The Norsemen are pagan peoples with a Germanic heritage who inhabit Scandinavia, comprised of the realms of Northvegr and Danmark. Their naval superiority allows them to raid the coasts of the other kingdoms, but despite their reputation as blood-thirsty looters, the Vikings are excellent traders that have begun to colonize the frozen islands of the North Sea.
The Great Heathen Army, led by the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, have invaded the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and now threaten the British Isles. They are skilled archers and although during expeditions they send out mounted scouts, in battles they dismount to fight on foot. The Norse shield-wall is considered almost impossible to overcome.
The Frisians are the inhabitants of an important trading region along the southeastern coast of the North Sea, from the north of Frankia to the border of Danmark. Defeated by the Franks, their country is now under the rule of a Frankish governor. The Frisians have maintained cultural and commercial ties with the Anglo-Saxons from the other side of the English Channel. However, their art of war is mainly influenced by the military innovations of the Carolingian Empire, so their armies have a good balance between cavalry and infantry.
Having migrated some centuries ago to Britannia from continental Europe, the Angles and Saxons have been contesting with the Britons for control of the island. Now this hegemony is threatened by the Vikings, which have conquered their northeastern territories. The Anglo-Saxons are fierce warriors in melee, but the naval superiority of the Norsemen makes it difficult for them to wage war against the greater mobility of the Norse armies.
Angles and Saxons have been historically divided in seven kingdoms, endlessly warring amongst themselves, the most notable kingdoms being West Seaxe, Mierce, Northhymbre and East Engle. Some of their rulers simply serve as puppet kings appointed by the Norsemen, though this common enemy is making them conscious of their own identity and this vacuum in leadership could perhaps pave the way for a new king to rise.
During the collapse of the Roman Empire in Britannia, several successor states emerged to face the Germanic peoples who invaded the island. Maintaining their Romano-British heritage, the Celtic-speaking natives resisted the Angles and Saxons in the fringe areas of the west, like Brycheiniog, Alt Clut, Cornubia and Glywyssing. The kings of the Britons tried to link their rule with the old imperial order, but Roman military organization is all but lost and their armies are mostly tribal recruits. However cavalry plays a significant role in Briton military tradition, and the Welsh are renowned archers.
For many ages, the Celts from the North of Britannia have protected and maintained their independence from invading forces of Romans, Angles of Northhymbre and Gaels from across the Irish sea. Two decades ago, Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Dál Riata, defeated the Picts and created the kingdom of Alban. During recent years, MacAlpin has faced the Viking raids over his domains and the increasing hostility of the Norse kingdom of Laithlind.
The Pictish armies are mainly composed of light infantry, very maneuverable as skirmishers in mountainous terrain, but they can also fight effectively in melee. The aristocracy forms a reputed cavalry and missile weapons, like bows and javelins, play an important role in battle.
The Celtic peoples emerged in Hibernia have expanded to Dál Riata in the north of Britannia and the Isle of Man. Hibernia was historically divided into five Gaelic kingdoms, which later became Uladh, Laigin, Mumain, Mide, Connachta, Aileach and Osraige. The rulers of these territories have been struggling for supremacy over the island, and now the Norsemen are using this ancient rivalry of the Gaelic dynasties in their own interests.
The most common type of conflict among the Gaels is the cattle raid, so the backbone of Gaelic armies is typically made up of lightly armed infantry who fight as skirmishers, hurling missiles before a ferocious charge into close combat.
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