More Spears

From: Jose Ramos <>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 16:45:38 +0100

        Several (and hopefully last) comentaries on this matter.

        How did the Yelmalions survive the testing, and indeed the nomads allowed them to do so?

        The survival of the Sun Dome was a focus, but they had something else to offer their nomad overlords. A rare resource. Heavy infantry. Of course bows would be forbidden, and the Templar's families would be hostages of good behaviour. But in the end the Yelmalions recovered their independence, and booted the nomads out.

        So my point is that the Yelmalions fight as heavy infantry mercenaries in battles. Unless you are routed, casualties will be low, as you usually are not involved in the main battle. Most people are not mad enough to charge you, missile troops have easier targets, and you rarely catch anyone you can't overrun. Ideal mercenary business. Your hirers get a solid flank or center, and good defence of a static geographic feature. If you play Nomad Gods, that's the effect of hiring the Sun County (weird, they work as mercenaries for the nomads in that game :-)).

        The partially bow armed militia remains, both to avoid risking all your forces abroad, and to defend against raids.

        Unless it is a small raid, the Yelmalions don't try to fight a set battle with a file of militia against mounted nomads. They defend the buildings, letting the nomads do as they please in the fields, and signal other villages.

        Unless the nomads are quick, and they are outside the county before nightfall, they will be found in the night and butchered. They won't face hoplites, they will face trained anti mount dispersed infantry, organised in small groups used to fignting together.

        If you dare to face trolls in the dark, blind bisons are no menace.

        Knowing the terrain gives other choices: boxing them in a gully, blocking both ends with heavy infantry and missiles on the sides. Calling favours of the nymphs, turning a snake unfordable, so you corner them with their backs to the water.

        In pursuit, the familiar hawks give an edge in recon, so if there is a sizable force in pursuit, they won't give up. I picture the Templars force marching indefinitely to wreak revenge on the raiders. Irrigation ditches can be really part of the defensive works.

        Heavy cavalry. Heavy cavalry is just cavalry that charges the enemy as its main attack. The success of the knights is not in their armour (more useful against missiles than against pikes/long spears) but in the absence of good infantry in the period. William's normans charged all day long the saxon line before they broke (helped by the missile troops). The moment good infantry appeared, cavalry only charged cavalry. Armour is useless against a pike when you charge.

        Bison, High Llama and Sables must have Heavy cavalry, as have done all mounted nomads in earth's history. You soften up (more or less depending on the quality of your heavy and light cavalry) the enemy and then charge. Against good infantry (not only spears, the legions could withstand a charge by almost anybody, up to elephants), you have to flank them and perform simultaneous charges. Easy against isolated sun domers. Almost impossible in a balanced force.

        If you know they are coming, you can use some nasty tricks, like a concealed ditch before your lines, or stakes. Set the stakes and walk back thirty feet when they charge. Instant massacre.

        Magic is seldom used as artillery, unless the Lunar College of Magic is there. Some spirits, some invocations. It is more important the ability to fight at night that the paltry sunspears they can manage.

        Just IMO.


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