The Armed Forces

The Armed Forces

I have been thinking about how the military works in my campaign rules.  They have grown from a simple ‘catch all’ to become something more important.  Recently one of the players suggested that defence should always be ‘smaller’ than any of the other settlement attributes (Economy, Loyalty and Stability) – and that made sense, after all, a society has to be able to support its military.  Now I have a couple of PCs with a legitimate interest in developing their armies – and the rules just aren’t up to that.  So time to beef them up a bit.

I implemented Troop Types when I redesigned the mass combat rules, and we have Auxiliary, Light, Medium, Heavy and Special troop types – although these are clearly very simplistic :}  So I am going to rename the Troop Types as Irregular, Regular, Veteran, Elite and Special troop types because it sounds better!

Troop Types

Irregular Troops are generally non-combat NPC classes (Commoners, Adepts and Experts)  and they represent militia, support staff at military bases, retirees and just about anyone else who might be prepared to fight when called upon. Irregulars have about 20gp of combat gear, on average.  In The Stolen Lands game padded and leather armour with simple weapons is a suitable combination.

Regular Troops are the backbone of any military force, and are all Warrior-3, built  and equipped for different roles.  They have light and inexpensive equipment, because that is cheap and suitable for their roles.  Town Guards, Area Scouts, Light Cavalry Messengers, Mercenary Guards, House Guards, Caravan Guards, Coast Guards, Ship’s Guards, Crypt guards are all Regular troops.  Regular troops have about 50gp of combat gear suitable for their role. In The Stolen Lands game a hide shirt or studded leather armour and a light shield, with light or one-handed weapons is a suitable combination.

Veteran Troops are some of your most experienced soldiers, Warrior-4 with medium gear and rarely appear outside a standing army and have the single function of fighting.  They might be called on to resolve conflicts that the regular troops can’t cope with, but their main role is fighting wars – either to defend their homeland or on foreign soil.   They generally have about 150gp of combat gear. In The Stolen Lands game Scale armour and a shield with martial weapons is a suitable combination. Veterans are an upgrade that cost 1bp

Elite Troops are the best of your fighting force, still Warrior-4 they have the best combat gear you can afford, up to something like 300gp.  Scale and banded armours make a suitable base to work with.  Elite Troops are an upgrade that cost 2bp (1bp if upgrading from Veterans)


  • The Stolen Lands is a westernized game (with Russian overtones) and the armour recommendations reflect that. 
  • Aldori and Non-human troops are limited, and might have different recommendations.
  • Equipment levels are based on the ‘average’ cost of the Build Points.


Training Units

Training Units are composed of staff and senior students from military training establishments.  They are all Warrior-3 – although the students don’t yet have all the feats and skills associated with a particular career role.  They can be assigned to military duties in an emergency and can be mustered at about the same speed as a Local Guard unit.

The Local Guard

The Local Guard are a militarized police force, although they aren’t, necessarily, just one force.  In the Stolen lands each holding has their own Guard unit, although they all perform the same roles.  Protecting the citizens from crimes, disturbances, fracas, theft and incursions.

Town Guards patrol the settlements (whether they are villages, towns or cities), Scouts patrol the wilder areas, Light Cavalry patrol roads and carry messages, and Marine Guards patrol waterways and lakes.

Think of it as a cross between a Local Lord’s war band, a gendarmerie and a National Guard.  Every holding need at least one defence point from Local Guard units for every Rural Hex, every Urban Hex and every Town/City District.   Wilderness districts have different rules, and two Local Guard defence points can patrol up to seven hexes.

The Local Guard can also be assigned to the Army in times of war, although they take longer to muster than the troops of the Standing Army.

The Local Guard are often housed in Watchtowers, Forts and Garrisons – although they may well be found in other military buildings.

The Army

The Standing Army consists of troops reserved for combat.  They might be sent out, as a special force, to resolve conflicts that the Local Guard can’t cope with – such as an incursion by an Orc horde or adventurers fighting in a tavern – but they don’t carry out patrols or investigations.  Instead, they train and stand ready to leap into action – and they are the quickest of all troops to muster and deploy, often being ready to leave within a few hours of the call.

Initially, all the units of a Standing Army are Regular Troops, and have the same sort of gear as the Local Guard, however they can be upgraded.  For 1bp a Regular Unit can be ungraded to veterans, and for anther 1bp a veteran unit can be upgraded to an elite unit – upgraded units have better training (L4) and better combat gear – making them progressively tougher in the field.

Private Troops

Private Troops are not under the control of either the Local Guard or the Army, but fall under the direct command of an individual.  This group includes mercenaries, caravan guards, personal guards, crypt guards and house guards.  Again the majority are Regular Troops charged with a specific task – either to protect private property or to fight (for money) on some else’s behalf.  Unlike the Local Guard, these guys can be upgraded to veteran or elite troops, although there is no financial benefit for a Mercenary Company to do so.

In The Stolen Lands,  the ‘owners’ of these troops will have signed some sort of document committing them to the defence of the region, and they may well be assigned to the Army in times of war.  However, they are the slowest to muster of all troops and may even take weeks to become available.

Specialist Troops

This is a real ‘catch all’ category intended for duellists, sappers, siege engineers and any other troops who do not fit into another category.  Often they are designed as and when they are needed.

Buildings by Type

Just to make it a bit more of a challenge, I have assigned different types of troop to different parts of the defence structure.

Duelling Salon {★★★}Specialist1
Barracks (★★★) .Military2
Keep (★★★★)Military4
Castle (Small) (★★★★)Military6
Castle (Large) (★★★★)Military9
JettyLocal Guard0
WatchtowerLocal Guard1
FortLocal Guard2
Garrison (★★★)Local Guard3
City WallsLocal GuardVaries
Mercenary BasePrivate1
Fortified Villa (★★★)Private1
Fortified Manor (★★★★)Private2
Military School {★★★}Training1
Academic Academy {★★★★}Training1
Military College {★★★}Training2
University {★★★★}Training2
Military Academy {★★★★}Training3
Posted in NPCs, Role Playing Aids, World Building.


  1. Putting together info from this page and the campaign_systems page:
    *Watchtower costs 1BP for 1 Defence. Troops (1x Light Foot) are assigned here on a rota basis.
    *Mercenary Base costs 2BP for 1 Economy and 1 Defence.
    *Barracks costs 3BP for 1 Stability and 2 Defence. (2x Light Foot or 1x Light Cavalry)
    *Garrison costs 4BP for 1 Stability and 3 Defence. (1x Light Foot and 1x light Cavalry)
    Barracks can be upgraded to a Garrison. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to classify barracks as military and garrison as local guard. It would make more sense to allow barracks and garrisons to be either military or local guard.
    How are House Guards accommodated? Classifying them as Private Troops is fine but requiring them to have a Mercenary Base doesn’t make sense. They are not for hire, so there is no Economy generated. Shouldn’t there be something equivalent to a Watchtower (1BP for 1 Defence) that is linked to the privately owned building they are guarding? Call it a Guard House or Guards’ Quarters or something like that.

    • Barracks can be upgraded to a Garrison. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to classify barracks as military and garrison as local guard. It would make more sense to allow barracks and garrisons to be either military or local guard.

      Good point. I have been considering uncoupling them, but they could just as easily serve a double purpose.

      As for Fortified Villa/Manor, they have built-in accommodation for their House Guards and don’t need to be based outside. I’ll check what I have written, and edit it to make that clear.

      A Fortified Villa might look like this …

  2. Private troops includes personal guards, crypt guards and house guards. There would potentially be a number of businesses that might want to have their own guards to protect their private property. Temple guards or bank guards for example. They are based in settlements, so we are not talking about a fortified villa/manor, and a mercenary base should not be necessary for those units. The question is whether they need to be accommodated in a specific, separate building (eg. a guard house or guards’ quarters, costing 1BP for 1 Defence but also being a size 1 building) or are they simply private troops employed as guards for a specific business, but they live in their own homes throughout the city and simply walk to work every day (i.e. house guards as a 1BP upgrade to any existing development, costing 1BP for 1 Defence but no increase in the size of the building)?

  3. I see where you are coming from now. Those guards live in the community and walk to work. A bit like the scouts in a wilderness tower setting. Part of the problem is that I have so much in my head that I am bad at writing down 🙂

    It is an extension of the BP-development concept. When you build anything, someone comes along and sets up the support infrastructure. There is an example of that in the Tusk Development Thread at the moment, with Tomin Hanvaki’s request to ‘formalize’ his family’s investment. *grin* someone has to ‘own’ the low level buildings, and there are very few slum landlords among the PCs. 🙂

    So private guards for houses, stores and even temples, probably live out with their families, and come into work on a shift system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.