Tactics, Equipment and Organization
The Spirit Breakers are a cavalry force consisting of light, missile and heavy cavalry. The company contains 20,000 men with spare horses and a full armoury of weapons and equipment.
10,000 of these are horse archers. These soldiers are mostly used to attack enemy infantry. They use whatever means nessesary to avoid being drawn into combat with infantry. In this they are very successful for they can turn round in the saddle and shoot while retreating. Once their arrows are spent however they can use light sabres in melee combat. They are led by the venerable and dependable Commander Kazrim.
5,000 of the army are camel riders. Camels are not as fast or strong as horses but they are taller allowing their riders to throw spears from a more favorable angle. But mostly camels are used for their effect of horses. The smell of camels unnerves horses and a charging camel can at least stop in its tracks or retreat. Either makes enemy cavalry indecisive and vulnerable. Consequensely camel warriors are used to combat horse cavalry. For this they are armed with scimitars or battle axes. The young and ever eager Commander Sadrim leads this division. However rumors that he was commissioned because of his noble birth have never faded.
On their own these cavalry might be at a disadvantage. But the last and central division of the terrifying steel dogs dispels this notion. These men and their mounts are wrapped in two layers of chainmail and reinforced by sturdy platemail. For their initial charge they have piercing lances. Soon these are discarded in favour of battle axes, battle hammers, halberds and other polearms. But the charge and actual weight and momentum of the rider and mount is what allows the steel dogs to completely shatter the enemy lines. At the head of every charge is the bloodthirsty Prime Commander Neltoc. This man’s body is host to a score of scars the most prominent being the one where his right eye used to be.
The spirit breakers were led by General Septark who founded the army and devised many of the strategies that gave them victory.
With the help of Septark’s tactical edge the force were able to strike mainly infantry divisions and exploit their weaknesses. When faced with other cavalry armies the Spirit Breakers retreated but at the same time their archers and camel cavalry repelled the enemy cavalry with skirmish tactics.
The great power of the spirit breakers can only be felt or seen when they attack infantry. The general strategy is as follows. Firstly camel cavalry engage the horse cavalry troops of the enemy which will probably be small but even small detachments of cavalry can counter horse archers so the camel riders’ role is important.
Then without cavalry to stop them the horse archers send storms of arrows upon the infantry. Once or twice the enemy has been destroyed by these volleys alone. A range of tactics are used here. Sometimes the archers move in circles paces away from the infantry front line. This allows arrows to be fired continuously and whilst moving which improves accuracy and arrow speed. Also the ability of the riders to shoot backwards while retreating can dishearten the enemy.
It is when the infantry are forced to charge or retreat for any hope of survival, when they break formation, that the steel dogs strike. They gather about 600 paces away and charge. At first they move slowly but then they build up momentum and become virtually unstoppable. Assisting their charge are five hundred of the best, most experienced horse archers who give supporting fire.
Assuming the enemy cavalry are destroyed the camel riders charge into the rift in the infantry and are followed by the horse archers.
For this army the only defeats suffered are those when the enemy manages to survive.
The Spirit Breakers came from the Sovereign Plains. It is within these plains that the Hundred Cities fight, rape and butcher each other. It is a fact that these people do believe that if unified they would be unstoppable. They just haven’t decided who will lead them yet. Each city is both strong and to proud to bow to a foreign ruler. So the cities wage war and have momentary distrustful alliances.
Twin City, in the northern plains never could mount an attack on another city. Mainly because five other cities at anyone time fought against them, desiring the fertile plains surrounding it.
Born of two cities so close together that they decided merge. The pride of these two districts -which was considerable- was settled by the marrying of the son and daughter of the respective rulers of each city. The line stared was held sacred and above all others, for only the combined blood could rule. Their child who it was decided to be entitled prince not only brought unity but something more special. Their first child was female and due to their being no suitable male cousins she was declared crown princess. The first in the Hundred Cities’ long and bloody history.
It was many generations later however, when Prince Jaenan sat on the throne that three crushing defeats drove him to accept a unique proposal.
This proposal was made by the renown Prime Commander Septark, a person who Jaenan loathed at the time. Septark was a cripple who could barely walk and found wholeness in learning how to ride his only family were his fellow soldiers. He rose swiftly through the ranks due to his courage and strategically brilliance. He was soon appointed Prime Commander of the Steel Dogs regiment but that was just the beginning.
Septark used most of the favours he was owed to gain an audience with the Prince. The preoccupied monarch had little time for a cripple and was starting to despair at the march of the army of Saltonia. The Saltonians had long been an enemy of Twin City and it looked like they were going to take the Prince’s city in his weakest hour.
But Septark had a solution. He told Jaenan of his plan to unite the entire cavalry of Twin City into a single force. He outlined the tactics of such a army and said that as their infantry was clearly no match Saltonian legions and that their foe had a weak cavalry it was their best chance.
Jaenan much to the crippled general’s surprize accepted immediately. Hence Septark chose his commanders and pulled back all the cavalry detachments in the field.
Then Septark rode out swiftly to meet the enemy. As the Saltonians so far were used to combined infantry and cavalry forces from Twin City they expected enemy armies to only move as fast as infantry. So they were completely taken by surprize when Septark hit them on the march. 3 out of 5 legions retreated to a secure high grounded position. The remaining two legions suffered the full brunt of the Spirit Breaker’s might. Only a few hundred made it back to the other legions. They thought the Saltonian position was safe but soon the horse archers encircled them and fired. Trapped in a defensive position cavalry was sent out and soon repelled by the camel riders. All the legions could do was wait it out.
When the arrows were spent the Saltonians had been decimated. They would never attack Twin City again.
So it was the Spirit Breakers became famous and that they defended their city for years to come. They were exulted and for once Twin City did not have to fear.
But then came an assault by an independent army. It was a hungry army and the fertile lands seemed ripe for the picking. The spirit breakers didn’t even need to use ordinary tactics, they just charged and scathered the brigands.
But on their return they found the city now flew the flag of Jaenan’s cousin Jerin. A messenger they knew well had come and told them of the devastating coup in which Jaenan and his direct family had been killed. The messenger had only been spared because it was thought his loyalty was only to a paying master and because he was a close friend of Septark. The messenger did not insult them with the obvious offer of re-commission in Jerin’s army and pledged himself to the spirit breakers and not the man who thought him cheap.
They knew they could not retake the city as infantry was required for such a task and even if they did they would beckon civil war. Yet for reasons of honour they could not serve under Jerin. So in utter despair, they left Twin City forever.
Fleeing out of the desert they entered the northlands of large stable, but warring nations. Here they plyed their trade, shamefully reduced to mercenary work.
The army have arrived in a normal fantasy european continent. As mercenaries they will have many adventures. Some ideas:
1. PROBONO WORK A massive war has caused an endless river of defenceless refugees that the Spirit Breakers feel morally obliged to protect.
2. LAST DEFENCE The horsemen have been paid by a monarch to come to defend his capital city. If they fail then the entire nation will collapse.
3. INTERNAL CRUSADE The dominant religious leader had declared that the heathen Spirit Breakers are to be executed. Now the foreign army must face the armies of the entire continent.