The Odrysian Kingdom
, as the first faction which unified many Thracian
tribes in a single nation, was probably one of the most anticipated factions of this game
, especially since the Thracians were popular and effective mercenaries in the armies of many other playable factions
, but it seems like this faction is being wrongly portrayed in this game and crippled by attempts to create more diversity amongst factions and units. In this thread I would like to call attention to these issues, discuss them and gather suggestions to improve this faction. The OPs include "tl;dr"-summarizations of my suggestions and you can scroll up to read the explanations for them, if they aren't obvious.
If you want to be able to comprehend/retrace what I am talking about, you might want to use the official encyclopedia or the one, which I am going to link below as well, which is in many aspects much more enjoyable than the official one. Furthermore I am going to link to some sources, but usually to the less detailed ones, which offer less but more organized and easier accessible information, mostly the English Wikipedia, just to enable you to confirm that I am not just making things up.
I would like to start with the most obvious and least controversial issue: Their lackluster unit roster
The Thracians were known as ferocious and war-like people and mostly fought as peltasts
, carrying javelins
, but were also using a variety of other weapons
. In addition to that they used, with the exception of generals and nobility, only light, if any, armor, because they valued mobility more than additional protection.
are represented very well in this game by a variety of missile units
, but their melee infantry
is lacking and their spear infantry missing completely, which might be, at least in terms of melee infantry, a result of confusing "peltasts" with skirmishers, which they aren't necessarily.
, for example, is a large dagger, sword, or one-handed falx, which was considered to be their "national weapon" [The "Balkan Sword" introduced with [URL="http://wiki.totalwar.com/index.php?title=Hotfix_and_Festivals_Update_(Patch_13.1)"]Hotfix
13.1[/URL] is sadly no Sica, but a straight dagger instead], although it was also used by Illyrians
(which would benefit greatly from this addition to their unit roster as well) and Dacians
, and is entirely missing in this game (although the Falxmen
use a weapon, which might be kind of similar to it). I would suggest to add melee infantry peltasts to their unit roster, which are using the pelte
, Sica and 2 javelins, and are lightly armored like the Thracian Warriors
. They would basically be a cheaper version of the Royal Peltasts
and in terms of unit quality be between Thracian Warriors and Thracian Nobles
, similar to the Chosen Swords
of the Arverni
. This unit should have considerably more melee defense and less charge bonus than the currently existing melee infantry of the Odrysian Kingdom to represent their use of the Sica, instead of the two-handed Rhomphaia
. In case the implementation of a new one-handed weapon should be considered as not worthwhile, the swordsmen could simply be using a Greek Xiphos
or for example a Celt sword, although the Sica was probably more common among them and would be preferable. Adding the Gallo-Thracian Infantry
to their unit roster would probably require the least work, while still being the most justifiable in terms of historical accuracy and their unit cards etc. even fit the design of the Odrysian Kingdom.
Speaking of which, the melee defense of the Thracian Warriors and Nobles needs to be increased. If this creates balance issues, their offensive capabilities need to be reduced, but it is kind of stupid to have heavily armored, well-trained elite melee infantry with shields with less than 1/6 of the melee defense of the basic javelin units
. The small shields of these units, which are attached to their arms, since they are using two-handed weapons, were clearly designed to protect them in melee combat, since they offer little protection against most projectiles. They offer the user additional protection, since blocking incoming hits with such a two-handed weapon is considerably more difficult (which is represented well in their stats by a low base melee defense value of 4; their shield, which provides 0 melee defense is the issue), while it offers little protection against piercing projectiles (javelins were favored by the Thracians and arrows for example by the Scythians
), due to their small size and the fact that such projectiles would most likely pierce their arm underneath the shield. I would suggest to decrease their armour in exchange for melee defense, but their armor stat is already very low and represents this. Their unit cards need to be changed as well, because the pole of the Rhomphaia is portrayed as way too long, especially in comparison to the blade, which is too short (the hilt and blade are usually roughly the same length, as shown in the game itself as well). The fact that the blade of the Rhomphaia was considerably more straight than the blade of a regular Falx and had a long hilt, enabled the Thracians to use the Rhomphaia like a spear for thrusting - this would absolutely justify a "Bonus vs. Large" by the way [The "Bonus vs. Large" has been added as part of the [URL="http://forums.totalwar.com/showthread.php/130514-Hotfix-amp-Festivals-Update-(Patch-13.1)"]Hotfix
Furthermore the Odrysian Kingdom is completely lacking any own spear-infantry, although it is desperately needed [especially after Patch 15
removed the Bonus vs. Infantry of many melee infantry units, including the Thracian Warriors & Nobles, essentially extremely weakening this faction, which has no spear infantry to benefit from that change] and the Thracians themselves were using a lot of cavalry, they had to fight the nomadic Scythians
numerous times and in addition to that were heavily influenced by the Greek
culture (especially Athenian
), including their military traditions. This is a quote from their description in the game:
Greek styles also permeated the Odrysian's military culture, its traditional cavalry nobility being augmented by infantry in phalanx formation
This leads me to believe that their lack of spear infantry might be an oversight, rather than actually intended. There is historical evidence that spears
were used by Thracians (as by probably everyone else ...) and there is no reason to believe that a faction, which had to defend itself against cavalry numerous times, would have stopped using them, although they were heavily influenced by Greeks, who primarily used spears and pikes. (Theoretically speaking, a Phalanx could have been composed by soldiers using the Rhomphaia as spear, but I didn't find any historical evidence to support this and it can be ignored, since it wouldn't change anything about the fact that spears were used.)
I would suggest adding a cheap spear unit, which represents warriors from the tribal origins of the Odrysian Kingdom, which might also be usable as local garrison unit
(since the Odrysian Kingdom is (still) missing any melee/spear infantry in its garrisons
, which are comparably small and weak anyway - I consider this as a bug. [Has been fixed by Hotfix 13.1
]). They should probably be similar to the Falxmen of the Dacian factions in terms of quality and armour, since these people are no professional warriors, but tribesmen who were called to arms, which is why they make sense as garrison units.
In addition to that either Noble Spears or Thracian Hoplites
could be added, as semi-elite or medium (in terms of quality) spear-infantry. There is no reason to believe that the Nobles, who were the only ones using heavy armour, would exclusively be using a two-handed weapon, which makes it difficult to defend yourself and prevents you from wearing a more effective shield. The spear is a solid weapon, which allows you to keep your distance and was in addition to that favored by a majority of Greek states, which the Odrysian Kingdom, especially their nobility, imitated in many ways while adopting their habits and traditions. If Noble Spears would imbalance the Thracian unit roster, because they already have melee infantry with excellent offensive capabilities (although some factions have considerably more effective and versatile unit rosters, especially since the Odrysian Kingdom has no access to pike infantry or units like cataphracts & elephants), I would suggest Thracian Hoplites. Since they are lightly armoured, they would probably be similar to Light Hoplites
(or just add this unit to their unit roster, since it's not like Thracians are such different human beings that they need completely different units with names that point out that they are Thracian) of Athens (which were their allies) and thereby also weaker than the regular Greek Hoplites, which emphasizes that they are just an imitation. I would prefer Thracian Hoplites over Noble Spears, because it reflects their adoption of Greek traditions very well, is mentioned in the description of the faction anyway and their unit roster shouldn't consist of too many heavily armoured units, since that is historically inaccurate.
In addition or instead of tribal spear infantry, the Thracians were also known for using daggers or clubs, which their equivalents of "mobs" could be using.
The Thracians were known as skilled horsemen and horses were very popular and common amongst them. During Macedon's rule over Thracia, 1/3 of their cavalry is said to have been composed of Thracians
, who were mainly used as skirmishing light cavalry, like Prodromoi
, on their left flank. In this game they don't have a big variety or exceptionally good elite cavalry, but their cavalry is cost-effective and decent, which is fair enough.
A nice detail is, that the Thracian Royal Cavalry
has a high amount of armour, since they were the only cavalry units using actual armour. The Thracian Horsemen
have 50 armour though and are considered as medium cavalry, which is fine, since some of their cavalry used light leather armor
, but I would like to see some sort of light cavalry
unit to reflect that in many cases they were not using any armour at all (which doesn't differ much from their use of armour in terms of infantry), but that is optional since those units are rarely used anyway in this game. Furthermore the Thracian Horsemen should be changed to Shock cavalry, since that would reflect their historical use and strengths, as well as the use of a spear, much better.
The cavalry of the Odrysian Kingdom was also known to use bows, in addition to the javelins represented by the Thracian Cavalry
, which shouldn't surprise anyone, considering that they are sharing a border with nomadic Scythians
, once even ruled some of their regions and had to deal with raids and attacks from them numerous times (One governor of Thrace
(while Thrace was a satrapy
of the Macedonian Empire, which should be able to be recreated in the game by the way) tried to conquer Olbia
(which actually wasn't a nomadic settlement, but a Greek colony allied with the surrounding nomadic Scythians), but failed and suffered heavy losses from Scythian raids during his retreat). I don't know whether they recruited actual Scythian horse archers
or just adopted or copied their equipment and tactics
, but enabling them to recruit the same Bow Horsemen
as the Getae
should be fine in any case, although they didn't make as much use of bows as them, since the Odrysian Kingdom favored the javelin.
It is also worth mentioning that the Rhomphaia might have been used from a horse back, since its long hilt increased the reach of the weapon and might have allowed devastating slashes to the left and right of the horse, while the straight blade enabled to thrust and to use the weapon like a spear or lance during the charge. Since the Odrysian Kingdom lacks any Shock Cavalry, I would suggest implementing a unit of Melee cavalry, which uses the Sica and 2 javelins, while changing the Thracian Horsemen to Shock cavalry, which would improve their unit roster and make it more versatile, while also reflecting the strengths and historical use of these weapons much better.
The Odrysian Kingdom wasn't really known to be seafarers worth mentioning and didn't have an own "standing" Navy
, but there were Greek colonies
all over their coast line, which were paying tributes to the Odrysian Kingdom and were able to provide ships for a fleet to them, if required. One of these colonies was Odessos
, which is considered to be the "capital" of the Odrysian Kingdom, which couldn't be further from the truth (I understand though, that the capital of the Odrysian Kingdom was not included in the game for example, in favor of Pulpudeva
, which became more important during the Roman rule of the region - it's "Total War: Rome II
" after all, although it's sad that the Odrysian Kingdom has to put up with a minor Greek colony as its capital - and can't even change it), since it wasn't even a purely Thracian village/city, but a Greek colony.
I like how their roster of Naval units tries to reflect this fact by enabling them to recruit a Greek Missile Penteres
and is referring to their Persian
and Roman occupation
by allowing them to recruit a Persian Assault Teteres
and Roman artillery ships
(if that is even meant to purposely reflect anything at all, which it probably does not, since many factions have these), but I don't think that is sufficient. [*They can't even recruit the Roman artillery ships without conquering a Roman Military Wharf first. Why they can't use that "technology" anywhere else after they acquired it or why a Hellenistic Military Wharf doesn't enable them to recruit artillery ships is a mystery to me.]
I don't think that their Roman artillery ships
make any sense, since the Thracians resisted Roman rule until ~ AD 46
. Greek ships (in general, not only for artillery) would make much more sense, since the majority of their ships were provided by the Greek colonies on their coast anyway and they were under Macedonian rule for quiet a while long before the Romans even cared about Thracia
. Though the most important is that there is absolutely no reason for the Odrysian Kingdom, which was allied with Athens, whose "fleets are a force to be reckoned with in the eastern Mediterranean" and "has always had a powerful and effective navy" (according to their own description
), and was adopting Greek customs, habits and traditions, including military ones and even their language, to prefer (or even consider) the construction of Celtic ships
over the re-construction of the effective ships of their Athenian allies. They definitely had the necessary knowledge, since the Greek colonies were able to provide such ships to them - and one of these colonies is even the capital of the Odrysian Kingdom in this game. ("Raiding"-ships are kind of nonsensical for the Odrysian Kingdom anyway, since the Odrysians weren't pirates and only assembled fleets when they were actually attacking someone. I don't get why slingers
in specific are a bodyguard choice for their admiral by the way - the Thracians clearly favored the javelin and I highly doubt that slings were very popular or effective on the open sea, since a sling requires more space to be fired, ammunition on ships doesn't have to be carried by the soldier and a slingshot can not be ignited.)
[Barbarian and transport ships can not ram anymore, since the latest patch, which is even worse for the Odrysian Kingdom than other Barbarian factions, because they do not deserve this additional disadvantage on the one hand and are already have a comparably weak navy on the other hand, since their units can not utilize their charge bonus on ships properly as far as I know, which reduces the effectiveness of the already smaller units of Thracian melee infantry greatly.]
In my opinion the Odrysian Kingdom should be in terms of buildings (and ships) considered as "Hellenistic", rather than Barbarian in general, but that is another topic, which I intend to elaborate in my next post.
The Mercenary Dacian Bowmen
are currently the factional mercenaries of the Odrysian Kingdom for some reason. I don't know why Thracians, which were said to be very numerous and in addition to that popular and renowned mercenaries for other factions, would have only a single Dacian unit as their factional mercenary. Even if it were the Thracian Bowmen
, instead of the Dacian ones, I would ask myself why the comparably bad unit of bowmen, instead of more versatile Thracian Peltasts
, which seem to be more useful in general and represent the usual military tactics of the Thracians much better. I would like to see this changed.
Furthermore I would like to see the Odrysian Kingdom to be able to create client states and/or satraps, in order to recruit levy infantry from their clients. I am aware that subjugating is currently exclusive to non-Barbarian factions, but I think that should be changed (as well as enabling the non-Barbarian factions to sack & liberate for example) and I would like to the the "cultural" group of the Odrysian Kingdom changed to "Hellenistic" anyway (while maintaining the Balkan culture). Enabling them to recruit levy units would already reduce the consequences of their lackluster unit roster by itself, since it would enable the player to recruit something else than the same 2 melee units during their campaigns, which can quickly get very dull, especially since one of them is basically just an expensive elite version of the other one.
Alternatively Barbarian Confederations should be able to recruit all units of the factions, which are part of it. This would enable the Odrysian Kingdom to recruit a variety of spear infantry from their Dacian neighbors, and units, which are using the falx and regular swords, if elite units are included. Even if elite units are excluded from this in a similar way they are not available as levy units from client states or satraps, it would give the Odrysians access to some desperately needed spear-infantry. In addition to that many other Barbarian factions, which are currently crippled by their inability to create client states or satraps, especially in combination with their usually less diverse unit rosters, would benefit from this change as well, although less significantly than the Daco-Thracian Confederation. It would definitely not create balance-issues, especially if you exclude elite units, since most Barbarian tribes that can join the same confederation already have very similar unit rosters and even combined they usually can't match those of Rome or powerful factions like the Seleucid Empire or Egypt, which can even recruit levy units from their clients or satraps in addition to their own.
I am going to include this in this post, although agents aren't actual units. The Odrysian Kingdom is currently using Celtic agents, which seem to be kind of out of place. That a Celtic female, armed with a spear, is the "Champion" of a Thracian Kingdom, which was recently invaded by Celtic tribes and has currently no access to spear infantry, is just ironic and feels wrong. While a Hellenic Champion isn't optimal either, it makes at least much more sense than the current one. I suggest changing their agents to Hellenistic models, if creating separate ones for the Balkan factions isn't an option.
tl;dr: Add Spear-Infantry (preferably cheap tribal units and Light Hoplites), Sica-Melee-Infantry (with 2 javelins), Horse-Archers, Sica-Melee-Cavalry (with 2 javelins) and change Thracian Horsemen into Shock cavalry, improve the melee defense of the Thracian Warriors / Nobles, exchange Celtic/Roman ships with Greek ships (and change the Thracian Slinger-Admiral for Thracian Peltasts for example), change their factional mercenaries to Thracian Peltasts and Cavalry and change their agents to Hellenistic models. Light cavalry is optional.
Please let me know if you agree with my point of view and my suggestions and feel free to add your own thoughts to this discussion. If you disagree with me or anything I have said, please explain it to me, but avoid unnecessary full quotes.