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Feb 27, 2024

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Acre Organizations

1.  Draft plot notes, shared with the usual caveats.

Although physically almost untouched in the Pirate War, Acre has been in a state of turmoil ever since. Traditionally ruled by a narrow oligarchy dominated by local wealthy families and royal appointees, it’s found itself with no king, thousands of under-appreciated petite bourgeoisie and tens of thousands of restless urban poor.

1.1  Armed units

Native Ashvamedhan Hoof

Drawn from the Fara and Hindvalian tribes, this company (or as cavalry purists prefer, “troop”) most closely resembles the old-fashioned concept of an “native allies” structure. Now formally part of the KA, it nonetheless maintains many traditional tribal customs, and indeed in some respects functions as two parallel companies, including maintaining separate lodgings in each of the two tribal territories. Its tribal links make it fairly fluid in terms of numbers, appearing often well below “paper” establishment strength, but when need arises able to obtain large numbers, to well above it, without any appreciable drop in quality.

The Company of Royal Acre Lancers

Predominantly raised from the Acre’s agricultural and pastoral hinterland and with almost all its officers and most of recruits human. Vies with the Ashvamedhans for recognition as the pre-eminent “light cavalry role” troop in the entire Kingdom. Are trained to use not only their eponymous lances, but also a curved cavalry sword, and a musket-carbine with modifications to facilitate rapid horseback reloading.

Escorus Hunters

One of two companies of light infantry largely made up of canid Pasu, the Hunters are recruited almost entirely from the Ze’ev tribe, and their internal structure is invariably heavily intertwined with tribal politics. Despite the name, the “Escorus Hunters” have long been headquartered in the environs of Acre. Doctrine calls for them to be used in a “wide flanking” role, but this has in the past been interpreted very broadly. Their stamina has facilitated prodigious feats of strategic redeployment, ambush, and relief. Their armament varies considerably from Hunter to Hunter according to personal preference and skillset.

Bhuman Peltasts

Broadly similar to the Escorus Hunters, the Peltasts are somewhat distinguished by marginally more recruiting from non-Ze’ev, and fighting in somewhat closer order. The official full Army order of battle calls for them to to split into two platoons, immediately flanking the heavier “line” units (often including the heavy cavalry immediately inside them). Standard equipment includes a short, light polearm of traditional design and twin musket pistols.

Tauros Phalanx

Close-order heavy infantry company, using long spears and large shield. Doubly heavy, as the core of the unit traditionally consists of bull Pasu, including smaller numbers of other large bovids, with buffalo and sable antelope being the most significant of these. Like the Ashvamedhans, this core is often well below establishment size, and also like them, it’s supplemented as required by others. However, the quality drops off markedly in this case, as it consists of part-time fyrd-style shield-wall soldiers, largely human, lacking either the training or the physique of the regular cadre. However, they’re drilled to stand fast in formation, and can in extremis deploy several hundred soldiers, which is tactically invaluable for this type of unit in an open-battle situation, enabling them to spread out along a long front, stand in files of up to eight deep, or combinations of the two. Modern training calls for each hoplite to carry both a spear and a musket, to use either as required, and to be able to interchange ranks to facilitate reloading drill and close protection of their comrades. Pragmatically a degree of specialization has been allowed to develop, and many of the city levy receive only very basic spear drill, carry a much shorter spear than the traditional one, and are in effect expected to use only their muskets in normal deployments. Unit commander is a Captain in rank, and is referred to in that manner in official Army communication, but by long local tradition is addressed and referred to by the troops as “Bos”.

Boreal Psiloi

Skirmishers or “ultra-light” infantry. (Or according to some staff officer pedants, true “light infantry”, with much of the rest of the order of battle being “medium infanty”.) Notable for recruiting high numbers of felines, across a wide belt of the north from as far afield as Muon and Sastra. Lynx and domestic cats are generally the most numerous of these. Often used as scouts and spies. In a now-rare mass open field engagement Army doctrine calls for them to form a long, very open and scattered skirmish line well to the fore of the main body. They then engage the enemy opportunistically, fall back, and then stage pursuit and ambush actions once the opposing line of battle is broken. The Psiloi’s informal motto is “First In, Last Out”. The line infantry’s even more informal response is “Pussed off for the real fighting.” Or something similar-sounding. Fierce hand-to-hand fighters and unparalleled in stealth, their notorious weakness is in tactical discipline. One senior staff officer was reportedly asked if the Psiloi had “zero” unit cohesion. His alleged reply: “No. Negative cohesion.”

First Northern Musketry

Firearm-oriented line company. Proud of its lineage as the initial unit formed specially to use the new weapon. Carry what’s now a somewhat dated medium-barreled model of musket, but one that perfectly fits their three-rank rotating volley fire drill. Eschewing specialist pikemen, each musketman carries a long detachable bayonet, and a very short, relatively broad and heavy slashing sword as a sidearm.

Toxotai Pedias

Traditionally a close-order unit of archers, this has evolved into more of a parent unit for several small, specialized, missile-using platoons. Notable among these is a subunit of lowbowmen and other traditional missile-weapon users, almost invariably Viramarga students. Another is composed of modern sharpshooters, wearing a drab green kit, often with additional brush camouflage. Their usual weapon is a very long-barreled rifle, much slower to reload than the comparable musket, but with an advantage in range and accuracy in the right hands.

Acre City Yeomanry

Unusually well-organized and formally constituted compared to any other city watch/guard/militia unit, the Yeomanry is a company-sized body of full-time paid paramilitary policemen, and the city’s primary civil defense and security force. Each Yeoman is individually appointed rather than enlisted, and hence has personal power of arrest, and so on. Part of their work is organizing and leading other watch units, local volunteers, guild bodyguards, and so on. Informally, each Yeoman is regarded as the approximate equivalent of an Army sergeant, though as they’re not royal officials this does not have official standing. In some way their organization is a nod to the Marcher Rangers, though it would be thought presumptuous and impolite to stretch the comparison.

1.2  Organizations and factions

The Council of Nine

The traditional ruling body of the city. Drawn from the ranks of the most important families, guilds and more recently industries, confirmed by royal appointment, these are perhaps the closest Loka has to a true nobility, outside the minor royals. When a High-Reeve Palatine of Bhuma exists, they are both First of the Nine, and have personal authority in the Acre hinterland, but that post has been in abeyance for some years now.

Still convening, and still with much practical power, authority of the Nine has been weakened by a unique combination of circumstances. Firstly, their appointments each formally lapsed on the death of the king. The reappointment (or replacement) would normally have been one of the series of events of high pageantry following the coronation itself. With no even generally agreed new king, much less any completion of the formalities, they’re very much running on empty as far as formal legitimacy. To add to this, rise of the Commune, rivalry with the other “leading” families (and indeed, some dissent from within the incumbents’), and a peak in the long-running resentments of the “lesser” trade interests.

The Acre Commune

Type A revolutionaries. Power to the people, workers’ sit-ins, each according to, etc, etc.

The Minor Guild Federation

Historically, a trade body with no formal power, but a focus for the Burgher Faction, seeking broader political representation. Very big on private property rights for the middle classes. The “radical” wing of the Burghers even want some sort of democratic representation in Acre’s government — and perhaps even in all of Loka’s! Subject to suitable qualification by education, ownership of aforementioned property, etc.

The Army

An informal player in the political game is the King’s Army. All the units in the area have professed nominal loyalty to the Crown, but have reached a general understanding and accommodation with the city authorities. This is partly self-selecting: many army recruits have deserted or “informally demobilized”. Conversely, some have “self-redeployed”, typically to nearer to the capital. The reverse is also true: elements of other units have ended up in the Acre region, especially if they’re locally recruited, or have an interest in supporting one of the factions. This has been notionally regularized as deeming them to be on “detached duty”, reporting instead to a local commander. (The views of their parent formations on this are not on record.)

As far as non-army military and paramilitaries are concerned, the general expectation is that the Yeomanry will follow orders, and the Rangers will act disinterested, technocratic and self-sacrificing, regardless of whether they’re being paid locally, by the rump central government, or not at all. Thus far, these expectations have been borne out.

Provisional Governance Coordinating Committee

Acre’s closest thing to a ruling body. Or, according to some, the perfect expression of Acre’s current unruleability. It has no formally defined composition, and even the people everyone is certain are members, rarely all meet in plenary, in large part due to the animosity between the Nine and the Commune. Rather, it works via any number of subcommittees, some pre-existing, some new, to broker such deals between the various parties as proves possible.

The Army is not part of the Committee, because the units are not formally subordinate to the city. However, one position on it does act as the Army’s arm’s-length representative to the the city. Or, ambiguously, the city’s ambassador to the army. Designated the Provisional Military Liaison-General, he’s separately, and with the agreement of the unit commanders, been given the title Lieutenant-General Plenipotentiary Pro-Tempore, giving him a broad-ranging “super staff officer” role. This is an expedient compromise between having no such role at all, as favored by some, and having an emergency local Captain-Major — or perhaps even Captain-General — as desired by some others.

The present (and so far only) incumbent is one Pyctes, a retired army officer of both tribal and urban Fara extraction. His long army service, ties to the Acre region, and the generally wide respect he commands helps make his tenuously delicate role as viable as it is. Some in both the city and the army have taken to calling him The Proctor, following some obscure and allegedly ancient military tradition not used in Loka before this. Perhaps just because his official titles are quite as jaw-breaking as they are. Pyctes himself seems to prefer the simple “Captain”, to which he’s entitled as a courtesy as a retiree, though the serving company captains are thought to be a somewhat prickly at the conflation this may cause in the minds of some.

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