Society Name: Cedonia
The situation in Cedonia remains unresolved. After the disastrous campaign of 1437, the Duke of Caladyn retired north with his army, having decided not to risk attacking General Zenos' position in the western foothills with an army that is racked with disease. For his part, Zenos smells blood in the water, and contemplates an offensive of his own. And in the autonomous cities, the Republicans have had to deal with continuous setbacks in their research programs. 1438 will bring changes . . .
With nearly half his army either dead or incapacitated by influenza during 1438, the Duke of Caladyn must now stand on the defensive and try to scrape reinforcements or allies from somewhere. While another man would be tempted to begin impressing peasants into military service, the Duke's advisers have informed him that removing any more men from the fields will result in widespread famine by the fall. Rural Cedonia has given up nearly all the manpower that can be spared from food production, and as it is, a bad harvest could cause famine anyway. The only sources of manpower that remain largely untapped in Cedonia are the cities. Unfortunately for the Duke, the Republican League controls the cities, and if he were to take troops to deal with them, Zenos would be able to blow right through the remainder.
This being the case, the Duke approaches Dr. Vellin and the leaders of the League with a proposal: In return for their support against Zenos, in men and materiel, the Duke will grant civic charters to the League cities, confirming their rights to elect their own leaders, govern their internal affairs, and levy tolls and tariffs. The Duke also promises to give the merchants and guildsmen of the cities a voice in the Imperial government that is proportionate to their numbers relative to the old Imperial nobility; this would begin the process of shifting Cedonia away from absolute monarchy. The League leaders respond with, "Do this little favor for us, and we'll agree to your terms."
Action 1: Strange Bedfellows
Description: After the trials and tribulations of the last two years of the mettalurgy research project, Dr. Vellin has realized that a major stumbling block is raw materials. The smiths and alchemists need metal and ores to conduct their research, but with the internal disruptions caused by the civil war, only a trickle of poor-quality iron ore has been getting into the cities.
Now, several alchemists have approached Dr. Vellin, indicating a potentially promising development in steel alloys. Working off of what they know of metals, this team has devised a formula for spring steel that should theoretically be as much as 10% lighter and 15% stronger than the current formula. Unfortunately, this new steel only exists on paper, and in order to confirm the potential that this new formula for steel seems to offer, they need ores, including some rather rare ones. The alchemists' proposal reaches Dr. Vellin's desk at the same time that the Duke of Caladyn's proposal does. As he reads both proposals, an idea strikes Dr. Vellin. The ores that the alchemists need are all mined in the northern portion of the Kasovian Mountains, an area that the Duke of Caladyn nominally controls. Dr. Vellin sends word to the Duke that the Republicans will accept his terms, if the Duke will send a small force to the Kasovian Mts, collect the needed ores, and bring the shipment back to Thalcedon intact.
Difficulty: Normal (0)
Factors: The task is hard, but not unusually or unreasonably so. Bandits, while still present in the area, will not interfere with regular army troops. The Republicans can provide the Duke with carts and oxen to transport the ores, as well as money to purchase the quantities needed. The only cause for concern is how much ore is available for purchase, since with the area being mostly cut off and ignored during the last few years, no one is sure just how many mines are operating and how large any stockpiles at the pitheads might be.
Possible Results: Success: +1 bonus this year and next year to the metals strategic action. The researchers in Thalcedon get plenty of ore and metal to continue their research with, and in plenty of time. Mixed: +1 bonus next year to the metals strategic action. It takes the expedition longer than allowed for to gather enough ore. They don't return to the city until year's end, bringing only the more common or lower grade ores. Still, better than nothing. Failure: The expedition returns empty-handed. The Kasovian mines are mostly closed and flooded, the miners driven off by brigands or starvation.
Action 2: Probing Defenses
Weight: Single Description: General Zenos realizes that he caught a lucky break last fall. If the Duke of Caladyn's army hadn't been struck by disease, Zenos' forces would have been pinned short of safety on poor defensive ground. Now, with the Duke's army weakened, Zenos has an opportunity to take the offensive. Zenos is a more cautious commander than the Duke, however. He will not blindly invade. Instead, Zenos sends scouts and raiders into northern Cedonia, probing the Duke's defenses and scouting the terrain. The raiders are instructed to not let themselves be drawn into pitched battles; their main objective is to map the area, particularily any and all defensive works and fortifications. Their secondary objective is to get estimates on troop strength.
Difficulty: Hard (-1)
Factors: Any military action against a prepared enemy is always difficult. The Duke of Caladyn, not being a fool, has his own pickets out to stop probes and raids of the sort Zenos plans. Still, the Duke's army is still weakened by the last year's campaigning, which prevents the difficulty from being Very Hard.
Notes on Possible Results: Success: Zenos' scouts are able to get detailed plans and maps of many critical defensive works, and details on the dispositions of most of the Duke's units. +1 bonus to any invasion in 1439. Mixed: The scouts bring back terrain maps, but were unable to get close to any critical defensive installations, and unit locations are mostly guesswork. Failure: None of the scouts are able to penatrate the Duke's territory to any great extent. There are few maps, and those are of poor quality, while no accurate information about troop dispositions is obtained.
Action 3 & 4: The Metallurgy Research Project
Weight: Strategic, Double
Description: See prior years. Develop new materials and techniques for making metal arms and armor.
Difficulty: Very Hard (-2), but see below
Factors: If action 1 succeeds, difficulty drops to Hard (-1) this year and next year.
Resolution: Diff = Fair (0) + Dice (00-0) + Extras () = -1 Failure
Results: The expedition returns without the ore, but not without hopes. No bonuses this year, but a similar expedition next year would be 'Easy'.
Interpretation: The Kasovian mines are mostly closed and flooded, the miners driven off by brigands or starvation. However, the expedition claims that the mines are rich, and if they would return next year with more men, they could reopen the mines and return with great amounts of ore.
Resolution: Diff = Hard (-1) + Dice (-++0) + Extras () = 0 Mixed results
Results: Mostly no news. One piece of useful information exists, but it is risky (+1 to attack next year, but any failure will be catastrophic).
Interpretation: The scouts bring back terrain maps, but were unable to get close to any critical defensive installations, and unit locations are mostly guesswork. Most of the information is as expected: the Duke is as efficient as ever in deploying his army. However, there is one piece of information which might prove extremely useful. The far west flank is poorly defended - partly because of the poor condition of the army, partly because of the difficult terrain. The General could well suprise the Duke by going that way, but to do so, he would have to overextend from his own territory; getting back after a possible defeat could prove impossible.
Resolution: Diff = Very hard (-2) + Dice (+-0+) + Extras (+1) = 0 Mixed results
Interpretation: The alchemists manage to prove with a small bit of ore provided by the expedition that their guesswork was right. The downside is that the ore is far away and difficult to acquire.