TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Female/Male Ratio in the Military
- Rules of War
- Use of Magic
- Military Etiquette
- Military Tactics – Shillelagh
- Type of Armies and Their Uniforms
- Levy Armies – Traditional Call to Arms, Levy Coin
- Royal Armies – High Imperial Army, Robber Knights
- Anglian Royal Armies – Royalists, Darley’s Army, Marshal Madwyn Darley, Mad Dogs
- Imperial Armies – Bluedevils
- How Armies are Formed for War – Royal Call to Arms, Imperial Call to Arms
- Recruitment – Infantry Requirements, Cavalry Requirements
- Composition of an Army
- Organization of Armies – The Three Wards, Rearguard, Midguard, Vanguard, Standard Bearer, Vexil
- Typical Ward Assignments in an Army – Rearguard Units, Midguard Units, Vanguard Units
- Cohorts – Baggage Cohort, Field Companions, Supply Cohort, Main Cohort, Flanking Cohort, Rear Cohort, Fore Cohort
- Unit Divisions – Company, Kindred Unit, Mixed Unit, Battalion, Regiment, Group, Ward, Host
- Infantry Classes – Heavy Infantry, Standard Infantry, Doublehanders, Singlehanders, Pikebearers, Light Infantry, Long Archers, Cross Archers
- Cavalry Classes – Heavy Cavalry, Cavalier, Knights, Knight at Arms, Squires, Heavy Lancers, Arbalestiers, Medium Cavalry, Cavalry, Lancers, Horse Archer, Light Cavalry, Light Horse Archer, Light Lancers, Scouts
- Specialists – Chief of Followers, Chief of Fortifications, Chief of Provisions, Chief Physician, Chief Engineer, Siege Chief, Chief Treasurer, Chief Conservator
- Base Military Salaries
- Upper Rank Military Pay – Subaltern
- Description of the Ranks – Field Marshal, Marshal, Undermarshal, Commander, Undercommander, Captain, Sergeant, Undersergeant, Soldiers, Unranked Soldiers
- Making a Living as a Soldier – Fist, Veterans, Lifers
- Military Families
- Military Disability
- Champions – Odyl
Female/Male Ratio in the Military
The general population of the world is 60% female. However, in the army, 70% of soldiers are women. Men are discouraged from dangerous pursuits because of their low numbers.
Rules of War
Armies at war are allowed to seize food and quarters from civilians, so long as civilians are not harmed. Rape and looting are forbidden. Yields are observed when facing a chivalrous enemy, otherwise no quarter is given. Prisoners are taken, when possible, but may be executed if they are unchivalrous (prone to fleeing or taking up arms again) or cannot be safely held due to the restraints of battle. Killing an enemy from behind, or when they are sleeping, is allowing during war, but not allowed outside of war. Valuable prisoners can be held for ransom. Only heavy infantry may secure and ransom prisoners, though they must split the ransom with any mounted soldier who may have unhorsed the prisoner. Half the ransom money goes to the army’s discretionary fund, and the other half distributed equally among those who captured the target. A prisoner’s value is judged in battle by their station, quality of gear, and any markings on their tabards.
Use of Magic
Using offensive magic against an enemy in battle is strictly forbidden in the military. But within their own ranks, armies do make use of magic in building, scouting, healing, and interrogation. A wealthy soldier might pay a Practitioner to matter a stronger edge on a weapon, or to homin some strength into their aging weapon arm or increase their endurance in battle. And cavalry soldiers often enhance their horses. There are always groups of Practitioners riding in an army’s baggage train.
Soldiers typically say aye or nay rather than yes or no. They respond to orders with a sir or ma’am. Formalities are usually not observed at the company level or among knights. A weapon flourish serves as a salute to a respected enemy, training partner, or esteemed leader. The weapon is drawn up to one’s own face and then swept down to the side. But there is no hand salute at the appearance of a superior officer. There is an expectation that the inferior soldier will nod first, and then the superior soldier returns the nod. Also, when not on the battlefield, inferiors remove their helms or raise their visors in the presence of a superior officer. Soldiers of both sexes must wear their hair (or beards) short so they can’t be grabbed in battle. However, Gallian soldiers are allowed to wear long hair because it is part of their culture.
Trumpets are used to send signals during a battle. For long-range communications, messenger doves are used to send messages to a fixed and known point where there is a dovecote. When doves can’t be used, light horse archers serve as the army’s internal messengers. But mounted Scouts are used to carry messages off-road or through dangerous territory.
With proper supplies, armies can march 15-20 miles per day over roads when in safe territory, and 10-15 miles per day in enemy territory. But maintaining that pace requires at least one day of rest per week. A forced march of 30 miles per day over roads is possible, but only for a few days at a time. Marching off-road can cut daily travel distance in half, or even more, depending on the terrain.
Pitched battles are rare in war. Few Marshals will give battle unless they know they will win. Sieges are much more common. Royal and Imperial armies are known for aggressive maneuver tactics that make heavy use of horses and archers and leverage the advantages of their Skysteel armor.
Most of the Imperial martial arts and war tactics have been passed down from Teutonia and Latica. However, there are some well-regarded indigenous martial arts in neighboring Empires, such as shillelagh fighting in Brythony.
A typical mixed unit in an army might have a defensive formation with pikes or spears guarding the perimeter, along with shield infantry or cross archers with pavise shields, then heavy infantry in the second rank, ready to move up if the enemy heavy infantry attacks. And in the rear or center are the long archers. Cavalry is held back as needed. Such a mixed unit can only be broken up by sheer numbers, siege weapons, or superior heavy infantry.
When this same mixed unit is in an offensive posture, archers are used to weaken the enemy’s front line and then the heavy infantry moves in. Cavalry is used to chase down those in retreat, to counter the moves of the enemy cavalry, or to mount a decisive charge to end the battle when the time is right, and preferably when there is a gap in the enemy’s front line.
Armies always travel with war minstrels, often from Gallia, who entertain the troops. In addition, they play drums and trumpets when the army attacks, a sound that is both inspiring to the army and intimidating to the enemy. Their trumpets are also used to send signals during the battle. Caledonian Royal Armies have minstrels with bagpipes.
The Empire’s most skilled heavy infantry comes from Teutonia. Caledon has the best sword and shield fighters. The best light cavalry comes from Iberia. Anglia has the best heavy cavalry and archers. Moravia has skilled scouts and Moravian Royal Armies can use their wagons to form defensive lines. Latica has excellent siege expertise and weapons. Norveg has the biggest, fiercest soldiers, and they are excellent with axes. Gallia has the strongest sense of chivalry, inspiring leadership, and a flair for the dramatic.
Type of Armies and Their Uniforms
Levy troops are conscript soldiers, usually untrained. Anglia has about 50 levy troops available for every professional soldier in a standing army. Levy troops do not typically campaign during harvest season or in harsh winter conditions. They can only be summoned by a Call to Arms from a Monarch or Autarch. Calling levies greatly disrupts the economy and is only done during dire times. Ever since the Peasant Rebellion, there is a 60-day limit to how long levy armies can be held without pay. Levies are more practical when used closer to home.
Each business, owned home, or tenant estate has a levy requirement calculated by a tax assessor when they determine the owner’s tax burden. The typical requirement for Commoners and Gentry is one levy soldier per every four family members within the ages of 16-40. It is double for Nobles. Some wealthy merchants may owe double or even triple levies. Nobles with tenant farmers (peasants) are expected to contribute 25% of their work force ages 16-40 (in addition to their family member requirement). When selecting peasant levies, Nobles are expected to equitably distribute levy duties between families.
Wealthy people often hire mercenaries to fill their levy requirement, so as not to disrupt the flow of life and business at home, and to avoid risking their own lives or the lives of their families. They must hire and send the required number of mercenaries; they cannot simply send in money to fulfill their obligation. This can be a problem because the local mercenaries are hired up quickly during a Call to Arms.
Levy troops do not wear uniforms but will wear hats and other items of clothing in the appropriate colors for their country. For example, an Anglian levy would wear items of bright blue and gold. In battle, levies are always led by professional troops.
A Royal Anglian levy army may have as many as 250,000 soldiers (50 times the size of a standing army. The typical campaigning season for levy armies is May-July, but it can be extended during emergencies.
In a levy year, the country’s Monarch makes a Traditional Call to Arms. No two countries in the Empire do this in the same year. This is a drill to muster the levies. Levies turn out with their house weapons and whatever armor they can afford. Levies report to the rally point for their province (not always at their capital). Over the previous ten years, folks have saved up their levy coin to make this journey, which always turns into a huge celebration. Levies travel to the rally point, get inspected and counted, practice some formations, then return home after a lot of feasting and carousing. The experience is just as much an exercise for the Royal Army handlers as it is for the levies. The whole affair lasts for one month.
The traditional call to arms is technically not a holiday, but it’s treated as one by the populace. In Anglia, it happens once every ten years on the decade, so 210 AA, 220 AA, etc. It begins on May 2nd and ends on June 2nd.
Royal, or Crown armies, are standing armies of professional soldiers. They are well-trained and well-paid. Their uniforms are the colors of their country’s flag. So, for example, the Crown Army of Anglia wears tabards (a short, sleeveless surcoat) of bright blue and gold over their armor. Whereas the Crown Army of Iberia wears tabards of gold and red. Tabards are made of wool because of its natural resistance to water and fire. Even when off the field and out of armor, royal soldiers will usually wear tabards indicating their affiliation. Soldiers from marked houses are allowed to include their house banners on their tabards or caparisons (tabards for horses). However, the house flag must be in a less prominent than the military colors. It’s highly illegal to wear the colors of an army you are not serving.
Royal armies are not allowed to leave the borders of their country unless directed to do so by the Autarch as part of an Imperial Call to Arms. Royal armies are expected to manage and lead any levies, as necessary.
An army consists of 5,000 soldiers. Each army is named after the Marshal leading them. The number of armies varies from country to country. The Anglian Monarch maintains three full-time professional Royal Armies of 5K each, and the Autarch also has one additional 5K High Imperial Army composed of the best Imperial troops from across the Empire. Each country in the Inner Empire also has one Imperial Army of 5K, however, the number of Royal Armies vary by country. All countries besides Anglia have only one or two royal armies.
Royal Armies are dedicated to protecting the Monarch, securing the borders and marches, and pacifying restive areas. However, the reality is that in this relatively peaceful era, they spend most of the time training at their barracks.
Melanesia maintains no Royal Armies, though they do host an Imperial Army in Kirakira, where the jungle is less dense. Latica has only one Royal Army, based in Vevento, but it is notoriously corrupt. Latica has a growing problem with robber knights collecting illegal taxes and tolls, seizing river cargos, and engaging in general banditry. Latica has been asking the Empire for the local Imperial Army, based in Portipaglia, to assume the security duties of their Royal Army, but so far, the Autarch has refused.
Teutonia has one Royal Army. Moravia has one. Gallia has two. Caledon has one. Iberia has two. Norveg has one.
The Anglian Royal Armies
The three Royal Anglian Armies are stationed in Beystone, Blackheath, and Hazelport. The High Imperial Army is in Foxford.
Anglian Royal Armies are typically called Royalists. They wear tabards of bright blue and gold, with the surname of their Marshal embroidered along the bottom (both front and back). The army stationed beside the Shadowkeep in Blackheath is called Darley’s Army, because it’s led by Marshal Madwyn Darley, a former First Lance in her younger days at the Royal Tournament. Informally, they are known as the Mad Dogs, a play on the Marshal’s name. The Mad Dogs are handpicked from the best of the Royalists, and the equal of any Imperial Army. They are known for their exceptional loyalty to House Liontree. Many of the Vets in Darley’s Army have a paw print tattooed on their face to represent the mad dog. Tattoos are not considered a part of civilized society, but society allows soldiers some latitude. All armies have some sort of unofficial name and corresponding facial tattoo. However, only soldiers who have distinguished themselves in some way can get that tattoo.
Each country is expected to host an Imperial Army of 5,000 soldiers. So there are nine Imperial Armies in the Empire, accounting for all nine of the Imperial nations. Imperial soldiers take orders directly from the Autarch and are expected to lead and direct Royal Armies when Royal Armies are acting outside of their borders. As a practical matter, Imperial Armies are supervised by the local Field Marshall rather than the Autarch. Officers in an Imperial Army outrank their equivalents in a Royal Army. In the field, if Royal and Imperial Armies are working together, the Imperial Army has command.
Imperial Army soldiers are recruited from the best of the Royalists, so their armies are quite good. Imperial Armies are more skilled than Royal Armies, and the High Imperial Army (there is only one, located at the Imperial seat) is the best of all the Imperial Armies. Imperial tabards are dark blue and white. Their soldiers are sometimes called Bluedevils, though the Church doesn’t like that term. They are paid twice the wage of Royal soldiers.
How Armies are Formed for War
In the event of a domestic crisis, a Monarch can make a Royal Call to Arms, which activates the levies within their own country. If the crisis is international, the Autarch will make an Imperial Call to Arms. Calling out levies is avoided as much as possible, because managing them is a logistical nightmare, and their absence from their normal work hurts the economy. When a Call to Arms is made, people know the situation is dire. There hasn’t been an Imperial Call to Arms since the Peasant Rebellion in 163 AA, and that call was a spectacular failure. Only half the normal number of people turned up to muster, because the other half was the enemy. Royal Calls to Arms happened in Caledon and Moravia in 213 AA in response to the Pagan Rebellion, and in Teutonia and Moravia in 198 AA during the Incursion. Both of those levy calls were logistically successful but militarily ineffective against the asymmetrical tactics of the enemy.
Royal and Imperial Armies are ready to fight at a moment’s notice. They train constantly and even war game against each other.
If the levies are called, the levies (and some mercenary proxies) all meet at their preassigned provincial rally points. This can take a couple of weeks. From there, they travel to a secondary rally point, which could take another two or three weeks. The reason for the secondary rally point is that there are more provinces than standing armies, and the levies must reach a standing Army. Once the levies have reached their second rally point, the Royal Army managing them hands out assignments and gets everyone organized. When possible, folks from the same towns and villages are kept together in the ranks. People with valuable skills may be assigned to travel with the baggage train rather than to fight. It takes a week for an army to get levies organized, and the Royal Army can expand to 50 times its previous size. On average, it is six weeks from the Call to Arms to when a levy army is ready to march to war.
Anyone hoping to join a standing army and become a professional soldier must first pass the recruitment test. Applicants must be able to lift a 50-lb stone above their head, climb over a 5-foot wall without a rope or handholds, run a mile in eight minutes or fewer, and leap a ten-foot trench from a running start. Anyone who fails the test can try again a month later. In addition to this recruitment test, applicants must successfully complete their three months of novice training, and any specialty training that follows. Everyone must take and pass these tests, even Nobles. Some units of the army may require a vision test in which applicants must identify animals in a painting from a distance.
Infantry requirements: men or women who are at least 5’ 8” tall and under 30 years of age. No vision requirement for basic infantry, but ranged infantry must pass an eye test. No literacy requirement at the starting rank.
Cavalry requirements: Must pass a vision and riding test. Applicants are not taught how to ride; they must already know this. Must be under 35 years of age. No literacy requirement at the starting rank. No height requirement.
The army provides fitted armor and weapons to new infantry recruits (except heavy infantry) who sign a 5-year contract. Soldiers can keep their armor and weapons when their term is done. However, a new infantry recruit can opt for only a 1-year contract if they bring their own weapons or armor, or are willing to use unfitted munitions-grade armor and weapons from the stockpile.
Most levy troops are infantry. Levy troops bring their house weapons and any armor they may own (usually jerkins, buff coats, or leather armor). Some levies can get munitions armor from the stockpile, but there is never enough to equip a full levy army.
The army provides fitted armor, weapons, and a low-quality warhorse to new cavalry recruits (except heavy cavalry) who sign a 5-year contract. Cavalry soldiers can keep their armor, weapons, and horse when their term is done. However, a new cavalry recruit can opt for only a 1-year contract if they bring their own weapons, armor, and horse, or else bring their own horse and use unfitted munitions-grade armor and weapons from the stockpile.
Composition of an Army (by Unit Type, Combatants Only)
A typical army has 5,000 soldiers. Note: the breakdown below is for a standing army. Levy armies can be five times as large, with most of the levy troops supplementing the medium foot and ranged infantry.
|Unit||Percentage of Army||Number|
|Mounted Units||Percentage of Mounted||Number|
|Light Horse Archers||50%||300|
|Infantry Units||Percentage of Infantry||Number|
Organization of Armies
The Three Wards
All armies are divided into three wards, which determines their march order and responsibilities.
The rearguard are the soldiers assigned to protect the baggage train, supply line, communication lines, and the non-combatants traveling with the train at the rear of the advancing army. They guard against attacks from the rear, and some of them protect the camp and train during battles. In the event of a retreat, the rearguard stays behind to slow the enemy so the main body can escape (a very dangerous job). If the army chooses to fight in ranks (rare in Imperial tactics), the rearguard fights in the third rank (the rear rank). If the battle is along a line, the rearguard forms the left flank, supplemented by heavier units from the Midguard. Typically, the rearguard ward -is only about 12% of the total army and uses mobile soldiers.
The main body of an army. The Midguard usually travels in blocks grouped by weapon type. How those blocks are deployed depends on the nature of the battle. If the army chooses to fight in ranks, the Midguard fights in the second (middle) rank. If the battle is along a line, the Midguard forms the center of the line. Typically, this ward is about 76% of the total army, and is composed of the heavy, slower, more powerful units.
A Standard Bearer typically rides in the Midguard. This is always an elite Knight who stays near the Marshal during a battle. The Standard Bearer’s squire actually carries the flag.
A Vexil always rides near the Marshall. This is usually a sharp-eyed cavalry soldier who has learned to recognize all the flags and banners of the Empire, of family houses, the Church, the government, and the military.
The army’s advance troops. Light infantry assists engineers in clearing any obstacles that might obstruct the main body or baggage train. The Vanguard also secures shelter and food for the army and communicates with the locals in advance of the main body’s arrival. In addition, they are tasked with intelligence work, such as locating the enemy and neutralizing enemy scouts. If necessary, the Vanguard may need to fight a delaying action until the main body can arrive. If the army chooses to fight in ranks, the Vanguard fights in the first rank (the front). If the battle is along a line, the Vanguard forms the right flank, supplemented by heavier units from the Midguard. Typically, this ward is only about 12% of the total army and uses mobile soldiers.
Typical Ward Assignments in an Army (Combatants Only)
|Light Horse Archers||100|
|Light Horse Archers||100|
|Light Horse Archers||100|
Each of the three wards is divided into two equal-sized cohorts. A cohort is a mini-army capable of independent action when needed. Each cohort has a specific role to play. Cohorts rarely divide their numbers in the face of a superior enemy. When fighting, they usually fight together, but not always.
Part of the rearguard. The baggage cohort protects the baggage train and the encampment. During battles, half of this cohort stays to guard the baggage and camp. In the event of a retreat, this cohort stays to cover the retreat.
The baggage train is often large and can stretch for miles behind an army. The food and drink alone consume 40-50 wagons per day the army is in the field. So a month-long excursion would require around 1,400 wagons just for the army’s food and drink. For this reason, maintaining a continuous resupply is important, as is scavenging as much food as possible from the surrounding area. Both strategies can keep that 1,400 wagon count lower and allow the army to move more quickly during their month in the field. The logistics of resupply and the management of the train are two of the most important elements in a successful campaign.
The baggage train also includes the catapult wagons, siege engineers, sellbodies, cooks, carpenters (especially important in building siege engines and repairing bridges), war minstrels to entertain the troops, dovekeepers (for sending messages), farriers (for the trimming and balancing of horses’ hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves), blacksmiths and their smithies to make and repair weapons and armor, cobblers to make and repair boots, tailors, specialists and their staffs, mobile kitchens, replacement weapons and armor, clothes, extra horses, tools, tents and blankets, herds of livestock, prisoners, captured loot, the personal baggage of Officers, Nobles, and Knights, and groups of Practitioners, physicians, and healing priests. The baggage train also carries the personal armor of soldiers when on the march in safe areas. When marching in areas under threat, soldiers always wear their armor.
The baggage train carries the lovers and spouses of soldiers. Children, however, are not allowed, and soldiers must pay three pence a day per person for the passage of their loved ones who accompany them in the field. These folks called field companions and they ride in carts so as not to slow the army down. It’s not unusual for a train to have 500 or more non-combatants.
Part of the rearguard. The supply cohort protects the supply and communication lines and scouts the rear of the army. They also handle communications with home base. Messages are sent by dove (when the target is a fixed, known point with a dovecote) or more commonly, carried by light horse archers. In the event of a retreat, this cohort stays to cover the retreat.
Part of the Midguard. The slowest, strongest units in the army. Their job is to hold the center during a battle and seize on opportunities. Armies are commanded from this central position.
Part of the Midguard, usually the faster and less powerful units. They do the scouting that protects the flank of the traveling army. The flanking cohort is also used to quickly secure a position against a weaker foe in advance of the main cohort, or to deal with a minor threat when the army is traveling or encamped. Against weaker foes, they serve as a reserve force in narrow battlegrounds where sheer numbers cannot be brought to bear, or else used to flank an enemy engaged with the main cohort.
The rear cohort is the rearmost half of the Vanguard. Loaded with engineers and light infantry, they prepare and secure a pathway for the approaching army. This is the hardest-working part in any army not engaged in battle.
The fore cohort is the frontmost half of the Vanguard. They secure food and quarters for the approaching army, handle communication with the locals, do diplomacy, when necessary, eliminate enemy scouts and slow any encountered enemy long enough for the Midguard to catch up. This is the most dangerous job in any army.
|Unit Name||Number of Soldiers||Notes|
|Company||10||A unit of ten soldiers. A kindred unit (all with the same function and weapons) led by an Undersergeant or Sergeant. While on campaign, each company creates their own camp with 5 tents and a cookfire. Companies are named after the surname of their leader. For example, Demp’s Company.|
|Battalion*||50||Five companies. A kindred unit led by a Sergeant.|
|Regiment||5-400||A regiment is all the kindred soldiers of a cohort. For example, all the long archers or all the heavy infantry in a particular cohort. Led by a Captain.|
|Group||100-1500||There are always two mixed units (soldiers with different functions and weapons) in a Cohort, the Foot Group and the Mounted Group, each led by their own Undercommander who commands all the kindred leaders within their Group (the Captains and Sergeants).|
|Cohort||200-3000||A mixed unit led by a Commander. Cohorts are a mini-army capable of acting independently within a larger army. Each Ward has two Cohorts. Each cohort within a ward has a specific task.|
|Ward||600-4000||A mixed unit led by an Undermarshal. There are three wards in an army: Rearguard, Midguard, and Vanguard.|
|Army||5000||A mixed unit led by a Marshal.|
|Host||10,000+||A group of armies under the command of a Field Marshal.|
* Note: each Battalion has a name and emblem. The emblem is usually painted on their helmet or shield. For example, the “Demon Archers” may have horns painted on the sides of their helms. If a unit has slightly more soldiers than normal, it’s called a heavy, as in a heavy company. If a unit has fewer than the normal soldiers, it’s called a light, such as in a light battalion.
Heavy Infantry: They wear a Skysteel stout harness. Because of the requirement to bring their own Skysteel armor when they join, they are usually wealthy soldiers. They learn basic grappling skills. Their primary weapons are two-handed, either a pollaxe or halberd, depending on the armor of the enemy. Their secondary weapons are one-handed, both an Imperial battle axe and a war hammer. They also carry a bladed rondel.
Knights can dismount and serve as heavy infantry in a pinch. However, heavy infantry is normally filled with the children of monied Gentry and the Lower Nobles. Heavies make up about a quarter of an army’s total infantry. Literacy NOT required.
Because horses are common and affordable in the Empire, cavalry does not enjoy the elite status it might otherwise have. Fighting on foot is considered the bravest form of fighting, and heavy infantry are the elite foot soldiers. Most Teutonians who can afford the Skysteel armor join heavy infantry because it’s an important part of their culture.
Standard Infantry: Most wear helms (usually without a visor), a cuirass (breast and backplate), and gauntlets (but usually no arm or leg armor). Those without cuirasses wear mail but this is rare. Most armor is steel rather than Skysteel. They learn basic grappling skills. There are three types of standard infantry (or simply infantry) …
Doublehanders fight with two-handed spears or pollaxes (against armored opponents) or halberds (against unarmored or lightly armored opponents). Their close weapons are a gladius and rondel. Literacy NOT required.
Singlehanders fight with round or pavise shields, and a war hammer or Imperial battle axe, depending on the enemy’s armor. Their close weapons are a gladius and rondel. They usually wear a coat of mail instead of a breastplate. Literacy NOT required.
Pikebearers carry long pikes. Unlike other infantry, Pikebearers always wear arm and leg armor and closed helms. For close weapons they carry a rondel and a gladius. Pikebearers fight in squares of 100 soldiers (10×10) or else in a line. They are resistant to every enemy force except another pike square, siege weapons, or really good heavy infantry. Heavy crossbows can also do some damage to them if a bolt hits a gap, or else their thinner leg or arm armor. Pike squares cannot be maintained on uneven ground. Literacy NOT required.
Light Infantry: They do not wear steel armor, only leather jerkins or buff coats. They learn good grappling skills. They use crossbows as a ranged weapon, along with either Imperial battle axes or war hammers, depending on the enemy’s armor. For close weapons, they use bladed rondels. Light Infantry are usually young people in superb physical condition. They have excellent outdoor survival skills. They must have good eyesight and hearing and the ability to swim. They are sometimes deployed with a Scout in the lead. They are used as skirmishers and harassers or else sent into dense forests and mountains. They would get chewed up on an open battlefield. Light infantry makes up less than 10% of an army’s total infantry. Literacy NOT required.
Long Archers: They are armored as standard infantry. They have basic grappling skills. Their principal weapon is the longbow. They normally fire from a protected position behind the lines. All carry a war hammer, gladius, and a rondel. Literacy NOT required.
Cross Archers: They are armored as standard infantry. They have basic grappling skills. Their principal weapon is the crossbow. They also carry a war hammer, gladius, and a rondel. Cross archers are often used offensively in sieges and for defenses of towns and castles. When fighting in the field, they carry large pavise shields that can be stood on the ground to provide mobile cover when they fire from the front line. Literacy NOT required.
Heavily armored riders, usually in Skysteel Stout Harnesses. No cavalry unit uses a shield. Because of the requirement to bring your own horse and armor when joining the army, heavy cavalry soldiers are usually wealthy, often with Skysteel weapons and armor. And they all use good warhorses.
Cavalier: A member of a High Noble family who fights alongside a Knight, never at the front. The Knight’s job is usually to keep the High Noble from being killed. Cavaliers go into battle with heavy lances, Skysteel Stout Harnesses, and armored horses. They always carry a saber, rondel, and war hammer. Cavaliers are usually the only units with highly polished armor. Knights, Squires, and Cavaliers are types of units, not military ranks.
Knights: Knights go into battle with heavy lances, Skysteel Stout Harnesses, and armored horses. If needed, they can dismount and fill the role of heavy infantry. Knights can also leave their lances behind and act as arbalestiers. Knights always carry a saber, rondel, and war hammer. They are essentially elite Heavy Lancers with the best equipment, training, and experience. They are usually placed at the front of heavy cavalry units. They fight with the Heavy Lancers and are led by their Captain of Heavy Lancers (usually a very experienced Knight). A Knight serving actively in an army is called a Knight at Arms. A retired Knight at home is just a Knight. Knights usually come from the ranks of the Heavy Lancers. It is an appointed position, given for bravery in the battlefield or tournament victories. Knights are considered the best all-round fighters in the army. They are notoriously casual about military protocol, often calling people by their given names. Their armor is usually blackened Skysteel, without adornments. They are profane, but rarely drunks or braggarts. Everyone looks up to them and relies on them.
Squires: An experienced heavy lancer (rarely young) who has been selected by a Knight to serve as an assistant and fighting partner. Squires are skilled warriors with Skysteel Stout Harnesses and armored horses. Like Knights, Squires can also serve as arbalestiers or heavy infantry. Squires use heavy lances and always carry a saber, rondel, and a war hammer. Knights, Squires, and Cavaliers are types of units, not ranks. Squires fight with the heavy lancers alongside their Knight and are led by their Captain of Heavy Lancers (usually a very experienced Knight).
Heavy Lancers: They wear Skysteel Stout Harnesses but normally ride unarmored horses. They use heavy lances and always carry a saber, rondel, and war hammer. Senior heavy lancers have armored horses and ride near the front with the knights. New Knights are usually recruited from their ranks. The Captain of Heavy Lancers (usually a very experienced Knight) leads the heavy lancers.
Arbalestiers: They go into battle in Skysteel Stout Harnesses and with armored horses. They don’t use lances. Instead, they carried arbalests, very heavy windlass (cranked) crossbows that can punch through mail or the thinner portions of plate armor. If needed, Knights can leave their lances behind and act as arbalestiers. Arbalestiers are a nightmare for an enemy without heavy cavalry. With armored horses, they are resistant to ranged infantry and can only be taken out by heavy lancers. They are particularly good at disrupting spear and pike formations, even armored ones, because heavy crossbow bolts will penetrate the weaker areas of plate armor, especially if it is not Skysteel. Arbalestiers always carry an arbalest, saber, rondel, and war hammer.
Usually called standard cavalry. These are mounted fighters with medium-strength armor, normally an open helm, cuirass, and gauntlets. They use low-quality war horses with no horse armor.
Lancers: Carry medium lances, along with a saber and/or a war hammer, and a dagger and/or rondel. Most keep a light crossbow on their saddle.
Horse Archer: Use heavy crossbows instead of lances. Always carry a saber and/or a war hammer, and a dagger and/or rondel.
Serving in light cavalry requires excellent riding skills. Light cavalry soldiers wear buff coats or leather jerkins and ride fast horses (but not warhorses).
Light Horse Archer: They use composite bows, which have a much higher rate of fire than crossbows. Light horse archers can twist in the saddle and shoot behind themselves when retreating. They also carry a saber and a bladed rondel. Light horse archers are often used to carry messages between units.
Light Lancers: Carry light lances, a saber, and a bladed rondel. They keep a light crossbow on the saddle.
Scouts: They use a composite bow, saber, and bladed rondel. They keep their sabers on their saddles and don’t carry them when on foot. They learn basic grappling skills. Scouts have the fastest horses but can also use mules in rough terrain. Scouts are highly mobile on foot in difficult terrain and have excellent outdoor survival skills. Scouts are always young people in superb condition with good eyesight and hearing and the ability to swim. Fast horses are always provided for Scouts, but the Army is picky about who they let become Scouts. Scouts carry a blackened brass doublehorn for long distance communication with their army. They can also signal with whistling arrows or fire-arrows dipped in pitch. Scouts can use camouflage clothing and makeup, and sometimes put camouflage paint on their horses.
There are eight specialty chiefs in every army. They are unarmored and carry only a bladed rondel. They are non-combatants and their wages are equivalent to an Undercommander or Commander. Each has a support staff of 4 to 40 people, depending on the job. Only an Undermarshal or above can countermand a chief’s order. The chiefs are listed below by relative rank.
Chief of Followers: the lowest ranking chief. In charge of all the non-combatants in the baggage train.
Chief of Fortifications: in charge of the army’s defensive fortifications, always in place when the army is encamped.
Chief of Provisions: manages distribution of the army’s food and supplies.
Chief of Clerics: always a Reverent. Oversees the capellans (Priests embedded in the army).
Chief Practitioner: oversees the Practitioners that accompany the army. There are always experts from all four of the Practical Arts.
Chief Engineer: oversees the repair of weapons and equipment and clears a path for the army to travel. Can also direct the building of latrines, observation towers, siege weapons, bridges, or wagons as needed.
Siege Chief: manages the siege weapons and the sappers.
Chief Treasurer: manages the army’s books.
Chief Conservator: the most important chief. Handles the army’s travel and supply logistics.
Base Military Salaries
|Mounted Units||Percentage of Mounted||Number||Yearly Salary*|
|Heavy Lancers||50%||300||22 M|
|Horse Archers||50%||400||18 M|
|Light Horse Archers||50%||300||18 M|
|Light Lancers||42%||250||18 M|
|Infantry Units||Percentage of Infantry||Number||Yearly Salary*|
|Long Archers||20%||600||18 M|
|Cross Archers||13%||400||13 M|
|Light Infantry||7%||200||20 M|
* Based on a 300-day work year.
Upper Rank Military Pay
|Rank||Unit Led||Yearly Salary||Notes|
|Undersergeant||Company||1.5 times base||A subaltern (non-commissioned officer).|
|Sergeant||Battalion||2 times base||A subaltern.|
|Captain||Regiment||3 times base||A subaltern.|
|Undercommander||Group||40 M||An Officer. Usually manages several Apprentice officers who have graduated from war academies.|
|Commander||Cohort||80 M||An Officer. Usually assisted by one very experienced Undercommander.|
|Undermarshal||Ward||160 M||An Officer. Usually assisted by one very experienced Commander.|
|Marshal||Army||320 M||An Officer. Usually assisted by two very experienced Undermarshals.|
|Field Marshal||Host||740 M||An Officer. Usually assisted by two very experienced Marshals.|
In the Age of Man, armies were not very organized. Military ranks did not exist for the most part, and there was no rank insignia. Everything is different now, due to the influence of the Brim, who were extremely organized and hierarchical.
Before the Peasant’s Rebellion, only nobility could become officers. Now, officerships are merit-based, going to promising Captains and War Academy graduates. The only rank that still requires nobility is Field Marshal. Anyone who wants to become an officer must have a recommendation (from a War Academy or an established officer) and must successfully present their case in person to a stern Board of Promotion. Even then, if accepted, they must apprentice for three years beneath an Undercommander before receiving their officership. War Academy grads can become officers at a young age. Captains (who are subalterns) are almost always older when they receive their officership.
What separates subalterns from officers is that subalterns only lead kindred units, groups of soldiers who all use the same weapon and serve the same function. Officers always lead mixed units.
Description of the Ranks
Field Marshal: in charge of all the armies of a nation. Always a Noble. Requires literacy. The Field Marshal wears armor with gold inlay. There is only one Field Marshal in an entire country.
Marshal: in charge of a single army or else serving as an advisor to the Field Marshal. There are always two Marshals who travel with the Field Marshal. The senior of these two is authorized to temporarily assume the Field Marshal’s responsibilities if they should die or become incapacitated. Requires literacy. Marshals wear armor with silver inlay. There is only one Marshal in an army.
Undermarshal: each controls a ward of the army, such as vanguard, rearguard, or midguard. Also, two experienced Undermarshals are always assigned to serve and advise a Marshal leading an army. The senior of these two Undermarshals is authorized to temporarily assume the Marshal’s responsibilities if they should die or become incapacitated. Requires literacy. Undermarshals wear armor with copper inlay. There are five Undermarshals in an army.
Commander: each controls a cohort of the army. Also, one Commander will always be assigned to serve and advise an Undermarshal leading a ward of the army. That Commander is authorized to temporarily assume the Undermarshal’s responsibilities if they should die or become incapacitated. Requires literacy. Field Commanders wear a helm with a red crest. Commanders advising an Undermarshal do not wear the crest. There are 15 Commanders in an army.
Undercommander: The lowest ranking officer. Each Undercommander leads a group (either the cavalry or infantry of a cohort). Also, one Undercommander will always be assigned to serve and advise a field Commander leading a cohort. That Undercommander is authorized to temporarily assume the Commander’s responsibilities if they should die or become incapacitated. Undercommanders have the important job of apprenticing new officers. Each apprentice must serve three years and be approved by their Undercommander before receiving an officership. Requires literacy. Undercommanders wear a helm with a white crest. Undercommanders advising a Commander do not wear the crest. There are 36 Undercommanders in an army.
Captain: the highest-ranking subaltern (not an officer). All Captains began as unranked soldiers and worked their way up by merit. New Undercommanders rely heavily on Captains, and during planning are often surrounded by the 5-7 Captains in the group of their cohort. Captains report to their Undercommander. Captains fight with and oversee all the kindred soldiers of a regiment. In battle, they are positioned at the rear of the regiment. A regiment is all the kindred soldiers of a cohort. For example, all the long archers or all the heavy infantry in a particular cohort. So the Captain of Heavy Infantry oversees all the heavy infantry in a particular regiment. The Captain of Scouts oversees all scouts in a regiment. Requires literacy. Captains are sometime called crows because they wear a black feather on their helm or hat, or somewhere on their armor or clothes. No one below Captain wears any symbols of rank. There are 62 Captains in an army.
Sergeant: a mid-ranking subaltern (not an officer). All Sergeants began as unranked soldiers and worked their way up by merit. Sergeants report to their Captain. Sergeants fight with and oversee all the kindred soldiers of their battalion (five companies of ten soldiers, or 50 soldiers in total). In battle, they are positioned at the rear of their battalion. For example, the Sergeant of Heavy Infantry oversees all the heavy infantry in a particular battalion. The Sergeant of Heavy Lancers oversees all Heavy Lancers in their battalion. Note: many units do not have the numbers to support a battalion, so any unit with less than 100 soldiers is led by a Captain instead of a field Sergeant. Rearguards do not have Sergeants. In the Vanguard, only the Horse Archers have Sergeants. In the Midguard there are Sergeants in the Lancers, Arbalestiers, Heavy Lancers, Heavy Infantry, Pikebearers, Doublehanders, Singlehanders, Long Archers, and Cross Archers. This rank requires literacy. Sergeants wear no symbols of rank. There are 35 field Sergeants in an army. However, there are an equal number of ranked Sergeants. Ranked Sergeants are very experienced Undersergeants in smaller units who continue to perform their duties as Undersergeant while receiving higher salaries, awaiting an opening as a field sergeant and a chance to become a Captain.
Undersergeant: the lowest ranking subaltern (not an officer). All Undersergeants began as unranked soldiers and worked their way up by merit. Undersergeants report to their Sergeant or Caption. Undersergeants fight with and oversee all the kindred soldiers of their company (a group of ten soldiers who camp together, use the same weapons, and serve the same role). In battle, Undersergeants fight from the rear of their companies. This rank does not require literacy. Undersergeants wear no symbols of rank. There are 500 Undersergeants in an army. Note: soldiers below the rank of Undersergeant are simply called soldiers, or unranked soldiers. They make up the bulk (86%) of the army. No one is eligible for promotion until they have served a fist (a five-year term). The army is a hard life and nearly all leadership positions require literacy, so most soldiers do not choose to serve beyond a five-year term.
Making a Living as a Soldier
A typical tour of duty is 5 years and is called a fist. Soldiers can retire after four fists with immunity to taxation. They are called veterans and are widely admired. Soldiers who retire after seven fists are called lifers and get a yearly pension equal to half their salary, as well as tax immunity.
When a soldier first joins up, they must pass their recruitment test and complete three months of training and additional specialty training. They are not paid during this time. They can opt for a service term of only one year if they provided their own equipment and/or horse, and for five years if the army equips them. However, the army never provides gear for heavy infantry and heavy cavalry (basic weapons, but no armor or horses).
Even if a soldier brings their own gear, they can sign on for a full fist instead of one year. Soldiers (other than heavy infantry and heavy cavalry) who do this get a signing bonus equal to three months’ wages. Another advantage of the five-year term is that it all counts toward retirement years. One-year contracts do not. After a one-year term of service has been completed, contracts can only be renewed for a five-year period. A soldier’s term begins when the soldier has finished training and been declared fit for duty.
Many people join up to serve only one fist so they can move on to other careers. Former military experience is always in demand, especially for Reeves, Constables, and mercenaries. The private sector pays better than the military, but it does not carry the gravitas, or offer the retirement and tax benefits.
When a one or five-year term is completed, there is an option to renew. Anyone who serves for more than 20 years pays no taxes for them or their household, even if they are not the head of the house.
Being a professional soldier is one of the most lucrative professions. A middling Knight makes about 28 Marks a year. If the Knight is single, without a family at home to support, and is careful with their money, they should be able to save 40% of their salary, or about 11 Marks a year. Note: while in active service, soldiers pay no room or board. However, Knights often purchase their own custom gear and mounts, and may hire attendants. A Knight owns about 80 Marks worth of equipment. Even with the maintenance costs of gear, and a replacement horse or two, a Knight could easily save as much as 175 marks over a 20-year career (considering pay raises with increasing rank). That’s enough to buy a nice galley when the newly retired Knight is still in their forties. And of course, Knights are given estates as part of their knighthoods.
A typical foot soldier makes slightly less than what a mounted soldier earns. Still, they can expect to retire with enough money to buy a house with some land. For many, the military is a path into the Gentry. Also, veterans and their immediate families don’t pay taxes while living together. This can be an excellent retirement position for someone who still has at least 20 years of life ahead.
A subaltern (non-commissioned officer) earns an excellent salary. For example, a Lancer who serves twenty years and rises up the subaltern ranks can expect to retire with 120 Marks if they diligently save 40% of their salary, even if they are buying their own fancy horses and armor. That’s enough coin to purchase a nice house on an acre of prime real estate, and still have enough money left over to buy a longship. And Officers can make much more than subalterns.
Besides the good money, people join the army for the gravitas and influence they earn, and for the tax benefits their family receives after they retire. Veterans, especially if they experienced actual combat, receive political and business opportunities not afforded to others.
Soldiers are allowed to marry and have families. The only rule is that officers are not allowed relationships with subalterns or common soldiers. All military bases with permanent barracks have a building for families along with a crèche, petty school, and grammar school. Children are never allowed to follow an army into the field.
Any soldier who becomes permanently disabled in the line of duty pays no taxes for life and receives a lifetime pension of half their normal salary. In addition, they receive support from their local branch of the Veteran’s League, who maintain a barracks for former soldiers who are so badly injured that they cannot work or take care of themselves.
Champions are soldiers who have shown extraordinarily heroic acts on the battlefield and are considered nearly divine. Battle names are given to these Champions in a special naming ceremony. If a soldier becomes a Champion, they must agree to serve the military in passive service for life. Champions are provided food and board, pay no taxes, receive a constant salary, and live in the exclusive Hall of Champions in Blackheath. They train others but are never again placed into battle. No one has ever declined to accept the position.
Promising young soldiers are sometimes sent to Champions for training or advice. Champions are usually addressed solely by their war names. Some examples of battle names: Revna Darkwing, the Mad Twins, and Makari Windbow. Champions are rare and must have performed nearly supernatural feats on the battlefield. Champion status can be conferred upon Noble and peasant alike. At any one time, there are only six to eight Champions living in the Hall of Champions, most of them beyond fighting age. Even in their old age, Champions have a noticeable aura of gravitas. Every soldier swears they can recognize a champion or future champion just by the electric feel of their presence. This magnetism is called odyl.
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