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Jennites of the Esterhold

by James Ruhland

Here's a strategy sketch for Jennite independence in Esterhold. Note that it is not necessarily a critique of any person or almanac's perspective on the Esterhold situation, but just a notional strategy. Some might find it useful for their own campaigns, or perhaps something to critique.

FACT: the Jennite independence movement can defeat local Alphatian forces, but cannot stand against all of "Outer World" Alphatia (referred to from now on as "NACE" for convenience, since people are familiar with what it represents).

NACE forces are more powerful, backed by more magic (Jennite rebels will have mages and clerics, but by themselves no match for the power NACE can mobilise). There is also a "co-opted" population of local Jennites who for whatever reason do not favour throwing out the Alphatian occupiers. However, they are not as committed (morale-wise) as the pro-independence forces are.

PROBLEM: Since Alphatian forces cannot be defeated in the field, through frontal (linear-logic) battles and attrition, any successful independence movement must adapt creative solutions to their strategic dilemma. Notably:

A) Though the rebels cannot win militarily, they need to remain a "force in being" despite any setbacks. Some method of keeping an army in being, even in defeat and retreat, must be secured. Free Jen in Skothar can help with arms and "volunteers".

B) The war cannot be won in Esterhold. Because the NACE is overwhelmingly powerful militarily, the *real* battlefield of the war is not in Esterhold, but in the heartlands of NACE in general.

SOLUTION: Dispersion into small forces, which can gather at need for strikes against selected targets, but then melt into the vast hinterlands of Esterhold. Small forces also mean that they are not worth sending I.E. Men of War or units of Wizards after. Still, the independence movement must accept that most battles will end in tactical defeat for them.

Real arena of the war is, as mentioned, the NACE "homeland(s)". If sufficient discord and agitation (through propaganda &tc) within NACE itself can be stirred up, to create an "anti-war" movement, and the feeling that the war is, for NACE,
A) interminable: will go on for a long time, and tactical victories won't change that.
B) not worth the cost.
C) "morally wrong"

Then NACE policy may change and Esterhold will be "liberated".


The independence movement will largely "cede" the cities and other strongpoints to NACE/loyalist forces. Aside for opportunistic raids (small, "commando style" strikes, intended as surprise), they will not contest control over the urban centres.

The independence movement will instead seek to control the countryside, make roads (especially to valuable mines) dangerous, win over the "hearts and minds" of the scattered settlements and mine workers, and make the mines themselves unproductive (due to danger, sabotage, and the expense of hiring extra guards to try and secure shipments.). Tactically, independantist forces will be organised into small units, similar to the below:

DIVISION NAME: Jennite Rebel Company

DIVISION TYPE: Regular Militia
NUMBER OF SUCH UNITS: Varies (depending on vicissitudes of war. Anywhere from 30-80 at any given time, plus potential help from Skotharian Jen).
BR: 114
Personnel: 68
Troop Class: Average


Division Commander: Rebel Commander (F8)
Deputy Commander: Rebel Leader (F7)
Heroes: Rebel Wizard (W6), Priest of Tarastia (C6), Hero (F6)

1st Squadron: 20 Jennite light cavalry (F1), leather, shield, lance, composite bow, light war horse. 1 Lieutenant (F4).

2nd Squad: 20 Jennite rebel infantry (F1), leather, shield, composite bow, short sword. 1 Lieutenant (F4).

3rd Squad: 20 Jennite rebel infantry (F1), leather, shield, spear, short sword. 1 Lieutenant (F4).

Units can cooperate effectively in large battles, and disperse into the interior. Routed units reform in the countryside of Esterhold after the appropriate period has passed. Recruiting from the local populace fills out losses.

COMPARE IRL: American Revolution (small unit tactics, Washington's strategy of keeping an army in being no matter how bad things got), Vietnam War (small unit tactics, motivated "anti-colonialist" forces, propaganda intended to convince opponent population & leaders that the war was wrong).