Shigure – rather ambitiously – would like to entirely reorganize Rokugan, and Legend of the Five Rings in general. I’d say that he’s leaning a bit towards crossing Samurai with Roman Legions, but who knows? He might be able to get it to work. Anyway, here are his current organizational notes. Like all plans, they’re subject to revision – especially so as a work in progress – but we’ll see how they work out in the game.
Orders of Battle
A General Order of Soldiers
Every soldier will bear the following: a pack, an aiguchi, a wakizashi, a katana, a javelin, a weapon of choice (preferably a suitable heavy weapon, No-dachi, or spear, or suitable bow for the archers), suitable armor, a rain-hat, a set of good clothes, and sandals. The Samurai will wear breeches to his ankles in case of cold weather, and bring thick socks, and will tie his breeches at the knee to remain mobile.
[This style or pants is often used by mounted troops. It’s a subtle reminder that speed is a priceless asset. The weapon allotments would be even more organized in practice, as detailed by the unit assignments.]
Every pack will contain the following: one stake, two flasks, two spare suits of clothes, one bedroll and one spare blanket, one rain-coat, two spare sandals, tarp, one-sided hatchet, spade, small wok, chopsticks, tinderbox, and stake.
[A hammer/hatchet combo and spade are unlikely to endear the Samurai who disdain physical labor. Then again, victory and its spoils are powerful incentives.]
A soldier will be given five days’ rice ration at a time, along with a measure of oil and dried meat or pickles as available. He may carry this in a twisted sash around his waist or in his pack, as suits him best. A twisted sash will keep his food separated.
If the soldier is a cavalryman, he will bring his saddle and horse ready to move.
In battle, every soldier will know his place as well as his rank within the army. He will know his place without direction. He will know his battle flag and will follow without hesitation. He will obey any order given by an superior in his command, but will obey no orders given by an officer not in his command.
Soldiers will be allocated to commands before wars begin. Ashigaru companies will be allocated to commands before the war begins, but if they are raised after, will be assigned as needed. Each soldier will receive an emblem denoting his unit.
Every Samurai, whether Bushi or not, will practice arms for two hours each day. Every Bushi will maintain his arms and equipment. His kit will be ready to be taken up at a moment’s notice save when being prepared and maintained.
Every Bushi will train appropriately in the use of the arms and armor of his Squadron. Heavy infantry shall train in the use of heavy weapons and No-dachi, or spears. Medium infantry shall train in the use of spears and polearms. Light infantry shall train in the use of bows and javelins.
Cavalry shall bear Riding armor when possible. Heavy infantry shall wear Heavy armor when possible. Medium infantry shall wear Light armor when possible. Light infantry shall wear Light armor or Ashigaru armor where possible.
Bushi chosen to act as assistants and guards to a Gunso are Gunso no Nito. Those chosen to act as assistants and guards to a Chui are Chui no Nito. Those chosen to act as assistants and guards to Taisa are Taisa no Nito. Nito shall be accorded respect but are not officers, and do not command officers. They are the protect their commander with their lives, and to assist him in the execution of his duties, to advise him in his doubt, to set an example for his men, and to commend or discipline them.
[Gunso no Nito means Sergeant’s Seconds, and so on. Chui; Lieutenant. Taisa; Captain. Shireikan; Commander. Rikugunshokan; General. Higher ranks are not mentioned here and beyond Gunso no Nito are counted as fighting men.]
● The lowest formation is the Squad, with nine Hohei and one Nikutai, so ten men.
● The next is the Squadron, with four squads and a Gunso along with his nine-man guard, so fifty men.
● The next is the Company with ten squadrons, of which two are cavalry, two archers, two light infantry, two medium infantry, and two heavy infantry, so five-hundred men led by a Chui and his nine guards, who should not take engage in battle if he can avoid it, so that he can command the men.
● A specialized Company may have two-hundred fifty men led by a Chui and his nine guards. These may be all mounted with spears, carry light bows, or be mounted with bows, or bear javelins, or receive special training. Or the men may be mounted on steeds unsuited to battle, and dismount to fight. Or they may act as scouts and harassers.
● The next is the Legion, with either three Companies, or a Company and two specialized Companies, led by a Taisa and his nine guards, for one thousand-five hundred or one thousand men.
● The next is the Army, led by the Shireikan and his nine guards.
● A very large army may be divided into sub-Armies, and the whole led by a Rikugunshokan.
A normal Company, Legion, or Army will accept Hemin suited for non-combat service. An army requires the services of craftsmen or doctors in the field. These will be fitted for service as Ashigaru but excused from battle. A Company should bring one blacksmith who can repair common things, one carpenter who can repair wagons, and preferably two doctors.
Every Company may bring one light wagon suited for travel overland. This wagon shall carry the Company’s tools and papers and spare supplies, and be drawn by two stout horses, preferably with two others ready. A Shireikan may add one more. An Rikugunshokan may add one more.
[In practice, ranks in between these exist, but are not explicitly listed. Officers will have a few messengers.]
No Ashigaru shall train or march without being fully equipped with two javelins, armor, and a suitable weapon, including a spear or a bow, as well as a hatchet or parangu. The pack of an Ashigaru is the same as for Samurai. The Ashigaru will study the use of their weapons in quiet times when assembled no fewer than twice a year for this purpose. They will train in armor, preferably Hotoke-de armor.
The Ashigaru will learn the use of the battle line, and shall always strike two men to one foe, so that the enemy cannot defend.
● The lowest formation is the Line, which is two-hundred fifty Ashigaru led by the Ashigaru ko Gashira and nine Gunso.
● The next formation is the Square, which is one thousand Ashigaru.
● The next formation is the Block, which is five thousand Ashigaru.
[This document does not explain much about the use of Ashigaru, but implicitly they are large, bulky formations to grind down the enemy through massed power, archers always behind the spearmen. The Ashigaru ko Gashira is a skilled specialist general who by definition is the commander of any group of Ashigaru. The careful delineation of officers is necessary to maintain discipline and order. The commander of a Line would be a Chui, the commander of a Square a Shireikan, and the commander of a Block a Rikugunshokan by actual rank.]
All Samurai must serve as Hohei or Nikutai for a period no les than one year. A soldier may be promoted to Gunso or be taken into the ranks of the Nito to study the arts of victory. In this manner he will know his duties before he takes them.
On the march, every soldier will remain with his unit at all times until allowed to forage or encamp.
While marching, scouts will at all times be kept ranging at least one mile from the army in as many directions as possible.
● If the order is No Forage, then no warrior shall take a single grain save that which falls upon this coat.
● If the order is Forage, the warriors shall take all they need to eat and shall fill their wagon with food when possible.
● If the order is Plunder, the warriors shall gather all the wealth they can carry, down to the last zeni, but not harm a temple.
● If the order is Despoil, the warriors shall destroy everything they cannot take, burning every building which can be made to burn and tearing down the rest.
Plunder will be sent to the commander, who will divide all loot according to this code. The officers who oversaw the men shall take a fifth part divided amongst themselves. The soldiers shall take three-fifths part. One fifth is claimed by the leaders. No plunder shall be divided until the soldiers reach safety; lest it pull the men into their graves.
Before any soldier may sleep, the camp must be prepared. The camp will be set upon dry ground. A ditch will be dug around it, and stakes put in upon the raised inner bank. The camp will be laid out the same every night, with each unit in its own location. Wagons and supplies stay in the center. Place torches outside the camp, so that enemies cannot close without blinding themselves or being seen.
Watches will be done at all hours of the night. Samurai and Ashigaru who do watches will be excused from any morning fighting unless the men are sorely pressed, so that they may if necessary rest and become reserves. Reserves companies may be elected by the commander to act as permanent sentries, making this their normal duties. In such cases they may rise later than other soldiers and will finish dismantling camp.
The warriors will take their appointed places in the field. unless other circumstances dictate, the heavy soldiers shall take the middle, the medium their flanks. The light infantry shall ready themselves to fall upon the enemy’s flanks and to harry them at every opportunity. Archers will fire at the enemy from the front, and fall back to support the soldiers as needed when the enemy closes. When the enemy shows weakness, the cavalry shall fall upon them.
If possible the enemy will be forced to attack us by peppering them with arrows and javelins until they become angry and foolish. When they charge, our soldiers will use their lack of discipline to defeat them utterly.
● If the order is Mercy, spare all those who are wounded or cannot fight.
● If the order is Chivalry, spare the women or those who have come from Gempukku within a year.
● If the order is Make an Example, spare only Ashigaru, to so they will join our force out of respect for our power..
● if the order is No Quarter, slay all without regard to demonstrate our power and ruthlessness.
When you find a downed foe, and will slay him, decapitate him and take his arms and gear, which will be divided into spoils to those who need it. Daisho will handed to the officers, who will turn it over to their leaders. Daisho will become bargaining chips or gifts to be used wisely.
The Last Command
In battle, success is the only rule. A soldier who achieves success may be forgiven many infractions. No soldier will be punished for obeying orders, but soldiers will receive great rewards for achieving success despite orders.
A soldier has the Right of Challenge, and may take command by force if his superior displays incompetence in his duties. But, having claimed command by force, he must succeed or be found guilty of treason in the line of duty, and be shamed forever.
Orders of Administration
A Samurai family may be assigned to oversee between fifteen and thirty households, which is between three hundred and six hundred Heimin. This is one village, and larger villages will be divided when it becomes necessary.
[A “village” here may not have much to do with a regular village. Samurai need not have their household in that village, but better roads make this a much more attractive option, or at least having a home not to far away. If you can get to a decent town in a light morning ride rather than trudging for a three days through the swamp, country estates are more attractive.]
When the taxes are collected, the Samurai will make out receipts and store them, providing copies to his Lord in each year. The Samurai will ensure security and order among the villagers, and settle disputes. They shall bring problems to the Lord only when they concern multiple villages or possess elements of gross crimes: smuggling, murder, banditry, treason, Maho, Taint.
[Though not explicitly stated, having numerous Samurai around also heads off trouble.]
Samurai will see to it that all roads and bridges, docks and buoys, and markers are maintained every year.
Samurai assigned to garrisons will report daily to their posts. They will maintain order if in a city or village, inspect merchants cargoes for contraband, and escort guests. Samurai will patrol roads frequently and ensure their safety.
A Samurai who disappears on his travels will be hunted for by ten Samurai. If those ten disappear, no fewer than a hundred will be sent.
Samurai will comport themselves honorably and respectably.
Samurai will hear and resolve disputes of the households under their aegis. Disputes which concern multiple villages may be brought to the lord or a magistrate for adjudication as necessary. All gross crimes will be brought to the attention of magistrates and lords for further investigation. These include banditry, arson, treason, Maho, Taint.
Samurai may order punishments necessary to maintain order among the villages. However, they may not execute peasants without proper permission from the lord. Samurai will watch for the harvest taxes, and will ensure they are delivered safely and promptly, and will record the taxes. The Samurai will promptly and faithfully deliver a copy to the lord.
Samurai accused of crimes will be judged by their lord as to the nature of charges. The accuser must face the Samurai openly. Only village elders and Samurai may challenge Samurai. Trial by combat or iaijutsu duel is permitted for personal disputes only. All crimes will be judged by magistrates or the lord or his agent.
Heimin and Hinin will comport themselves respectably, and honor the authority of Samurai and village elders. They will instigate no actions which require magistrates. They will deliver their taxes without deceit.
[Village elders are not defined according to the law. In practice, it means the older peasants who often perform minor religious ceremonies, storytelling and instruction, and dealing with the Samurai. They are accorded more rights as spokesmen for a group of peasants, as well as experts in their fields. This plays into the idea that the Samurai have a collective duty to the peasantry.]
● Samurai of the First Rank may hold no land or a village with their family.
● Samurai of the Second Rank may hold rights over ten villages and their Samurai families.
● Samurai of the Third Rank may hold rights over twenty-five villages and their Samurai families.
● Samurai of the Fourth Rank may hold rights over one-hundred villages and their Samurai families.
● Samurai of the Fifth Rank may hold rights over two-hundred fifty villages and their Samurai families.
● Samurai of the Sixth Rank may hold rights over one-thousand villages and their Samurai families.
[Thought not entirely clear, there’s a hierarchy and higher-ranking Samurai may have personal lands and administer lands under lesser-ranking Samurai. However, Shigure wants to avoid many potential threats. The higher ranks are more symbolic than actual.]
Samurai may wed other Samurai of the same rank within the Clan without seeking permission, for it is neither loss nor gain to the Clan. Other marriages must be acceptable to the Daimyo.
[In other words, you can’t marry yourself into enough power to mount a challenge to the Daimyo. Not without him seeing it coming, anyway.]
Samurai must be warriors, priests, administrators, and artists. If the purpose of the Samurai is to rule, then they must demonstrate ability within these areas. Though no Samurai will ever master all possible skills, to know something of each and to demonstrate ability in at least one is desirable.
● As warriors, they must defend the peasants under their command with zeal an skill. They must fight for their lord, their land, and their honor without fear. They must fight monsters and criminals.
● As priests, they must be ready to soothe and intercede with the kami at the yearly rituals of their region, and when they possess the proper talents, to employ the power of the kami.
● As administrators, they must efficiently and effectively control the resources of the state, maintain records, and perform the necessary tasks of their stations.
● As artists, they must elevate the arts and sciences and continue to practice the great traditions. They must not only use them on their own behalf, but elevate the sensibilities of the Heimin, so they may not live without beauty and aesthetics.
[Sciences and arts are not really distinct: the functional is often beautiful, the beautiful often functional.]