Reading this Men at Arms
thread, some of my issues with BattleLust (thank you, Noble Knight Games
- came in a nice sturdy folder and all) have crystallized. Hoping to use BL rules with HMG in a partly military campaign, I need to sort them out - so I'm writing my ideas down here and hopefully y'all will have feedback or just thread-links for me. (I know a lot of this has been discussed here extensively.)
There's all the little things - maybe switching bastard swords for broadswords, more kite shields for knights, dropping the shortbows, getting rid of "ring armour" (leather is already a slightly better cloth in HMG), etc., I'm all right with battleswords and warhammers as the rare weapons of impressive or heroic individuals. The big thing is armour and the General Armour Classes (GAC), along with troop types (somewhat tied to them).ARMOUR
My Hârn is going to be more strictly High Medieval than Late Medieval/Renaissance, so pretty much the only plate armour I'm including is helms (half, three-quarter, and full/great for a half-helm with a faceplate). This means GAC4 (the top tier) won't be reserved for "mail & plate" or full plate. All mail is backed by quilt (heavier armour) or cloth (I'm considering making it AQ+1 cloth to represent thicker material).
GAC4, super-heavy (BL: "plate & mail", HMG: "mail + quilt + some plate")
The very best knightly armour on Hârn, for Kings, Earls, and Barons (cf. the Crusader knight
). Mail from head to toe, with coif (optional ventail/camail), long-sleeve hauberk, mittens, and chausses, with a long-sleeve gambeson and quilt cuisses, and a half-helm or full helm (either half + faceplate or a great helm). The Khuzan High Guard will definitely wear something like this.
GAC3, heavy (BL: "mail/scale", HMG: "mail/heavy scale/etc.")
The more common knightly fashion: plate helm, mail coif, hauberk, optional short chausses, quilt gambeson. That Norman knight.
Basically, padded mail down to the elbows and knees. Padded scale could also qualify. I'm not sure if the hauberk + chausses version is different enough from my GAC4, though.
GAC2, medium (BL: "ring/bezant", HMG: "ring/light scale/etc.")
Plate half helm over a quilt or mail+leather/cloth coif, either a gambeson, or a mail byrnie over leather/cloth, or a scale hauberk by itself. This would also cover the Orbaalese style of a short hauberk or byrnie (mail or scale) with a Vendel-style helm, possibly with a mail coif or "veil", possibly with greaves (plate or kurbul) on the legs.
GAC1, light, (BL & HMG: "leather/quilt/fur")
Quilt and ring are actually pretty close in values (with different strengths), so this is the tier for quilt gambesons or ring hauberks, with a plate halfhelm or a coif of some sort. Also wearing loads of fur, layered with itself and leather.
GAC0 unarmoured (BL & HMG: "ordinary clothing")
Clothing (including leather), and incidental armour without full coverage. No gambeson or hauberk or byrnie of any sort. A helmet by itself, possibly.
Shields: I think shields should play into armour, especially as they have no real place in the HMG quick combat rules (BL rules do account for their improved defense though, so it's a little awkward). I suppose GAC2-4 might all be downgraded by 1 stage without a shield, and GAC0 could become GAC1 with a shield and a helm. What do y'all think?TROOP TYPES
Troop types have two main dimensions: first, it's a shorthand for the individual warrior's equipment and training; and second, it's a description of the use they are put to in the battlefield (and hence their tactics and training).
"Medium foot/cavalry" is pretty much a gaming thing, but I'm fine with keeping it; the function is the same as for heavy foot/cavalry (close order), but it implies less quality of men and arms.
"Shortbow" are right out, since short bows were a steppe horse archer weapon, pretty much; foot archers will be using longbows.
"Unarmoured foot/horse" are unnecessary, since that's a strictly GAC-based definition to me: they fight as light foot/horse anyway.
So, I get:Heavy Horse (HH):
Knights and heavily-equipped older squires in GAC3-4 with shields (kite/knight), riding chargers (maybe the rare destrier for Earls and Barons), armed with lances and broadswords/hand axes/maces. Fight in close order, used for cavalry charges to break engaged or disrupted infantry.Heavy Foot (HF):
Dismounted knights, the heavier Ivinian retainers or huscarls, Khuzan High Guard. Close-order infantry in GAC3-4 armour with shields, spears or battle axes, and broadswords/hand axes/maces. Close order.Medium Horse (MH):
Heavy huscarls and retainers, Thardic patricians, poor knights and squires, or some mounted men-at-arms, in GAC2-3 with shields (kite/knight), riding rounceys or coursers, armed with lances or spears and broadswords/hand axes/maces. Fight mostly in close order, but can fight in open order (as light horse), supporting the heavy cavalry (creating mixed units).Medium Foot (MF):
Dismounted poor knights and squires, legionnaires, huscarls, and most men-at-arms, in GAC2-3 with shields, armed with spears or battle axes or pole-arms and broadswords/falchions/hand axes/maces. In sieges, will use longbows. Close order.Light Horse (LH):
Huscarls, poor squires, or men-at-arms and yeomen (or the warriors of barbarian horse tribes), in GAC0-2, riding rounceys, armed with spears, broadswords/falchions/hand axes/maces, sometimes roundshields, sometimes javelins or shortbows. Fight in open order, as skirmishers harassing heavier and slower enemy units, or riding down broken and routing formations.Light Infantry (LI):
Yeomen, militia (Thardic auxilia), vikings, and poorly-equipped men-at-arms or mercenaries, as well as tribal warriors. Wear GAC0-1, armed with spears or polearms, maybe roundshields, clubs/falchions/hand axes/shortswords, occasional longbows in sieges. Mostly close order - shield wall or schiltron, but most barbarians fight with unconventional guerilla warfare.Longbow (B? LB?):
Yeomen, men-at-arms, and legionnaire archers, rare militias (lower skill), many tribal warriors. Wear GAC0-2, armed with longbows, maybe bucklers, clubs/falchions/hand axes/maces/shortswords. Still fielded as a small minority in Hârn.
So Kaldor, for instance, would field a lot of HH and MH (knights and squires), some LH (men-at-arms/"sergeants" for patrols, particularly in the Marches), no permanent HF (but dismounted knights would be HF), some MF (a minority for manors, probably a plurality for permanent garrisons), a whole lot of LF (yeomen, men-at-arms, mercenaries, guards, and almost all the militia) and some LB (some yeomen and garrison guards).
There's the special cases, of course: the gargun actually have to use shortbows, but their archers are functionally LB (with shorter range and a propensity to turn into frothing LF); the rest are probably LF regardless of armour, because their temperament makes them unsuitable for close order (I suppose the gargu-khanu might manage it). The Sindarin have their rangers (LB), infantry (MF), lancers (LH), and knights (MH). The superior armor of the Khuzan might merit a +1 increase to GAC for most coverages (GACs 2-4 mostly), but the troop types remain the same.
ETA: I don't think I stated it explicitly, but I am operating here with the assumption that troop types are pretty fluid, especially in the tactical/strategic sense. Probably most importantly, MF or LF with horses could operate as MH (close order) or as LH (open order, spears), MF or LF with bows are now LB. This particularly means that the MF/LF garrison of a keep or castle can "project force" mounted (most patrols would be on horseback) and defend the castle with bows in a siege. Obviously, skill levels are another matter, but that will be accounted for in BattleLust rules by Team Iniatitive (which I'll be porting from HMG) and weapon skills, and whatever system I end up using for battles of 50+ participants will probably either be abstract enough to either focus entirely on function (they're "good enough" and that's it) or will include troop quality (excellent LH may be only passable LF and poor LB).