Warfare in the Six Kingdoms

Warfare in the six kingdoms is mostly a matter of professional armies - the Armigers - supported by non-Armiger soldiers generally called Yeomen or auxiliaries, who serve either for money or out of hope of being adopted into an Armiger clan. In cases of dire emergency, a general levy of all able-bodied men is called out, but lacking armor and training, they are not very effective and tend to run away at the first opportunity. In contrast, Armigers are well trained, well equipped and well disciplined. Their only failing is tendency to get carried away over questions of honor, so sometimes they charge the enemy when a quick retreat would be better tactics.


The archipelago does not support any riding animals larger than the giant bird called a Qurrock, which is not large enough to carry a heavily armored man. This, together with the importance of shipboard combat, means that Armigers fight exclusively on foot - and usually in the heaviest armor they can afford. Armies usually consist a mixture of heavily-armored pikemen supported by shock troops armed with two-handed swords, heavy axes or polearms, whose job is to break the order of the opposing pikes. This front line is backed up by a second line of missile troops - of Armigers if available or auxiliaries if not. Skirmishers, either on foot or on Qurrocks usually guard the flanks. However, this basic formation is subject to many different variations. Pike and missile troops make up more of the armies of Talarg, Thurbulon and Hallanwell, while the Armigers of Terregor prefer massed charges with sword and axe and the armies of Samadria often include more mounted skirmishers and their armigers tend to be more heavily-armored than those from the west.


Since warfare is mostly a matter between Armigers, in general, it is conducted to rules of conduct. The Armigers are professional fighters who do not live on pillage, so wanton looting, slaying of non-combatants and general destruction is frowned upon, although it does sometimes occur when passions are inflamed - especially during wars of conquest, such as the sacking of Anaria. Often war is announced by a formal declaration although there are countless feuds which have run for generations in the archipelago. It is not unknown for warriors seeking glory to issue challenges to the opposing forces before battle - and taunt them as cowards if no one accepts. If a challenge is accepted, it is settled in the sight of the two armies before they clash and it is considered extremely poor form for the opposing army to shoot down a challenger (that isn't to say it never happens though). Although the Shiplords commanding armies sometimes settle battles by single combat, this is becoming rare and such a challenge is often seen as a sign of military weakness. Nonetheless, rules of conduct or no, most shiplords are well versed in strategy and history, so feigned retreats, ambushes and similar stratagems are frequently used.


Since the landscape of the Six kingdoms is well provided with castles and fortified towns with strong stone walls, siegecraft is an important part of the Armiger's role. Storming by ladder and siege tower or creating a breach by sapping or siege weapons are all well understood. Town sieges are also the only time when the general levy is usually called out, since a town that resists is often given over to pillage. As a rule therefore, a town will only resist if it has a determined garrison of Armigers - but if it does, everybody joins in.