How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

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Havard
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How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by Havard » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:27 pm

Warfare is playing an important part in my current campaign. I am trying to flesh out the armies a little.

A few things:

*This is a human-centric region. Elves, Dwarves, Halflings and other PC races are rare. Spellcasters except Clerics are also rare.

*No fliers: Its not that flying creatures don't exist, but I want to make sure this doesn't end up like Dragonlance or a WWII-style war. I want to focus on land based armies.


THE ARMIES

Lord Kron (Chaotic Evil): Black Knights(Humans), Elite Black Knights with Nightmare Mounts, Evil Clerics, Wraith Commanders, Zombie/Ogre Zombie infantry, Barbarian Mercenary Infantry

King Frostshield (Lawful Neutral): Human Knights, Paladins, War Elephants(!), Human Archers, Human Infantry

King Ironhand (Chaotic Neutral): Human Barbarians, Berserkers, Shield Maidens, Dire Wolves




Mainly I am looking for units etc that could make describing the armies a bit more interesting. I fell in love with the idea of Frostshield's army having Elephants. I feel like Lord Kron's army is the most boring one. Wondering if there is some way I could make it less of a stereotypical evil army (TM).



The system I'm using is 5E, but don't let that keep you from making suggestions from other systems/editions.


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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by Tom Bulls Eye » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:40 pm

One of your problems may arise from the lack of grunts (low level infantry without more appealing names than “cannonfodder”) in Lord Kron’s army. I think, less is more in this respect. Peasants forced into the army, etc. could be useful. By adding grunts, knights and elephants would become worthy foes rather than human riff-raff not quite on par with evil, black knights on nightmare mounts.

I think your barbarian army is well balanced in these respects.

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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:34 pm

How about adding sappers who are low level fighters, but who do things like building bridges, temporary fortifications? You could even have some miners (who fight with pickaxes) who undermine castles and that sort of thing.
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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by timemrick » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:26 am

Tom Bulls Eye wrote:One of your problems may arise from the lack of grunts (low level infantry without more appealing names than “cannonfodder”) in Lord Kron’s army. I think, less is more in this respect. Peasants forced into the army, etc. could be useful. By adding grunts, knights and elephants would become worthy foes rather than human riff-raff not quite on par with evil, black knights on nightmare mounts.
A mob of peasants would also give the evil clerics raw materials for more zombies whenever the miserable rabble die off during battles, forced marches, entrenching, etc.
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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by DM_Kyle » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:59 am

Perhaps, Giant Rats and Rat-Trainers. They can bee skeezy scary looking Guys. Wererats too if you want to get fun.

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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by night_druid » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:21 am

Your basic army elements are infantry, cavalry, artillery (typically in siege situations), and archery. A magical universe adds to or modifies those elements. Perhaps chariot-riding necromancers?
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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by Havard » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:24 pm

Tom Bulls Eye wrote:One of your problems may arise from the lack of grunts (low level infantry without more appealing names than “cannonfodder”) in Lord Kron’s army. I think, less is more in this respect. Peasants forced into the army, etc. could be useful. By adding grunts, knights and elephants would become worthy foes rather than human riff-raff not quite on par with evil, black knights on nightmare mounts.
Good idea. I was thinking large amounts of zombies as grunts, but I might make those more of an auxillary force.

Lord Kron controls a realm that is not all evil. Many regular humans live there, but its just that the leaders are evil. Human soldiers might simply be professional soldiers, or levied peasants.

I think your barbarian army is well balanced in these respects.
Thanks! The barbarian realm is the one we have spent most time with in the campaign so far, so I think I have had more time to develop their society and maybe that's why setting up their army was easier too.


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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by Havard » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:25 pm

Big Mac wrote:How about adding sappers who are low level fighters, but who do things like building bridges, temporary fortifications? You could even have some miners (who fight with pickaxes) who undermine castles and that sort of thing.
Good idea. I think these could be responsible for siege weapons as well.

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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by dulsi » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:40 pm

Havard wrote:Lord Kron controls a realm that is not all evil. Many regular humans live there, but its just that the leaders are evil. Human soldiers might simply be professional soldiers, or levied peasants.
Maybe give the forced soldiers a gruesome means of paying for freedom. Five enemy right hands for freedom. Some soldier might be seen carrying a couple hands on their person. In the middle of battle some might stop to collect hands. Might even have small conflicts break out among soldiers over hands.
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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by Demnwlf » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:08 pm

Have you considered fantasy heraldy from the Dragon mag article to give various unit bonuses.

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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by Havard » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:40 pm

dulsi wrote:
Havard wrote:Lord Kron controls a realm that is not all evil. Many regular humans live there, but its just that the leaders are evil. Human soldiers might simply be professional soldiers, or levied peasants.
Maybe give the forced soldiers a gruesome means of paying for freedom. Five enemy right hands for freedom. Some soldier might be seen carrying a couple hands on their person. In the middle of battle some might stop to collect hands. Might even have small conflicts break out among soldiers over hands.
I like this! :twisted:

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Re: How can I make these fantasy armies more interesting?

Post by Havard » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:52 pm

Demnwlf wrote:Have you considered fantasy heraldy from the Dragon mag article to give various unit bonuses.
Had forgotten about that article, but I remember it now. :)

I have never used it. Maybe its worth taking another look?

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