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How ancient battles were fought

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  • #31
    Well, I would say in creation we have a very large and varied amount of cultures so the way armies would be raise varies greatly.

    But what I'd say would be that if you want huge numbers and you want them quick then nomadic factions are the ones with the biggest advantage because they are used to living on the move.

    There's no fields that end up undermanned when the workers are called to war.

    There's very little that gets disrupted just cause everyday life tends to be always ready to move.

    Depending on what they live of they can move deep into enemy territory without having a vulnerable supply line (it's hard to attack a herd of cattle in the middle of the enemy army compared to slow moving wagons with a small guard).

    Not to mention the fact that they won't be as limited in which season they can attack, attack when the harvest is great and you gain a surplus of supply, attack in winter and you will still have your cattle/whatever it is you usually eat.

    If the thing you live of is wandering herds, then there's not much hope of empire building for you.

    You will end up with an even worse situation than settled factions due to the fact that your home will be undermanned and unlike with undermanned farms, wheat doesn't run/fight you when you try to harvest it, nor does it move to somewhere else now and then.

    Then there's the far more common settled factions.

    What they lack in the offence of the nomadic factions, they make up for with defense, they can build fortified settlements, walled cities and fortresses giving a small number of soldiers a massive power multiplier.

    Any good commander knows that a manned fortress in your back is the same as turning your back on your foe.

    They will sally forth and mess up your rearguard and supply line then slink back behind their walls where you have no chance of getting them.

    And in creation where there's so many different ways to communicate, a fortified border can become a impenetrable wall with just a few wooden keeps, especially in the case of the Realm.

    I'm going to talk more about the Realm next but they work great as an example.

    Scenario, you have a meager force spread out over a province, there's lunars in them woods so the realm have set up border keeps.

    Young eager Lunar attack with a horde that would crush the garrisons of all of the keeps combined in an open field.

    However, an open field is not where the garrisons are, they are in the keeps.

    Lunar decides that those keeps will be a problem so they need to try and take them.

    Lunar could deal serious damage to the garrison and show of by going at them in person.

    However if said Lunar where to die then the horde will disperse and split into warbands again, the Lunar realizes this and is forced to sit on the sidelines as her horde attacks the keep.

    Meanwhile, the keeps garrisons have sent signals, pigeons, infallible messengers and so on to each other and to the directional command.

    By the time the keeps have fallen the other keeps have gathered and joined the reinforcements sent by the directional command leaving the Lunar outnumbered and "outgunned".

    If she had left the keeps alone then she would have been able to deal some damage to the province but would then be trapped between an angry legion and a wall of keeps.

    Well after that example it's time to think about the armies of the settled factions.

    In general they will have the ability to set up far more advanced weapon and armor forges compared to a nomadic faction that relies on speed (you can't really take on advanced works if you need to move once very two weeks or so).

    And with advanced forges comes smiths coming up with genius Jigs that improves a smiths ability to pump out armor and weapons.

    Now here's the downside though is that most settled factions would probably go with a "soldiers are to bring their own tools to war" type of recruitment because arming an army for a temporary conflict is EXPENSIVE.

    Which will leave most of the soldiers in buff jackets (aka gambeson which was actually able to halt arrows and blows) with a bit of a hodgepodge of armaments.

    If the settled area has a feudal system then we will possibly have some more advanced troops or nobles straight out hiring mercenaries to fight rather than suffering the losses that draining the workforce would lead to.

    Now onto the Realm.

    Here we have a very different beast...

    The realm is a unstoppable powerhouse compared to the rest of creation.

    Solar or no Solar, Lunar or no Lunar.

    NOTHING except a united Autochthonia has a infrastructure and manpower that can match the Realm out of all canon lands inhabited by living humans.

    The Blessed Isles is a PARADISE with fertile soil and huge amounts of food overseen by spirits that can be subjugated in hours in case they start a mess.

    They have an ideal land that can support a massive population.

    This leads to the Isles having a pretty significant amount of unemployed people as the food surplus grants a massive boost in population.

    Which leads to overcrowded cities and not enough jobs for the farm boys/girls that head to the city as there's just not enough room for them to work on the farms.

    These individuals have been taught how to farm and doesn't know how to do some of the work where there might be openings.

    So to solve this issue there's a simple and beneficial solution for the realm.

    The Legions.

    Hire these boys and girls and put them through backbreaking training, change these star-eyed youths into hardened soldiers.

    Put a weapon in their hand and dress them in armor.

    Give them a few coins each month so they may support those they left behind.

    Let them serve their decade of war and thank them with a piece of land that they helped conquer.

    Let those that show bravery and intelligence rise to positions of command so their peers will be inspired.

    They are professional soldiers, they are the Legions of the Realm.

    Trained by veterans and possibly even retired Dragon-Blooded that seeks to relive some of their old memories.

    Unlike other factions, the realm is rich enough to arm their forces on a level that no other faction can match.

    Sure Lookshy has damn good soldiers, possibly even better than the realms, but they have nowhere near the numbers that the Realm has.

    Not to mention that the realm would probably go with the same tactic as rome for their auxillia.

    Grant native forces the reward of citizenship after a decade of service.

    Suddenly they have a massive pile of different tactics and fighting styles to use supplemented by the solid heavy infantry blocks of the legions.

    In addition, having each of those blocks be made up of smaller units makes it so there's always commanders there.

    A general only needs to keep his direct subordinates in check, not each individual soldier.

    Hopefully I made some kind of sense there.

    I'm making the Tales of Exalts webcomic
    alchemical report
    the fall


    • #32
      Alright, to make sure this thread that I personally find to be something that could become very interesting doesn't just die.
      I'll be going into a bit more detail on how exactly the Legions of the Realm would probably work if you base them off the Roman Legions of old.

      Now first of I would like to talk about the different units you would find in a Realm Legion, the first one I'll talk about will be the Auxilia.
      Auxilia are usually none realm citizens that are recruited or have joined the legions as Volunteers.

      Now the fact that I mentioned that they may have joined as volunteers is a pretty interesting part due to the Realms Legions have something that the roman legions didn't.
      The Dragon-Blooded, why are they important when speaking of volunteer Auxilia one might ask?
      The Immaculate teachings, that's what.
      The teachings does put the Dragon-Blooded as the Apex of creation and have told that those that aid the Dragon-Blooded can indeed reincarnate as one of their number if they aid the Dragon-Blooded or die fighting the Anathema.
      This makes fighting for the Legion very attractive to those that follow the teachings and especially those who are none citizens of the Realm.

      Now back to discussing the Auxilia.
      Now the primary duty of the Auxilia was to be support troops to the Legions, covering the weaknesses of the legion or filling roles that the regular legionaries could not fill.
      With the Legions of the Realm, the parts that needed filling in particular was light infantry, skirmishers, archers and above all else cavalry, heavy and light.

      Now just to add, the Auxilia could also be the local militia, drafted to be added for a particular campaign that the legion was currently part of.
      In those cases they would most likely be armed and armored according to the local doctrines.
      With the more "permanent" Auxilia, one could expect them to be given improved arms and armor depending on their role.
      There were also the mercenaries who would also be considered Auxilia.
      One VERY important part to remember is that just because they are Auxilia, it doesn't mean that they are peasant mobs that break instantly.
      Auxilia could be actual elite troops, Brides of Ahlat for example, would be considered as Auxilia when they fight together with a Realm Legion.

      Another thing that differs from the Roman Legions Auxilia when compared to the Realms Auxilia is the individuals with powers.
      With this I mean Exigents, Outcasts and sorcerers.
      These Individuals can be quite useful to a Legion and may even in some cases outnumber the legions own chosen/power holders.
      These individuals can change a battle quite dramatically and would therefore be quite attractive to the legions to have on their side.

      Now what can they offer them?
      There are some parts that are simple, wealth, power and fame.
      Then there are some things that the Realm can offer that others cannot.

      For the Exigents one very important thing that the Realm can offer would be a proof of sanction.
      A decree that this individual is no Anathema and is to be treated with the respect and dignity someone that have provided great services to the realm deserve.
      This might not be that important for most Exigents but for those whose powers could be seen as Anathema a proof of sanction would be quite attractive.

      Now for the Sorcerers the realm has one of Creations largest collections of knowledge and to be given the opportunity to partake of that knowledge is an attractive offer for a sorcerer.

      And then there's the Outcasts.
      For them there's the opportunity to receive a pardon if they are outcast from the realm or in the case of lost eggs there's the opportunity to prove their worth and possibly get married into one of the great houses or just earn the citizenship of the Realm and thus also the backing of the Realm.

      Now onto special Auxilia units.
      One obvious special Auxilia would be units of sorcerers, but due to their rarity one would most likely only see one of those in the elite legions of a household or extremely dire battles.
      Only other exception would be the Legion of Silence, if they were ever deployed as a Legion into battle, one could expect as many as three units of sorcerers.

      Another special Auxilia type of unit would be Exorcists, these are not that hard to find but would be rare to find marching with the legions unless they know demons and ghosts will be present in the upcoming campaign.

      Then there's finally the "freaks".
      What do I mean with freaks? Well what I mean is god-blooded, demon-blooded, fae-blooded and so on.
      Individuals that have supernatural traits or heritage that are obvious to see.
      These individuals tend to have a rough time in life, especially those that have less than pleasant features.
      The opportunity to gain citizenship and thus a chance at a life where they are treated as humans is a very attractive option for these individuals and a wise commander makes use of the special talents of her soldiers.
      So what can these individuals bring to the table?

      Large, resilient and/or individuals with terrifying features can do wonders as chock-troops.

      Individuals with wings are every commanders wet dream.
      Scouts and messengers are roles that instantly comes to mind, as does the role of skirmishers and light troops.
      A group of twenty five winged individuals could break an engaged enemy unit several times their size by just flying above them and being there as a threat.
      Not to mention that they can cover great lengths and thus strike enemy siege equipment as ambush troops.

      Multi limbed individuals could do wonders in the bureaucratic parts of the army or working under the quartermaster.

      Now it's time to think about the standard Auxilia of the Legions.
      Now in the Roman Legions there tended to be Three types of Auxilia present in most if not all Legions.
      These were Archers, usually from Crete but later they were replaced by Thracians, Anatolians and above all else Syrians.
      Slingers, almost exclusively from the Balearic Isles.
      And finally the Light cavalry, these were primarily Numidian and Mauri.

      So what would the Realms Legions deploy as Auxilia standards?
      Well I would personally say...

      North: Raiders and ambush troops.
      This is because from a lot of the depictions I have seen of the north, they tend to have raiding units rather than "blocks" giving the Realm Legions some elite light infantry to deploy as ambush troops or as "fangs" to attack and break the flanks of enemy troops that have engaged the heavy infantry center of the army.

      East: skirmishers, javelin throwers and slingers.
      Whilst the east does posses a lot of light infantry as well, they also live in an area where weapons such as a bow can't quite take full advantage of it's range, meaning that for warfare, slings and javelins would be a preferred weapon due to them being usable with one hand thus allowing them to make use of the trees to gain higher ground.
      Now, it's not very likely that they will be able to use the trees in an open battlefield they do however have that precision they have gained from fighting in thick jungles as well as great forest fighting knowledge making them excellent for hit and run attacks to lead the enemy into forested areas where they can turn the tables on the enemy and fight them as light infantry where formations combat is almost impossible to perform.

      West: Archers and Siege engineers.
      In the west formation battles are not exactly the norm.
      From what I've understood, most battles are fought on the ocean in ships.
      And that means melee combat is a bit less common than other places as there is a lot of "down time" waiting for the ships to get close enough to board each other.
      During this waiting period most combat crew would wield ranged weapons and try to set the enemy ship alight using bows or ship ballistas, this means they have a lot of experience in using these, not to mention the fact that they had to aim in rough conditions, making them perfect to fill those roles.

      South: Light cavalry.
      This is no contest, the south is the land of cavalry, especially light cavalry.
      Mercenaries are in no short supply, thus the Legion will have their light cavalry.

      I think I'll leave the Auxilias at that, do please give some ideas of your own of where the Legions would recruit their Auxilia.
      I'll go a bit into detail about the Heavy infantry and "Citizen" soldiers of the Realm next.
      I hope I made some sense.

      I'm making the Tales of Exalts webcomic
      alchemical report
      the fall


      • #33
        This may be a bit off topic.. but what about magic?

        Someone homebrewed up a demon that allows you to send messages, back and forth, like an sms or test message system.

        What about it? Does the presence of what can be spoken of as radios shake things up for battles in a bronze age setting, like creation?

        Commanding presence of fire has a range of several miles, and bird clutching Coin of Distant Vision in its claws lets the sorcerer have a total view of the battlefield. So you have a commander with a birds-eye view of the battlefield location, and can use the messenger or fire spell to instantly send messages to his officers in the field. How fucked is his opposition?


        • #34
          Sure, that happens, but sorcery’s not always the most reliable tool, let alone the best-understood, so some militaries are going to steer clear of using the dark arts, even despite the advantages it offers; for one, summoned spirits are notorious for needing supervision; additionally, spellcasters are rare, and not just everybody can be one, so if you make your army reliant on magic and then your one enchanter gets an arrow through his brain, then it’s going to cause a crushing defeat for you.
          Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 07-14-2019, 08:39 AM.


          • #35
            Alright, time to talk about the Realms Legionaries and how they compare to the Legions of Rome.

            Well I can immediately say that when it comes to equipment the Roman Legions has an edge in body armor and weapons.
            Well you see, whilst the reinforced buff jackets are pretty damn good in that it's easy to repair and has a pretty "one size fits all" benefit.
            They are no heavy armor like the Lorica Segmentata, pretty much the only top quality heavy armor that you could provide to an entire army due to it being a "one size fits all" type of armor that is also INCREDIBLY simple to repair.

            The heavy Legionaries of the Realm (probably the ones in the first talon) are an exception to the standard Realm Legionaries.
            These guys if you go with the Roman way, would be twice as numerous as the other talons and if I go by the small amount of information we actually have on the Legions, would also wear actual heavy armor, the most likely ones judging by the art of them, would be Plate-and-Chain.

            This puts them close to early western plate armor and thus greatly superior to the Lorica Segmentata in protection.
            This does however mean that the members of the first Talon are the elites of their wing if actual plate armor is made for them.

            Why would it mean that, some of you might wonder?
            Well you see, the thing no rpg really touches on is the fact that proper plate armor was ALWAYS custom made for it's user, otherwise it would hinder the users mobility or chafe and so on.
            And doing such a thing for 250 soldiers is not something you would do at a whim.
            That makes me believe that the Heavy Legionaries of the Realm where essentially the equivalent of early roman Triarii.
            The last resort troops made up of veterans of multiple battles and as close to the legion of silence that you can get as a normal human.
            The guys you have standing behind the first line that encourages the front.

            Now on to weaponry.

            The depiction of the standard legionaries tend to have them wielding medium sized Scutum style shields smaller than the Roman Scutum.
            That's gonna be some points deducted from the Realms soldiers.
            That size of shield is far more suited for single combatant style fighting or warriors than it is for formation style soldiers.
            Not to mention the fact that it leaves a lot of openings.
            As for their other weapons, the depiction of them tend to be one spear and a short sword.
            The spear I'm a little bit critical towards as it's not a Pilum (for those that doesn't know, the Pilum was a pretty genius designed heavy javelin that punched huge holes in shields and had a shank of soft iron that bent upon impact making it useless to the enemy as well as making it very difficult to pull out of a shield forcing enemies to abandon their shields).
            The Realm Legion spear does however have the benefit of being an actual combat spear, though that kinda works both ways as it makes it worse for throwing.
            Their short sword is however a perfect choice for formation fighting as thrusts are excellent when paired with a shield as the attack can appear from almost anywhere behind that shield and it leaves the shield in place between you and the enemies murderstick of choice.
            It is however a bad paring for the size of shield that the Standard Realm Legionaries have...

            The heavy Legionaries have a far more appropriate sized Scutum though their weapon of choice and their armor makes it a bad choice...
            You see, they would actually benefit from wielding the smaller Scutum used by the Standard Realm Legionaries due in part to the fact that they already have excellent protection in the form of their full body heavy armor.
            Their weapon is not good for the size of shield they have, and that weapon is an axe...
            A very large axe at that, I would say it's almost a Bastard axe if such a thing exist.
            An axe is a poor choice of weapon to pair with a Scutum style shield due to it's shape making it difficult to make use of the shield and strike at the same time.
            Not to mention that it's almost impossible to stay in formation if every soldier needs about one and a half arms space to their right in order to wield their weapon.
            Personally I'd say they would be better of armed with two Pilum style Javelins and a stabbing sword or ditch the shield all together and go halberd instead.

            Wow that was quite a lot of text of me just crapping on the Realms Legionaries... Sorry about that, they are still the best none cheat soldiers in creation, or at least top 5.

            Why are they that?
            Simple, it's their profession.
            Each day they are drilled and trained, they are taught how to care for their equipment and the Scalelords make sure their Fanglord subordinates keep their fangs discipline at peak condition...
            At least inside the Blessed Isles...
            They wear higher quality armor and weapons compared to others in creation and they don't have to worry about the harvest or such things, they only need to worry about their job, aka being a soldier.

            Now let's think about what a Fang is likely to have.
            Since they are based of the Roman Legions, it makes sense that they too would have a mule to carry their tents and extra equipment such as entrenchment tools.

            Since Scales doesn't really have a roman equivalent we will go onto Talons.
            Once more, if we compare to the Roman Legion, then each Realm Talon would be equipped with one Ballista per Talon.

            The Wings would thus be equipped with one catapult each.

            As for Dragons, well one could argue that each dragon would be equipped with either first age siege equipment or possibly a warstrider.

            As for if these are deployed or just kept back in the Isles as reserve that the Legion has the right to request, well that's probably up to each Story teller.

            In addition, each legion could potentially have about a hundred heavy cavalry per legion, likely ridden by patricians of the Isles.
            The equipment of these cavalry units would most likely be top quality.

            The addition of siege equipment and Auxilias means that the Realms Legions can effectively fight at any distance, even against creatures of legendary size.
            House rule: Siege equipment gives 0 Fudge if you have legendary size, siege equipment can take down castle walls and a hand crossbow can still kill a solar.
            The comic in scroll of kings at page 129 is one of the reasons why I'm going with this particular house rule since siege equipment in general in 3e feels kind of underwhelming compared to how devastating they actually are.

            Now a Realm Legion at full strength and Auxilia backing would most likely sit at about 7500 to 10000 man strong backed by around 60 ballista, 12 catapults 1-10 of those ballista and catapults may be artifact versions and on top of all that we can expect 0-5 warstriders depending on the Legion.
            With roughly 150 to 300 engineers+assistants then an equal number of bureaucrats and staff.
            On top of that we add the baggage train and camp followers which leaves us at a pretty massive number.

            That's what I'd expect the average realm legion would look like, now in comparison, I'd like to compare them to the peak of Realm Legions, the Legion of Silence.

            The Legion of Silence is the Empresses personal Legion and is thus mostly made to defend the Imperial city or rather the Imperial Manse and palace.
            Because of that, it's unlikely that they have any dedicated Auxilia support leaving their number at roughly 2500-5000 super soldiers.
            They are however likely to have multiple loyal sorcerer units present as well as elite exorcists and immaculate masters.
            As for siege equipment, they are very likely to have armaments composed entirely of artifact siege weapons as well as up to 10 warstriders (keep in mind that this is the Scarlet Empresses personal guard, thus they have access to the full armory of the Realm).
            Their command is more than likely composed entirely of either those that have followed her since the beginning and have proven unwavering loyalty to her or Dragon-Blooded with magically guaranteed loyalty.
            The amount of bureaucrats present in the Legion of silence is most likely very small compared to others due to them not requiring pay.
            However, there will be a very large contingent of "maintenance crew" to perform daily checkups and treatment upon the Soldiers of Silence.
            Not to mention the Siege Engineers needed to maintain the siege equipment.
            As for camp followers, there would be almost none as the only ones interested in what they provide would be the few mortals present.

            Now let's take a look at the Siege engineers.
            Most likely there's going to be at least one Dragon-Blooded siege engineer present in every legion.
            This head Engineer is very likely to have at least two younger Dragon-Blooded apprentices, under them are mostly ordinary mortals with possibly one or two sorcerers whose job it is to bind elementals to artifact siege weapons.
            If there are warstriders present in the Legion they are most likely piloted by high essence veterans or possibly retired dynasts followed by a dedicated maintenance crew for each warstrider.

            There may also be an Immaculate presence in each legion, either there to handle Anathema and other supernatural beings or to keep the moral up in the Legion.

            Due to the Realms Legions having no gender restriction to recruitment there is most likely a steady supply of maiden tea given to each Legion as serving together for ten years in life threatening situations can lead to some relations forming among the soldiers no matter if there's a punishment or not.
            Thus it's better to provide a solution rather than make it into a problem.
            Other than that, relationships between the soldiers may be frowned upon in certain legions whilst others might encourage it seeing it as a strength rather than a distraction.

            Well I think that's all I have to say at the moment.
            Hope I made some sense.

            I'm making the Tales of Exalts webcomic
            alchemical report
            the fall


            • #36
              The Arslan manga has chapters that make for quite handy imagery fodder. This particular page:

              Is specially interesting for the intercession of war planning, leisure and a variety of objectives condensed in a few panels and bits of exposition.