Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Campaign Starts - Romano-British Story

The young man removed his helmet from his head. Even with the chill of the late winter day, his hair was matted with sweat. The young man nodded to his two companions as they stood outside of the tent. The royal guards were standing fully armed and cloaked in fur against the cold. The young nobleman announced himself to the guards, "I am Bitucus ap Belator and these are my men Vindilus and Dubnus. We are here to see the kings."

It seemed so strange to say that. The twins Gwrgi and Peredur seem to have made a good beginning at protecting Ebrauc from their enemies. It was time to present himself to court. His father's death left an ache in his heart but he was prepared to take his place in the order of battle for the twin kings.

With a slight movement, the tent opened and the two men hurried inside. The large tent was heated by several braziers making the internal temperature nearly comfortable. Only Gwrgi was present. He waved the three men forward. They dropped to their knees in front of their king and muttered "My liege" in unison. He motioned for them to stand. The men did so and pledged their swords and honor to the twin kings of Ebrauc.

Gwrgi stood and walked them to a map of the kingdom. He pointed to the northern border. The Saxons have created their own kingdom north of us. They now call it Bernicia. We have word that they will begin to send raiders south this year. We also expect more trouble from the Picts. Our friends in Strathclyde are trying to plug the borders but there is only so much he can do and the Picts love to sail their Curraghs around so they could land anywhere. The Saxons are probably bringing in more men from across the sea as well. I need your men to help guard the north. We have some foederati guarding the shore in the south. However, they have to be carefully watched."

The briefing went on for quite some time. Bitucus met several other commanders at this time. By the time they left,he and his two nobles (Vindilus and Dubnus) were weary and ready to be home. They rode through the night and were met by Paltucca near his home. It was time to raise the men.


Bitucus ap Bikk is a lordling of Ebrauc. Living near Catraeth he is of average build and a moderately wealthy man with a thief's horde of treasure to support his forces. He is a Son of a Warlord and descended from both noble Briton and Roman stock. His one failing is his lustful nature. The local priest, Father Mellitus often admonished him to settle down and get married. Instead he sought out pleasures of the flesh as the urge grabbed him.

Vindilus on the other hand is an exile of fallen Bernaccia. An older man than Bitucus by a mere five years, the man found shelter in the halls of Bitucus as well as a kindred spirit in his lustful exploits.

The last noble of the household was Dubnus. He was descended from solid Roman stock and generations back for five generations served to defend Britain. He is a devout Christian and probably the sole reason that Father Mellitus has not shaken the dust off of his feat and left Bitucus to his own folly. What drives Dubnus is his fierce ambition. He will not rest until he can command an army in the field and defeat the enemies of his King.

Lastly is old Paltucca. He was the champion of Bitucus' father and the young pup had the sense to keep him in the role. He has trained many men in the proper use of arms. It is the hope of old Paltucca that he has passed his skills of war on to enough men to hold off the pagan hordes. Hopefully they may, by God's grace, survive another year.

The troops of the household are not in the shape that Paltucca would wish. The household guard (the milites) are well trained and an efficient force. There is just not enough of them.

The Numeri are also in good shape.

However the Velites or levy are not much to be desired. They lack everything. Most are freemen farmers with no military experience. A few have been detailed off who have hunting experience to serve as skirmishers.

But the rest only make up for their lack with numbers. Many are equipped with only rudimentary weapons or farm implements. When battle comes, these poor men will be without shield nor armor. The blacksmith and cooper are attempting to rectify the situation but it may take some time.


Well, I have my base forces painted. I am lacking about 3 figures to have enough to paint up real levy troops for the game but wanted to try out the concept of peasant levy.

I figure that they would not have the ability to form a shieldwall. Possibly have a force morale of their own that is one less than the rest of the force? They should only be present when on the defensive and protecting their village/town/farms. Possibly add a hesitant troops card into the main deck that would eliminate the levy's movement for that turn unless it is in a retrograde (retreat) movement. Any other ideas? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Chris, this terrific stuff. Since I haven't caught the Dux bug myself I don't have any ideas to offer, except maybe let the levy improve if they survive the first few battles. I look forward to more!

  2. A great report Chris! I'm no expert but I would have thought that they couldn't perform shieldwall and would fight skirmish style??

  3. In my experience, the levy will die in seconds if they can't have shieldwall, as they will always be at a disadvantage against all Saxon troops and will accumulate casualties and shock very quickly - even in shieldwall, they accumulate shock very quickly but at least the formation means that they ignore the first kill per group in every round of combat.

    Good luck with your campaign. I'm sure you'll have as much fun as I'm having with the rules. :-)

    1. Absolutely. My thought is that peasant levy should be very brittle and just last ditch defenders of their homes rather than a competent fighting force. I am thinking of folks defending their homes with what is at hand. Anyway, it is a trial balloon at this point. We will see what happens on the table.

  4. Interesting read. Have fun. After a game there will be leg-of-lamb and filet mignon for dinner!