AAR - I heard Atraea from up higher and this is what transpired.

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Kiri Kaneko

So it seems there hasn't been any AARs for quite some time (I did a search, there were only 5 results, that's about 1/5000 of the usual number of results, and only one was an actual AAR!)

To be honest this is my first time doing an AAR and I haven't even beaten the game yet so I'm not expecting it to be very good, plus I have a very cautious style so I most likely won't be doing anything too outrageous or interesting. This is basically an AAR about my first serious attempt at winning the game with all the tactics available to me.

Options are:
Damage to self: Normal
Damage to allies: Normal
Combat AI: Average
Campaign AI: Good
Battle size: 150
Autoblocking enabled

I just tried to use printscreen in game but it came out all in black. Does anyone know why that is? I just tried it on the desktop and it worked out just fine. It wouldn't be an interesting AAR without pictures XD
Oh thanks! I didn't know I could do that! I don't have time today since I need to use the library to connect to the internet and it's about to shut, so I'll write it up later and post it soon ^^
If you're playing with Steam it has its own printscreen function that works differently.  I don't recall the default key or save location but it shouldn't be too hard to find that now that you know to look for it.
The default Steam print screen key is F12. The Default save location is accessible from steam. ("open location" at the games print screen option in the sidemenu of the game in steam)
This is my first AAR (After Action Report) and to be honest I'm not sure how I should write it. I know some people like humour but I don't want to risk making bad jokes, and I know some people like to make a story out of their experiences, but I doubt anything I could write would be gripping.

So I'll just write what happened in a matter of fact sort of way and hopefully my experiences with the game and thoughts on what transpired might help someone :smile:

Chapter 1: Character creation, qualis gems, up until tourneys.

As usual I made a female noble character and tried to tailor my responses towards str/agi. I chose noble, both the hunter backgrounds and personal revenge as my motive. This is the build I started with:

Str 11, agi 8, int 9, cha 8
ironflesh 3, power strike 2, power draw 3, weapon master 2, riding 3, horse archery 2, everything else at it's starting values (I didn't add skill points to them)

I tried to work out how to upload images but it sounds complicated, sorry!

The idea from the start was to quickly acquire the 2 qualis gems to get my stats up to 15 str, 12 agi, 12 cha and pump nothing but int on my level ups. In retrospect I should've raise my str by 3 more points to get 18 str and access to the noldor composite bow early but I thought it would be a long time before I could get one, though in retrospect it isn't that hard to get positive relations with the noldor and beat the Jatu army even if you can't just get one as a loot drop from a rogue knight (I had a bent one drop once, it was barely worse than an ordinary one!)

Given the tedium of farming bandit armies for money and the high cost of things even with productive enterprises, I decided the best way to make money would be from tourneys which give 10-22k per victory assuming betting on all rounds and a tourney victory. I allowed myself to save scum due to my inexperience as an anti frustration feature so all tourneys were victories. Even if you don't do this, it's the first rounds that are the hardest due to getting ganged up on, so most losses won't cost you much. Since the AI is typically easy to defeat with weapon proficiencies of 200+ the only times I lost were when my allies when down fast or we were ganged up on by multiple teams, as you need to be very strong to cope with multiple opponents reliably.

On the subject of melee combat against the AI. I find the best way to handle it is to backpedal with your weapon raised. Wait til the enemy takes a swing (unless they are a lot faster on foot than you then they will miss) then swing and hit them. After that just keep backpedalling and blocking an attack before retaliating with an overhead swing, it rarely fails. I typically do this with a claymore if my horse dies, but if you use a shorter ranged weapon like a tourney club then be sure to step forward for the swing before you return to backpedalling.

So the early game strategy was to get strong quickly to be able to farm tourneys with minimum frustration. Equipped with a courser and a short bow I engaged Mystmountain bandits in combat and shot them from a distance. Many of these bands have mounted bandits or bowmen, or worst of all - Mounted archers. You may get unlucky and be shot in the head by a fluke shot, I coped with it by reloading saves, the only advice I can offer for an ironman playthrough is to bring a huscarl round shield and ride around the ai in circles until they run out of arrows, and if the horse is close to death then take your chances shooting the enemy archers. If you are being pursued by mounted opponents the safest idea is to shoot their horse as it can't block your shots. You can wait til they get close and fire at the rider when they drop their shield to take a swing but it's risky as if you miss you or your horse will be badly injured. Remember you can store multiple quivers of arrows in your inventory box to withdraw during battle and should always have at least a few (even bent ones), which allows you to carry only one quiver at a time (+ bow, sword and shield) without fear of running out.

I sold my loot and bought medium armour and better weapons/ammo. I heard its better to do the red brotherhood hideout sooner rather than later as it affects the quality of enemies, so I hired some ravenstern peasants (about 10), trained them at a training grounds til they were archers, bought Lethaldiran with the rest of my cash then went to the hideout. I found the hideout by paying for news from the taverns til someone offered a map of it to me as an opportunity (I also got loot at Rane and Valonbray which was very much worth the price I paid for it). The AI went a bit nuts when I went in there and everyone was getting sniped from across the map while running in circles derping so I lowered the difficulty to complete it. If you don't want to lower then difficulty then the only thing I can think of outside using CKO units is to avoid levelling up at all and somehow make the money (from tavern loot maps) to buy a full team of knight companions + lethaldiran and hope they don't derp so bad that the low level bandits shoot them.

Also be aware that you have to find the qualis gem after killing the bandits and BEFORE pressing TAB or you lose it. I didn't know this and had to add the extra stats with import/export (I made sure that after handing in my 3rd qualis gem I scaled my stats down by 1 to compensate)

So with that done I dismissed my companion and soldiers and returned to bandits hunting, now with 5 ironflesh/power strike/power draw and 4 weapon master/riding. Once I could afford it I read the weapon master book (fechtbook) and continued hunting. I acquired a cheap war horse as my horse tends to take arrow shots and needs to be able to withstand them without falling and leaving you helpless. I put the skill points into leadership to 4 (+1 to 5 from the book), engineering, training, pathfinding and surgery as I regard those as the most important skills in the mid-late game. Once I had 200+ in my archery/1h proficiencies and about 150 in my 2h proficiency I started doing tourneys.

Overall this took about 90 days in-game time.

Next Chapter: Tourneys, right to rule, Noldor relations and companions.
Come on, you could do better.
This is dangerously close to spam and pretty uninteresting to read. Much room for improvement, so go and read a few of the more advanced AAR´s and try to switch your style from a boring summary of the obvious to something catchy and funny to read. Stating the obvoius in such an uncharmant way is almost offensive, at least to me.

Thank you very much.

And please fix your typo in the topic. It´s Astraea
Thanks for the criticism.

I've seen a few kinds of AARs, the ones who write it as a story, the ones who write it humorously, and the ones who simply state what happened. I'm not confident on my skills with the first 2 which is why I went with the third, and then I couldn't work out how to put screenshots up, something to do with uploading them online but I'm not very techy.

I could give it a shot at trying to write it humorously I suppose. I just hope it doesn't make people's eyes roll since I've never really tried my hand at comedy. I did try fanfiction once but all my reviews said my characters were dull and cliché, and my protag was a 'Mary Sue' so I take that to mean I have no talent for writing stories at least.

I'll try rewriting this and try to make it more interesting later. No promises as to when it will get uploaded though as my library now blocks this site so I can only access it whenever I'm at a friend's house or the university (and it's not term time right now)

More reviews would be nice also please, let me know what you liked/disliked and want to see more of.
Ok, its an AAR I'll give it that, I dont consider it spam but more of a lets play. Though otoh it does give me some more insight in how other people play this game which is one of the purposes of an AAR. Your righting skills arent top of the line, got the feeling that a video AAR/lets play would suit you much better considering your practical approach in your style.

I wouldn't mind doing that, but you need expensive recording technology and a mic for that and I just can't afford that on my budget. Also I wanted to just get to the meat of it rather than focusing on minor details. I tried to watch someone's let's play of this and the first part was 20 minutes of character creation. By the time my AAR is done you could read it all in 20 minutes and hopefully gain a lot of insight (at least on how NOT to play the game if nothing else)

I don't want it to be boring though. I read a few AAR before, those being Timurid Apocalypse (Medieval 2) which was very much like mine but with screenshots and focused on a rather interesting scenario where the player was desperately trying to fight of an overwhelmingly powerful faction that they had let become so powerful, Me, Floris which was an AAR of the vanilla campaign with mods, describing what the player did but written like the player character wrote it as a diary, and Iga Ninjutsu is Good (Shogun 2) which was very humourous and gave tips on playing on the hardest difficulty (with heavy reliance on exploits). Would writing my AAR like that make it better? Thoughts?
You are doing it wrong, save scumming tournaments is bad :smile:

If you want to role play properly, go and earn renown/xp/denars/fame in the battlefield, grinding minor parties and joining battles with friendly lords as a merc/vassal.

Tournaments/Arenas/Training Grounds are for kids, real men prove themselves in the battlefield :razz:
shoshuro said:
You are doing it wrong, save scumming tournaments is bad :smile:

If you want to role play properly, go and earn renown/xp/denars/fame in the battlefield, grinding minor parties and joining battles with friendly lords as a merc/vassal.

Tournaments/Arenas/Training Grounds are for kids, real men prove themselves in the battlefield :razz:

Roleplay is to each his own, if he wants to rp a savescumming bastard he's doing an excellent job  :mrgreen:
Usually a tad of roleplay flavour spices everything up considerably. Instead of reporting the technical details you think about, try translating them into strategic and tactical considerations your character thinks about.


"I decided to take Laria and its surrounding castles to start my kingdom, because I can
a) shoot at the ladder in a favourable angle/have a safe spot for polearm use on the wall,
b) kite the Noldor spawns to crush besieging armies
c) gain 5464 denars per week from selling oil to Ethos."

Instead, do:

"When finally Iskar Levellin had assembled his friends and allies and his army had set up camp in the valley of Kwynn, he held war council with his officers. It was generally agreed that the eastern stronghold of Laria had the best defensive position and the Noldor emissary present assured the aspiring king of his people's assistance. The town also controlled the eastern trade routes and its oil presses would provide a steady income to pay the young kingdom's army.
The next day, before dawn the army moved out to assault the walls of Laria..."

PS: This will also mostly keep you from using cheap exploits: When you find yourself doing something in the game, which would be utterly nonsensical from your character's immanent point of view, then you're doing it wrong; and most likely people won't want to read about it, as everyone can use exploits. What people are interested in are well told, immersion preserving game experiences that at least have a faint resemblance to a feat of valour and glory.
Kiri Kaneko said:
This is basically an AAR about my first serious attempt at winning the game with all the tactics available to me.

Rereading this youre actually very comitted to your goal, win the game in whatever way possible.
Screw glory,valour and honour, winning comes first.
I'm not that good at roleplaying tbh. I'm not sure but it seems like you can't just think about what you would do in their position. Your options in the game are relatively limited, a lot of things aren't realistic either. For instance, you can't just marry into a powerful family and stab your way up the line of succession, and if you get killed in battle you only survive, and getting stabbed through the heart has about a 50% mortality rate even without surgery for your men.

I typically don't save scum tourneys, I only do that with PoP. That's because everything costs a lot and if I wanted to grind bandits who are too weak to defend themselves I'd probably be playing World of Warcraft. At higher levels I found I had about a 90% win rate anyway and the times I lost were either when every archer on the map targetted me right at the beginning of the match or when my entire team all get one-shotted and I'm alone against 5 people with another 5 making their way across the map towards me. In other words they're not so much a test of skill as a test of luck and you can only reliably win them when you get to a very high level. What's more, the farther into the tourney you get the easier it is to win as your chances of being mobbed are considerably less, which is silly because if it were a test of skill it should be the other way round as only the strongest and most skillful fighters make it to the final rounds
Chapter 2: Tourneys, right to rule, Noldor relations and companions

At this point I was pulling off reliable tourney wins. If my team all got slaughtered almost immediately or we were ganged up on I lowered the damage to myself to compensate, if I have to fight 6 enemies at once then 1/4 damage evens the odds a bit. I'd occasionally lose anyway when the AI pulled off a fluke chamber block and headshot me (they can do it from any direction it seems) I was still getting way more money then I was losing.

I bought more equipment and had a go at the Vanskerries, but soon decided better of it. Their throwing axes and javelins hit so hard and they frequently hit even when I'm riding sideways at 20 metres (the AI has awful tracking usually) so after a few fights where I limped away to 20% or less HP I decided to stick with mystmountains and bandits. I did have some experiences with other bandits, red brotherhood, knights and adventurers are all evil so best avoid them, Jatu are super strong so avoid those too, d'shar raiders are actually quite easy though so maybe do those if you get bored, I just stayed with bandits when I was sick of mystmountains. Bandits often come with rogue knights/squires and a red brotherhood thief or two. Best stay away from the thieves as they are very accurate with those knives at close range but run out of ammo fast, like mountain vanskerries. The Knights sometimes have range weapons but their aim totally sucks though they hit hard if they do manage to hit. Shoot the rider if their shield is down or they're couching a lance, or just shoot them off their horses. I would then rider in circles shooting at the archers and then do the usual thing of looking behind my horse while trotting slowly forward and shooting when the infantry drop their shields to swing. It's also possible to ride up alongside the archers with a claymore and shield, wait til they fire then lower your shield and swing - dead archer. Try to aim for the archers at the edge of the group so you dont get shot while you are swinging. Using the shield let's me get 1h skill raises, whereas sheathing the shield or taking two stacks of arrows let's me get 2h skill raises which I both raised to 180.

At this point I grabbed my companions which were Adonja, Ansen, Leslie, Alyssa, Julia, Sir Rayne, Sir Jocelyn and Lethaldiran. Planning ahead I decided what builds to use for them. Lethaldiran is level 45 so won't be gaining any level ups, I decided he would be my CKO trainer and eventually my husband. Adonja and Ansen were the int types, with the former covering tactics/pathfinder/spotting and a bit of tracking, and the latter covering wound treatment/surgery/first aid and engineering. Leslie was my charisma type with trade/persuasion. Alyssa and Julia were my agi types, with one taking horse archery/riding and the other taking athletics/shield for future CKO training. The Knights were strength types with power draw/power throw and ironflesh/power strike. This covered all the skills for steward/CKO training and the useful battle skills mainly covered by adonja/ansen who could go at the bottom of my list when I'm ready to get serious. All of my character got at least 12 str and 4 power draw which allowed them some decent armour and the ability to use bows, 2-3 weapon master and as much trainer as they could get with their level of int for future soldier training.

I also hired the other companions and sent them out to bring me right to rule, and when they got back I took off all their equipment and sold it/gave it to my companions to make up for the cost of buying them, plus when I see them naked in the taverns I know I already sent them out for RTR. I also sent out ansen and adonja to do their RTR since I knew I would be needing them the most and wanted to get it over with. I hunted more bandits to get them level ups and whenever they were all injured I did tourneys til they recovered and started buying my enterprises. The lords of Rane, Avendor and Ishkoman are all nasty bags and need some quests doing for them before you can buy enterprises there, but fortunately Avendor and Ishkoman changed hands temporarily and I managed to get the enterprises there before they were retaken.

Around this time I also started on quests and noldor relations. I knew they would be tedious so decided to do them little by little. For the Noldor I simply stalked their patrols at a distance and helped them in fights. Even if they are outnumbered they win easily if you order their mounted soldiers to dismount and then have them stand on a hill or something in a line. Their rate of fire and accuracy increases a lot when dismounted. If the enemy have cavalry then also tell them to spread out a bit, while the cavalry are attacking some noldors the other ones shoot the rider. I rode around shooting out the unarmored horses before they reached the lines, shooting the riders of armoured horses, and shooting the infantry as they rush past me towards the noldor in the back. It's decent exp and it took surprisingly little time to get Noldor relations to 100. They often raided caravans and peasants. Helping them kill peasants doesn't give relations but raiding caravans does, although it also makes the faction angry so I made sure to pay them off whenever relations got to -12. While lords attack at negative relations, if they are chasing someone else or running away from someone I found they never tried to attack me so that was the opportunity to talk to them.

I mainly did quests around the Empire territory since I was under the impression that Sarleon units suck. I know better now but Empire units are universally awesome and since I planned to start my conquest with Laria due to it being quite far out from the rest of Sarleon and other factions, quite close to Noldor, and not terribly far from Empire villages I decided to builds relations with Empire villages by doing quests there. The quests are easy and give a lot of rep, and when I did 30 of them I got an achievement for some renown as well.

Eventually I accepted the Noldor quest at the tavern in Laria. For those that don't know, you have to hunt a small Jatu army to gain access to Elecrai which I will cover next chapter. The Jatu army is only about 180 men but Jatu are very strong. They usually consist of powerful battle riders which use heavy horses and are skilled in both lance and bow, jatu lancers which also use heavy horses and lances and can switch to melee sword as well, and jatu raiders which are mounted archers on unarmoured horses that are generally far less dangerous than the lancers and battle riders. The trick to beating them is to break the battle rider and lancer charge. They generally have less battle riders and lancer than raiders, so the first waves are hard but it gets gradually easier as their stronger units die. What's more, I had about 150 units max at this point but the Jatu army is slightly bigger, but once it drops to about 150 men I had them outnumbered thanks to tactics and dispatching them became a lot easier.

I made a save file here and tried fighting them with different army compositions. The Army type I found best for fighting them was a mixture of empire legionarries and armoured crossbows. The legionarries go in the front in ranks, and the crossbows stand 20 metres behind them in a straight lines. As the Legionarries are getting murdered by the Jatu the crossbows shoot the riders. The infantry suffer heavy casualties but the Jatu do gradually lose units. After I dropped to around 80 units left I retreated and healed them, trained up a few more units to replace the ones that died (I had 10+3 surgery skill at this point) and finished the weakened army with the second attack. I also test ravenstern rangers with armoured pikemen, armoured crossbows with armoured pikemen, and armoured crossbows with d'shar bladesmen. The Pikemen were surprisingly worse at surviving the jatu then legionarries. Maybe they killed more of them but killing is the range units job and the infantry were supposed to be tanking. D'shar bladesmen were like the legionarries but slightly inferior for me. The Ravenstern rangers had a higher firing rate and overall higher damage than the crossbows but when a few of the Jatu reached them they all got slaughtered. Armoured Crossbows are barely below legionarries in their melee capabilities and armour so coped much better with Jatu that got past the infantry. In retrospect the armoured longbowmen from Sarleon might've been a better middle ground but their poor archer proficiency put me off.

After defeating the jatu army I disbanded all my soldiers since I wasn't planning on needing an army for a while yet.

Next Chapter: Noldor training, Noldor tourneys, unique spawns, faction troop analysis up to taking first fief.

Author's Note: Sorry if this is a boring read for some. I just don't have the talent to write fanfiction. The purpose of this AAR is to simply explain how I beat the game and offer my thoughts on it for other players. If someone else had already written an AAR I wouldn't have bothered but it seems the board is woefully short of AARs so here it is. I hope this AAR has been useful so far and will continue soon
Maybe it'd be an easier read, if you visibly separated "diary parts" and "personal thoughts parts" as well as "advice parts"...like:

I encountered a vanskerry party, 30 heads strong, and won with some losses.     
Nasty throwing axes, be careful not to charge them straight on.

Also, I'm not sure if you're writing a diary, or a guide for beginners...At the moment it's all a big lump and it might also help if you occasionally expressed some emotions...
I applaud your passion in doing this however...it's quite the work.

Try to be a bit more creative, you don't want to end up with lists of dull statements - no fun for you, not much fun for others too. There's no best way to write these things, just do what feels most fun for you. When in trouble, use swear words.
For example, see Lothario's legendary thread from last year:
Thanks for all the feedback guys!

It doesn't seem like my AAR is helping anyone, and it's pretty clear to me I have no talent as an author. I'll stick to answering questions for a few weeks so I can offer some of the newer players some help before I leave

Although it was a boring read, I hope my AAR helped some people :smile:
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