By Stuart Ellis

The smallest sized fief (a barony) holds enough resources to maintain at least one legion of professional soldiers and field several units of militia.

If the main obligation of an FS noble to his liege is to supply troops (as it was in medieval times) then it seems reasonable that the smallest sized fief (a barony) holds enough resources to maintain at least one legion of professional soldiers and field several units of militia.

Since this is a kind of feudal society no troops apart from mercenaries work for pay as such - serfs are serfs, soldiers are retainers bound by oath to a lord, who feeds and houses them as well as providing a annual stipend in a mix of cash and goods. Lords are similarly oathbound to support a higher noble and so on. However, the commander of a force has to keep this lot in food and ammo, provide booty from somewhere and 'compensation' if serfs are kept from the fields for too long. The need to keep serfs at work means that nobles are likely to hire outsiders i.e. the PCs to assist their troops with small military problems.

The militia is probably made up of the most healthy and respectable serfs and freemen, who are given training once or twice a month. In rural areas the local militiamen can be called up by priests or village elders to act as police, lead rescue work or whatever. When their lord needs lots of bodies the militia of each parish form a squad under their sargeant, who's probably something like a blacksmith or miller and each militia detachment is lead by a freeman who's often chosen more for social distinction than military skill. The main weapon is probably longbows with armour-piercing arrows (the medieval sort were 'bodkins' with needle-shaped heads).

Legions are always commanded by a noble (what else are nobles for ?). I see FS legions as being self-contained units of about 100 soldiers in 8 man squads plus support - a chaplain, armourer and whatnot. The small size makes individuals more important, so that PCs can reasonably play an important part in battles, but also makes sense in this setting as the cost and rarity of tech would make it difficult to build up large units. If 80 per cent of the population are serfs whose worldview would make it difficult for them to deal with tech, like travelling in spaceships, then legionnaires have to be recruited from freemen in urban areas. Given the belief in heriditary many will be related to existing or former retainers and there are families who haved served for generations and absorbed a lot of the values of their nobles.

The standard legion probably is infantry with assault rifles, swords and chain mail or half plate, as the companion says. But rather than being just infantrymen they are Gunbearers (does this name sound OK ?) with the same named rifle being used by all the descendents of the first legionnaire to swear to a particular family. If a legionnaire carries out a heroic feat he is given the right to have his family rifle engraved with a small symbol to commerate the deed. The result is that ordinary legionnaires take pride in being very good shots with several Shooting Actions, though by custom they won't fire at nobles, partly because of shields but mostly because lords prefer to fight each other rather than leaving it to commoners. Some guns are actually bound to their current Bearer by a kind of spiritual or tech link and only work from him or work better somehow (in a Bond movie he has a gun which checks the fingerprints of the firer before it works).

Each noble commander is assisted by at least one Herald and one Tribune (despite newspaper jokes...I only spotted this afterwards and they seem like good titles anyway). Heralds deal with all aspects of communications - diplomacy, etiquette, PR, radios and think machines; they also handle whatever intelligence work is done. Attacking an unarmed Herald is highly dishonourable. Tribunes are a combination of NCOs, bodyguards, military advisors and general companions, often more experienced than their noble; the best examples I can think of are Gurney Hallack in Dune and Cardanzo.