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Author Topic: Siege - historical interest check.  (Read 766 times)

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Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Siege - historical interest check.
« on: March 10, 2012, 01:18:12 PM »
This is just another dumb idea interest check from me. Probably won't go anywhere, but if I get enough people express an interest, I might actually try and start it.

The idea is that players play characters trapped in a besieged city. I'm thinking more along the lines of Ancient or Middle Ages type warfare, but if more players want to, we can go for a different era. The city itself would have a population of a few hundred at least, but we follow a group of people who all know each other or encounter each other early in the story.

The rest of the population will be NPCs controlled by the players and GM.

Players can be civilians or soldiers and soldiers can be male or female.

The enemy, outside the walls, will be EXCLUSIVELY under the control of the GM.

There is a supply of fresh water in the city, although it is limited and thus for drinking only. There is a limited stockpile of food which will not last long and thus it is strictly rationed. The penalty for looting is being thrown over the wall. (If you get caught)

This is similar in a way to a lot of post apocalyptic ideas, except it's not the end of the world, but your city is being attacked by a superior force. Only the walls, and the soldiers on them, are keeping the enemy out. Your goal is to survive the siege, keep the soldiers alive and happy, and keep the enemy out, until help arrives - if it ever does.

REQUIREMENTS:

Reliable players, male and female, gay and straight, with an interest in history (ancient or otherwise) who want to play a psychological  type game, with room for some smut, and quite a lot fof fighting.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 04:59:21 PM by Chrystal »

Online eiselmann

Re: Seige - historical interest check.
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2012, 02:01:35 PM »
Hi interesting idea ...would be up for this  as a male soldier

Open to any era but middle ages has an appeal.

Offline kaz

Re: Seige - historical interest check.
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2012, 02:12:37 PM »
This sounds like a great idea.  Middle ages being a favourite era of mine. 

Color me interested, I'll probably play a normal civilian.

Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Re: Seige - historical interest check.
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2012, 02:23:04 PM »
Hi and welcome Eiselmann.

I don't know many Kiwis. :)

In order to make this a goer, I really need around ten players interested on the assumption that half will drop out before they post a second time. The more the merrier really.

I'm also open to making this a "fantasy" setting - where gods and magic are real and can have an effect on the lives of mortal men, but player characters will be limited to normal humans.

Medieval setting would be interesting if set in the Holy Land during the Crusades - we could be Byzantine and have the Saracens at the walls, or vice versa. Or be French in a small city in English occupied France, Russian Meerkats holding off the Mongoose hordes... (Wait, WHAT?)

The Battle of Fearlessness - Compare The Meerkat

(Oh, okay, right. silly UK advert reference!)

Uh... yeah.... Russians holding off the Mongol hordes... That's more like it.

It doesn't really matter what location we're in, the important thing is the year, because that determines weaponry!

Online eiselmann

Re: Seige - historical interest check.
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2012, 02:45:42 PM »
All those Ideas are really good , being one generation from being a pom I'm always inclined to wards playing the English against the french--seems natural some how :-)

Saying that I actually like the Russian city being beseiged by the Mongols...it really is almost like 'alien invaders ' they would have no concept of how to treat with them . All the others while having appeal have established opponents theres always the option of surrender without slaughter.

Okay I'm totally cool with any scenario just me two cents worth.

Oh and don't know too many kiwis....you're not from London are you:-) because every time I've been to the UK (family are English and Scottish) its all kiwis and Aussies in London....you must trip over them at banks becaue the ones I know all seem to work at various banks

Offline eBadger

Re: Seige - historical interest check.
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2012, 03:40:39 PM »
I'm intrigued.  Perhaps as an assassin?  Someone sneaky that would be going over the walls from time to time to scout or create some chaos. 

As for setting, I would humbly suggest the Thirty Years War - the time of the Musketeers, so lots of fencing, some very simple firearms, religious crisis interspersed with so many politics that none of it really matters, and just about every European power involved.  To add to the fun, the war was particularly known for scorched earth tactics and complete lawlessness with rampant looting, pillaging and raping. 

(for inspiration, watch - or even better, read, the books are way better and wittier than the movies - any of the Musketeer stuff, or The Last Valley (1971))
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 03:44:19 PM by eBadger »

Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2012, 04:58:57 PM »
30 years war is a good one. The arquebus was a brand new weapon on the battlefield, and considered to be a peasant's weapon by most gentlemen. (Which just shows how uncouth the French were as they had a regiment of Royal Arquebusiers - immortalised in print as The Kings Musketeers!) The advantage of the musket was that it required very little skill to load, aim and fire. However, the fastest musketeers in History were the British army in the Napoleonic wars some two hundred years later, and they would fire three rounds per minute each. Compare that to the archers at Agincourt who could fire an arrow approximately every ten seconds!

The long-bow was accurate to around 200 yards and had a maximum range of around 400 yards.

The Napoleonic musket was accurate to around 70 yards!

Which explains why the Three Musketeers actually never handled a musket during the entire story!

Other possible wars:

Hundred Years war (England v France, 1337 to 1453)
Reconquista (Spain V Morocco, 722 - 1492)
Mongol Invasion of Rus' (Mongolia V Russia, 1237 to 1240)
Dissolution of Byzantium (forth Crusade) (Latin Crusaders V Byzantine Empire, 1203-1204)

Interestingly enough, the sort of seige I'm thinking of became a thing of the past in the seventeenth century. It was already becoming rare in the fifteenth with the invention of the cannon. With accurate and powerful siege cannon, stone walls became something of a liability. Instead the star-fort with earthen ramparts came into being.

Always happy to welcome new players and new ideas.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2012, 09:58:06 PM »
I wouldn't mind playing the Mother Superior of a prominant regional convent and one that happens to have ample gardens, a private well and stores of its own food not to mention sitting on cash since as church land its outside the secular. And being a good leader her sisters and the resident priest have to eat first to do God's will the commoners and leader of the city are not going to be her concern. A chance to have the whole power of the Church in play and come on the laws and edicts of the peace pretty much protected the clergy and nuns in such mundane matters.

After all accost a nun or steal from the Church you go to Hell and can be excommunicated or worse declared a heretic and you know what happens to heretics.  ;D

Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 05:28:05 AM »
"Yes, Mother, I can see your point, but tell me: What do you think will happen when our soldiers have no more food to eat, and can no longer fight because they are week from hunger? When the heathen hoards storm the walls and rampage through the city, do you think your prayers are going to stop them? It is your duty as a good Christian to share your food with the soldiers, and also with the starving people. What would Our Lord have done?"

I rather like that idea.

Medieval seems to be the most popular choice so far. Sometime between 1100 and 1700. Another possibility for a setting might be The War Of The Roses (First English Civil War, House of York V House of Lancaster, 1455 - 1487). Or the invasion of Wales by the Normans (Norman England v Wales 1081 - 1277). The latter featured a lot of classic sieges as the Normans built castles, and the Welsh took them, then the Normans took them back!

Any other suggestions for period/setting?


Offline Vandren

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2012, 12:45:05 PM »
Could be interested.  As far as which war goes, that all depends on what kind of castle and city you want.  For 1081-1277, Wales-Norman, you're pretty much limited to single tower motte-bailey style castles.  With the 100 Years War, you're getting cutting edge castle design (many designed by Richard I).

After all accost a nun or steal from the Church you go to Hell and can be excommunicated or worse declared a heretic and you know what happens to heretics.  ;D

Heh.  In theory, perhaps.  In practice, there are many accounts of thefts from churches and raped/pillaged nuns.  :)  Excommunication also held little weight, of the scores of nobles/royals who were excommunicated between 900 and 1650, with the intent that their vassals would overthrow them, only one or two capitulated and none were overthrown.  The Church often thought it had a lot more power than it actually had.  :)

Could be interesting for the 100 Years War, though, when there were two or sometimes three Popes simultaneously.

Not to mention the fact that most nuns were the sisters and daughters of kings and nobles, and many had kids (most convents were overseen by priests, until the 15th or 16th c., and they always had a priest present to serve mass).

Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2012, 02:05:54 PM »
Actually, I was looking more at the walled city rather than the castle. In this case, we have a single high stone wall all around the city - possibly with one or more sides being protected by unassailable cliffs. At intervals around the wall would be watch-towers, and possibly ballista towers.

This style of defensive fortification dates back to the Israelite attack on Jerico in the 16th century BCE. (Apparently it doesn't stand up too well to divine intervention... *snigger*)

I am reasonably sure that Ruby is well aware of the imminent possibility of her convent being raided and her nuns (and herself) being raped. In fact I would go so far as to say it was likely to be her intention...?

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2012, 03:49:54 PM »
Depends on the nature of the enemy, if Christian and from the West it would be not supported by the Church in its order of peace against non-combatants the parties would be beyond God's grace and go to hellfire. Sadly if anyone else your right.

But that is in theory, quite true.

But there are common sense measures she could take for her faithful secret passages to safe rooms, escape options outside the convent or other measures if the siege is a long one it might be a good effort to work on. Of course only for a few worthy and important church leaders the rest would need to stay and suffer for the good of the elite. (evil grin) And naturally any valued items that need to go. I'm thinking the bones of a saint would be good to have there even if fake to encourage pilgrims and make the convent money up until the siege. (evil grin)

Offline Sabre

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2012, 04:12:51 PM »
May I suggest a scenario involving El Cid and his defense of Valencia against the puritanical Almoravids from North Africa?  His army was a mix of Christian and Muslim knights, soldiers, and engineers while the city itself was about 1/4 Spanish speaking Catholics, 1/4 Arab speaking Catholics, 1/4 pro-Cid/Andalusian Muslims, and 1/4 pro-Almoravid/anti-Cid Muslims.  And of course small communities of Jews, French, and Italian merchants and craftsmen.

It presents an opulent and diverse setting with a huge range of character possibilities and sources of conflict.  A walled city, a huge enemy army (made up of Almoravid fanatics from North Africa and native Spaniards (Christian and Muslim of all social classes), 1094-1100 timeframe which limits sieges to the mechanical engines like catapults, trebuchets, and siege towers, and the broader Crusade/Jihad at play can allow for characters from all over Europe and Africa (and Asia, if they're creative) if someone doesn't want to play a native to the region.  There's also the option for a naval blockade and siege since Valencia is a port city, and while technology wise we're dealing with bows, spears, maille armor, and crossbows there's also some exotic flair available with oil-filled jar grenades, elephants, camels, and war drums.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2012, 04:27:03 PM »
And a corrupt Mother Superior and resident Priest of low character to exploit matters and work to save their own asses, while leaving with enough wealth to not worry. ;)  If things go bad.

Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2012, 05:11:15 PM »
Jeeze, okay Ruby, you get to play the corrupt Mother Superior (who just happens to be the confessor of the Queen/Princess/Dutchess who rules the city.

Sabre.

I love the setting and time frame (one of the reasons I brought up the Reconquista in the first place).

However, I would rather this be a fictional location rather than a factual one. That way the outcome is not known and there is more scope for things to happen. So rather than be Valencia itself, the city could be Oropesa Del Mar, a small town just up the coast from Valencia that probably didn't exist at the time - so we make it exist, make it fictionally bigger that it was if it did, give it a wall and make it strategically important.

That's the sort of thing I'm looking to do here. Historically accurate as far as the time period goes (to a certain extent - I'm not going to quibble over the year the crossbow was invented, nor the year gunpowder came to the West), but the exact place and location are to be fictional.

Offline Sabre

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2012, 05:18:56 PM »
I'm fine with that of course.  But what kind of themes would be present?  Locals vs. foreign invaders?  Black & White morality or grey all around?  Political ideals (free-city versus king/emperor)?  Social upheaval (country-side peasants versus urban citizens)?  Ethnic or religious tensions?

Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2012, 05:47:24 PM »
YES!

All of the above.

Um... no, seriously, I'm wanting to set the siege into the correct geopolitical context for the time, and have all the correct social tensions that would be there. There hasn't been a single decade of recorded history that there hasn't been a war fought somewhere, and every war in history has resulted in sieges of some kind, with defending troops holding out in a small pocket against a far superior force. Sometimes the defenders have won and been relieved, other times they have lost and been overrun, but a siege is a siege, be it Julius Caesar's "tactical doughnut" at Alesia or the Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte.

So, the themes present in a fictional account set in a small fictional city would be identical to those in the larger city the game is modelled on, only on a smaller scale.

The idea of the players being the defenders gives rise to all sorts of social tensions, be they ethic, religious, monetary, or what. How do people behave when water is scarce, food is even scarcer, there is a huge army outside the walls that is intent on killing every man, woman and child inside the walls, and the only people standing in the way of that happening are a bunch of ruthless thugs who think that they have the right to steal your food ration just because they are fighting and you aren't!

Offline Sabre

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2012, 06:03:44 PM »
Don't forget mercenaries and professional soldiers that expect to be paid for their services (IOUs pile up, and make excellent kindling for a few fires), rival guild militia that act like street gangs once they've been allowed to police the inner city since most of the guard is busy with the walls, bankers, bourses, wholesalers, and money lenders that look to profit off the fact there is now a finite supply of money being passed around in circles (plus people getting desperate and borrowing to pay for an ever shrinking food supply that gets more and more expensive with time, and religious moral police gangs that grow more radical and brutal with time.

Will it just be the city that's made up, or will this be a fantasy world entirely.  Basically, is Oropesa Del Mar a city in a made up country with made up people surrounded by and inhabited by made up cultures?  Or is it a fantasy city only in its setting and we'll be playing as real-world nationalities and ethnicities?
« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 06:05:10 PM by Sabre »

Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2012, 06:44:47 PM »
Oh yes, I do love all of those wonderful ideas. You are planning on playing, aren't you? Please say you are? *flutters eyelashes*

Will it just be the city that's made up, or will this be a fantasy world entirely.  Basically, is Oropesa Del Mar a city in a made up country with made up people surrounded by and inhabited by made up cultures?  Or is it a fantasy city only in its setting and we'll be playing as real-world nationalities and ethnicities?

I thought I already said that? Maybe I wasn't specific enough. Oropesa Del Mar is a very real place with a very real history of it's own. All we are doing is changing that history slightly.

Actually, I think I should point out that the use of that particular location is still somewhat hypothetical, as I still have not settled on an exact context for the battle.

But, to put this explicitly, the town the battle is fought in will be fictional, in so far as it probably did not have a city wall at the time the battle is set. ALL OTHER historical aspects of the conflict chosen will be as accurate as possible!

So, I will be choosing a REAL war in a REAL country, with REAL combatants, and creating a fictitious city to stage a fictitious siege with fictitious characters.

Call it a non-cannon battle if you will? (Pun very much intended!)

Offline Sabre

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2012, 07:13:51 PM »
I'm of course intrigued, but it's a maybe for me at the moment.  A good maybe, however.  I just have a backlog, but I think I can manage.  And I want to.

As for the setting, I think I get it now.  I think a Not-Valencia scenario is pretty good for what you have in mind.  However, you could also consider Southern Italy in the middle of the Norman conquest.  Lots of sides: Norman adventurers-turned counts and dukes, local and established Lombard and Arab rulers, the Byzantine Empire, the Pope and the HRE to the north, and the emirs of North Africa to the south.

Offline ChrystalTopic starter

Re: Siege - historical interest check.
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2012, 08:11:00 PM »
Cool.

What does anyone else think?