situation is that a small flight of 4 x P40s (Kittyhawks) take off as their airfield is bombed by about 20 Japanese level bombers escorted by a flight of fighters. My plane was being shot out from under me or I was crashlanding with a damaged plane. I kept replaying it until I managed to at least land my damaged plane in one piece before progressing to the next mission. I occasionally got shots on target but didn't succeed in shooting one of the bombers down before I made my forced landing.

Renaissance Kingdoms

General Dracmuller spent several hours per day in the process of rebuilding the Galloway Regiment. He has appointed the necessary skeleton of staff, issued basic standing orders, planned and got underway a major regimental peacetime maneuver - 'Operation Drummore'. You will hear more of this as it unfolds. Otherwise, just the usual puttering around my various scottish haunts and at least an hour a night spent in a pub chatting and encouraging town activity.

Blog Roll Blog Posts of Note

DM as alchemist, neat summary.
Quiet times, social occasions and the rhythm of Dwimmermount.
John gets excited about Claymore '09.
Another DMG is sighted in cyberspace.

I don't know if it is just me but there seems to be a bit of a sense of community developing within the small part of the gaming blogosphere which I frequent. Hard to put a finger on it exactly, but seems to be something changing...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back in Black

My latest RK Banner.

I have fully recovered from my injuries and am able to hit the road again. To mark the change of circumstances I thought it time to change my look again...

I enjoyed the 45 day period during which I was unable to travel, work my forge, defend the power, etc. It meant life was a lot simpler - chop wood on most days, spend time in the pub each evening, participate in the Wigtown Veterans' Hospice forum based RP. Particularly this last as it flowed over into the interactions that were happening in the pub across the road and also because it allowed for some sustained literary RP over time with clan members who I would only fleetingly meet normally.

I have heard that Whithorn has gotten really quiet so it is with some trepidation that I return to my home town. If nothing else, I'll be able to work my forge and concentrate on a few things that need doing (army duties leap to mind).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


When I started this blog I had recently been given a Go set for xmas, or my birthday, or whatever. Full of expectations I eagerly awaited playing games of Go against all and sundry. To date, however, almost nothing. But the game has never yet released its hold on my imagination.

To me, Go is the epitome of a strategic contest boiled down to an abstract game form. And it is deliciously simple. Rather than try and write an introduction to it I've stayed clear of it on this blog.

And now I read this post on Tabletop, and think the whole presentation of the blog as well as its content (an examination of those 'gamey games' for 6-600 year olds) is worth a plug. Beautiful blog and a guide to get you go-ing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flying High Again

After a long long time and much thinking about it I finally took to the virtual skies again in a P40E Kittyhawk over New Guinea on Il2-Sturmovik:1946. Escorted a bunch of B17s from Morseby down to Milne Bay, took about an hour and a half to fly there and back again. Only saw a few enemy way out on the horizon. Bombers hit their target. I crashlanded safely.

Took a little while to get the hang of the controls again but it was a reasonable first mission after such a long break.

Girvan Crisis - Summary

Twenty five characters had been 'killed', with about the many wounded, over the crisis. The maps still showed Girvan belonging to Ayr. New seeds had been laid for future conflict (the campbells and the macgregor 'marines', for example, had unfinished business). The army had had a successful outing again (good for morale).

No one knew how this would all work out when it began, and no one guessed the way it acutally did end. Yet there was a remorseless logic to it all. At one time there were over a hundred people in the various armies within scotland, and there was an english army over the border to contain things to scotland if it had gotten seriously crazy. In the post mortem of the crisis there were resignations from the army, complaints, redrawings of charters, court cases, feuds and many many tales told.

For me, it gave a glimpse of medieval warfare from the 'inside', the lumbering of large national armies, the scooting around of auxilliary forces, the importance of politcs and personality to war, treachery, loyalty, mistakes and plans gone awry.

Great fun.

And, finally, at time of posting this, I have about two or three days left in the Hospice in Wigtown and then I will be recovered and can go home to my forge in Wigtown and start doing what I've wanted to do for ages ... living the quiet life.


Girvan Crisis (conclusion)

I'll keep the rest of the events of the Girvan Crisis to as short a narrative as I can as I suspect that some or all of you, my beloved readers, might be getting a bit tired of it all.

The individual soldiers of the Galloway Regiment continued over the following several days to try and sneak past the hostile town of Girvan. One of my previous bodyguards and the present General of the Regiment were amongst these. Their names were on the Kill list. They ended back in Wigtown in the Hospice. The rest (numbering nearly a dozen) got through and joined up with the northern regiments, gathering in Ayr.

Meanwhile, in Girvan, the Ducal Guard contained in its ranks many who were candidates in the Galloway election. To take their positions they'd have to march back into the county the day after the polls closed. Which they did, leaving Girvan in the care of their fellow renegade army, the marines.

Having spent a day in Wigtown to accept their positions on the council, the ducal guard proceeded to return to Girvan. At the same time the northern regiments descended from the north upon the town. Things were reaching a climax.

It was assumed that the marines would allow the guard within the wall (them being allies and all). Although they were majorly outnumbered by the northern regiments it would be a close fight once the defensive bonus of the walls was factored into the expected climactic battle that would follow.

The following day, however, there was a surprise. The northern regiments attacked, as expected. The campbells ('ducal guard') tried to get into the walls. The marines, however, kept the doors barred. The campbells were killed almost to a soldier as the combined northern regiments fell upon them in front of the town walls (needless to say this caused much hilarity amongst the loyalists but greatly upset the campbells).

The following day the northern regiments attacked the walls, manned now only by the marines. With some nifty generalship, however, the marines managed to sneak away with only a handful of casualties. They ran all the way to Dumfries on the English border, chased by a triumphant loyalist army.

The conflict finally reached a negotiated settlement in distant dumfries, with the marines laying down their arms and seeking refuge within the castle walls. The Clan army of the Wallaces, which had been acting as 'backstop' to the loyalist forces, marched into Girvan and reannexed it to the County of Ayr. This marked the end of the Girvan crisis.

Girvan Crisis (7)

Our deaths were not in vain. We had determined that there was a kill list in operation in the renegade army (our best argument to bring the pacifists onside). We had shed Gallowegian blood (bringing the glaswegians onside). Our two deaths probably increased the strength of the loyalist armies by many times that number.

The outpouring of grief on the forums as word of my death travelled brought tears to my eyes. I didn't know how widely or how well regarded my character was within the Kingdom. I found myself soon having to notify folk that i was 'resurrected' within Wigtown or some folk would have done stupid things (eg. leave the game because the 'nice guys' are getting killed).

Perhaps most valuably, by my death I had removed any middle ground between the warring factions. Killing a nice guy like me was a fact that the renegades couldn't explain away, especially as I was heading too Girvan, not past it to the northern regiments. They were now seen as common cutthroats by those who had not already thought this of them due their propoganda to date.

As we set up a RP forum thread called 'Wigtown Veterans' Hospice' to occupy ourselves during our enforced stay in the town we felt some satisfaction knowing that our deaths were not in vain, even though we were now out of the action for the rest of the crisis. Our duty had been done.

And with that, we watched events from afar while we settled into our rehabilitation.

Girvan Crisis (6)

The Wallace and myself marched to Girvan in our group of two. We were prepared for hostility. We were still rather surprised when 'reset' happened and a new day began and we found ourselves back in Wigtown.


We had been attacked and 'killed' by the ducal guard upon our reaching Girvan. We were automatically sent by the game system back to the last town we had been in (Wigtown). Although able to 'resurrect' ourselves we had lost a portion of our stats (stength, charisma, intelligence). Our swords and shields were broken beyond repair. We were not able to step outside the town for 45 days while we recovered.

We were the first casualties of the Girvan crisis, killed on a 'beer run to Girvan' as the publicists were soon broadcasting across the kingdom.

Girvan Crisis (5)

At the time of arrival in Wigtown, our soldiers had been travelling in bands of five for self protection. These bands would only be chewed up if they came into contact with the hostile armies blocking our route to the north. So we split up the groups and issued orders to the troops to make their individual way onto the nodes and then to try and sneak past the town walls of Girvan.

The exception to this was myself and one other volunteer. Anjel Wallace was not in the army, but had come along to help out. He was generally pacifist. I had spoken to him a few times about what was happening. He wanted to fight but wouldn't take part in any attack upon a town. I thought that if he saw what I suspected was happening in Girvan (gangs of thugs running rampant over a terrorised townsfolk) he'd change his mind.

So Anjel and I formed a group of two and went direct to Girvan.

There was a further reason for this action of ours. So far, no one had been hurt in the evolving crisis. We didn't know whether there was room for a negotiated settlement or not. The only way to know would be to determine if there were kill lists in operation for the ducal armies.

If we went straigth to Girvan we'd come into contact with the occupying army a day before the other soldiers would be attempting to sneak around the town. They would be able to see what happened to us and at least be prepared for the possiblities. If we were attacked, so be it. If we weren't, we'd be able to gain valuable intelligence about the situation within the town.

So, Anjel and I said our farewells and headed out on the road to Girvan.

Girvan Crisis (4)

There we were, sitting in a pub in Wigtown with Scotland marshalling for war all around. Royalist armies were gathering in Glasgow and Ayr, to take on the renegade Ducal Guard of Galloway which was occupying the formally Ayrish town of Girvan. There was an army of marines, loosely aligned with the renegades, somewhere in the vicinity of Wigtown. There was the possibility of a coup in our capital of Dumfries.

We couldn't raise our own ingame army because there were not suffcient soldiers who had the required skills in our Regiment. We were receiving contradictory orders about what to do; march to girvan with the townsfolk, go and defend our capital, sneak past girvan and join up with the northern regiments, stay in wigtown and defend the power.

So we held a conference in the pub to work it out for ourselves.

Having spoken to some of travellers passing through we were able to pin down the location of the marines, whom they had passed on the road. The marines were heading north to Girvan. This meant that we could leave the safety of the towns of Galloway in the hands of the mayors with a lot less risk, but we still had to work out how we could best contribute to the liberation of Girvan.

The main fighting force would be the northern regiments regardless what we did. The most prudent thing to do have been to remain in Wigtown to cut off any possible retreat by the rebels. The problem with this is that we were hearing strong rumours of internal divisions within the Glasgow regiment (the strongest), with the isolationists seeking immediate withdrawal from the conflict. One of their main arguments was that Galloway wasn't providing troops to the good fight, and why should Glasgow do so if we didn't?

That decided it. So we packed our bags, gathered our swords and shields, and worked out how we were going to try and get ourselves to the loyalist armies to the north of the hostile town of Girvan.

Renaissance Lawyer

In RK I was asked to take appear in the County Court as defence counsel for Rothum, the Rector of the University. She was prosecuted for Treason. She had excluded from consideration for appointment to a lecturerer position one of the main characters in the Girvan Crisis, namely the Chief of the MacGregors - who had been responsible for the highway murder by the Ducal Marines of a wandering scholar who had been heading to Galloway to teach.

Up until I received Rothum's request I had kept clear of the Renaissance courts on the twin grounds that I have been busy enough, and that legal work is too similar to what I do in real life for a living. However, I made in exception in this matter because I (a) have a lot of respect for what Rothum has achieved so far with the university and the manner in which she conducts herself generally, (b) I didn't like the bullying that she had recently been subject to by Campbells and MacGregors, (c) most others would be scared off of the job because of the larger conflict it was a part of and the reprisals which usually follow standing up to the bullies, (d) in real life I have a bit of a history of activism over education issues and this gelled neatly with that, (e) I am still recovering in Wigtown and this was one way of being involved in larger affairs.

So I took the case. We were successful in getting Rothum aquited, though the Judge reasoned differently to what we had argued in the case. Still, it was fun.

Below is the transcript of the trial as it played out in the court over several days. You will note that it is a very different approach to the previous time I and a friend had been hauled before a similar court in the Aztec World, charged with highway robbery.

Lawsuit between Rothum and County of Galloway

Rothum was charged with the act of treason.

The sentence has been passed

The verdict
The defendant has been discharged.
The charges filed in this case were brought under the following statute.

Article 2.4.6: An act of abuse of power is defined as the use of public position beyond normal duties to earn

political or personal gain for himself or an accomplice.

It is the duty of this Court to determine if the prosecution has met its burden of proof in showing the elements of this statute were shown to have been done, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Immediately, the Court observes that there are problems with this statute. It does not define an act of abuse of power as a crime. It simply defines that act to be one that is the �use of a public position beyond normal duties to earn political or personal gain for himself or an accomplice.� Though located within the Penal Code, it fails to recite that this is a crime, and what level of crime it is. The Court finds that this is a fatal defect in the law, such that it cannot be used to charge a crime, as it makes no declaration that an abuse of public power is found to be a crime under the laws of the County of Galloway. The Court finds that this statute is merely definitional, and does not in fact set out a matter that is a crime. The Court is constrained to read the laws as they are on the books. The Court cannot infer that this was intended to be a crime. In matters so serious as criminal proceedings, the law must be clear. As the Court has noted in its previous rulings, one function of the law is to put residents and citizens on notice of what is considered to be criminal behaviour in the County. And in this, this statute falls far short of what is required for a statute under which a criminal proceeding can be held.

As such, this case is dismissed with prejudice.

Nevertheless, were the Court to make a ruling on the merits of the case, the Court finds that the power inherent in the Rector�s job, to appoint teachers, and the exercise thereof, does not rise to the level of using a position beyond normal duties. It is within the purview and normal duties of the Rector to use her or her considered judgement in appointing teachers at the University. A disagreement over the exercise of judgment, a matter upon which reasonable men may well disagree, does not make such disagreement rise to the level of an abuse of the power of the position of the Rector, and the charge in any event would again be dismissed with prejudice.

Bill of indictment

The defendant stands in court, being charged for the crime within the Penal Code, in "Article 2.4.6: An act of abuse of power is defined as the use of public position beyond normal duties to earn political or personal gain for himself or an accomplice."

The Defendant, is Rector of the County University, and due to this, is expected to guide the University in an unbiased, and fair manner. The evidence below, shows the defendant in a confession-like manner, abusing her role as Rector. The King states that no one charged with a crime, can be punished afterwards, yet the crime claimed in the evidence isnt a charged crime, or law within the County of Galloway.

The Rector is not a prosecution, or a judge for that matter, and should be worrying about the teaching and stability of the University, rather than the personal quarrels with others.

The prosecution presses this case in regard of this, in an unbiased, and fair way. If the Rector wishes to prosecute, or judge, perhaps she needs to take my, or your job your honor..

*Julius says, with a laugh..*


First defence pleading

Not Guilty

Prosecutor indictment

The personal and political gain the defendant has gained is easily stated within the evidence. The ability to withhold teachers from teaching, for personal reasons, without there even being a crime pressed. Now, lets not sway from the point.

Was the Defendant, considering the well being of the University? Or was the Rector considering a personal quarrel with the plaintiff? No matter which way you answer, personal feelings, which is something to consider no matter how you put it, can be gained. Personal gain therefor is made, in the form of vengeance. If you know me, you would know that my family was badly injured due to the plaintiff's actions, and in this, I would love to see vengeance on him for his actions..

The difference is, I did not choose to not press this case, simply based on my personal feelings, but the evidence within the King's own edicts, and the laws we have in Galloway. As PP, I am expected to act unbiased for the laws of Galloway, which I honestly couldnt care less about.. And I think we expect the same with the Rector, and any other arm of the County.

Let me ask this as well.

Your honor, would you punish someone, or choose not to punish them based on your personal feelings, or based on the laws and the safety and structural balance of Galloway?

Last defence pleading

Not Guilty

The defence called Dracmuller to the witness box

Dracmuller, bruised and battered from recent goings on in Ayr, steps forth to speak for the Defendant.

The plaintiff alleges misfeasance on the Rector's part but does not allege political or personal gain. Nor do they allege conspiracy. Therefore, they cannot prove the crime alleged (which requires such proof). We urge that the matter be dismissed without further ado.

However, if the judge would entertain further audience from the plaintiff, we would note that the Rector has not only not gained personally or politically through the actions alleged, but that she has indeed suffered grievously as a result of her lawful exercise of the Rector�s powers within the jurisdiction of the University. The fact of this vexatious matter being raised publicly, and the sadness which she feels at such ill use of court resources, forms but part of the constellation of harm which she bravely suffers as consequence to the performance of her duties.

The duty of the Rector, to advance the cause of the community of students and faculty who together constitute the university, is an onerous task and requires continual discretionary judgments on her part. Her duty is not one of care for individuals if that were to place her in conflict with her overwhelming responsibility to the University as a whole.

One of her guiding principles is to maintain standards within the university. Egregious behaviour by staff could bring the university into disrepute. The character of an applicant, as demonstrated by behaviour (and recent behaviour at that), is therefore an important consideration when deciding appointments.

When such egregious behaviour is constituted by the act of ordering the death of one who, for all we know, might himself have been coming to apply for a teaching position (a subsidiary point in the debate, granted, and one for which the only witness is presently incapacitated beyond the bounds of summons or subpoena due the aforementioned egregious act (a point for which we seek that no foul finding be made on the principle that no perpetrator benefit from an act so egregious and infamous as the one committed by the aggrieved in this matter)), the gravity of the discretion exercised is only compounded.

The plaintiff refers to the King's Edict regarding the principle of avoiding double jeopardy, or, the infliction of multiple punishments for a convicted crime. We note that the Rector has no capacity to punish for past crimes, nor does she purport to have done so in this instance. The Rector in this matter is simply maintaining a standard of conduct which would be recognised amongst all civilised institutions.


We remind the court that there never was a certainty of expectation on the part of the aggrieved that he would attain a position on faculty. Even if the court were to ascribe a value to such an expectation as he held, as nebulous as it was, it would be a far sight from saying that because this has been lost by the aggrieved that therefore the Rector has gained politically or personally from the affair.

Indeed, as we have indicated, the opposite is in fact the case.

We urge the Court to summarily dismiss this attack upon the academic and personal integrity of the Rector. However, we stand prepared to provide further argument or evidence if that be the court's desire.

The defence called Dracmuller to the witness box

The prosecutor asks that we not stray from the point. We will not do so, once we have identified it.

The duty of the Rector to make decisions about appointments is an inherent part of the job. An intrinsic component of this duty is the capacity to deny such appointment. The exercise of this capacity to deny appointment is a necessary corollary of the power to make appointments. In exercising this capacity in this case the Rector was fulfilling her duty.

We refute the prosecution�s allegation that the decision to deny appointment to the aggrieved was due to a �personal quarrel� (the Rector has never met the aggrieved and knows him not except by his public deeds). We agree that the decision was made after consideration of, and in accordance with, the well being of the university.

We agree with the prosecution that a person in the position of Rector might derive satisfaction from the successful exercise of her duties. We are puzzled at the relevance of this fact, as it constitutes no measurable gain and implies only that the Rector is doing a good job. Would the prosecutor prosecute a farmer who is pleased with a good crop, a blacksmith pleased with a good lump of steel? All of scotland�s fine citizens would stand guilty if our pleasure at a job well done were to constitute guilt of treachery. Such a position would be ludicrous in the extreme and make a mockery of the work of the law in furthering the cause of the people.

We are bemused by the prosecution�s ascription of �vengeance� to the above mentioned satisfaction with a job well done and the biographical details which follow. We ask that he be censured for dragging his personal predilection for such things into this esteemed hall. Never-the-less, we respect the office which he holds and the importance of his function within this court and ask that the verdict in this matter be adjudged on the facts as presented. No more, no less.

We deny any element of �punishment� in the Rector�s decision, we deny any sense of personal satisfaction other than that of fulfilling the broad purpose of the position of Rector, we urge all public officials to compliance with their duties in the furtherance of good order and public safety within our glorious county.

We ask that this matter be dismissed so that the Rector may return to her duties within the University.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Girvan Crisis (3)

The most militant of the Gallowegians in the RSA departed Wigtown the day I arrived in town. They moved onto the node that first day (a 'node' is the travel 'spot' which lies in between each of the towns in RK, sometimes there can be more than one 'node' between towns). The next night they would bypass Girvan to the node to its north, the following day they'd arrive at the city of Ayr. There they hoped to join up with one of the Northern Regiments of the RSA (who would have to march through Ayr to get to Girvan).

Meanwhile, in Wigtown, the regular rank and file of the regiment was gathering, as well as those citizens who though not in the army had decided to march with us anyway. The situation we were faced with was roughly as follows...

To our North, the mayor of Girvan had let the Gallowegian Ducal Guard inside the town walls. To our West, the larger and more powerful army of the Ducal Navy ('the marines'), had gathered a who's who of Scotland's miscreants and marched onto one of the two nodes that lay between Drummore and Wigtown. The intentions of the marines was not known. To our East lay Kirk and beyond that Dumfries, the County Capital and stronghold of all the Campbells who hadn't gone off with the Ducal Guard into Ayr. The county elections were in a week or so's time, and the smart money was on those who opposition to the present county council.

In the pubs of wigtown the RSA and loyal Gallowegians gathered, talked through the various permutations of what might now occur. We were concerned that, if we'd go marching off to the north, that would leave the county exposed to the depredations of the ducal marines. In two days time they could appear in four of galloway's five towns, with all the best fighters caught to the north of the Ducal Guard. On the other hand, we were concerned that if we didn't head off north immediately the ducal guard in Girvan would institute a 'kill list' (it appeared that, to that moment, they hadn't as they had not interfered with the infilitration that had occurred the night before when various RSA soldiers had crept past Girvan to the free north).

A third and equally unsavory possibility was that the ducal marines would march all the way through to Dumfries and prepare to mount a coup as soon as the likely to be elected council took office post election. With their hands on our treasury the mind boggled at what might then happen.

Just to make our pub talks in Wigtown even more depressing, there were strong rumours that isolationists in Glasgow were growing louder in their calls to not get involved in Ayr's troubles (Girvan being an Ayrish town), which would mean that Ayr on its own would have to potentially fight two ducal armies (the guard and the marines), that Girvan would be annexed to Galloway, that the rampant forces that had taken Girvan would roll north and take the next town down the road before Glasgow awoke to the threat (once they had taken Ayr, any invasion from the South becomes much harder to deal with due the choice of routes it can take from there). It seemed that these Glaswegian isolationists were using the fact that Galloway RSA wouldn't even be fielding a regiment of its own to insinuate that we would sit on our hands while they did the fighting and we would later reap the benefits.

Needless to say, we in Wigtown had some interesting conversations about what we could or should do.

Meanwhile, the clock kept ticking....

Girvan Crisis (2)

In the two days I had left in my home town of Whithorn (set by the fact that I'd complete the sword I was working on in that time), I slowly ramped up my ingame presence. Mainly in the taverns, encouraging, cajoling, daring others to come on the crusade. Several townsfolk who were not in the army came and spoke to me privately, getting my assessment of the situation. Some of these decided to collect supplies, arms and armour and come with the RSA.

What had upset the locals across Galloway was not so much the theoretical point that an army (our county's army at that) was about to annexe another town from another scottish county. Nor did we get upset so much at the fact that the people of Girvan were probably going to suffer majorly as a result of this. Nor that the Girvanites best efforts to defend their walls against possible attack were subverted by their (elected) mayor letting the ('foreign') Ducal Guard inside the town hall.

No, what seemed to most upset those of us in Galloway that had followed events was that the Ducal Guard had marched across the border to Girvan, despite the promises made at its formation that it would not be used outside of Galloway's borders, and would there be used only for defensive purposes. And they were doing it in our name. And our Council rates were paying for it. Basically, the fact that we'd been lied to.

Some of us had even served for a time in the Guard as a sign of goodwill between RSA and Campbell, soldiers and the elected council. In fact, some of these 'goodwill' soldiers were still marching under the flag of the Guard when it had marched north into County Ayr (they had left its ranks in the day before it marched inside the walls). By marching inside Girvan's walls the Guard had set a clock ticking that was as inexorable as the steady blows of my hammer on steel in the forge on King Street, Whithorn.

I had somehow hung onto my small stockpile of swords against just such an eventuality as was now occuring. After checking to see that there were no likely potential commissiary agents of the Ducal Guard in Whithorn, I managed to sell the lot within two days. In normal times a sword can sit on the market for months without a buyer, so selling four in a day showed how people were thinking that push was coming to shove.

Having sold my stockpile, I packed my clan sword and my newly made spare sword on my donkey and headed off to Wigtown.

The Girvan Crisis (1)

This will (hopefully) be the first of a series of concluding posts dealing with the history of this warlike series of recent events in RK Scotland.

The Ducal Guard, without notice to any other body, marched north from Wigtown (Galloway) to Girvan (Ayr). Although the pernickity legalists across the land were getting upset at the fact that the army didn't have the permission of the Ayr County Council for this move, and sought legal opinion to this effect, those of us who had been around were thinking other thoughts.

Like, what was this army planning on doing, sitting outside of the walls of Girvan? The army certainly didn't have the numbers to assault the town's walls, so it was a bit of a mystery. If we'd looked a bit closer at the situation we would have worked it out I am sure, for the following day the army was inside the walls of Girvan, having been let in by the Campbell mayor of the town.

Needless to say, at this point things got fairly heated. The northern counties had been marshalling their troops over the previous weeks. This process was put into overdrive. The Ducal Navy, taking advantage of the marines gathering in Drummore's prison colony, raised its own army flag and started recruiting. The Galloway Regiment called its troops to gather in Wigtown.

I had been busy on my forge in Wigtown, enjoying Roleplaying the further adventures of Raebert. I gathered a few supplies together, mailed my band leader that I'd finish the sword I was working on and be in wigtown in three days.

From news we'd heard from Ireland in preceding months we knew that it takes at least a week for an army to conquer a town and cause its allegiance to change to that of the army. The race was on...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Grognardia Blog

I've added Grognardia to my blog roll. It is a kind of musing appreciation of the classic swords and sorcery cut and thrust style of adventurous RPGs, replete with philosophical musings about what makes this special type of game so much fun and so rare in the washout of middle classed commerce and morality that has overtaken so much of popular culture. Well worth a bit of a look if you're into this sort of thing.

'The Journey' as plotline

Big Lee wrote this post a little while ago, musing about the significance of 'the journey' in some RP worlds and its virtual absence on others. He used Tolklien's 'Lord of the Rings' as the exemplar story with this motif (fair enough, so did Tolkien). In a comment I said the following:

I think Bilbo Baggins's own book was entitled 'There and Back Again'. The story of the return of the hero is an integral part of 'The Journey' story type. Needs a fairly well developed world for this to be replicated in a game but, when it is, the sense of completion is palpable.

I had some grand adventures in various RP universes where the journey was the thing, but if there was no where you could call home it all eventually began to pale. In my own worlds I always tried to give players a sense of 'place', sometimes this evolved into a fragile sense of 'home'. But, either as player or as GM, the adventures tended to happen away from 'home', most of the emotional charge of the game occurred in the context of 'other' places. The sense of 'home' and a broader community was all rather tenuous.

This is where 'persistent' online universes certainly have something on most other forms of RP experience. If, as in RK/TN, most of your time is spent between adventures, waiting, fishing, farming, drinking at the local, etc, you do develop a sense of home and of place. Returning home from an 'adventure' defines the event in a sense, puts an exclamation mark on the story.

And there's this interesting post over at Zeta Orions (thanks Jeff of the Gameblog for the link). The author seems to be coming from somewhere near my part of the universe in hir approach to the concept of 'the game'.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

RK - Origins of the Girvan Crisis

I've dedicated most of the last few posts to a bit of background information about Renaissance Scotland and some of its institutions, Clan, County and RSA. One of the reasons for that is that I wanted to tell another RK story but realised that without some idea of the levels of interaction within the world of Renaissance Kingdoms it might be a bit hard to follow.

In early March Galloway elected a rather tetchety independent old warrior as Count, and he appointed a virtual rogues gallery of local rebels and robbers into the council positions. Of importance was the local Campbell Chieftain as Captain 'Protector' and the local MacGregor Chief, leader of several local revolts and armed rebellions across scotland, as Chief Judge. Egged on by a Forbes Chief who was Trade Minister of the County and the local power monger Campbell who ruled the Municipality of Dumfries, Capital of the County, the Council set about creating its medieval county of Galloway.

Two institutions they created were a prison colony in the isolated town of Drummore and an armed force (ingame army) separate from the RSA called the Ducal Guard. The MacGregor judge therefore sent all of his cronies off to the same town to work off their fines in the gold mines and to fraternise in the pubs of drummore. The Judge travelled to Drummore, and then recruited the conveniently gathered rogues gallery into his 'Ducal Marine' armed force.

At the same time, the Ducal Guard paraded around the county, well filled with Campbells and a few members of the RSA demonstrating their good will to these outspoken Gallowegian patriots, trying to find a middle ground. I myself even spent five days under the Ducal banner before my Easter retreat.

But, observant people could see that the Ducal Guard was essentially a reformation of the old Campbell army that had attacked Whithorn earlier in the year (and of the Caledonian army which had caused so much trouble in the year previous), while the Ducal Marines were our old friends of the road, a confederation of MacGregors, Snows and their assorted english robber mates. Observant people were a bit concerned at what was brewing.

Yet, unlike previous troublesome occasions, there were no bullying threats. In fact, there was nothing but protestations of legitimate self defensive goals for a strong independent Galloway. Being independent Gallowegian ourselves, and again in a spirit of goodwill, we soldiers and other good citizens gave these darker elements the benefit of the doubt. All appeared well.

But that all changed rather suddenly when, one day...

Monday, June 01, 2009

RK origins - Counties and the RSA

RK Scotland has evolved since the early days (which I wrote about last month in a late fit of posting). It now has three counties, numbering 4725 souls at time of writing. Galloway was formed August 1455, Ayr in December, Glasgow in March 1456. When Glasgow county was formed the first Irish Colony also formed. Ireland is now three counties also, and larger in population than Scotland. England numbers around ten counties and has maybe three times the poplulation.

Each County is governed by a Council. The Council is composed of twelve members, ten of whom hold positions. They are elected ingame by all residents of the county who are present during the election period. Voters vote for 'tickets' of twelve candidates each. The game mechanism allocates seats on the Council based upon a candidates ranking within their own ticket and the total votes cast. If more than one ticket runs in an election the resultant council usually has members of all of the tickets on it. Elections are held every couple months. The Council Offices include Count, Mine Supervisor, Sherif, Trade Minister, Judge, Prosecutor, Constable, Spokesperson, Captain and Sergeant. The latter two are the 'military' positions.

If a council supports the existence of the Royal Scottish Army (RSA) they will usually place a serving member of the army into the military positions. Ultimately the decision is up to the Count. However, politicians being politicians, even a RSA friendly council will want to keep control over any army set up in its name (each County is able to have an 'official army' led by the Captain or hir nominee, which gains a certain bonus as an 'official' army depending upon the County's prestige). Thus, while a County controls an armoury and the purse strings it tends to exercise a veto over military engagements it doesn't agree with.

In a national army this can lead to situations where the command of the army is held hostage to the political deals and conflicts which are a part of any County Council. And of course, even a RSA friendly Council will get nervous if it has armies controlled by outside organisations (eg. the RSA High Command) wandering through its territory. Thus, even at the best of times the exercise of full command responsibility is a very hazardous affair for the RSA.

Even more so when the County Council is actively hostile to the RSA, it's office holders have raised arms against it (perhaps have even been executed for treason for doing so), and it has ambitious and grasping nobles dictating its actions.

That was the situation in Galloway a couple months ago...

Roman D20

How could I resist putting this picture up here after finding it over at Big Lee's Miniature Adventures? Came across this when clicking off of comments over at the ever amusing Roman Mitten. Big Lee has published one heck of a lot of posts so far this year. Lots of stuff to read. He gets to go on my rather small blog roll and has my best wishes.