Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

Thyatian legions campaign ideas

by Jamie Baty

Here is some stuff that may be of interest to you. Most of it is based on the real Roman legion, but modified somewhat to fit better with the War Machine and one our campaign:

There are several awards that soldiers can achieve- some are limited to officers, and some only enlisted personnel can attain.

The first is a corona civica, a crown of silver oak leaves awarded to men who save the life of another soldier in battle while in great danger themselves. The second is the corona muralis, a small gold crown engraved with battlements, given to the first man (officer or enlisted) over the defences in an assault on enemy fortifications. For bravery in battle, an armilla (bracelet), phalera (medallion) or torque may be awarded. Usually armillae are given for brave acts, phalerae for exceptional performance on the battlefield, and torques for service above and beyond the call of duty at great personal risk. These will be made of precious metals (indicating the magnitude of the act). All of the above are available to officers as well as enlisted men.

The following awards are for officers only. The first is the hasta pura, a small silver spear, given for exceptional bravery on the battlefield. The second is the vexillum, a small silver version of the unit's Eagle or Dragon standard. It is awarded for exceptional performance in a campaign, not particularly bravery in a single battle. The corona aureus is awarded to an officer that consistently excels in all aspects of a campaign, particularly in the battles. It is a golden crown of laurel leaves. A corona navalis is awarded to the commander of a naval force that routs an enemy fleet and captures or sinks the enemy flagship. The final and perhaps most honourable award is the corona obsidionalis or the siege crown. Made of platinum and formed like a circular bundle of reeds, it is awarded to the leader of a force that delivers a besieged city or military unit (either the leader of a relieving force that breaks the besieging force, or the officer that rallies the besieged troops and leads them to victory). This is a very difficult award to attain.

The following two awards are usually only bestowed upon a legate or admiral, but sometimes adventurers may be so honoured. The first is the Ovatio. This is a public acknowledgment of heroic acts in the service of the Principate. The definition of heroic act varies according to the Princeps, but usually a successful campaign or foiling an enemy plot will qualify. It consists of a parade (the recipient rides a white stallion at the end of the parade) to the Forum (with the troops of the forces involved), where the honouree is received by the Princeps and presented with a special weapon or armour. The second and greatest honour is the Triumph. Only a military commander can win a Triumph. It is won by the exceptional handling and execution of a military campaign- it should be a series of resounding victories, with minimal loss of Thyatian lives and money. The campaign should be finished quickly and stand to benefit the Principate. A Triumph begins with a two-day holiday for the populace, complete with the Ludi. On the third day, the soldiers and participants in the campaign, followed by the commander who is riding in a chariot pulled by four white stallions, parade through Thyatis City to the Forum, displaying the prisoners and captured booty as they go. At the Forum, the Princeps greets the victorious troops and especially their commander, who receives a special weapon or armour, and a statue of himself to be placed in the grand entry hall of the Senate. This is a joyous and festive occasion for all citizens, and perhaps the zenith of a military career.

Having won one or more crowns is worth a permanent reaction bonus from any Thyatian citizen: +1 for a corona aureus or corona navalis, +2 for a corona civica, and +3 for a corona muralis or corona obsidionalis. Double the bonus if the person reacting to the character was a witness to the character's actions. Characters receiving a Triumph or Ovatio get a +5 reaction bonus from Thyatian citizens.

Discharge from Service

A Missio is a general discharge from service. It is gained through the following means: it is usually given to any soldier who leaves the service before completing 10 years of service. It may also be given to a soldier who has served 10 years but has had minor discipline and performance problems (they may still keep their arms and armour). Finally it is given to a soldier who is seriously injured and unable to continue service when the injury was not received in the carrying out of their duties. While the Missio does not have the stigma of a Missio Ignominiosa, it is not the greatest way to leave military service.

A Missio Honesta is an honourable discharge. It is given to soldiers who have served 10 years in the military and have performed with distinction. It may also be given to soldiers leaving before 10 years for exceptional service to the Empire. Those receiving a Missio Honesta are able to retain their arms and armour, and receive a bonus of 500gp for troops and 2,500gp for officers.

A Missio Causaria is issued to soldiers unable to continue service due to an injury received in the course of duty. They may keep their arms and armour, and receive 1/4 pay until death or the injury is completely healed.

A Missio Ignominiosa is a dishonourable discharge. A soldier can receive this for committing crimes, disobedience, cowardice etc... This is usually only given after a trial, and the reasons for this discharge may involve a prison sentence. Those who receive this discharge are often considered outcasts.

A Legate commands the legion. The decurion assists the legate. Tribunes command a cohort. Underneath the tribunes is the military Praefect, who commands a mantiple. The Centurion, the lowest ranking commissioned officer, commands a century.

Assisting the commissioned officers are several non-commissioned officers. These NCO's are selected from the enlisted men, and generally they are experienced soldiers who have served several years in the legions but have not qualified for an officer's commission. This should not be interpreted as a lack skill on their part- they are fierce, battle-hardened warriors who have a great deal of experience and knowledge to pass onto the officers. The first of these is an optio. An optio is an assistant to the centurion, typically commanding the opposite side of the line. There is one optio for every centurion. The second NCO is the tesserarius- the chief of the watch. They are responsible for posting the watches at the correct times and locations. They are also responsible for getting the watchword from the legate, passing it to the officers, and making sure the watch knows the password. There is one tesserarius in each cohort. The next type of NCO is the custos armorum, a NCO in charge of weapons and equipment, whose primary purpose is to insure all soldiers have their equipment in working order. If soldiers are missing items, they procure the replacement and decide if it should be deducted from the soldiers' pay. There is one custos armorum per cohort. Another NCO is the vexillarius, who oversees the speculares, or scouts. The next type of NCO is the campidoctor, the chief drill instructor of the force, who is in charge of the training of the troops. The final type of NCO is the primus pilus- the 'first spear' of the legion. This is generally the most experienced, bravest, and skilled soldier in the legion. He serves as an adviser to the legate and his command staff, and oversees to day-to-day activities of the legion. This position is one of the most important in the legion. NB: The Primus Pilus historically was a centurion, but in working the ranks into War Machine, I decided to make it an enlisted soldier.

Other Various People:
Velites: Lightly armed skirmishers
Signifer (Standard Bearers)
Aquilifer (Eagle Bearer)
Draconifer (Dragon Bearer {cavalry standards are dragon windsocks})
Imaginifer: Carried the Standard bearing the image of the Emperor as a constant reminder of the troop's loyalty to him.
Cornicen (Horn blower)
Tubicen (Trumpeter)
Beneficiarii (administrative aides)
Actarius (in charge of administrative personnel)
Quaestor (quartermaster)
Ratiocinatores (accountants assisting the quaestor)
Librarii (Clerks)
Stratores (Messengers)
Medici (battlefield medics)
Speculatores (scouts)

Issued Equipment:
The standard arms and armour of a legionary is the lorica segmentata (banded mail), a gladius (short sword), a pugio (dagger), 2 pila (javelins) and a scutum (Heavy wood shield). Legionary cavalry use a light wood shield, a contus (lance), and a spatha (long sword) along with the lorica segmentata. All legionnaires are issued some standard equipment. They may supplement this as they see fit.

An infantry legionnaire is also issued the following equipment: a backpack, a long cloak (for bad weather), a hammer, a small knife, 12 iron spikes, 100' rope, 2 torches, a tinderbox, a belt pouch, two large sacks, iron rations, a waterskin, a wineskin, bandages and wound packing, mess-kit, a small spade, a pick-axe, a bed-roll, and two blankets, one wool and one cotton.

A cavalry legionnaire also has: spurs, a saddle and associated tack, saddlebags and (optionally) scale barding for his heavy warhorse.

Officers typically carry whatever equipment their troops carry, although they are a free to exclude items at their discretion. Infantry officers also receive a riding horse and associated equipment to travel on, but not fight on (cavalry officers already have a horse). A legate has a heavy warhorse (superior quality) with chain barding (optional), and associated equipment. All officers have a special piece of equipment- centurions, praefects and tribunes carry a vitis, or vine-rod. It is a symbol of their authority, and is often used to discipline unruly troops. A legate carries a Baton of Command (please see the New Magic Items section). This is a magical rod presented to the legate by the Princeps, giving the legate the authority over the legion. It is an ivory rod capped with a small golden eagle. It has the properties of a Rod of Victory and a Rod of Health.

A legion roughly contains 4800 soldiers and 300 cavalry. Auxiliary forces can be added, usually archers, slingers, light and heavy cavalry and mounted archers. Auxillia are typically non-mainland Thyatian (Hinterlanders, Pearl Islanders, mercenaries, demi-humans)

Each legion has 10 cohorts of 480 men. Each cohort has 6 80 man centuries. Two centuries form a mantiple. Contubernium are 8 man squads. Cohort I is the elite part of the legion and will have the primus pilus. Cavalry are formed in wings known as Alae.