Symbols, Flags, and Control SystemsEdit
Imperial military formations use pennants, banners, and flags to mark commanders and to provide a visual marker for troop movements. All are roughly similar, based around a 10-14' thin pole with a crossbar near the end. The pennant, banner, or flag (called a color) hangs vertically from the crossbar. An metal emblem such as a legion identifier sits atop the crossbar. Colors are carried by the senior Tay Kunzo of the company, regiment, or legion.
Pennants are the smallest marker, a 2' high by 3' wide cloth rectangle painted with a distinct number and a regimental symbol. Each Pennant Zo flies his own pennant and is fiercely proud of it.
Banners are larger than pennants, 3' high by 5' wide, and hang from a taller pole. They are not numbered, but are embroidered with a symbol identifying the regiment. Multiple regiments with similar names (such as the two Dogblood regiments in Hanist) have differences easily identifiable at a distance, such as a red ring or green diamond outlining the main symbol. Banner staves are topped with tusks when multiple orc regiments operate together outside of a Legion; the tusks indicate the senior Banner Taeza.
Flags are the largest symbol, 5' high by 5' wide, and hang from the tallest poles. Flags bear the personal symbol of the Luminal commanding the legion, and the topping emblem is usually larger and more elaborate.
Imperial formations use drums and horns to pass orders to the troops. The flags are used solely to indicate the position of the commander. Intricate maneuvers are difficult due to the crudity of the signaling method and the difficulty of separating out orders intended for other nearby formations. Magic illusions or communication spells are used to get around these limits, but this can break down in the face of hostile counter-magic.
- Dragon Knights Personal Armor
Orc knights wear heavy plate armor. The armor is enameled in green, red, brown, or blue, according to the preferences of the regiment, and there is some effort made to keep the colors consistent. "White" steel or black armor is never seen. Engravings on the armor surface suggest a pattern of overlapping scales. Gauntlets have decorative "claws" at the end of the fingertips, and the area around the mouth on the helmet visor is usually decorated with fangs. Protrusions on the elbow and knee guards, meant to cover gaps, look like stylized wings. All these adornments are worked to minimize interference with the use of the armor: dragon knight armor is still functional and not ceremonial. Arming garments, worn under the armor, are made of strong fabrics and attractively dyed in either a contrasting color to the armor or to some other pattern per the preferences of the regiment.
Dragon Knights wear an armet style style helmet. There are often small decorative spikes, horns, antlers, fins, or crests on the back of the helmet where they won't act as weapon catchers against most attacks, but still make the wearer look a little more like a dragon.
- Dragon Knights Horse Armor
Dragon knights armor their cavalry with a headpiece, a segmented covering over the front of the neck, and a chest piece that covers a bit of the shoulders. Horse armor is enameled to match the rider, and engraved to look like scales. The shoulder guards are stylized to look like wings, and the front of the headpiece is pointed and befanged like a dragon's mouth.
A charge of dragon knights looks like a solid wall of color above the horses' legs.
- Dragon Knights Weapons
Some dragon knights carry shields: these are usually medium sized kite shields with the regimental insignia painted on the front, quartered with a personal symbol of the knight.
Dragon knights mostly carry lances and axes or scimitars. Some knights prefer massive, two-handed axes to crunch through enemy armor while other carry smaller axes or scimitars and use a shield. Knightly weapons are well-made, with good grips of exotic leather over well-shaped handles.
- Common Infantry Armor
Common orc heavy infantry wear heavy plate armor, similar in outline to Maximilian harness but without the fluting or other adornments. Orc infantry armor is painted gray to minimize maintenance requirements, but there is no effort to keep a uniform color between soldiers (and often even on a single soldier's gear), so infantry formations have a mottled appearance. Orc arming outfits, worn under the armor, are indifferently bleached cloth that range from off-white to a dull tan. Infantry wear barbute style helmets, often with a leather underguard protecting the nose and lower face.
- Common Infantry Weapons
Orc infantry carry rectangular shields painted with the regimental insignia. Hues are not standardized and paint work is rarely done to a pattern.
Orc infantry mainly carry hand axes, heavy falchions, or long scimitars with minimal endcurve. Orc weapons are functional, but roughly made with hilts of minimally sanded wood. Individual orcs usually pay someone to grind down the burrs, resand the hilt, and rewrap the grip in decent leather.
- Crossbowmen Armor
Orc crossbowmen wear a brigandine of dyed gray canvas with wide rivets holding the armor plates on. Simple pauldrons protect the upper arms. They wear wide-brimmed pot helmets with a minimal lobstertail to protect the back of the neck.
- Crossbowmen Weapons
Orc crossbows use wide, wooden bows with a fairly long pull. The bows are just rigid enough for the average orc to be able to pull it back with some difficulty but without the need for mechanical aids. Construction quality is low, with square grips and sticky levers. Individual orcs often pay others to improve the mechanical workers and user comfort of their crossbows.
- Goblin Armor
Goblin wolfriders wear a hooded, long-sleeved hauberk of 4 in 1 mail, made from low quality steel and iron. It is usually unadorned aside from red or purple ribbons threaded through links on the hems of the armor. The skirt of the armor is split up the center, front and back, to make it easy to straddle a wolf. Wolfriders wear brown, gray, or green cloaks over their amror and tunics and trousers in contrasting colors under it.
Goblin foot scouts wear similar outfits, but their hauberks are split on the sides instead of through the center and are slightly shorter. Foot scouts often end up wearing wolfrider hauberks due to supply chain issues, which they dislike and causes the wolfriders to bully them.
- Goblin Weapons
Goblins use a bamboo and horn composite bow with an extreme recurve and a mild asymmetry. These bows are ideally suited for use on wolfback as they are compact and powerful.
- Ogre Armor
Ogres wear extremely heavy armor, massive slabs of steel similar to the common infantry armor but larger. The armet helmet is stylized to look like a skull and painted ivory, and the the armor is painted a charcoal grey with vertical ivory stripes. Combined, helmet and armor suggest walking skeletons.
- Ogre Weapons
Ogres all carry a harpoon, which they throw before engaging the enemy in melee. Against heavily armored foes, the harpoons are used to foul shield and snag enemies and pull them out of line; against lightly armored foes, the hail of harpoons disrupts formations with heavy casualties. Ogres also carry oversized halberds, reasonably well made with thick wood staves and rough iron heads.
- Standard Luminal
Luminals wear orichalcum plate armor, similar in appearance to Gothic plate, with lots of graceful points and batwing pieces to cover any gaps. Luminal armor is a deep solid black, highlighted with silver-white mithril or golden-orange orichalcum metal. Individual luminals may decorate their armor in additional ways, such as Masque's signature solid red faceplate or the all-seeing eyeband around Whitemist's helmet.
Luminal weapons vary greatly in form, but are uniformly made of the finest materials at the most exacting standards of construction. Each one is very functional, but nevertheless a beautiful work of art.
- Imperial Regalia
The Liberation Equipment StylesEdit
Most of the Liberation army is outfitted with salvaged orc gear. The Kobolds serving as smiths and armorers are more interested in protecting the soldiers than coordinating their colors, so individual soldiers often wear pieces from several different orcs' armor. Mixing cavalry and infantry armor is common, although the cavalry armor is preferred for being lighter, better made, and more protective. Although much of the Liberation's loot originally came from only two orc regiments and is relatively consistently colored, the influx of looted equipment in May and June came from ten regiments and is a bewildering array of color. Liberation foot formations are confusingly colored, with individual soldiers sometimes mixing infantry gray with the colors of two different cavalry units and no two soldiers out of ten having the same colors on the same locations.
Weapons are also salvaged from the enemy. Until recently, arms were in short supply, and troops had to use whatever was available. The recent surplus of equipment has let newer recruits be somewhat choosier in what weapons they used, but many of the early veterans are still using substandard orc gear.
Orc crossbows cannot be operated without mechanical aid by most humans. Liberation crossbow units make liberal use of goat's hooks and some use of hand cranks.
Liberation cavalry gear is based on stolen and salvaged orc gear, just like footmen gear. Sven's forces did not make much use of kobolds as armorers, and their equipment is usually badly fitted. Colors are mismatched as individual soldiers sorted through the loot of a legion's supply caravan, looking for individual pieces that fit them best.
After joining the Liberation, there has been an effort to get the cavalry into well-fitted armor. Color co-ordination remains a distant concern.
Air Cavalry EquipmentEdit
The Pegasii and their riders also wear salvaged orc armor. As Magnus speaks for the pegasii, and has concerns about appearance, more effort has been made to make the colors match and pegasii armor is painted black (or black-ish) with tar covered tack and saddles. After the pegasii join the Liberation, one of Magnus' prime concerns is getting the pegasii armor properly enameled in black and tack and gear of properly and uniformly dyed black leather.
Liberation Second LegionEdit
The Second Legion (understrength) was formed in July 508 to act as the border guard manning the fortresses in northern Hanist and Venrike. Commanded by Himmel Detfinger, the four cohorts of the Second are the first large formations of Liberation military not outfitted with any salvaged gear. The colors of the Second Legion are black, red, and gold.
- Horse Archers
All of the second legion's cavalry is composed of lightly-armored horse archers, acting as scouts and harassing forces but lacking any heavy plate armor. Standard issue is a long-sleeved steel mail hauberk, split up the center and trimmed with black, and a conical helm with a nasal bar. Noncom armor is trimmed in red; officers in gold. They carry asymmetric short composite bows modeled on those used by the goblins of the Empire as well as short swords for close work.
- Light Infantry
The Second's light infantry wear brigandine armor in splotched gray and green, a hooded cloak in similar colors, and a wide-brimmed pot helmet and lobstertail similar to that used by Orcish archers. Officers and noncoms are distinguished only by the badge holding their cloak to prevent easy identification by the enemy at a distance. Typical armament is a short composite bow, shortsword or short spear, and buckler.
The deep forests of southeastern Hanist provide ample wood for bows, and the archers of the second have given up on the Orcish crossbows in favor of longbows and clothyard shafts. Their armor is identical to that of the light infantry, but dyed black, with red cloaks; officers and noncoms are marked with red or gold trim at the collar and hem. The typical element of Liberation Bowmen consists of five dedicated archers and five shieldbearers. The large pavises they carry serve as portable cover, and each man of the element is issued two full quivers as well as a shortsword in case the unit finds itself in melee.
- Heavy Foot Troops
The Heavy Infantry and Pikemen of the second were trained together in formations dedicated to countering the Empire's heavy cavalry advantages. All of the heavy foot troops are equipped with blackened plate armor functionally identical to the orcs' heavy infantry harness; like the cavalry and archers, noncom armor is trimmed in red and officers' trimmed in gold. The heavy infantry are an even mix of halberdiers and swordsmen, with formations designed to lock the swordsmens' large shields into a wall backed by halberds and (when possible) backed by a third line of pikemen. The infantry's large shields are emblazoned with the company's crest, and officers' helms are (at the insistence of Uster Vaipnesterk) plumed.
The bulk of the Second Legion's artillery are semi-portable scorpions and light ballistae served by small crews. Artillery crew armor is light brigandine similar to that of the light infantry but dyed plain black instead of the blotched gray and green, with the standard red or gold trim for noncoms and officers.