Moon rune The Army of the Lunar Empire Death rune

by Sandy Petersen

There is little resemblance between a Lunar army and a modern one. The idea of squads, platoons, etc. is utterly inappropriate.

The Red Army is divided up into three corps, and a number of armies, each of which has its own organization, officers, and chain of command.


HEARTLAND CORPS (and most occupation troops)

The reserve of the Lunar Empire, as well as its main striking force for offensive operations. Normally the Lunars try to employ it as a mass. Thus, if threatened in both the Redlands and Sartar, proper Lunar dogma would be to go on the defensive in one area, and send the entire Heartland Corps to the other, rather than commit it piecemeal.

The Imperial Bodyguard is also part of the Heartland Corps.


The Heartland Corps consists of a number of regiments, each ideally numbering 1000 men. It is subdivided into seven maniples, each under the command of a centurion. Each maniple is named after a phase of the moon (of course). Thus there is the Dark Maniple, the Empty Half Maniple, etc. Each maniple nominally contains 140 men, divided into 20 files of seven men each.

If a regiment is fighting by itself, normally only 4-5 maniples are placed in the front of the line, with the remainder kept in reserve. If the regiment is fighting as part of a larger army, all the maniples are put into the line, as the high commander typically will keep entire regiments as his reserve.


A regimental commander has at least one assistant commander. Typically, the commander will control four of the maniples, while his assistant takes over the remaining three. If a situation requires even more dispersed action, a higher-ranking centurion can be given control over maniples other than his own.

The centurions are ranked one above the other. Thus, there is a lowest and a highest centurion, though each controls a full maniple. The exact ranking varies from regiment to regiment -- it's based on the centurions themselves, not the maniples they control. Centurions are kept with their maniples even when they rise in rank. Thus, the Full Maniple is not necessarily the "highest" maniple.

Each Centurion has at least two aides, who help him manage his maniple.

Each file has a Monitor, who is expected to place himself at the back of the file. His best man is at the front, the second best is in second place, and so forth, until the weakest man stands in 6th place, right in front of the monitor.

Units that do not fight in "files", such as peltasts, slingers, swordsmen, etc., still have monitors, and are grouped into 7-man units.

Obviously, in practice, the exact numbers given above are probably never attained. Some units are stronger, some weaker, some commanders bulk up one maniple over another, etc.


This is another reserve, but is not necessarily employed as a single unit, unlike the Heartland Corps. It is larger than the Heartland Corps, less elite, and used more often.


The Cavalry Corps is a rather motley assortment of units, many not standardized at all. Most adhere more or less to the "normal" Lunar cavalry system, described below.

Each cavalry regiment is subdivided into 12-20 troops. Each troop consists of about 50 men. Each troop further is subdivided into 6-8 sections of 6-8 men each.


A regimental cavalry commander typically relies on his captains to act as his aides at need. Each captain is in charge of one of the regiment's troops, and they are ranked, with one being the highest, one the second-highest, etc. When a regimental commander needs to have one or more of his captains at his side during battle, that captain's troop is grouped with another captain's troop.

The captains are served by their section leaders, one per section in his troop. As with the captains, the section leaders are ranked first to last. And as with the regimental commander, the captain uses his section leaders as his aides, temporarily attaching sections to other sections at need.

The more flexible command structure for the Cavalry Corps is supposed to reflect the highly variable employment of cavalry in the field, as well as the multifarous origins of the soldiers within the Corps.


These are, of course, the magic regiments, the Lunar empire's major contribution to the "art" of war. They are organized in a non-military fashion, like unto a guild.


Every border province has its own force, under the authority of the local governor or kinglet. The Native Furthest Corps, for instance, is Tarsh's local army. These forces are normally not expected to serve outside their home areas and enemy lands adjacent to these. They are armed and organized according to their own native traditions, and vary enormously.


There are many regiments and other military forces that don't officially to one of the above corps, but are normally attached to them. For instance the Thunder Delta Slinger mercenaries are not really part of the Heartland Corps. However, they are generally placed under the control of the Heartland's commander. Occupation forces, typically drawn from the Lunar Interior and stationed in newly-conquered territory, are placed under the governer's control, but are not part of the Provincial Corps. The regiments stationed in Pavis are of this type, for instance.

Most occupation troops follow Heartland Corps organization and training regimes, since they come from the same part of the Empire. (Note: the Heartland Corps organization is a modified version of the old Dara Happan army.)

Private Armies

There are private armies, owned by powerful families. Such units typically either fall into the "Unattached Other" or the "Provincial Forces" category.

The Seven Man Depth

Dara Happan units are normal Lunar units. I do not believe that they retain a base 10 organization. I believe that the standard Lunar length is 7, and that the Monitor is one of those 7. I also do not believe that the Lunars adopted a 7 man file because of the sacred number, at least not solely for this purpose.

The ancient Greek hoplites more often massed in depths of 8 men, though 12 or even 25 were not unknown (ie., there was no standard depth, it seems).

Hence, the traditional Pelorian file length of 8 sounds about right. The Yelmalions likely double this to 16, since they use much longer pikes and apparently have a different type of phalanx. Also, for what it's worth, the "classic" Alexandrian phalanx used a 16 man file (sometimes). Of course, only the Yelmalions use an Alexandrian-style phalanx -- the Lunars do not.

Now, the Lunar army originally fought Dara Happans and Pelorians. Although hoplites were needed to hold off the enemy cavalry and hoplites, the major strike arm, even in the early days, was the magic colleges. Hence, the Lunar hoplites don't need the depth of the Dara Happans -- they just need to hold off the enemy long enough for the Chaos magics to take effect. However, because they have to guard the sorcerers, and hold off larger numbers of enemy troops, including superior numbers of cavalry, it makes sense to decrease the number of men per file, and widen the unit frontage.

Therefore, early on in Lunar history, the file was shortened from 8 to 7. This meant that a Lunar phalanx of 1000 men had a frontage of 360 feet, while a Dara Happan phalanx was about 300 feet wide. This is enough to make a difference on the defense, while the pressure of 8 men vs. 7 isn't great enough to change much in the actual combat. Presumably the Lunars experimented with 5-man files, 6-man files, etc., to discover that 7 was the ideal for their purposes. Plus it has sacred significance, so what the hell!

Now, how about Peltasts and Antelope Lancers? Well, obviously peltasts don't have "files", and neither do Lancers, really. Peltasts certainly have Monitors, and once the 7:1 ratio of monitors to troops became the norm, the Peltasts would be organized similarly. Hence, the Silver Shields are in 7-man groups, one of whom is a monitor.

Cavalry are different. They don't have monitors. It's too hard to do magic while trying to ride a horse. Besides, learning to be a mounted warrior is pretty damn tough, and most monitors spent their time learning magic, not horsemanship. So no monitors for the Lunar cavalry.


The monitor is not only the lowest level of officer, but he is also a magic specialist. His job is to keep his men in line, standardize their spellcasting, and to support them with his magic in battle.

The Lunar Monitors are nominally assigned one per file (if there is a shortage of monitors, not every file gets one -- if there is an excess, the extra are generally assigned to the best maniple). A typical Monitor has a POW of 18 (that's not so extreme, really -- a typical monitor is 30-40 years old, with a starting POW of 14 -- like 10% of the population. Even by the harsh RQ previous experience, they'll all have POW 18). This means that the monitor has 3 MPs available per other man in the file. Just about right for a nice Lunarized standard file length (of 7, including the Monitor).

Ideally, at least one (and hopefully more) monitors in each Maniple have a magic crystal or other source of MPs. It is also very common for a monitor to have one or more points of Rune Magic (typically one-use).

Thus, for example, when a Lunar regiment makes a charge, every single file has its monitor cast Mindblast (for instance) just before the regiment strikes home. Thus, every file faces an enemy who is temporarily discommoded (except for those who resist the spell or have Countermagic high enough). Also, the monitor is responsible for stuff such as casting Fireblade on the front hoplite's spear, or Protection 3 on each of the first four hoplites. Stuff like that. Of course, the hoplites themselves do spell-casting, but the monitor does the lion's share, thus preserving the hoplites' MPs as a first line of defense against enemy magic.

The monitors provide not only offensive oomph, but defensive toughness and endurance to the Lunar unit. They are, in effect, the Lunar substitute for other nation's practice of having priests and acolytes scattered through their regiments. Typically, a Lunar regiment has few priests or sorcerers within its ranks. All such would be organized into one of the College of Magic units.

This doesn't apply to garrison units, of course -- these need to have magic specialists handy, and so priests, acolytes, etc., are assigned to the legion in addition to the many monitors available.

All of the above is only my informed opinion, and is subject to change when compelling evidence or logic is presented to the contrary.

[See also Sandy's The Art of War in Genertela]

Last updated 11 Jul 96 drd

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