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Defend the Land!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting strategy on that link you gave. Smile
And he wasn't considering that one Haruchai equals 30 warriors! That fact enhances his strategy.

But I'm only discussing what the Haruchai would do, based on what everyone else was doing in the book. I'm not running this war.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting strategy in that link. Basically an extension of VF's idea, which I thought was pretty good in terms of an "off the cuff, not changing anything significantly" strategy.

I'm not sure about the guy in the link's estimation of the numbers available though. Anyone got any data on the actual population of the Land?

I think that if we take the view of "what could be done with what was present", rather than positing huge additional forces available if they'd only made the effort of getting them, (and leave aside the over the top suggestions like guns etc. (Yes, I know its a "what if" scenario.) ), then "realistic" possibilities are indeed a guerrilla war, harrying the enemy, attacks on supply lines, extensive use of cavalry, caltrops etc. as mentioned by many.

Somebody also mentioned the size of the Spoiled Plains, and its defensive possibilities, but I think that an important point there was neglected. The army wasn't out to occupy, or even subdue, the Plains.

In a huge area, your defenses are either going to be stretched impossibly thin, or they will be concentrated in an easy to defend spot. The goal of the enemy is not to take and hold the plains. all they have to do is march past your defensively encamped army, take another valley, whatever.

Sorry, stopped really putting much thought into it when I saw how much everyone else was, especially since it's been a while since I read TIW.

Great topic Cj. Glad you're enjoying Lion. Smile

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Very interesting strategy in that link

I agree; I enjoyed reading it. Some good ideas, but my major gripe with it is:

Avatar wrote:
In a huge area, your defenses are either going to be stretched impossibly thin, or they will be concentrated in an easy to defend spot. The goal of the enemy is not to take and hold the plains. all they have to do is march past your defensively encamped army, take another valley, whatever.

As you say, I think that person is underestimating how immense the plains are. Even the significantly enlarged Warward surely would not be able to hold a front line that broad with any efficacy.

Avatar wrote:
Glad you're enjoying Lion

I certainly did enjoy it, and it actually improves Parmenion's character in Dark Prince, since he wasn't really explained very well in that.

Retaking of the Cadmea = utter genius Cool


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, despite the importance of his role in Dark Prince, it almost requires that you've read Lion first to really understand him. (As I said, that was my first Gemmel, so I didn't have a problem there myself.)

If you meant to type "..surely would [b]not[/i].." then I definitely agree. And as I also said, Fouls army didn't care about controlling the Plains, they were only a passage toward the army/Revelstone/whatever.

Sure, you wouldn't want to leave them still occupied behind you, but if you could bypass the encamped army, especially without them knowing, you'd have a large advantage.

Or you could leave a relatively small force to keep them pinned in their defenses, while the rest just marched on. The problem with defensive encampments/fortifications, is that it denies you all important mobility.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm guessing the population of the Upper Land was around 5 million people when Thomas Covenant made his first appearance there, with the majority of the population in the Center Plains and North Plains to the near east and near north of Revelstone.
I'm guessing there were, at that time, around 50,000 Ramen, around 20,000 Raynhim, around 25,000 Haruchai, and around 10,000 Waynhim.
And we know there were around 500 Giants.

Every indication given in LFB shows that the population of the Land was much greater prior to the Ritual of Desecration. Perhaps as high as 50,000,000, although the Ramen, Haruchai, and Waynhim were not greater peoples, and there were not more Raynhim.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But what are you basing that guess on?

I think somebody in this thread mentions that only 5 StoneDowns existed on the Centre Plains. And we know that no cities as we know them exist.

I never really got the impression either that Mithil StoneDown held more than a few hundred people, I'd say even a thousand would be a lot.

Even a hundred thousand would still only give you a Centre Plains population of half a million, and I'm pretty sure we can assume that Mithil StoneDown didn't hold 100 000 people.

I mean, Soaring WoodHelven had the entire village in a tree. A big tree, admittedly, but how many people could it hold? And I'd think that it was a fairly representative WoodHelven.

I think, (and of course, I haven't searched for references, so could be wrong) that we're over-estimating the population. Perhaps by a good deal.

(Is there some mention in TIW or TPTP about RevelStones population?)

20,000 Ranyhyn?

I'm just curious as to whether these estimates are anything other than a total guess? Is there anything in the books that suggests such huge populations of anybody?

(How much had they increased the WarWard by in how many years? Anyone remember?)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
But what are you basing that guess on?

I think somebody in this thread mentions that only 5 StoneDowns existed on the Centre Plains. And we know that no cities as we know them exist.

I never really got the impression either that Mithil StoneDown held more than a few hundred people, I'd say even a thousand would be a lot.

Even a hundred thousand would still only give you a Centre Plains population of half a million, and I'm pretty sure we can assume that Mithil StoneDown didn't hold 100 000 people.

I mean, Soaring WoodHelven had the entire village in a tree. A big tree, admittedly, but how many people could it hold? And I'd think that it was a fairly representative WoodHelven.

I think, (and of course, I haven't searched for references, so could be wrong) that we're over-estimating the population. Perhaps by a good deal.

(Is there some mention in TIW or TPTP about RevelStones population?)

20,000 Ranyhyn?

I'm just curious as to whether these estimates are anything other than a total guess? Is there anything in the books that suggests such huge populations of anybody?

(How much had they increased the WarWard by in how many years? Anyone remember?)

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I think we left the "realities" of the Land a LONG time ago in this thread!
That was me about "only 5 stonedowns in the South Plains".
Excelent point about the WoodHelvens by you too.
Also if we can take the Map of the Land at face value, it looks like a 5th of the Land is Andelian, which as far as I can remember is *UNPOPULATED*.
(5th or 10th it's still a huge chunk of land)
Trothguard was a wasteland.
Then there's Morinmoss, Grimmerdore and Garroting Deep and the Plains of Ra = All unpopulated areas.

If the Land was so populated then why did the Waynhim have all those "rest stops" set up?

The Lords maxed out all they could on the Warward and had all the new Lords they could raise.
That was the best they could do with what they had population-wise.

I think Foamfollower said that there were less than 1000 Giants left too.
So I figure, at best, there would only be 500 Giants available to fight for the Land.
Something 2000 Cavewrights and a few ur-Vile wedges could easily wipe out. (That's assuming we eliminate the whole Giant triplets taken over by Ravers and then the complete destruction of the unHomed)
And Fleshharrower had over 40,000 ur-viles and Cavewrights in his army!

Elena offered all those who stood in the path of Foul's army shelter at Trothguard. She either didn't expect people to accept of didn't think the numbers would be that high.

I always got the impression that the total population of the Land was 1/4 million, tops.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, or slightly less.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andelain was uninhabited by humankind, true.
Also, the South Plains were virtually uninhabited, with only 5 Stonedowns, including Mithil Stonedown. And Mithil Stonedown only had a few hundred people, so it is reasonable to assume only around one and a half thousand people lived in the South Plains.
Banyan Woodhelven was the only other Woodhelven mentioned besides Soaring Woodhelven, and it is reasonable to assume it only had a few hundred people also.
And yes, Trothgard was uninhabited.
The four Forests were uninhabited.
The entire region between Andelain and Landsdrop, and Mount Thunder and Roamsedge Ford, was uninhabited.

Revelstone had a population of only a few thousand.
Revelwood had a few thousand more.
If we go by the medieval standard of 95% of the population lives on farmland, and if Revelstone and Revelwood had 10,000 combined, then 200,000 people lived in the North Plains and Center Plains.
In the Plains of Ra, there were at least several thousand Ranyhim, and there seemed to be more Ramen than Ranyhim. So, there were at least several thousand Ramen.

There were 500 Giants, and at Revelstone there were 500 Bloodguard.

So perhaps the actual population of the Upper Land really was around 250,000, with most of them in the rural areas of the Center and North Plains.

So I concede the point made in the posts above.

-

I think some perspective on that population is needed.
Stephen Donaldson says the Land is approximately 810,000 square miles in the Gradual Interview: a region 900 by 900 miles.
It is 980 miles from Detroit to the Florida/Georgia state line on I-75, which does not take the direct route (as a bird would fly), so it is roughly 900 miles from southern Michigan to northern Florida.

So an 810,000 square mile area, is equal to an area covering most of the United States east of the Mississippi River.
Yet this area, has less than half the population of North Dakota.
That is a lightly inhabited region indeed.
The Land is all but empty!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that's pretty much the way I've always considered it myself. And given that, it means that the alternative strategies are pretty much essentially unworkable, from the simple perspective of available bodies.

And if we assume that of that number, only a third or so could actually take up any general "call to arms", (and that's probably optimistic, and only if we're talking everybody who could shoulder pitchfork), we've still got only 80,000 odd who could concievably be mobilised.

Sounds like a running cavalry skirmish, guerrilla attacks on supply lines, etc. would be the only way to go.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There should have been more lore instruction at every level of the population. That woulda been nice... you know, ANYONE can use power if they're so inclined ( I gather). Woulda been useful Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

High Lord Tolkien wrote:
If the Land was so populated then why did the Waynhim have all those "rest stops" set up?

Good point. I too always got the impression the Land was all but empty. Covenant's trip to Revelstone and the Quest for the Staff of Law support that suggestion; if the Land had such a high population, Covenant and Atiaran could have stopped at settlements every night, and the journey of the Quest would have been much easier - not to mention the legendary Needlessly Gruelling March of the Warward.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Talking about forifiing Landsdrop: i wonder why Kevin in his Thousand year reign didnt. that would have helped both him and the future Lords
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(looks frustrated)

Permit me to continue to beat this dead horse. Smile

I would debate that of the 250,000 people of the Upper Land, all of them except the elderly and the very young (under 14) could have been mobilized, trained, and readied.
The Ramen did this. I see no reason why the general populace of the Land could not also do so.
So, since children are a relative rarity in the Land (if they were common, the Land would have had far more than 250,000 people at that time), and the elderly often fight (note Mhorams' parents went on the Quest for the Staff of Law, and Mhoram himself was elderly when he slew Samadhi) I am guessing we have 200,000 men and women to work with here.
Of these, most could learn some or all of the lore of the Loresraat (the Staff half of Kevins' Lore.) All could learn the Sword half of Kevins' Lore.
And the number 200,000 is very, very deceptive.

In my earlier post, I described the logic process by which the Bloodguard would go ahead and summon all their kindred to Revelstone (the males only, as that is the particular Haruchai way of doing things.)
Thus, we have around 10,000 Bloodguard. Or, the equivalent of 300,000 warriors of the Warward. Or, the equivalent of 300,000 of Lord Fouls' lesser Stonewarped creatures and/or cavewights.
The logic is simple: the Vow MUST be fulfilled, at ANY cost. Since 500 Bloodguard CANNOT hold Revelstone, they must therefore perish one by one until another 500 replace them, and so on, until the entire Haruchai population is exhausted ... and the Vow is still - obviously - not kept, since they all die and Revelstone falls.
However, if all of the Haruchai come as Bloodguard AT ONCE (remember they would have had to come anyways) their strength of numbers makes the difference, and it is more likely the Vow can be kept. In Bloodguard thinking, more likely means greater certainty, and the Haruchai value certainty!

The Bloodguard then summon the Raynhim. Perhaps that is all the Raynhim that live in the Plains of Ra, and perhaps not, but be that as it may, the Bloodguard would do this thing, and so they summon them.
One Raynhim is the equivalent of many warriors of the Warward, at the very least. Perhaps a 1 to 10 ratio. So 10,000 Raynhim are the equivalent of over 100,000 warriors of the Warward, and over 100,000 of Lord Fouls' lesser Stonewarped creatures.
Combined with the Bloodguard, that is a force of over 400,000 warriors of the Warward.

Now, add in the 200,000 odd men and women of the Land. 500 Eoward. And train them PROPERLY (that is, to fight, not to walk ridiculous distances in too little time.) And give them DECENT weapons and armor, which the Lords can supply. Plate Armor. Mail (chain armor.) Helmets and shields. Lances. Long bows. Horsemans' bows. Pikes. Good long swords and short swords and knives for infighting.
As someone pointed out, the Mongols decimated forces much greater than their own with their horsemans' bows. The Warward Cavalry could do this. The Swiss held their opponents at bay with pikes (and many others did so with spears.) The English longbows slaughtered the French knights.

Lord Foul's POORLY trained, POORLY disciplined, LOW intelligence, and POORLY equipped Stonewarped creatures would stand little chance against a well prepared, highly disciplined army led by the Lords, Loresraat, Bloodguard, and Raynhim.

But that is not the full capacity of the defenders of the Land.
We must remember the Ramen.
A single Cord was the equivalent of 10 foes, of any type (just consider their work in the books.) A Manethrall was worth more yet. And there were thousands of Ramen.
Now, the Ramen wouldn't exactly be happy with the Bloodguard calling in all the Raynhim, which is a good thing in itself: the infuriated Ramen would march to Revelstone (in a matter of days) to demand an explanation.
Which means, the Lords - always good at persuasion - could add them to the defending force.
The Ramen held out when the enemy sent scores of thousands of Stonewarped creatures into the Plains of Ra, when they could not retreat: that is, they were forced to fight this overwhelming assault toe to toe.
They defeated Fleshharrowers' assault completely.
They decimated Satansfists' assault, and if Pietten had not betrayed them they would have done more.
I'd say the Ramen are the equivalent of another 100,000 warriors of the Warward, or 100,000 of the lesser Stonewarped creatures.

Then, there are the Giants. A single Giant is worth dozens of opponents, as Saltheart Foamfollower showed. The 500 (or is it 1,000?) Giants of Coercri, then, are probably the equivalent of another 30,000 (or 60,000) foes ... and if they attack as a united force against equal numbers, nobody can stand against them (I'd wager on them against even the Bloodguard, for the Giants use long range weapons.)

In the 40 years the Lords had, they could have produced hundreds of Lords. No disrespect to the difficulty of learning the Staff, but the people of the Land are intelligent, capable, dedicated folk, and it is ridiculous to think they could make such fine warriors, and not also make fine students of the Staff.
And a single Lord is worth a thousand foes, to quote someone else. And he's right.
Then, there would be the TENS of thousands who did not make it to Lord status, but who mastered significant parts of the lesser lore. A force to be reckoned with, capable of dealing with those lore wise ur-viles.

And yes, there are the Waynhim. There are only a few thousand of them. Each one is as potent as any ur-vile. It is doubtful they would intervene, despite the pleas of the Lords, but the Lords could always try.

Finally, there is the Staff of Law. A tool greater in power than that piece of the Illearth Stone Fleshharrower carried. A tool capable of instantaneous healing of injured warriors (as Linden showed) which the Illearth Stone cannot accomplish. A tool capable of countering just about anything the Illearth Stone could do.

Now, let's add up those numbers again, with the new equivalents:

People of the Land = 200,000 warriors, warrior/loresraat students, and loresraat students = 300,000 Stonewarped creatures.
Bloodguard = 10,000 = 300,000 Stonewarped creatures.
Raynhim = 10,000 = 100,000 Stonewarped creatures.
Ramen = several thousand = 100,000 Stonewarped creatures.
Giants = 500 = 30,000 Stonewarped creatures.
Waynhim = several thousand = several thousand ur-viles = 50,000 Stonewarped creatures.
100 Lords = 100,000 Stonewarped creatures.

Total = approximately 1,000,000 Stonewarped creatures.

Hmmm ... maybe it is the LORDS who should go on the offensive here, against Fleshharrower ...
Fleshharrowers' mere 440,000 are going to attempt to attack a defending force of this strength? With his poorly trained, undisciplined, poorly equipped troops? I think he would have to have delusions of grandeur, to think he could win!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warmark wrote:
Talking about forifiing Landsdrop: i wonder why Kevin in his Thousand year reign didnt. that would have helped both him and the future Lords


According to Hile Troy in TIW, he said that by the time Foul "declared himself" and came out in open combat against the Lords he had had time to commit so much treachery that he was all but unbeatable. The Haruchai also noted that High Lord Kevin's time was one of peace and prosperity, therefore there would have been no need to fortify Landsdrop until it was far too late.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you take the assumptions I made in my post above at face value, and you theoretically command the defenders, then you can create a viable scenario for the Illearth War.
But we must ascertain, before we can determine what the defenders could do, just how potent the defenders were, and how many defenders there were.
You have seen my guesses and assumptions above. What are yours?

(Chuckles at the thought of High Lord Elena riding into combat, leading the Warward, and forcing Thomas Covenant to go into the great battle with him. Of course, the blasts of the Illearth Stone would set off the Wild Magic, much to Fleshharrowers' dismay.)
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, I'm really not keen on the whole "equivalency" issue. It's all too easy, and all very well, to say that one Haruchai is equal to 30 enemies, but that doesn't mean that every Haruchai will kill 30 opponents before being killed. And the same goes for any "equivalent".

Leaving aside entirely the question of whether or not the Haruchai (and the Ramen for that matter)would be willing to descend en masse from their strongholds and fight and die for the Lords, (which I doubt), it still fails to take into account the simple attrition of fatigue etc.

In facing such a scenario, Fouls forces are perfectly at liberty to rotate constantly, always facing the increasingly exhausted enemy (that is, the defenders) with a supply of fresh and rested enemies.

Even if we take as given the actual numbers there, (and I'm not sure that the children, the aged, the wounded, halt, lame and those who care for them, feed them (and produce that food) etc. account for only 20% of the total of 250,000), it's still pretty much 2 to 1 odds.

And the fact that the Ranyhyn for example, would only be efficient over certain types of terrain, that the Ramen would probably only be willing to fight with the Ranyhyn, or at best, to defend their flanks if you could even convince the Ranyhyn to participate, (and if you could, the fact that the Bloodguards style ill lends itself to mounted combat, especially in the "charge in and kill them before they drag you down and smother you" sense), creates further problems.

Not insurmountable ones to be sure, and of course, if we're "what iffing", we can "what if" to our hearts content, but you're talking here about re-designing the society, culture, industry etc of the Land. Fair enough, for a hypothetical situation, and if you'd arrived some twenty to forty years before the war, in the clear and certain knowledge that the war would happen.

I'd prefer to think about alternate strategies which make use of the situation as "existing" at the time. (But thats just a preference.)

Oh, something I meant to mention in an earlier post, about the long-bows. England was the only country ever to develop the longbowmen into an effective fighting force. The main reason for this was that it required literally a life-time of practice, under certain conditions, to achieve any sort of proficiency with the long-bow. And the only place where such people existed in any sort of concentration were the fens and wetlands of England. Recurve horse-bows for mounted archers would be more practical.

Anyway, great thread, (and good posts) regardless. Will have to give it more thought though, this was just a quick reply. Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:

Oh, something I meant to mention in an earlier post, about the long-bows. England was the only country ever to develop the longbowmen into an effective fighting force. The main reason for this was that it required literally a life-time of practice, under certain conditions, to achieve any sort of proficiency with the long-bow. And the only place where such people existed in any sort of concentration were the fens and wetlands of England. Recurve horse-bows for mounted archers would be more practical.



Those guys were tough too.
I read somewhere that the very bones in their arms were altered/bent from the constant using of those bows!
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It certianly gave them a unique physique, if you're interested, check out Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest series, which follows a longbowman through the beginning of the 100 years war (I think. The one with Agincourt in, anyway. Wink )

In fact, many instances of weapon-use moulding a persons physique can be found. If I'm not mistaken, men who favoured huge axes in battle also had a "distorted" figure from the unusual musculature required to wield it effectively.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrKABC wrote:
Warmark wrote:
Talking about forifiing Landsdrop: i wonder why Kevin in his Thousand year reign didnt. that would have helped both him and the future Lords


According to Hile Troy in TIW, he said that by the time Foul "declared himself" and came out in open combat against the Lords he had had time to commit so much treachery that he was all but unbeatable. The Haruchai also noted that High Lord Kevin's time was one of peace and prosperity, therefore there would have been no need to fortify Landsdrop until it was far too late.


didnt Troy say that the Lords always tried to defend Landsrop?
i took this to mean Loric and Damalon aswell, and if that is the case they had around 2000 years to forify it. From Berek to Kevin.
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