After reading monnikje's wonderful tale of Floris
, and seeing the current gap between posts, I was inspired to start my own little series of posts about my experiences in Caladria. I have been playing the game for about a month now, and spending a great deal of time on it, so I am somewhat used to the mechanics. So, being supremely confident (read: highly overconfident) in my abilities as a fighter in the game, I decided to start a new game in the Diplomacy mod (3.3.2). Also, I decided to crank the difficulty up substantially from what I had been playing (the default, so not exactly hard but quite fun to run rampant through the lines of the lesser men) to 92% (full damage to myself, my companions, automatic lance control, good campaign and battle AI, normal speed, 70 battle participants). As I progress, the battle size limit may increase--I will put that at the beginning of the post. Save with quit was implemented as well--it just wouldn't be fair to write an AAR under other circumstances.
The Tale of Dragar, Chapter One:
I have been in Caladria for a week now, and have decided it would be best for me to start a journal of what has transpired since I arrived. In fact, I had better start with the beginning--before I arrived. I keep this journal for posterity, that any heir I may have may know the full story. I was born to a guardsman in a border town, living in semi-retirement after his service in the wars that had plagued my homelands. The living was not good, but it was safe. We barely had enough to eat, so my father prenticed me to the smith, for a little meat on the table. I grew older and stronger, working the bellows and running water for my master. As such, a poorer knight, raised to status rather than born, saw my potential and took me as squire, for a time. I learned much from him, growing to a capable fighter. Finally, I learned to write--he had grown up illiterate, and had only learned himself recently, as part of his duties. He said he'd need a squire to be able to read and write, that I may one day be given such responsibilities and be knighted myself. Ser Rastor was a kind man. He was slain in battle two months ago, along with his liege and most of the army in a damn fool crusade. Ser Rastor knew it would be grave folly, but went with his liege as was his duty. His last act before riding to his death was to release me of my service, and told me to leave--there would be nothing for me back home, after our army was smashed and the enemy would rape and pillage and destroy what we had. My father had died of the plague several years prior, and my mother...I do not wish to speak of it at this time. There was nothing for me in Molhrond, so I left. With what little coin I had I took passage to Caladria, and journeyed to Reyvadin, where I heard there was a living to be had.
Shortly after arriving, I was accosted in the street by a bandit. I acted swiftly, and with some luck I might add, and placed a bolt from my crossbow between his eyes as he approached me, sword arm raised. A merchant approached me, and ushered me into his home. He had a proposition for me. Apparently, bandits had been waylaying and ransoming people of means in town, his brother being the most recent. He asked that I recruit some men from the local villages, and find these brigands. He paid up front, a small sum but a sum nonetheless.
I set out to recruit some men. After doing so, I was accosted by some minor ruffians. I thought to have my men gain some experience fighting these six (we were five, myself included, but I was on horse old as it may be). While these filth were put to the sword, my men did not survive the conflict. They were too rash, and inexperienced. Were troubles new to this land of Vaegirs, that they knew not even the basics of fighting? I took the little of value of salvage from the battle, and searched for more men. I acquired them, and spotted a training field. I saw this as an opportunity to further my skills, and spoke with the master there. He had me spar with some men, first of lower quality, then increasingly better. I was overeager at first, and was incautious--one of the first knocked me firmly on my rear with ease. That my injuries from the previous battles had not healed was certainly a factor, but I thought that I would not always be able to fight without hurt upon me, so I continued to train. I learned from my mistakes, and quickly bested most of his men. Then, with the best amongst them, I ran into troubles. Not only did the trainer consistently refuse to grant me more than a staff, whilst my opponents would have sword and shield, or greatsword. He said that in battle, you often must take up equipment you'd rather not have, and he saw my relative lack of skill with the staff. It took some time, but finally I could best three in sequence. He said I was ready for combat, or as ready as he could make me.
I left the field, and spotted another, larger, group of brigands. Poorly equipped, they outnumbered us 10 to six, and my I was bruised and cut still. No matter--it was time to test my men and my skills. I lost two men, and took some more hurt, but the rest of my men garnered much useful experience. I allowed them to improve their gear, and granted a small bonus to them for a job well done. I picked up some more men, on my path to Reyvadin. When I went to meet the merchant in the tavern, a woman named Katrin asked if I was hiring more hands. She had been a camp follower for some time, and had decided to take the life of mercenary up. I welcomed her to the party, and together we left to find the kidnappers.
We found them shortly after leaving town--a band of four men. They fell quickly before me. I had sense enough to use the flat of my blade to knock one out, to be questioned later. He told me of the location of his comrades, on the condition that I not send him to the gallows. I agreed, and went to their hideout. It was a lonely place, and hard to approach--a good place for scum to hide. My men bested them, though I nearly fell--one of my men, overeager to kill some bandits, obstructed my arm as I swung for a bandit, causing me to miss and opening me for attack. I brought my shield up, too late, and I was able to dispatch him as he struck at me again. I hung back as my men raced towards the last remaining bandit. He stood no chance. The merchants brother was freed. We returned to Reyvadin.
There he told me that a local guard captain had been letting the bandits operate, having lost his money in a trade venture when bandits struck. I agreed to help him capture this man in the morning. The plan was of his making, and a poor one. When on the streets, he just had his men charge blindly at the guard's bandits, without even giving me proper warning. As I drew my sword and shield, I was struck from behind by a bandit, and knocked unconscious before I could even swing at one. Merchants.
I awoke to find that the captain was captive, and was being turned over to the guard. I gathered my men, who had more luck than myself in battle, and went to the tavern. King Yargolek was not pleased for the breach of peace, but he was generous enough not to hang us for our actions, and let the merchant sell his interests at a fair price. The king here is weak, the merchant said, and had to look to his authority. Had I erred in coming to this land?
I left Reyvadin for Curaw, and there I found that Iron was quite cheap--a quarter of the price it would fetch at Reyvadin! This is but a short journey, so I naturally bought what I could, and left for Reyvadin. I made a tidy profit, and returned to Curaw and repeated. Katrin was better at negotiating than I was, so I let her handle these affairs. I then loaded up, heavily, on iron at Curaw, and set out for Khudan, where I was told I could fetch a similar price. I did, and now had a tidy sum of denars in my pocket. I went to the tavern to celebrate. I met another woman, Ymira, who had left her family when her father sought to wed her to a man more than a decade her senior for something as petty as money. She had no real skill in battle, but a decent aptitude with trade and with healing, so I took her aboard. A drunk somehow took offense to this, managing to clear out of his wine-fog long enough to accost me. I was able to defend myself ably, and I received his purse and sword. Not a bad sword, better than the one I had now. Still, it was a terrible waste. I shall rest here, and let my wounds heal a bit, before I continue my trade.
My (almost) initial stats--I forgot to take a screenshot until I leveled, so I took one before I spent my points:
Stats at close:
I'll be posting every couple of days here, and I'll start keeping better track of some of this stuff, like my gear and that of my companions. Steam takes larger screenshots than I thought, so I'll start resizing them after this. For now, they're in spoiler tags.