phalanxes and more [waring, long post]

From: Mikko Rintasaari <>
Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2000 21:21:29 +0200

> >As above. The orlanthi are heroic individuals, relying on their
> >own strength and power. The Lunar magicians are analogous to their
> >soldiers, drilled into working together, and achieving effects
> >they couldn't do with just their own power.
> A novel interpretation and one that I've not seen anywhere before.

No? Well that's the impression I've gotten from most of the sources. And in the real world the greatest individual fighters are definitely not soldiers.

> I don't think it's true either for the hoplites or the college
> magicians. All that's been written is that the Lunars use their
> magics in unison, not that they are useless by themselves and
> that only in unity they can find strength.

That is not of course what I said either. But their training is geared towards getting them to work effisciently together, much like the soldiers. Do you think this makes for the most formiddable individual fighters or spellcasters? I definitely don't.

If I want to find a good unarmed fighter I won't go to the navy seals or our own paratroopers. I get a serious martial artist.

Military training is geared towards churning out reasonably skilled fighters in a short time. The orlanthi warriors are much more like the martial artist than a soldier. They are individualistic fighters, and the orlanthi spellcasters are used to relying on their own strenght, not in that of numbers.

I stick to my wiev that the orlanthi culture churns out the more fierce individual fighters and more powerful magicians. The problem is that twenty lunar magicians working together create effects that can't be countered by the individual storm priests (skalds) opposing them.

  Case in point: when
> Argrath starts doing the same thing, do the Thunderbrothers
> et. al. turn into complete spazmos by themselves as a result?

No, but I don't think argrath does all of that. The thunderbrothers are propably what they were even before Argrath. I think they have been there from the time of the EWF, and they propably know quite a bit of fighting against coordinated spellcasters (the Godleaners, for godssakes!)

Why should the lunars try to train the individual magicians to the heroic levels of the orlanthi priests, when they can take out the priest with coordinated spellcasting. It's much more effiscient to train good enough spellcasters in a couple of years, than to take the whole decade to train a magician that can stand up to the orlanthi priests toe to toe?

> >The effects a group of lunar magicians can acheive are tremendious,
> >but I don't think they are individually as powerful as the Heortling
> >Skalds and godtalkers.
> Skalds? But the evidence of the RQ rules and other materials is
> against you.

*shrug* That may be. I try to create a vision of Glorantha that seems to make the most sense to me, including all I can from the previous material. Why should the empire try to train their _unit_ magicians to be that tough on the individual level? Why should the hoplites waste time learning how to fight in a chaotic free-for-all melee, when their gear and tachtics are totally unsuited to such?

Oh, and a skald is an envoy of Odin (sort of a priest), and I think other people than me have been using the term for (some) Stormvoices of Orlanth.

> >I'm still dealing with Glorantha as a bronze age world, and the Romans
> >were much too advanced to be a good analogy.
> So tell us where you can find Phalanxes in the Bronze Age?
> - --Peter Metcalfe

Well, mostly you don't. I don't like the idea of the Lunars using actual phalanxes, despite the name being used in Dragon Pass (the game). Since the Sundomers were the only ones to get the defensive bonus in the game, they remain the only ones to use the macedonian phalanx in my vision of Glorantha.

The Dara Happans fight like earlier Greek hoplites IMO, not using the sarissa, and often in formations only a couple of men thick, or somewhat looser formation.

I hope you people remember that the actual phalanx only works if you can contain the enemy to the front of it. The phalanx needs skirmish troops (and hopefully cavalry) to stop the enemy from attacking it's sides and especially back. If the orlanthi manage to attack a phanx from many sides it's in real trouble.  

From another post:
> A high ranking NCO of 20+ years line experience would be equivalent to either
> a top weaponthane or a weaker clan champion. Remember he is the top man out
> of 100+ warriors or soldiers and is a veteran of many fights. The senior NCO
> of a phalanx would be top clan champion level or even, in some regiments,
> tribal level.
> Martin Laurie

Yes, I agree to that. I was just saying that there's no way a regular hoplite is a match for a heortling weaponthane in a 1 vs 1 combat. If things go right for the Dara Happans (or Lunars) then the hoplite doesn't ever have to fight a heortling one on one. The strenght of the hoplite is in the formation.

By the way, if we are using iron age cultures (which I still don't much like) I think the Vikings are much better analogue for the orlanthi fighting style than the Celts, and the vikings sure knew how to fight and advance while maintaining a shieldwall.


PS. Oh, and about using the Dragon Pass game to defend the notion of the fierce (and heroic) heortlings. I don't think the unit strengths are all that tought out or reflect the strength of all the units too well. I just think it's meant to reflect the fact that Sartar could put up a significant fight to the Empire, which it couldn't do if the sartarite fighters and units were for some reason totally outclassed by the Lunars.

End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #158

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