Re: The fyrd

From: Michael Hitchens <>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 11:30:11 +1100 (EST)

There's only one conclusion to be drawn from all this. We're whistling in the dark. As evidence I offer the following:

> From: Mikko Rintasaari <>
> I don't think the Lunars are capable of fielding enough professional
> soldiers to have numerical 1:1 against the orlanthi.

> From: Olli Kantola <>
> Because they (the LUnars) have the advantage of numbers.

We don't even know enough to work out which of the above is correct.

To be brutal all we have (and I include myself in this) is a lot of *opinions* grounded in almost certinaly misapplied RW notions (misappalied worship? :-)) and a very small number of Gloranthan facts (as much as anything is a fact in Glorantha).

What do we know?

The Lunars did conquer Orlanthi lands (Sartar, Tarsh) - and the Holy country, which is close.
They did so at a time of internal instability in each case (usually formented by the them).
They appear to have won most of the set piece batles. That a hoplite is as good (at close combat) as a thane (but this coiuld be gregged). A peltast is better than a cottar (ditto).

What do we think we know?
The population of Sartar, the proportion of thanes in a tribe, the rough size of the fyrd (to be - hopefully - confirmed in TR)

What don't we know?
How many Lunar troops of what types and qualities were involved? How many Orlanthi at each battle?
How much of the 30% (inititate time) is spent in military drilling? How good is the magic of the phalanx?

And all sorts of other things I haven't thought to ask. Until these are answered, we get nowhere. Was the conquest of Sartar a small number of elite troops smashing the untrained Orlanthi horde? Or did the Lunars win by quantity over quality? What is the (detailed) account of the battles? Because that will tell us much about the discipline and abilities of each side.

Or is Issaries going to leave it to us to decide these things for our own campaign? I hope not - I'd like something definite which I could change for my own purposes if I wanted to. But it's up to them.

On to individual points.

> From: Mikko Rintasaari <>

> I don't think the Lunars are capable of fielding enough professional
> soldiers to have numerical 1:1 against the orlanthi. A third of an
> Orlanthi clan will fight in the fyrd, even more, when they are defending
> their tula.

        If the population of Sartar *is* 180,000 (the most common figure bandied about) that gives 60-90 000 warriors (very few of thane quality, probably no more than 2000). I don't see an empire of millions having much trouble matching that. They got the holy country as well, which is further and has a much larger population.

> chanses are about 50/50.
> If the charge manages to break the Lunar line, then the orlanthi will
> carry the day

        So you think, given equal numbers, the Orlanthi charge has a 50/50 chance of breaking the Lunar line? I don't know. Yet another question to add to my list.

> In Sartar the Lunars have to keep their formations against sudden
> stormwind and hale, flying and lightning chucking orlanthi weaponthanes
> and even warchariots. I wouldn't bet on them if it wouldn't be for the
> college of magic.

Don't underestimate Lunar magic. A few lunes can wreak a lot of havoc. If the Orlanthi magic is so good how did they ever lose?

> :My answers are: The Lunars. Because they have far superior unit training
> :and discipline.
> Discipline (greek style) is just one way to win. The orlanthi passion and
> fierceness makes them daunting opponenets. The real problem the orlanthi
> have facing a large, unified enemy is that they are far from unified. It's
> easy for the lunars to knock out a clan (or even a tribe) at a time, even
> if they couldn't take on the whole kingdom.

True, but is that really how Sartar was conquered? A tribe at a time? I don't think so.

> Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 18:41:14 +0200
> As for beating Tarsh and Sartar, I'd say that they just wore them out. The loss
> of thousand soldiers doesn't hurt them much, but for the natives that means
> dead heroes, leaders, weaponthanes and above all normal orlanthi farmers. The
> next generation of soldiers that they recruit doesn't suffer from defeat, but
> the economy of the defenders suffers no matter what.

Sounds plausible to me. The Lunars have a bigger population base, so can more easily replace losses. Was the conquest a war of attrition? Possibly, given the time it took. Which would mean the skill level of the current Saratar generation might start at a lower level than the previous.  

> Those were only guidelines and are likely to be gregged. I say this because I
> think that sartarites deserve better.

I don't. The hoplites are *professional* soldiers. Why should the thanes be any better? The only argument I could see is reducing the hoplite close combat while introducing a formed unit combat ability, which would be better for the hoplites than the thanes. But, as I said, hopefully Issaries will tell us something.  

> From:

Loved this, it made me laugh.


End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #150

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