How to dress a Vlandian Warrior
Hey, here's a small guide (more like few suggestions) on how to properly gear up your character and an insight on the vlandian army. As you know, this scenario takes place in the Dark Ages, in the year 832, more or less like 200 years before Bannerlord. The armors and the weapons used by the warriors in the Dark ages were much different from those used centuries after in the same European area. The lack of artworks and illustrations, or sculptures, make more difficult for us to imagine how the warriors of the centuries before Christ looked like and therefore we have to rely on few and scarce archeological sources.
Anyway, here's a representation of different Vlandian warriors, based on central Germanic civilizations such as the Lombards, Franks and Goths.
However, I want you to know this is just a guide and a list of suggestions, no one will force you to dress exactly like in these screenshots, but I wont also be spawning plates and Reinassance stuff.
Heerman - Arimanno (Levy warrior)
The backbone and the largest part of the army was made by freemen who were called to take up arms in times of need. Freemen were able to afford some standard equipment but most of the times weren't enough wealthy to purchase mails, proper axes or even horses.
A very common weapon was the axe, often cheap kind of axes, but also scramasaxes (that we can replace with falchions here). Spears were the most common weapons as they are very versatile and cheap to make.
Then we have a round shield, as triangular shields started to be massively used just few centuries after and a cheap helmet. Helmets were the cheapest part of the armor to afford as they were very common and important since they had to protect the head.
Levies were often unorganized and thus the warriors often used short bows or even composite bows before engaging in close combat.
Scildeporr - Scilpor (Guardsmen, professional warriors)
Professional armies started to exist properly just around the 18th century in Prussia, Spain and France and before those times most of the army was organized thanks to a levy system by the feudal lords or companies that used to gather people looking for money or to start a new life somewhere. There were, however, even in the Middle Ages small detachments of soldiers used to patrol the streets, garrison forts or even escort nobles or important personalities.
Scildeporr/scilpor can be actually translated to "shield-bearer" and is the equivalent of the Imperial/Calrad "spatharius" (sword-bearer). They're salaried soldiers that can afford basic leather protections and slightly better equipments than the levies. The leather was way more common as protections like the aketons or the gambesons will be introduced mainly by the imperials some time later.
The warrior carries a Nordic sword, a Balion/Jumne type that is also very common in Vlandia. He also carries a round shield and a spear.
Marphais (Men at arms)
Alongside the Scildeporrs the Marphais are other salaried warriors, better trained and armed. The Marphais sometimes even took important roles within the Vlandian society and can be appointed to become gastalds or even magistrates. However, the title was born and stayed as a military one and the marphais were sometimes also employed as horsemen in the Vlandian armies.
The marphais were then both infantrymen and horsemen, armed with cheap mails or even scale armors, they were also able to afford good helmets (heres a fighter helmet in the picture) and proper close combat weapons such as longswords that were very useful from the horse. However, weapons such as axes and maces were still largely used. As a side note, the longswords used in these centuries were way more similar to the Imperial spathas (officers swords for the horsemen) rather than one and a half swords used centuries after by the Swadians.
As the marphais often used to fight on horse, they also used smaller shields compared to the round shields used by the rest of the infantrymen. Kite shields for the cavalrymen will be a thing in Bannerlord.
Gasindi (Elite warriors, bodyguards, shieldbearers)
Professional warrior who spent most of their lives training and preparing for war. Armed with the most excellent weapons and armors they can afford they were born initially as warriors loyal to the king but soon became of use also for Comes, Duci and Gastalds alike. The Gasindi are warriors that want to prove their skill in battle and are often tasked to defend important personalities, especially vassals.
The gasindi used to fight both on horse and on foot and were given the best weapons around. The two photos above represent a footman and an horseman. The footman is protected with a good mail and an excellent helmet, has a Nordic longsword and a slightly better shield and spear than most of the other soldiers. The horseman is a bit different and might leave someone puzzled. The horseman draws in fact inspiration from the civilizations dwelling the north-eastern parts of Calredia. The lamellar was a reliable and good armor crafted in most parts of Vlandia too because it offered a good protection without slowing too much down the warrior that needed to mount, dismount and run quickly from a corner to another in the battlefield. The Vlandian smiths also took inspiration from the pointy helmets used by the Sturgians and the Savramates who were able to muster excellent horsemen on the battlefield. The horseman also has a small cavalry round shield, a good shield that can be used both on horse and on foot. However, this kind of panoply for the horsemen is slowly decaying leaving space for hauberks and the first padded protections from the Empire, that the Vlandians took from the war.
Written by Wlodoviec