PATH OF WAR: LOST KING CAMPAIGN
|Starting units:||14 archers, 18 pikemen, 8 swordsmen, lord|
|Available units:||all barracks troops, engineers, laddermen, all siege equipment, all mercenaries except assassins and pictish boat warriors|
|Starting Date:||January 1066|
|Starting Stats:||gold 2000 | honor 300 | population 0/40 | popularity 80|
|Starting Goods:||50 apples, 50 bread, 50 cheese, 10 meat, 100 wood, 100 stone|
|Buy/Sell:||all goods and weapons|
You're situated in a smallish prebuilt castle a little southeast of the center of the map. A river flows from the southeast to the northwest meeting the sea and cutting the land approximately in half. Your castle borders the river on its northeast side and there are only two bridges to the northeast sector, one in the far north and one in the far east. Your very close neighbor to the southeast is the Duke de Montparnasse (in yellow), apparently neutral for the moment. Sir Hugo Blanc (in green) is sieging Sir William (in dark red) in a wooden fort in the northwest from his large castle in the north. Lord Beaufort (in grey) is occupying a small wooden fort across the river to the northeast, and Pascal Deveraux aka "The Hawk" (in light blue) has a castle located on an island in the southwest, but inaccessible at this time due to a destroyed bridge.
This chapter has three missions:
- Rescue Sir William
- Kill the three local lords
- Kill the Hawk
Each time you complete one of the first two missions, more of the bridge to Pascal Deveraux's castle is finished, then one year into the third mission the bridge will be complete and the Hawk will invade your castle. You will have to defeat his forces, then siege his castle in order to kill him and achieve final victory for chapter 8.
You have military forces of incredible power at your disposal in all three missions of this chapter. All buildings are available, all weapons workshops, and all goods and weapons are available at the market. All barracks troops, siege equipment and most mercenary units are yours if you want them. Plus in mission 2 you can take whatever time you need to build up a suitable force to kill the three lords and prepare your defenses for Deveraux himself.
As you build up your castle and economy in missions 1 and 2 you should give some thought as to what defenses you want in place ready to face the final, large invasion. Will you want a small, tight castle with troops concentrated in a central location, or a large sprawling one with lots of room for your economy inside the walls? Or will you want to leave the castle defenses unimproved and march to meet the Hawk in the field? Any of these strategies can bring you success.
You will not be attacked until mission 3, so castle security is not a concern until then. Some of your peasants will be in jeopardy for a short time in the beginning of mission 2 from archers in Duke de Montparnasse's castle (yellow). In missions 1 and 2 it is safe to leave the castle defenseless, have holes in the wall and place buildings outside the walls.
So how can you lose? Well, if you set out immediately with the right tactics to rescue Sir William, then take whatever time you need to prepare properly in mission 2, you really shouldn't lose. Save your progress as you go so if you take a misstep you can backtrack and try again.
Mission one is fairly short and relatively simple. Just rescue Sir William and bring him back to your keep. It's quite fun, it can be easy, or it can be hard. William is being sieged by Sir Hugo Blanc and cannot hold out for long. You have 48 months to accomplish his rescue. There are two basic ways to approach this mission:
- Face and defeat the siege head on.
- Break through the weakest part of the siege to get to the fort quickly and take command of Sir William's troops. Then either sneak back to your keep immediately, or join William's troops with your own to defeat Sir Hugo, then return home.
William actually has the forces and defenses to defeat the siege, he just lacks the leadership. You could be that leader. If you destroy the siege engines in a reasonable amount of time you can expect to save close to 40 or more of Sir William's archers to command, and a small group of spearmen, plus William himself. If you can prevent any damage to the fort it's possible to save all 72 of his archers.
Don't be afraid to use your lord in this mission. He's very hardy, and can be quite useful. If injured you can use the apothecary later to heal both him and Sir William (a lord can only be healed if the health bar above him is in the red, however). The two of them together in the fort are a powerful combination. There is a small downside to using him, though. No honor can be gained from feasts or dances while he is away from his civilian duties at the keep. But if you make a timely rescue of Sir William, not that much will be given up. Preparations will continue while he is away so he can begin a feast immediately upon his return. He'll only miss about one feast cycle and the first one would have been quite small anyway. He may make up for most of that by being able to hold a larger feast upon his return. Your call.
Dynamics Involving Sir William and the Siege:
It's important to understand the underlying dynamics of the siege and rescue. Sir Hugo has some units in place when the map opens. He will cross the bridge with additional troops, set up a siege camp and begin to siege Sir William's fort with trebuchets and fire ballistae. If the siege engines are left unmolested, somewhere around January to March of 1067 Sir William will charge out blindly yelling, "I refuse to die like a rat in a hole. Charge!" His troops will be cut down and he will succumb if unaided. Defeat. As far as I can tell this is triggered by a certain number of troop losses by William, it's hard to know for sure. If you can eliminate some or all of the siege engines and stop his losses he will stay put for the entire four year time limit. Or if you can get at least one man to William before his suicide charge, he will turn command of his forces over to you. This will then trigger an attack by a large portion of Sir Hugo's troops which you'll have to defend against, using whatever troops William has left and any you brought with you.
So, basically you have about one year to either relieve the siege or get at least one man to Sir William. Providing you survive the ensuing attack, you have the remainder of the four years to mop up the battlefield and get William back to your keep to end the mission. If he's not back at your keep in four years, you lose. If William does charge out the only thing you can do is try to get some troops to him as fast as possible, gain control, and rush him as safely as you can to your keep, sacrificing any troops required to accomplish this.
The Battlefield Situation:
Once all of Sir Hugo Blanc's forces cross the bridge and take up their positions, the battlefield in front of Sir William's fort is made up of a siege camp in the center surrounded by a variety of troops: archers, crossbowmen, macemen, and swordsmen, with heavier concentrations on the southern side of the camp, nearest you. Beyond are two fire ballistae, well in range of the fort. Two trebuchets will appear from the siege camp after a short while and set up somewhere on the far side between it and the border, to bombard William's walls. To the west, south of Whitle's stockpile guarding the coast approach, is a much smaller grouping of archers, macemen, swordsmen, and one fire ballista. The most direct route from your castle to Sir William's main gate is directly between these two groups.
There are three battlefield elements you need to plan around, which can be taken on all at once or separately:
- the siege engines (trebuchets and fire ballistae)
- the troops around the siege camp
- the coastal group
The siege engines can be neutralized quite easily with the right placement of your own fire ballistae, and without having to use any troops. The small coastal group of enemy troops is by far the easiest to engage, but it is possible to attack the much larger siege camp group as well.
You have three things to get underway at the very start of this mission:
- If you plan to use fire ballistae and/or catapults, get them built, in position, and firing.
- Have your starting troops and any you want to add start, moving north to a staging area from where they can attack the sieging troops.
- Set up a starting economy, adding weapons production as soon as possible.
Slow the game speed all the way down in the beginning, speeding up again as you get things under control. All three steps should be done almost completely with the game on pause (the "P" key), unpausing momentarily only to check troop movements, building placements, etc.
Build your siege equipment:
If you're going to build a siege camp to take the enemy siege equipment out, place it first, then create the fire ballistae and/or catapults and start them moving into position. See Using Fire Ballistae to Destroy the Siege Engines below for details.
To save the cost of a siege camp you can also build fire ballistae and catapults at the engineer's guild that already exists at your castle and instruct them to go north to Scarcliffe's marsh. A little slower but almost as effective.
Get your troops moving north:
You have troops on the ground outside the southwest corner of your castle, archers in the tower, and pikemen on the walls and keep, plus your lord. I like to use him too, in this mission. Using him may sacrifice gaining a little honor, but not much. While you could take just the troops on the ground, why? The rest have nothing to do where they are as there will be no attacks. Take them and your lord with you. It'll be much easier. To save time use the eraser tool to carefully delete two sections of wall where it joins the southwestern corner of the keep. Now get all troops and your lord marching to your chosen staging area, either north to an area south of the marsh in the southeast corner of Scarcliffe, or northwest through the gap between the trees and the sea in the southern part of the Scarcliffe estate to the area just west of Scarcliffe's flagpole.
You should still be on pause at this point.
SETTING UP YOUR CASTLE:
You have an economy already in place but it's not really up to snuff. I recommend redoing it with an eye to future production. Due to the lack of attacks in missions one and two and the possibility of building a huge army, I see at least three ways to set up your castle:
- Keep the original walls where they are, build a lot of your economy outside the walls, and strengthen the walls at the end for the final attacks in mission 3.
- Dismantle the starting walls and build new, stronger walls out nearer the borders before the mission 3 invasions. This will provide a much bigger interior for lots of buildings and a strong economy.
- Raze the walls and forget them. Because you have the opportunity to build such a large army by mission 3, you could just defend from the field. If that makes you nervous you could set up a small backup fortification around the keep in mission 3.
And there's an additional element, because estates can be brought into the mix. There's plenty of room to produce food, ale, or almost anything else at neighboring estates. That means you could have the original small castle with very little outside the walls if you rely on estates for most of your food and goods. Lots of iron is also available at Quincetown.
I chose to go with the first option in this walk-through. My intent with this particular strategy is to keep the starting castle size just as it is and maximize its production. Anything that won't fit inside will either be located outside close to the borders or carted in from estates. I'm putting the outside stuff close to the borders because, while creating inefficiencies due to the distance, it will leave a wide, clear space outside the walls that I intend to strengthen, add towers, moat, pitch, traps, etc. for the final invasion in mission 3. You can easily modify it to suit your own castle style. I just recommend you include most of the elements I list below somewhere, except for estates, which are optional. You can easily produce plenty of food at home and buy in iron, rather than depend on Quincetown.
All instructions are given with the orientation of north up, as seen on the estate map above. The keep is at the top, gatehouse at the bottom. This economy was built on the remains of the starting gold after paying to build a siege camp, four fire ballistae and one catapult. This left 700 in gold for building expenses and the purchase of more wood. If you don't spend the starting gold on siege equipment or weapons you can spend more on the economy and build faster.
Right before you start building, buy two estates, Scarcliffe to the northwest, and Quincetown to the northeast. Later, when Sir Hugo is defeated buy or capture Whitle.
This screen shot is just to illustrate how much you can get inside the original walls if you really shoehorn them in. There's nothing wrong with putting a lot of these buildings outside the castle or enlarging the interior of the castle. It all depends on what kind of defense and castle you want for the final invasions in mission 3.
So, while still on pause, and after your troops have their marching instructions and you've purchased the two estates, set up your economy. I made the following changes to the existing economy: First I deleted a lot of stuff that was in the wrong place for my plans. I'd rather get it started right than make a lot of changes later. Delete the guard post, two falconer's posts, gong pit, pig farm, torture wheel, and all four hovels.
Erect a market outside the castle, directly behind the armory and next to the keep. Place eleven hovels, one at the rear of the keep, one outside behind the lord's kitchen, one inside against the back wall beside the lord's kitchen, one directly south of that at the first place level enough, but not past half way towards the front wall (see screen shot), and seven extending from the northern border towards the keep, but against the small hills and close to the border.
Next build a torturer's guild, door facing south, against the northern side of the gatehouse, and one tile left of the closest it can be placed to the granary. Place an executioner's block on the south side of the stockpile, with its right side flush with the stockpile's right wall. Now purchase an eel pond and place it butted up against the barrack's training ground on its left side and the lord's kitchen on its top. Place a dairy farm to its right tight up against the lord's kitchen.
Sell all the stone and buy wood to finish the initial building phase.
Set up a gong pit touching the north side of the granary and flush with its right side. Then place a falconer's post on the gong pit's left side. Place two hunter's huts in a row on the north side of the torturer's guild, butting up to the falconer's post just placed.
Site a guard post as far left as it can go in the slot between the front wall and the granary, next to the gatehouse. Add two hunter's huts next to it on its right, back to back, then two more back to back ones right above the first two and butting up against the right side of the granary. One more hunter's hut can be squeezed in tight against the right wall of the lord's kitchen and the hovel against the back wall. It's blue access tiles must face south to fit.
Now place another four hunter's posts on the outside of the front wall. These can be removed in mission 3 when other food production has kicked in. Add a second gong pit against the left side of the stockpile and the top edge of the engineer's guild. Add a second falconer's post tight up to the left side of the campfire and against the keep.
I set up about 18 saw pits, partly for the wood and gold they can bring, and partly to clear a lot of the trees. Six were placed inside the castle as shown, two of them, with one reversed and butted together, on the north side of the stockpile and flush with its right hand edge, two between the tower and the engineer's guild, and two between the engineer's guild and the bed chamber. The rest were placed far out in the trees near the borders. I left the two original ones outside the southern wall for now.
The reason for locating the saw pits either inside the castle or well out near the borders is to eliminate the headache of having to relocate them later to build or expand the castle. The log piles will move with the trees as they are cut. The only exception here is the two original saw pits which should be deleted in mission 2 when the trees are cleared near them and the logger picks up the last log.
Set food consumption to extra rations and taxes to -6. Keep an eye on food rations and adjust as needed. Late in this mission you may be able to increase it to double rations. If you started with only 700 gold, as I did in this example, that's about all you can afford. Taxes and wood will start coming in soon and you can continue to add the items listed next. If you have more starting gold left over, continue now as far as it will take you.
Add eight more hunter's huts, three more apple farms and three dairy farms outside the south wall of the castle toward the western wall, well to the left of the gatehouse. You'll need the extra farms with patch 1.3.1 as meat production is much less efficient. If you use estates or buy in food you'll be able to delete these in mission 3 to make room for defenses.
Set up two vegetable gardens, four pig farms, another eel pond, and a gong pit outside the castle by the northern border, leaving a wide space between them and the castle walls. Then place an inn northeast of the granary. It should just fit. Rotate it to put the chimney to the right (use the scroll wheel or the "R" key). Buy in some ale and set to double consumption, then taxes to -12. Buy cloth so the lady can make dresses and hold dances. Two quarries should be next and four ox tethers.
If you're going to use estates, start building them up as wood is available. You probably want to add to the iron production at Quincetown. You can have six iron mines running by the end of this mission. Add one more ox tether to the two that are already there. I usually add hunter's huts on estates and hovels as needed along with whatever other production I set up. I started bread and ale production going at Scarcliffe, but not until later in the mission after Sir Hugo's siege army is eliminated. I didn't set up anything else at Quincetown after the hunters and iron because my experience with that estate is that if you start running carts, some will head south and some will head north. Sir Hugo Blanc's men will see that those going north will never be seen again. Those that head south are safe for now but as soon as Sir William enters your keep and triggers mission 2, the Duke de Montparnasse turns hostile and has ample opportunity to shoot down Quincetown's carts. Don't risk a big load of iron. Instead, instruct the existing carter to deliver five of wood or meat continuously to you and let the iron accumulate until the Duke is eliminated in mission 2.
The only thing left to build inside the castle is weapons workshops. Add these as you can afford them. There's space for 17. In the screen shot I ended up with ten fletchers, two tanners, two blacksmiths, two armorers, and a poleturner. Your choices may be different. If you saved most of your starting gold you can probably afford to build some now. Buy in iron for now.
I set up a few sheep farms and weaver's workshops to keep cloth in supply and increased stone and royal food production. All of these were set up far out at the border. Space for future castle modifications was more important than maximum efficiency. The estates could have been relied upon to supply much of this, but I wanted a large population for a good tax base. I chose to set up food, ale and later, wine production on the estates, but it could have been produced at home or bought at the market. I focused on bread and ale at Scarcliffe and cheese at Whitle. You cannot really setup anything at those two estates until Sir Hugo is defeated, however.
Increase food production or buy in what you need. Make sure honor is being accumulated as you'll probably want some knights in missions 2 and 3. Check your royal food production and adjust as necessary for large feasts. Make sure there's cloth on hand for dresses to trigger dancing. Set up jousting if you can afford it and maybe some statues, even a monastery. If you can afford them the honor given by ten statues is equal to that from jousting (in patch 1.3.1), and do not create the idle workers associated with jousting. Highly recommended. A monastery, even with the honor doubled in v1.3.1, accumulates it extremely slowly compared to other methods, about a quarter of that for jousting in the same time period.
Continue to build and monitor your castle while you turn your attention north to Sir William's rescue. Since you should have been on pause while doing this entire setup it should still be January of the starting year. If you built a siege camp the equipment should still be in transit to their positions, as should your troops.
RESCUING SIR WILLIAM:
As stated before, there are two basic ways to rescue Sir William:
- Tackle the siege army head on and defeat it.
- Push through the weakest section of the siege to the fort and take command.
You have the option to put Sir Hugo's siege engines out of commission first, without engaging any of his troops. You don't have to eliminate his siege engines to rescue William, although you'll need to deal with them at some point. Your troops can reach him with most of them still functioning, but they're quite easy to take down, making the rest of your fight much easier. Eliminating them doesn't rescue Sir William, but it will mean less to contend with on the battlefield, plus their elimination can buy you more time to get through to him by stopping the slaughter of his troops, thereby preventing the triggering of his suicide breakout, and keeping more of them alive to join your command.
For the fastest siege engine take down, set up a siege camp south of the marshes at Scarcliffe and roll out some fire ballistae immediately. If you want to save the cost of building a siege camp you can create the fire ballistae at the engineer's guild already at your castle and send them up to the marshes. This takes a little more time but basically works almost as well. You'll save a few less of William's archers but still have more than enough for your needs. Four fire ballistae do quite an efficient job, two are slower but can still get the job done.
To use the siege camp method, the moment the game starts put it on pause ("P" key) and IMMEDIATELY place a siege camp in the southeast corner of the Scarcliffe estate. Rotate it (using the mouse wheel or "R" key) so its opening faces north and place it up against the hills on the eastern border and the southernmost marsh. You should still have zero peasants at this point. Select the siege camp, take the game off pause and wait several seconds until there are eight or more peasants, re-pause and create four fire ballistae.
You may have to un-pause momentarily to allow them to move and separate just enough to be individually selectable. Then, while still on pause select two of the fire ballistae and instruct them to move to the corner of the marsh at position "A" shown in the screen shot below. Then select the other two and move them to position "B" on the strip of land between the lower and upper marshes.
These positions are just out of range of the archers but have the enemy fire ballistae just in range. Position "A" can target the westernmost fire ballista and the lower of the two remaining ones, plus most places the trebuchets set up. Position "B" can target the most northern fire ballista as well, plus just a little higher if a trebuchet sets up there.
While the fire ballistae are moving to their locations, start your troops moving to whatever area you've chosen for them to assemble and then attend to your castle setup. Return here when you've finished setting up as much of your economy as possible to select targets for the fire ballistae. Keep the game paused!
When your fire ballistae are in position, select the southern two at "A" and target the westernmost enemy fire ballista just south of Whitle's stockpile. Then select the northern two at "B" and aim for the most northerly fire ballistae. When those two are destroyed, target the remaining one. Shortly two trebuchets should roll out of the siege camp. Target them while they're moving and be sure they are still targeted when they stop and start setting up. With luck they won't get a shot off...well, maybe one. After the trebuchets are dispatched your fire ballistae are free to target at will or you can direct them. If you have lots of patience you may be able to clean up the whole battlefield with them. Add a catapult or two and things can be even easier. In fact, using a catapult right at the beginning with the fire ballistae can sometimes take out the siege camp before it produces the trebuchets, but is that really sporting?
Notes on Positioning and Targeting the Fire Ballistae: If you use four fire ballistae I recommend two groups of two as shown. The positions you're firing from are very small and critical, only just in range of the enemy fire ballistae and just out of range of their archers. There is actually a "sweet spot" in the middle of the two positions that can target all three enemy positions, but it is too small and close to the range lines to be reliable. If you put all four fire ballistae in one group, one or two usually end up either too close or too far away, it's that critical. Two groups seem to work every time. And always target the two groups SEPARATELY. For me at least, if I select all four at once (two groups of two in different locations) they will first move together into one group before they fire. This can be disastrous! Selecting and targeting the groups individually keeps them in position.
GETTING TO SIR WILLIAM'S FORT
Attack the Center:
It is possible to go in through the center if you really want to. The 2-4 fire ballistae detailed above are a big help for this method and a couple of catapults can add quite a punch, too. Up the middle is expensive, but you can afford it, and tends to be slower than other methods. Losses can be considerable and there is a much higher risk of failure. You can save some money by building siege equipment at the engineers guild rather than setting up a siege camp.
Setup sequence is as before, siege equipment and troops given marching orders first, then set up your economy. Move all troops north just over Scarcliffe's border and south of the first marsh, staying well east near the small group of hills. Again, I'd take everybody, including your lord.
Dangerous missile fire can come from several directions so I have laid out the approximate ranges of a few in the screen shot above. Stay just outside these ranges and you should be ok. The fire ballistae positions "A" and "B" can reach the enemy fire ballistae, so presumably could also be hit back by them. They never seem to do so, possibly because they are quite busy targeting Sir William's archers.
Position your fire ballistae at "A" and "B" and take out all enemy fire ballistae and trebuchets as before. When done they can be left to target freely or used on specific targets. But the moment you start advancing troops, withdraw them from the field as they are a danger to your own troops. Catapults can be placed just outside the same range curve to avoid archer fire. As archers are eliminated they can be advanced.
You could train some more archers but you probably have enough (14). Advance troops carefully and slowly, taking out enemy archers a bit at a time with your archers. But you don't have many, be careful! Keep your melee troops in front of your archers, but not by much. They will attract enemy advances. Try to draw off small groups and deal with them piecemeal. At some point you may want to rush your ground troops in with archers providing cover fire.
When the main force is defeated, attacking the small western group should be fairly easy. Capture the Whitle estate and send in a few troops to relieve William and escort him and his troops home to your castle.
Up the Coast and Through the Western Flank:
This method costs you nothing by just using existing troops only. I think this is by far the easiest way to rescue Sir William. You can eliminate the siege engines first if you like as outlined above, but it's really not necessary, and foregoing the fire ballistae means you don't have to spend any gold. You can use it all to build your economy much faster. It's quite reliable and even when things go a little wrong, should still succeed.
If you're going to use a siege camp, fire ballistae, and/or catapults anyway, create them and start them moving into position first. Then start all troops moving, including your lord (optional), northwest to the gap between the trees and the sea in the south of the Scarcliffe estate. As soon as they are underway set up your economy as outlined above. All this on pause, don't forget. Then return here and continue.
Head north in the gap up the west side of Scarcliffe until your troops are massed directly west of Scarcliffe's flagpole. Set all on "Defensive Stance".
When in position, select the pikemen, swordsmen, and the lord (if used) and advance them to a spot just east of the cliff inside Scarcliffe's northern border, and south of the closest bush, in normal "Open Order Formation". This will keep them inside the Scarcliffe border. Select the archers, change them to "Line Formation", wait until the ground troops are just passing the north side of Scarcliffe's stockpile, then advance them to the very northern edge of the small, low plateau west of, and in line with, that same north side of the stockpile.
Your archers should be in range of the group of archers, macemen, swordsmen and lone fire ballista just south of Whitle's stockpile. Direct their fire on the fire ballista first and take it down, then let them target at will, dispatching the archers and helping with the remainder of the group.
Your advance should draw some of the enemy's ground troops to attack. When the majority of your armor reaches them, retarget all of them to attack the swordsmen. Be sure to protect your archers. The whole trick here is not to stray east across the border into Whitle. If you do you will be in range of another group of archers and may attract additional swordsmen. Draw the enemy in this western group to Scarcliffe and finish them off there.
It can be tempting to go after the nearest trebuchet and mount an attack on the main forces, but this is extremely risky and will probably end in failure. Better to press on and relieve Sir William.
Do not claim Whitle with your troops at this point if you can help it. It's supposed to be neutral but I have seen it not. Doing so will turn it into an enemy of Sir Hugo's and some of his troops will start making trips to destroy its buildings, distracting them from their usual course of action. If you do happen to claim it, pull your archers further back, as marauding troops may get close enough to get interested in pursuing them.
Now march all melee units into Sir William's fort, but don't take the archers. Your relief troops will take a few hits from the two remaining fire ballistae on the trek in (unless you spent the gold to eliminate them). No use sacrificing archers needlessly. If you want to leave some melee units near Whitle, that's ok, too. Be sure you force the relief troops to travel around the southwest corner of Whitle's stockpile. If you target their destination to a position inside the fort at this point they'll try to take the longer, wider path east into the waiting arms of the main siege army. Use several short destination hops to make them take the correct route.
Make one of your target spots the area just outside the fort's easternmost gate. Once they're close to that spot, you can redirect them to the inner compound to rendezvous with Sir William. If you don't mass in front of the gate first they'll usually travel east around the end of the damaged wall and take more fire, instead of going through the gate. They need babying all the way. You also want your relief troops to arrive fairly close together, as the first to reach Sir William will trigger an attack. Stragglers could get caught.
TAKING COMMAND AND DEFENDING SIR WILLIAM'S FORT
Once in the fort, continue to the inner compound. As you go through the gate one of your men will announce that you have reached Sir William. William will ask you to direct him to your castle and you'll now have command of him and his men. Immediately pull all his outer troops back into that inner compound. Send all archers up on the walls who aren't already there, move those in the rear and near the river towards positions on the wall on either side of the gate. All archers should end up on the walls flanking the inner gate.
If Sir William's troops had to endure the trebuchets you'll usually end up with 40 or more of his archers left to command at this point, possibly a lot more (up to 72) if you used fire ballistae to save them from the bombardment. Mass all foot troops a short way inside the inner gate with Sir William and your lord behind them.
Your relief of Sir William will trigger a large portion of the Sir Hugo's sieging troops to begin an attack. Luckily they will be strung out, archers, crossbowmen and macemen first, who will go down very easily, then the swordsmen. The archers will not inflict much damage on them and they will steadily advance to the gate. Do not close the gate! If you do the swordsmen will attack the walls and be able to kill many of your archers. Leaving it open will encourage them to enter through it, allowing your archers a continual assault. When the swordsmen get just inside and clear of the gate, attack with your ground troops, including Sir William. A lot of the hit damage to the enemy will come from the archers. Do not advance on them too soon, as swordsmen in the middle of the gate cannot be targeted by archers. Do not let any enemy troops climb a wooden platform. Protect the archers.
ADVANCE AND TAKE THE BATTLEFIELD
It's now time to march out onto the main battlefield, finish off Sir Hugo's siege forces and escort Sir William to your keep. The siege force has been reduced to a paltry few at this point, but it includes those two fire ballistae (unless you previously eliminated them). Start all the melee troops marching toward a spot just in front of the few swordsmen remaining between and siege camp and Whitle's stockpile. Get any that are hit by the fire ballistae during this advance back on their feet and moving forward. The more they spread out the better.
Gather William's archers and have them wait just outside the inner compound to the right of the gate, but stay well behind the melee troops. I like using line formation for them, but I don't know that it really makes a difference. Looks nice and orderly, though.
As soon as the leaders of your foot units reach the far, eastern edge of Whitle's stockpile, advance Sir William's archers to a point about halfway between the corner of the stockpile and the fire ballistae, and just to the right of Whitle's border. Advance your own red archers, still waiting in Scarcliffe, to a point half way between Whitle's southern border and the small group of enemy archers west of the siege camp.
Direct you attention back to your melee troops. As they approach, retarget them to the enemy swordsmen who should be attacking at this point. Be sure to protect the archers.
By the time the archers reach their positions, your melee troops should just be making contact with the enemy swordsmen, preventing them from attacking the archers. Immediately have 15 of Sir William's archers target the left-hand fire ballista, and 10 target the right-hand one. The rest can be left to target enemy archers. As soon as your red archers have taken down their small group, have them target the right-hand fire ballista also if still standing. Leave all archers to target the remaining enemy archers on their own after that, eliminating them all, and then turn and help dispatch the swordsmen. Be sure the archers are advanced sufficiently to reach all the enemy archers. A fast takedown of the fire ballistae will save a lot of your melee troops.
Look around for stragglers, but that should do it. Move your archers a little south to be sure you do not get in range of the tower mounted ballista on Sir Hugo Blanc's closest tower. Send some troops to claim the Whitle estate if it's not neutral and head all for home.
Rescuing Sir William With the Lord Only:
There's another fairly simple tactic to rescue William. Just use your lord. This is a little more risky, but almost always works. As mentioned before, there is a downside, which is he won't be at home to attend feasts and other civilian duties to accumulate honor.
Send him north, hugging the coast as all your troops did before. You can build a stable and use a horse to speed his travel if you wish but it's not necessary. Have him take out the single fire ballista in the west as he proceeds north. Force him past the other troops to do it, then press on to William. He should have lost his mount by this time. Force your lord to proceed to rendezvous with William and not engage the swordsmen and macemen, as he cannot win.
As soon as he gets inside the fort and you take control of William's forces pull them all back into the inner compound just like the previous method with all archers on the walls flanking the gate and all ground troops a short distance inside the gate. Even though your melee force is much smaller and weaker (two lords and a handful of spearmen) it is still adequate to deal with the swordsmen. The two lords are a pretty good team. If you used a stable, call for horses for both your lord and Sir William. They should arrive after you dispatch the swordsmen.
Then have Sir William and your lord rush to attack the swordsmen between the siege camp and Whitle's stockpile as before, waiting for mounts first if they're coming. As before, advance all archers when the two lords get to the far corner of Whitle's stockpile. Archers pause on the diagonal of Whitle's border as above, take out the fire ballistae, enemy archers, then help the lords with the swordsmen. If either of the lords looks dangerously low on health, withdraw him to safety. Watch out for the tower mounted fire ballista across the river. The small western group should be easy to mop up. Claim Whitle, call for fresh horses if you have a stable, and head home.
BACK TO THE KEEP:
If the Whitle estate is still neutral, buy it. Once it's yours, start setting up any industries you want there. I produced cheese only. On the way back to the keep recheck the castle stats and set up any more final buildings before this mission ends. It is Sir William's entering the keep within the time period that ends this mission. If you want to use any extra time you have left for building and preparations, have him remain outside, but he must enter before time runs out or you will lose.
The Duke de Montparnasse sends out a peaceful patrol in January of 1068, 10 spearmen and 10 archers. Is he casting a jealous eye and trying to remind you of his military presence, or is this a reconnoitering band signaling an impending hostile move? After about 9-12 months of running around, the 10 archers end up strengthening his wall defenses.
Once you get Sir William and your troops back to the castle be sure to save the game before you send him to the top of the keep and end the mission. There are things you can do to prepare for the beginning of mission 2, but if you've done anywhere near the things I've recommended you'll be in fine shape for the second mission. And if you feel you want to do more here once you see the next mission, you can reload your save and you'll be right back at this point.
Send Sir William to the keep for victory. Well done.
*) denotes a former staff member.