There have been a lot of threads regarding the Dogs of War/Southern Realms and their roster. I’ve always been fascinated by the Dogs of War, I love their Mediterranean aesthetic and I think another more “grounded” human faction (with some exotic flair) to compliment the likes of the Empire is exactly what the game and the setting needs. The mercenary element is something the game could greatly benefit from, and it’s provided by basically no other faction- the only one that comes close are the Ogres, but they seem to be more focused on the migrating and pillaging aspects of their lore.
So, before we get into the roster and mechanics of the faction, I’d just like to answer the question “What are the Southern Realms and how are they different from the Dogs of War?” Everyone’s answer may differ, but this is my understanding of the matter.
The Southern Realms are a loose collection of cultural and geopolitical entities centralized in the southern parts of the Old World, south of the Empire and the Grey Mountains.
First, there is Tilea, roughly analogous to Renaissance Italy in the real world.
Then there is Estalia, comparable to the Spanish Empire in terms of culture.
Finally, we have the Border Princes, a clear counterpart to the Balkans of Europe.
Each one has their own culture and borders, but there are very apparent similarities to each other in all three. For starters, unlike the Empire and Bretonnia, all of them have very little in the way of central government (or none at all in the case of the Border Princes) and are instead composed of various city-states governed by merchant princes, small noble houses, and despots. They are most often selfish and greedy, warring with their many neighbors to settle feuds and fill their coffers. As there is no powerful central government ruling the lands, these rulers must resort to hiring large regiments of mercenaries to wage their wars, defend their borders, and venture into exotic lands to plunder and steal.
The Dogs of War are the official designation for the mercenaries of the Warhammer world. Due to the sheer demand for mercenary armies coming from the Southern Realms, the vast majority of these soldiers of fortune hail from Tilea, Estalia, and the Border Princes, though some among their number hail from abroad. The Southern Realms are the hotspot for any individual lusting for adventure, glory, and gold, and the Dogs of War are more than happy to act as the military backbone for their wealthy employers.
In short, the Southern Realms are the political entities, and the Dogs of War are the muscle backing them up. While each one is a separate nation, they all draw on the same pool of mercenaries for the purpose of warfare. A Tilean soldier would have no qualms working for a Border Prince, nor would a mercenary hailing from the Border Princes have much objection to working for an Estalian. Therefore, they would all share the same units and recruitment buildings. The overall faction, however, will be called “Dogs of War” because it sounds cooler and it has broader applications. I designed the faction around the idea they'd be a Campaign Pack for Game 2, but it looks more and more likely they'll be a part of Game 3 if anything.
Campaign and Battle Mechanics
The Hub and the Horde
I’ve debated for a long time as to whether or not the Dogs of War should be a Horde faction or a traditional faction, but the The Hunter and the Beast has answered that question for me: “Why Not Both?” As such, the Dogs will have conquest mechanics very similar to those Nakai the Wanderer and his faction, Spirit of the Jungle.
When you start a campaign as a Dogs of War faction, you will only have access to one settlement: your capital, the settlement your start out with. This settlement is controlled by YOU, not by a vassal faction, not by an ally, just you. This is your “hub”, the center of all your mercenary recruitment, and a safe-haven to fall back and regroup at. Late-game research options might give you the option to settle at 1-2 more settlements, but for the most part, Dogs of War factions are limited to one permanent station. Thankfully your lords can enter encampment stance at any movement percentage.
The good news is that, also like Nakai, your Legendary Lord also has horde recruitment, and can construct buildings for mobile recruitment. Subsequently recruited lords can also construct buildings, but not for unit recruitment. These buildings will provide benefits such as increasing horde growth or reducing global unit recruitment time. This latter is important as these lords will need to recruit units from wither your Legendary Lord or capital settlement by way of global recruitment.
Fortune and Glory
As a merchant prince of the Southern Realms, your number one objective is the accumulation of wealth, and you know that one of the easiest ways to accomplish that is by hiring out your mercenary companies to other factions. Frequently, you’ll get offers from other factions, requesting your services with promise of a handsome reward as long as you can fulfill the conditions. Usually, these are simple missions: protect a city for a certain amount of turns, destroy a city in a certain amount of turns, defeat an army, kill a lord in battle, etc. The difficulty of these tasks scales with your power and place in the game, and eventually you’ll be asked to accomplish more incredible feats, such as the eradication of entire factions.
Much like the Vampire Coast’s Infamy mechanic, you yourself will have the Glory resource. As you complete missions successfully, your Glory will increase as your reputation as a ruthless and reliable mercenary company increases. Higher Glory will have stronger factions hiring your services, but likewise other Dogs of War factions will want to take out the competition as your fame increases. Glory can be spent on special technologies, and can also be used to influence other factions much like the High Elves’ Intrigue at Court mechanic.
Every Dogs of War army comes with an essential hero who does not even occupy an army slot. This hero is the Paymaster, a fat man driving a cart carrying a large chest of gold. Your mercenaries fight with the promise of payment from this chest, and they’ll fight harder when they its golden glimmer close to them. However, should the Paymaster’s cart be destroyed, the chest can be picked up and carried by either one of your units, or one of the enemy’s. If the enemy seizes the pay chest, your mercenaries will be discouraged and debuffed, and if it is not recovered before the end of the battle, you’ll lose some money on the campaign map. Keep the Paymaster safe at all costs!
Though the core Dogs of War roster is made up of mercenaries from in and around the Southern Realms, your armies will have the opportunity to recruit limited amounts of units from other factions as you travel the globe. I imagine this will work rather like the Recruit Dead system, where you’ll be able to see a handful of recruitable units while stationed in the respective factions’ territory. A list of available units will be provided below.
Borgio the Besieger – Tilea
The de-facto Merchant Prince, Borgio is the face of the Dogs of War and naturally starts in the heart of the Southern Realms- in beautiful Miragliano, which puts him face to face with the threat of Skavenblight from the very beginning. However, from the great port city of the southern Old World, he’ll have ample opportunity to venture in any direction, in any part of the globe.
Borgio is a melee powerhouse with the Siege Attacker trait and is capable of mounting an Armored Warhorse.
Lucrezzia Belladonna – New World Colonies
The most beautiful woman in the Old World has been struck by tragedy yet again as her eighth husband, the acting governor of Estalia’s New World Colonies, recently died from “mysterious circumstances”, leaving her “reluctantly” in control of the powerful mercenary regiments of Port Reaver. Who knows what she’ll do now? Well, the many temple-cities of the Lustrian Lizardmen are filled to the brim with valuable gold, ripe for the taking…
Lucrezzia Belladonna is a caster lord of the Lore of Death with several poison-themed ability, a global bonus to her assassination chances, and is capable of riding both a warhorse and a deadly Warpfire Dragon.
Lorenzo Lupo – Conquerers of Albion
Lorenzo Lupo, merchant prince of Luccini, is determined to reform the ancient empire of Imperial Tilea, and has started by making landfall on the island of Albion, a land once conquered by his forefathers. He’ll have a mechanic that allows him to take and hold more land, so he’ll play more like a conventional faction.
Lorenzo is a duelist lord determined to fight at the frontlines with his troops, on foot.
Lietpold the Black – Western Border Princes
This vain, arrogant, greedy merchant prince encapsulates the spirit of the lawless and petty Border Princes by lording over the settlement of Akendorf with an iron fist. Lietpold the Black has no friends and many foes, but his greed for gold is unmatched.
Lietpold is a support lord who prefers to lead from behind the frontlines, but is capable of mounting an Armored Warhorse or captaining a powerful Landship from Marienburg.
Company Master – A renowned commander of mercenary legions, capable of both leading his men in battle and fighting in melee combat. Can ride into battle on an Arrmored Warhorse or atop a Warpfire Dragon.
Paymaster – Essential, see above.
Mercenary Captain – Mercenary soldiers of elite rank, skilled in the use of sword and pistol and second only to Company Masters. Can mount Armored Warhorses.
Hireling Wizard – An unlicensed wizard who have learned magic from many reliable and unrealiable sources. Cheaper, but more unstable and liable to miscast than other factions’ spellcasters. Can come with the Lores of Fire, Light, Heavens, Shadow, Metal, Life, Death, and Beasts. Can mount Warhorses.
Diestro – A duelist who has mastered his craft, capable of moving unseen and skewering any enemy commander with his rapier. Assassin unit.
Priestess of Myrmidia – A learned follower of the Cult of Myrmidia, a popular religious group in the Southern Realms. Her devotion to the strategy goddess gives her the strength to buff troops around her with her various abilities.
Pikemen – The bread and butter of any mercenary army, these well-equipped soldiers wield heavy spears and can stop enemy cavalry in their tracks as well as go toe-to-toe with sword infantry.
Duelists – Lightly armored dual-wielding swordsmen, dressed in all black and functioning as glass cannons that can destroy light infantry but can’t take much heat.
Myrmidian Templars – Armored warrior women who function as nigh-unbreakable sword infantry, devoted to the goddess Myrmidia.
Paymaster’s Bodyguard – These heavily-armored pikemen can fight well under any circumstances, but their special “Bodyguard” trait makes them extra effective when near Paymasters of the army general.
Crossbowmen – Tilean soldiers wielding crossbows. Basically the same as the Empire unit.
Pavise Crossbowmen – Armored Crossbowmen carrying large shields, who are capable of deploying the shields while firing to give themselves extra armor from the front.
Duelists (Throwing Knives) – The same Duelists as before, but this time carrying throwing knives, making them short-ranged but deadly skirmishing infantry.
Halfling Burglars – Halflings from the Moot are known to sell their services just about anywhere, and can be recruited as stealthy ranged units wielding shortbows.
Broken Lances – Old men from the Southern Realms with rusted armor and ragged horses, still determined to fight for fortune and glory. Shock cavalry with Don Quixote motifs.
Knights Encarmine – Haughty nobles in bright red armor from the noble houses of Tilea. Elite cavalry wielding swords.
Conquistadors – Crossbowmen on horseback, experienced with both shooting and riding.
Birdmen of Catrazza – Not technically cavalry, but rather soldiers with crossbows wearing flying machines designed long ago by Leonardo de Miragliano in the style of bird wings. Function similarly to Deck Droppers.
Monsters and Beasts
Ogre Maneaters – Shared between the Ogre Kingdoms roster and this one, Ogre Maneaters are monstrous infantry who have travelled all around the world to learn various fighting styles.
Giant of Albion – A giant from the lost land of Albion, fighting with promise of food and drink from his mercenary employers.
Warpfire Dragon – A dragon mutated by Warpstone, found in the Southern Realms near Skavenblight and capable of breathing caustic acid. Though dark and terrifying creatures, the most accomplished merchant princes have been able to have them tamed for a high price.
Artillery and War Machines
Horse-drawn Cannons – Light cannons drawn by draft horses. Not the strongest, but quick to move around in a hurry.
Halfling Hot-Pot – A contraption manned by a Halfling chef designed to launch scalding, sticky soup into the enemy ranks, causing severe burns on infantry.
Marienburg Landship – Though technically not made in the Southern Realms, the merchants of Marienburg are of similar minds to the lords of the Southern Realms, and more than willing to sell them these massive machines. Bigger than the Empire Steam Tanks, but less protected, and the lack of a swiveling turret makes their arc of fire limited.
The following units can be hired in small numbers when in the territory of other factions:
Free Company Militia
Knights of the Blazing Sun
Dwarf Warriors (Great Weapons)
Goblin Wolf Riders
Goblin Wolf Rider Archers
Lothern Sea Guard
Lothern Sea Guard (Shields)
Dragon Princes of Caledor
Shades (Great Weapons)
Shades (Dual Weapons)
Sisters of Slaughter
Lizardmen – (They fight not for pay, but in the hopes the company will lead them to lost Lizardmen artifacts)
Skink Cohort (Javelins)
Red Crested Skinks
Skink Cold One Riders (New light cavalry, reference to Tichi-Huichi’s Raiders)
Tomb Kings – (Basically the same reasons as the Lizardmen)
Tomb Guard (Halberds)
Sartosa Free Company
(Maneaters are part of the core Dogs of War roster and can be recruited everywhere, not just Ogre territory)
Only some of the Hobgoblin units
Beastmen and Warriors of Chaos units cannot be recruited due to their inability to take and hold territory. Daemons, I assume, will be the same. Skaven units cannot be recruited due to the disdain all races hold for them.
I look forward to any ensuing discussion, or any suggestions or feedback you may have.
Remember: there's no reason to get angry on the forums. Be polite and respectful towards other people's opinions, even if you disagree.
Let it be known that I was foolish enough to doubt UberReptilian, who, in her infinite wisdom, predicted that the Ogre Kingdoms would be the preorder bonus before even the Ogre Mercenary FLC for Warhammer II. This signature will stand as a monument to my shame. Woe upon me!