While all four bureaus of the Empire share the burden of carrying Imperial culture to the poor, benighted foreign lands, it is the Legions who are the backbone of the empire, and legionnaires who storm enemy positions and patrol conquered lands. Though their equipment is standardized, the Legions’ tactics are highly adaptable, enabling them to defeat a diverse range of enemies; from the phalanxes of the Threxion states to the Reaver barbarians of Tartovara and the magical fire-warriors of the Fal-Dara Kingdoms; all have fallen before the relentless, hive-like discipline of the Legions. Besides pitched battles, the Legions have also proven victorious in less orthodox forms of warfare, from decade-long sieges of the Gelion Rift cities to guerrilla war against the Trolloth in the Mountains of Tartharond, their versatility is unquestionable.
The Empire currently boasts 51 active legions, each of which consists of 5,000 men divided into 10 Cohorts. Each cohort is divided into 5 centuries of 100 legionnaires, each whom who is armed with the gladius short sword and pilum throwing spear. Legionnaires enjoy excellent protection from the overlapping plate armour of lorica segmentata and large scutum shields, and from their testudo formation tactic. A legion on campaign typically includes an additional 1,000 specialist auxiliaries drawn from the Technostratum and Magistratum which add a dash of terror to the recipe for victory.
These regular troops are bolstered by elite Praetorian legions armed with halberds for heavy hitting power and other special weapons combinations enabling them to perform unique roles. The 17 Praetorian legions consist of 3,000 soldiers each; however, the legions do not constitute the full extent of the Mortan military forces, since local militias and soldiery recruited from conquered provinces perform support roles as cavalry, scouts and skirmishers, and contribute an additional 250,000 troops.
Patrician Families traditionally send their youngest sons to the Milistratum academy for training and service in the legions, as a stepping stone to a life in politics. These officers serve as Tribunes leading cohorts of 500 men, and the most accomplished eventually attain the rank of Legatus, thereby commanding an entire legion.
The Legions also appear attractive to commoners, presenting a ladder out of the hell of poverty, for upon completion of a 20-year career legionnaires muster out with a pension, citizenship and a land-grant in a newly conquered province. This assumes of course that they live to reach retirement….but even those cut down during their service still benefit, for every Mortan soldier enters battle with the security that if he should fall, his soul will be saved from the fickle whims of the gods, a cold eternity in Hadon or even wandering as a ghost, for each Mortan citizen-soldier bears a Lapis Manalis (soul crystal) on a chain around his neck. The crystals of the fallen are collected by the cohort Soul Wardens and taken to the Catacombs of Lamentation beneath Mount Ashgod where they await of the Passage of Return, when the Lichelords will resurrect these martyrs to a life of bliss in a new world of plenty.