I stumbled across an interesting mod for Total War: Rome 2 from their Steam Workshops. It’s called the Empire of Amazonia, a Faction Units mod from the Daughters of Mars DLC. Apparently Shannon, the mod developer, went nuts with the DoM chipsets and designed a full-fledged Amazon faction that replaces the Pontic faction on the main campaign map. While Amazonian mods for the Total War games are hardly a new idea, I feel like Shannon’s design shows more integrity than any attempt I’ve seen in the past.
As I mentioned, the Amazon faction takes the place of Pontus in the campaign. The unit selection is impressive, with diverse light, medium, heavy, and skirmisher infantry as well as some decent heavy, medium, and ranged cavalry units. I like that instead of trying too hard to be historically accurate, Shannon went with a stylized, Greco/Roman feel for her lady warriors. The uniform blue-and-aqua coloration gives these Amazons a disciplined, highly militarized feel, offering a refreshing contrast to the doll-faced, boob-plated portrayals we often see in popular media.
Since I don’t have time or space to show every awesome unit type from Shannon’s mod, I’ll try to cover some of the more interesting ones. I’ve got kind of a mediocre graphics card, so I apologize in advance for the graphics quality in some of the screen captures.
Every Amazon has to start somewhere. The younglings are warriors in training, relegated to skirmish roles until they prove themselves. Armed with a sling, shield, and short sword, they harry the enemy with sling stones, whittling their numbers down for the heavier units. Most effective against unarmored foes, our trainees can still effectively suppress their enemy’s heavy troops when deployed properly. Though they wield their swords and shields with gusto, their lack of armor makes them extremely vulnerable to enemy melee units.
Sacrificing armor for quickness, the younglings wear simple tunics offering little protection against enemy swords and arrows. Their running sandals allow our girls to dash in and out of skirmish range quickly and safely or escape a legionary charge in the nick of time. I like as well that they keep their hair tied back and out of the way during the thick of combat.
I loved that the Amazons in this mod deploy heavy archer units over some wimpy, unarmored Greek toxotai. These aren’t peasant girls who’ve picked up their mothers’ hunting bows and marched off to combat. No, these are veteran archers who’ve proven themselves in battle and have confirmed kills against Scythian horse-tribes or invaders from the Seleucid Empire.
Our archers wear plumeless Corinthian helmets to keep their faces pretty and their skulls intact. Their leather brigandines are hardened to deflect enemy arrows or spearheads, offering a degree of safety even in melee. They wear light but durable boots for quick travel over any terrain, even while exchanging arrows with Armenian archers. Their bows are composite recurves for solid armor penetration against even enemy cataphracts. Not pictured here, our archers also carry spears for after their arrows have run out. Instead of standing around or fleeing when they run out of arrows, these archers have the option of raising their spears and charging the enemy lines, handling themselves quite well in melee.
The shield-women surprised me even more than the archers’ melee prowess. A medium infantry unit, the shields carry slings as well as their shields and broadswords. I was startled, in fact, when my infantry line started exchanging missiles with the Spartan skirmishers in one of the battles. While they didn’t hold the line as well as some of the heavier infantry units, the ranged option presented some unexpected battlefield tactics.
Interestingly, the archers, shield-women, and basic hoplites all have the same armor in this mod. I love the uniformity this presents aesthetically, once again suggesting a militarized society with an organized and efficient war-machine. Like the archers, our infantrywomen’s helms and armor should keep them well-protected in light or medium melee. Their slings should offer decent armor penetration, while their broadswords are designed for splitting or removing heads. Those round hoplite shields provide excellent protection against most attacks, and are great for smashing in the faces of uppity Spartans.
Though the cavalry is probably the least diverse element of the Amazonian military, I was still pretty impressed with their designs. The one shown here is their heaviest cavalry, designed to smash into Roman flanks or ride down their archer auxiliaries. The weapon types and the horses’ bronze headdresses are reminiscent of the Macedonian shock cavalry, thus I suspect that our Amazons use similar cavalry tactics (as did most of Asia Minor at the time).
According to Greek legend, the Ancient Scythians were supposed to be descended from an escaped Amazon tribe. Thus it seems thematically appropriate to me that their cavalry soldiers wear a Scythian-style scale armor. Though lighter than chainmail, the scales offer similar flexibility and superior arrow-deflection. Our cavalrywomen’s helms are Corinthian, like the shield-women’s, and they wear bronze greaves and padded wrappings to protect their legs from infantry swords.
Daughters of Hades
The Daughters of Hades are the veteran-elite soldiers of the Amazonian army. With mounted and unmounted versions, the Daughters have the best training, the heaviest armor, and can go round for round against the Spartan elite or the Praetorian guard. One seriously badass group of ladies.
Our heroines’ helms look like some cross between a Corinthian helm and a kettle helm, with feathers and a plume. Their torsos are well-protected by heavy scale armor for deflection and padded arming tunics for absorption. Similarly, their legs are protected by bronze greaves and padded leg wraps. The bronze lion emblems should offer additional deflection from blows to hour heroines’ hearts. Like the lighter infantry, they carry broadswords and hoplite shields for dishing out or taking the heaviest of frontline melee.
In addition to these units, the Amazon Empire has access to heavier archers, sword and spear militia, light infantry wearing wolf pelts, pike phalanxes, war chariots, horse archers, shipboard marines, and even huntresses with trained war dogs. Their unit selection is extensive and well-rounded, if a bit overpowered for multiplayer combat. On the whole I’m extremely impressed with Shannon’s efforts and applaud her integrity and creativity in this mod.
I’ve taken tons of screen caps, so I’m happy to discuss other units in a future writeup, if anyone is interested. I went ahead and posted additional group pics on my Tumblr, as well. Huge thanks to Shannon for the use of her mod for the blog. Total War: Rome 2 is property of Sega and the Creative Assembly. Thanks for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!