The role of Karrnathi Warlords

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One of the things I've never fully understood of the Karrnath is how the Warlords exactly fit in the chain of command.
I 've looked in the setting book but is too vague, Forge of War does not touch the subject (and what touches is pretty dumb... I'm no military expert but a nation fully dedicated to the art of war and with a Military Academy wich "Lacks immagination" and never goes beyond "Gather as many troop as you can ad go from A to B killing everything between" is... Improbable?).

So, what exactly a Warlord do? And what are his powers? It seems like a general, but Karrnath already has generals (actually trained for their job, even!). It looks like a really redundant position (and maybe that was intended, Kaius does not want them after all) that slows down the army... But is not clear...

I humbly ask for enlightenment!
The Karnathi warlords are nobles, who own and rule large estates. Since Karnath operates on a feudal system the warlords are most likely in charge of recruiting (and paying for) most of Karnaths army. The generals you mention are recruited from the warlords, just like in Europe for a long period of history officers would always be recruited form the nobility.

I don't find it at all improbable that a nation in which discipline is highly valued and people are trained to fight and lead an army in a certain way thinking outside the box (i.e. imagination) is highly discouraged.

Leekanh, I, too, have found the excuses for Karrnath's military underperformance in the Last War to be very much lacking. Simply saying, 'oh, they're military men who can't think outside the box or adapt to anything' not only shows increadible ignorence of the military mindset, but also demonstrates ignorence of warfighting in general. Armies that adapt succeed; those that don't, fail. We can tell that Galifar was a successful army; they conquered, effectively, a continent, and held onto it for almost 900 years (how long did the Roman Republic/Empire stick around? 500 years?). Granted, there was no major unified external threat, but it is almost a certainty that other rebellions occured, and were crushed by the Galifaran Army. With the number of monsterous creatures in Droaam and Darguun, we can also assume that the Eberron equivilent of barbarians must have massed at least a few times, only to be crushed by the Army. Nevertheless, if the Galifaran Army did not promote flexibility and initiative, they would not have a 900 year old empire. A large part of the success of the Galifaran Army, in my opinion, is due to the establishment of a formalized military educational system, in Rekkenmark Academy.

Rekkenmark Academy, in my view, is not only an undergraduate-level officer training school (akin to West Point or Sandhurst), but it is also a staff college/graduate-level training school (akin to the US Army's Command and General Staff College or War College).

The combined accumulated knowledge of the Galifar Empire would be stored in the annals of Rekkenmark to be studied by both cadets and officers. Those officers would then be posted out to wherever they serve, and they would bring with them the ethos of Rekkenmark. When the Last War started, it is certainly quite possible that many would elect to serve their home rather than their empire; during the American Civil War, Robert E Lee decided to fight for his home state of Virginia rather than fight for the Union. However, other people would go the other way, and serve whoever they thought was the rightful claimant. Using the same analogy, Winfield Scott, a Virginian, elected to fight for the Union.

Now, I will admit that it is more than possible that the bulk of the staff officers of the Galifaran Army elected to serve their homes. However, the simple fact is that Karrnath was probably disproportionatly represented, both among enlisted and officers, in the Army before it splintered. This is true both for cultural reasons (Karrns have a long military tradition) and for geographical reasons (Rekkenmark is IN KARRNATH).

So, more trained officers would probably remain with Karrnath. This means, at first glance, that Karrnathi units would have higher cohesion, better communications, command, and control, and...well, would just be better. However, that does not factor in the one thing that everybody always forgets:

Logistics.

Karrnath, by having more trained officers than the other nations, would, by logical extension, have more staff officers, and more of those officers for support roles. Of these, logistics is the one that would give Karrnath the decisive edge. Having excellent front-line troops is certainly a plus for any military force; however, having those excellent front-line troops be able to move (strategically and operationally) quickly, have abundant supplies, and a good medical aid/soldier replacement system means that the military force in question is exponentially more dangerous and capeable.

Now, to get this rant back on track, we come to the Warlords. Again, I have never been satisfied with the notion that the Warlords were, "too busy arguing over what order to take over the rest of the world," to again borrow a phrase from one of the Last War Grognards. Certainly, command indecision and crappy prioritization would doom a war effort (see: Germany, World War II), but given how much of a Chessmaster (and a badass) Kaius I was, I simply can't see him wallowing in indecision while his Warlords argued over who to monkeystomp first. Certainly, I can see political power plays between the Warlords affecting the course of the war; Gallipoli was one of Churchill's power plays, and look how that ended up. A couple of months ago, I asked How did Karrnath not steamroll everybody else? The best part of that thread was a tag-team by MrCelsius and Madfox 11. To quote:

MrCelsius:
 Sounds like a question for the DM.  If you feel that it's an incongruity -- I'd have to reexamine, but I don't recall it ever jumping out to me as such -- then it's a great opportunity to make hay, don't you think?  Rather than a question meant to hold the setting accountable, treat it as a question meant to get the players intrigued.

Make a point of having some sage NPC share in an enthusiastic and hushed tone that one of the great unknown secrets of the Last War (among the handful of historians educated enough on matters to see the big picture, of course) is why Karrnath didn't win despite clearly having the means and the wherewithal.

Have the academic explain excitedly that there's no string of defeats, no political disadvantages turned against them, nothing in the known history to explain Karrnath's failure to take the continent.  Whatever hindered Karrnath enough to keep it from conquering Khorvaire, it was not only indescribably powerful, but utterly invisible.

Pause for the players' breathless silence, then just try and keep them from chasing the slightest lead on the subject. 


Madfox11:
And than have that sage turn up dead due to a mysterious accident. See how paranoid the players become 



I thought it was beautiful.

Anyways. That was a long bloody rant; hopefully, this will revitilize the Last War Grognard to waste far too much time debating about a war that didn't happen.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

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57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
I always love a good rant, expecially one about Karrnath :p

Needless to say, i completely agree. As a general rule, militaristic nations/empires, even those with a focus on discipline and tradition, need to advance and re-shape their tactics to survive. Alexander the Great was an innovator, Napoleon was an innovator, pre-WW Germany was an innovator. Romans re-invented naval warfare just to win against Chartago!

So, in my mind, the only thing that maaaaybe can justify a sub-par perfomance of Karrnath in the Last War are the logistics, their greatest strenght. It's impossibile to mantain such a big army for extended periods without an equally great system of logistics (expecially since Karrnath is always on the verge of famine...), so in the Last War bad crops and illness, plus an extended war (for me the Karrnath uses ultra-aggressive blitzkrieg-like tactics... Makes sense given their situation. Long war means even less food) greatly weakened logistics and consequently weakened the army.
Still, it's not enough... Probably Erandis Vol is somewath involved with some nasty ritual. Even the Karrnath can't be THAT unlucky...

Anyway! Let's not lose focus. Warlords still seems to be an extraneous and parallel entity to the army... The Feudal system really does not apply to the Karrnath army, with the modern conscription, full-fledged military career and formal military education. From the books seems like warlords are one rank above generals, so they have more responsability, yet the rank is ereditary. One talented soldier can ascend to the rank of general, but cannot be a warlord. A warlord is a warlord from day one, even if he is inexperienced or has no talent. To mud the water even more, a warlord can be a general, then he is a general-warlord... But thas means that a warlord can pursuit a military career from the bottom, even if he is the top-rank officer at the same time... Too much confusion for my tastes @_@

Really, why Kaius didn't just kill all of them Night of the Long Knives-style? It's the most rational thing to do, really (nobody would miss them!)!
For my campaign I imagined that they have just representative powers, nothing really important, but are stupid enough to manage to screw things up even with little authority... Not that i'm satisfied, but at least is something...

Anyway! Let's not lose focus. Warlords still seems to be an extraneous and parallel entity to the army... The Feudal system really does not apply to the Karrnath army, with the modern conscription, full-fledged military career and formal military education. From the books seems like warlords are one rank above generals, so they have more responsability, yet the rank is ereditary. One talented soldier can ascend to the rank of general, but cannot be a warlord. A warlord is a warlord from day one, even if he is inexperienced or has no talent. To mud the water even more, a warlord can be a general, then he is a general-warlord... But thas means that a warlord can pursuit a military career from the bottom, even if he is the top-rank officer at the same time... Too much confusion for my tastes @_@



I'm currently reading War and Peace, which for those that are not aware is set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. At the time most Russian officers were recruited from the nobility. Tolstoy remarks on the fact that there were two rank structures in the army, whereby a lieutenant could effectively outrank a general by virtue of his 'civilian' noble title / influence. There is also a scene where one division (or battalion or whatever the unit size was) spends a month or so marching around trying to avoid another Russian unit, even burning bridges etc. to hinder them, purely because the two commanding officers were bickering about who should be in charge (and before someone points out that the Karrns had Kaius, the Russians had a Czar). It's not hard to imagine similar occurances within the Karnnathi Army, though of course the Russians (AFAIK) didn't have an equivalent to Rekkenmark.

Anyway! Let's not lose focus. Warlords still seems to be an extraneous and parallel entity to the army... The Feudal system really does not apply to the Karrnath army, with the modern conscription, full-fledged military career and formal military education. From the books seems like warlords are one rank above generals, so they have more responsability, yet the rank is ereditary. One talented soldier can ascend to the rank of general, but cannot be a warlord. A warlord is a warlord from day one, even if he is inexperienced or has no talent. To mud the water even more, a warlord can be a general, then he is a general-warlord... But thas means that a warlord can pursuit a military career from the bottom, even if he is the top-rank officer at the same time... Too much confusion for my tastes @_@



I'm currently reading War and Peace, which for those that are not aware is set in Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. At the time most Russian officers were recruited from the nobility. Tolstoy remarks on the fact that there were two rank structures in the army, whereby a lieutenant could effectively outrank a general by virtue of his 'civilian' noble title / influence. There is also a scene where one division (or battalion or whatever the unit size was) spends a month or so marching around trying to avoid another Russian unit, even burning bridges etc. to hinder them, purely because the two commanding officers were bickering about who should be in charge (and before someone points out that the Karrns had Kaius, the Russians had a Czar). It's not hard to imagine similar occurances within the Karnnathi Army, though of course the Russians (AFAIK) didn't have an equivalent to Rekkenmark.



Well, that's a starting point!
It's not perfect since Rekkenmark and conscription should take care of all the officer needs, but on the other hand the Warlord system is not liked that much...
I can see it as a sort of obsolete tradition that only survived the Last War because Kaius was too busy being (un)dead to take care for...

Now let's delve into russian history (yay!). 
I always had the impression that the troubles of Karrnath fell into two categories:

1.  Fighting wars on multiple fronts A LOT.
2.  Being a smaller nation with smaller resources.

As far as #1, they were fighting against Cyre, the Valenar, Talenta, and Aundair, and Thrane pretty much throughout the entire Last War.  Not to mention Lhazaar and Darguun taking pot-shots at them.  They might have had the better military, but they were also the most stretched out military.

As far as #2, during the Last War, the Mror Holds asserted their independence, leaving Karrnath with VERY limited natural resources.  According to the DMGs of both 3.5 and 4e, Karrnath was also battered by plagues and famine, which are considered most of the reason why they needed to resort to undead troops in the first place.

Put on top of that that they need to import most of their grains from other nations due to the harsh weather.

To be honest, it does bear a striking similarity to Soviet Russia; they seem to be plagued by the same problems: lack of resources, two "power structures" within the official power structure.  Add the "fighting warrs on two fronts all the time" of Germany, and you pretty much have Karnnath.

As far as the Warlords go, 3.5 stated that they were basicaly feudal leaders of regions.  Think like Dukes and Archdukes and the like. 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
The comparison with Russia does fail a bit since it was hardly a lack of resources that caused it trouble. Russia has ample of resources and it is one of the reason why in the end they did win the war. What it lacked was the organization. It was mismanagement that cause the trouble. Stalin's paranoid tendency to kill able-bodied innovative officers and keeping his own men divided to keep in power was what caused the problems. Something similar might very well have happened in Karnnath. Something that might have started even before the war. The last king of Galifar was paranoid. Little detail is given on his rule, but after 900 years of relatively peaceful succession (which is rediculously long, in RL a dynasty in general tended to last about 200 to 300 years) civil war errupted. This does suggest that the powerstructure of the nation was damaged. For all we know, most generals in Galifar's army might have come from Karnath. If the last king had a big cleansing just before his death, Karnath would have been hit harder. Its feudal structure might also have made it more vulnerable, leading to internal strife. Add the Blood of Vol, who might very well have been the cause of some of the trouble, and it is really not that hard to find solid explanations for what happened.

Well, that's a starting point!
It's not perfect since Rekkenmark and conscription should take care of all the officer needs, but on the other hand the Warlord system is not liked that much...
I can see it as a sort of obsolete tradition that only survived the Last War because Kaius was too busy being (un)dead to take care for...

Now let's delve into russian history (yay!). 



Just because there's conscription doesn't mean that any old peasant can become an officer. I wouldn't be surprised that one has to be of noble blood (i.e. a Warlord or child thereof) in order to be admitted to Rekkenmark. My take is that the Warlords and the army officers are highly interwoven in this way.

In addition to your question on how the Warlords fit into the chain of command, don't forget that the Warlords have a lot of power outside of the army, probably ruling their estates with a large degree of autonomy (feudal system after all).
Something similar might very well have happened in Karnnath. Something that might have started even before the war. The last king of Galifar was paranoid. Little detail is given on his rule, but after 900 years of relatively peaceful succession (which is rediculously long, in RL a dynasty in general tended to last about 200 to 300 years) civil war errupted. This does suggest that the powerstructure of the nation was damaged. For all we know, most generals in Galifar's army might have come from Karnath. If the last king had a big cleansing just before his death, Karnath would have been hit harder. Its feudal structure might also have made it more vulnerable, leading to internal strife. Add the Blood of Vol, who might very well have been the cause of some of the trouble, and it is really not that hard to find solid explanations for what happened.



Madfox, you're a genius.

Frankly, that sort of playing the Warlords against each other makes perfect sense for a chessmaster like Kaius. Please, expand on this idea. I think this is the key to the problems with the Warlords.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
The Karnathi warlords are nobles, who own and rule large estates. Since Karnath operates on a feudal system the warlords are most likely in charge of recruiting (and paying for) most of Karnaths army. The generals you mention are recruited from the warlords, just like in Europe for a long period of history officers would always be recruited form the nobility.


Just to address the OP's original question, this is how the warlords fit into the chain of command. Karrnath is a feudal system; the warlords assemble and maintain the armies; generals and such will generally also be warlords (though given that the warlord has the ongoing duty to maintain the civic structure and defense of a particular region, this isn't always the case). If you look to A Game of Thrones, families like the Starks, Arryns, and Lannisters would be the Warlords to Kaius' Baratheon king. The children of noble families train at Rekkenmark in part with the knowledge that should they rise to lead their house they will have to serve as warlord.

Simply saying, 'oh, they're military men who can't think outside the box or adapt to anything' not only shows increadible ignorence of the military mindset, but also demonstrates ignorence of warfighting in general.


I agree. I have never considered this to be a weakness of Karrnath. Of the Five Nations, I have always believed that Karrnathi forces are the best soldiers with all that implies. Breland has a number of exceptional and inspirational individuals that shine in ways the Rekkenmark system doesn't necessarily encourage; but this produces a handful of effective units, not an overall army that can match Karrnathi tacticians and soldiers in the field. As I see it:

Karrnath has the best soldiers and generals. They are the best at analyzing and adapting to military scenarios. They continue to produce exceptional officers through Rekkenmark training. Their arcane magic doesn't match Aundair but their war magic program is building. Handicaps include the famines and plagues (which may well have been set in motion by Erandis Vol to create dependency); lack of religious unity; and political rivalries between families (potentially exploited by the Dreaming Dark or Emerald Claw). While Breland has always had a stronger industrial base, Karrnathi smiths have always produced superior arms and armor - but the shifting balance with the Mror Holds has further shaken Karrnathi infrastructure. One of the key points is that Karrnath never had a chance to have a fair fight - whether due to the Dreaming Dark, Emerald Claw, Mror, or just bad luck, the playing field hasn't been even.

Thrane has the strongest divine powerbase of any of the Five Nations. This produces exceptional morale and unity of purpose. While they lack the widespread military history of Karrnath, the militant nature of their faith results in strong peasant militias (especially archers) led by an elite Templar corps... and remember, while the Karrnathi soldiers were the ones dealing with barbarians and rebelions, those were less frequent than the Templars hunting down supernatural threats - prior to the Last War the biggest documented conflict is the Silver Purge. However, setting aside the Purge these are typically small unit operations. Strong presence of divine magic also provides tacticians with access to divination and other things that help offset Karrnath's superior mundane skill. So Thrane lacks the large-scale discipline and logistics of Karrnath, but has great morale, the most widespread divine support in its military forces, and a number of elite units. Like Karrnath, it has no strong tradition of espionage. Note that PC-classed individuals aren't common so it's not like divine casters should be found in every unit - but they are considerably more common than in the forces of any other nation.

Aundair has exceptional arcane power but minimal manpower, especially with the secession of the Eldeen Reaches. It lacks religious unity (its followers of the Flame are among the most zealous, though fortunately this means they don't all support the Keeper), and its military and espionage forces are both evolving... but as the arcane techniques of the nation are being integrated from the ground up, in time they could overshadow the others despite the limited numbers. As with Thrane, it's not like every unit would have arcane firepower, but magewrights, war rituals, and similar techniques are more common in Aundair than elsewhere; if Aurala has a hope of claiming the crown, it will be through arcane superiority.

Breland has the greatest numbers and the strongest industrial base. Overall, its soldiers don't match either Thrane or Karrnath, but you have people who break the mold and inspirational leaders who produce unique and exceptional units. Breland also has always had the edge in espionage. Rekkenmark was in Karrnath; the Arcane Congress in Aundair; Flamekeep in Thrane... but the King's Citadel was in Breland. This was originally the espionage arm for the entire kingdom, and there were agents who returned to their own kingdoms; the founders of the Royal Eyes trained with the Citadel back in the day. But Breland had the majority of these agents, and the infrastructure of the Citadel. Basically, Karrnath has always had better soldiers... while Breland has always had better ASSASSINS. Honor isn't Breland's greatest strength.

These are brief thoughts off the top of my head and may not match canon (certainly not Forge of War, which I have some issues with), and I need to get back to wedding work. I think that the work other people have done on the subject is excellent, and as always, take what works for you!

For all we know, most generals in Galifar's army might have come from Karnath. If the last king had a big cleansing just before his death, Karnath would have been hit harder. Its feudal structure might also have made it more vulnerable, leading to internal strife. Add the Blood of Vol, who might very well have been the cause of some of the trouble, and it is really not that hard to find solid explanations for what happened.


I completely agree. The majority of Jarot's generals should have been Karrns, and given his (Quori-induced?) paranoia it's highly likely that he may have taken this out in unfortunate ways.
Keith,

Just want to express how I really like how you add question marks here and there to give the whole idea so much more value as a DM. I love it
Just want to express how I really like how you add question marks here and there to give the whole idea so much more value as a DM. I love it


And hey, I just mentioned the obvious ones. The Chamber or the Lords of Dust could easily be pulling some strings. The madness of King Jarot could be because of his connections to a Khyber cult, and he could rise again as the possessed vessel of a daelkyr. Whatever works for you!
Madfox, you're a genius.

Frankly, that sort of playing the Warlords against each other makes perfect sense for a chessmaster like Kaius. Please, expand on this idea. I think this is the key to the problems with the Warlords.

I can hardly claim that idea as mine ;) When somebody in this thread pointed at Sovjet Union WWII I just remembered one of the biggest problems of Russia's army at the start of WWII and that it actually would have made a lot of sense if it had happened to Galifar/Karnath as well. Similarly, Morgrum pointed out that in older eras various officer rivalries actually did hurt the overall war effords and from that point it is only a small leap to consider how that impact a system like Karnath with its Warlords. All you need to do is expand some of the plots in Sharp, War and Peace and various other literature/movie shows set in that era. They contain ample of examples of military officers who are highly inapt, but in a position of power due to family manipulations and whose actions costs a lot of soldiers their life.

Well, having Jarot purge the Galifarian officer corps before his death adds an interesting new angle in. I have never considered how to work Jarot and his madness into a metaplot, but...I started to think about it now. Adds wonderous possibilities, especially if the LoD are players.

Another thing is that in WWII, Stalin played Konev and Zhukov against each other; the Reichstag was on the border between their two armies. He turned it into a race between the two by demarcating that boundry.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
If I may resurrect this thread about Karrnath (appropriate, don't you think?) and explain how I handle the role of Karrn warlords in the Karrnathi military.

I never particularly liked the feudal feel very much, at least not in terms of them holding lands on behalf of the King as in a medieval state. This has a alot to do with the fact that I use revised population estimates for Khorvaire, in order to give it a more realistic density (and should be understood in light of that).

The way I have been running it, Karrnath has (at least officially) a standing royal army, and these warlord families are actually given (and inherit) command positions over Karrnath's standing formations in a manner similar to feudal rights over land.
Game on, Jaster!

That certainly is one way to approach it. Now, are you saying that the ir'Dude family would have command of the Eighth Army throughout Karrnathi history or the like?

One of the other things I've always done with Karrnath is break its intelligence collection apparati up even more than the norm. For example, the Office of Naval Intelligence (which i put in there just because of the acroynm) is separate, and under a different Warlord/general, than the Office of Military Intelligence, which is separate from the Office of Internal Security, and so on.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
Well, actually, the model I've been using for Karrnath (and subsequently the Galifaran Royal Army as Galifar I was a Karrn) is the Roman legion.

The way I envisioned it, the various Karrn warlords would be given command over a legion (or two, or three, or however many depending on their rank, with the right to delegate that as in sub-infeudation). As Galifar took control over the Five Nations, what were (originally) the legions of Karrnath were sent out to garrison his new empire, and over their 900 year history their role was primarily to garrison the (actual) frontiers against monsters and bandits. Each legion would serve as it's own entirely separate military command structure, and would raise auxiliary regiments as-needed locally (so, in reality, though the paper strength of a 'legion' was approximately 5,000 men as in a standard Roman legion, it's actual strength could vary with the needs of that particular region; a legion could, in effect, be anywhere from the paper strength of 5,000 on up to any conceivable number because of auxiliary regiments).

So, in the time of the Kingdom of Galifar, across the whole empire there were probably a few dozen legions, and this "royal army" (in fact way too decentralized for that label to actually apply) would be a separate "feudal" structure to the Governor-Princes (a kind of insurance policy as well, in case any of the King-Emperor's children got the bright idea to raise armies against him). I imagine these Margraves (which evokes the idea of a March Warden), when the Last War began, would have been obliged to choose sides. Consequently, the initial fighting forces of the Five Nations were probably formed by whatever legions happened to side with them in the beginning.

In any case, I imagine this idea would continue in modern Karrnath. Whether any of the other nations adopted this model I don't know. I imagine they all would have emulated their own ancient military forms once it became obvious that they were in it for the long haul.
Huh. Thats an interesting tack.

I always figured that Galifar, functioning as a feudal monarchy, raised and stationed units from its populace as a whole. Their officers would be predominantly Karrnathi, but that's beside the point. I also envisioned the Governor-Princes as really not being in the army's chain of command at all, but able to raise and train militias (who, by default, were poorer trained and equipped than the regular army). Of course, that doesn't explain who the regular army went with on the start of the Last War.....unless, of course, the army commanders were co-opted.

Conspiracy! 

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
One of the things I've never fully understood of the Karrnath is how the Warlords exactly fit in the chain of command.



I assumed that Warlords exerted control as Generals whenever possible. Remember Wellington was a Duke.

I 've looked in the setting book but is too vague, Forge of War does not touch the subject (and what touches is pretty dumb... I'm no military expert but a nation fully dedicated to the art of war and with a Military Academy wich "Lacks immagination" and never goes beyond "Gather as many troop as you can ad go from A to B killing everything between" is... Improbable?).



It's not necessarilly a false idea. Take WW1 for instance. The biggest flaw there wasn't that the generals were incompetent, it was that they were attempting to fight the war the way they were used to fighting...and they paid for that.
Remember Wellington was a Duke.

The history buff in me has to nitpick, but wrong example ;) He was a general before he became a duke. The title was a reward for his service as a military man. He started as a simple ensign in the army: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Wellesley,_....

In my mind the warlords position in the chain of command depends highly on the lord in question and how much soldiers he provided to the particular army he joined. Most would probably be colonels, and lower ranked generals. While his influence on battle tactics depends greatly on the number of soldiers he provided.
Good spot, Madfox. The Iron Duke recieved political power as a result of his battlefield performance.

Now, I wonder to what extent the reverse is true in Karrnath...after all, it was nauseatingly common in the 18th and 19th centuries for prospective officers to purchase their comissions without any military training whatsoever. 

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
Good spot, Madfox. The Iron Duke recieved political power as a result of his battlefield performance.

Now, I wonder to what extent the reverse is true in Karrnath...after all, it was nauseatingly common in the 18th and 19th centuries for prospective officers to purchase their comissions without any military training whatsoever. 



Of course, the nobility in RL was formed of people who were made nobles because it was in exchange for military service. It's quite possible also they went out of their way to keep a Glass Ceiling in place.

I.e. the nobility is allowed to be trained as officers and certain nobles will be trained to be comissioned. There's nothing that says the schools for officers were open to commoners and that the kind of training given to low-level nobility would be the same for non.

One of the early plots of the Sharpe movies (based on the novels for people unfamilar with them) is lowborn Sharpe getting comissioned. What do his commoner soldiers react to this? Disgust for the fact that a man who isn't a proper noble being put in charge of them like they're not good enough for it.

Their complete lack of respect for him based on his meritous rise to officership rises to plotting to gut him.
How I handled Karrnath in the Last War was Prior-to-the-Last War they were pretty much where young noblemen were sent to learn how to kill people. Officers were given different schools and upward mobility more or less didn't exist as you'd properly think of it.

A Knight learned how to be the best knight he could be, a Duke learned how to properly common troops, and so on. The idea of "promotion" didn't really exist prior to the End of the Last War because the concept of putting a lowborn in charge of noble troops would be unthinkable to a proper Karn mindset.

The mindset wasn't MILITARY in that but classcist. Likewise, they expected a certain degree of decorum since the "Rules of War" were based on dealing with rebels and internal disputes rather than the wholesale Civil War afflicting the land. In my games, I also ruled that roughly a quarter of the militaries of the land likewise didn't really come to the aid of their monarchs. At least one or two Karrn Dukes/Warlords served the "proper" monarch of Galifar in Princess Mishann.

Their troops followed their Duke over their King. Likewise, there were Thrane and other soldiers. Karrn spent a lot of its early military advantage putting down it's own wayward vassals. Which wasa persistent problem as the Last War (in my games, again) was never so much about The Five Nations versus Each Other as much as the nobility playing the Game of Thrones. Loyal Silver Flame members turned over their towns to Thranish armies (especially in Aundair) while Anti-Volist Karrns did popular uprisings for the Host.

No sooner did anyone get a substantial military advantage than SOMETHING went wrong to ruin it. The Karrns never really had the kind of advantage people think they should have because that would require them to be thinking of military strategy with a united army, promotion based on merit, and a willingness to give up their privileges to see Karrnath win.

(When, really, Queen Aurala's mother or whover might be offering them expanded lands to turn on Kaius)

The Last war did a lot to modernize the armies by breaking down a lot of the lesser nobility's power while strengthening the major nobility (save in Breland).
Likewise, they expected a certain degree of decorum since the "Rules of War" were based on dealing with rebels and internal disputes rather than the wholesale Civil War afflicting the land.



The thing is that, according to Forge of War, the bulk of the Five Nations had a military doctrine that espoused small, maneuverable units. To me, this suggests that the military largely served a constabulary role, and didn't engage in large-scale operations as much as it operated against small foes, perhaps bandits, bands of monsters, or (small numbers of) rebels.

In my games, I also ruled that roughly a quarter of the militaries of the land likewise didn't really come to the aid of their monarchs. At least one or two Karrn Dukes/Warlords served the "proper" monarch of Galifar in Princess Mishann.



Which would be yet another reason why Karrnath didn't steamroll everyone. I'm stealing this.

No sooner did anyone get a substantial military advantage than SOMETHING went wrong to ruin it. The Karrns never really had the kind of advantage people think they should have because that would require them to be thinking of military strategy with a united army, promotion based on merit, and a willingness to give up their privileges to see Karrnath win.



To what degree were the civil rights of British civilians expanded during the Napoleonic Wars? I'm honestly not sure.

The Last war did a lot to modernize the armies by breaking down a lot of the lesser nobility's power while strengthening the major nobility (save in Breland).



I can definitely see the lesser nobility becoming heavily attritted, and thus necessitating drawing officers from the ranks of the commoners (though probably only the well-to-do ones). I'm not so sure about strengthening the power of the major nobility, though.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.

If I may throw our way of doing things in.

We have the Warlord system as an artifact of pre-Galifar times. Before the Empire, all the human nations had more of a feudal military system, as in Europe's early middle ages. Local lords controlled the land, and then raised their own military units from the denizens of that land to create an army when it was needed. Military rank was then a function of birth, the number of men you managed would be linked to the number of men you could muster. In this system, the lords might function as mini-sovereigns, particularly in the more far flung portions of the kingdoms

Once Galifar united the kingdoms, things changed. Karrnath obviously produced the strongest military officers for a variety of reasons, so there became a demand for Karrnathi and then for Karrn-educated professional officers throughout the unified military. Due to this pressure for a professionalized officer corps, the role of local lords was deemphasized in the command structure, unless they set about becoming military officers themselves. To this day, nobles have a recognizably honorary role in military matters, but mostly are concerned with the management of their lands. Even after the sundering of Galifar, the lessons of a professional military remained, and the other nations strove to create their own professional officers rather than fall back on nobles.

The one place that military nobles never withered was Karrnath. Being the epicenter of military strategy to begin with, the nation never felt the zeal of the convert like the other four nations did. The Warlords were originally the top military commanders of Karrnath, since they were the ultimate landlords who would be drawing up armies. Now, the actual military control of Karrnath is professionalized in the hands of Rekkenmark graduates, some of whom are not doubt Warlords or the children of warlords. Still, the tradition of the Warlord's military role lives on in ceremony, for instance their title. In all other nations, the notion of a Warlord has been civilianized by a transition to Duke.

Still, in the remote east of Karrnath, Warlords still hold a lot of sway, and many still rule their fiefs as pocket sovereigns, indebted to Kaius but ultimately able to ignore him if they choose. Throughout the rest of the nations, regions are not remote enough or conservative enough to fall back into this sort of rule. We have definitely included a lack of control over the Warlords as part of the reason Karrnath could not succeed (the first time out  .) We never suggested Warlords openly colluding with other nations, but I bet we will in the future.