View Full Version : Offering my knowledge.

Nick Blaze
10-02-2009, 11:47 AM
I realize most people here ask for help on something, then an expert answers, but I'm hoping more people will ask if I offer my services first.

My areas of expertise are, primarily, the ancient military texts (of China) and ancient military strategy in general (including the Roman empire, Egypt, and Japan), as well as the martial arts. The latter is vague; I have studied many texts, but I have also practiced Shoshin Ryu Jujitsu for 13 years, Muso Shinden Iaido for 4-5, Aikido for over 1, Karate for 1, and have practiced with those from Tai Chi, Wing Chun, Happkido, and have also had fellow students who were in various armed forces, including the army, navy, marines, and police forces.

The arts I train are traditional, so there is no competition, and ego has no place whatsoever in the dojo. It is, though, focused on self-defense, so if you ever need to know 'what would a normal person do in this sort of situation', I believe I can help. Surely I'm not the only martial arts practicioner (and not even the only jujitsuka, either), so, as always, other can help out as well.

10-02-2009, 01:37 PM
Hi Nick,

Thanks for the offer. It's of great help to people like me who like the fantasy genre and have no military experience.

One area I need to research and understand better is how a country organisies it's military at a point in history where a nation is forming (under the banner of a king / emperor /pharoh) but where regional power is still in the hands of Nobles / powerful families / clans or tribes.

I've sort of got my head around the western model of landowners really starting out with militias, then reaching a point where they either needed to recognise and pay tribute to someone bigger in return for their protection, or they end up being conquered. I can work out how regions therefore start with a militia, then organise themselves better, then slowly transfer power and military strength to the centre.

I imagine the same principle of moving power applies in the east, but I'd love to better understand the structure of eastern military power at the stage of historybefore the emperor becomes all powerful.

To demonstrate my ignorance, I could sketch out a rough chain of command for a western military unit with soldiers led in the field by sergeants, answering to captains, then to generals who then answer to the landowner or king. I can understand the need for the crown to grant titles and knighthoods, but I couldn't begin to sketch out the same command structure for a chinese or egyptian army.

If you know of any simple resources that will help me understand how a feudal eastern society maintained a workable command structure it would be really helpful.


Nick Blaze
10-03-2009, 02:46 AM
The first thing to do is to have the ruler establish his awesomeness. This refers to how people regard him "with awe". When all the people admire him, respect him, and love him, can a government and/or army be established. This is ALWAYS the first step. It can be as simple as winning an unwinnable battle (note: not all that simple), or from being born from royal lineage.

In general, when a nation is forming, it already has a military, and had one before it was a nation. This refers to coups. Before you can conquer a kingdom, you must first have an army. However, if the kingdom is as simple as founding a piece of land and the fuedal warlords nearby and trying to unite the land, it becomes more difficult.

In the instance that the nobles and fuedal lords hold the power, but you want to unite the land, you must subdue them. If they know of your awesomeness in battle, then they will try to keep their power through guilde. If they know of your awesomeness in guile, then they will subdue you with war. Knowing which the lord is better at can help you find a strategist who can keep the enemy at bay and off your weakness.

Many times, this scenerio requires force. Maybe just a show of force, but it must be there. "The greatest battles are won without a weapon unsheathed". Spies are utmost in importance. They and moles infultrate land/kingdoms and tell you what's going on there. Employ them so that you know the strengths and weakness of your enemy, the locations of the granaries, the depots, the strongest walls, the weakest sections, the taverns, the rivers, the forests, the defiles, and the tall hills.

A greedy man can be bribed. If he is a regional lord, then he can be swayed to your side. A courageous man can be killed. He will rush headlong into battle, thinking nothing of the trap you've set. A coward can be set to flee and submit with a proper ambush. An indecisive lord can be defeated by striking fast and hard. Those are all simple examples.

After your awesomeness is established, the next thing is to set up rewards and punishments. They already revere you, so now you must make them so they are not lax, and that they do not overstress themselves. For a ruler, this means a system of law. Judges are needed, and the money expenses are great. Note that building a new kingdom requires not only a water source, but a ridiculous amount of money. After buying the services of lawyers, judges, executioners and prison guards, a police force, weapons, and all those who work inbetween can the land be peaceful.

Exhort taxes lightly on the populace; they are your source of income, but they are also your kingdom. Without them, you have empty, barren land. Once taxes and tariffs are in place, a steady income gained, make sure to give the farmers the greatest relief. They are your source of food. Build, granaries so that the excess can be stored for times of drought.

In China, the military units were set up like this: a squad leader for every 5 men, a captain for every 10, a marshall for every 25, a corporal for every 50, a commander for every 250, a general for every 2,500. An army is usually a unit of 30,000, and there are usually 3 armies.

Armies must have ordered pennants and flags. The pennants MUST clearly show their rank or unit affiliation, so that it is easier to give orders. In China, the drums and gongs are the way one moves the army. An approximate 4/4 beat would be average marching, but an 18/4 would be a forced charge. Different beat patterns determine different signals. Occasionally flutes were used to give special messages, and of course, messengers themselves were employed greatly.

There must be clear certificates of rank. In most ages, this is not apparent by just their clothing, but by a seal of office and written documents. They must be signed with a very hard to forge seal/stamp/signature by the Emperor or other appointed official. When giving command of troops to a man who does not hold a rank with command, then a general must either promote him or donate his writs to the man to give him command. However, please note that the men are loyal to you (hopefully), and that the man in question must be proven and established in awesomeness.

In creating a city, the first thign one must do is establish awesomeness, then the law, as explained before. After that, one must always think of the people first, the welfare of the country second, and the army third. This means you may sacrifice your land for your people's lives, or sacrifice your army for your land or your people's lives.

There are many different commands for many different officials. In most fuedal systems, the peasants are governed by prefects or prefect-like mayors. These mayors appeal to a more district lord, who appeals to a regional lord, who appeals to a higher lord, such as any man with power over all affairs of state (like a Prime Minister). It must go from lowest to highest, then the orders issued from highest to lowest, so that the nobles feel the effects first, the rich peasants next, and the poor people last. Never introduce a new tax just on the poor people alone, as that will cause of a barrier between the rich and the nobles. They must feel as close to equals as possible, while you being as unattainable as possible.

Almost all regional lords have troops. They will always have 1/3 or less of the troops the Emperor controls. They will be at your beck and call. This is almost impossible to assure, however, but that is the main point. All troops in a kingdom are under control of the King, even if they are mercenaries hired by a greedy merchant. They are allowed troops for their defense against bandits and to protect their lands from invading armies, but should always give command to you or any general with haste. Or, you can direct them to subdue the enemy.

In battle, strategy is key, so having a brave man as the general and no co-commanders can be difficult. A shrewd man is better to keep as the commander, while a brave general at his side.

In Chinese history, the Emperor has always been 'all-powerful'. He is a child of Heaven itself and ordained by Heaven. In mythology, the Golden Emperor descended from heaven and bestowed his virtue on the world. He stopped being a god and ruled the land as a mortal. However, conquering the land was as easy as saying "The mandate of Heaven has switched to me, which is why I was able to kill the former, unjust Emperor."

10-03-2009, 11:20 AM
Thanks Nick, there's some very useful stuff in your reply.