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  • Military doctrine in creation

    What is it?

    I find this interesting to question because the presence of weapons like firewands, as well as the presence of sorcerers, exalts, and artifact weaponry very heavily muddles the idea that you'd see a style of war comparable to any classical or medieval one.

    The presence of sufficient sorcerers alone could dispose of the premise of an honorable battle between formations of infantry, forcing a battle of covered trenches, lest both sides find themselves greatly truncated by great swarms of obsidian butterflies.

    It's a complicated question to ask, 'swhat I'm saying. Creations battlefields seem as though in various places and times they'd include features of virtually every era of Earthly military doctrine.

  • #2
    This is something that's touched upon in many of the supplements in the game. The direction books want to tell you what war is like in the North vs. the South, for instance, while the books on sorcery introduce so many non-traditional vectors of warfare (on top of just, you know, butterflies) that it's ridiculous. There's no uniformity and no dominant strategy other than "be the Realm."

    If you want to think about conflict in Creation through the lens of conflict on Earth, my only advice is to look for heterogeneity. France versus Ethiopia, maybe? The problem is that on Earth we're all pretty much stuck in the same sort of bodies beholden to the same laws of physics. When there's a dominant strategy or technology, it quickly gets widely adopted. In Creation, you can tap all sorts of wacky one-off resources and both sides are expected to do so.

    Specifically regarding trenches to counter the Death of Obsidian Butterflies, that's only an option if both sides have sorcerers to spare. Otherwise, you're just digging graves for yourselves when they march right up to kill you in person. Trenches are a result of the mutual inability to advance, not the cause of it.

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    • #3
      Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Soldier and Scroll of Kings, both from 2nd edition, have the information you're looking for. Thousand Correct Actions is a really good piece of setting material if you want to know more about the Realm regardless of edition, but I wouldn't really recommend Scroll of Kings.

      In general, military doctrine varies by Direction, and it's represented by the war gods.

      The East favours small units because you can't march armies through jungles very efficiently. They also heavily discourage massacres and encourage combat by champion. There are a lot of threats in the East, and wholesale slaughter would just breed resentment, which would make it more difficult to build alliances between city-states that need to band together in order to survive the Mask of Winter.

      The West is the opposite. Siaka likes massacres. Islands are isolated and ships can only carry so much food, so when pirates claim a ship, they have to kill everyone on board and dump the bodies unless there's someone they need to take prisoners. Otherwise, the pirates will starve before they reach port.

      The North is a pretty shitty place to wage war in. Winter keeps cities isolated, so campaigns have to be planned carefully. Fair Folk and undead are both fairly common there, which makes things even more complicated. They do get airships as a major game changer though.

      The South... I think it's the most varied? You can expect a lot of cattle raiding and tactics based on cattle raiding, and any army would have to move from oasis to oasis, but there's enough arable land on the coast that it might be the most "normal" Direction for Bronze/Iron Age-style warfare.

      Basically, you should assume that climate, terrain, politics and logistics are the number one factor in determining military doctrine. Magic changes things, but it's on a case-by-case basis.





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      • #4
        Originally posted by PlotVitalNPC View Post
        The presence of sufficient sorcerers alone could dispose of the premise of an honorable battle between formations of infantry
        ‚ÄčThe presence of horses and flanking maneuvers disposes of that premise.

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        • #5
          Generally I would assume that warfare is the same in Creation as it was in our own pre-industrial world. Sorcery and exaltation are rare enough that I wouldn't expect tactics and logistics to be too much different.

          That's part of what makes the presence of supernatural power on the battlefield such a game-changer. Warstriders, Exalts, etc. are a big deal not simply because there are special tactics that they can be a part of, but because they can change the rules of the tactical game.
          Last edited by semicasual; 10-08-2016, 10:22 PM.


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          • #6
            People have a tendency to overestimate just how prevalent sorcerers, magittech and the supernatural in general are in Creation. Not every army, or even most, or even a lot, of armies are going to have a single sorcerer attached, much less a cadre. Not every army is going to have First Age/Shogunate military hardware. Not every army is going to have supernatural leaders or even backers.

            Almost overwhelmingly, most armies, warriors and military organizations, training methods, fighting strategies, logistics, etc, are going to be extremely similar to that which existed on Earth, for the simple reason that, well, that is what works.

            -Professional warriors are going to be the exception, rather than the norm, because keeping a portion, even a minor part, of your workforce held up in the army is expensive as hell. .
            -Relatedly, most part-time warriors are going to own their own equipment, as opposed to being given it by the state. Fighting gear is, yet again, expensive as hell
            -Also relatedly, most warriors are going to have a spear and a shield, along with a backup weapon (almost overwhelmingly likely to be a knife) and maybe a helmet. Reason: see above.
            -Again relatedly, most warriors are going to be infantry, usually in blocks, and with shields, almost always going to be in a shield-wall formation. The shield-wall was one of the most prevalent infantry formations, across cultures and across history, for the simple facts that 1) It didn't require any "real training" and 2) It worked, really REALLY WELL. A shield-wall, even a mediocre one, was pretty good at protecting against missiles, other infantry, and even cavalry charges. A shield-wall can only really be broken by flanking it or breaking it open, both of which can be difficult.
            - Missile troops are going to be few and far between, often for the simple reason that missile weapons, with the exception of the crossbow, are rather difficult to learn how to use, and require years of practice to become proficient with. The crossbow is easy to use, not dependent on the strength of the user, and effective en masse, which was why China and Europe used it to equip massed levies. Many city-militias in Europe used the crossbow, and it is my version of the Guild's preferred weapon

            Now, the various Directions will have an effect on the above facts, but they don't disregard them.

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            • #7
              ya it all depends on what kind of game you want to run

              I would suggest watching some chinese war movies if you want ideas on how the realm fights.


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              • #8
                I think that, most of the time, magic and the supernatural doesn't have much presence on the battlefield, or, if it does, then that particular form of magic has probably been woven into the military doctrine of that nation over many years. That said, I agree with you that the Realm, Lookshy, mercenary companies that are expected to fight "the weird stuff," etc. presumably have sections in their handbooks for things like "what to do when the enemy has air support" or "how to deal with artillery" or "Tugging on Superman's cape: fighting Solar Anathema."


                ....

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                • #9
                  Note that out of sorcerers, a lot of supernatural beings are often going to be using the same actual rules everyone else does, but better. Solar Charms kind of illustrate this. They don't necessairly do anything that is too overtly supernatural, but they do take a Solar to pretty absurd puissance as generals. Lookshy and the Realm's Dragon-Blooded are going to often be like this a lot I think. Your tactics need to be better, since they're are going to just be well, better.

                  Also, lines of folks linign up honorably has never been the case, as I gather. Save after the fact when a side decides to be nice to the guys that lost.

                  And stuff.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BrilliantRain View Post
                    I think that, most of the time, magic and the supernatural doesn't have much presence on the battlefield, or, if it does, then that particular form of magic has probably been woven into the military doctrine of that nation over many years. That said, I agree with you that the Realm, Lookshy, mercenary companies that are expected to fight "the weird stuff," etc. presumably have sections in their handbooks for things like "what to do when the enemy has air support" or "how to deal with artillery" or "Tugging on Superman's cape: fighting Solar Anathema."
                    "Spitting into the Wind: Engagements with Greater Elemental Dragons."
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                    • #11
                      It is also worth noting that while the weather was a traditional (potentially deadly) thorn in any army's side, Creations weather is flat out homicidal at times if you move further than the areas close to the isle...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu View Post
                        It is also worth noting that while the weather was a traditional (potentially deadly) thorn in any army's side, Creations weather is flat out homicidal at times if you move further than the areas close to the isle...
                        It's manslaughter at most. It hasn't been homicidal since they locked up Adorjan.

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                        • #13
                          I will just point that a Realm legion has upwards of thirty dragonblooded, and that is a understaffed one.

                          So there's something I'm unsure on, but I'm hoping it's either outlined in the books somewhere or is something that can be worked out. What would be the ratio of Dragonblooded to normal soldiers in one of the Legions of the Realm? I have trouble telling if it should be 1 in 20, or 1 in 1000...


                          Nick is correct as far as the first edition Ex:tDB says under the command background.

                          Each legion is led by a general and its made up of 10 dragons (5000 troops, plus about an extra 25% of personal is baggage train or support or injured or trainees so, thats about 6250 or so in a legion, and 5000 are active soldiers, although one wing or 250 troops usually is held in reserve to guard the baggage train under the command of the quartermaster... who is also second in rank after the general so presumably she her command would be of 1500 people including her wing of troops and the train).

                          Each dragon (500 troops, which is 5 dots in command) is led by a colonel and is made up of 2 wings.

                          Each wing (250 troops, which is 4 dots in command) is led by a major (this is the rank that unexalted dynasts, patrician soldiers and those mortals with spectacular leadership and battlefield performance can aspire to, and it is very rare to see any mortal with a greater rank) and is composed of 2 talons. Each officer of the rank major or higher has one subordinate officer attached to her so that this new officer might learn proper conduct before being put in charge of even the smallest unit.

                          Each talon (125 troops, which is 3 dots in command) is led by a lieutenant, which is apparently the lowest ranking officer or starting officer to have command (maybe you can be a lower ranking officer, but if so you're not in command of a talon). This is the smallest unit which carries its own personal standard, persumably because its lead by an officer, and officers are usually one of the princes of the earth. Each talon has 5 scales.

                          Each scale (25 troops, which is 2 dots in command) is led by an unnamed rank and is composed of 5 fangs.

                          Each fang (5 troops, which is 1 dot in command) is led by an non-comissioned sergeant.

                          So assuming each subofficer is a mortal, and there are no dragon-blooded observers, sorcerers or medical staff in the legion's support branch, then lets assume that only majors and higher are dragon-blooded because you're really low on good recruits and this is a poor legion one step above the vermillion legion (we'll say all your majors are dragon-blooded because there is corruption and political appointments). Then the minimum amount of dragon-blooded you'd need in something that can pass for a "real legion" is:

                          1 general
                          10 colonels (one of whom is the quarter master)
                          20 majors
                          -------------
                          31 dragon-blooded in a pretty bare bones, but not destitute, legion



                          So you can more or less asume that a Realm legion will curb-stop basically everything in the setting, barring exceptional circunstances.

                          (Personally, i have to say that when you have around 50 DB to throw at a poblem, you are probably better of tranporting them and maybe a hundred or so extra soldiers with magic*, because at that point those thousands of men are more a slow liability than anything useful, but hey).

                          *(Summoned agathae mounts are good for this).
                          Last edited by Broken25; 10-09-2016, 11:56 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Consider this:

                            Take a DB circle. Mount them in agathae

                            Mark their objective in a map. Say, a small fortress a hundred miles for your position.

                            --> You have just invented self-guided missiles.

                            And this is something all Realm legions can easily do.

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                            • #15
                              That's essentially what we used to do in our Dynastic game.

                              Anyhow. This is why, until recently, the Realm was basically unbeatable in those areas where supplying and moving troops was easily feasible.

                              Now of course, the Legions are withdrawing, while being gutted of their best officers, meaning defeating them is still difficult, but possible.


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