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Defend the Land!
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 9:10 pm    Post subject: Defend the Land! Reply with quote

As I mentioned in another topic tonight, I've recently been reading a book in which the main character is a tactical genius, and it prompted me to reinstate an old topic of Hierachy's.

Many of us lament and deride Hile Troy's appalling "plan" in The Illearth War - but can we do better? How would you have defended the Land? Can it even be done?


Well, since Foul himself is immortal, I think the objective has to be to defeat his army as it appears in TIW.


To steal an idea from Parmenion, I find myself wondering if it would be possible to start a civil war - or even just a scuffle - between Foul and one or more Ravers. The Ravers always seemed to be seeking a way to overthrow Foul; perhaps we could make Foul suspect they have actually temporarily sided with the Lords against him. Also, I'd consider damming that river (whatever it's called - the one that goes through Mount Thunder) though I haven't yet determined whether that would help or hinder. Ideally, if the Lords had enough time and strength, I'd like to set up a great line of Words of Warning partway up the face of Landsdrop, so wherever Foul's horde's try to climb, they'll bring the rock down on their own heads. Possibly as much fire as possible along the cliff top as well.

I don't yet have a fully formed plan, I'm just throwing some ideas out. Some or all of the above suggestions are contingent being willing to make sacrifices; the Lords would never do that, but I'm asking if there's any to stand a chance of winning this. Thoughts?
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I find it hard to believe that Foul could be tricked into thinking the Ravers had sided with the lords. The only chance of turning the ravers on Fould would be to convince them that Foul was up to something. However, considering Foul rules them with fear rather than loyalty, that would probably prove exrtremely tricky to near impossible at best.

...

I need to go look at a map of the land and remind myself as to the exact circumstances at the beggining of TIW.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I'm not going with the beginning of TIW. I'm working from the end of LFB. What would you do if you had forty years to prepare?

Perhaps I should explain the origin of that deception plan. I'll spoiler it in case anyone wants to read Lion of Macedon: Spoiler:
Thebes and Sparta are at war, but the army of Thebes is tiny and can't possibly win. So Parmenion (the strategos) tricks part of the Spartan army into attacking Athens, so the Athenians will do the fighting.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I had 40 years to prepare I would train every man, woman, and child in the Land in guerilla warfare and tactics.

I would encourage every village to find a relatively secure and safe and most importantly -- DEFENDABLE-- hiding place, like the cave that Mithil Stonedown used in TPTP.

I would encourage as much stockpiling of dried/keepable food stuffs and other supplies as possible, not only to use in case Revelstone comes under siege, but also for each village to use in its secure place.

I would also do as the Lords did, and increase the size of the Council and Warward as much as possible. I would encourage every village to send at least a few kids to the Lorresaat, even if only for a year or two...

And I would keep the Lorresaat at Revelstone. Revelwood, cool as it was, was a mistake in my eyes -- that was just a huge huge target in the eyes of any Raver...leave the growing of the great tree for the days of victory and peace...
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that I would befriend the enemy, welcome them with open arms,
have a terrific feast for them, then poison the food and slaughter them
while they were confused and disarrayed about the reception.
But then again, what do I know?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not believe the Lords and their many allies could hope to win against Lord Foul. I feel it was physically impossible, under any scenario imaginable. Only Covenant was a feasible answer, and he had to learn to love the Land before he would act.
However, there is ... one ... possible exception. In this one scenario, I think it is theoretically possible the Upper Land could have been defended. Here is the plan:

Go to Garrotting Deep and talk Wildwood the Forestal into moving Garrotting Deep in it's entirety to Landsdrop, spreading it out from the Northron Climbs to the Southron Mountains. If not enough forest existed, have him summon Morinmoss, Giant Woods, and Grimmerdhore as well.
Have the remnants of the One Forest encircle Mount Thunder on all sides except below Landsdrop, so that no army could breach the defense.

This, at least, might have bought the Lords and their allies time. Eventually, Lord Foul would have come himself, with the Illearth Stone, and Wildwood would have been killed and the One Forest breached with green fire. But at least it would have bought the defenders of the Land time.

Unfortunately, the Forestal wasn't in the mood to even talk with the Lords, much less move Garrotting Deep hundreds of miles ... assuming that the Forest could be moved at all, which was very unlikely.

My pardons. Once again, I see only Covenant as an effective answer against Lord Foul. And, of course, he could not be an answer when he did not want to be an answer. It was just a very unfortunate situation.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Foul built his army until he felt sure it was insurmountable. If the Lords were better prepared, he would have simply made it bigger. What is a few more years preparation to him when he's been imprisoned for eternity anyway?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Armies have to eat, and the Spoiled Plains are not much of a breadbasket. No matter what power the Illearth Stone gave the Despiser, miles are miles and bread is bread, and he had to take these things into account. Fleshharrower's army was, we are told, little more than a third of Foul's entire force. That suggests that he was not capable of supporting any larger army in the field for a substantial campaign. So preparing a bigger army would not have helped him at that point.

Consider the weaknesses of Foul's army. It was too large to live on the land, and therefore required a long and vulnerable supply train. Its cohesion came from the direct force applied by Fleshharrower with his fragment of the Illearth Stone, and therefore it could not be subdivided into smaller effective forces. Apart from a relatively small elite force of ur-viles, it was composed of low-grade conscripts whose morale was supplied by the Stone. And because of the size of the army, the inadequacy of roads, and the impossibility of finding mounts in such numbers, its speed over long distances was limited to a fairly slow march.

In Troy's position if I had to be in Troy's position I would have done three things. First, train the people of the Plains in guerrilla tactics, as others here have suggested. Second, encourage horse breeding on the largest possible scale, and convert the entire Warward (except the Revelstone garrison) to cavalry, or at least mounted infantry. Third, once the enemy was in the Upper Land, strike with the mounted Warward against their supply lines, using the superior mobility of cavalry to avoid being caught by Fleshharrower's main force. Andelain would be an ideal base for such an operation: centrally located, defensible hilly terrain, brimful of Earthpower that the Lords could use to aid their defence.

Once the guerrilla was started, and the mounted Warward was raiding the enemy's lines of communication, it would be simply a matter of time. Either Fleshharrower's army would die of inanition, or Foul would tire of maintaining it for no good purpose, or the Warward would suffer enough casualties to make it impossible to keep up the fight. That's two chances out of three in favour of the Land, which was better odds than Troy ever gave himself.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i quite like the idea of damming the river perhaps if they released it all at once it would wash some of the enemy army.

also i would have trained the woodhelvinin to become mouted horse arches these woould be very effective in geurrilla attacks

they should have positioned Words in stratigic positions - Landsdrop paths, Mithil valley, Dooms retreat, Doriendor Corishev the whole plan should be based on these as they can kill large numbers all at once.

the lords never really asked for aid perhaps they could have persauded more Haruchia down from the Westron mountains to help.

i would have sent envoys to the giants Long before the lords did. their combat experience would have been a great aid and they could be used as a great shock force.

another thing i would have done is have Elena and as many Lords as possible attack Fleshharrower if he had been slain his army would have lost its purpose and im guessing many would desert.

i would have got the Loresratt to think up way more than just the long range comunication. for instance gravling grenades . they would have done great damage in the packed urvile wedges.

i think the also needed more Lords in general. they should have tried their best to get a Lord from every village.

i agree their needed to be more cavalry , or at least mounts for the infrantry.

i also dont like how the troops were kept in revelstone they should have been positioned near andilain so as to minimise the marching involved.

also i believe Troy should have helped create more more and weapons. each of the warwards should have had the best possible armour.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What the LAnders downfall was, was the Oath of Peace.
It was against their sworn oath, to attack and kill. Killing in deffence was alright, but only if nessecary.
I'm sure that during his 5 years of planning, Troy may have come up with some of these ideas, but the Lords, and the Warward would have reffused them.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Defend the Land! Reply with quote

CovenantJr wrote:
Many of us lament and deride Hile Troy's appalling "plan" in The Illearth War - but can we do better? How would you have defended the Land? Can it even be done?

I don't like speculation of this sort too much. Author's need to wage a war that gets their characters where they need them to be; then a realistic strategy is worked in around it.

Try to look at it this way: War is the Despiser's house. No matter what the Lords and Troy would have done, Foul would have (a) made it look anile, and (b) wrung a tub of despair out if it.

For example: suppose you turn the people of the Land into some sort of guerilla war machine. Guess what? Foul wins before you even start fighting, because the people of the Land as you know them would be gone.

Edelaith said "I see only Covenant as an effective answer against Lord Foul." I take it one step further. This war was waged in the first place for what it would do to Covenant. It was waged so that Covenant can see beauty destroyed and the strength and integrity of the people turned against themselves. It was all a big show for Covenant's sake, if you will. That's why Covenent was given the message to deliver to Revelstone in the first place - so he could watch it all come true, and despair.

Finally - the final form of Hile's strategy came into being because Foul kept leaving him a trail of thin hopes to follow. The Land's forces were always there in time so that there was one single choice. Sounds like Maker-work to me. I think it's important to remember that Foul shaped Hile Troy's battle plans more than anyone. If they had a different plan, Foul would have wrangled it a different way.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of good 20/20 hindsight suggestions here but I love picking apart other peoples ideas.
No offense is meant and I fully expect my own ideas to be totally destroyed Laughing

Defending the Land by destroying Landsdrop on top of Fouls armies?
I wonder if the New Lords were powerfull enough to do that effectively.
The Old Lords might have tried it but they were still beaten back.
And the length of Landsdrop is the whole length of the Land!
Plus I think a few armies of Cavewrights and Urviles issuing from Mt Thunder would cause a hasty retreat for the Lords too.

More Lords? They were trying really hard to do that. They had all they could have. It wasn't just a matter of training to be a Lord. And all those Lords-in-training who left to became those Unfettered hippies really hurt them.

Tricking a Raver to go against Foul? Think about that for a minute.

Training the people of the Land in "guerilla warfare"? I don't think that's covered under the Oath of Peace.

"stock piling of food"? In the Land? Food was never an issue in the Land. No one expected the SoL to be used against them like that in the tPTP. It would have been like asking them to prepare against a storm surge from the Sea.

That Forestal plan? Throw in some flying monkeys too. Laughing

The increased calvary is interesting. But I wonder about supplies and the effectiveness of battling that way. I never could figure out how the Bloodguard could kill a Kresh while on horseback. Never made sense to me.

Damming the River wouldn't have worked. We saw the Raver "bend" rivers with his fragment of the Stone.
And I think that would be beyond the abilities of the New Lords, imho.

Do we even know how effective a few hundred Giants would have been anyway? It was never really discussed. It seemed that the First of the Search was unique. None of the other Giants even had swords.

The Lords making a pointed attack against Fleshharrower was probably the original idea before Amok showed up.
Unfortunatly for Mhoram there were always a few thousand of the enemy in the way and he didn't have the much needed SoL at that time.
I always wonder how the fragment would have done against the SoL!

Ok, here's my take.
I think that Troys plan was solid.
It would have worked if two things hadn't messed it up:

One: the delay of finding out which direction Fouls army was coming.
If he had known he would have had a well fed and rested Warward that would have dragged the fight out across the Plains and ruined Fouls armies supplies like Variol Farseer mentioned.
By the time Foul's armies reached Revelstone it would have been "managable" if it's original size had been what was expected.

Two: The sheer size of Fouls army blew away all of Troy's plans! The enormous size blows away everyone elses plans here too.
They were royally screwed.

So what would I have done, knowing all this beforehand?
I would have admited defeat and left the Land! Shocked
Yeah, get *everyone* involved in making those rudders for the Giant Ships and set sail.
That would have messed Foul up!
No 2nd TC summons, no Amok, no breaking of the LoD, no loss of the Staff of Law.
He'd be pissed. And so would the Bloodguard. I wonder how they'd react to running away. Laughing
Maybe TC would be resummoned at GiantHome?
Or the Elohim would have gotten involved earlier.
LOL, I could do this all day.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see training people in guerilla warfare as teaching them how to, quite simply, survive if there is no Warward around. The people had to figure this out for themselves a few years later...there didn't seem to be any problem with the OOP for Triock and his freedom fighters in TPTP. Wink

Targetting the supplies of the Raver's army would be a good idea. That's what the Waynhim will do in TPTP...

And stockpiling food is simply common sense if there is a possibility that you will come under siege for a long time period (as did happen at Revelstone in TPTP).

I think the concerted efforts of the Lords if they had the SOL could have done great damage to Fleshharrower and his army. If one Lord (Hyrim) and a few Bloodguard could take out one Giant Raver, what could most of the Council and the SOL do?

In the end, though, everything does depend on Covenant. No questions about that.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why didn't they just summon, like, an H-bomb, and just nuke Mount Thunder?

Hey, that would help relieve our nuclear arms problem here on Earth, too.

"Nuke the Land"

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

another thing
the stuff mhoram adds to the warwards food ( the name escapes me ) why did they only have enoough for one use

By the Seven! Make more!

i agree guerilla warfare would not change the Landdwellers as it concurs with the Oath of Peace they are simply defending themselves against the army.

it seems to me that defening Landdrop could be done if they had time to build fortification etc and they did hae 40 years Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warmark wrote:
another thing
the stuff mhoram adds to the warwards food ( the name escapes me ) why did they only have enoough for one use

By the Seven! Make more!


LOL, I'm sure Mhoram was being cheap about it.

Warmark wrote:
it seems to me that defening Landdrop could be done if they had time to build fortification etc and they did hae 40 years Very Happy


There were only 5 stonedowns in all of the South Plains.
How are you going to resupply those "fortifications"?
And how many are you going to build?

"For a year we did nothing-Seareach is near to four hundred leagues distant"
I think that a league is around 3 miles, depending.
That's 1200 miles!
Looking at the map of the Land you could call the distance from Revelstone to Seareach equvilent to the length of Landsdrop from top to bottom.

And don't forget the giant "hole" in your defense called Mt Thunder.
The whole army could issue out there from the Lower Lands and bypass your forts.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend wrote:
CovenantJr wrote:
Many of us lament and deride Hile Troy's appalling "plan" in The Illearth War - but can we do better? How would you have defended the Land? Can it even be done?

I don't like speculation of this sort too much. Author's need to wage a war that gets their characters where they need them to be; then a realistic strategy is worked in around it.

Try to look at it this way: War is the Despiser's house. No matter what the Lords and Troy would have done, Foul would have (a) made it look anile, and (b) wrung a tub of despair out if it.

For example: suppose you turn the people of the Land into some sort of guerilla war machine. Guess what? Foul wins before you even start fighting, because the people of the Land as you know them would be gone.

Edelaith said "I see only Covenant as an effective answer against Lord Foul." I take it one step further. This war was waged in the first place for what it would do to Covenant. It was waged so that Covenant can see beauty destroyed and the strength and integrity of the people turned against themselves. It was all a big show for Covenant's sake, if you will. That's why Covenent was given the message to deliver to Revelstone in the first place - so he could watch it all come true, and despair.

Finally - the final form of Hile's strategy came into being because Foul kept leaving him a trail of thin hopes to follow. The Land's forces were always there in time so that there was one single choice. Sounds like Maker-work to me. I think it's important to remember that Foul shaped Hile Troy's battle plans more than anyone. If they had a different plan, Foul would have wrangled it a different way.

Be calm. I just intended this as a bit of fun, a little mental exercise. Of course the war happened as it needed to for the purposes of the story, but that's frankly a rubbish answer to my question. I simply invited those who are interested to try and concoct a strategy to defend the Land, as a paper exercise.

drew wrote:
What the LAnders downfall was, was the Oath of Peace.
It was against their sworn oath, to attack and kill. Killing in deffence was alright, but only if nessecary.
I'm sure that during his 5 years of planning, Troy may have come up with some of these ideas, but the Lords, and the Warward would have reffused them.

I know this, I mentioned it in an earlier post. Any plan that could have actually defeated the Despiser's army (again, I emphasise his army, not the man himself) would involve too much violence and sacrifice for the Lords. But, again, I'm not asking whether the Lords would allow it, I'm asking could it be done?

I think it could.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CovenantJr wrote:

Be calm. I just intended this as a bit of fun, a little mental exercise. Of course the war happened as it needed to for the purposes of the story, but that's frankly a rubbish answer to my question. I simply invited those who are interested to try and concoct a strategy to defend the Land, as a paper exercise.


I love these exercises. The problem is some people get upset (not that anyone here has to my knowledge) when thier ideas are picked apart.


CovenantJr wrote:
But, again, I'm not asking whether the Lords would allow it, I'm asking could it be done?

I think it could.


I don't think so.
There's just no way.
The sheer size of Foul's army killed any chance of victory.
Troy only managed to pull the "rabbit out of the hat" at the cost of most of the Warward and having another force defeat his foe.

How about this:
Troy finds out the size and direction of Fouls army well before the time he needs to commit his forces in anyway.
Now what can he do with what he has?
preparing for a siege of Revelstone would be the best option.
They would still hold the SoL so Foul can't use the weather against them like he does later.
And they still have the Bloodguard so Revelstone is safe.
Elena would still go on the Earthblood quest since they would still have access to the mountains (maybe Amok knows a secret way)

The Raver wouldn't be able to raise the dead to break the gates at this point but I'm sure he can do some other harm.

Then Elena summons Kevin and TC returns home when she dies.

Now Revelstone is still besieged all this time and the Giants still die and Koric still takes the stone to fight the Despiser and is corrupted.
The Bloodguard give up like before.

Everything else just plays out like it did in tPtP.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i was meaning Building the fortifications on certain passes up Landsdrop and putting Words in others i donts think there were passes the whole length of Landdrop anyway.

could they not build a fort in treacher gorge?

or as i keep on saying a Word in the gorge would help to.
i honestly believe if they had 40 years they could create Words in all the Stratigic positions

by the way what is this?
Quote:
We saw the Raver "bend" rivers with his fragment of the Stone.

i have no recolection of this ever hapening unless you refer to Kinslaughters tsunami and that certainly wasnt a river.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warmark wrote:
i was meaning Building the fortifications on certain passes up Landsdrop and putting Words in others i donts think there were passes the whole length of Landdrop anyway.

could they not build a fort in treacher gorge?

or as i keep on saying a Word in the gorge would help to.
i honestly believe if they had 40 years they could create Words in all the Stratigic positions

by the way what is this?
Quote:
We saw the Raver "bend" rivers with his fragment of the Stone.

i have no recolection of this ever hapening unless you refer to Kinslaughters tsunami and that certainly wasnt a river.


Roman fortifications required whole towns to support the troops.

I forget, didn't the Raver do something to the river before he destroyed Revelwood?

And I don't think that the Words would have been effective.
It only worked in Dooms Retreat because they didn't expect it and Lord Caladrill (spelling?) really angered the Raver.
And they had enough Cavewrights to make it worthless anyway.
Given a little time, the urViles would have dismantled any Word of Warning the Lords could have created, imho.
These Lords were WEAK, SRD couldn't stress it enough.
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