Scythian Units

Peasant

The last option of any desperate army (except perhaps slaves or convicts), peasants are good for increasing your numbers...and not much else. Poorly armed and with little military experience, their morale and discipline are both understandably low. They are cheap to train, however, and their one advantage is an ability to hide well. Peasants should be used as an absolute last resort, or in cases where funds are extremely short.




Archers

Foot archers, while having a longer range than their mounted compatriots, were nevertheless an important part of a Scythian warhost. They alone of the Scythian warriors could launch flaming missiles onto their foes, or provide local missile power to the assaulting axemen. They usually form the bulk of Scythian infantry, together with the hardy axemen.





Chosen Archers

Chosen archers are highly prized for their superior skills in war. They are the best archers available to barbarian warlords. They are all, as might be expected, excellent bowmen, fleet of foot and expert hunters. They are given the best bows available to their people, and are also equipped with good swords and chainmail armour too. This equipment means that they can do more than just defend themselves in hand-to-hand combat. They can, when required, act as light infantry. Their presence on a battlefield is always useful, as they have the flexibility to be both archers and infantry and do a good job in both tasks.


Axemen

Axemen are steadfast and aggressive warriors, the 'infantry of the line' for barbarian warlords. They are not very disciplined at times, as their sense of honour and bravery can make them eager to get into any fray, but they are uniformly superb fighters. They are equipped with good axes and small shields. Every warlord worth the name makes sure he has a couple of warbands of these hard men under his command.




Wardogs

Used occasionally in battle by various nations, these dogs were deliberately starved to make them all the more fierce (and hungry!). They were trained to target horse's hamstrings - or a man's throat- and therefore could be used against either infantry or cavalry. Although they were obviously never used on the scale possible in the game, they could be a fairly formidable deterrent to any group of infantry.




Barbarian Cavalry

Barbarian cavalry are lightly armoured and carry spears and shields. They are best used as scouts and in pursuit of fleeing enemies, and ride sturdy, sure-footed ponies with a good turn of speed. Like many barbarian warriors, however, they can lack battle-discipline and be over-keen to enter battle against worthy opponents. Honour and standing come from fighting, and sometimes the urge for glory overwhelms good sense! These men are all good fighters, but find organised, formal warfare goes against the grain. They are unlikely to be very effective against steady infantry unless attacking from an unexpected direction.


Horse Archers

On the vast steppes, the horse archer reigns supreme. These riders are the product of generations spent perfecting the skills needed to effectively wield a bow while mounted. They can circle an enemy, thickening the air with arrows until they are sufficiently weakened for heavier troops to launch a main attack. Their superb horsemanship means catching them with a counter charge is difficult, even one with light cavalry. The Scythians are not a squeamish people and cover their quivers with human skin, which is valued for its whiteness. They aren't fastidious either, and many never wash themselves or their clothes! Their horses are often smaller than those of other nations, partly because many Scythians ride geldings. These animals are, reputedly, less likely to snort and whinny, giving away their position inadvertently.


Scythian Noble Archers

Horse-archery is the defining characteristic of warfare on the wide-open steppes of the east. Most nobles and their retinues from these territories are highly practiced in this deadly art from an early age. Scythian nobles are disciplined, following the well-established code of honour of the upper circles of their people. These units of aristocratic mounted bowmen are composed of men of well above average station. They can afford a better class of equipment than typical horse archers, including coats of mail that hang to the rider's knees when he is in the saddle. They also carry swords, and are not afraid to close for a melee if the opportunity presents itself but are sensible enough not to hurl themselves into the fray without orders.


Head-Hunting Maidens

Among many Scythian tribes, the culture of war is so strong that both sexes are admired for their prowess in combat. Head hunting maidens are a product of this ethos, and have a strong motive for drawing blood in battle: they are forbidden from marrying until they do so. In the same fashion as any other Scythian warrior, high-ranking maidens who fall in battle are given honour burials along with their weapons and equipment. For all their valour, these virgin warriors are physically weaker than most of their male opponents. Consequently, they make good light cavalry, riding down and disrupting enemy archers and light infantry, but (for the sake of future generations if nothing else) they should be protected from the enemy's stronger forces.


Scythian Noble Women

Scythian noble women are excellent and well-armoured horse archers, but they are vulnerable in close combat. Among the horse tribes of Scythia, it is expected that women of noble families will ride into battle alongside the men. These women provide valuable support to their male kin, softening up the enemy prior to the main battle with a deadly hail of missiles. They are excellent archers and riders, even by the standards of Scythian horsemen. They are armed with superbly accurate and powerful composite bows, but only carry knives for defense. The martial culture of Scythia is not discriminatory when it comes to battle: Scythian women who fall in combat are usually buried with their war gear in the same way as the men. Some young girls even have their right breasts mutilated with a hot iron so they don't restrict their right arms or a bow string. Perhaps such practices are the origin of the stories about the tribe of fearsome Amazon warrior women, said to rule a city hidden somewhere on the steppes!


Scythian Nobles

Scythian nobles are superb horsemen: armoured lancers who can put many infantry units to flight. They are heavy cavalry who seek the good opinion of their people by acts of bravery. They are eager to prove their worth and the lure of glory is what drives them. They are equipped as armoured lancers wearing heavy Scythian mail, reinforced with bronze and iron scales in vulnerable spots. They do not bother with shields so that both hands are free to manipulate the lance. On the battlefield Scythian nobles are often used to break through an enemy line after it has been weakened by archery, carrying all before them in a disciplined, dangerous charge.


General's Guard

A bodyguard was, historically speaking, a functional unit, rather than a type of soldier. In the game, however, they are spear-armed shock cavalry, whose success or failure depends to a large extent on the personal characteristics of the general who they are guarding - his effect on their morale, for example, or on their discipline, will play a large role in determining how they fight. They are in all cases excellent troops.




Onagers

An onager was nothing more than a bucket attached to a pole that was then wound down against tension to place the projectile into the bucket. When the tension was released, the pole sprang back to its original position with incredible force, launching the projectile a great distance. Some onagers could hurl projectiles up to half a mile (with the larger versions). The Roman used them in many different ways: large boulders were flung at walls to help bring them down; many smaller rocks were used against enemy troops as a sort of shrapnel; various burning projectiles were used to try and spread fire; and diseased animal carcasses were flung into the enemy-held city to spread disease.

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