Friday, January 21, 2011

Military Recruiting

I have been thinking about how the soldiers get into the armies. For the smaller armies, it makes sense that the officers do their own recruiting, but for the big armies, there would have to be recruiters out there. Sure patriotism and desire for a better job than hog farming are strong motivators, but there has to be someone out there either strong arming these guys or convincing them. For towns with strong war gods, I would think that the recruiters were either associated with the temple or actual priests themselves. In Rhum, the Temple of Manoto sponsors a club for young boys where they learn wrestling and other teenage martial skills while being taught patriotism - practically a junior ROTC program.
I’m thinking mainly about the bigger militaries. Do any of your cities have standing armies that number in the thousands? There has to be recruiters out there supplying men, even if the officers actually have the responsibility, they must be willing to pay the recruiters to bring them “fine, young men”. I can see a recruiter going to a small town. First he convinces one of the more popular kids to join the army. Probably tells him all the stories about how the chicks will dig it, and he’ll be an officer in four months. Then he dresses this kid up in the full uniform with his weapons and uses him as a shining example of what the other boys in town will want to be like. I recall some stories, I think from the Civil War, where guys were joining up because the uniform came with a pair of boots, and they had never owned a pair of boots before. Certainly something similar would be true in a fantasy game.
What about conscription? Does every man have to serve two years? If so, how would you explain straight mage classed characters? What about “shanghaiing” recruits? Some poor slob gets drunk and wakes up on a naval vessel heading into a war zone. Maybe the lord of the manor has the right to simply assigning his peasants to his military force, like conscription, but more specialized.
There’s a lot more about this I feel I need to flesh out, because each of the cultures in each of my cities is different, but the more I think about it, the more I think how someone gets into the military is just as important as how many are there.

1 comment:

  1. If the military offers steady food, decent pay and some sort of reward after long service (see the Roman Army) it may seem like a good job for a small farmer or a urban dweller. But few pre-modern states are organized enough to do so.

    Many relied on a professional warrior class (knights, samurai, and so on) supplemented by a general levy of armed peasants when possible.