Military organization in FereldenEdit
Knowledge of military organization is a must for players with characters involved Ferelden’s armies. The names for groupings, commanding officer ranks, and a basic idea of marching order it likely to be useful to all. While every effort was made to use real military systems (notably ancient Roman which would be Tevinter for the Thedas setting), sometimes the best solution was just to create something that seems to fit.
- Army - This term is usually applied to the whole military force of a region. The Highever army for example, is not just the force from the city of Highever but all of the bannorns and arlings in the Highever region. Commanders are the overlords of this.
- Legion - This term is the actual term for a teyrn or bann’s armies. Fergus has for example the Highever Legion (the force specific to the city of Highever) while Bann Malone commands the Edgewater Legion. Captains see to the legions.
- Patrol/regiment - These terms apply to chunks of the legions, about 25-60 men in number. A sergeant is appointed in command of a set patrol or regiment. They see to their training and care.
- Squads - These are 2-5 man teams usually assigned a set task. It should be noted that in open war situations, like Ostagar, squads are usually not given separate orders unless the situation requires one. Alistair and Aedan would have been a squad assigned to the Tower of Ishal beacon floor. Squads usually don’t have a set officer in command, instead they are all buddies and watch each other’s back.
Basic Hierarchy Edit
Listed by chain of command from top to bottom.
- Commander - This is usually the ruling noble or templar (in case of the Chantry), though it can be given to others. It is possible that once armies are combined, such as what occurred in the defense of Denerim during the Blight, that the commander status goes to the highest ranking/most experienced man. Nobles are usually referred to by their title and not the rank. Examples: Knight-Commander Greagoir, Warden-Commander Aedan Cousland, Teryn Loghain
- Captains - The second-in-command are usually the ones seeing to the soldiers and organizing the troops. While Commanders are the strategists and figureheads of the armies, the Captain is the one in direct command of the troops. This rank is usually covered by a knight in the service of the noble in command. In the case of the Wardens and the Chantry’s templars, this ranking does not exist. Examples: Knight-Captain Loras, Ser Perth, Ser Cauthrien
- Knights - These individuals have been effectively granted minor nobility for the duration of their time of service. This is given in recognition of exemplary service, long time service by a commoner family, and in cases for possessing incredible talent the ranking noble believe will be wasted outside of their service. Militarily speaking a knight is the highest rank a commoner can receive. Afterwards they are the bridge between nobility and common, part of both yet neither. It should be noted that only the knight in question is nobility while the rest of the family is still commoners. The family does however garner more respect from their fellow for having a knight in the family. Knights are required to swear fealty and knights who break their vows of loyalty should be wary if they ever have to pass through the lands they once served. Due to said oaths knights are considered officers since they have proven their loyalties more than the regular troops. With the role comes with more added responsibilities and needing to represent the realm as well. Knights are people that freeholders consider when it comes to choosing a Bann for a given realm. They are good candidates due to their positions, job descriptions, and that if a knight is given the title there will be no empty farms or families needing to be relocated usually. However this is not an automatic promotion as such things are still decided by the people that live in an area as to who is best for the job. The Couslands rose to power in this manner.
- Sergeants - These are the most numerous of ranked individuals and usually who the lower troops report to. They train, maintain, and give orders. The position is more of a job than an actual rank. Sergeants keep order and (most importantly) keep their men doing their jobs instead of say, going and crying to the courtesans. It should be noted that the quartermaster is usually a specialized sergeant, put in charge of watching the equipment and keeping the legion stocked. Templars do have sergeants though they are not called such. Templar sergeants are simply the ones in charge of the templar forces assigned to a specific town, like Ser Bryant in Lothering during the Blight. Examples: Sergeant Kylon, Ser Ivar, Ser Rhiannon, Ser Bryant
- Soldiers - The meat of the army. Anyone joining the army or guard starts here. There is usually a hierarchy of respect in the ranks based on deeds and how long one has served. Examples: Ser Cullen, Ser Darien, Linette Botten, Ferren Bairston
- Squires and Pages - These individuals are the lowest of the low. Though they are training to be knights, not all of them will rise to such a rank. Until they achieve knighthood, they are viewed as the errand-boys and -girls for the army. Pages focus on education and learning etiquette, while squires add martial training to their routine, but otherwise their duties are the same.
Basic Training and Other ConsiderationsEdit
- New recruits are expected to at least attempt to bring their own gear. If the recruit is impoverished however it is not uncommon for this to be waived (as seen with Linette when she joined the Highever legion). This is however at the discretion of the Captain and Commander. Lords with less money might order their soldiers to bring and maintain their own equipment.
- All raw recruits (meaning they have no prior formal training) receive a basic training in how to use weapons and some first aid (though their talent in this is up to them). They are then trained in the weapon they seem to use the best. Example: Ser Rhiannon likely taught Lin to use a bow and Lin can use it, but she is far better stabbing things and that is where her training lies.
- While recruits can live outside of the barracks if desired, they always have the barracks for basic needs if required. Provided of course the lord of the area is friendly enough.
- Barracks are built to hold soldiers, not provide privacy for people. As such they are not segregated (since men and women are equal in Ferelden) and crowded with six people living in a single room. Squires and knights are quartered separately from the rank and file, squires due to their age and knights due to their rank. Knights have private quarters though the rooms are much like barracks in that they are small and sparse.
- Soldiers (unlike knights) are not required to swear fealty. As such it is not uncommon for feuding banns to try and lure talented fighting men to their own legions. Incentives could be just about anything. This is the main reason its rare to see any commoners above the rank of sergeant.
- In the Bannorn, all troops also serve as the guard for the region. Denerim is an exception to this rule due to its size and has its own police force instead of using the army. The Arl of Denerim is considered the Commander of the City Guard, while the King is the Commander of the Denerim Legion.
Common Problems and PunishmentsEdit
- Dereliction of duty (desertion) - This is classified as a soldier leaving his assigned post without proper authority or cause. Usually the punishment is a branding, whipping, and dishonorable discharge. There is also, however, a heavy social stigma to this. A deserter has broken a promise and as such their word means nothing. The punishments can also get far worse if soldiers are badly needed, like during the Blight, and a deserter may face the death penalty.
- Disorderly conduct - The most common instance of this is brawling in taverns or fights breaking out on the practice field between soldiers, though this can also apply to things like improper use of ballistas and catapults (such as launching privies at unsuspecting patrols or other shenanigans). Depending on damages and the severity of the situation, the punishment could be flogging, time in the dungeon, or simply being set on a particularly odious duty. Examples of such duties include armor polishing, privy scrubbing, wood chopping or even the dreaded writing out the Chant of Light 10 times.
- Insubordination - It should be noted that this is not open rebellion against the lord of the land, but rather the refusal of a direct order by one’s superior. In this instance the charge is brought before the commanding officer of the highest ranking individual. If a sergeant’s order is being refused the matter is brought before the captain. If it’s the captain’s order it’s brought to the commander who has final say in who’s right or wrong. If the subject is found guilty of insubordination, they are handed over to their fellows for punishment. It’s not uncommon for the guilty to be beaten to death for putting their comrades in danger, no matter the reasons for the insubordination if found guilty. If the order is considered erroneous then the officer who gave it can be facing serious consequences ranging from demotion, fines, and even dishonorable discharge.
- Note: Proving a Commander’s orders (like Loghain’s at Ostagar) erroneous is extremely difficult due to the Commander usually also being the ranking noble in the area. It is not however impossible. In the instance of this a concerned soldier or officer would take their grievance to the next noble up on the social ladder. In the case of Loghain, he was a teyrn and as such the case would have been brought to King Cailan or Queen Anora. With Cailan’s death and Anora’s backing of her father, it was likely that none of the soldiers that survived Ostagar wanted to speak up for fear of punishment or fear of sparking a war when they knew darkspawn were out there. This, of course, left it to Bann Teagan and the other lords to deal with in the political arena.
Wardens and The ChantryEdit
- Due to both orders being specialized military they have their own rules (or lack of rules) and simple hierarchies as stated before. Grey Wardens have an addition of the First Warden who is the supreme commander of the order. Given distance, however, the First Warden seems to leave things to the Warden-Commanders.
- Senior Wardens are the closest to a normal sergeant. Since the Wardens are not as picky about ranks, the rank of Senior Warden is simply a Warden who has seen more time on the field than others. Hence Alistair referring to himself as a junior member of the order when you meet him at Ostagar. While these Wardens are recognized veterans and likely help train new recruits, they have no say over matters. This is why Riordan does not take command and make Loghain a Warden but instead leaves it up to the player in game.
- While Knight-Commanders of the Chantry are the commanders of the templars, they do have to make requests of the Grand Cleric of their country. The most notable instance of this is the Rite of Annulment. The Grand Clerics (like the First Warden) seem to be the political and social figure of the Chantry, leaving most of the military matters to the Knight-Commanders.
- The First Warden and Grand Clerics would be the ones to oversee mutiny charges in the cases of their commanders. For example: If a templar is ordered by Knight-Commander Greagoir to kill a mage they feel has done no wrong, they would bring it before the Grand Cleric to judge.
- Militias are not to be confused with regular army. They are often poorly trained and have substandard equipment. Most settlements are close enough to keeps to rely on them for defense, as the noble is the one who’s supposed to provide that for the people.
- Militias are completely volunteer driven, meaning there is nothing forcing someone to be in it. However, people do get angry about able-bodied fighters hiding with the children like cowards. An example of this would be Lloyd in Redcliffe.
- Militias are most usually led by the person with the most authority in a settlement, since they are an emergency group for when the army and nobles aren’t about to defend.