Hello all,
I've been working on some alternative rules for my campaign. One concept
that I like (and that Ed and some of the other BR designers touched on in
the sourcebooks) is "reserve" military units. I really had dwarven and
elven domains in mind, but they can work just as well for human realms. In
case anyone is interested, here is what I've come up with.

Reserve Units
Due to their long lifespans and the history of conflict both elves and
dwarves have endured, a significant portion of their populations should be
able to effectively bear arms. As a result, most demi-human realms have a
ready supply of skilled warriors available to pick up sword or axe and
defend their homeland.

Each elven or dwarven province can support a number of reserve units equal
to 1/2 the province’s level, rounded down. Thus, a level 3 province could
support 1 reserve unit, a level 6 province could support 3 reserve units,
etc... These troops can be of any standard type [special units should not
be treated as reserves]. The unit must have been created through the
standard Muster Army action at some point in the past.

The primary advantage of reserve units is their reduced maintenance cost
when compared to active troops. Rather than paying the listed maintenance
cost for a unit each domain turn, reserve units only need to have their
standard maintenance cost paid once each year (i.e. once every 4 domain
turns). A reserve unit of dwarven crossbowmen, for example, would cost 2GB
to maintain for an entire year (4 domain turns), versus 2GB each domain
turn (8GB for a full year) for an active unit.

Reserve units are available immediately after war has been declared against
their homeland. They may be used during the first war move after a war
declaration. Keep in mind these units will initially be located in their
home province [it is important to keep track of the home province for each
reserve unit], not the province where they are needed. Once activated,
these units are treated virtually identically to any other active unit.
Movement and maintenance costs for activated reserve units are the same as
for a normally active unit of their type. For example, the reserve unit of
dwarven crossbowmen mentioned earlier would immediately begin costing 2GB
per domain turn to maintain once activated. If a regent wishes to revert a
unit back to reserve status, he/she can only do so after using the Move
Troops action to return them to their home province.

The main restriction on reserve units is that they cannot be used for wars
of aggression. Regents may activate their reserves to counter a war
declaration or act of hostility by another realm, but these troops cannot
be activated for wars in which their home realm is acting as the
aggressor. The only way a reserve unit can be sent into battle outside
their homeland is during a counter-attack into an invading domain. For
example, if the Gorgon declares war against Tuarhievel, Prince Fhileraene
could activate reserve units. These units could be used not only to defend
Tuarhievel, but they could also invade the Gorgon’s Crown in retalliation
for the Gorgon’s actions [assuming Tuarhievel had, in turn, declared war
against the Gorgon’s Crown]. However, once combat with the Gorgon ended,
these units could not be sent to invade neighboring Cariele.
NOTE 1: The DM may relax this restriction on use of reserves for offensive
purposes if special circumstances make this seem reasonable. For example,
if the orogs of the Iron Peaks send a group of assassins into Baruk-Azhik
and slay a number of the realm’s thanes, a retalliatory invasion by the
dwarves could probably count on the support of their reserve units.

NOTE 2: There is really no reason why militant human realms should not
have reserve units of their own. Mhoried, for example, is a land that
faces constant threats from both Markazor and Ghoere. It seems logical the
Mhor would have seasoned reserve units available. The reason I have only
proposed reserves for demi-human realms is because they generally have
limited revenues [dwarven realms are small, while elven realms are sparsely
populated and have little or no trade activities] and can’t support large
standing armies. Their long-lived residents have likely lived through a
number of conflicts, and it seems likely that many of them are military
veterans. Expansion of these rules could help rationalize the army sizes
listed for some of the smaller Rjurik realms, since it seems unlikely these
nations could afford the standing armies given in the published TSR
supplements. It might be reasonable to allow some human realms a few
reserves, but for the most part to force them into relying on militia units
in troubled times.