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 2e Zhentilar/Zhentarim Military
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3595 Posts

Posted - 10 May 2012 :  23:04:30  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
While reading over some resources, I came again across a description given for the city of Zhentil Keep in the 2e Sourcebook Forgotten Realms Adventures.

In that book it says that the military of Zhentil Keep (The Zhentilar) amounts to 22,000 native troops (all armored in FULL PLATE), augmented by an additional 16,000 mercenary soldiers.

It says only 5,000 of these are to be found in Zhentil Keep...but that leaves 33,000 soldiers out there "somewhere"!

While it doesn't mention if the 7,000 or so members of the Zhentarim are figured into that very high number, I am going to assume that they are not...so that we are only talking about the deployment of the Zhentilar alone.

I don't have time to type out much more right now, but that does leave a VERY large number of soldiers for various uses.

Even the Citadel of the Raven and Darkhold don't really even take much more than 10% of that number.

What I'm wanting to ask is where YOU THE DM would put that many soldiers to use? I know what I've done with them in the past, but I want to hear what you guys would do with that many soldiers?

AD&D for me!

Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3595 Posts

Posted - 11 May 2012 :  14:10:44  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nobody?

I thought there were several out there with an interest in this?

At any rate, I had hoped to glean thoughts from several of you regarding the military of Zhentil Keep...especially as it relates to the Barbarians of the Ride.

With so much military might, I have often wondered what kept them from scouring the Ride.

Also, I have wondered how large was their army that was destroyed in the Ride when they sought to conquer Glister.

Any thoughts out there?

AD&D for me!
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3085 Posts

Posted - 11 May 2012 :  14:19:02  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not sure which would be used for this (Zhentilar or Zhentarim) but at any given time you could reasonable account for at least a few thousand troops to be protecting the many caravans coming/going to/from Zhentil Keep. IIRC during the 2E days Zhentil Keep and the Red Plumes of Hillsfar were always clashing as well so this would account for some more troops too.

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Rhewtani
Senior Scribe

USA
508 Posts

Posted - 12 May 2012 :  01:14:12  Show Profile  Send Rhewtani an AOL message Send Rhewtani a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, it's worth figuring out how many are in Yulash. And there always seems to be some amount on their way to Shadowdale. There is an outpost outside of Phlan, so it's safe to assume that there are more outposts dotting the Moonsea. Then there's some portion in the Aunaroch based on 2e Lords of Darkness.
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3595 Posts

Posted - 12 May 2012 :  04:37:12  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Rough figures:

If we have 100 Outposts of 100 men, that still only comes to 10,000 Soldiers!

Even with all the garrisons and armies, the best I can come up with is that the Zhentarim are fielding about 25,000 soldiers in various locations.

This leaves "free" a HUGE army that is SOMEWHERE...even if I account for as many as 10% being wounded at any one time and recovering!

I honestly can't figure out what to do with so many soldiers.

The only thing I can bring myself to conclude is that the number given is just too large. OR, that there are several thousand Zhentilar and Mercenary soldiers SOMEWHERE doing something that hasn't been disclosed before.

AD&D for me!
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 12 May 2012 :  06:53:41  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How many of those 33,000 extra soldiers are reliably on the march?

I mean you read about all the Zhents causing trouble up and down the Dalelands and as far south as Cormyr into the Stonelands, as well as all the guards and swordsmen protecting Zhent caravans and traders, so would it make sense to suggest some of those soldiers are actively engaged...that is, up to no good somewhere nearby?

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).
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idilippy
Senior Scribe

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 13 May 2012 :  20:05:34  Show Profile Send idilippy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing to take into account with that figure is that, in general, mercenaries are hired for a purpose and that figure may represent the size the army gets to when fully hired up for a war. Those 16,000 mercenaries almost can't be full time hires by the Zhents, as that would get expensive and be risky, fielding nearly as many mercenaries as your regular soldiers.

Otherwise, soldiers also need to train, get leave, and in the Zhent's case do caravan escort work and border patrol work. You can probably carve out a couple thousand and have them split apart into small patrols escorting tax collectors and caravans, or manning small checkpoints and what-not. Add in another few thousand at least to cover training, soldiers on leave, or soldiers recovering from wounds, and that should bring the number of free troops down a bit.

Once you have the number of free troops down from the too high 33,000 to more like 1,000 or 2,000 you can have those be raiders or a single army ready to march somewhere. Just cutting the mercenaries down will probably make the number possible to deal with, 16,000 troops augmenting the native forces in my mind would be interpreted as a possible number of troops gathered for specific campaigns or purposes, not 16,000 troops permanently paid to sit around and do nothing until needed.
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3595 Posts

Posted - 13 May 2012 :  20:47:45  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I thought a bit more about it...and I agree: 16,000 mercenaries is HUGE. So, instead, I have decided that the Zhents might have about half of those at the ready doing various deeds...and that they are usually Orcs, Goblins and etc.

The rest are the tribal brethren of those already active, and so easily called on to swell the Zhentilar forces at need.

As for the 22,000 Native Troops:

5,000 Zhentil Keep
2,000 Citadel of the Raven
1,000 Darkhold (and environs)
100 Forts/Bases in various places of 100 men each = 10,000
That leaves only 4,000
SOOOOO...
If we figure that they use four men for each wagonload of goods and we say they have as many as 500 "Loads" carried by Wagons and Mules (depending on the locations we are talking about) that takes up another 2,000 men.

Leaving us only 2,000 to distribute for places like Yulash and etc.

The only thing that is really too big for me to accept is the 100 Bases ideas...but we can calculate that a "Base" can be any sort of actual fort, or even men rotated to leave, training camps, covert operations, and etc.

I think I can be happy with this!

Thanks for the input guys!

AD&D for me!
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2012 :  01:49:36  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Would soldiers aboard ship have an effect on this number? I don't know what sort of navy is/was fielded out of Zhentil Keep or how far south it went (Sembia?), but maybe there's room to distribute soldiers here too.

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3595 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2012 :  03:41:12  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremy Grenemyer

Would soldiers aboard ship have an effect on this number? I don't know what sort of navy is/was fielded out of Zhentil Keep or how far south it went (Sembia?), but maybe there's room to distribute soldiers here too.



That is a very good point. However, it says that the soldiers wear Full Plate, so I didn't picture them on ships!

Patrols and such can be found in FR0 (zero) and FRC2, and is what I got some of my ideas from.

AD&D for me!
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Thauranil
Master of Realmslore

India
1591 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2012 :  12:55:39  Show Profile Send Thauranil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
At least a few hundred troops would be deployed at any one time in order to support the wizards and priests in their various schemes and subversive activities throughout the realms.
After all there is almost always one or two members of the brotherhood out hunting Elminsters or other chosen and they tend to bring along a lot of backup and who can blame them.
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cpthero2
Senior Scribe

USA
472 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2018 :  15:37:34  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Dardon,

I believe the majority of the 22,000 soldiers, or approximately 17,000 when taking out the 5,000 for the Citadel of the Rave, are along the Long Road (west/east). Depending on the time frame (1357ish, or post-1368), you are looking at different numbers, but then there soldiers stationed at Darkhold, Teshwave, and Zhentil Keep proper (post-1368). The Long Road was, well...rather long. The assignment of protecting that route as it eventually led to the Golden Way heading into Kara-tur was quite important. With the ongoing issues with Mulmaster as well, the importance of maintaining a presence to deter aggression was likely ever present in the minds of the Zhentarim.

Best regards,



quote:
Originally posted by Dalor Darden

While reading over some resources, I came again across a description given for the city of Zhentil Keep in the 2e Sourcebook Forgotten Realms Adventures.

In that book it says that the military of Zhentil Keep (The Zhentilar) amounts to 22,000 native troops (all armored in FULL PLATE), augmented by an additional 16,000 mercenary soldiers.

It says only 5,000 of these are to be found in Zhentil Keep...but that leaves 33,000 soldiers out there "somewhere"!

While it doesn't mention if the 7,000 or so members of the Zhentarim are figured into that very high number, I am going to assume that they are not...so that we are only talking about the deployment of the Zhentilar alone.

I don't have time to type out much more right now, but that does leave a VERY large number of soldiers for various uses.

Even the Citadel of the Raven and Darkhold don't really even take much more than 10% of that number.

What I'm wanting to ask is where YOU THE DM would put that many soldiers to use? I know what I've done with them in the past, but I want to hear what you guys would do with that many soldiers?


Robert McDonell
Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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