Here's a random (and potentially very silly) thought: make armies, instead
of a unit, a possession, sort of like horses are now. Make military
leadership similar to the equestrian skill.
equestrian subskill military leadership subskill
ride horses in combat command troops in combat
catch wild horses recruit green troops
train wild horse to riding horse train green troops to regular troops
train wild horse to war horse train green troops to elite troops
"Command troops in combat" would give you some set bonus to your combat
rating per troop proportional to your skill. This bonus would be about
equal to your average man with combat-1 (or higher skills for regulars
It may be useful to have several flavors of soldiers to train (archers,
cavalry, etc.). It should probably be necessary to have javelins,
longswords and armor as ingredients for training troops. And, obviously,
some number of troops should be consumed by use in combat; reflecting the
"hero" status player units have, you could always have soldiers absorb
all hits inflicted in combat first, using them up, before hits start
getting inflicted on real units. It may be useful to have a tactical
maximum rating for units (with skill-1 leadership you can command up to
1 company of troops, with skill-2, 2 companies, etc.) so people have
an incentive to train several individual units as "officers".
Representing soldiers as possessions sort of loses the troop loyalty
concept, and I'm not sure if there's support for paying maintenance
on possessions.... I suppose it could be sort of abstracted (I don't
have to pay maintenance on my war horses, after all, and realistically
they cost as much or more to maintain than a foot soldier).
Maybe soldiers could drain the loyalty of whomever you have commanding
them, so you have to keep persuading your officers to stay on your side
(i.e., gold, i.e., equivalent to paying the army) and if your officer
doesn't get persuaded enough, he eventually turns independent.
This model could also be useful for hiring workers of other types....
perhaps a subskill of Trading or Construction could be "hire laborers,"
and a subskill of Entertaining might be "hire performers".
I suppose this sort of gets back to the "men as possessions" idea though.
I think that was earlier discarded because "men" were too generic
(no way to train your men to be any better) but I think perhaps having
several different flavors of men would help. (Or has this been thought
of before also?)