First Empress soldier designs: Light Skirmishers

skirmishersLight Skirmisher Designs

Bevren discovered that he was learning a lot about the effectiveness of slings and stones in combat. As slings were cheap to make but time-consuming to master, the captain’s instructors at the officer’s academy had dismissed them as a primitive weapon used by backwater nations. The bullets from the slings were about as big around as a cat’s eye and sculpted as close to perfectly spherical as possible. The tiny stones were punching holes in shields and armor better than any projectiles he’d ever seen.
—Excerpted from 
First Empress

Light skirmishers for First Empress: slings and javelins. Female slinger and male javelin skirmisher. Any feedback is welcome!

Light skirmishers are generally recruited from the lowest parts of society, generally peasants and former slaves. Slings are made from hemp or leather, and a competent slinger can fling a cat’s-eye-sized bullet at shield-crunching speeds. Javelin skirmishers generally carry 3-6 heavy javelins for wounding infantry or suppressing cavalry. These light skirmish units have generally lacked armor and in some armies consider themselves lucky if they have shields or sidearms. Side arms may include daggers, simple short swords, hatchets, or even clubs.

Javelins are pretty much universal in Tollesian, Venarri, Gannic, and most other armies across the Vestic and Tornis Seas—more common than bows and slings put together. Slings are more common among Tollesian islanders than on the mainland. Both can be found aboard light, skirmishing warships in most Tollesian and Venarri navies.

Though Queen Viarra has pushed to equip all of her soldiers with at least a leather brigandine or cuirass, some of the light ranged units remain unarmored.

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2 Responses to First Empress soldier designs: Light Skirmishers

  1. Bruno Kopte says:

    Well, if any feedback is welcome, there are a few discrepancies
    -Sling bullets are somewhat oval-shaped, and leaden ones were molded, not sculpted. Btw, they can pierce flesh. And even if they do not pierce armor, the impact transmited to the flesh beneath could cause large bruises and perhaps break bones. One could describe a sling as a whip punching you from two hundred paces away.

    -It’s hard to believe that some couldn’t have shields. Even if there was no wood available, rattan, wicker and any similar dry vegetable fiber could be woven into a shield. Cloth or leather could be fixed into a wicker rim.
    -The same materials could be used to make helmets, which seems to be the second priority when it comes to the poorer troops in antiquity.
    -Do you want websites and youtube channels which provide this type of information?

    • Thank you! Useful feedback indeed.
      –I remember reading at one point that the ancients had the ability to sculpt sling-stones pretty close to spherical, but I’ve also seen images of surviving stones from Greece that were oval-shaped. So it’s good to have that confirmation. And yeah, I know that lead bullets are cast, saying ‘sculpted’ was just lazy wording on my part. Regardless, you’ve given me ideas for injury descriptions for the novel.
      –The lack of shields and helmets is more a reflection on the fact that they cost money to make, so poorer light soldiers are less likely to have them. One of the key characteristics of my protagonist Queen Viarra is that she’s fairly insistent about making sure even her light troops are well armed and armored. In the story they’re still in the process of making that happen.
      –Yes, I would absolutely love links to sites and youtube channels. Thank you for offering!

      Thanks again for your feedback!

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