Monday, October 12, 2009

Canadian Raiders

The colder regions are populated by those often called Barbarians. Out west, it's dominated mainly by cowboy horse archers, but north of the great lakes, grain and grass is too little, and the terrain too tough for large cavalry forces to be formed. The hunter-gatherers centered around the Canadian lakes have much less resources, and much more fury. Many travel the land to raid nearby villages, but it's very common to build barges for rivers and lakes, to attack kingdoms like Wisconsin, Michigan and others. They are somewhat similar to viking ships of old, except more equipped for freshwater travel. They're smaller, but provide less buoyancy, so barges are designed to hold a good amount of weight and make trips over the summer season.

Warriors of the north tend not to have the most sophisticated of weaponry. Most of it are things that are used in practical, everyday purposes like bows, arrows, spears and axes. They are also know to wield staves with curved, flat heads that can be used as not only weapons, but oars or ice picks. However, some chiefs do have swords, and it's often common to confiscate an armory during one of the routine raids.

The Canuck raiders are feared largely because of their size. Like other Barbarian societies, pretty much the entirety of the adult males are drafted into campaigns of war. They're hardened by the long winters and a belief in might. They often venerate powerful beasts like bears and wolves, and will often dress themselves in such skins to gain their powers. Their faces are also painted red, a sacred and mystical color in the north.

Naval Forces

The Americas are rather strange, in that there is not a large amount of of seas that cut through it. This is probably the biggest thing that distinguishes it from the Europe it draws so much from, culturally. The major military naval bases are found on the Atlantic Seaboard, Vancouver Sound, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean sea. The Gulf of St. Lawrence and Labrador Sea are generally too cold and sparsely populated for major battles to be waged there. However, the Great Lakes tend to serve as something of a de facto sea, with kingdoms guarding the canals that connect them. There's also the Mississippi River, which connected to both the Ohio and Missouri ultimately provides something of an interstate for the feudal core. Largely, the river system is used for trade, but it's very common for warlords to create river barges to raid these ships, or blockade them for ransom. However, these are generally means to and end, and not a lot naval strategy is used for them.

There are no missiles, or even canon fire anymore, so fleets have only the most basic of ancient projectiles at their disposal. However some allow themselves to be pretty inventive. Even though the ships don't resemble the large galleons of the age of exploration, they're relatively sophisticated, as coastal cities were able to at least glean some knowledge from the past, and have a fundamental understanding of nautical schematics.

The United States is the supreme naval power of the coast, with most ships of the Northern Atlantic trying to copy their jealously guarded designs. here, ships are made for longevity, and the ability to hold heavy cargoes. Marine soldiers are taught mostly endurance, for both the long winters and the long voyages. Northern ships have sturdy, thick hulls which are able to provide decent (by the standards of the time, anyways) barracks for the soldiers.

In the Caribbean and Gulf, warfare is played a lot like "capture the castle", which involves conquering and securing various island port bases. If fleet is particularly good at what they do, they can have islands full of provisions and weaponry for years to come. Many islands however, are full of leftovers from eradicated fleets who took their secrets with them to the bottom of the ocean. The heavy rains and winds of hurricane season means ships are made from more flexible, durable wood--usually balsa. One of the favored techniques of the Caribbean is to shoot fiery arrows at the ship.

Lake Navies are somewhat part time, as the winter freezes the waterways, leaving them to only b engage each other other during the summer. This lakes can also not hold as much weight. As a result, naval battles in the Great Lakes turn largely into all-or-nothing bloodbaths, attempting to storm forts as soon as they can, and do as much damage to the other ship as possible. Siege weapons such as trebuchets are sometimes even mounted to ships, resulting in a heavy amount of collateral damage on the "Drinking Sea".

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pikemen Infantry

To a certain extent, medieval warfare plays a lot like a game of rock paper scissors, with armies evolving to counter the biggest and nearest threats. To counter the lancers of the feudal kingdoms, many nations arm their soldiers with large sharp pikes, which can form a sharp defensive wall that most cavalry can't reach, or hope to trot over. Pikemen are largely the citizens of the the northern, coastal nations. Cavalry is much too expensive to maintain where the soil can be much more limited. Likewise, because large communities are so close together, it's more important to feed people than horses. The close consolidation of people also pretty much means speed is not as much of a factor. A mobile infantry can probably move from one outpost to another without much trouble. If they can't, there's always the nearby ocean. In fact, the focus on maritime transport pretty much means captains don't want too many knights, as horses on ships pretty much just complicate things.

It's not to say there are no mounted troops in the Republics--a few high ranking officers are cavalry, if for no other reason than to show off. It's just these nations don't particularly engage in feudal warfare, and are more concerned with being on the defensive.

Because most of them are ruled by mercantile families, not warlords, there tend not to be citizens who were born and bred for combat. The city-states will conscript private citizens for service, and these citizens are given relatively simple training and equipment. For Pikemen to be effective, one simply needs a large pool and leaders with an ability to look at the big picture. City-states will even have a very strong municipal guard force, who are generally equipped the same way, and maybe even bear similar uniforms as the infantry.

Interestingly, despite it being feudal in nature, New Jersey relies more on a pikemen force than knights. New Jersey is largely in the same place as the bustling northern cities, with a large population fitting into a relatively small piece of land, as its realm includes counties that had the highest population density in the country. It only has a few major cities and counties, and they're not widely dispersed from each other, so there's very little need for warlords to mount themselves and reconnoiter the countryside. It also has access to the oceans, so it likewise focuses on sending its infantry. However, the Pikemen here are relatively more ornate, especially the guard captains.

Pikemen have also taken root in the highlands of the Appalachian mountains. Here, the people are usually not wealthy enough for mounted knights, nor is it advantageous for the altitudes. Rather, they're large wooden polearms held by clan militias. The mountain fighters are quite different from the other pike-holders, as they're not really uniformed. conscripted armies, but clans bound together by loyalty. Here, pikemen have firm, lightweight wood polearms, which some have even taken to throwing like javelins. Appalachian forts are also known to surround themselves with "pike moat" traps.