Worlds of Design: Sorts of Armies | EN World | Dungeons & Dragons

Final time I talked concerning the nature of armies. Let’s focus on explicit kinds of armies and the way they could work together.

Two armies are two our bodies which meet and attempt to frighten one another.” -Napoleon Bonaparte

Final time I talked concerning the nature of armies, now I will focus on explicit kinds of armies. and the way they could work together:

The Noble’s “Gang,” Retainers, Bodyguards (Comitatus)​

Skilled armies have been uncommon till fashionable occasions. “Comitatus” is the oft-used Latin time period for an armed escort or retinue, a royal bodyguard, that will be comparatively few in quantity however can be accessible year-round. Within the later Saxon interval in England they have been known as housecarles, the one skilled troops within the nation. The Germanic Chiefs against Rome often had a retinue of this sort, the origin of the phrase.


A lot of melee warfare previously, all the best way again to the traditional Close to East, was about raiding for wealth, and to punish the enemy, somewhat than makes an attempt to overcome territory. The Neo-Assyrians would raid opponents so as to subjugate them, then return to Assyria and count on to obtain tribute. If an space repeatedly refused to pay, lastly the Assyrians would occupy it completely as a substitute of simply raiding, however this will have helped result in their downfall as they unfold themselves too skinny.

Whereas barbarians generally overwhelmed civilized states, more often than not they have been solely raiders. We consider raiding as one thing that barbarians did, and of agricultural economies, however the foraging of the armies of monied economies might be nearly as unhealthy. Furthermore, the economies of the traditional Close to East have been typically agricultural economies, and people states did plenty of raiding.

Solely within the twentieth century will we turn out to be accustomed to wholesale makes an attempt to overcome different states somewhat than raid them. With the proliferation of nuclear weapons we’re again to enlargement of nationwide affect by means aside from conquest – until you’re the Russian Federation.

Dynastic States​

Dynastic states: polities ruled by some form of monarch who was a part of a hereditary dynasty, comparable to a king, impartial duke, or emperor. Undoubtedly NOT fashionable constitutional monarchies.

I record these individually as a result of they predominate in early fashionable Europe. The precise troopers typically weren’t even nationals of the nation elevating the military. For instance, Frederick the Nice’s Prussian military was about one third foreigners. Self-discipline was harsh and troopers have been solely anticipated to comply with orders, to not suppose, so you might use foreigners as kind of automatons.

These sorts of armies have been supported by cash (comparable to English subsidies for Prussia), not by agricultural economics.

“Feudal” Armies​

I put citation marks round feudal as a result of historians nonetheless argue about whether or not feudalism actually existed, or how widespread it was. We are able to describe how it’s thought to exist. The ruler/overlord granted lands to a vassal in return for an obligation to serve militarily or to pay some form of tax. The vassal had full management of all of the folks in his land, primarily serfs who have been hooked up to the land itself. The vassal used the taxes he obtained from his folks (normally paid in variety) to assist preserve the kind of skilled troops who would reply the decision from his overlord. Among the peasants would even be anticipated to serve the decision up was for a restricted period of time, to keep away from interfering with planting and harvesting. This might work nicely in an agricultural economic system.


We are able to additionally discuss mercenaries, holding in thoughts they’re a part of a monied economic system. Mercenaries are normally professionals, which is a giant benefit when adversaries should not. A lot of the Carthaginian military was mercenaries. Xenophon’s “10,000” are probably the most well-known mercenary bands. The Hellenic successors to Alexander the Nice typically used mercenaries. Mercenaries have been frequent in Roman, Greek, and Persian occasions however not a lot within the Center Ages earlier than the Renaissance condottieri, possible as a result of lots of the economies weren’t monied (how do you pay mercenaries with out coinage?). William the Conqueror used Flemish and different mercenaries.

Crusading Armies/Spiritual Navy Orders​

These are kind of distinctive to the Center Ages. However the armies themselves are not often totally different from typical armies of the time, although you would possibly make an exception for spiritual navy orders such because the Knights Templar and Teutonic Knights. The latter should be skilled armies, however weren’t quite a few.

The Gamers​

This dialogue is primarily meant to contribute to your efforts to construct a fantasy and even science fiction world. However the place would possibly the participant characters match into these schemes in a marketing campaign that emphasizes warfare? Characters would possibly start as members of a noble’s bodyguard, or as mercenaries, or as atypical troopers in some context. This may occasionally not work for a lot of gamers, as being a soldier tends to restrict what you’ll be able to and can’t do: you are serving on the behest of some superior authority.

Your Flip: How typically do participant characters begin out as troopers in your campaigns?


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