KoW (err, sorry)

From: MSmylie@aol.com
Date: Tue 14 May 1996 - 22:49:20 EEST


Hello all.

My apologies; I tried to be good and avoid the current "KoW: a 6 or not?"
thread, but I find I can't resist throwing out a few (hopefully quick)
comments.

First off, Nick Brooke threw out as an aside:
>.. they might just have gunpowder IMHO...

IIRC, there was considerable speculation that the KoW might in fact be
supplied in some fashion by the Nidan dwarves (the idea being that the
dwarves might view the KoW as serving some mysterious purpose in repairing
the World Machine). Even if that were not the case, I think it would be
possible to speculate that the KoW operates a bit like the God Learners did,
as somewhat wrong-headed hero(?)questers -- that they scour the various
realms of reality in search of anything which seems to belong within the
sphere of war, and steal/imitate the things that they find.

Possible "secret" event: circa 1619 or thereabouts, the Dwarf of Dwarf Run is
overcome during a rest period in the Sacred Time by mysterious figures (KoW
War Lords of Humakt Strategos on a heroquest) who bind him and copy from his
mind (or somehow force him to divulge) his Secret Knowledge of Cannon-making?
 Possible scenario: Dragon Pass adventurers are commisioned by the Dwarf to
find out who bushwhacked him all those years ago (his own investigations have
come up empty), leading them to Fronela and the KoW (with the Lunar Empire
and/or Ralzakark as red herrings)?

William (WKnow92814) noted:
> I certainly disagree with KoW being a 6 because
>I regard excellent officers and NCOs as the difference between 3 "quite
good"
>and 4 "top notch". Thus in terms of equipment Kow is a 3, a plethora of
>useful combat magics and fanaticism takes it to 4, and leadership kicks it
up
>to 5. Actually, you have to wonder a bit about the equipment level of a
>nation that Taps it's economic base, and the notion that a kingdom packed

>with Urox and ZZ berserks, grim fearless Humakti fanatics, and vengeful
>Babeester Gor devotees has the most subtle and sophisticated leaders is
>amusing (not necessarily wrong, but funny unless you live in Fronela).

I think Nils' comment, that "they [the KoW] _are_ magical in themselves. The
army of KoW is the magical manifestation of the concept of the total war.
Think mythical, not practical," was entirely on the money (no War Machine
talk, I promise; the KoW is just the KoW at the moment).

Unlike either Iron Dwarves or the Horali, who for all their expertise (and
limits, as other posters have ably commented on) are essentially just the
(minor) fighting arms of cultures concerned with much broader issues, the
army of the KoW is the product of a culture which is organized in its
entirety (albeit against what's left of its will) to produce and support the
War Effort. The serfs of the KoW do nothing but provide food for the
Ravening Maw and the breeding stock for future generations of KoW warriors;
they are not "distracted" by profit motive, social standing, or ideological
concerns (only the occasional spare thought about how nice freedom might be,
if they remember the concept at all). The KoW's smiths and armorers, if they
are not able to produce the equivalent of Loskalmi plate (IIRC the "best in

the world"), are almost certainly able to produce _more_ arms and equipment,
leading to a more uniform level of equipment quality, and have few other
demands on their time. The Black Forest and its mountains have almost
undoubtedly been strip-mined into vitual nonexistence, IMO, to provide wood
for wagons and forts, metal for armor, and stone for fortifications.

Magically, IMO, the "divine" spells available to the KoW would be of
considerable number and variety (in addition to having access to virtually
every single spirit magic spell in da roolz, though I think they would refer
to them as "battle magics" a la RQ2). After the "hoary old chestnut" of the
KoW thread was over I had worked for a bit on the idea that the KoW would
organize its cult into a single "pantheistic" cult, the cult of the Hundred
Gods of War (doesn't really matter whether there are 100 of them or not,
really), made up of a myriad of subcults. The subcults represented in each
regiment's temple would vary, giving each regiment access to differing
groupings of divine spells depending on their fighting style and philosophy.
 There would also be "headquarters" sects, answering to LDoaH, connecting key
subcults in each regiment (e.g., headquarter temples for the Marcher God
Quartermasters, the scouts of the Eyes and Ears of War, the Carrion Eater
Guardians of the War Dead, the War Sages of Humakt Strategos, etc.) and
coordinating their efforts.

I'm not entirely sure that the cults of Humakt, ZZ, Babs Gor, etc., would
actually exist in the KoW in "recognizable" forms (or if the Uroxi show up at
all, come to think of it). In the Hundred Gods of War cult form, I wound up
speculating that major Gloranthan war gods would actually exist as lots of
minor subcults rather than single entities; thus, rather than there being a
single Humakt cult with access to all Humakti divine spells, there would
actually be a series of Humakt subcults, e.g. Humakt the Sword (Truesword,
Strongblade), Humakt Deathbringer (Sever Spirit), Humakt of the Company
(Morale, Oath), Zorak Humakt (Berserk, Fear), etc. A regimental temple might
have shrines to all or none of the different "Humakt" subcults, depending on
the regiment's fighting philosophy and magical needs.

Gogorma, Maran Gor, Zorak Zoran, Babeester Gor, and a lot of other warlike
gods wound up getting similar treatment. Breaking down their cults (and
adapting some non-war cults) seemed to make sense, in that it seemed to help
explain the whole "hundred gods of war" notion (I found it more interesting
this way than simply saying that the 100 gods thing was sheer propaganda) and
its modular nature allowed for considerable potential variety between
individual regiments. OTOH, it got really, really complicated -- when I gave
up, I was busy assigning 60+ divine spells to a variety of subcults,
including variations on spells like Detection Blank and Reconstruction (for
scouts), Tambour (the Drums of War), Create Foe-Curser, a Trophy Ritual based
on the Bloody Tusk's Death Binding Enchantment, and summon/command spells for
over 20 types of spirit entities, including Plague; the possibilities were
myriad. Whether or not anyone likes the idea of a single Hundred Gods of War
cult with internal subcults, I mentioned this stuff in the hopes that it
might give an idea of the magical potential that the KoW might possess in
comparison to sorcery-based armies.

Just a few thoughts. Later,
Mark

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