Exalted: The Legend of Denandsor
As the Dog Tribe is very focused on it’s peculiar families, warriors tend to organize into these “packs” when engaging in warfare. This forms the smallest discreet unit of Dog warriors, and in ideal situations each pack has a similar structure consisting of several spearmen who hem in the enemy and control the space of a battle, an axeman or two who use bearded weapons to disarm the enemy of shields and weapons, and a warrior armed with a war club who closes to finish off disarmed opponents. While effective, this is not an efficient use of the Dog Tribe’s numbers, and they are more easily overwhelmed by flanking because of it.
In massed battles, the Dog Tribe fights roughly like a Realm legion, only with a much stronger emphasis on skirmishing. The bulk of the battle force are Dog Tribe packs who use wicker shields covered with fresh rawhide, in order to better absorb arrow blows and lessen the effect of fire attacks. While they don’t force strict battle lines, the Dog do practice a rough version of the turtle formation in order to further protect themselves from missile fire as they close. When the enemy is within charge range, the Dog attempt to startle them with a massive group war cry before closing and splitting off into individual packs.
This main force is supported by skirmishers on the flanks generally armed with additional throwing spears in place of shields, who attempt to use their missile fire to ward off attempts at flanking or surrounding. In the rear of the Dog formation are the reserves, who also serve as archer support, softening the opponent with arrow fire while waiting on orders to close.
Because stealing and kidnapping does not figure into the Dog Tribe’s sense of honour and fair play, they will raid extensively in advance of any battle that they expect. By weakening and demoralizing the enemy in this way, the Dog Tribe focus on playing the “long game” when it comes to warfare.
One of the more peculiar practices of the Dog Tribe is the pre-war ritual where a living avatar of their war god is chosen by participating in ritual combat. This “avatar” is not only the symbolic commander of the entire Dog Tribe, but takes a very active role in planning and executing the war’s strategy. Supposedly, the various Dog Tribe chieftains advise the avatar, but in practice the relationship often works the other way around. If the Dog Tribe is ever forced to surrender, this avatar is expected to commit ritual suicide. Those that fail are often hunted down by their own packs, who have been slighted by their brother’s dishonourable actions and need to rectify the situation.