The Saxons

by Drakontos


Welcome, traveller. Seat yourself, and rest your feet. In the meantime, I shall tell you of my people, the Saxons, who seek your aid. Our kingdom lies across Scandinavia, with our capital in the city of Vicus Saxones. Arable land in this region, although of good quality, is little, and our people seek a more hospitable place land to call home. For this reason, our men are able sailors and warriors, and eager to carve out a new home- the Roman provinces of Britain and the coast of Gaul in particular call to us.

If you are truly a warlord of the calibre which we believe, you will be able to aid us seize control of 18 regions, and hold not only Tribus Saxones, but Belgica and Britannia Superior as well.

The Lands

At present, as I have already explained, we control only the region of Scandinavia, known to others as 'Tribus Saxones.' The capital, where Gelder, the leader of our people, rules, is a city of not inconsiderable size- within its walls lie many buildings; a city barracks, practice field, a large market, or forum, to the Romans, cesspit, a blacksmith, a temple to the god Ull, and of course our governor's palace. The region itself is also lined with roads, farms and a shipwright on the western coast. Gelder's garrison contains only peasants, levy spearmen and a unit of hunters, although his son and heir, Freawine, is camped to the south of the city with his personal guard, a unit of keels and another of hunters. Off the coast admiral Bergarda's fleet awaits commands, while the diplomat Eutlinde, the spy Ricburgis and Gundioc the assassin rest in villages about the peninsula.

Beyond the river that provides an easily defended southern border lie the lands of the Frisii and the Chatti, two independent peoples that should be fairly easily assimilated into our kingdom. Beware when expanding to the south, however, for beyond the lands of the Frisii lie the Romans, and the Chatti share a border with the Franks, to the south, and the Burgundii to the east, two peoples who would pose a threat to any such conquests. One must tread carefully.

South of the Burgundii lie the Lombardi, while south of the Franks lie the Alemanni. Beyond the Rhine and Danube lies the Western Roman Empire. East, across the Baltic lies nothing but the steppes, and to the north nothing but snow and blackness but west... west lies Britain. Inhabited by the Romans and the Celts, it is far from defenseless, but would prove much easier to defend than mainland Europe. The greatest threat comes from the risk of the Romano-British rising against us once the Romans are gone from the isles, but this can surely be dealt with using Saxon steel and cunning tactics.

My recommendation, traveller, should you choose to listen, would be the conquest of Frisia or the lands of the Chatti, or both, and then an invasion of Britain. From there a decent powerbase could truly be established, to change history forever...

Our Units

Naturally you should also like to know something of our forces. We have but limited people, but each does their job well, especially the infantry that dominate our armies.

Peasants- As with all factions, our generals are capable of rounding up peasants and forcing them to fight. Poorly equipped, unwilling fighters, and poor garrisons*, they are best used only for population relocation in the more populated areas of the south.

We have two varieties of spearmen available- Levy Spears, and Keels. The Saxon Keel is a more professional soldier, and often forms the backbone of our armies, while the Levy Spear, in addition to being trained in the shield-wall like the Keel, is also trained to hurl javelins at the enemy before charging- and as such benefit from the construction of a temple to Ull.

We also have two heavy infantry units- the Chosen Axeman, brutal shock troops that can smash a hole in the enemy line, but are unlikely to endure prolonged fighting, and the Hearth-troops; the best of the best. Masters of the shield-wall and deadly with the blade, these men will slaughter almost any enemy they face. Deadly as they are, these troops are not a replacement for the Keel against cavalry.

Our ranged combatants are few, although the forests of our home provide our people with able archery skills, and thus we often call upon skilled hunters to rain pointed death upon the enemy. They are by no means, however, professional soldiers.

Our cavalry is also limited, for the true warrior fights on foot- and cavalry are difficult to transport across the sea! Nonetheless, our Saxon Raiders can come in use to chase down routers and archers, while our Saxon Nobles, although by no means a match for the cavalry of our Frankish cousins, fight with the élan of well-equipped men born to fight.

Finally, our people are better shipwrights than our neighbours, and can construct larger and stronger craft. Although experience tells us our Large Boats don't compare to the largest of the Roman craft, they should for the most part be better than the flimsy boats of nearby factions.

Our Gods

We are a warlike people, and the gods we favour reflect this- and indeed, they favour us in turn. Altars built to the gods will grant us bonuses, which will be bigger as the size of the temple increases. Temples built to Woden, god of wisdom and war will ensure our troops benefit more from their training, granting an experience bonus. Temples built to Ull, god of the hunt, will grant the smiths of the city greater skill with the forging of ranged weapons- this cult is best installed in a city where levy spearmen and hunters are likely to be trained. The third of our most important gods, Donar, will grant our troops improved morale if they train in a city where his worshippers have constructed a temple.

So, traveler, I hope you consider yourself rested and informed. Our people ask for your help, will you respond and lead us to victory?

*Unbeknown to many, peasants in Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion have the new 'peasant' trait, which halves their effectiveness as garrisons. A unit of 60 is in effect a unit of 30 when garrisoning. No more can you stack Carthage with cheap peasants and leave it!