I saw an idea for a Freeborn army list, recently, that reminded me a great deal of something I’ve mentioned earlier: Role-Specific Army Lists. In that post I described my Concord Skiritai, a light infantry force that used transports to get to places and support themselves in combat when the use of transmats was impossible.
The inspirational image here was a potential army pack, including a T7 transport, and it got me thinking. Whilst my Delhren have their own list (see the forthcoming Chryseis Shard), there are other Freeborn who are more focused towards mercenary roles of various types.The Skiritai list ended up as a mostly Strike Squad, infantry force. The Skiritai are limited in strategic heavy weapons, as they are supposed to be a fast moving infantry force, flexible, adaptable and not requiring as much training or maintenance as the heavy-hitting drop units. In the mind of the IMTel, Strike teams are the most cost effective units, able to handle the varied and flexible tasks sometimes demanded from the C3.
However, with interceptors and drop squads being an ancillary element, the Skiritai needed something else for speed and protection, a transport. So, it made sense for the T7 to enter the support bracket, taken as a support selection at a rate of one per two strike units, whatever the ‘Strike’ unit was (see the new PDF army lists), and subject to the normal, Concord list selection criteria. It could also be taken as a strategic option in the normal way. The same could be done for the Freeborn, perhaps a light infantry element of House Delhren or the mercenary House Fenrir.
How does this apply to the Freeborn? There is no coherent ‘strike’ nomenclature in the Freeborn list, so we’ll have to a bit more imaginative: these would be domari, infantry command, vardanari or support teams. Emulating the light touch, Heavy Support teams are not appropriate. But this raises a number of thematic questions: Is this reasonable? Would such a disciplined force contain ferals at all? Would it contain many domari?
Back to basics, then: I was approaching the list design from the wrong end. What am I trying to emulate?
The domari are less well trained and equipped than the vardanari, the equivalent of garrison troops, recently-raised Roma auxiliaries or even Spartan periokoi. Normally, I see them as having to be under the command of an experienced leader or be bolstered by the professionals.
It’s the same with the ferals: they are not as disciplined at the advanced combat of the Antares professionals; are great as assault troops as they keep going; and are probably useless – even dangerous – as garrison troops. However, on newly-discovered planets it is likely those under Freeborn control would provide their own warriors as sepoys under the command of the Freeborn.
But what about military houses? Every doma would have to provide a high percentage of troops – this is their bread-and-butter, after all. For such houses, light infantry is one speciality, but auxiliaries and back-up troops become completely separate as impact or assault troops need to be redeployed quickly and replaced with a stable support coming in behind.
Now we’re getting somewhere! Looking at roles and needs means we work out what’s needed for a recognisable, defined situation. From this, it looks as if we one selector that may emulate the light infantry skiritai, but we also have another that is specific to Freeborn.
This Freeborn garrison list is one that would be staffed by the doma themselves, a domari based force as garrison or patrol troops on a planet. Amongst others, their tasks include counter-insurgency patrols on conquered worlds, clearance and safety patrols for colonists (some of the local flora and fauna are unpleasant, never mind about post-war munitions clearance), protection (local ferals!). Such a force would be highly – but most cost-effectively – dispersed and might well struggle for equipment. The occasional vardanari squad (perhaps disgraced) may be left behind or assigned as the more elite support squads and numbers may well have to be made up by using local volunteers, almost identical to sepoys: it is hard not to see such a force coming to rely more and more on their loyal, local troops!
Freeborn Garrison Patrol/Anti-Insurgency List
This should max out at 1250-1500 points, with 750-1000 points being a common sized patrol force.
- Freeborn Command squad – Maximum two
- Domari – At least a quarter
- Vardanari – Limited Choice (loaned in!)
- Feral Sepoys – perhaps a maximum of 1 in 3, though later these would become more prevalent
- No NuHu (these don’t fit the role)
- T7 Transport – Maximum one per two infantry or support units. A T7 must be taken before any other vehicle can be taken from either support or strategic selectors
- Freeborn Support Teams – One per four units.
- No Skyraiders (don’t really fit the backstory, though it is possible that a local cavalry substitute be pulled in in the shape of skark-equivalents)
- No Strikers (we’ll need a local replacement for this, probably a repurposed vehicle)
- Skarks or equivalent – part of the 1 in 3 local sepoys limit
- No Heavy weapons (don’t really fit the backstory)
- No Heavy drones (don’t really fit the backstory)
- M4, M407 and Solar Command Skimmer – Only one of any of the M4, M407 or Solar Command skimmer can be taken (these will be rare in such situations)
- T7 transport
- Spotters – vital for front line search work
- Targeters – if the force can somehow wheedle their way around the need to send such probes to active units!
- No Misgenics or Hound Probes – (don’t fit the backstory)
- Allied Boromite Engineering team – one only, as this fits with patrol/clearance purposes.
So there you have it – a slightly different list with options for interesting interactions with other Freeborn, locals or natives, a scout party from one of the other factions or even for solo scenarios (more on those soon).
We’ll continue with the professional list in another blog entry, and update this with links to the solo scenarios. We’ll leave, for now, a fast-moving raider force as that might appear in a coming supplement… 🙂