The primary form of war in the west has remained the same for thousands of years: The Phalanx supported by skirmishers, and sometimes used in tandem with cavalry. The primary weapon is the pole-arm. In part, it is because of cost efficiency. But the primary reason the pike is used is because the pike prevents deaths. Pikes as a weapon are designed for pushing and controlling your opponent, as any person confronted by a hedge of pikes will usually maneuver themselves away. This is a practice that is ancient but also relatively new. Proto-Adan warfare in the west was vicious and depended on the extermination of other clans for resources. For the last several centuries, due to the lack of population and the rise of dynastic clans, the extermination of your enemy isn’t advantageous. Though there are exceptions, the goal of most battles is to leave as little bloodshed as possible. These exceptions often add a new element to the phalanx: the swords. Of this element, there are two types: Undersword and Shield. Often taken from the ranks of the desperate, the poor, and the criminals, the Underswords are expendable men who are seeking salvation through an honorable death. These men primarily fight by travelling between, in the gaps, or (most of the time) under the pikes and striking at their enemies men from below. Such a task nearly always results in death. Shield-bearers work differently, as these are elite infantry designed to make gaps in pike-walls, pushing through the wall of spears in a wedge formation.
The Rëline (Rëlitar) nobility fight in pairs: The Armsman and the Shield. The Armsman is armed with a sword and shield, while his shield bearer protects his right side, both on foot and on horse. Though not necessary, a Shieldbearer often formed a romantic attachment to his Armsman. Lower rank soldiers fight in Atar-style phalanxes, with padded armor. However, lower nobility also fight in phalanxes in suits of mail and scale mail. Such armies used combined infantry, cavalry formations, supported by archers. The Rëline armies were made up of a core of professional warrior-nobles.
The Laurëan nobility fight as familial phalanxes, brought together by clan obligation. These phalanxes were made up of commoners, not professionals. However, Laurëans all are taught from as young as possible how to use the pike in formation. While they are less professional, there are more warriors and all with decent training, balancing the medium quality with larger numbers. Their formations are also combined infantry and cavalry formations, with only pure blooded Laurëan Armsmen allowed on horseback. Any noble who has mixed blood is banned from the horse, even if they are higher in rank. Foot soldiers often carry secondary weapons but the use of these weapons is a sign of either utter desperation or as a failure in discipline. In the modern kingdoms, casualties on both sides are discouraged. At least in the normal armies. In the armies who carry the tradition of Emperor Valán however, a genocidal fury dominates the men. Desperate criminals, penitants, and fugitives called “Forlorn Hopes” are given redemption for their sins in exchange for their service in the nearly suicidal business of making gaps in the pike-walls by crawling under the pikes. In addition, Pallans (named for the Pallan warrior elite of the south) on foot are often trained as elite infantry that push through enemy lines in wedge shaped formations.
The Atar formed the basis of all military cultures to follow. Ancient Atar fought with circular plates of metal protecting their chests in the fashion of the easterners. Atar were indeed clan based, and their early phalanxes were not nearly as organized as any of their successors in the west. They didn’t use shields until a much later era, making them a very mobile force, supported by slingers and other skirmishers.
The Elles (or Ellatar) phalanx is primarily based around the shield. The Ellesians fought in close unit of professional soldiers, sworn to their army, with massive spears that stretch to a nearly ridiculous length. The focus of their style is group formations that make fighting as an individual impossible. You must fight alongside your friends or else you will be slaughtered and all your friends with you. These circles of friends are tight and their bond is considered sacred.
The Pallan (something the Pallatar) successors all fight in a similar fashion to the Atar, but instead, they fight primarily with professional armies of trained soldiers. The modern Atar armies fought in massive phalanxes of pikes, armored in suits of mail, padded shirts. Modern Atar are incredibly heavily armored and are far slower than their northern counterparts. Their spears are much shorter than other nations, as the Pallatar warrior is expected to fight for himself if cornered, as well as in formation. Pure-blooded Pallans are armed with long swords and wore helms that obscure most of the face but slowly moved to a more open face.
The Sauman / Vaman successors remain the transition between east and west.
The Adan style of warfare is not one where people are meant to walk away. Warfare in Adan culture is the final solution to a problem and when battle comes, there was no room for negotiation. The Adan nomads wandered the woods of Adan for thousands of years warfare in Adan culture is fast, ruthless, and cruel. These peoples fight with slashing and hacking weapons.
The Rona are forest people and their style is based around ruthless guerilla warfare. The Rona wear vests that mark their tribes over their chainmail and lamellar armor. They wore tall helms with brass eyebrows. The Rona are wanderers, with round shields and a variety of melee weapons. Rona warriors are individuals who fight as solo warriors with each other, armed with a throwing spears and slings. Rona begin battles by exchanging thrown missiles and then closing as fast as possible. Rona are considered to be forest demons, masters of fear. Rona warriors would brutally and ritually execute prisoners, leaving their corpses hanging in the woods along the roads and trails. The Rona primarily fought disciplined armies at night and with fire.
The Ennes were a northerly people, armed in mail and steel. Much like the Rona, these were a forest dwelling people. Unlike the Rona, the Ennes were not nomadic and dwelt in fortress cities, where the whole community lived. The Ennes were a very ritual society where warfare had strict rules, designed to preserve lives. Most disputes would be solved by law but when violence was needed, the two communities in question would assemble their warband and meet at an equal place. To resolve the dispute, champions would be chosen and they would fight before the warband. Usually this would solve the issue, and the leaders would then make a settlement based on the results. Sometimes, there was no compromise, and when battle was finally joined, it was still orderly. The nobility would be equipped with iron mail and weapons with their oathsworn retainers protecting them as they attempted to hunt down the enemy nobility. The unarmored common militia’s job would be to try and pin down the enemy nobility and force them into surrendering. It wasn’t until the Ennes encountered phalanxes that this ritual style of warfare became the more desperate warfare of later years, where the commoners became a shieldwall meant to pin the enemy while small groups of elite warrior-nobles tried to penetrate the ranks and break the enemy formations in a wedge formation. It was the small squads of strategic shock troops that inspired the Laurëan army years later. Champions played a great role in Ennes society, as they were expected to be the arbiters of all justice in Ennes land. Such men were marked by colorful cloaks.
Varags are the wandering warriors of the Var and they are among the most cruel warriors in the world. Though the Var are a relatively peaceful nomadic people, the warrior caste of the Var are wandering thugs who make their reputation through bloodshed and plunder. The Varags rape, murder, torture, and maim. They also sacrifice prisoners in rituals that disgust the known world. They take no prisoners and leave settlements standing only so that they may return in years to come. Originally, Varags fought as individuals but while encountering the Ennes, the Varags took much influence from them, adopting the shieldwall formation. Varag warfare is designed around quick deployment of strong formations that attack undefended targets swiftly but may put up a solid defense when challenged. Varags fight in densely armored formations with the knowledge that they are the most hated of all the peoples of the world. They gathered their armies from adventurous young men who will not inherit farms. These Varags journey from land to land, taking swathes of land from the civilized world. The Varags became mercenaries often rejected by their own tribes, fighting in exchange for lands, often defending their new homes from fellow Varags. They wear the weapons and armor they stole in raids, reforging them to aid their image. Varag warriors are clad head to foot in mail and bear helmets that hide their whole face…save their eyes. Varag warrior also wore cloaks thrown over one should in the Ennes fashion.