Gathering Armies

(See also, A Note on Armies on the Quirks page)

An army can be gathered in a handful of different ways.

Home - Bringing an army of your own from your home nation is the simplest method. Perhaps you could convince them to fight for you because you own their city and land, or your connections to the church helped you gather the faithful around you.

Levant - The harder option. Gathering or convincing the people of the Levant to fight on your (almost certainly a foreigner) side will be tricky. You may have to convince them that your Faith is God-given, or use charismatic ways to show them your way is right. Of course, you could always bribe them with something they need, or scare them in to fighting for you.

Mercenaries - Expensive, but deadly. Mercenaries are soldiers for hire who will only fight for Gold and profit. Although incredible fighters, an army of mercenaries will never equal the sheer numbers of an army formed from the men of a state.

Once you have an army, you'll need to keep them happy. A Victory might be enough, but food and simple wages (slightly more food) would be nice. A happy army will be less likely to die from exhaustion crossing a desert, and be more motivated to fight for Your Name.


Technology in 1185 is limited entirely to the battlefield. Catapults and Trebuchets, Ballistae, Siege Towers, and Battering Rams are all advanced war machines that help turn the tide of battle - however, powerful technologies like these require teams of carpenters, blacksmiths, logistics experts and teams of engineers to build, maintain and operate.

Catapults and Trebuchets - Torsion or Gravity powered projectile weapons used to hurl rocks or other loads large distances. Often used to destroy city walls during sieges.

Ballistae - Oversized crossbows used to fire large, flaming, sharp wooden bolts. Often used in early naval battles and defending city walls.

Siege Towers - Tall vertical and wheeled wooden frames supporting cells of ready men to vault and overflow city walls. Used in conjunction with ladders.

Battering Rams - Large horizontal wooden frames containing large blunted and metal-capped tree trunks, used in the simple yet elegant art of reducing a city's doors to splinters.

The Hard Life of a Soldier

Being a soldier is hard. It mostly requires long, long exhausting treks across both desert and ocean, with a good chance of dying from exhaustion, disease, drowning, sunstroke, thirst or any of the savage and untamable creatures that inhabit the world. As a commander of men, it is your duty to make sure the journey for you and your army is as safe as it can be. Whether this is by purchasing exemplary ships or caravans, not annoying the locals whose countries you trample in the process (especially the Byzantines), investing in magic, superior food sources or praying (obviously).

Then comes the actual Fighting. Soldiers, whether they are levied peasants, trained soldiers, embittered mercenaries or zealous Knights, like to have morale and inspiration. Sending a huge army into a battle to fight for their country and Faith is a good start. Providing them with spells and equipment is a good next step. Fighting alongside your men as both equal and commander is the best you can do for your men, letting you command and aid them personally.

Obviously, getting stuck in, despite the colossal moral boost and glory bonus, does have one major disadvantage to staying in your tent dozens of miles away. It means you are exposing yourself, standing on the front lines, fighting an army that wants to kill you. The decision between joining the front line or not essentially comes down to whether you want to inspire your men to a great victory, or whether you believe your neck is worth more than your people and your Faith.


Winning a battle relies on having a superior force. This can be worked out via a clash of many factors:

  • Size of Army - This represents how many soldiers are fighting.
  • Morale of Army - A happy soldier fights better than a depressed one.
  • Quality of Fighting - A trained Mercenary is a much better fighter than a levied Peasant.
  • Quality of Armaments - Quality of weapons and armour.
  • Terrain - It's good to know where you fight. For Instance, Arabic peasants have a far better knowledge of the desert than the most learned Knight.
  • Heroes - An army fights better led by their General. A general's Skills in Fighting, Leadership, Survival and other skills will come in to play. Two heroes fighting in opposing armies will almost certainly find and face each other in combat.
  • Magical Effects - Some magics are especially useful on the battlefield. Magics used in this way must be taken into account.
  • War Machines - Weapons of Destruction can help.
  • Defenses - A defending army with extensive defenses can outlast an attacking army unable to pierce their walls. With the right supplies…
  • Supplies - Food keeps an army fighting. And not collapsing.

After resolving these factors, there will be a Victorious Side, and a losing side. The Victor will, essentially, be the side who lost the least men. The Victor will seize whatever the armies they were fighting over; land, city, relic.


The losing side will retreat with what they can muster. Any hero on a losing side has a chance of being killed (or seriously wounded) in combat if fighting from the front lines - it is not impossible even that a general directing his armies from a safer location may have been killed, causing his army to rout in panic or despair.

Losing may not necessarily result in the extermination of your force, you will usually still have an army. It will almost certainly be significantly reduced and though the survivours would have gained almost as much experience as the victors, they will probably be disorganised and in need of reforming.

It is possible, of course, to lose in matters of strategy and maneuver. Though far rarer, you could even escape with the majority of the army - being forced to cede whatever you were fighting over (or abandon the assault) but otherwise getting away intact.

Losing a battle will result in some form of loss, penalty or hardship, this is rarely the death of a character (unless the quirks and circumstances and actions of others permit or require it), and more commonly the loss of a resource, strategic or geographic advantage.

war.txt · Last modified: 2009/03/23 00:47 by innokenti
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