Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Armies of Valusia

So this will be my first nuts-and-bolts piece on the Thurian Age as I've interpreted it. I'll try to explicitly point out what I've made up out of thin air, the rest is either canon or extrapolations from canon. Probably much of this will depend on at least a basic familiarity with Robert E. Howard's tales of Kull of Atlantis, so this would be a good time to prompt those of you who haven't read Kull to do so. Now!

To begin with, however, while Commoria has been Valusia's hereditary and frequent enemy, of late under Kull Valusia has been at war on other fronts. Shortly after becoming king, Kull destroyed the Triple Federation of Farsun, Zarfhaana, and Verulia (the latter being my own assessment - it explains some of Verulia's interest in intriguing in Valusia). Kull also led his army into Grondar, deposing the sorcerers/demons who ruled there and installing a king, albeit one with ties to Valusia that come to haunt him later. Along with Commoria, Valusia has also had frequently nasty contact with Atlantean raiders, up to 500 in number coming ashore along the coast. Presumably similar in style to Viking raids on the British Isles in the late Dark Ages.

Valusia has two strands to its military. First there is the Royal Army, with significant mercenary contingents, under the direct command of the King and headquartered in Valusia (the city). The second strand is the Great Army, which is paid for by the state (out of state revenue/taxes) and under the overall command of a general. It is broken down into regional and local elements that are stationed across the nation. The Great Army also has a significant mercenary component, but this is less varied than the Royal Army, or at least the Royal Army as established by Kull.

The influx of mercenaries arises from Valusia's aged, decadent state - the citizens have it pretty good and aren't interested in a life in the legions. There are obvious modern parallels, as well as reflections in the later days of the Roman Empire.

Mercenaries are from the Pictish Isles, Lemuria, Atlantis, Kaa-U, Mu, and the hills of the east. All of these types are in the Royal Army; only Lemurians, Atlanteans, Mu-ians, and hillmen will be found in the Great Army. Generals and lower leaders will also often be from the mercenary ranks.

There are no feudal levies, or any feudal system at all, in Valusia. The barons are allowed their own small forces, essentially bodyguards, which keeps them from waging overt civil war or attempting a coup. As long as the Royal Army and the Great Army are loyal, the king will remain in power; and I'm not too sure if the king would need both to remain loyal either.

Native Valusia troops form the heavy and medium cavalry, the Red Slayers and Red Guards, bowmen from the mountains, and heavy and light footmen.

A breakdown of the troop types found in Valusia would therefore look like this:
  • Pictish light foot (curved swords)
  • Pictish javelinmen
  • Mu-ian heavy swordsmen
  • Atlantean spearmen
  • Kaa-U short spearmen
  • Lemurian bowmen
  • Valusian bowmen (tall mountain men)
  • Valusian heavy spearmen (spear + shield)
  • Valusian light footmen (sword + shield)
  • Allied Pictish warbands (horse archers with curved swords)
  • Black Squadrons (elite)
  • Black Legion (elite foot - say spear + shield)
  • Red Slayers (elite of the elite lancers)
  • Red Guard (king's bodyguard, subset of the Red Slayers)
I am working on the Royal Army to start with for my miniatures project, and so far for numbers I'm looking at:
  • 2 x 500 Pictish horse archers (allied warbands)
  • 2 x 1000 Lemurian bowmen
  • 1 x 500 Red Slayers
  • 1 x 100 Red Guard (either as a leader unit with Kull, or added to the Red Slayers)
(obviously this needs to be continued, but the total will come out to something around 10,000 soldiers - not the wild numbers usually seen in fantasy, but I've read my Hans Delbruck and I'm trying to find a middle ground)

Next up for the Thurian Age will be more on the rest of Valusia.

No comments:

Post a Comment