The Elephant Class

By Punic Hoplite


Hello Warlord! Welcome to our hallowed halls of wisdom and warm conversing. Today we shall take a look at the destruction elephants can cause, how to use them, and what makes things go terrible wrong with them at times.

Now to begin. Elephants can only be recruited by nations who have developed far beyond stick huts and wood fences for settlements, and as such, only the Seleucid Empire, Carthage, and Parthia can recruit these mighty beasts in any form. Do not leave yet though if you cannot train them! For there are crews who will be happy to fight for your cause given the right amount of gold. These mercenaries are located in North Africa west of Cyrene, and in the area around Syria. These crews are rare and expensive, as training elephants without any proper facilities is hard.

Now, onto the elephants.

Elephants

Elephants, with nothing else in the name, are but small Dumbo's compared to their much larger uncles. They cannot support any armor, nor any riders except their mahout, or driver. They receive only enough training to make them controllable, and thus are easily frightened. Do not belittle their worth though, (for they are certainly still larger than a man and horse) as they can still decimate infantry and rout cavalry. How is this you say? Well, elephants are large beasts, and they use their trunks, tusks and toes to kill. Even a small elephant can make men fly. These animals can only be trained by Carthage and the Seleucid Empire

War Elephants

War Elephants, as the name suggests, are trained for war. They are much bigger than their smaller companions, and with that bulk comes the muscle to haul a platform that archers fire from as another weapon. Normally these attack any targets they can see, but if you wish to have them target a specific unit, hold alt and click the unit you wish for them to target. These whittle down the enemy before the elephant even moves, and in the case of Carthage, are the only archers naturally available to them, as they have no archers themselves and must hire mercenaries if they choose to have them. War Elephants, being trained and older, take more hits to kill than the smaller elephants. These animals can be trained by all nations that can make elephants, namely Parthia, Carthage, and the Seleucids

Armoured Elephants

Armoured elephants are the top of the line. The best of the best when it comes to elephants, and are the largest elephants man can train. They are so large that they need the best stables money can buy to train and house them. These beasts of destruction also are strong enough for archers on their backs, but they also get a coating of armor to protect their hides. This metal helps stave off arrows and swords and spears that by some means gets close enough for a strike. Being the largest of the herds, these elephants know they have push, and will not rout as easily as other elephants. Now this is not to say they will not run away, but they are less likely to do so. Being the biggest beasts on the block, only advanced and sophisticated nations may train these units. Those nations are Carthage and the Seleucid Empire

General Guidelines

Elephants are mighty foes as shown above. The only differences between them is how tough they are, and if they have armor or archers. You may be thinking "Great, so basically unstoppable, slow cavalry. That's all?" At which point I would say "Not quite". You see, elephants have a business end, and that is the front where the head it. With it's head, it will crush, pound, cripple and crumple you, but it can also bash down walls that are made of wood. So say you have one elephant, see a town is lightly defended, and has only a wood gate to keep you out. You also know that a large army is within one turn of your position. Simply take your elephant, and click on the wall or gate you wish to be no more. The elephant will attack the place you selected until the task is done. Boom. You are in and have one turn to prepare yourself from a possible attack, given that you win the battle. And as a bonus, elephants smell. Now you may not smell them, but in the game, the horses can. Your own horses have grown used to their smell as that is what happens when you have to live with them. Now the enemy horse can smell your elephants, and are afraid of this horrid smell. They are get fear deep into their hearts the closer they are to these beasts, and thus are easier to rout. So not only can these animals do massive damage themselves, but they make battles easier for you just by being there!

Now that it's non-weapon uses are out of the way, how does one use them properly in battle? You can't let them charge and roam about at will. Elephants are heavy cavalry, and very heavy cavalry at that. Phalanx units will still get a bonus against them, and should be avoided from charging the front of said phalanx like every other cavalry unit. Elephants are like chariots in some respects, as when in combat, they should always be kept moving.

As the picture above shows, a lone armoured elephant is surrounded by mere desert infantry. But elephants like to rear up and crush men with their weight. This opens their bellies to attack, and that brings them down, as shown in the second part of the picture. This is avoided when they are kept moving. Pachyderms should be allowed to regroup. When this happens, not only will they charge with more effect, but they will lose the sense of being alone and afraid.

What Can Go Wrong

Now, I've talked about these beasts going bad throughout this lesson. Now I will talk about how this happens, and what can be done.

Pachyderms, though mighty, are more susceptible to panicking than running away. That is bad. Elephants will panic when showered in arrows of fire, are alone amongst enemies, hear pigs squeals around their feet, or lose many friends. When a unit of elephants panics or goes amok, their banner will change to flash red, like this.

When this Flag of Blood appears, the unit is no longer under your control. The animals no longer listen to their masters, and will kill whomever gets in their way, eventually leaving the field. This unit is considered by the magic box as routed. And now you are thinking "I'd rather kill the stupid things than have them destroy my army!" You are in luck, for ancient generals armed the mahouts with a hammer and spike. Should the animals listen to themselves rather than the masters, the spike was to be pounded into the skulls of the elephants, killing them. This option becomes open to you when your elephants rampage about. Simply press the Special Abilities button. It should look like the following when your cursor is over it.

When you press this button, there is no turning back. All elephants will die. No refund. Nothing. And given that these are useful, and pricey animals, if the beasts are on their own away from the battle, leave them be, and you'll gain control of them after the battle ends. However, the rampaging elephants have a tendency to go towards the biggest morale booster on the field. That man just so happens to be your general. These animals have no reasoning process when they go mad. When they go mad, nothing can return them to a normal state, not even your general. So a careful eye on rampaging elephants. Many warlords and generals refrain from using elephants for fear of the bad effects they can have. But I think, having used elephants a plenty in my marches against my enemies, that the risks are small compared to the benefits.

That concludes our lesson on elephants, their uses, benefits and hazards of using them.

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