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What nation has the best soldiers?

From: Raymond E. Feist
Date: Fri, 03 May 1996
Subject: Re: Standard Combat Skills

Well, I have never tried to parse this stuff out. First of all, so many things influence a battle that trying to establish a kill ratio is tough. We start with the assumption there are two types of guys with swords in their hands in Midkemia, fighters and soldiers. Fighter is a class (like magician, cleric, thief, etc.) but soldier is a skill. You have some folks who have that skill in their character roll up table. Soldier means you know how to form a shield wall, how to build a defensible position, how to coordinate an attack, etc. I'd put the state-of-the-art a little earlier than the 14th Century, maybe the 12th, or 13th. But your basically about right. The Inner Legion of Kesh is very Roman in terms of their use of many bodies with bad attitude in a very disciplined fashion. It's how they conquered their neighbors. The Dog Soldiers began as a class of mercenaries, and evolved into permanent garrisons, a situation that led to many problems. They are tough, obedient, and merciless. The Tusrani you've seen. Fiercely loyal, brave, and willing to give up their lives for their leaders. Their success, however, is directly related to the smarts of their leadership. The Thuril are very good mountain fighters, able to defend their homeland against Tsurani aggression, but they're not an army. The Saaur are twelve foot tall light cavalry (if such a thing is imaginable). Think of Cheyenne warriors or Mongols, with sword, small sheild, and bow. The answer to the Saaur . . . well, WUTNB. The Kingdom soldiers are very good units at times, and right after this coming war, the survivors are REALLY good. On balance, they're all men ('cept the Saaur), and they have variablity. If I wanted to conquer my world, I'd start with the Keshian Inner Legions. If I wanted to defend Aspen, I'd import a Hadati and Thurill. If I had a castle to defend, Kingdom veterans. Man for man, though, in terms of _fighters_, I've always thought Mercenaries from the Vale of Dreams were the toughest SOBs around. That's non-stop fighting.

From: Raymond E. Feis
Date: Thu, 02 May 1996 
Subject: Re: Kingdom soldier

The armies of the nobles are also varied. In the East, they're almost non-existent except as honor garrisons, good for parades. In the west, the father away you are from Krondor, the more serious you have to be. The Far Coast and Sunset Islands are probably the two best armed areas outside direct controll from Krondor. Everything inside the Principality is under the direct control of the King's army. Calis's special unit was created specifically for this war. After this war it was absorbed into the Prince's personal army (which you'll see start in _Honor_). On balance, Principality forces are better trained, but if there's a particularly hot Swordmaster at a garrison that noble's troops may be very good.

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