In 1625, the most powerful military in Glorantha is the Lunar Army. A handful of fast and powerful units offered a strong advance fighting force, and careful timing gave the empire almost overwhelming magical force. The Red Emperor is able to maintain a large standing army, rather than rely on militia and mercenaries.
The Lunar Army is organized into four corps:
- The Imperial Bodyguard, elite regiments that defend the person of the Red Emperor;
- The Heartland Corps, mainly hoplites from Dara Happa trained to fight in a phalanx, and peltasts from the rest of Peloria, who fight as light infantry;
- The Cavalry Corps, mounted primarily on horses and consisting of light and heavy cavalry; and
- The Lunar College of Magic, magicians who have been trained to coordinate their magic.
The Lunar Provinces send auxiliaries trained and commanded by loyal Lunar officers of the Provincial Army. However, much of the Lunar Provincial Army was devoured by a True Dragon in 7/54. Afterwards, the Provincial Army is replaced by the Native Furthest Corps.
The next tier of military powers are likely:
- Kingdom of War: This might be the largest military in Glorantha. Disorganized, more like a swarm than an army, it nonetheless easily overwhelms its foes. Many war gods march with it.
- Voor-Ash: This Pentan confederation musters huge numbers of light and heavy cavalry and have overrun the eastern Lunar Empire. Led by Dranz Goloi, they are the biggest threat the Lunar Empire has had in over a century.
- Empire of Kralorela: On paper, Kralorela’s military is a match for the Lunar Empire, with four mobile armies, three navies, and elite dragon warriors. However, the army has done little in centuries, and is of dubious readiness.
- Kingdom of Seshnela: Seshnela musters a large and skilled heavy cavalry, but they are poorly coordinated, with individual nobles often making rash and reckless decisions. Strongly backed up by sorcerers.
- Kingdom of Loskalm: far more impressive on paper than in reality, the Loskalm military had suffered several defeats at the hands of the Kingdom of War. Those defeats have been the catalyst for radical change in the regiments led by Lord Meriatan, which have shown a greater ability to stand up to and even defeat forces from the Kingdom of War.
At this time Sartar barely even rates. During Prince Kallyr’s short reign, the Sartarite military consisted of her friends and companions, her personal followers, her tribe (the Kheldon), and whatever city and tribal militia would follow her to battle. However, upon his acclamation as Prince in 1627, Argrath concentrated upon strengthening his internal position, and above all, his army. Building on his own personal cavalry forces he raised in Prax, he made his army the greatest source of wealth, honor, and power in the principality, and quickly transformed the Sartarite army to become a uniquely flexible and effective force, and a battle-field match for the Lunar Army.
Of course the Lunar Empire is aware of the existence of all of these powers, although their information is not entirely reliable. Nonetheless, I suspect the Red Emperor has much better intelligence on these militaries than they have on the Lunar Empire (with the possible exception of the Voor-Ash, who seem to have caught the Red Emperor completely off guard).
As an aside one way of looking at the Lunar experience in the Hero Wars is like the second half of Heraclius’ rule in the Eastern Roman Empire. At great effort and cost, Heraclius managed to defeat the Persians, only to watch as the Arab tribes came out of nowhere and quickly conquered much of the empire.