Nobles mostly avoided pitched battles. It wouldn't be worth it to either side, so usually the fighting would stop after an immediate objective was accomplished or a favorable position for forced diplomacy was obtained. The result of this is that normally, at the end of whatever, all involved nobles would be sitting in their manors paying ransom for soldiers and covering war debts, with probably the majority of their force returning as well.
This... Didn't happen. This was one of the most odd defensive turnarounds I've ever seen in any game, and probably the oddest I've seen in mundane combat in Ars Magica.
A greater baron had raised his feudal army (and tried a roll to increase the size of his force, but only did well enough to keep it the same size ) to lead a major offensive against the baron to whom one of the PC Companions is a landed vassal. (Specifically, he's a Wealthy Landed Noble with a huge focus in Leadership whose liege is a Wealthy Greater Baron.) The PC was like "oh heck to the no" and raised an army to repel the invaders. I didn't see things going well for him because the baron's vassal/feudal army + mercenaries outnumbered his vassal army 5:1, but he rolled quite well to increase his army through the Affinity and ended up tripling his army's size.
The PCs involved were the noble Companion himself, an infantry group leader, and the leader of a well-sized mercenary band. The infantryman's group saved a group of overwhelmed knights in the first event... Pretty normal, helped keep the defending army's strength up. Then the whole "defense" part jumped off a bridge. I intended to simply have the PCs hold the line against an enemy cavalry charge, since the noble Companion had good enough Leadership that he didn't need much event bonus to win the second event. He laughed and opted to artificially break the charge by taking himself and his single group of knights out to fight three of the charging cavalry groups (two groups of knights, one serjeant group). I was stupified, but let him try. Thanks to a mixture of good combat tactics and some nice luck regarding the dice, his group incapacitated the serjeant group and one of the knight groups while forcing the other knight group to surrender. Due to this and the infantryman's previous success, the enemy army ran almost entirely out of cavalry. The enemy routed, and I figured that the last event would be regarding the groups' actions during the enemy retreat; keeping from breaking discipline while the enemies ran or something, you know.
I was about to ask if this was the plan when the Companion's player reminded me that the mercenaries had originally been hiding on the enemy's flank to draw troops in case the start of the battle didn't go well. It had gone fine, but they were still there, so the mercenary leader's player received order to take advantage of the route to Take the baggage train. Though they were heavily wounded by the retaliation, they managed to take and hold control of the baggage until the noble's army arrived, sealing the capture. Deprived of almost the entire baggage, the Greater Baron's army wouldn't be able to make the trip home before succumbing, but the troops were too disorganized and demoralized by the crushing defeat to have a reasonable chance of winning if they tried to go for broke, so the baron made a full surrender.
The noble now, effectively, has all of the army that didn't run away quickly enough captured, as well as control over all of the baggage supplies. This is not something I see as a problem; they worked hard, luck was on their side, and overall I'd say they earned it. What I need help with is figuring out is 1) what recommendations could I give the player regarding what to do with it, since he's still getting acquainted with the feudal system and I myself have no idea what people back then would consider the best way to handle this; 2) how would other people react to such a feat? Would his reputation go up or down substantially? (Also, would he reasonably be able to pin the mercenaries with acting on their own initiative so that they take the negative reputation for attacking the baggage?); 3) how does ransoming work when you've captured the noble and his entire force? Would you ransom the baron to his liege, then ransom every last penny out of the baron?; and finally, 4) an extension of question 1, what good is captured baggage? Do the people and supplies carried by the baggage train have value, and can that value actually be taken advantage of by nobles, or are there rules (cultural or literal) that would prevent the noble from taking advantage in that regard?
Thanks in advance for any help!