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Kerak(updated)

Author File Description
Velerefontis
File Details
Map Size: 400x400 (Large)
Difficulty: Hard
As promised, here is the updated version of the map!Changes include some landscape modelling, to make sure that attackers won't have access to the back of the castle (Earl, I also tried with extra garrison at the back, but the option to attack from there was always very tempting!), some extra ballancing(this should be a little tougher than the original version) and a revised history file(corrected the inaccuracy regarding Reynald, thanks again Gowestover!). I hope you will enjoy it.Best regards, Velerefontis.
Kerak has been Castle of the week 53 and also appears in one mission of the Historical Campaigns in the game. Also called Le Crac de Moab, it is the most impressive castle of the region that Crusaders came to know as "Oultrejourdain", the isolated territories of the east, beyond the Dead Sea and river Jordan. In 1177 this Lordship was granted to Reynald de Chatillon who became famous for his bold exploits, such as launching ships in the Red Sea to raid Mecca and the looting of Arab caravans crossing his territory. These acts soon made his exposed lands a prime target for Muslim armies and Kerak was besieged at least three times in the next 10 years. Twice it was saved by a relieving Crusader army from Jerusalem, but eventually fell to the Muslims in 1188, after a ten month epic siege. The garrison, isolated and with no hope of help from the Christian territories, held out "and defended the castle for so long that they ate dogs and cats and even sold their wives and children to the Saracens to get bread...". At the end hunger forced these couragious men to surrender. It is said that when the castle capitulated the Muslims, impressed by the courage of the defenders, let all the survivors go free... Kerak remained in Muslim hands and was never again retaken by the Crusaders.
Live the dramatic moments of the final fall of Kerak in this siege scenario. The zip file includes the map(took me weeks to bring to life this impressive frontier fortress!), a full history of the castle and an extensive strategy guide. Best regards, Velerefontis
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Earl Listibald Velerefontis, hi.

This is a stunningly beautiful map. Period. I am very impressed by all the little details and the eye-candy around. It is just great how you master the map design tools to create the environment you needed, let alone the lowered walls all over the place. How many rocks did you have to place and erase to get there...? Wow! Kerak has been one beautyful piece of masonry, you really managed to show that!! Just as much as Sulis' maps this should go straight into the eye-candy download section. Thank you for sharing this with us and for all your effort. The story you present is just perrrfect too and together with Creativity and Map Design it deserves a number far higher than just 5, I think. I also loved to see how you placed those stones outside the keep. They look a lot better than the games' rocks. Way to go!

The (little) problem here is playability and balance. Don't laugh at me but I did not loose a single guy and accomplished the mission (I always like to minimise casualties). I just shot and stoned that Lord from outside the castle. I guess he deserved it as his wife seems to be the only one who wasn't sold for bread and she kept on walking around, angering those who lost their loved-ones to slavery.
The second round I entered the castle after shooting all missile units from outside, again without losing a single guy. I entered carefully but in the end lost about 60 slaves due to those death traps. It was a more enjoyable approach though, because finally some action happened.
In conclusion I want to say that this is a very beautiful piece of art which you carefully designed and I thank you again for sharing very much. To solve the problem of killing the Lord from the outside you could place a mangonel on a tower just behind the keep to the effect that bold approaches - like on my first run - would become a little harder. There's also a way to place trebuchet, catapult and - perhaps more helpful in this scenario - fireballistae (unlimited ammunition) on top of walls, due to the simple fact that it would be very painful to change this beautiful layout just to place a stupid tower equipped with a mangonel.
All the best
yours
Earl Listibald
Velerefontis
File Author
Earl, firstly a big thank you for the review. I replayed the map attacking from the back of the castle, and yes, it is possible to kill him from the outside. You need to be very, I say again, VERY patient( he moves around all the time, so it will take you quite a long), but victory is possible this way. The position of the keep is surely a weak point of the map, but the idea was to faithfully reproduct the real castle, respecting its forces and weaknesses. I will work further on the scenario and see if I can discourage attackers from following this rather anorthodox strategy. Stay tuned for an update. Yours, Velerefontis
Earl Listibald Velerefontis, thank you. It does not take that loooong, if you turn speed to 70%. lol
Thanks for good sports and, YES, I am looking forward to playing any update!
cu
gowestover I have yet to download and play this map, but I'm really looking forward to it. My comment is concerning the historical background comments.

You state in your description that Reynald took part in the long siege of Kerak, and when it fell, he was executed outside the walls of the castle.

I beg to differ on this - From everything that I've read, Saladin himself personally executed Reynald, after the Crusaders lost the Battle of Hattin. Saladin did this in retribution for Reynald attacking and slaughtering a Muslim caravan of unarmed Pilgrims on their way to Mecca.

After the battle was over, Saladin had King Guy and Reynald brought in to his own tent. Guy was shaking with fear and exhaustion, and Saladin had cool water passed to him to relieve his extreme thirst. As the water bottle was passed to Guy, apparently he also handed it to Reynald. Saladin immediately had his translators tell the Franks the he did not pass Reynald the bottle with his own hand. This was a chilling hint as to what was about to transpire, for it was Muslim custom that a prisoner was not to be harmed if his captor had offered him aid. In this way Saladin was making it clear to all that though he was treating Guy with the dignity and respect due the King of Jerusalem, he was not ascribing this same honor and protection to Reynald. It was right after this that Saladin drew his sword and personally slew Reynald.

After the Crusader Army was wiped out at the Battle of Hattin, most of the Crusader castles quickly fell to Saladin's army, as they had virtually no garrisons. I don't know the particulars of Kerak, but I believe that it fell under these circumstances, and it may have capitulated rather than undergone a siege.

Thought you all might like that bit of dramatic history...
Velerefontis
File Author
Hi Gowestover, you are correct on the fate of Reynald! I read Runciman's "History of the Crusades" and you are ubsolutely right. My source for the historical right-up was Hugh Kennedy's "Crusader castles", which has an extensive description of the sieges of Kerak, but was not very clear on the fate of Reynald. I knew that he was executed by the Muslims, so I wrongly assumed that this happened after the fall of the castle. The truth is that the execution took place in the previous year, just after the battle of Hattin, as you pointed out. Despite the death of Reynald and the fact that the castle was undermanned,the final siege of Kerak actually lasted 10 months... You can find the info in the zip file, where among other things I have included a brief chronicle, describing those dramatic moments. Thank you very much for your comment. I am really looking forward to hearing your opinion on the map,once you've played it! Yours, Velerefontis
gowestover Hello, Velerefontis!

I downloaded the map when I got home from work yesterday. Holy Cow!!! It's beautiful! Of all the Crusader Fortresses, Kerak is one of the top two that I was hoping someone would write a map for...

I'm glad you listed your historical references regarding Kerak. Although I've read a bit about the over all history of the Crusades, I have never read anything specifically about Kerak and the siege in which it fell. I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of the books you have referred to and reading them.

Thanks for the great work on this beautiful map!
GillB
Staff
There's a short write-up of the castle's history together with some pictures on this site :)

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HGDL v0.8.0

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Statistics
Downloads:1,389
Favorites: [Who?]0
Size:888.67 KB
Added:05/27/03
Updated:06/30/03