Monday, September 28, 2009


America is much larger, and much more inland than Western Europe, so horses are even more valuable in the American Middle Ages than the European Ages. Horses are expensive to keep, but they are worth their weight, and the value of horses has resulted in intensive breeding for the animal, especially in places like Kentucky and Texas. In fact, many are quite specialized for speed, luggage capacity, and of course, warfare.


Heavy cavalry is the most commonly used tactic in the forest zone of the east, where the regions are vast and not very centralized, and rule is enforced by a ruling warrior class. Horses must be big and strong to withstand battle and the weight of their armored riders, so the midwest is able support horses with the surplus of hearty grains, and the south is able to use the longer growing season and diverse crops to their favor. The Ohio River valley has access to crops, metalworking, and generations of horse breeding that has allowed Ohio to become the most powerful feudal realm on the continent.

For the most part, eastern knights prefer the sun-blocking morions on helms, and the lither saber as for sword-fighting. The more mineral-wealthy north has heavier armor than the south, which may supplement their mail with and arms with leather and wood.


"Templar" is a catch-all term for the heavy cavalry utilized by the Hydraulic Empires of Deseret and California, who's soldiers are theoretically supposed to be untitled and tied to the state, and usually wage war on behalf of their faith. The consolidated wealth has access to the weaponry and horses required to be a knight, but anyone who wishes to be a Templar has to be tested and buy their way in. (This keeps the armies pressed and focused.) In theory, Templars are supposed to be celibate (And Easterners spread rumors of homosexuality), but somebody is keeping the brothels of the deserts open.

In times of peace, warlords will keep their skills sharpened with tournaments held in most major cities. Jousting is the largely the most popular, although melee will take a variety of forms.  In the more Northern regions, there's more of an emphasis on padding up and jumping straight in. Tournament fighting in the South is more about speed, since heavy armors can be uncomfortable in the hotter climate. It's for this reason the Southern nations will hold most of their major tournaments after the harvest season is over, in December and January. Although most of the competing knights are from below the Mason Dixon, everyone from Non-Denominational world is invited. Well-off knights from the north will gladly take a leave from their snow-ridden homes to test their skill in January's Super Bowl Tournament. (The at the behest of the Church, nobody performs on Sunday) The event is not only a big deal for competitors, but for merchants who can sample consumers from all over the continent. The tournament will even present theatrical shows starring characters like Shrek, Snoopy, or Spiderman. The Delmarva Peninsula is home to some of the United States of America's mounted warriors, and they participate. Along the western frontiers, however, herdsmen abhor the pageantry and wastefulness of knights. Their answer to the tournament is the Rodeo.


  1. Thinking about lancers, and the whole lancers vs. horse archers dynamic recently. The original site talks about how Horse Archery use to be the main mode of warfare, and was gradually supplanted by Lancers in certain areas. I suspect the development of lancers would be spurred by the development of armor. Heavier armor gets developed to counter archery, which leads to lances to pierce the armor, which leads to heavier armor, which leads to the need for bigger horses to carry more weight.... and so on. The big question to my mind is whether the American horse archers have recurve composite bows or not- that would heavily influence their effectiveness against armor. How advanced armor making techniques are in general would also impact likely weapons and tactics a lot.

    The other factor is that once armor becomes heavy enough to make lances important, training for archery becomes a problem. The Byzantines (who spent a lot of time developing their cavalry arm) found that training a man to become proficient in both lance and bow was almost impossible. I suspect that early in the transition, there were mixed formations of lancers and horse archers (as the Byzantines fielded), but as the lance gained prominence or the technique of horse archery died out in the east formations gradually became all lancers. I could see some areas retaining mixed formations though- Iowa might have both lancers and nobles fighting in their traditional style, and Deseret is right on the 'border' of the two which indicates to me that they would use both.

  2. The Herdsmen page does indeed state that they use composite bows.

    I would reckon Iowa indeed has horse Archers in their ranks. White's color gradient maps for Religion and Warfare shows that while "civilized" Iowa is trying to become more Midwestern in culture, the west of it still has a hard time abandoning its Herdsmen ways. I wouldn't be surprised to even see heavily armored knights versed in archery, keeping the territory well protected from invaders.

    Deseret probably also has Horse Archers, but these would probably be the conscripted archers from the conquered Wyoming clans, but I don't think they're formally trained in such.

  3. Sorry the delay in replying, just was thinking about this idea again recently!

    So composite bows are avalible, that would make very heavy armor the norm, at least among western lancers.

    In regards to Iowa, I think there would definitely be a bit of 'tradition vs progress' dynamic, with nobles embracing their new way of life preferring lancers and those clinging to their old ways sticking with horse archery. Nobles who are particulary interested in military theory might even be working on combining the two in the same formation, which was tried with various degrees of success by real-life armies.

    Well armored horse archers would certaintly be possible as well- several historical examples of that. It's only trying to combine jousting and archery into one man that makes things tricky- both require a lot of skill to develop. The other possibility of course is the Iowans would end up like the Alans- they carry lance and bow as traditional, but have a marked preference for one over the other when it comes to actual combat. The Alans, for example, still often hunted with a bow from horseback, but when it came to warfare fought almost purely with the lance.

    For Deseret, they likely would conscript Wyoming archers, but one nice thing about being a hydraulic empire is that you can levy enough taxes to maintain a full time professional army, which can be drilled to your hearts' content. So I could see their army involving mixed formations of armored lancers and armored horse archers, being one of the few nations with the wealth to develop a proficient force in this manner.

    One thing I am curious about is whether any of the nations (in particular those bordering nomand territory) ever experimented with mounted crossbowmen. These did feature in European warfare, in particular Poland, who faced a similar situation. So there might be states were mounted crossbow are used to supplement lancers.