Military Tactics

Combat in Eikeren takes the form of a mixture between the historical tactics used by the Anglo-Saxon and Norman armies around 1066 and the cinematic combat demonstrated at the beginning of the movie Gladiator and throughout Troy.


Single combat between champions wins some battles, but the shield wall with hand weapons or spears (pikes are not in use) is king, with cavalry powerful but sparse, and mostly used to exploit breaks in a shield wall or to run down disorganized infantry.

The shield wall is supported by archers behind it, and light cavalry guards the flanks and is used as scouts and raiders off the battlefield. If a group could gather enough heavy cavalry to field it in large numbers, they could break most shield walls, but the cost to field a significant numbers of heavy cavalry is prohibitive.

National militaries are based around a large, standing army of professional men-at-arms, who are used to anchor the shield wall and around whom levies of spearmen and archers gather. Small units of knights supply both the champions for single-combat and the charge weight to turn a broken shield wall into a rout, but the knights do not have the numbers to break a shield wall on their own. Light cavalry is held out of combat to harry fleeing forces and to guard the flanks of the shield wall. If an opposing shield wall has no cavalry to guard its flanks, both light and heavy cavalry can gather together to turn the flank of the enemy shield wall.

Battles begin with a challenge of champions, but this isn’t as formalized as a trial by combat. Instead, the champions fight until the defeat of one champion is eminent, at which point there will usually be a rush to either save the defeated champion or recover his or her arms, armor, and body. Whether or not this is accomplished, the defeated champion’s side will often retreat with only minor skirmishing around the defeated champion. If they won’t retreat, however, shield walls are formed, and battle begins in earnest.


The press of the shield wall requires high physical strength and high morale alike. Shields are pressed against one another, and swords or spears are thrust at heads and legs, or axes are swung over the top of shields. Casualties occur slowly but steadily, with one shield wall or another occasionally withdrawing momentarily to redress their lines and prevent disorganization.

The press is such that in the center of each shield wall, discipline will often break down, turning the fight into a swirling melee. The flanks must hold their discipline, however, lest enemy cavalry overrun them. When one shield wall breaks, casualties begin to mount rapidly as the heavy cavalry is sent in to exploit the disordered line and shatter the shield wall before it can reform.

Levies are used to provide mass behind professional shield walls, or to stretch a line to face a more numerous foe, but they usually break when the shield wall does, and a large number of the casualties come from these unarmored fighters.


Arms and Armor


Knights are attired in full mail, brigandine, or full plate, mounted on armored chargers, and attack first with lance, then with hand weapons such as swords, axes, maces, hammers, and flails. Some of them serve on foot in the shield wall to stiffen it and carry spears or hand weapons along with shields.

Men-at-arms wear mail hauberks and helmets, and carry heavy wooden shields (usually round or kite-shaped) along with spears or hand weapons. Levied spearmen carry light wooden shields (almost always round), spears, knives, and wear whatever they bring with them for armor, usually some form of leathers or padded cloth.

Archers are a mixture of professional men-at-arms and levied commoners. The professionals usually wear mail hauberks and helmets, while the levies wear whatever leathers or padded cloth they bring with them. All archers use short hunting bows, with the longbow a tool for skirmishers, hunters, and poachers in Eikeren and the crossbow more useful for picking off a single target than for piercing the ranks of a shield wall.

All free men in Eikeren are required to provide themselves with a spear and shield or a bow, a knife, and some form of armor, unless they have some exemption from the levies (rich merchants may buy their way out, some craftsmen such as blacksmiths are exempt as too important to lose). Professional men-at-arms are equipped by their lords, and serve as peacekeepers and town guards during rare times of peace.

Military Forces

House Knights Freeriders Light Cavalry Men-at-Arms Archers Emphasis
Rhaedan 40 40 50 400 150 Balanced Forces
Riedel 30 50 100 300 200 Knights and Archers
Auldholme 25 45 25 400 100 Heavy Infantry
Westmark 15 15 20 200 100 Guerrilla Warfare
Taniford 45 45 100 350 150 Cavalry
Varghem 30 35 50 350 150 Balanced Forces
Lohstren 25 35 100 200 100 Light Cavalry
Sollinger 10 20 20 300 200 Naval Warfare & Archers
Laketown 0 0 5 50 25 Civil Watch
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License