Size of Legion pre-Ettenmark Fields

Hey there

How many soldiers where left in the Legion in your Fiction?
Were the squads platoon-sized, or?

I really want former buddies as Undead from the get go. How do you handle that?
I think I’ll ask some questions at the start about relationships in the Legion, “Who is your friend?” and “Are they alive, dead or undead?”

To be at least a little bit militarily significant on a battlefield, the Legion would have be at least several hundred soldiers. So each “squad” would have been a whole company, 100 to 200.

It’s written somewhere in the book “It’s reinvented itself many times, sometimes flush with the strength of thousands, and sometimes barely surviving as a band of a dozen warriors.” I like to think of the Legion as, well, a roman legion (think about the fact that the founding Emperor is called Tantarus, with a genitive Tantari as in Tantari Banner), and that its “normal” complement should be at around 5000 to 6000. At least during Imperial times. But as a mercenary unit, it’s more difficult to maintain such a large force, so about one thousand is good, all including.

Don’t think too much of the Legion just before Ettenmark, or you will begin to wonder why all soldiers are unexperienced rookies and still have “naive hope”, despite the fact that they have survived Ettenmark…

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We talked about this briefly when designing, but there’s only a few notes in the book regarding this and we don’t expand too much.

We imagined that the Legion at “full strength” is about 1000 (for reference a Roman legion was 9 cohorts of 80 men, so about 720 people—we rounded up to make math easy).

The squads don’t go to 100+. There are many squads of the same type. So if there are 250 people in the main line (the Grinning Ravens) you don’t have one unit of ravens with 200 people. You have a bunch of squads acting in unison. So you might be part of the 21st Ravens (5 people still, but you’re 100-105 of that 250 we talked about).

However who makes it into the 5 that become the new ravens in our current small broken legion? Well, those may come from a few different squads.

Those are good questions to ask.


Oups, Stras, small mistake in your answer!

A typical, traditional roman Legion was normally composed of ten cohorts, and the cohorts were themselves composed of six centuries of about 80/100. So the normal complement of a legion was about 5000, PLUS auxiliaries and support personnel. This was the structure that prevailed for much of the late republic and imperial times, up to about 300 CE. After that the roman army began its decline and the legions were not the only name that was given to military units. Legions were then 500 to 1000 soldiers.

So if we want to push the analogy further, then the squad you describe would have been a “contubernium”, the smallest unit, of which there were 10 in a century. The contubernium was bit bigger with eight légionnaires led by a decanus, and the word means that those soldiers lived under the same tent.

Hmm—500-1000 during the decline of an empire you say? I wonder why we’re using that number and not paying any attention to the 5000 number? I bet there’s a reason… Think about it. ^_~

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Sure, Stras! That’s more or less what I said in my first answer to OP. “But as a mercenary unit, it’s more difficult to maintain such a large force, so about one thousand is good, all including.”

But I was not refering to the composition of the BoB Legion, but of the “typical” roman legion. We have good information of the composition of the roman legion at its heyday, not in its decline when the whole western empire military was much more disorganized. The “9 cohorts, 80 men by cohort” thing you cited is definitely not something “typical” or that you could describe as a “reference”.

Another close analogy is the Praetorian guard, founded by Augustus, since the Legion was founded as bodyguards to Tantarus. The Praetorian was indeed nine cohorts at the beginning, but were not formed in a Legion (so that no officer had too much power inside Rome itself) and ach cohort was about 500 as the normal field legions’ cohorts.

Or not. Right then!

@M1G4L hope your question got answered!

I’m going to back quietly out of this post.

Yes I did. :slight_smile: thank you very much.

We also went with about a thousand in the pre-Ettenark Legion - all else aside, its a nice, round, impactful number - though we made different assumptions about ‘squads’ in our fiction. Different “squads” were of different sizes before the battle. The cavalry did not come in teams of five, and nor did the artillery, infantry came in groups of 25, but the Ghost Owls always came in fives. This makes the ‘neat’ ad hox Legion of today an artifact of the Marshal’s quick decisions on the field.

Which is not to say this is a particularly good answer, but more… how you answer this should say a lot about what your Marshal is like, and what they prioritize.

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Sorry if I have sounded belligerent. English is not my mother tongue so nuances are harder to express. And the roman legion is one of my pet subjects of interest!

Nice idea.

It would make sense for the decimated Legion to be inspired by the stealthy squad.