Common Wisdom: The Kurgan War

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There has been a lot of talk about the war effort lately, and we thought we should give some of the 'common wisdom' about where the Kurgans will attack and when.

The War Season

Available Forces

Known Worlder Armsmen

Most Known Worlds fiefs raise armsmen - usually, one armsman for every 5-10 households they have. That means most baronies tend to have 400-600 armsmen while county fiefs proper raise more like 1000-1500. An earldom, small county, or very large barony (think Sidon or Joyeaux) is likely to have 700-100 armsmen. Coastal fiefs tend to have fewer armsmen but extra ships.

Armsmen serve generally for one season a year; most years see two or three seasons worth of fighting, and so lords generally call up between half and a third of their armsmen at a time. Armsmen can be called up for more than one season each year; in such a case, the mustering lord must pay their wages (100 fb/season/man) or suffer a loyalty hit. One of the virtues of armsmen is that they will defend their own homes, as they are military tenants - so if you are invaded, you can call up armsmen who have already given their season of service and you will suffer less of a loyalty reduction or often no decrease in your tenants' loyalty at all.

The Imperial Legion

An imperial Legion of 10,000 professional soldiers, under the command of Marshal Cassius Lombard Hawkwood.

Kurgan Janissaries

Kurgans do not, it appears, use armsmen in the same way as the Known Worlds. Instead, they have a professional soldier class the Hazat have dubbed 'janissaries' - they are soldiers not terribly different than the legionaries many large fiefs or towns raise. While Known Worlders tend to raise one armsman for every 5 to 10 households, Kurgans only have one janissary per 10 households or less - and experience has suggested that they are paid in coin, not in land, which has somewhat mysterious effects on their presence in the field. Kurgan fiefs tend to have a number of janissaries stationed in them equal to about ten percent of the fief's population - so roughly 300 for most baronies and 1000 for the average county-sized Kurgan territory - but they only send between half and three-quarters of them into the field at any given time, with the other quarter to half garrisoning their keeps. The Kurgans seem to usually field janissaries in offensive operations 2-3 seasons out of the year.


There is one other variable in this mix: there are thousands of crusaders on Yathrib. The crusader encampment in Akko is about 10,000 people strong, and there is a smaller encampment of 3,000 at Joyeaux. About a third of the crusaders in Akko and half the crusaders in Joyeaux are fighting men that vary wildly in effectiveness; given the trouble that follows them, very few other places are willing to accept them. They tend to leave a trail of rapine, pillage, or just empty storehouses behind them wherever they go, justifying excesses with faith either due to fervor or opportunism.

Other Forces

Usually, there are another 500-3000 Kurgan soldiers operating somewhere in the region; often, they are mercenaries or adventurers from Iskandretta or the Pearl Cities. Chagatai al-Gesar is fond of leading his feared horsemen south from Asshur, while on several occasions Rutger Mortimer has taken the field with his traitor legionaries from Gilead. Other more exotic supporters have also been seen, including Malabar levies, Sathraist mercenaries and the like.

Campaign Methodology

With that in mind, here is the 'common wisdom' about what forces the Kurgans will be sending out next season.

Front: The Craglands

Traditionally, the Kurgans have sent about a third of the total armies of Kerak and Malcolm's Crossing south towards Sidon and Arsuf - roughly 900-1400 janissaries along with their supporting units. This year, some indications are that they may send more like two-thirds of their forces into the Craglands, perhaps 1200-1800 janissaries and their supporters.

Front: Oultrejoyeaux

Oultrejoyeaux has always been the greatest battle. With Kerak and the Crossing supporting operations there as normal, usually 2600-4000 janissaries and supporting units try to retake the fiefs across the River of Joy. This year, with the Craglands diverting soldiers, that number will be more like 2200-3300 if Kerak continues in its blood oath towards the Justinians.

Front: Leon

Leon does not usually see invasion, but it sees exceedingly heavy raiding from Abay and Zatan, as well as some raiders headed north from Tyche or Rabaq. Several dozen gun-dhows as well as a half-dozen gun-ketches might be raiding throughout the season.

Front: Johburg

Unlike Leon, Johburg does face a threat from the sea. Pretty reliably, Riebeck will try to land 1000-1500 janissaries plus supporters to try to take Teldam or even Rotdam, along with supporters and a very sizeable navy - perhaps double the size of Abay's.

More troubling is Tyche. Tyche has committed its full force to conquest only once, adding an additional 800-1200 janissaries plus support as well as navy larger still than Riebeck's. Tyche fields several motor warships in addition to a formidable screw/sail fleet, and they can truly rule the waves.

More commonly, some of Tyche's forces act as mercenaries for Rabaq or even the nothern emirates while its navy raids all along the coastline. Tyche has in the past accepted tribute to spare a county's shores, and indeed its pirate Caid revels in such payments.

Front: Revelation

Revelation has a 10,000-man strong Imperial Legion as well as between 5,000 and 10,000 crusaders in the city at any time facing around 10,000 janissaries. The Kurgans have better supply lines and more support, including support from the roughly 1000-1500 Kurgan janissaries based in the immediately surrounding towns.

Because of this roughly 3:2 tactical advantage, the Imperial forces have been slowly advancing. Now, however, reports are that the Kurgans are being resupplied with up to 10,000 more janissaries, which may turn the tide in the Kurgans' favor. The Marshal has requested 3000 armsmen from the Crusader State to help even the odds while he gauges exactly how much of a permanent shift this Kurgan reinforcement represents.