War Games: Off Shore Tactics
OOC: This is a start of a PrP for members of the Academy of War and Malvici (for this one specifically.) Please no more than 7 people. If you are interested, please @mail Norwood!
If you're interested in having an Academy of War exercise held on your lands, please reach out ICly to Natalia Whisper!
June 17, 2019, 8 p.m.
Outside Arx - Southport - City of Southport
Comments and Log
It's just after dusk on the beachfront of Southport. About a hundred men and women have gathered and begun to set up a rough camp. There are tents, and poles almost everywhere. Spirits are high, this is just a training simulation, right? Nothing could actually go wrong.
The Academy of War and Southport leaders have been gathered on one edge of the encampment around a map. A long-bearded Southport leader stands at the edge tapping the beachfront before him to explain the scenario that is about to unfold. "The attack will come from the waterway and be focused here, or here," He touches the dock, and a rocky cliff with a natural stone cliff that would provide easy places for boats to settle and unload their cargo of people. "Your job will be to decide which to defend, or both if you can find the manpower. The attack will happen without any obvious warning. Weapons are blunted arrows - not too blunted, you get hit, you'll bruise something mighty. If we get close enough your weapons are well enough, but keep the blood to a minimum. Enough to make the lesson stick, aye?"
Ian does not usually do beaches, and today is no exception. His cane tends to sink into the sand, and he has to be very careful to keep from stumbling when he walks in it. Stumbling probably happens, anyway, so he's standing still as much as possible. He's gotten from somewhere a map of the nearby waterway, something that includes soundings, where there are shoals, tides, and currents. He's a lot more interested in that than the map of the shore. He's also been scanning the sky to get a bead on the weather. "In this scenario, do we assume the invaders know the waters around here?"
Calypso is standing back and listening to the plans and watching the people come up the beach. Occassionally she murmurs to the commander and points to the map.
Aethan is standing with his brother and scanning the map of the water features as well, frowning a little bit in thought as he peers at something or other on it. He looks up as his brother speaks, his eyes on Ian for a moment, before his gaze shifts to Norwood to hear the answer.
Thea is actually excited, a rare look for the youngest Malvici. She stands on the familiar beach, quite comfortable with her surroundings.
Not Norwood. The other guy.
Aethan checked command + war at difficulty 25, rolling 11 higher.
Ian checked command + war at difficulty 25, rolling 33 higher.
Thea checked command + war at difficulty 25, rolling 9 lower.
Wash checked command + war at difficulty 25, rolling 37 higher.
Calypso checked command + war at difficulty 25, rolling 10 higher.
The man, Bucky by name, splits up the different people and they stream off to check out the different tactical positions of the different areas. He remains behind at the map table as a central place for them to return with what they've learned.
Ian motions to the beach down the stairs, and points things out to Thea in a clipped tone -- the lee shore along the cliffs and the way the wind and tide might make a landing a little harder. The protected beach area. The slippery steps. There's no grandeur here. This is the way someone talks when they're genuinely talking about people killing other people. "The most vulnerable time for a sea force invading land is just as they're getting to shore. You have to pile out of the boats, wade through the waves, beach the boats. The advantage of this beach is that it's protected. We'll see what they have to say about the docks. We might want to funnel the invaders in that direction."
Wash sizes up the docks with Aethan and Calypso. "It doesn't seem defensible, but I have an idea." He says, gesturing to the lighthouse. "We use the enemys tactics against them. We put a spotter up in the lighthouse. We put ten percent of our force in one of these civilian ships. We funnel the enemy toward the stairs, and the spotter signals our reserves to attack them in the rear at the right moment. Your thoughts?"
Calypso nods at Wash's words "Sounds feasible. Though, will the ship funnel them?"
Arriving at the central place, Ian remarks: "I think we can make sure they go for the docks. Do you two remember the time we held the fort at Rochelle while most of our crew went to get help? We don't have any corpses this time, but if we set it up like we've made it into a kill zone, they'll go for the easier option."
Thea listens to Ian, her eyes glancing to the docks as he speaks. She turns to him,"As of -now-, I see nothing but the boats...,"her green eyes watching still. She pauses then, listening about funneling.
Aethan takes note of the lighthouse as Wash suggests it, squinting up at it for a second before he turns back to the other man and Calypso, nodding once. "They'll be operating in the dark as well," he replies to her, "and an enticing target is usually too good to pass up." He looks to Ian then, his brother getting another nod.
"If this were life and death, I'd set fire to the docks and just defend the stairs." Wash agrees after the groups are reconvened at Bucky's table. "But let's assume that's off the table for political reasons." Wash strokes his chin thoughtfully. "We don't have time to make a hundred straw dummies either Ian. What about fifty gallons of oil on the stairs and a man at the top with a match?"
Calypso slants her gaze at Wash, clearly unamused. "I would rather you not burn Southport to the ground. Thank you very much.
Ian laughs under his breath and shakes his head. "I was just thinking earthworks. We've got the men to make them, and plenty of sand for sandbags." He surveys the docks. "We can put a token force in the open and hide the rest in the boats. Let them land, and then come out of hiding and envelop them once the fighting's started?"
Thea lifts her eyebrow a bit at the mentioning of burning her home,"Yes um..No offense, but I like my home NOT on fire..."
Aethan has to let out a little snort, not so much at what Wash suggests -- since it might have been his suggestion as well in a real situation -- but at the reaction. "Not today," he promises, and despite the slight amusement, that, at least, sounds serious. "All right. A man in the tower to watch, some on the bottom making sandbags, and set up the oil as well for good measure. Pick four boats, put twelve fighters in each. Funnel them up, then use the dark to our advantage. Make it look like we split our forces, and attack from behind." He looks around for confirmation from all the parties.
Just to clarify, you guys are talking about making the STEPS inaccessible with the oil and sandbags, to make the soldiers go towards the DOCKS where there will be someone in the watch tower and soldiers in the ships to attack when the enemy comes?
Wash agrees with Calypso with a nod, silently promising not to burn down Southport for a training exercise. That leaves 25 men in each location. If they commit all their forces to one spot, they'd outnumber defenders by as much as ten to one. Make sure each boat occupied is shipped and ready to move in behind the beach. Just in case they don't choose to target the dock. We need to agree on four signals for our lighthouse spotter. Attacking the beach, attacking the dock, reinforce the dock, reinforce the stairs. That way none of our forces are left out of the conflict and wasted."
Domonico speaks up after listening carefully, his voice confidant. "The best location for boats to beach is this small beach *here*. That is where we need the majority of our troops. The steps can be held by a token force due to how slippery they are. Each main group needs a hornblower with set commands for communication."
Ian gives Domonico a quizzical look, but he seems inclined to defer to the Malvicis.
Bucky's gaze flicks between the different commanders and reaches up a hand to scratch his head. "There's a real steep drop off not far from the beach that might make the beach a bad place to land. But if that's what you think?" He turns away from the commanders and starts splitting up the soldiers between the different commanders for them to send on their various duties. Oil and sandbags are brought out from the various conversations, though they look a little confused on where to go.
Calypso squints at the Kennex's, not fully trusting them to not burn down her dock. Regardless, she's intrigued by their plan. "Let's see if this works. But if you burn any of Southport I will flay one of you." The last part is said flatly, whether she is joking is left to one's own sense of humor.
Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.
Domonico checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.
Aethan checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 69 higher. Aethan rolled a critical!
Thea checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.
Wash checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
Calypso checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.
Ian eyes Aethan and Wash. "So we be careful with the oil drums," he says dryly after the threat of flaying is put on the table. "I'm happy to head the token force. I think I can make sure the men hold until the attack from behind engages." That's most of what he does in battle, anyway, make sure a small group of people hold the line.
Calypso nods to the Kennex men, they seem to have it under control. She does edge slightly closer to her dock. Just in case.
Thea wont help the flaying of people either. But for the sake of orders at the moment, she listens to men--Her arms folded against her chest.
Aethan's summary given, he quiets, looking from Domonico to Bucky, and then Calypso for the final word. When she gives it, he nods, and Ian's words get another nod as well. "Go ahead," he says, turning to the others. "You," he says, "you, you..." He picks up the twelve for one of the boats and sends them that way, quickly but clearly, and with an amazing beard.
Ian takes his force aside to have a discussion about shields and their use in turtling up to protect everyone from arrows. Since this is a learning experience for the forces involved, and since he has a lot of experience with this particular tactic, there's probably a lot he has to say on the subject. "Remember, we force them to come to us. We're the wall they break against -- at least until they're hit from behind and don't know which way is up anymore."
Thea speaks to her forces her tone low, she directs them toward the beach.
Domonico nods as he approves of the authoritive way Aethan makes his decision. "Good call. A second man to the lighthouse as well to watch our sentries back." He steps back and calls out to his troops, "With me!" and leads them to a position ready to be used as reserves.
Wash takes his time choosing a ship, one that can be easily cast off and rowed two hundred yards if need be, just in case the invaders take the hardest path. He's a sailor at heart anyway. He'll nod to Domonico along the way, though he's doesn't instruct him on how to do his job.
Norwood GM Roll checked perception(3) + survival(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 8 lower.
Confidence grows as the commanders start to give orders and soldiers trot off to do their thing. Ian successfully gets the stairs set up with the oil spread liberally over the steps. It's a pretty convincing defense and honestly looks like there is someone there.
As the soldiers settle in their various defensible positions, it's time to do the worst part of warfare, the WAIT. Suddenly from the stone steps there are sounds of cursing, as if someone has attempted to make the climb and found it virtually impossible. Then it's silent again.
Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.
Wash checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher. Wash rolled a critical!
Aethan checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 6 lower.
Calypso checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.
Domonico checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.
Thea checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.
Someone needs to give that guy in the watchtower some extra training too, as he seems to have fallen asleep on them in the wait.
Calypso pulls back a little and begins murmuring to her troops, indicating something about the beach with a slight cock of her head and a glare. Reluctantly, a group of soldiers make their way over to the stairs.
Wash checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 30 higher.
Ian arranges his small force in two rows, one with pikes and interlocking shields, and a second with larger shields intended to be lifted over everyone's heads to protect them from arrows raining down from above. He's careful to put the most experienced people in back, so it'll be harder for the less experienced guys to break with grizzled old hands directly behind them. As the sound of boots on the docks catch his attention, he instructs his people to hold the line. Whoever's coming will have to come to them.
Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.
Domonico checked command + leadership at difficulty 25, rolling 37 higher.
Domonico checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 26 higher.
Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 19 higher.
Calypso checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 35 higher.
Aethan's men seem to be doing well, coordinating relatively easily. However, he hasn't managed to see the attack quite as soon as most of the rest of those gathered, and so they are perhaps caught more unaware.
Domonico notes the sound of the footsteps and his troops, a clutch of Southportians, get given quick instructions and spears and shields lock together, ready to counter charge, Domonico leading, spear in hand.
Thea watches her men, giving orders. Things have been going relatively smooth, but yet---they missed the footsteps--damnit!
Wash's men lay in the thwarts, a canvas sheet loosely draped over the longship so that the ship looks unoccupied at a glance. He holds the deckline with one hand for a quick release, and keeps an eye on the lighthouse, waiting for a sign that they are to attack the rear. The lack of response from the lighthouse has his anxiety growing, but he manages to keep that from his men. He awaits the opportune moment and trusts the plan.
Domonico wields Raptor's Reach, a rubicund-tipped cornel-shafted Dory spear.
Calypso has sent her men down onto the beach in plain sight. They wave their hands and jig about, apparently tired of waiting.
The soldiers are not expecting the three pronged attack that comes from Calypso, Domonico, and Ian's soldiers. Everyone is in padded armor, but it doesn't stop the weapons from HURTING as they fall. There is yelling and the attackers give up on the element of surprise. At least half see Calypso's people on the beach and split off, assuming that's the easier target. The rest crash right into Domonico and Ian's people. They hold most, though a solid dozen slip past to dash up the docks towards where Thea, Aethan, and Wash are settled.
As the battle is joined, Ian's men lock shields and hold, pikes waving from between them. Ian puts both hands to his mouth and gives a sharp, piercing whistle as a signal when the time is right. Lighthouse guy's asleep. That will have to do.
Wash was expecting the men to slip past him, how else to attack in the rear. But these second set of footsteps can only be the crew of another boat, or the last of the attackers. He indicates that his men should quietly disembark, readying weapons for a surprise attack in the rear. "Flat of the blades only messers." Wash insists. "We don't want to kill anyone." He leads from the front this time, a boathook in hand.
Aethan checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 55 higher.
Aethan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.
Wash checked command + war at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.
Ian checked command + war at difficulty 30, rolling 55 higher.
Wash checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 56 higher.
Domonico's men crash into the attackers, the Admiral joining battle alongside his men. The sharp whistle from Ian gets his attention and he gives himself some space by rapping an invaders weapon aside and then headbutting the poor man, helm ringing against helm. "Hornblower! The signal now!"
Ian checked command + leadership at difficulty 10, rolling 71 higher.
Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 28 higher.
Domonico checked command + war at difficulty 30, rolling 145 higher. Domonico rolled a critical!
Thea checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 34 higher.
The whistle serves for Aethan as well -- he looks that way quickly, and then to those advancing, giving a similar command to his men as Wash did and readying his weapon, an axe that is simple but obviously well-taken care of. He disembarks then, and his men follow after, a unified force despite them only having worked together on this since the beginning of the exercise.
Domonico checked command + leadership at difficulty 10, rolling 34 higher.
Thea checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 56 higher.
Domonico checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 47 higher.
So that? That was a piercing. whistle. As the battle is joined, Ian relaxes into it, projecting a perfect serenity that's not the high testosterone yelling one might expect from a Thrax leader, but is, in its way, more compelling. That certainty that he projects that there are no emergencies here, they've got this, it's all good is enough to calm down even the jitteriest nerves. He rams someone with his shield and uses his cane (rather than the alaricite blade inside the cane) to sweep their feet out from under them, then blocks with the cane and uses the shield edge on as a weapon. A couple of people break by him, but he was ready for that, apparently, because a sharp command sends a couple of his biggest guys after them to wrestle them to the ground.
Each of the soldiers grow even more confident in their leader's abilities as orders are called. They pour after them and attack feverishly as if they'd followed these people their entire life. Domonico's forces in particular seem to devastate the attackers leaving them panting and surrendering from left to right, with Ian's clearing up the rest. Those forces that had managed to get around them are stopped by Thea, Aethan, and Wash. Soon, all is settled on the docks with every attacking soldier having surrendered. All that is left now? The solid half the force that split off to attack Calypso. At first it seemed like they were holding strong, but they are starting to wilt against the difficulty of fighting on the sands and the enemy soldiers are making it through.
Thea now has her kopis ready, fighting with her men. The woman not at all fearful of any of the men coming at her. The men near fight right with her, as she uses her entire body.
Thea checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 42 higher.
Wash checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 33 higher.
Aethan checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 22 higher.
Domonico checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 40 higher.
Domonico checked command + war at difficulty 25, rolling 29 higher.
Ian checked command + war at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.
As the other forces (and a couple guys from his forces who are really into this and don't want to be stuck on prison guard duty) go haring off to back up Calypso's people, Ian remains where he is, coordinating the roundup of "prisoners" and a sweep to make sure none of the "invaders" made it in and snuck off.
Before the battle at the docks is quite over, Wash recollects the soldiers that were on the boat with him. A couple he calls by name, indicating they should take their forces over to the beach. As Ian takes over ensuring there are no more combatants on the docks, he sprints after his men, catching up just as they are flagging. Two hundred yards is not a quick jog. He rallies them crying: "For Southport!" and waving a glittering strange sword aloft. He's not going to carry that boathook the whole way.
Aethan's force works quickly in tandem with Wash's, making sure that all those forces who managed to get by the first wave get no further. They are quick and efficient, much like their current commander's style, and soon enough those that had been in their path have been defeated handily.
Domonico's force repels the attackers and then some, the Malvici in the center of the fight. His troops are methodical, brutally efficient and start to steadily steamroll through everyone who stands against them. Domonico lays low several who get within Reach. The last one before him looks stunned as his comrades are knocked down before he is sent flying by a solid kick to the chest by Domonico, the Malvici Raptor crying out. "THIS IS SOUTHPORT!"
It's a dispirited group that is overwhelmed by the enemy forces and eventually everyone on the beach surrenders to the defender's superior forces and tactics. Finally it's clear they've won and the defender's forces cheer. Bucky with the fantastic beard steps forward with the man Wash had set in the lighthouse in tow. The man looks sheepish, "Sorry about that. Got, um, any tips for staying awake when watching?" From there it's back to the maps table for talk and discussion. The battle is taken apart from every angle with strengths and weaknesses pointed out. In true Academy of War style everyone walks away with little tidbits here and there, and Calypso and Domonico have some names that might be ready to take into Southport Service already.
Thea is more--swift and quiet in movements as she takes down her opponents. Her green eyes are bright under helm as she fights with her men. A kick here, a knock in the jaw there--a sword right about there. She blocks and ducks, taking just as many blows as she gives. The men around her rally and forceful, getting their job done.
Domonico pulls his helm from his head and congratulates his troops, helping the 'invaders' to their feet and giving advice in the process.
The post battle debrief is efficient and detailed and Domonico is in the process of praising Ian and his sister Thea when a Southport soldier comes running into camp shouting.
The Southport Admiral whirls at the cry, "What is i-" and he is cut off by the soldier.
"It's Lady Aahana my Lord. It's happening. Your wife is about to give birth!"
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