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Thread: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire - **Complete**

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    Default [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire - **Complete**

    The Rules and Format

    This will be a Byzantine AAR focused on events in the very late period of Byzantine history. I have always been fascinated with Roman history and, of late, Byzantine history. The epic sweep of the topic is, of course, daunting but still something that drew me in. The intrigue, personalities, and clash of culture makes for excellent reading. I have wondered what, if anything, could have turned the tide and preserved a society that had done so much to preserve culture and learning through the dark ages.

    The fantastic detail (and fun!) of Medieval II: Total War has certainly piqued my interest for quite a while and I have always thought it would be rewarding to do an AAR. Although many AARs have already been done on Byzantium, it was really the only faction that interested me enough to put down my thoughts and inspire me to write an AAR. So, apologies in advance if I am moving over already well-trodden ground.

    Faction: Byzantium
    Mod Used: Stainless Steel 6.2
    Campaign: 1450 Campaign
    Battle Difficulty: Very Hard
    Campaign Difficulty: Very Hard
    Unit Size: Large

    As you can see, I have chosen one of the more difficult campaigns in the mod. It will certainly be a challenge but that should only add to the content.

    This AAR will be focused on one character, Skantarios (of my signature line). He starts out as the faction heir for the Byzantines (hereafter referred to as Romans - just as they did). The AAR will, hopefully, follow his life and times as he tries to resurrect the Roman Empire - or at least the Eastern Roman Empire. The AAR will start and end with his life (whenever and wherever that may be).

    This is my first AAR and, although I have read several, I am still kind of feeling my way through it. Suggestions as to how to improve subsequent posts for either interest or clarity are welcome.

    My goal is to do one or two updates a week. I do work, a lot, but I have a good deal of material already so the first few posts should go as scheduled. After that, no promises.

    I hope you enjoy the ride!
    Last edited by Skantarios; August 22, 2010 at 04:14 AM.

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios!

    From the Diary of Diadohos Skantarios - 1450 AD


    Despair. I can’t think of another more appropriate word to describe the state of my beloved country than despair. Sloth, decadence, complacency, pettiness, sadness, and apathy also come to mind but I would say that the dominant emotion is just despair. For hundreds of years we have fought amongst ourselves about religious controversies, succession, and the remaining scraps of what once was our glorious empire. Our emperors have been made to grovel at the feet of the barbaric Turk. Begging to be spared and continue our meager existence. We have supplicated at their feet for years as they dismantled our empire, destroyed our culture, prostituted our Christian brothers and sisters, and spread their heresies throughout our land. We have lost all the major cities of our former empire: Antioch, Nicaea, Thessalonica, Alexandria, and (most appallingly) Jerusalem. Now, even all those humiliations are not enough, the Turk wants the rest. Their new emperor (or Sultan as they call him) wants our very lives. He has pledged to take holy Constantinople and convert the Hagia Sophia to a mosque! He wishes to crush the last vestige of Christian and Roman culture from the land.

    Our country is in ruin. The legacy of wealth bequeathed to us by our ancestors has been squandered on palace decadence, corruption, ill-conceived adventures, and bribes to foreign kings. Our economy is moribund. The population of our cities is dwindling as the opportunities for work have vanished; our currency is virtually worthless (we have converted to the Italian florin!); the grand public buildings of our ancestors mock us with the glories of time past. The people are moving to the countryside where at least there is hope for survival. They are as rats fleeing the sinking ship.

    With the loss of populace, the tax revenue has dried up. We are barely able to pay the wages of our pathetically small and inexperienced military. As such, we have only a tiny army and an even smaller navy. There is practically no money for new buildings or to maintain the ones we already have. Our roads have decayed, our buildings have crumbled, our fleets have rotted, and our outposts are abandoned. We’ve completely lost contact with the outside world. We have virutally no control or intelligence outside of the walls of our city. We do not even have a reliable map of the outside world to tell us the state of the other kingdoms as our cartographers have long since been cut from the pay of the empire. Trade agreements of old have been forgotten in the chaos that has taken our lands through the years. Representatives from other lands don’t even bother to pay respects at our court.

    We are terribly alone. Lost in a sea of Islam and swimming against an irresistible tide. The glory of our ancestors is just a faded memory. If Constantine or Justinian could see us now, they would weep.



    Our enemy is the Turk. Unquestionably the strongest military power in the world. They stride like a malevolent colossus between Asia and Europe… and everywhere they are expanding. They are strong in every facet of arms and have a virtually limitless pool of manpower and money to draw from. If they lose one army, they send two more. Lose one general, and three more sprout up in his place. They are like the hydra of old…and they are committed to our doom.



    Our Christian brothers, the “Kings” of the West have been of no help. It has been hundreds of years since they sent the Crusades to the Holy Lands. Even this was perverted to an unrecognizable form after they lost Jerusalem. The Fourth “Crusade” (aided by the accursed Venetians) forsook Jerusalem and took Constantinople instead. Those "holy warriors" once dismantled our empire into petty states that collapsed under the weight of their own wickedness. We were able to reclaim Constantinople but the damage was permanent and left us prostrate in front of the armies of Islam. Now the Catholics call “Crusades” against their own Christian brothers at the whim of the Pope and whatever foreign king holds sway at the Vatican. They are too frightened of the Muslims, and the Turks in particular, to send any help to the East. When it comes to us, they are like sharks circling with blood in the water, waiting to bite off whatever scrap the Turk leaves for them. The Venetians, in particular, hope to grab what they can before our complete collapse.

    Blind for too many years to the Islamic threat, the other Christian kings are now fighting against its rising tide but have given us up for dead. And, perhaps we are. But I swear by the holy Virgin that we will not go down without a fight. If these are to be our last hours, then let me die like the great Hector of old. As he said, “My doom has come upon me; let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter.”

    I am Skantarios.
    Last edited by Skantarios; July 04, 2011 at 01:24 AM.

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios!

    From the Diary of Diadohos Skantarios

    It is the year of our lord 1450 and I am 23 years old.


    I am the son of Theodoros, from the noble family Laskaris from Achaea in Greece proper. Many, many years ago, the land of our birth was strong with the power of mighty Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes. Ours is a rich culture full of military virtue that gave birth to such mighty men as Achilles, Leonidas, Themistocles, Alcibiades, Pericles, and Epaminondas. Men who defeated the Persian Empire at its zenith. The Greeks were the backbone of Alexander’s army that conquered the world.

    We are Greek but we are also Roman. We are the heirs of Cincinnatus, Scipio, Caesar, Trajan, and Augustus. More directly, we are the heirs of Constantine, Justinian, Heraclius, Basil, and Alexius. Men who shaped the world to their designs. Men who conquered the pagan lands and brought the light of culture, learning, and virtue. Now, we are all that is left of the light that is fighting a darkness that surrounds us.

    There is still strength in our lands and our people. I know it. They lack only a ruler and a steady hand to guide them back to glory. For too many years, we have fought each other. No more. We will turn whatever energies we have left to fight against the enemies of the Empire and the Church.

    The road we have committed to is extremely difficult but not impossible. We must rebuild our army and our economy. We must somehow hold the lands we have and drive back the invaders. We must reclaim our former territories and spread the true faith. If Rome could rise from a small village scratched out of the dirt by Romulus to conquer the world, so too can we.

    Compassion and mercy are not luxuries that I can afford. I must hold the lives of my enemy in contempt. Even the lives of my own soldiers are not something that can concern me too greatly. They must commit themselves to the same path as I or they are of no use to me. We will sacrifice what we must for victory. Discipline and valor are our touchstones. Fear is a useful ally, too. Let them fear me as long as they obey.

    I must bring fire and sword to my enemies. I must cleanse them of their heretical faith, strip their lands of wealth to pay for the military and the reconstruction of our territories, and utterly destroy their ability to make war ever again on the Roman Empire. Those who fight with us will have no better friend. Those who fight against us will have no worse enemy.

    I am Skantarios.
    Last edited by Skantarios; July 04, 2011 at 01:27 AM.

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    Default The Plan

    From the Diary of Diadohos Skantarios - 1450 AD.

    In other lands, my family would be considered mildly well off, perhaps even rich. Here, in what is left of the ancient Roman Empire, we rule. My father came to power after the death of our former emperor, John VIII Palaiologos. His brother, Constantine, was to have taken the throne but died in yet another palace conspiracy.** He fell as a victim of some petty jealousy between squabbling nobles too myopic to see their own doom on the horizon. The nobles fought their petty court battles. My father brought an army - just like so many who came before us. We may be usurpers but we will surely be the last...either we succeed or the empire dies with us.

    Those Romans and Greeks who fought against us and our Empire are gone. They were the first casualties of the Roman resurgence but I guarantee they will not be the last. Still, how we came to power is not as important as what we will do with it.

    My father and I have developed a plan. It is a desperate plan but our only hope of standing against the Muslim and Catholic tide. First and foremost, my father will hold Constantinople. This is most likely the hardest task as it is clear the Muslim wants it. My father will make himself the visible target and, hopefully, destroy the cream of the Turk against the mighty Theodosian Walls of Constantinople. While he is fighting the Turks, he must also hold the empire together from within. He must stand on the throats of the nobles who would betray us. My father and Constantinople will be the stable platform from which I can launch the reconquest. He is a good man, a fine warrior, a capable administrator, and a visionary leader. Let us hope that he is also more than a little lucky.

    My sister is Anna and a beautiful and graceful woman. She, in her way, is as committed to our restoration as I. She will secure agreements with foreign courts and open up the world to us again. If my sister can find a noble husband and secure an alliance, so much the better. If she cannot, she will be the kind face to visit foreign courts and explain our actions. She will secure trade agreements and open up the outside world to our eyes. She will serve her purpose to the Empire as I will serve mine.

    The strength of our army is in our cavalry. We have been exposed to the ways of war of the East for so long; they have become almost second nature. The days of the infantry dominated legion are but an ancient memory. We must use speed and shock to our fullest advantage. We must strike like the lightning bolt from on high where the enemy least expects it.

    Our Cavalarii are deadly from a distance. Their powerful bows can outrange most opponents and pack a deadly punch against all but the heaviest armor. They can circle around to the enemy’s flanks and pick off their cavalry and generals and harass their infantry. However, their mobility comes at a price. They are lightly armored and vulnerable to return fire and cannot stand up to a melee combat.
    To the Cavalarii, I must add some fast shock cavalry. We have good horse breeding grounds and must train our men to ride hard against the enemy. Our Stratiotae are capable light cavalry. They move fast and are capable of a powerful charge, especially against enemy archers. They will take out the ranged opponents and provide a devastating punch at the enemy’s rear and flanks. They will be the shock troops to our army. They will inevitably take the highest casualties, but so be it.

    Added to them are the noble Pronarii.
    Let the nobles serve a purpose and ride out as our heavy horse. They are capable but our empire is so small now that there are not many left. Further, they are expensive in the field so we must use them judiciously.
    Our archers are the match for any others in the world. They can fire at a far distance and cause terrible casualties. Further, they know how to place stakes to ward off the enemy cavalry. They will be especially useful in city defense and against the horse archers of our foes. Let the enemy fall under a shower of arrows as they struggle to come to grips with us.
    Our infantry, while not the strength of the army, are still powerful. They are capable on the walls and when we can mass them. From the Northmen, they know how to form shield walls and fight with sword and shield. We will use them to hold our cities and assault our enemy’s. They can also act as the anvil holding the enemy fast while our cavalry hammer strikes against them.
    The weakness of our army is in our spears. They are capable against other foot soldiers but almost useless against enemy cavalry. For all our experience in fighting enemy horse, we cannot seem to field a competent spear unit to ward them off. From the west, we hear of the pikes they are now using to dismount the noble knights. Still, we cannot field a competent company. This is especially frustrating as it was in our own lands that the first pike phalanx was born. Also, our men cannot seem to master the use of the halberd. This excellent weapon for fighting cavalry has not penetrated to our lands despite all the countries around us fielding massive quantities of it. So, we will have difficulty matching the enemies spears. So be it. The way of the spear is in the past, we will look to the future.

    Our primary weapons will be hoof and arrow, lance and sword. To this list, I must add one more: fire.
    We have rediscovered the ancient secret of Greek Fire. This liquid fire that sticks to any surface, ignores armor, is impervious to water, and kills in prodigious quantities. It will be a great leveler when fighting enemy infantry. When defending gates and other choke points, it is utterly deadly. However, it is the proverbial two edged sword. The fire knows not friend and foe. It will kill our soldiers as easily as theirs. Care must be taken. Also, the secret must absolutely be kept. Should our foes get it, the advantage will be lost. Therefore, my father has decreed that it is only to be produced in Constantinople and only the most trusted men will be trained in its employment. To these men, the Siphonatores, the charge is given that they will part with their lives before parting with the secret. As such, only very special and highly trusted men can be recruited. This will greatly limit their availability but it cannot be helped. They will always be carefully guarded, always protected, and only moved at the direct command of the emperor.

    We will also use fire in our artillery.
    The Mangonel is similar to the catapult but it throws large barrels of oil which explode on contact or while still in the air. This is a dangerous weapon as the projectile is so unwieldy and unpredictable in flight. It has the potential to harm our friends as much as the enemy; especially when used close to our own forces. Still, the devastating impact of this weapon cannot be denied.

    One strength left to us by our recent past is espionage. We are the masters of intrigue. Spying, assassination, bribes, and other “low” arts are our forte. Alexius showed us that the illusion of power can be as real as actual military might. He accomplished more with the pen and the well-placed bribe than did other emperors with tens of thousands of troops. We remember those lessons and shall use them.

    I shall use our spies to gain access to cities if I can. I will order my assassins to kill my enemies. A single blade striking out of the darkness can accomplish what a thousand men cannot. Morals, fair play, and honor are for those who have the luxury of strength and time. We have neither. We will show the world how to use the cloaked warrior to take their towns and their leaders and preserve our own. Let my enemies have restless nights and keep daggers under their pillows. Let them search the shadows and jump at the sound of random noises. I will put my enemies on notice that there is no safe haven. They will spend extra energy guarding their bedchambers and their gates. So much the better.

    Finally, we will use the strength of our generals. Any man who commands a force in this army must lead from the front. Cowards will not be tolerated. Our soldiers must see their leaders share in their hardships and risks. In this way, they will be inspired to fight hard and continue to press regardless of the odds or the mission assigned. I, of course, will set the example. My life is worth nothing compared to the preservation and, hopefully, the restoration of the empire. Still, I cannot be careless. We are too few.

    Unfortunately, for all the strengths of our army; our foes are stronger. The Turk alone outnumbers us at least ten to one. They have more and better horse archers, more and better shock cavalry, more and better foot archers, more and better spearmen, and their halberds are something that could spell the end of any cavalry charge. Their armies are also veterans. They have seen years of fighting and are experienced and deadly. Their morale is high and they expect victory. They will fight hard and not break easily. Finally, they are relentless.

    So, we must outthink them. Put them at a disadvantage if we can. Make them move or stay as we wish. Dart around their flanks and make them hesitate. When we have weakened them with arrows and fire, moved them to bad terrain and disrupted their plans, then we will swarm them from all sides and crush them.

    I will lead this army.

    I am Skantarios.

    ** - To explain the historical innaccuracies of the timeline. However, starting so late, I only had to do it for three years as Constantinople was conquered and the imperial line extinguished in 1453.
    Last edited by Skantarios; July 04, 2011 at 01:33 AM.

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    Deadly Rabbit's Avatar Taihō no heishi
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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Great start! + rep

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Great start. I'm really liking how you had the first few updates be an overview of the situation and troops available. Good luck with winning as the Byzantines at that point in time, you're definitely going to need luck! +rep

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    Default Opening Moves

    Opening Moves

    To start our campaign of reconquest, I will begin not against the Muslim, but the Catholic. While the Muslim hordes of the Turks dither in their preparations for the conquest of Constantinople, I will increase our territory at the expense of the despicable and greedy Venetians.

    They have already declared war against us in concert with the Turk. Let them now reap the harvest they have sown.

    Venice controls of both Athens and Crete. For Venice to be in control of the seat of Greek culture is an affront that can no longer stand. Further, the various possessions of Venice are fractured and spread over a wide area. It will be difficult for them to provide timely reinforcements or retaliation. If I can strike a quick blow, I can drive the Venetians out of our lands and still be ready to counter-strike against the Turks.

    I will lead out what forces are at at hand from the Peloponnese and lay siege to Athens. The Roman forces are not substantial but we cannot wait to build up a stronger force. The Venetian garrison will match us but it cannot be helped. We have no time.

    I order the recruitment of Cavalarii and Mangonel in Mystras. My father orders new infantry for Constantinople while putting the bulk of the cavalry in the capital on our remaining fleet and sending them to me in Greece. It is a sad testament to our reduced power that we cannot even send cavalry riding from Constantinople to Athens without the say-so of the Turk. We must skulk in the coastal waters and hope our movements go unnoticed...


    After a short march, our forces are at the gates of Athens. I order the construction of a ram and ladders to assault the walls. A prolonged siege will not be possible. We must assault and go as soon as we are ready; to delay will only invite disaster.

    While the construction of our siege equipment was underway, my new forces of Cavalarii and Mangonel are recruited and sent out to join me. Further, the cavalry sent by my father arrives safely having successfully evaded contact. As soon as they arrive, we attack.

    Battle of Athens, 1451 A.D.

    Spoiler for Battle of Athens

    From battle report filed by Diadohos Skantarios to Basileus Theodorus, 1451 AD.


    We are strong in cavalry but extremely weak in infantry. In fact, we have none outside of two companies of archers. However, we do have a Mangonel which could prove devastating if they cluster. We just need a way in and we have them.


    Our archers man the siege equipment and the battle begins. I order only a single company of archers to move the ram to the gates and batter a way in.

    Apparently, the sight of such a weak force moving forward was too much for the Venetians and they order their cavalry to sally.


    I order my own horse forward as the archers fall back. We kill many but somehow the enemy manages to flee back through the gates and bolt them before I can force our way through.

    The archers resume the work on the ram and soon batter a way through. They have taken many casualties to crossbow fire and the charge of the enemy horse but still their moral is strong and they push on like warriors of old.

    My Mangonel fires a few salvos over the wall but it comes to little due to the inaccuracy of the weapon and the dispersion of their forces.

    Once the ram opens the gates, my other company of archers assault the wall with their ladders. The enemy reacts to this by sending two of their spear companies against them.

    My archers, not fully over the wall, engage them with arrows. We lose dozens as they close on the archers in hand-to-hand... but the archers kill many more before they push them off the wall. More importantly, they tie up precious companies of the enemy spear as I lead the charge through the gates.

    We soon route the enemy crossbowmen and infantry at the gates and chase the fleeing elements back to the city square.


    I then order my cavalry to circle round to the back of the enemy square. I then lead a charge as we crush those defenders caught between our cavalry.



    The victory is complete when we are in possession of the square. The remaining enemy throw down their weapons and surrender. We have taken the city.



    Our forces fought well and have earned precious experience and confidence for the battles ahead.



    After taking Athens, I order the homes and estates of the Venetians sacked to gain us precious money and reduce the chance of rebellion. I cannot leave a strong garrison in the city so I must leave them with a fresh memory as to what will happen if I have to return to put down an uprising. This not only swells our coffers but lifts the morale of the men. I will need both gold and steady soldiers for the road ahead.

    Without pausing for breath, I take advantage of favorable winds and use the small fleet sent from Constantinople to transport me and the bulk of the cavalry to Crete. Reports have reached me that most of the garrison of Iraklion is camped outside of the city. If I can engage them quickly, I may be able to lure their garrison out and engage them in the open field.



    The enemy take the bait. The two Venetian "nobles" leave the walls of the city and support their troops outside the gates. We are outnumbered, but the Venetians are not ready for the type of warfare I am bringing.


    Battle of Crete, 1451 A.D.

    Spoiler for Battle of Crete

    From battle report filed by Diadohos Skantarios to Basileus Theodorus, 1451 AD.

    I array my forces on a hill away from the enemy. Let their infantry tire themselves coming to us. They expect an easy victory and move to engage.



    I then send my one company of Cavalarii to engage the nobles as they approach. They achieve a perfect firing position to the rear of the noble cavalry and in an elevated position.



    Their arrow fire proves deadly as soon one of their nobles fall and the other's bodyguard loses more than half its strength.

    When the two enemy forces are joined. I order two of my units of heavy horse to their rear. Once in place, I lead a charge as our forces converge and take them on both sides.



    The enemy panics and soon they are routing off the field. I order my cavalry to pursue. None escape.

    What few prisoners we take are executed. A bitter lesson to the Venetians and one small down payment on vengeance we will visit on them for their actions during the Fourth Crusade and their present collusion with the Turks.





    I am pleased with their performance. They have fought well. Our casualties are low and morale has soared.


    With the total destruction of the Venetian forces on Crete, the city's gates were thrown open to us. If they expected lenient treatment, our troops quickly disabused them of this. The city was sacked.

    In just one campaign season, the forces of Rome have gained two new territories for the empire and put our enemies on notice that we are not the same rabble of our recent past.

    Since the campaign season is drawing to a close, I remain on Crete over the winter. I will return to Greece as soon as the spring winds allow.

    In other events of the empire, we have recruited new merchants to begin trading in the valuable deposits of marble in Greece. Anna has moved through Turkish territory and begun diplomatic relations with Hungary. They have declined an alliance for now but I see opportunity there for the future. They await some tangible example of our power before they will anger the Turkish lion at their doorstep.

    Anna is now moving north and will attempt to secure further agreements.

    One bit of news has reached us is that the Pope is unhappy with our success against the Venetians. Our already strained relations have just become worse.

    I cannot say as this is a surprise. Whatever hope we held that the Pope would rally the Catholics to our cause vanished years ago. We are alone...at least that simplifies things. Still, we do not wish to annoy the Pope too much for fear of a Crusade at our doorsteps.

    Thus concludes the year of 1451. For my victories, the council now refers to me as a "Promising Commander." Further, my father has erected a new monument in Constantinople to honor the victory over the Venetians on Crete.

    This is a good start, but the campaign is just beginning.

    I am Skantarios.
    Last edited by Skantarios; July 04, 2011 at 01:35 AM.

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    Deadly Rabbit's Avatar Taihō no heishi
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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Very nice, keep it coming. I hope for your sake that Egypt takes on the Turks... it'll make it easier if they're going at it hammer & tongs with them. Also, if you manage to take epirus from the Venetians you may succeed in breaking their hold in eastern mediterranean. They'll come under pressure in Italy and almost certainly lose Caffa to the Russians.

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    great start I really like your writing style
    are you aiming to reconqour the whole of the Eastern Empire?
    Kosovo ain't Serbia anymore so quit winging and get on with life

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Awesome intro and start! I especially like the pic framing on a few of those action shots.

    Eeesh - didnt know the Byz situation was that precarious in regards to the Turks in this start year.

    So will you risk excommunication or now that you captured key cities will you make nice?

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly Rabbit View Post
    Very nice, keep it coming. I hope for your sake that Egypt takes on the Turks... it'll make it easier if they're going at it hammer & tongs with them. Also, if you manage to take epirus from the Venetians you may succeed in breaking their hold in eastern mediterranean. They'll come under pressure in Italy and almost certainly lose Caffa to the Russians.
    I think the Egyptians and Turks will go to war eventually. They share a border and are both extremely aggressive. It's just a matter of time.

    Would love to have the Turks fight on (at least) two fronts.
    Read the review of I am Skantarios! in the Critic's Quill here.

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by administrator of yackady View Post
    great start I really like your writing style
    are you aiming to reconqour the whole of the Eastern Empire?
    The goal for the AAR is to follow the life of Skantarios. His goal is to reestablish the Eastern Roman Empire along roughly the same lines as the days of Constantine. However, to do that, I must defeat the Turks and the Egyptians. Not sure where that will lead me.

    If I start to get "off track" at some point, I will either cede the additional territories back or trade them for a more correct positioning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beer Money View Post
    Awesome intro and start! I especially like the pic framing on a few of those action shots.

    Eeesh - didnt know the Byz situation was that precarious in regards to the Turks in this start year.

    So will you risk excommunication or now that you captured key cities will you make nice?
    Thanks for the feedback. I don't think excommunication is an option, game-wise, as the Catholic and Orthodox churches are split and the Pope holds no sway over us. I'm not sure about him calling a Crusade against me, though, so I won't push it unless I have to.

    The real threat is the Catholic kingdoms opening a second front against me as I am trying to beat back the Islamic armies.
    Read the review of I am Skantarios! in the Critic's Quill here.

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    I like the way you write, especially the description of your troops; I don't see that often and I lurk...often. That being said, what if Skantarios dies in battle or due to some other element? Is that the end of the AAR, as I'd hope it isn't...I'm just curious as to what you plan on doing should that occur.


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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Great update, and a good set of early gains that will help you gather enough forces to deal with the Turks. Just one thing:
    They await some tangible example our power before they will anger the Turkish lion at their doorstep.
    You probably meant: they await some tangible example of our power before they will anger the Turkish lion at their doorstep.
    Last edited by dezikeizer; December 29, 2009 at 08:58 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default War with the Turk Begins

    War with the Turks Begins

    From the Diary of Diadohos Skantarios, 1452-1455 AD.

    With the coming of spring, I take the bulk of my forces from Crete and return to Greece. I must leave behind one company of cavalry as a garrison in order to maintain the city under our control. Even the loss of only one company is an acute loss, our forces are so few. I order them to return to Greece as soon as they can recruit some local militia to take their place as garrison of the provincial capital. I also order construction of an Orthodox church in Iraklion in order to bring the residents of Crete back under the proper faith.

    Upon my return to Greece, I order the immediate recruitment of more Soldiers. Throughout the Peloponnese, the call to arms goes out. The hereditary lands of ancient Sparta will provide the troops for our new forces. These are stout farmers and tradesmen who have been invigorated by our recent victories. The plunder of Crete and Athens will provide the money for the horses, weapons, and armor. For the first time in many years, the sounds of soldiers drilling and blacksmiths working fills the land. The forces come together in the citadel of Mystras. However, these new recruits will take time (years actually) before they are ready. Time is not on my side and so I must continue on with the forces at hand.

    Reports reach me that Thessalonica is almost deserted. It is garrisoned only by one petty Turkish noble and his personal bodyguard forms the entirety of the city's defense. This is an opportunity that cannot be missed. I order one of our spies to attempt to infiltrate. He finds the gates as deserted as the initial reports implied. Soon, he has sent word that the appropriate people have been bribed or disposed of. The gates will be opened upon the arrival of my forces.

    Wasting no time, I take the cavalry stationed in Mystras and, picking up some infantry at Athens, move to attack the city.

    Battle of Thessalonica - 1454 AD.

    Spoiler for Battle of Thessalonica

    From battle report filed by Diadohos Skantarios to Basileus Theodorus, 1454 AD.

    Our spy is true to his word. As soon as our battle standards crest the horizon outside the city, the gates are thrown open!

    The Turkish general and his bodyguard retreat to the city square and await our arrival. I order my one company of archers to move to firing positions and take them down from a distance. Whether out of a noble desire to die in battle or the desperation of a trapped rat, the Turk attacks. I take up his challenge and lead my bodyguard against him.


    However, if the Turk thought I would just give up my advantage, he is either incredibly naive or just stupid. I order my spears to assist in my attack. Also, I circle around a company of heavy cavalry around behind the Turk, through the city center, and have them charge him from the rear.



    It is over quickly. As soon as the Turkish general falls, the remainder of his bodyguard realize continued resistance is pointless and throw down their arms.




    After seizing the city, I order that the homes and properties of the Turks be seized. However, this soon gets out of hand as both the soldiers and the townspeople begin an uncontrolled looting. No distinction is made between the property of the Muslim and the Christian. In the end, the entire city is sacked. The plunder of Thessalonica will be added to treasury. I also order that the holy place of the Muslims, called a "mosque," be torn down. Their priests are either killed (if we can catch them) or driven out of the city. The second city of the Eastern Roman Empire is back in our hands!

    The plunder of Thessalonica has temporarily solved our acute shortage of funds. It also allows us to recruit new soldiers in Mystras and hire two companies of mercenaries.

    My report of this great success is hurriedly sent off to my father. However, my messengers soon return with very disturbing news. The capital is under siege and the Turk is ready to attack!



    Battle of Constantinople - 1455 AD.

    Spoiler for Battle of Constantinople

    From battle report filed by Basileus Theodorus, 1455 AD.

    So, it begins. The Turks have finally decided to finish the conquest they started so many years ago.

    The forces arrayed against us are formidable.


    Of particular note, they greatly outnumber us in heavy infantry.

    Their forces are veterans of many conflicts and they attack with all the confidence their many past victories give them. However, they are not led by a noble. Is this the disdain with which they hold us?

    Our forces are ready but most are new recruits - boys barely old enough to have undergone the rights of manhood. Still, they all know that defeat means death. They are fighting for their homes and under the gaze of their emperor. They will fight well.


    The one advantage we hold is in our archers, crossbowmen, and javelins. We will use that to our fullest advantage.

    As the Turkish siege engines are being moved into position, I gather the garrison together at the main gate and lay out the situation before them.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    From speech by Basileus Theodorus, June 1455 AD recorded by imperial chronicler.

    The emperor strode out before them and spoke in a clear, calm voice:

    “You have all been judged and sentenced to death.”

    A murmur of incredulity rose up from the ranks. Numerous whispers could be heard from the ranks: “Why?!?” “For what?” Was it a joke? Had they not heard him correctly?

    Theodoros continued, thundering now above the murmurs: “You may be asking yourself for what crime you are accused and then sentenced. Your ‘crime’ is being born a man and being conscripted into this army. Your crime is that you belong to a nation at war. There is no judge, procedure, or appeal to this sentence. This sentence is final."

    “There is hope, however. You can gain clemency by defeating your foe. Pass your sentence onto the enemy. Buy your life by taking his…for yours is already forfeit. By crushing him and driving him back to the steppes that spawned him. For, if you fail, you are dead. If my own men don’t kill you, the enemy surely will. If you fail, you not only condemn yourself to death, but your wives, your children, and all that you hold dear. Death, enslavement, and ruin are all that await you should you falter or fail today. The enemy will have no mercy and neither will we. Better to die here than to run."

    "Make no mistake, there are no other alternatives. Win today, or die today. It’s an easy choice. You are already dead. Today, tomorrow, ten years from now; we all wind up in the same place. Buy your life today and that of your family. "

    "Win."

    Following my speech. Our forces moved into place.

    I order our archers to lay down stakes in front of the gate. This will negate the enemy's charge and force their cavalry and infantry to walk through the gate where the oil and our spears will meet them. Should the enemy attempt to charge their cavalry blindly through our gates, they will find a very "pointed" reception. Let us hope they are that stupid.

    I place our Gasmuli crossbowmen to the east of the gate near the probable location of one of the enemy's siege tower assault points. To the western side, I station our javelinmen and another company of archers. They are all told to hold their fire and conserve their arrows until the first enemy steps foot on the walls.

    My heavy infantry and spears take up positions before the gate. I have them arrayed in a "V" shape so that the enemy will find themselves in a sack and attacked from all sides. I sorely wish that I had some artillery or Greek Fire to place here but wishing won't make it so. It can't be helped.

    Our forces at the start of the battle.


    As soon as the siege engines start moving, I order my archers to the walls. They will concentrate their fire on the Janissary Heavy Infantry moving the siege towers. They do this to some considerable effect.



    The siege towers and ram inevitably reach their destinations. As soon as they begin to step off of their platforms, my crossbowmen fire point blank into them.


    They are very effective.


    The javelins on the western side also take their toll.


    Soon, the enemy ram breaks through the gate and the Turks come storming in.


    The fighting is very fierce and momentum swings back and forth. No quarter is asked and none is given. At the height of the fighting, the Turkish general goes down. The loss of their general, the pressure from all sides, and the fire arrows raining down on them from above soon prove to be too much. The Turks crack.


    I order my infantry to charge and pursue. I even take the Imperial Bodyguard through the gates and run down as many as I can.

    We win a convincing victory.


    The offer of ransom for the captured troops is refused and they are duly executed. Hopefully, this will serve as a lesson to the Turk that our capitol will not be an easy mark.

    My only cause for concern is the appalling losses in heavy infantry we have taken. We will miss their swords and shields in whatever battle is to come.



    My father has won a heroic victory! The only thing that gives me pause is that the Turks did not send anyone of nobility to lead the assault. I believe that this is only a prelude to a much heavier attack and that the Turk merely wished to wear down the capitol's defenses before their "real" attack is launched.

    My initial fears are soon confirmed as another Turkish force crosses the straits and lays siege to the capitol. My father has not even had time to replenish his forces nor lay in new provisions.


    I am too far away to be of assistance. Any forces I attempt to get to him would surely be cut off by the hordes of Turkish forces in and around Adrianople. My father is alone. He must defend the capitol by himself and whatever forces he can recruit locally. This has always been the plan. However, now that it is happening, I am not as confident as I once was...

    I soon depart Thessalonica in order to link up with new troops coming up from Mystras. Reports have reached me that Scopia's garrison is depleted as the Turk is attacking to the north. I am sending some spies to see if we can also infiltrate there. While they are moving to the fortress, I ready my forces to attack. I send what troops I can muster to garrison Thessalonica as they are now on the front lines but I know that they cannot stand up to a determined assault by the Turks.

    In other news, Anna has approached the Venetians and offered them peace. The Venetians are apparently on their heels from my recent offensive and prove to be very receptive. Anna's terms are harsh.


    Although I did not authorize her to seek this treaty, it does make a lot of sense. We are in desperate need of both money and trade. Our ultimate goal is against the Muslims, not the Catholics. I approve the treaty in my father's place as he is under siege and cannot be reached. I am under no illusion that the peace will last. The Venetian is nothing if not duplicitous and greedy. We will be seeing their battle standards again soon. One way or the other.

    Anna has also secured trade agreements with with Republic of Genoa and Pisa. This fulfills a mission that was tasked by the Council of Nobles. As a reward for this, they have raised two units of javelinmen to help defend the city. It is a sad testiment to the nobles commitment to the cause that it takes the action of a woman to spur them to add to our defenses. Still, the additional troops are welcome.

    I also receive word that my father has adopted a new son. His name is Nikodimos Komnenos from the ancient and noble family of Alexius himself. Let us hope he has some of his ancestor's abilities and luck.

    So, I have a new brother! Unfortunately, he is locked up inside Constantinople with my father. May his bodyguard aid my father in the coming battles. I pray the day comes when I will be able to meet him and embrace him as a true brother in blood and in arms.

    The training of our new troops goes well in Greece and our merchants are opening up new trade routes every day. However, given the cost of new troops and the loss of income from Constantinople being under siege, our treasury is nearly empty.

    We stand precariously on the razor's edge. The next few years will tell the tale if the Eastern Roman Empire will survive.

    I am Skantarios.


    The world in 1455
    Last edited by Skantarios; July 04, 2011 at 01:37 AM.
    Read the review of I am Skantarios! in the Critic's Quill here.

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan The Terrible View Post
    I like the way you write, especially the description of your troops; I don't see that often and I lurk...often. That being said, what if Skantarios dies in battle or due to some other element? Is that the end of the AAR, as I'd hope it isn't...I'm just curious as to what you plan on doing should that occur.
    Thank you for the feedback! I really appreciate the positive feedback I have received.

    Should Skantarios die in battle of due to assassination/shipwreck/plague/act of God/etc, I will have to see how I feel at that time. I seriously don't think I have it in me to write an AAR that runs through the entire campaign. This one is already taking up a remarkable amount of time just putting the posts together, not to mention playing the game.

    If I am still enjoying it and he dies an untimely death, I will continue on with the heir or other interesting character. If he lives to be a ripe, old age, I will most likely end it.
    Read the review of I am Skantarios! in the Critic's Quill here.

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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by dezikeizer View Post
    Great update, and a good set of early gains that will help you gather enough forces to deal with the Turks. Just one thing: You probably meant: they await some tangible example of our power before they will anger the Turkish lion at their doorstep.
    I appreciate your interest in the story. I guess I am a little confused though as to what you meant. I believe the Hungarians, who are not currently at war with the Turks, are waiting to see if we have some success agains them before they will commit to an alliance. They share a considerable border with the Turkish empire and their military is no match for them at present. Given what happened to the Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo a little over a hundred years before, this is understandable.

    If you could clarify the above, I would be happy to make changes. I'm picky that way.
    Read the review of I am Skantarios! in the Critic's Quill here.

  18. #18
    dezikeizer's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    I understand that that's what you meant, but you forgot to put the word of in that sentence.
    Last edited by dezikeizer; December 31, 2009 at 12:55 PM.

  19. #19
    Beer Money's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Good update! Nice speech.

  20. #20
    dezikeizer's Avatar Kei kihei
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    Default Re: [SS AAR] I am Skantarios! - Rebirth of the Eastern Roman Empire

    Another great update by the way.

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