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Thread: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: Mar 16]

  1. #21

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: June 18]

    @Caesar: Glad you liked the sunrise. For now I am focusing more on the rising and setting sun, which are rather pleasant times in the desert and convey its more gentle aspect (which fits with our story so far). However, as the army begins to carry out actual desert crossings, or worse still, is sitting around during sieges, we will begin to see a rather more harsh reality and how it takes its toll. Regarding Shullai, while he is indeed unpleasant as a general, he seems to have some abilities as a governor. Moreover, I wouldn't do anything to "get rid of him", as I think that would be in violation of the spirit of those people and I'd like to stay true to what would actually happen there. Bedouin peoples are not known for assassinations or sending men to their deaths, with it being more likely that a "bad seed" is simply exiled from the group rather than killed. But again, I think he'll do well as a governor, and I plan on setting him up as the center of power for Arabia Felix (the lands of the Saba) once I have made my way that far south.

    @TSK: Thanks for that! That is one of the things I find so cool about deserts. The beginning and ending of days are romantic and innocent, but in between it is a painful and harsh place to be.

    Anyway, here comes the next installment, with a new more detailed map (including armies) and a nice photo to boot! Also, for anyone following this, be sure to have a look at the current monthly AAR competition and submit your own if you've got one, and vote for your favorite(s) once the polls open!
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  2. #22

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: June 18]

    Continued from Chapter 1 - Part III




    Chapter 1
    Out of Edum


    --------------------------------------------------
    (Part IV)


    Over the next days and weeks their seaside encampment slowly grew, but aside from this there was passed little of note worth relating. As promised, the soldiers from Rekem arrived in good order two days after Mun'at's company, marching down the northern arm of Wadi Ithm with the rising sun on their backs. Mun'at was glad to see them and their sturdy bearing, but he also noticed the subtle marks that easy city living had left on them; the casual way they carried their spears or the almost blithe manner in which they spoke of the campaign to come, as though it might be no more than a playful excursion into the desert. The words of the king's messenger echoing in his ears, he set them immediately to training, dividing the new units amongst his trusted commanders that they might turn the softened guardsmen back into the warriors they once were.

    Sixteen days later the force sent from Ravîv'êl Bikrum joined their number, a mighty army filling the valley from horizon to horizon. Within the space of a few hours the barren plain had sprouted a forest of stout trees tipped in merciless iron, its depths providing cover enough for the countless bowmen and slingers who there kept watch. These men were little like the guards and petty tribesmen Mun'at had so recently been training, for the western Harra was still a dangerous place and Ravîv'êl's bold forces had been the only safeguard against the tyranny of foreign raiders.

    As the new units filed down the dry wadi and began arranging the regular lines of their tents Mun'at's gaze was caught by the individual soldiers walking alongside each division. Some were young, perhaps only a handful of summers wiser than Shullai Ha'Malek, but the majority were aged men with flecks of quartz running through their ebony beards. These were veteran warriors with little need for guidance or training from the likes of either Mun'at or his captains. Another commander might have shuddered at the sight of so many potential rivals, so many equals demanding respect and a fair apportioning of the spoils of war, but Mun'at openly smiled. Ravîv'êl, knowing that the campaign's outcome depended on victory for the army gathering in Elath, had sent away his very best, placing his own small band of raiders at greater risk for the sake of capturing Dedan. Mun'at would repay him well for the consideration, and moreover see to it that Ravîv'êl's captains received their just rewards and retained control of their fighting men.

    Night fell over the valley, the sudden darkness rapidly dispelled by a thousand fires lit throughout the camp, and Mun'at held a special counsel with the new captains who had so recently arrived. In deference to their long journey he remained brief, quickly relating the king's plan and their part in it. He then assured them all that they would hold final command of their men, both for the sake of morale and in honor of their faithful service to Ravîv'êl Bikrum and Malka Qênu. Finally, Mun'at explained the potentially dire situation for the people of Tabuk and the need for haste, concluding that in two days time the army would march for Wadi Rum, leaving a small force exposed on the road behind them to entice the overbold Lihyanite raiders into their trap. If Dushara's grace was with them the bait would suffice and the devils from Dedan would be broken against the sacred stones of the Valley of the Moon.

    Map of Arabia Felix (with inset on Tabuk)





    Mun'at was wakened early by the braying of high horns ringing in the dawn, their shrill voices splintering along stone and crying death through the valleys. Too well did he know their sound and the doom it called forth, but hoping against reason he burst forth from his tent. Already the smoke was rising just beyond the low ridge to the east, drawing him out. In one step he had crossed half the plain and with the second he was standing along the ridgeline. A third step and he was beside her, Adwata, his wife. He curled her close, his tears casting up narrow columns of dust where they struck the ground below, and he watched the distant riders sinking into the sunrise. Soon they were lost entirely in the haze of morning. He turned his gaze back to the woman in his arms, but no longer could he see her face clearly or remember the true feel of her skin. As he looked upon her her features began to slide and flow, turning to sand, and in an instant what was once his wife slipped between his fingers, returning to the desert from which she came.

    Mun'at opened his eyes slowly, the sound of horns still ringing in his ears. However, the piercing notes of the Rabi'ah murderers had been replaced by deep and sonorous calls, the voices of antelope- and ox-horns booming across the valley. Their two days were up, the forces finally mustered, and it was time that they laid their trap amongst the crimson walks of Wadi Rum.

    Their army covered the entirety of the southern approach to Elath, a broad plain between the inland hills and the sea. Mun'at knew Wadi Arabah to the north was likewise filled to its brim, the provisions and baggage train having been assembled there, not to mention the wives and families of the fighting men. The campaign ahead would span years and more, and so they rode out in Bedouin fashion, with all that they held dear close behind.

    The divisions and companies began slowly to march as the sun rose in the east, their formations close and inspiring. Rana'in, fearing that the Rekem guards might forget their short period of training, had cleverly suggested that they be evenly spread between the new arrivals from Ravîv'êl, and Mun'at was pleased to see the results before him. Each unit moved as one, the less experienced following their betters' example, and sooner than he would ever have guessed the entire force was on the move. Mun'at looked to Rana'in and nodded in approval, for his plan had set them more speedily on their way, and though Wadi Rum could be reached in a day's march it would be a long day indeed. The time won now would aid them well before the sun had set.

    The army began its journey with the sun on its face, the men moving due east along the broad bed of Wadi Ithm, a deep watershed connecting Wadi Rum to the sea by a series of channels and open valleys cut through the coastal hills. The terrain was easy, smooth semi-hardened sands underfoot and a gentle rise that would slowly bring them into the higher country inland, to the northern outriders of the Hijaz ridges. They moved quickly and with confidence, and before the sun had reached its zenith the last few straggling units had crossed into the desert territories and lost sight of the sea behind.

    At first they marched hard, the size of their force making any delay in the narrow coastal ravines too dangerous a risk. In such tight spaces they could not make advantage of their numbers and the long column lay doubly vulnerable to raiders and swift sorties from the surrounding peaks. Seeing this, Mun'at with cruel kindness bade them to press forward with all haste, finally allowing a stop only when the last of their divisions had safely exited the wadi's shadows into the broad plain beyond. They could already see the dark bands on the horizon that marked out the Valley of the Moon, immense peaks standing lonely watch over a lifeless river of blood-red sands. The younger men who had not yet seen that place squinted and shaded their eyes, hoping to catch an early glimpse of the sacred valley, but the older warriors ignored them for the time being. Wadi Rum was a place of beauty, wonder, and awe, and would impress itself on any so fortunate as to gaze into its depths, but there was no reason to miss an opportunity for rest by staring at a smear on the horizon. Soon enough they would tread its walks.

    After a mere hour's rest the riders remounted, the infantry shouldered their spears, and the captains sounded the call to resume their march, the orders being relayed by horn and trumpet to the more distant units. Now that they had reached the open plain the column began to flatten and fan out, the men behind moving to the now open flanks until they nearly spread across that vast space. And so it was that when finally they reached the first precipices and clefts of Wadi Rum nearly every man there saw them at the same time.

    12,000 men and 4,000 horses, all loaded with packs and jangling harnesses, can make an unimaginable sound, a din to wake the gods. Even without singing or speaking, the mere splash of their footfalls will mix together, one step amplifying the next, until one hears roaring ocean waves booming over the seas of sand. But as they stepped between the first peaks marking the southwestern border of the Valley of the Moon their breath was halted and each found himself unconsciously treading carefully so as not to make a noise. With no more than a whisper on the wind to mark the sound of their passing the army crossed into the holy valleys and grottoes of Wadi Rum.

    Wadi Rum




    Author's Note

    In looking for a good photo of Wadi Rum I was overwhelmed with how amazingly beautiful that landscape is, and I would strongly recommend that all readers do a quick search in GooglePictures for "Wadi Rum"! There are hundreds of astounding images of that place, and though the one I've included gives a taste, there is much more worth looking at!




    Continue to Chapter 1 - Part V
    Last edited by Kilo11; February 04, 2019 at 03:28 PM. Reason: Added links
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  3. #23
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: June 24]

    Good updates! In the previous update, the conflict between the soldiers' loyalty to Shullai and their concern about his character adds tension nicely. I hope that Mun'at's training and his plan will succeed.

    In the latest update, I like your descriptions of places and people, particularly the sound of the 12,000 men and 4,000 horses - and their reaction to the Wadi Rum. The map is helpful (I like the 'zoomed in' section with added detail) and the picture of Wadi Rum is stunning, indeed!

  4. #24
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: June 24]

    I agree with everything that Alwyn has said. I also wonder what part this young arrogant prince will play in this grand story. I really like Mun'at as a character already being calm and methodical in his approach of everything. The map's are really helpful especially the zoomed in section is very well done. And the picture of Wadi Rum is just marvelous.

    Good job!

  5. #25

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: June 24]

    @Alwyn, Turk: I'm glad the map is working. I will try to make similar copies as the story progresses.

    I'm currently on vacation, so this post is a bit shorter and rushed, and the next one will likely be similarly so.
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  6. #26

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: June 24]

    Continued from Chapter 1 - Part IV




    Chapter 1
    Out of Edum


    --------------------------------------------------
    (Part V)


    As the army moved north into the cover of the deeper valleys, it split into a dozen divisions, each setting its camp apart from the others. Wadi Rum, despite its scenic nature, was a particularly parched and unforgiving place, and the distribution of the hidden rain-catches and cisterns demanded that the men accept a certain degree of isolation from their comrades. The arrangement however was not without advantage, for their separation ensured that if one party were sighted by the enemy it would be taken for a small band of raiders, the rest of their number remaining unknown and free to encircle the Lihyanites at ease.

    Mun'at also ordered that the baggage and families be moved to their respective partners, and left only a small train of wagons and livestock behind with Shullai's companion cavalry. From the heights of Wadi Ithm or the broad plain to its east they would present an easy and moreover enticing target. With hope the Lihyanites would rise to such bait.

    In order to further draw them into his trap Mun'at sent a half-company of mounted bowmen southeast toward Tabuk. Their task would be threefold: first, the riders were to keep watch over the Lihyanite force and moreover determine the immediacy of Tabuk's need for assistance. In addition, they might use their presence to some advantage and carry out small sorties against their foe, the better to thin their ranks and weaken their resolve to remain within the environs of Edum. But most importantly, Mun'at hoped that the antagonism of his cavalry might be used to induce the enemy to give chase, whereby they could be led as lambs to the slaughter back to Wadi Rum.

    Khalil, the crude raider, would lead the advance cavalry, for though he could at times act rashly he was without doubt the most likely of Mun'at's captains to be capable of angering an enemy into false moves. As the thin column of lightly armed horsemen began to ride out Mun'at called after Khalil.

    "Ten days, old friend." he said. "We will wait ten days only, and then we follow in your wake. Do not forget."

    Khalil, ever the rogue, made no reply other than a half-nod and wink, and with that he turned away and began riding over the sands for Tabuk.


    Six days later a pair of scouts came pounding into Mun'at's camp. Before they had even spoken Mun'at had sent his captains to the more remote units to bring them in for the battle that was sure to come. He then spoke to the two men, but was confounded by their news. They told him they had seen riders approaching from the east, heading directly towards Wadi Rum, but when questioned on the strength of their force the two men confessed to have only seen perhaps a dozen soldiers, but all clearly mighty warriors from their dress and bearing. With little idea of what to make of such news Mun'at had walked to the edge of his camp to see these riders for himself, bringing along twenty strong bowmen for good measure.

    After the space of perhaps half an hour the unknown intruders were sighted coming across the open plain, riding with all possible haste and no apparent measure of forethought to the dangers that lay in wait for them. Sensing some oddity but detecting no danger, Mun'at stood down his archers and was glad of the decision when shortly after the riders approached, showing themselves to be members of Khalil's raiders.

    Upon seeing Mun'at the foremost among them leapt from his saddle, nearly toppling to the ground from exhaustion when he landed, and the commander, normally a calm and politic man, snapped at the weary soldier. "What brings you back so soon?" he asked. "And where is Khalil?" he added as an afterthought.

    Still gasping for breath, the interrogated did not respond immediately, and when finally he spoke the words cam in fits and starts, each phrase punctuated by a loud intake of air. "Commander... no time to delay... the Lihyanites... they are devastating Tabuk."

    "What?" Mun'at replied, unwilling to believe that Tabuk had fallen. "Is the city lost then?"

    "No, sir," the man answered, "but the eastern raiders have laid siege and even now are plundering every settlement and oasis." After another gulp of air he gestured to the darkening eastern sky and continued. "Khalil remained behind with the advance forces to harry them sir, but alone he cannot liberate Tabuk. We must come to their aid or the Hisma will be lost to us, its tribes broken."

    Without further word Mun'at turned to the captains and runners standing behind him. "Prepare the men. We move out in four hours."



    Continue to Chapter 1 - Part VI
    Last edited by Kilo11; February 04, 2019 at 03:30 PM. Reason: Added links
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  7. #27
    Darkan's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: July 2]

    I've read everything in one go and I must commend you for your descriptions and writing style. These four updates gave me a sense of peace and calmness and I vivdly saw the desert from the descriptions. EB is an amazing mod and it's a great choice for an AAR. Regarding length of posts, this is perfect, they're easy to read and they set the atmosphere easily. The maps are a great addition as well, so we can better visualise the area and troop movements. As for photos, you could perhaps use a couple when it comes to battles, if anything, just to show the great job the EB team has done with the units. I would also like to link you and everyone else to the EB Bibliography Thread, a great collection of books and articles.

    Keep up the great work and we'll keep reading. +rep
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  8. #28
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: July 2]

    Mun'at's choice of tactics sounds logical for a light force engaging in fast-moving warfare in an unforgiving land, drawing the enemy into a trap. It seems that, like many real-life commanders, he's going to have to adapt his plan. I'm enjoying Mun'at's adventure, as well as the way that you give us useful glimpses of the personalities of characters such as Khalil. Looking forward to more - in the meantime, I hope you enjoy your vacation!

  9. #29
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: July 2]

    Another great installment but what else did I expect! I wholeheartedly agree with both Alwyn and Darkan their statements.

    Keep it coming! +rep

  10. #30

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: July 2]

    Hey Kilo,
    I've finally had the time to read through your AAR. I liked it a lot and think I can learn from it. Your style of writing is very good.
    Some bullet points I wanted to give you along (some answering your questions and some as critique):

    • The post length is very much ok. Maybe a tiny bit on the long side. But I think you shouldn't worry about the length too much. Better not to stop in the midst of something. Some parts may be longer and some shorter. Your prose keeps one reading.
    • It seems to me you relied your depictions a bit too much on modern day beduins. It's largely not a bad idea to do so. But some details seemed a bit off. Tea for instance was first recorded in the 60s BC in China.
    • I really like your use of words in a different language. It enhances the immersion. It's a really good thing. However, the explanations later were both unnecessary and disrupted the reading flow. For instance, everyone can guess that Phoinike is Phoenicia and that en-Nil is the Nile. Best not to do that in parantheses in the middle of a sentence, but put a tiny dictionary either at the beginning or the end of the text. Otherwise your text is very well written, and it's a shame that gets interrupted.
    • Other small note: I was kind of surprised that 18000 men can be supplied in the Wadi. One heck of a supply train.

    Regarding maps, screens & images

    • You can have screens in it. Whether it's good or bad really depends on how you do it. The same goes for maps. You've done it beautifully so far.
      Since your AAR is more narrative than gameplay focused you should try to crop the interface out of the screens, and there's no need for screens unless you want them, or in specific situations.
    • I like your maps so far. Really beautiful. One tiny note, which I'm not sure if it really does it better, but it just might: You can do a transparent background instead of white. Then the background would be the same brownish tone as with the rest of your post. It just might look better, but I can't guarantee anything and it's really minor.
    • The important thing about images in texts in general is that they shouldn't be out of place, they should be the same size so that they don't conflict with each other. You seem to have done that already. A minor critique is that in my opinion, your pictures are a bit too high, making the gap so big that the text is virtually cut in two.
    • I made some EB2 maps a long time ago. I can try to find them again. They were made from the ingame files and drawing on them was semi easy. You'd need GIMP or something similar, and you could colour your provinces as well as those of your enemies. I can try to find them or make new ones if you are interested.
      I made lot's of maps in my day for hotseats and some continue to be used by others. Here's a middle earth map for reference the template of which I made over 2 years ago:
      Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

      The EB 2 map of course had a different style, since this one is based on medieval fantasy and my EB maps were not. I can try to find them or make new ones for you, if you are interested. You just have to tell me if you are.


    So I hope you didn't mind the critique. Some of it is really knitpicky, so I just want to clarify that a) I don't want to give you the impression your AAR is bad. Actually the opposite. I really like your style! b) not all my advice has to be good and c) it's also really minor so probably not worth the effort to change it. A lot of it is just advice and personal taste.
    I don't want to come off arrogant since I think you write better than I do.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: July 2]

    First things first, I am back from my long vacation and will be doing my best to dive back into the groove. I know it's been a long wait, and I am sorry about that, but the next installment is already written and just needs to be transcribed. It will with certainty be put up on Sunday so that I can restart my regular routine of posting once a week on Sundays. So that will happen!

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkan View Post
    I've read everything in one go and I must commend you for your descriptions and writing style. These four updates gave me a sense of peace and calmness and I vivdly saw the desert from the descriptions. EB is an amazing mod and it's a great choice for an AAR. Regarding length of posts, this is perfect, they're easy to read and they set the atmosphere easily. The maps are a great addition as well, so we can better visualise the area and troop movements. As for photos, you could perhaps use a couple when it comes to battles, if anything, just to show the great job the EB team has done with the units. I would also like to link you and everyone else to the EB Bibliography Thread, a great collection of books and articles.

    Keep up the great work and we'll keep reading. +rep
    Darkan, I am glad you've enjoyed it so far. I am going to aim for that general pacing as I go on, and have the battles as sort of flurried moments of action and frenzy that come and go amidst this more stretched style of adventure. I think that reflects the actuality of war and campaigns anyway, and also provides a nice change of pace from a lot of the other AARs out there, as action is a more common theme in many others.

    I'm also glad the maps are working out. I will continue to use them liberally (I absolutely LOVE maps!!), especially for showing how battles pan out. The map for the next installment is actually already put together and does things a little differently. Thoughts on it would be most welcome once the post is up. Also, I think I will periodically throw in a screenshot in spoilers, but unfortunately I forgot to open fraps when I ran the battle, so there aren't any for this battle. For the next I will remember though! You are right that the EB team has done their work too well for it not to be showcased. The link to the EB bibliography thread is also a nice addition for any readers not familiar with it. I used it with gusto in researching things before I started this AAR and it has been a tremendous boon to my writing so far and my ability to confidently add certain details.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Mun'at's choice of tactics sounds logical for a light force engaging in fast-moving warfare in an unforgiving land, drawing the enemy into a trap. It seems that, like many real-life commanders, he's going to have to adapt his plan. I'm enjoying Mun'at's adventure, as well as the way that you give us useful glimpses of the personalities of characters such as Khalil. Looking forward to more - in the meantime, I hope you enjoy your vacation!
    Thanks Alwyn! Vacation was lovely! As for Mun'at's tactics, I am not sure how they might evolve as he moves along. He will pick up more units bit by bit (later I will make clear that along with his mission he was granted power over the "king's purse" and so can recruit mercs or levy troops as he moves) and this may affect how his army moves and the types of engagements they seek out. We will have to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    Another great installment but what else did I expect! I wholeheartedly agree with both Alwyn and Darkan their statements.

    Keep it coming! +rep
    Thanks Turk! Glad the quality is still worth following.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    Hey Kilo,
    I've finally had the time to read through your AAR. I liked it a lot and think I can learn from it. Your style of writing is very good.
    Some bullet points I wanted to give you along (some answering your questions and some as critique):

    • The post length is very much ok. Maybe a tiny bit on the long side. But I think you shouldn't worry about the length too much. Better not to stop in the midst of something. Some parts may be longer and some shorter. Your prose keeps one reading.
    • It seems to me you relied your depictions a bit too much on modern day beduins. It's largely not a bad idea to do so. But some details seemed a bit off. Tea for instance was first recorded in the 60s BC in China.
    • I really like your use of words in a different language. It enhances the immersion. It's a really good thing. However, the explanations later were both unnecessary and disrupted the reading flow. For instance, everyone can guess that Phoinike is Phoenicia and that en-Nil is the Nile. Best not to do that in parantheses in the middle of a sentence, but put a tiny dictionary either at the beginning or the end of the text. Otherwise your text is very well written, and it's a shame that gets interrupted.
    • Other small note: I was kind of surprised that 18000 men can be supplied in the Wadi. One heck of a supply train.

    Regarding maps, screens & images

    • You can have screens in it. Whether it's good or bad really depends on how you do it. The same goes for maps. You've done it beautifully so far.
      Since your AAR is more narrative than gameplay focused you should try to crop the interface out of the screens, and there's no need for screens unless you want them, or in specific situations.
    • I like your maps so far. Really beautiful. One tiny note, which I'm not sure if it really does it better, but it just might: You can do a transparent background instead of white. Then the background would be the same brownish tone as with the rest of your post. It just might look better, but I can't guarantee anything and it's really minor.
    • The important thing about images in texts in general is that they shouldn't be out of place, they should be the same size so that they don't conflict with each other. You seem to have done that already. A minor critique is that in my opinion, your pictures are a bit too high, making the gap so big that the text is virtually cut in two.
    • I made some EB2 maps a long time ago. I can try to find them again. They were made from the ingame files and drawing on them was semi easy. You'd need GIMP or something similar, and you could colour your provinces as well as those of your enemies. I can try to find them or make new ones if you are interested.
      I made lot's of maps in my day for hotseats and some continue to be used by others. Here's a middle earth map for reference the template of which I made over 2 years ago:
      Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

      The EB 2 map of course had a different style, since this one is based on medieval fantasy and my EB maps were not. I can try to find them or make new ones for you, if you are interested. You just have to tell me if you are.


    So I hope you didn't mind the critique. Some of it is really knitpicky, so I just want to clarify that a) I don't want to give you the impression your AAR is bad. Actually the opposite. I really like your style! b) not all my advice has to be good and c) it's also really minor so probably not worth the effort to change it. A lot of it is just advice and personal taste.
    I don't want to come off arrogant since I think you write better than I do.
    Cookiegod, you have given me far more critique and suggestion than I could ever have hoped for, and there is absolutely no need to apologize or backpedal from it! That bluntness is what I wanted and it's great to hear. You've also given me a ton of stuff worth thinking over. A couple of specific responses to your specific critiques/suggestions:
    • Beduin descriptions: thanks for that piece of info. There isn't a lot of good stuff on how they lived back then, but a particular anachronism like that is something I'd rather leave out if possible. Given your comment, I take it you mean that tea was also not a thing in the ancient Greek or Roman world either. Is that correct? (Maybe the answer could be in pm, as I can see this line of questioning going on a bit more)
    • The explanations seemed important for some things but I can see your point. Maybe I will just make sure the glossary is always up to date and eschew future use of the in-text translation.
    • Army size: I am still unsure about the army sizes and have talked to many people in the EB fora to get a better handle on what makes sense. At any rate, I will make sure the army is always moving so that any supply issues may be plausibly denied upon further inquest
    • Map height: I might put the next maps into contentboxes. Your point is on the mark and I myself also didn't like the "cutting the text" aspect of them, but I don't want to make them smaller, as some details might then be lost. A contentbox that can be opened and closed might work well as a middle-ground. Let me know what you think when the next installment comes out.
    • EB2 maps: So far I have been alright without any, but that could rapidly change. Thanks for the offer, and I will bear it in mind if I find I am in need of something particular. Out of curiosity, would you also be able/willing to make small EB2 maps that only cover certain areas? I mean, I'll never need to have the British Isles on my map, or anything in mainland Europe for that matter.

    In general, thanks a million for the thoughts, and I will mull them all over a bit more as the days go on and I think more about the maps and the other aspects. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy what I'm putting out there.
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  12. #32

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: July 2]

    Hello Kilo, finally got around to reading your AAR. Wasn't a waste of time at all

    I'll first answer your questions in your OP. Screenshots to me can really add to the atmosphere of an AAR, or in most cases simply assist in conveying a message or portray the situation. This is especially true for people who don't play the game or particular mod itself and won't really understand what is going on where. I myself do not play EBII, so I would appreciate screenshots of the campaign map and characters from time to time. Your images are excellent though, and the map in Chp1 Pt2 and Pt 4 especially helps.

    I am glad you make the effort to use historically accurate names of places and people, it really adds to the immersion of the AAR so please keep that up. With regards to splitting your chapters into parts, I personally prefer to read them as one chapter, so I'd wait until all your parts are out and you have concluded the chapter before reading. Not a big issue, but it may result in slightly less comments from people who prefer to read it in one chunk. This may of course be counterbalanced by those who love reading it bit by bit, so it's really more of a preference.

    I don't really like the idea of using console commands, but that's just me, I'm more of a purist (not a total purist though, that sucks out all the fun). There could be many issues, lets use the example you provided in the OP; clearing rebel armies means you get gifted a unit of soldiers. But would the tribe you helped appreciate your help in the first place? Would they have enough warriors to spare to grant you a unit that could otherwise have been protecting their village? Did they secretly support the rebels and so on. But of course that is just one example, if you can justify it to yourself then I guess it really doesn't matter.

    With that being said, I like your style of writing. It is somehow rather...refreshing. There are too many AARs out there with a lopsided focus on battles and that's what I like about this AAR - it is different, and different is good. It is direct, harsh and captures the realities of the situation nicely, case in point being the messenger's breathless arrival in Chp 1 Pt 5. All in all I'm looking forward to reading more, and maybe this can even grant me some insight into my own AAR with regards to its people and geography. Great work!

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  13. #33

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: July 2]

    @Swaeft: Glad to hear it has been worth the time! Regarding screenies, I think I will start adding a couple (not too many though) but unfortunately won't for the next couple installments because I forgot to get any images when running my battle. I also am glad to hear that the historical names and general style seem to work. The general feel I've gotten from people on here is that the broad elements are all in order, and that only littler things could use work, and that's always nice to hear. Oh, and so far I actually haven't used console commands more than once, and that was to add a single levy unit to the map to signify the "Tabuk Garrison" who would join in my battle. I think I will disband that unit after the battle though so that they don't get joined to the main force. That was sort of my intent and meaning when I said I'd use console commands, to only do things that would be historically accurate and justifiable in the context of the game/history. That's what I will continue to do.

    To everyone out there reading, I would also like to thank you all for your continued support and patience in the last couple weeks, and also for getting my first AAR to the 1000 views mark! Milestones are always good to see; it's shows we are making progress away from the start, even if it doesn't indicate which way we are going. And now, without further ado, I give you the latest installment.
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  14. #34

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: July 2]

    Continued from Chapter 1 - Part V




    Chapter 1
    Out of Edum


    --------------------------------------------------
    (Part VI)


    From the low earthen wall the innumerable horsemen to the northwest could just be made out in their camp set amongst the ruins of what were once rich farms. Broken orchards and smoking shells of buildings marked out the borders of the fields and residences, but there remained little other trace of the greenery and life that so recently had filled the surrounding space. The garrison commander of Tabuk, an aging man, looked mournfully across the plain with little trace of hope on his features, and at the sound of footsteps behind him he lightly tilted his head. The uneven tread marked the arrival of his adjutant, a faithful if somewhat jumpy fellow who had been bringing him bad and worse news daily since the arrival of the eastern raiders.

    "What further evils have you to report Jaqîlu?" he asked over his shoulder. "Do we now have the plague within our walls as well, or can we escape at least some of the perils of this life?"

    Jaqîlu, his tone grave, did not rise to the jest. "Commander Tarsu," he said, "the plague would be a mercy at this point. I have been speaking with the council and... they have informed me that..."

    "What is it Jaqîlu?" Tarsu prompted.

    "With the refugees and the garrison there are twice as many within our walls, and the wells within the city are running dry, commander." he said flatly. "Without access to the oases or outlying settlements the people will run out of water in three days."

    Tarsu was silent, his gaze fixed on the distant enemy, and after a short time Jaqîlu spoke again. "Commander, did you hear me?"

    Tarsu turned on his heel to show a face clouded in worry and uncertainty. He took a deep breath, delaying the words he longed not to speak, and was presented with a gift he had days before despaired of ever receiving. Carried on the wind he heard deep horns ringing in the west.

    "What fresh doom is this?" Jaqîlu frantically asked.

    "Deliverance." Tarsu answered, a broad smile on his lips. "The Nabati have come to our aid!" All trace of fear had left his features, and with a certainty and fury terrible to behold he continued. "Jaqîlu, gather the archers of the garrison and any men you find who might be pressed into carrying a spear. We will be moving out at once."

    "What?! You cannot think that we will go out to fight these eastern dogs!" he responded, terror curling the edge of his voice into a pitiful wail. "Even with some force from Rekem the Lihyanites are too great in number. We will be killed."

    "Jaqîlu, have you no pride or self-respect?" Tarsu asked bitterly. "Gather the men at once! I will not have it said that when our allies came to our aid they found us cowering behind our low walls or unable to meet the enemy with heads held high. The Nabati will draw the Lihyanites away to the west and when our brethren have fully engaged the devils from Dedan then we will hurl our bolts into their backs." Tarsu's jaw was set, brooking no argument or objection. "Gather the men." he finished in tones of cold iron.


    For the past hours Mun'at Ha'Qadri had received constant updates from a veritable army of scouts riding back and forth between the general and the edges of the Lihyanite encampment, and the most recent news was heartening. Upon seeing the full extent of the Nabati force the enemy had begun to hastily lift their siege of Tabuk, the various units fleeing south as soon as they had broken their camps, and already there lay a long train of men and horses stretching into the desert. Seeing their exposed flanks Mun'at had ordered Shullai to take the mounted bowmen and skirmishers and join Khalil's industrious raiders, and their antagonism appeared to be bearing results of some worth. However, the horsemen of Dedan were still too quick, and would surely escape before the army from Elath could bring its full might to bear against them.

    "Haza'el!" Mun'at cried over his shoulder, summoning the one-eyed captain. "Gather the banner-carriers, trumpets, and any cavalry we have left and ride hard south. Get behind these eastern demons and turn them about! We have come too far to let them slip away without a fight." With a curt nod Haza'el turned and left, shouting orders to men left and right.

    The preliminaries of battle dispensed with, Mun'at then allowed his gaze to drift toward the low stripe of white on the horizon that marked the buildings of Tabuk. Between the smoldering farmsteads and ravaged fields he could only just catch glimpses of the distant city, but he noticed a thin band of darker shapes moving over the sands. Mun'at shaded his eyes and saw dancing in the heat-haze a small force of bows and spears marching under banners of the Nabati. It seemed the garrison of Tabuk would not be content to be rescued without joining in the fight. Again, and not for the last time that day, Mun'at smiled.

    With no more clever stratagems at his disposal or maneuvers to be made Mun'at ordered the army to slowly press forward, holding their lines secure should the Lihyanites turn to fight. They would push straight toward the Tabuk garrison, and once their number was joined to the main force they could then engage the enemy with confidence.

    Tabuk (pre-battle)

    After the space of a Greek hour* they met the local guardsmen, commander Tarsu striding confidently at their head. Mun'at embraced him quickly and relayed the intentions for the ensuing battle. Tarsu's men would fold into the main line, slightly off the central axis should they prove liable to break under pressure. Then, if Khalil's and Haza'el's sorties proved successful in turning the Lihyanites, the entire force would march southeast and engage the enemy on the broad sand-swept plain. With Tabuk at their backs the local men might also be induced to fight more freely, secure in the knowledge that their homes and families lay in the shadow of defense cast by Nabati spears.

    Tarsu's men took their position among Mun'at's and the wide line of wood and iron wheeled about to skirt Tabuk's outer farmsteads. The sun high in the sky they began heading south and again Mun'at smiled. Ahead of him he spied the scattered units of fleeing Lihyanites begin to coalesce and reform, turning their faces back toward Tabuk. They seemed to have had their fill of flight and would indulge his men's desire for blood. They would fight.




    *Author's Note to "Greek hour"

    Slightly longer than an hour. The ancient Greeks and Romans divided the daylight hours into twelve equal segments, meaning that the actual length of an hour would vary depending on the season and location. In Arabia in summer the Greek/Roman hour would be only a few minutes longer than the current standard of 60 minutes.




    Continue to Chapter 1 - Part VII
    Last edited by Kilo11; February 04, 2019 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Added links
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  15. #35
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: August 5]

    And thus Mun'at finally clashes with the Lihyanites. Tarsu is wise to join forces with Mun'at in the upcoming battle, strength in unity. The map is well crafted to oversee the strategic positions of the battlefield and I hope to see more of the same when the battle commences. Also I will commend you on the use and explanation of the Greek hour, a nice little bit of historical facts which I greatly enjoyed!

    On to victory! + rep

  16. #36
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: August 5]

    I enjoyed this, particularly the way that you demonstrate the desperation of the garrison (including the dialogue between Jaqîlu and Tarsu). The reaction of Mun'at to the small force he sees, when he realises who they are, is nicely done. I agree that the map is well crafted. A great update!

  17. #37

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: August 5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    And thus Mun'at finally clashes with the Lihyanites. Tarsu is wise to join forces with Mun'at in the upcoming battle, strength in unity. The map is well crafted to oversee the strategic positions of the battlefield and I hope to see more of the same when the battle commences. Also I will commend you on the use and explanation of the Greek hour, a nice little bit of historical facts which I greatly enjoyed!

    On to victory! + rep
    The clash is indeed coming, right in the next update! And Tarsu is indeed a good fella. Unfortunately, as head of Tabuk's garrison he won't be continuing on in the story, as he'll have to stay put to take care of things there. But I thought a little bonus character would do everyone good I am glad the map and "Greek hour" detail both went over well. I felt good about them, but wasn't sure if they would land fully.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I enjoyed this, particularly the way that you demonstrate the desperation of the garrison (including the dialogue between Jaqîlu and Tarsu). The reaction of Mun'at to the small force he sees, when he realises who they are, is nicely done. I agree that the map is well crafted. A great update!
    Glad you enjoyed it Alwyn. I think it's important to always make clear that there are people on all sides of the equation, and their sides matter too. And I'm glad you also found the map to work. The map for the battle is in the same style, and hopefully that is as helpful as this one, despite the fact that many things happen quickly (or simultaneously) in battle, which is hard to put on a map adequately.
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  18. #38

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: August 5]

    Continued from Chapter 1 - Part VI




    Chapter 1
    Out of Edum


    --------------------------------------------------
    (Part VII)


    With the Lihyanites committed to combat Khalil and Haza'el returned to the main line to cover the exposed flanks and give their mounts a moment's rest before the battle commenced in earnest. Their mobility would be crucial in the fight to come, for the entirety of the enemy force consisted of cavalry and could easily split apart and isolate the Nabati infantry and bowmen unless properly checked.

    With his riders returned, Mun'at ordered the bulk of his men to occupy a low hill to their east. Its vantage would not provide much in the way of protection or strength, but the shifting slope would slow any charge committed by the lancers of Dedan, giving his spears a moment more in which to prepare themselves. To the east of the hill Mun'at sent Shullai Ha'Maleki, granting him command of the mounted bowmen and Khalil's raiders. Whether the boy could be trusted to fight well, much less lead, was still unclear, but he would have to wet his blade at some point, and should he prove unable Mun'at trusted Khalil to wrest control from him without complaint or compromise. For his own part, Mun'at would remain with the main forces, keeping his companion cavalry, the camel raiders, and Haza'el's hastily gathered men as a reserve should the infantry become over-pressed. With the Nabati battle lines arrayed he then did as any experienced commander would and he waited, patiently watching the stripes of black on the horizon as they wheeled about, marking their strengths and their narrow gaps with a calculating eye.

    The Lihyanites shifted back and forth across the finely blown valley, sliding this way and that as mercury on a heated sheet of iron. At first they seemed unsure of themselves and their choice to do combat, but soon enough their lines hardened and fanned out, matching the Nabati formations. As Mun'at watched, squinting against the brightness of the afternoon sun on the sands, the eastern-most Lihyanite horsemen began to break away from the rest of their number, pounding north toward Shullai's companions and Khalil's avid raiders. From such distance Mun'at could not be sure of the enemy's disposition or martial raiment, but their speed and positioning marked them as skirmishers and lancers rather than bowmen. Then Mun'at noticed something more; a standard-bearer following a single horsemen in shining attire. Shullai must have seen the enemy commander as well and thought to capitalize on his isolation, for the eastern cavalry under his command began to rapidly descend the hill in the direction of the enemy, horns ringing to sound the charge.

    As Shullai closed with the forces of Dedan his companions began to unleash a constant supply of arrows and stout throwing spears, thinning the ranks before the inevitable clash. To this deadly rain was quickly added the vengeful barbs of Khalil's men, further weakening the enemy, and when Nabati lances met Lihyanite shields the battle for the eastern flank was already won. From his position among the main lines Mun'at could not hear the distant din of mortal combat, but he knew its sounds well enough. The scream of dying men and rough tearing whinny of broken mounts would shatter the heart of the enemy commander until he routed in panic. In a desperate attempt to free himself from an early final judgment he would break and flee, the last sound in his ears the rasping of his own breath as he struggled to draw air into lungs punctured by enemy bolts.

    Mun'at watched intently, but after the space of only a few minutes he turned away, his head softly shaking from side to side. Victory is a sweet thing indeed, but it is an ill soul who gladly watches his enemies die cowards' deaths with arrows in their backs. He would not gaze needlessly on such a spectacle.

    However, despite his wish to unsee the carnage unfolding on the plain below Mun'at was forced to turn his view back to the enemy, for shouts running down his lines announced some new maneuver or ploy of the Lihyanites. Far off to the southeast the broken Dedani horsemen fled over the sands, Shullai and Khalil at their heels, but the remaining enemy soldiers had begun to ride hard for the Nabati infantry, surely hoping that a single unforgiving charge might rout the levies and garrison troops, leaving only a small force of veterans to contend with. The thunder of their hooves and boom of their war drums nearly brought the Nabati to their knees, but as the fiends neared Mun'at saw clearly that they were all of them bowmen, dangerous at a distance but no match for spears and axes, however poorly wielded. He rode quickly up and down his lines, rallying the men and assuring them of their inevitable victory, and when he returned to his cavalry he sent them with Haza'el with orders to swing wide and strike the Lihyanite flank once they had engaged his spearmen.

    As the last of his companions rode away to the west Mun'at dismounted, giving his reigns to a spearmen of some note. He would remain with the footmen holding the centerline, secure in the knowledge that his captains would make the most advantage of their men.

    Tabuk (battle)



    He then stepped forward from his line, striding a quarter-bowshot ahead, and he turned about. The sun at his back, Mun'at's features were cast in shadow, a dark god of violence and death in human form. But he was their god. Mun'at raised his spear high and shouted. "Warriors of Edum! This day we come not as petty tribesmen or raiders. This day we come as soldiers of Malkuta Ha'Nabati*. This day we come as liberators." He paused then, glancing over his shoulder at the fast approaching enemy. "But tomorrow," he began even more loudly, "tomorrow we will be conquerors, and the rising red sun will bear witness to our strength. Let us make these eastern devils bear witness as well!"

    With a roar fit to shatter the heavens and hills his men raised their weapons in answer, the swelling sound running east and west down the length of them. However, their moment of untested confidence flared only briefly, for no sooner had Mun'at regained the lines when enemy arrows began to rain down from a cloudless sky. The mounted Dedani archers were continuing their hard ride toward the Nabati, firing wildly and to little effect. Scattered screams marked the passing of men from this world to the next, souls lucky enough to be spared the coming bloodshed, but too few spears fell for the Lihyanites to long hold hope of victory.

    As the enemy soldiers finally crested the hill, a wide column of dust and fear trailing them, they ceased firing and traded bows for swords or short spears, weapons of intimacy and cunning. However, the foremost among them were never permitted to use these, for Mun'at's archers and slingers, so long silent, entered the chorus of death with confidence and precision. A deafening whistle lanced across the hilltop, piercing iron, bronze, leather, and flesh. As the first line of horses fell those behind tripped or were stalled long enough to receive the second volley, and by the time the soldiers behind these had picked their way through the bloody maze of their fallen comrades the Lihyanite charge had been reduced to gentle push.

    The spearwall held, and along the exposed flanks of the Lihyanite line Ravîv'êl's Harra tribesmen rushed in with axes held high. For the span of a few minutes the melée raged in earnest, the enemy rallying despite their losses, until above the ring of spear on shield horns were heard. From the southwest Haza'el broke against the Dedani with a red wrath terrible to behold. Wavering, the enemy fought on, their mounts tiring beneath them, until again horns were heard blaring over the sands. Unasked for and unexpected Shullai had forsaken the rout, and with Khalil in tow had returned to the battle. His lancers, flushed with victory both recent and to come, shattered their long spears by the force of their charge and without mercy continued the slaughter with ax and sword.

    The remaining Lihyanites, to a man, broke. The imprudent reserves at their rear thought to run, dying shameful deaths with arrows in their backs for such cowardly behavior. Those at the heart of the melée could never hope to escape so quickly and largely surrendered, while here and there some bold soul fought on until exhaustion and despair finally defeated him. All told, the fighting had not lasted more than an hour at most, but by the end three quarters of the enemy had been slain, the rest captured or dispersed into the desert, with little loss on the Nabati side. Again, and not for the last time that day, Mun'at smiled.


    Three days after the battle for Tabuk, after the bodies had been laid to rest and the goods of the fallen fairly distributed amongst the victorious, the army of the Nabati left the lands of Edum and crossed into Lihyan. There was no thunderous cheer or fanfare of horns to mark their passing. No stone cried forth their trespass or spoke of their arrogant daring. The sands simply continued in their soft sighing melody, the sun rising on their left, the mountains of Hijaz on their right. But Mun'at knew they had left behind the lands they called their own. He knew that in that moment they ceased to be allies and liberators, trading the mantle of friendship for that of aggression and greed. So be it. He would wear it gladly, and though he was a stranger in a strange land he would hold his head high and bow to no man.

    *Glossary

    *Malkuta Ha'Nabati: The Kingdom of Nabataea




    Continue to Chapter 2 - Part I
    Last edited by Kilo11; February 04, 2019 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Added links
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  19. #39

    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: August 12]

    Very nice. Loved the pre-battle buildup and the battle itself, almost felt like I was reading a book. Great read, and great map depicting the maneuvers. Love the little glossary at the end there, keep it up!

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  20. #40
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: Written in Sand (Nabataean AAR for EBII)[updated: August 12]

    I agree with everything Swaeft said! Mun'at really seems like a good man, not relishing in the destruction of his foes, as well as being a great leader of men. Sending out his own bodyguard to help in the battle while he himself inspires the main force with the weakest troops. A man destined for greatness I say!

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