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03-24-2004, 08:30 AM #1
Formerly Paladins and Multiclassing
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----- Original Message -----
From: "John Machin" <trithemius@KALLISTI.NET.NZ>
Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2004 11:29 PM
> Should it be pointed out that these troops likely developed in the
> face of Islamic cavalry? Other "neighbour-nations" also developed
> good lighter cavalry arms as well (Serb gusars, Hungarian hussars,
> szkeler, etc).
Actually I think this light cavalry tradition is the more normal horse
combat style, and what needs to be explained is the heavy knight. Although
as I think about it, all the light horse traditions ultimatly go back to
Central Asia. But even so, it seems to be the common and sometimes nearly
universal horse tradition. Knights are a special combination of social and
technological influences, so I think they are the special and exceptional
For example, the smaller, faster horses are the norm around the world.
Western Europeans bread larger and larger warhorses. For example we know
that the Spanish horse (what we Americans know as mustangs) date to the
An interesting thing is that the mercenary cavalry warcard has the same
stats of as the Anuirean cavalry, which amounts to a heavier charge value.
The Khinasi warcard is significantly different. It has a much lower charge,
melee and defence, and a much better move and missile. While the other
national cavalry traditions are variations on a theme, the Khinasi are
markedly different. While we both agree (albeit for different offered
reasons) that in our own history that light cavalry is common and heavy
cavalry is rare, the assumption here is that the heavy cavalry is more
typical and the light cavalry is exclusivly Khinasi.
Is this because the Anuirean heavy cavalry tradition is the norm, or is it
because Anuirean knights (second sons) become freelances throughout Cerilia?
If we imagine the second case, it explains why mercenary cavalry cards look
like Anuirean cavalry (because in effect they are) but it also suggests
something about what Anuirean cavalry is. Perhaps it is just a knight unit
on lighter horses with a bit less armor. They fight like knights (Charge
rating of 5) but just don`t have the best stuff. They do have two
advantages, their coursers (presumably) are faster, and like the ginetes I
described, they have some javelins to throw in a skirmish action. If they
fight like the Spanish, they charge, then follow up with a missile attack.
A lot of units don`t have missile, or even when they do, its pretty poor
after taking a hit from the charge.
Continuing in this vein, if we have the two models of cavalry (Anuirean and
Khinasi) then while both Anuirean knights and cavalry seem to be
practitioners of the Anuirean style, so does the Khinasi medium cavalry. In
most ratings, including the telling Charge (5), they look like Anuirean
cavalry not like Khinasi light horse. What makes them interesting is that
they appear (and it only makes sense) to be armed not with a polearm
(broading including a lance in this catagory) but with large sabers. They
get their high charge rating (and presumably their good melee) from their
curved swords. Their better than normal missile rating is I think a
function of the weapon they use (the composite shortbow) and not their
emphasis. After all, if you want horse archers, they already have better,
these guys are here to charge. Very possibly, like the example above, they
charge then follow up with archery, although here it makes some sense to
stand off and send in a few volleys and then charge to finnish them off.
Poor Brecht. Anuireans sacrifice speed (2 for knights) for that charge
rating (6) by riding big horses who impart mass into the charge. The Brecht
manage to get the same poor speed (2) with the worst charge rating (4)
except for the horse-archer Khinasi (3). This worst of both worlds really
goes to say they are bad at cavalry. I`d say they are riding coursers, but
get a destrier speed rating because they are bad horsemen. If we expect a
courser charge rating (5) then their poor performance is only a one step
inferiority, probabaly due to hesitation (allowing the horse to slow, &c) in
the charge, improper choice of weapons, being too short and/or too light
because they are easier to handle. The example of special units the
Schaefrich Welchen von Berhagen and the Blackgate Stormlords demomstrate
that there are a few Brecht noblemen who know how to ride and manage a
charge. Both I think are are on coursers based on speed, charge, and so on.
>> When there are knights on horseback running about, unarmored
>> cavalry isjust begging to be driven from the field.
> If you are Western Europeans and like to use them in strange ways.
Its a function of heavy infantry. There is a book a friend of mine had in
which the author created a matrix of infantry and cavalry, and there were
arrows about who defeated who, and who could outrun who and it was actually
pretty interesting because of its ability to predict encounters. The
heavier troops are the more they are able to drive the enemy before them,
but at the expence of speed. Each have their advantages, but a strong
reliance on one or the other creates certain kinds of interesting modes of
waging war. This is also a central theme in V.D. Hanson`s "The Western Way
I extend the model to include dwarves, which I tend to regard as ultra-heavy
infantry, taking the observed trajectory in terms of ability to withstand
and inflict damage and taking it farther while at the same time
extrapolating the effects of being even slower as well. I toy with the idea
that elves are the ultimate light troops as well, at least in forested
> In Rheulgard where there is a Khinasi style city state and actual
> plains to ride around on I would expect Khinasi style cavalry.
The Rheulgard Unrau Garten looks like Anuirean cavalry with a poorer defence
and a weaker charge. Interestingly the Schaefrich Welchen von Berhagen has
good knightly numbers with destriers whose size goes to improved armor (4)
but not a great charge (5). What is interesting is a missile of 2, which
strikes me as something better than the javelins (1), and is more analogous
to the Khinsi medium cavalry, which I already speculated as composite
shortbows. Because I don`t think these knights have spent a feat on an
exotic weapon (I limit composite bows to Khinasi for short and Rjurik for
long) and with all that armor and slow speed, horse-archers they ain`t. I
suspect they have crossbows.
> It`s possible that lighter genitor types have been adopted, but
> I get the impression that for the Brecht manoevre means getting
> out to sea on a boat.
I think the Brecht, like the Germans, have a good infantry tradition, so I
think that while you are correct to note that Brecht don`t use horse to
maneuver on the battle field. Their purpose is probably their superior
strategic movement at the realm level (beyond the realm level infantry
catches up with the horses). It makes sense for the ruler to maintain a
unit of horse to react quickly as a mobile reserve. I don`t see much other
use for them. Excepting the horse that stands up with the knights, which
could be a strategic reserve and perform usefully on the battlefield.
> > I think the use of cavalry reflects the strong horse tradition in
> A heavy horse tradition maybe; and that is knights to my mind.
> Genitors, as I have said, don`t strike me as popular in the
> Heartlands of Anuire and would be confined to places like
> Coeranys, and possibly Dhoesone
Looking at the warcards again, I have to agree. It raises the question of
what a genitor warcard would look like. They`ll ride coursers rather than
the arabians the Khinasi ride, so a move of 3 makes sense. Defence of 2.
Melee of 3. Charge 4. Missile 2.
I`ll have to run some battles, but I think this unit would be highly
effective. Since there are no warcards for it, I think my use of it would
be as a new formation introduced mid-campaign by a clever rival ruler.
Always fun to confront the PC`s with a new troop type, because it throws off
their tactical expectations on several levels.
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