Gians Lunar army comments

From: Svechin@cs.com
Date: Fri 31 Mar 2000 - 20:47:58 EEST


Me:
>However, the first thing to remember about the Imperial Army is that it
>is>composed of heterogenous units. It is not the Roman army or even the
>Greek>army. It is way more varied than either of those. I prefer, if one
>must use>a historical model, to consider it similar to the Seleucid army.

Gian:
>Good, but...
>One thing that always intrigued me about Gloranthan warfare is the almost
>complete absence of War Chariots. Still this device was well used by many
>ancient armies, up to the diffusion of Bridle/saddle and other serious
>cavalry gear (in the early middle ages, after the fall of the Western Roman
>Empire, I deem).

Well Gian, the Jenarong dynasty of Dara Happa used them, they are used still
by the Deretenites of the Heartland Corps, the Goldenaxles and a couple of
other specialist units like the Giltscythes of the Heartland army. They are
an anachronism and are used as a tactical "suprise" rather than a standard
force. Basically chariots were heavily represented in _early_ DH history and
are still in vogue in a couple of other places in Glorantha. The best single
source of info on this is Gregs article in Tales #16 which shows the chariot
gods.

>Spanning from the first Hyksos chariots to the late Germanic chariots, we
>have a "shelf-life" for the RW War chariot of about 20 centuries!!
>Is it possible, I wonder, that in Glorantha they are almost totally absent??
>But there are phalanxes (shelf life about 15 centuries), heavy cavalry (ten
>centuries), hand crossbows (5 centuries)... ?!?
>Sorry for the digression, Martin.

No a digression at all. Check out GRoY and FS as well as Tales #16 and you
can have loads of examples. Even the Volsaxi used them till recently, though
admittedly for an increasingly ceremonial role.

>>The basic building block of an Imperial army is the regiment. There are no
> >permanent higher tactical bodies.

>What do you mean, here, by "permanent"? Regional dislocation (such as the
>three regiments in Prax) doesn't count as a tactical body in case of Praxian
>rebellion, IYO?

A permanent higher tactical body would be the bridage, division, corps, army
etc. The Imperial army does not have such groups. There are no divisions or
corps in the Imperial army (as tactical or operational bodies), just
regiments and lower formations. Thats not to say units billetted and working
together for long periods would not develop a liasion that is similar to a
regularised tactical force, but its not a standard part of the organisation.

>The Tarnils officer corps specialise in
>unifying their divergent commands into a cohesive force.

>I like that one! That's what you call an "inclusive" cult, isn't it?

Yes, but its more than inclusive. Tarnils has the ability to create a
combined arms force from such diverse tactical groups. They even have magic
that allows the creation of a group elan that would otherwise be missing. It
comes from his historical past as a leader of so many differing groups.

>In some respects they are similar to the Brigade commands common in the
>US>army today - the command has no fixed units under it, rather it is
>assigned>units based upon its mission.

>Good. This is useful also to limit the senior officer's influence over
>his/her troops. Crassus, Pompeus and Caesar are bad examples of this
>politics not being properly applied. That was a major cause in the fall of
>the Roman Republic, so I suppose the Lunar Emperor will not act so
>foolishly.

Not really no. The Tarnils officer corps is _not_ a NKVD style commissar
force. They are as schism ridden as anyone else and most of them owe loyalty
to specific noble houses, regions or even personalities. Fazzur Wideread and
his later rebellion against his King being a good example. In the later HW
period there will be _many_ other examples of this, yes, even in the
Heartlands.

The unifying nature of having one cult as the liasion between the other cults
is important and gives the otherwise heterogenous Imperial army a form of
continuity and control that it would otherwise lack, and because Tarnils is a
new kid on the block cult-wise, he stirs up _less_ ire from the older cults
than would have been caused by placing an old mythic rival in charge.
Tarnils was a pragmatist and this comes out in his cult.

So can there be situations where a Caeser crosses the Rubicon in the Imperial
army - yes and no. The Romans gave Caeser effective rule over a wide swath
of territory _and_ powers of raising and paying his troops. Hence, after
years of his personal leadership, those legions were _his_, not Romes. The
Imperial armies are different. being drawn from the Heartland and Cavalry
corps and then spiced up with Sisters Army and Imperial Bodyguard. These
units are rotated frequently back to their depots in the Heartlands. Only
the Tarshites rebelled with Fazzur, because they were his own people and
respected him. Therefore, those most likely to rebel in the Empire are the
nobility, who control vast regions with many regimental bases in their remit.
 

>SHARGASH
>The Bodyguard unit of Shargash is assigned permanently to Raibanth,
>ostensibly to guard the Golden Proxy, but really to keep them away from
> >Glamour.

>Aha: exactly what I said above. Divide et impera is especially true
>_inside_, not merely as an offensive tactic.

Sure, but in the case of the Shargashi, its more a question of not wanting to
have a bunch of fanatical, bloodthirsty maniacs wandering around the Imperial
court killing everything that they think is Kazkurtum.

>In Alkoth, of course, he is king, but they Alkothi army is kept
>split among the Heartlands and Cavalry corps and S's worship is not
>common>outside of those units.

>Shargash cavalry could well be composed of war chariots, IMHO.

Actually no. The Shargashi ride black ponies and fight in the tradition of
Kastokum
, but they don't have a strong cavalry force.

>URVAIRINUS
>Very common among DH units. He is a popular regimental deity, even for
>the>rank and file. Officers follow him, though usually of lower rank or
>cerebral>method than the Polaris units. He is however a parochial deity
>and is>disliked by Tarnils for the cults resistance to Lunar Inclusiveness.

>The poors' wargod.

Not at all. Better to say, the conservatives war god. The poor are way more
likely to go with Tarnils, this is one fo the reasons why his cult is so
large.

>HUMAKT
>Widely spread worship among some specialiist formations of the Empire. The
> >Humakti of the Empire are Carmanian Knight-Killers and are often used by
>the >Empire as shock troops (both in terms of impact and fear
>generated!).>However, the cults darkers leanings has kept them out of the
>higher officer>corps and thus any real power.

>A condottiere could possibly lead this units. Are they similar to the Black
>Horse Mercenary Troops?

There are mercenary units of these fellows, yes. They tend to serve in
company sized groups, more as shock and auxiliary forces.

>DUBURDATH
>Followed by the chivalric Lion Shah tradition, mostly in the central
>Carmanian noble houses. He is also venerated by a unit of the
>Imperial>bodyguard.

>Interesting: much Persian, bull and lion, idea. Any unit equipped with
>griffins (Persian sphynxes)?

No, but they do have some pretty impressive lion and bull magics, as well as
the other cults open to Carmanian Hazars (the Knight caste)

>YARA ARANIS
>Strongly worshipped as an active wargod only in the Red Lands. A couple
>of>very nasty units of the Imperial forces are YA but her worship
>usually>becomes common in the Heartland when nomads are a raiding.

>Only in the Redlands? Never on the Hungry Plateau? :-)

The Sable riders worship their founder as a theistic cult and have shamans of
the Silver Sable spirit tradition. Yara Aranis is a very specialised cult.
She was literally designed by the Emperor to defeat nomads.

>BTW, Are the Carmanian Knights a kind of cataphracts?

Yes. Or Clibinari. Boiler boys. They are heavily armoured, though not in
plate. They are very strong in the charge and use large horses, bigger than
anything seen

 in Peloria until they arrived. Their tradition is one of shock action.

>If you only have Cults of Prax to go on, it seems that
>the 7Ms are the core of the Empire.

>Yeah. That's a limitation, indeed. Even if you simply own GoG: no more than
>the Seven Mothers, the Red Goddess and Etyries. Severe Orlanthi bias: about
>twenty Orlanthi deities are detailed in that (much useful but incomplete)
>book !!

Well, at last count, we have around 70 cults for SGU which should give
somwhat more detail than a GoG account and give plenty of player options.

Martin Laurie

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