June 11, 2011

Hari Ragat: a Fistful of Spears

I’ve been thinking of how the Vijadesans fight, more particularly how they would organize themselves.  Given their loose social structure and rather rudimentary government system, they wouldn’t have truly organized armies; as a warrior society, however, I’d expect they have some kind of organization that makes them more effective.

Thus my devising of the Kamao or “fist.”  So called because it usually has five members, and can operate as an autonomous striking force, the Kamao is made up of a Bagani, a mature householding Orang Dakila warrior, plus his Orang Malaya (freemen) and sometimes Orang Dukha (slave) followers.  Every Kamao consists of:
  • A Bagani warrior, armed with shield, spear and blade, and possibly armored;

  • A shieldbearer, often a slave, who carries a large woven rattan shield and javelins in battle and acts as paddler and camp servant;

  • Two or more Orang Malaya followers, armed with shield, spear and blade, but very rarely armored.  In battle they act as the leader’s flank and rear guards, and as paddlers.

    (At minimum, a Kamao should consist of a shieldbearer and two spearmen.)

  • Possibly one or more junior Orang Dakila warriors, sometimes members of the Bagani’s family.

  • Possibly one or more hunters, who serve as archers and scouts.
Every datu has a Dalam, or ship’s company, made up of his own Kamao plus the Kamaos of his personal followers.

On land, each Kamao can function as a self-contained fighting team for raids and jungle warfare.  In pitched battles and defense, however, the Kamao becomes the basis of the Vijadesan battle formation.  Sound familiar? It should – this is really an adaptation of the Medieval European knight’s “lance”.

(Next post: Vijadesan Battles!)


  1. I like it. It's excellent to see the traditional medieval lance transposed into such an exotic fantasy setting.

  2. Thanks! Stay tuned for Fistful of Spears part 2, out by Monday or so. :)


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