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The strategy guide/preview for the Kingdom of Dale. Originally written by CountMRVHS.

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The Kingdom of Dale

Dale is a kingdom of Northmen, one of five factions in Dominion of Men whose people are largely descended from that ancient folk who dwelt east of the Anduin and north of Mordor. The story of the fall and rebirth of Dale is well known from Tolkien's writings, where one may read of the destruction of Smaug, the valor of Bard, and the founding of a realm of Men who lived in close cooperation with the Dwarves of Erebor and under the crown and protection of the Reunited Kingdom.

In Dominion of Men, Dale comprises the northernmost of the Northmen factions. It is also one of the most northerly factions in the mod; only the Dwarves claim lands closer to the great northern wastes. But while friendly relations with the Dwarves continue, the Fourth Age has seen Dale acquire a certain independence from the troubled Dunedanic kingdom to the west. Though by no means hostile to the Reunited Kingdom, Dale answers to no other king and sees to its own defenses in Dominion of Men.

And its defenses need seeing to. Dale has expanded far east and west from its namesake city, and faces many challenges, from its traditional enemies of Easterlings and troublesome Orcs as well as from the more recent kingdoms that have emerged nearby.

The player of Dale will begin in possession of lands stretching from theMisty Mountains in the west to the river Carnen in the east. The westernmost town, Framsburg, occupies a defensible position between the
arms of tributaries of the great Anduin. Here was of old the stronghold of the Eotheod, in the days before Eorl the Young led that people to the aid of Gondor. Framsburg is the most isolated of Dale's settlements, surrounded by several Orc-holds and bordering the lands of the Beornings farther downriver. There are no nearby independent settlements for easy early expansion, so a leader of Dale may choose to build toward defense on that flank of his kingdom – provided peace with the Beornings and Woodmen can be secured.

Under the northern eaves of Greenwood, west of Erebor, is the settlementof Holt. It is said that at least some of the Men who came to rebuild Dale and Lake-town after the dragon's death came from the west,
suggesting that some Northmen dwelt near the northern stretch of the Greenwood, outside of the Elvenking's realm. Holt is an important settlement, supplying timber to aid construction, and it serves as the closest settlement to Framsburg. Though it is still a long march between the towns, if needed, aid will come soonest to Framsburg from Holt.

And under the Lonely Mountain itself sits the City of Dale, with the town of Esgaroth just to the south. Here is the true power center of Dale's kingdom, allowing wise rulers to exploit trade routes overland as
well as by river. With Erebor so near, Dale's heartlands can feel secure even if war rages just beyond its outer settlements.

East and south, Dale has expanded its realm to include all the land between the Celduin and the Carnen. Two more major settlements can be found in these recently acquired lands, as well as a fort guarding the crossing of the river Carnen. These towns are somewhat remote from Dale's heartlands, and will require some investment to ensure they can become self-sufficient, but from the beginning they allow the player to hold a very defensible border eastward and southward – provided he can hold the fords.

Outside Dale's borders, several threats loom. The Chiefdoms of Rhun and North Rhun are obvious foes of the Northmen, but it may be some time before war breaks out with these folk. More likely in the early years are skirmishes with the other Northmen realms that have grown up in Dale's shadow. Dorwinion, Rhovanion, the Beornings – all are eager to defend their homelands and assert their own power. It is unlikely that Dale can forge a lasting league with all of these peoples, and almost certain that one or more may send armies to dispute Dale's recent expansion.

An aggressive player, then, may choose to begin wars of his own accord rather than waiting for a blow to fall. Though fighting in many wars has a negative effect on a king's Authority (and thus may increase the odds of suffering a rebellion), winning victories – and acquiring new lands,wealth, and titles to distribute – will augment Authority. A good strategy, then, is to assemble a group of alliances, and choose a target
you can defeat swiftly.

Dorwinion fits the latter criteria rather nicely. As the smallest nearby faction, it is possible to defeat Dorwinion in a handful of battles and add its rich farmland and trade resources to your kingdom. Claiming Dorwinion also grants access to the Sea of Rhun, which can allow for some naval maneuvers later on, once Rhun becomes a problem.

If all this sounds rather cynical, think of it like this: you're preparing for the inevitable showdown with the Easterlings. The last thing you need is to have a juggernaut Rhun sending its hordes of warriors at your settlements before you have the wealth or manpower to effectively resist. Clearing the troublemaking Northmen realms out of the region allows you to meet the Easterling threat with experienced soldiery and with your hands firmly on the reins of the northern trade routes.

An alternative strategy would focus on defense in the early years, with Dale working to build up great wealth before any war begins and only going on the offensive once its settlements have grown strong. Thanks to its strategic position as well as its army composition – which offers some advantages for fighting on the defensive, about which more later – this has the potential to be a winning option as well. It is, however, a strategy that requires some forethought and knowledge of the enemy's strengths: if you wait until your enemies can field dozens of armies against you, it may be too late to take the fight to them.

The mid to late game will likely see Dale face off against a strong eastern faction, but that doesn't mean you can afford to neglect your other borders. The Dunedanic kingdoms are the giants in the western lands, and one of them is going to come out of the civil war with incredible power. If the Reunited Kingdom seizes the initiative in its conflict with Adunabar, expect the RK's ally Rohan to show up east of
the Anduin, where it may contest your claim over parts of Rhovanion or the Anduin vales. If Adunabar gains the upper hand, expect to see the Cultists sooner, as they push north towards your territory from Mordor. Either foe is formidable – yet another reason to secure the north of Wilderland as early as possible.

With a wide range of innovations and cultural traditions to draw upon, Dale's armies are capable of meeting most any threat. As might be expected of the heirs of Bard the Bowman, slayer of Smaug, the longbow features prominently in Dale's military. In fact, it could be argued that Dale is the most archer-focused faction in Dominion of Men. Though perhaps not as famed as the longbowmen available to the Reunited Kingdom or the archers of the Elves, Dale can train skilled archers at almost every tier of military development, making it easy to assemble archer-heavy armies quickly.

But bowmen need support, and Dale boasts a strong core of infantry with some reasonable cavalry to round off the roster. Probably the greatest threat to Dale on the battlefield is from heavy cavalry charges, such as those favored by the Riders of Rhun. To that end, your kingdom's strong spearmen can serve to hold a battle line, while heavily armored axemen flank. And while Dale's riders are not a match for the cavalry of the Rohirrim, they can scatter the light troops of the Easterlings in the right situations.

An army composition heavy on archers with solid infantry support and some cavalry for the wings can see Dale to victory against most foes. But winning battles is one thing – to win the war, you must manage income and production as well. Fortunately, Dale can excel at the strategic side of the game, with its Barding governors and their keen understanding of trade, as well as several unique building options to reflect Dale's versatility and innovation.

With its connections to Dwarven craftsmanship and its own predilection for clever works, Dale, with no thousands-of-years-old traditions to keep it looking to the past, stands poised to lead its folk to a prosperous new age. Whether you choose to unite the Northlands under your rule or send your stalwart and well-equipped soldiers into the East to put down the wild chiefdoms once and for all, it is certain that Dale's blue banner will fly under many distant skies in the Fourth Age.


Comments
RichardTheImpaler
RichardTheImpaler

"Dale is the most archer-focused faction in Dominion of Men". I may have to give this faction a whirl. I love seeing enemy armies melt under a hail of arrows. As long as Dale can defend themselves against heavily armored cavalry....

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chiaa
chiaa

How should I face the orkish settlements that surround Framsburg? I don't seem to be able to do anything about them. No way to destroy the buildings that corrupt them, and the advanced fortresses don't seem to provide any actual help. On the other hand, the barbarian buildings in Gargaul make it unseizable, as it will revolt over and over again, with or without pacification.

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