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Matchlock Musketeer Gear by Imperator-Zor Matchlock Musketeer Gear by Imperator-Zor
This image is another artifact from the universe described in Helmet Evolution and Sword Evolution

This is the armor and weapons that is some 500 years old, typical of soldiers during the latter years of the Third Western Civilization (1,050 YA to 300 YA). Rising from the ashes of the Western Dark Age following the collapse of the Second Western Civilization, the Forth Western Civilization emerged from the six small kingdoms of Hancolm, Dessar, Vaunseg, Rhointan, Astim and Senlesh. Over a period of a hundred and thirty years, the ruling dynasties of each of these states managed through various means a firm hold on power over their vassal lords and with this managed to reorganize their lands to be more productive than those in the surrounding petty feudal kingdoms. The fact that five of them were strategically located either on an island, hubs of trade routes or in areas with abundant mineral wealth contributed to this fact. In any case these states managed to mobilize better trained, better equipped and better organized armies than their neighbors and as such they managed to conquer them, including a few up and coming upstarts that had begun to rise from the ruins themselves. By 800 YA most of the lands held by the WC2 as well as a fair amount of previously barbaric territory north of it had been claimed by these rising Empires, baring a few anomalous states mostly in marginal but defensible locations that turned to emulate their larger rivals as best they can.

While there was some variation in it the countries of the Third Western Civilization were all a lot more centralized than their previous counterparts. While some form of class system was retained by each of these kingdoms the nobility in all cases was kept on a tight leash. While a couple of them made use of feudal levies raised by vassals early on, these were superseded by various systems incorporating militias, warrior classes and professional soldiers raised at the city, provincial and Imperial level. These six empires traded, made alliances and warred with each other on a frequent basis. Though the Astimian Empire was destroyed some 582 years ago, the Senleshian Empire divided into two during a successional civil war in 612 into the Northern and Southern Astimian Empires. These empires also began to send out exploration and colony ships around 550 to distant continents. During this period gunpowder was discovered and cannons, rockets and firearms were developed bit by bit.

This armor is typical of a Hancolmian Imperial Army soldier. It's construction is made from a series of plates held together by rivets and leather straps. Though this does sacrifice some durability, it also meant that less expeirenced smiths could produce this armor and if it was damaged, it could be taken apart, the damaged part removed and replaced. The soldier is armed with a dirk (not shown), a heavy shortsword designed for close quarters hacking and anti-armor work and a matchlock musket of an early design which did not have a stock. This gear would be used by main-line infantry in regiments of three thousand: of which some 1,000 troops would be musketeers, 1,000 troops would be pikemen armed with 6.2 meter long pikes and 1,000 soldiers would be swordsmen armed with broadswords about 10-15 cm longer than the one pictured and steel triangular shields designed to let them get passed enemy pikemen. In addition to infantry there were also Imperial Cavalry forces. Imperial Troops would be recruited from the best of provincial regiments, were retained full time and received better equipment, pay, pensions and the prospects of promotion. Though provincial regiments made up some 75% of the Empire's total military manpower under nominal conditions, the Imperial Army was considered the Empire's main offensive force.
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May 27, 2015
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