First off, thank you to everyone who helped in the playtest. I cannot emphasize how much extra eyes, hands and ears matter. Thank you!
Today I want to tell you about Companies, the core military unit in Fealty, and how they fit into the grander scheme of things.
A company is a body of troops under the command of a character. A character can Recruit new company from the settlement that they are in.
A character can recruit companies of two different types:
A Levy is a company recruited from the Serfs in the settlement. Serfs don’t own the land they live on, but they get to make use of it in exchange for agreeing to work the fields and show up for military service. Therefore, recruiting many companies of Levies will mean that there will be fewer people to do the important work of planting and harvesting.
Another thing about Levy companies is that their term of service is limited to 45 days. This meas that if you do not disband the company after 45 days then the unrest of their settlement will begin to increase. One way to manage this unrest is to Extend a levy’s term. This will negatively affect the morale of the unit, but limit the impact on the folks back home.
A Mercenary company is recruited from the available mercenaries in the settlement. Mercenaries are available in the Tavern, and building more will mean you have more to recruit at one time. One difference from levies, which are generally recruitable from any settlement where you have serfs, is that mercenaries may not be available all the time. However, mercenaries also do not have a term before they expire.
Mercenaries will fight for you on the expectation that they will be rewarded. This can take place in one of two ways. You can Pay the mercenaries directly from your own coin, or they can be rewarded from a succesful raid. You may never have to pay your mecenaries a coin if they are succesful in their raids.
Caring for your companies
The state of a company is represented by three attributes:
- Strength: This is the headcount of the unit - important also for ensuring you have enough Food
- Skill: The average skill of troops in the unit - determines efficacy in combat
- Morale: The spirit of the unit - determines how easily they will flee from battle
Troops consume one Food a day. Morale is affected by the presence of Food.
Companies do not move on their own. Beyond going on raids of nearby settlements they remain in a friendly settlement. If you control multiple settlements, you can move characters and companies between them.
While in a settlement, a company is in garrison. They will respond to enemy raids and try to head them off.
Morale is an important attribute to manage. A high morale unit will fight under grimmer odds than a with low morale. However, morale is difficult to impact directly. Morale changes slowly day by day depending on the conditions of the unit, and can change more drastically as a result of combat.
Idle companies can be given Orders while in garrison to improve them.
Reinforce is an attempt by the captain of the unit to recruit more troops. The success of this depends on the Leadership of the captain, and the serfs/mercenaries in the current settlement
Training takes place over a week and improves the Skill of the company. Lower skill companies will increase quicker.
Because of the expiration terms of Levies, they are hard to train up into really potent units. Mercenaries, on the other hand, will stick with you as long as you keep them fed, paid, and happy.
What type of military units you can create is going to be dictated by the economy of your settlements. If you have many cottages and Serfs you will be able to recruit large Levy units without any cost. But if you focus on a strong trade economy (and taverns), you will have strong mercenary companies at your disposal. Mercenaries therefore require a more advanced economy than Levies.
I hope this overview gives you some idea of how the economic development of your settlements will affect the military side of things.