Commander Lore

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To the True Captain's eyes, time is but an illusion. Past, present, future: all of them exist as one. Truly, every battle is over before it begins, and every imaginable outcome is locked within the static present. Any Warrior may study rules of tactics, or observe battles, but a Master of War must have keener eyes: he must see through the consequences of every formation, every movement, through dread and confusion, until only victory is visible. This is how a General knows when to strike, and when to withdraw. This is why he wins.

- From The Lessons of the Battlefield, by ancient Elvish General Infrethiel Aldrorian

In War, one must be as the Wind. It does not tarry, it does not wait. It moves. If it is strong, it smites the Land with the thunder of a thousand thousand hooves. If it is weak, it veers away. Can you catch the wind? Try, and you will tire. If you are strong, smite your foe. If you are weak, tire him. This is the only wisdom.

- Semujin Kai, Centaur War Chief

What good is an army? He who resorts to violence has already lost.

- An ancient proverb of the Muvari People (now extinct)

One man may be a master of the blade, yet he will surely fall if a hundred foes are set against him. A hundred master warriors may stand together, and they will be a mighty force indeed, yet if each man acts as one, looking only to his own concerns, even they will fall before a force that is directed. A crowd of untrained farmers with long spears can prevail against a phalanx of armored knights, if they form a good line and stand together. Ten men in the right formation will fight like fifty, and a thousand men who can work together toward one purpose are invincible. The Commander must serve as the brain to the body of his army. His eyes must see the events unfolding before him, and his orders must move across the battlefield and guide his troops. As crucial as a Commander's orders are, his very presence can be critical as well. The Commander's will and courage must sustain every man, from weary veteran to green recruit, and more than one army had fled the field when its Commander fell, even when victory seemed assured. An army's strength depends on every soldier, but the keenness of the Commander's mind and eye is all that divides victory from defeat, glory from ruin.

The ancient Elvish masters knew this well, and their great commanders first refined the Arts of warfare. Their ancient wisdom still holds true on the blighted battlefields of today. The Centaurs of the vast plains to the East learned the ways of War early, in their bitter skirmishes with the Deathless Empire, and it is from them that the principles of formation, discipline, and strategy first came to the Sons of Men. In all the bloody ages since, generals of renown have arisen among all the Children of the World. Most know the intricacies of formation and maneuver, and a few have even mastered the finer points of strategy. But even they pale before the Master Warlords of legend, the Commanders who carried the crude practice of War into the highest Art of all.

Remember well the tales of Gamrist Olostor the Elf General, leader of the Steel Wind, a handpicked force of 300 mounted archers. At the peak of their power they could travel 20 leagues a day, and defeated forces ten times their number. Learn from Asranar, the Black Bear of Lambourne, whose army journeyed a thousand miles through the Chaos Gate and yet returned. For these masters of the Elder Days logistics, strategy, morale, and deception were as crucial as numbers, arms, and armor. Sir Gerriant the Old, Right Arm to King Cambruin in the War of Tears, he was such a man, the last great General among the Sons of Men. Their like is gone now, swept away by the War of the Scourge and the War of Tears, and the World may never see their like again. Look well at the lives and teachings of these great generals, for the Commander who can master their ancient lore will rise above the mob of petty Warlords who hack crudely at each other in the Age of Strife. An Elf armed with such knowledge might win back a kingdom for his people, or a Man might take the High King's throne.

Guilds and Cities, Nations and Hordes, all the folk in the Age of Strife seek a leader. Who will you call to your banner?

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