War in Paludia (Paludia Supplement)
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Paludia is a land of endemic violence; there has never been a time of total peace in its history. Wars are usually started for three major reasons:
- Resource wars: The lizardfolk have no access to agriculture and the constant stable food source it provides. The game in the woods and the fish in the lakes and rivers represent a finite supply of food. With constantly increasing populations, the lizardfolk find that they have to make war on other tribes in order to gain access to more resources. Note that if a tribe doesn't have enough healthy females to bear young, other tribes' females are considered "resources" by them.
- Wars of pride: It should come as no surprise that anyone who wields arbitrary power will likely misuse it, and the chief of Paludia are no exception. While some tribes without chiefs exists as well, whoever leads those tribes is likely to be as warlike and despotic as the chief of an average tribe.
- Religious wars: While relatively rare, there have been some religious fanatics in Paludia who possess the both the willpower and organization necessary to lead a major religious conflict. Most of these conflicts are between rival cults, and rarely affect most villages directly.
The average Paludian warrior is a young male lizardfolk who is unmarried but not necessarily childless. He is usually armed with a spear or club made out of wood and stone. The average warrior wears no real armor, but may be armed with a shield. Chances are he will die in a battle or due to an injury or disease which results from a battle, although this isn't likely to occur for many years.
Some lizardfolk warriors use bows or javelins for ranged attacks.
Weapons and Armor
The lizardfolk are adept at using many weapons and other tools of war. Chief among them are:
- The spear- The most common weapon by far, most lizardfolk males have some experience using the spear, for purposes of war and peace; almost all endeavors of hunting and many endeavors of fishing require use of the spear. Most lizardfolk use spears made of wood and stone, but some more advanced tribes have been known to use spears made of metal. See here for more information.
- The dagger- Used as a common side weapon, the dagger is often found on well-equipped lizardfolk warriors. It is also used by shamans and mages for use in combat.
- The javelin- A staple weapon of the lizardfolk, the javelin is used by all but the simplest of tribes. See here for more.
- The trident- The favored weapon of the torvadian lizardfolk, this weapon is widely used by the more advanced tribes of most other lizardfolk tribes as well. See here for more information.
- The bow- A common weapon, but useful only at relatively close range in the dense jungles of Paludia. As a result, most bows tend to be short ones. Poisoned arrows are sometimes used.
- The sling- Another frequently used weapon, slings are used by many lizardfolk armies, especially the less developed tribes, sometimes with poisonous projectiles (filled with poison gas which bursts upon impacting the enemy of the ground near him) or mud projectiles hardened by the saliva of certain lizardfolk species.
- The axe- A fairly uncommon weapon, large axes are used best in conditions where there is much room to maneuver. See here for more information on axes and battleaxes.
- The mace/club- Clubs are considered to be staple weapons for the lizardfolk; light and heavy maces are rare but by no means unheard of. Flails have been introduced by humans visiting Paludia, but are quite uncommon.
- The sword- A rare weapon, as most lizardfolk lack the manual dexterity, patience, or talent for sword fighting. The lizardfolk who do wield swords are usually champions or specially trained soldiers, not militia recruited from the general population. The most common sword is the falchion.
- The whip- Another rare weapon, only specialized fighters and slave masters use the whip.
In addition, the lizardfolk use some armor, although most warriors go into combat protected only by their own scales. This is due to a number of reasons, such as the need for mobility, and the general lack of materials and skill to make many suits of good armor. It must also be noted that the hot, wet Paludian environment makes wearing heavy armor difficult, and iron-based armor is likely to rust. The armor which is used by the lizardfolk consists of the following:
- The shield- Many lizardfolk warriors use shields in combat, ussually in conjunction with a one-handed weapons such as a club or axe. The preferred shield of choice is the heavy shield. The shields are most often made out of wood. Hide shields are also common.
- Scale mail- One of the only kinds of metal armor used, this rare suit of armor is employed by only the most developed tribes. See here for more.
Most conflicts tend to be quick, brief fights with both sides charging at each other in an open area. Some conflicts use guerrilla tactics, such as setting traps (nets, snares, hidden pits, etc) hiding in the woods and shooting enemies with poisoned arrows or blowgun darts, or just hitting and retreating back into dense jungle or else into the water. A favored lizardfolk tactic against adventurers is to force them into the water, and use their superior breath-holding ability (4X constitution for the common male lizardfolk) to drown the adventurer by submerging them both in the river. Another tactic is to follow adventurers whose paths happens to hug the banks of a river. When the opportunity presents itself, the lizardfolk will burst out of the river and attack. If the battle doesn't go their way, they can run back into the river and swim away underwater, usually much faster than an adventuring party can hope to follow. Stealth is a natural advantage for the lizardfolk; their (usually) green-colored skin helps them blend into their environment and can be used to launch surprise attacks against the unwary.
Effects of War
- Lack of advanced peaceful crafts: The state of unending conflict has severely retarded the development of skilled craftsmen for any other purpose but warfare. Almost all skilled lizardfolk craftsmen are needed to make weapons and other tools of war. The largest exception to this are the craftsmen who work in temples and other religious structures.
- Disrupted trade and commerce: Without security on the trade routes, the exchange of goods becomes difficult. The focus on warfare has also led to a lack of trade-related infrastructure in Paludia (such as roads, canals, bridges, etc.) While some paths cut through the woods do exist, few of them are capable of supporting large caravans. It also doesn't help that Paludia's environment, with its dense jungles, enormous swamps, and lack of good paving stone, works against large-scale trade. What trade does exist usually occurs along the rivers, and even these boats have been attacked by bandits and raiders. Perhaps the worst thing for trade, though, is not the lack of police or even a code of laws, but an inherent lack of respect for law among the lizardfolk; in their minds, there is no right or wrong to ground laws into. Hence, they only believe its "wrong" to steal or kill if you get caught. The closest thing lizardfolk have to a moral code is a code of taboos, which is dictated by fear rather than by objective moral values.
- Culture of distrust: With so many old scores to settle, and so many revenge conflicts taking place, it's no wonder that so many lizardfolk tribes are xenophobic. This atmosphere of distrust and of always having a war to fight makes mutual trade agreements almost impossible, and makes diplomacy very difficult.
- Isolation: All of the above factors have contributed to Paludia's isolation and comparative backwardness. Without the large-scale exchange of goods and ideas, technological and societal advancement is made very difficult.