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AoW: Tactical Adjustments

The Academy of War continues to meet to provide a forum for the discussion of topics that improve coordination and allow our attendees to avail themselves of lessons others have learned on the battlefield. The topic at hand for this discussion will be a continued exploration of the necessary adjustments to tactics used by the Compact's armies, when the enemy we face has those that are so very different. The goal is to get people thinking and used to communicating with those they may not usually encounter in their day to day lives. Come prepared to participate in the discussion; it's pretty dull for those who sit quietly.

The event is ICly open to all AoW members and associate members (Whispers, Iron Guard, Solace, Inquisition), and those who have been invited; if you would like to come but aren't invited, one can presume OOCly an invitation was possible where reasonable. If you're not sure, please ask!


July 5, 2021, 8 p.m.

Hosted By



Jamie Piccola Everett Cesare



Arx - Ward of the Crown - Academy of War - Headquarters

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Whisper, a mottled grey-and-white warhorse arrives, following Jamie.

Whisper, a mottled grey-and-white warhorse have been dismissed.

3 Thrax Guards, 2 Thrax Elite Guards, Lady Teonia Redreef, Aryka Wyrmfang, Marquessa Pudding, a doughy dog arrive, following Sorrel.

Giada has left the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

1 Knight of the Temple, Trouble, the waddling raccoon, 1 Templar Knight guards, Luzio, the burly Mirrormask leave, following Giada.

There is no active training going on in the courtyard right now; it means the inner doors can be propped open to let the breeze through. It might leave the room chilly, save that the fireplaces are burning quite merrily away. Seating has been arranged in a circle at the war room's center, a mixture of benches and chairs and a couple of couches and some small tables all close enough for conversation to be managed. Two tables along the back wall have light food (snacks) and drink (beer, wine, cider, coffee, tea) for the taking. As the last people find their way in the guards at the front doors haul them closed, taking up their position as privacy keepers. Any further arrivals will be heralded by a very loud knocking, a pause, and /then/ the doors being opened. Makes it easier to be careful with what one speaks of.

Natalia herself is settled on a couch in the circle already, pile of bookwork beside her as she watches people file in. There is nodding and smiling and all of that; as people settle, she rises. "I want to thank everyone for coming," she says. "Today, we're going to be talking about specific adjustments that might need to be made to the standard tactics our troops are trained with, when taking into consideration fighting against mages. As an example, one of the things we need to consider are their ability to cause enormous damage very swiftly from range, making it necessary that all groups have some sort of ability to swiftly close with the enemy. Does anyone have any scenarios they would like to explore?"

Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove arrive, following Cesare.

Jamie is definitely on-time, because he's never late to one of these meetings. He inclines his head politely to Natalia as he slips into the doors, as well as the guards and those who have gathered inside. It isn't long before he's found himself a seat on the couch opposite Natalia in the circle. "Good afternoon," he greets those also filtering in. At Natalia's words, Jamie nods, but stays silent, perhaps allowing those that don't attend as often to share their thoughts first.


Piccola is seated somewhere around the tables, dressed, as usual, in black leather, ironwool, and weaponry. Her hood remains over her head. "They will have the advantage in open terrain. Little can be done about that. But in closer, more dangerous quarters, their power may be a disadvantage." Beat. "Like in a forest. Not too bright to hurl fireballs in a dry forest."

The General has a tea cup in her gloves.

Everett enters, following Jamie, and takes up a position strategically situated in the outer ring of benches. Not coincidentally pretty near to the munchies and beer. In case an operation of Tactical Snacking is called for at some point. Everett listens as Piccola opens, nods a bit, and whispers a question to Jamie. No snacks yet, it's early.

Cesare, on the other hand, is slightly late, and sidles in with a quietude which says he is well aware, pulling up a chair around the tables and settling without any fanfare whatsoever so as not to draw any attention to himself if at all possible. He immediately turns his attention to Piccola as she speaks, hands folded in his lap.

There's an easy, agreeable nod given to Piccola's answer. "I agree," Natalia says, casting a look around the circle towards those not yet speaking up. "What adjustments could we make for our preparations, to adapt to these new foes? Thus far, there seems to be a consensus that different training is going to be one of the best ways we can start to prepare now, focusing on small unit and ambush tactics amongst groups of soldiers that might not have that training already."

Jamie listens quietly for a time, smiling broadly at Piccola's points. It's the kind of smile that just seems to grow across the big Greenmarcher's face. "I have... drawings," he starts out, reaching into a small knapsack and pulling forth a sheaf of papers before laying them out on the table before him. "And forgive me my excitement, Lady Tessere, but you nearly echo my words in the previous meeting. I think, though... that the issue is one of army training." The diagrams that Jamie lays out on the table are complicated, but it's obvious after a few moments of looking at them that they represent the disposition of forces arrayed around a battlefield.

"Here is the issue as I see it. They have /great/ destructive power, and our forces are often concentrated. That is the nature of the warfare that the Compact embraces, generally. Greenmarch, however, does /not/. In this diagram, you can see that the ranks are /not/ serried, or clumped together. Skirmishers are deployed to the front in small groups, forcing distance from the main body of troops. The channel to the left allows the heavy infantry time to move up to support the pike in the event of an enemy charge. And you will not see - in /any/ of these diagrams... in infantry square formations. I believe that fighting the enemy with mobility will be important. Also, the incorporation of cavalry archers." He pauses for a breath.

Piccola looks about the room for a moment, her hood moving back and forth noticeably.

She slowly draws her tea cup up to her mouth, sips from it, and then patiently sets it back down on its saucer. "Thank you, Lord Greenmarch," she remarks agreeably. "I have been suggesting a change in tactics for a while, but few find any glory in riding upon small horses and firing arrows from afar." She gestures with a then-free hand at the bow on her, which is curved severely for use on horseback. "Lord DiFidante and I have been diligently working to train units of horse archers. He and I would be happy to pass on some of the lessons to any House who wants to diversify their military assets."

She picks up her cup again, and sips from it in silent appreciation.

Cesare leans forward in his chair to look at the diagrams that Jamie produces, taking them in with a keenly observant eye even given his avowed lack of military experience. "In addition to training troops in these new tactics, perhaps it'd be advantageous to concentrate some resources into training parties of experienced scouts to explore potential battle sites for positions at which such troops would be best placed?" He clears his throat softly. "And additionally, to offer intelligence information on the number and type of mages who might be expected. Scouts who can identify the regalia of mages. Or the ... particular aura of magic. If there is such a thing. Excuse me if that's foolish."

"I don't think it's foolish," says Natalia with a shake of her head. "I don't think it's within our capabilities yet, but it's certainly something we should be working towards. Specialized training for scouts would certainly be useful." There's a curious look towards the diagrams, though she doesn't move over to examine them more closely right now.

Jamie glances to Cesare and nods, "I agree. So much so that the Academy is sponsoring a scouting foray into the Northlands, first, to search for exactly what you describe. One thought that we discussed at a different meeting," he gestures between himself and Natalia, " the scouting of caves, and potentially leading pursuing forces into them to break them apart. Given enough traps and the maze-like nature of some natural caverns, it's quite possible that some such formations might be extremely useful..." He cants his head to the side, acknowledging Piccola's words, "...if a more ambush-style, or strike and fade-style attack is allowed to progress. Are there, perhaps, other natural features you could think of from your own homelands that might be useful for such tactics?"

Looking over to Piccola, then, Jamie nods once more. "I do not know Lord DiFidante, my Lady, but such news gladdens my heart. I am not an archer, personally, and horses themselves have little utility in the Greenwood's depths. Is there anything House Greenmarch or others might do to aid you, my Lady?"

"Cliffs and gorges," Cesare says without hesitation, nodding. "Large groups can be led to precipitous circumstances, particularly if the danger is obscured by the presence of dense forest. Not that any of Setara is heavily forested, but it's a tactic I've heard of. Certainly, considering we have an entire society of explorers, I imagine that they may have some valuable input in that regard as well. Perhaps even some recommendations on how to most efficiently go about training scouts."

"To aid what, Lord Greenmarch?"

The General sets down her tea cup again. "Iriscal is much like the rest of the Lyceum: it has forests; it has plains; and it has towns. The problem I see is light cavalry tactics are not useful against Eurusi armies." She explains. "They can field a large number of thrall troops, none of whom have the willpower to break when they are pelted with arrows. Some may even welcome death." Shrug. "They do not break easily, if at all. But so far, I think it would be sensible to believe that the Mages are arrogant in their abilities. This, I think, is what led to their demise at Pieros."

She pauses for but a moment.

"As for training, there is a game that is played by our cavalry. We ride hard, at full gallop, along a path through the woods along mountains, where there is a variety of hazards to avoid." Beat. "Riding through the woods is especially dangerous, but skilled cavalry can do it safely. Ambushes by horse in the dead of night or along the side of hills -- " Shrug. " -- are all good ways, I would think, to take care of a superior force."

She then uses another term: "Asymmetric warfare."

With the discussion in full swing, Natalia falls quiet for the time being; she's attentive to what's being said, of course, but no further prompts are being offered for the time being. She does offer an encouraging sort of smile in Cesare's direction, though.

Everett does his level best to puzzle through the diagrams that Jamie has presented. Even if they are complex. Even if it does take time. And it may well take him quite a while, as he pauses in his reading to listen as each speaker speaks.

Jamie considers Cesare's words for a long moment. "That is... a very good idea, Messere Whisper. I hadn't thought of engaging the Society of Explorers. Perhaps I might even go so far to request of them that they send a guide to the scouting parties, themselves, if they would be willing? That would certainly speed up scouting, if nothing else." He drums his fingers idly on the couch next to him, looking off for a long moment before he returns to Piccola.

"Aid in the creation of your cavalry archers, I meant, my Lady. And to be fair, my intention with the light horse is not to break the thralls, but two-fold. Firstly, we have the problem of the mages, and how to get /to/ them. The problem with skirmishers is that, on foot, they can be run down if they're too forward deployed. The second is that the enemy can shift their mages deeper into the formation. Horse archers could potentially solve both problems, the first by the speed by which they could engage and disengage, and the second by maneuvering to reach the mages if it was possible. And I agree - our style of fighting has /only/ ever been a small force against a large one. As you say... asymmetric warfare."

"Though," Jamie asks, " do bring up an interesting point. It's possible we might want to consider how we might break them at a future meeting? If we even could." The big Greenmarcher glances towards Natalia at that point, perhaps asking whether or not she thought it a worthwhile point of discussion.

With the discussion in full swing, Natalia falls quiet for the time being; she's attentive to what's being said, of course, but no further prompts are being offered for the time being. She does offer an encouraging sort of smile in Cesare's direction, though.

"I believe there's an open meeting of the Society of Explorers coming up," Cesare replies quietly, with a nod. "It might be an apt time to bring such an idea to the table. In addition, it's possible that there may be those among them who possibly know more about how to defend against attacks from mages." A glance to Natalia, and he adds, "I believe we meant to discuss some of this in a more private venue at some point, after the last meeting discussing lines of communication. It has been...a busy time. Evaristo and I were able to meet privately but only made it so far in our own affairs without touching much of what we discussed here."

Everett looks back and forth between Jamie and Piccola as they discuss cavalry archery. Everett scratches the top left corner of his forehead, slightly jostling his hat, as he wonders a bit about something perhaps only a poor farmer would find straightaway coming to mind. "Beggin' your pardon, m'Lord and m'Lady, were it be possible to double up archers? Back where I'm from, in the deep Oathlands Outback, we'd never had enough horses to go 'round for all as wanted one, really. So we'd double up on rides pretty often. What about an archer you can dismount at one point, from the horse, while the rest of the archers keep riding along? Sure it'll slow some, but still faster than walkin'. Double the number of arrows in the air, though, and give more of that dispersal Lord Jamie has written about in his diagrams, weren't it?"

The General seems skeptical.

It's hard to see her face under her hood. Instead, her mood is best gauged by how she takes her tea. She reaches out to a nearby pot, but stops while listening to Jamie. Then, after a moment of thought, she continues what she was going to do: pour herself some more. "Horses breed only so quickly, Lord Greenmarch," says the Tessere archer at a slow, punctuated pace. "And even longer to train properly. Coursers and warhorses are unsuitable for light cavalry tactics; they are hard to control without reins, something which can't really be used with a bow." Unless one uses their teeth, of course. "That said, I am sure Houses DiFidante and Tessere are in need of assistance of //some// kind. I will send word after I've spoken to my stablemistress."

She finishes pouring, and sets the pot back onto its metal holder.

"If the purpose of having a horse, Goodman Everett, is for mobility, then having two archers upon the same horse is inadvisable. The strength of having a horse is having someone to convey an archer from one place to another reliably for a long while." She sips her tea, taking a moment. "That said, the reason I bring up the willingness of thralls to die is that the most effective way to hide a target is to put it behind a shield of flesh. Pile the bodies up and there's no way arrows will be able to penetrate the wall."

"A macabre, but useful way to hold a wooden palisade in desperate times."

"Perhaps we need some sort of... plow, then," Cesare says vaguely, making an outward-pointing v-shape with his hands. "But for sloughing off bodies rather than soil." He pauses, thinks a moment. "That of course, brings up the question of how one would carry such a plough, presuming it were made of metal. But perhaps if there were a group equipped with some sort of ... interlocking greatshield design, that they could link together when necessary to push through." He blinks, makes a sheepish face, having very possibly gotten carried away with himself.

"Mmm." Jamie says softly, considering Everett's proposal, and then Piccola's response to it. "The problem is also one of support - in an army, a skirmish line works because pike and heavy infantry back them. When the enemy comes forward, the skirmishers retreat, still firing if they're able. A pike wall provides distance and stops the enemy's advance if they're mounted, heavy infantry the same purpose if they're foot. Dispersal is important, to be sure, but having archers unsupported in the field is tantamount to throwing them away. They'll be unable to be supported, and they'll get run down. Some few might live, but... every man or woman's life is valuable to me. Still - perhaps that might be a way to distribute ambushers around the battlefield, along with support caches. I'd have to think more on that point, Mister Malere."

He glances back to Piccola and nods, "Of course. What few Knights Greenmarch possess have what few warhorses we have trained... and none of them are suitable for these tactics, my Lady. I completely understand. I will look forward to your missive - what I /can/ say is that the men and women of the Greenmarch are generally excellent archers, for our style of combat focuses on small groups of foot soldiers moving through the woods, firing shortbows. But... again. We have no horses. Perhaps a hundred in all of Greenmarch." He considers the rest of her words, "Perhaps this, like Messere Cesare's previous point, might be better addressed elsewhere, but... what does it take to actually make magic /work/? I have a hard time imagining it can be done from beneath a pile of bodies. And yet, it's quite possible that it /does/. Do they need to be able to see their targets? Move their hands? Those kinds of questions would be... incredibly helpful to know the answers to."

No opinion is presently offered regarding other meetings or conversations; Natalia smiles at the looks sent her way, but offers neither headshake or nod. Lots of listening to do. Jamie's last comment has her expression touching thoughtful before she suggests, "Should we put together a sort of list, and then ask about to see if anyone has the answers to the questions?"

"If the Eurusi mages were beyond the weaknesses of perception and knowledge, Pieros would have fallen."

The General's comment is less a retort than an observation. She seems ready to move forward with her thought, but instead stops herself and retreats for Natalia's suggestion. "I concur. Let us say, then, that there ought to be greater investiture in skirmishing tactics and tools: light horses; riding training for archers; and riding bows." Beat. "I would be pleased to offer what I have available."

"Perhaps, as other nobles have, Lord Greenmarch and I can offer training in areas such as husbandry, riding, archery, and staying hidden."

Everett nods slowly in full agreement with Natalia's query, although it's clearly not up to him, of course, if such a list does get made or does not. Everett offers, once others are done speaking, "Beggin' your all pardons, m'Lord and m'Lady, but, if we do make that list, can we add to it the question of the *opposite* problem to the one that we have been discussing? Not a battle afield, where the threat from mages is that thrown fire, but battle in the deepwoods. Say House Thornweave comes back, or the swarm knights keep at it? More along the lines of what Lord Greenmarch brought up the last meeting, maybe. Specific to woodlands, which has different threats!"

Cesare's expression has smoothed into placid stillness once more, but he nods to Natalia. "You know I'm always happy to go about looking for information," he replies. "And I have a good idea where I may be able to find at least some of those answers Lord Greenmarch is after. As General Tessere says, the Eurusi mages are not beyond fallibility. Very few are." He gives a soft exhale at the mention of swarm knights, but settles back, folding his hands in his lap.

Jamie tips his head in a nod, "It wasn't specific to the woodlands, in the last meeting, but we discussed the jungles of Pieros and the difficulties we faced there. My understanding is that House Thornweave is... no longer an issue, but I think it foolhardy to merely set them aside. But I think the point itself stands, we should be ready for the woods or the jungles themselves to turn against us in the battle with corrupting forces. That point, no matter what name it calls itself, will likely be true wherever we end up fighting." He glances to Piccola at her suggestion and nods in agreement, and then does the same with Natalia. "I like the idea of a list, Miss Natalia. I think that might be very helpful."

"I don't know that it's an opposite problem at all," says Natalia to Everett, and she gives a light shake of her head. "It is my understanding that the next extended engagement will involve woodlands fighting, but the topic of conversation is simply fighting mages, not tied to a specific domain." There's a glance aside to Sis, a nod, and then she's turning her attention back to the group. "I think that will make a fantastic topic for our next discussion; a list of questions we wish to find answers to, to help with further exploration of the topic. Does anyone have anything further to note about what we have discussed today? We are just about out of time."

"I only seek to know more of House Greenmarch's forces."

No one ever accused Piccola of ever being subtle. Apparently. The General nods her head in Jamie's direction. "If Lord Greenmarch will remain at the conclusion of this meeting, I would, if I may, but a few moments of his time. Lady Monique Greenmarch was very helpful and -- " Shrug. " -- friendly." Beat. "But we never got on the topic of what forces her House had to bear in a war effort, and I am afraid I was neither in a place or position to really make that sort of inquiry of her." Whatever that means.

But the General does sip her tea with a hint of a smile.

Cesare gives a faint shake of his head - as though he would have anything additional to add, honestly - and listens to any addendums those present have to give, gaze roaming around the room with no small measure of curiosity.

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