At the time of the Lunar Occupation, the Sartarite army was primarily foot. Since the return of Argrath, not yet Prince, to the hills of Sartar, the core of his army has been cavalry, not footmen.
The reasons for this are several:
- The existing warrior structure of Sartar had evolved to become rich, mounted or chariot-riding noblemen (called “thanes”) leading armed mobs of freemen;
- Dragon Pass, and especially the traditional friendship between the House of Sartar and the Grazelanders, was rich in horses;
- Argrath’s own life and training was among the animal-riding nomads of Prax (except for the three years he spent as a Wolf Pirate) and he made brilliant use of the cavalry at his disposal (however, Argrath’s generalship always made excellent use of the forces he had at hand, even second rate infantry);
- The magical powers which Argrath summoned to his aid were closely bound with wild rampages and shock tactics.
Whenever Argrath needed infantry for some specific campaign, he hired mercenaries from the Sun Dome Temples, the Holy Country, dragonewts, or his own tribesmen. Sieges were usually left to specialists which were organized and led by the famous engineer, Haraspac, rumored to be of dwarf blood.
Argrath’s friendship with the dragonewts extended to wyrms and even dream dragons. Such draconic allies were increasingly common in his later campaigns.
Compared to what they become, the tribal militia are an armed mob.
I don’t see any comparison to the Lunar Heartlands militia being made here. The Lunar soldiers in the Dragon Pass are almost entirely “professional” soldiers.
The change of the warrior structure of Sartar took place during the rule of the Sartar Dynasty. The rich, mounted or chariot-riding warriors did not take a leading role in the Rebellion (likely because they lacked the resources).
The wealth of Sartar is ultimately based on caravan traffic between Peloria, the Holy Country, and Prax. During the Sartar Dynasty, that wealth went to the Prince, the Sartarite cites, and to the warrior elite supported by them. During the Lunar Occupation, that wealth went mostly to the Lunars who occupied Sartar.
Travel through Sartar along the roads is safer, bandits are suppressed, and caravans – even Etyries caravans – are under the Prince’s protection.
What is really important from this is that Sartarite society changes from the largely tribal (or even clan-based) foot militia presented in the King of Dragon Pass computer game to a cavalry core under the later Sartar Dynasty (Tarkalor, Terasarin, and Salinarg).There’s a brief intermission in this during the Lunar Occupation, because the local elites lose much of their resources to the Lunar Empire, but this comes roaring back with a vengeance when Argrath becomes Prince.Which is a good reminder – just because something looked and worked in a particular way a century or millennia ago, doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed in the meanwhile. Mortal societies are constantly changing – that’s in the nature of beings governed by Life and Death.