Managing a decent military is key to the success of any kingdom, as you must be able to fend off any assault by invaders to maintain the well being of your gnomes. This guide will walk you through creating a military, having it patrol an area, and keeping your kingdom safe from enemies.
Near the start of the next season (seasons last only 12 days - be aware of that) and with enough Total Worth different kinds of enemies will start spawning in and around your kingdom. The game differentiates between invading enemies and spawning ones.
Invading enemies spawn on the surface, anywhere right at your border. Its not unheard of that they appear so isolated that they cannot find a path to you - this will lead them to dying of thirst after some time. Invading enemies include goblins, ogres, two-headed ogres, mants, and wild animals (wild animals are not exactly invading, they just "pass through" your kingdom, leaving peacefully if you let them. But they behave the part).
Spawning enemies appear out of dark corners under the earth at at least -7 depth (supposedly its below -9, but people have seen spawns at -7... it's somewhat unconfirmed though). Spawning enemies include zombies, skeletons, golems, beetles and spiders. As you have to dig down to harvest the riches of the earth - ores and gems wait for you - always light your mining operations up using torches. This ensures these monsters will not spawn on your miners or haulers, as they bring the spoils to the surface.
At the start of the map your settlers are given the following: 1 Copper Helmet, 1 Copper Breastplate and 1 Copper Weapon. Since you usually will not find ore at the start of your empire, these items should be sufficient for now, however, in the future, you will need to make Armor and Weapons from their respective buildings if you want to grow your military.
Tip: Given that the game is peaceful for the first several days, it is probably wise to not even worry about military to start off. Concentrate on getting food, drink, and a place to sleep for your gnomes. Start with military as soon as you get your first batch of gnomads!
Finding suitable defenders
Having strong and fierce gnomes in your military is crucial for success in any battle. It is therefore important to understand how the skills of your gnomes affect how they fight. The following attributes are very important for judging which gnomes to use:
- Fitness - Will affect how long the gnome can fight and how well the gnome will fight.
- Nimbleness - Affects how agile your gnome is, which helps him dodge and attack.
- Focus - This stat is raised by military training and fighting. It's assumed it helps keep your gnome focused in combat situations and helps you gain initiative.
- 'Fighting' is fighting without weapons - this means punching, kicking and biting - and is often the source of many hilarious combat logs.
- 'Brawling' is fighting with random objects that are lying around: chairs, doors, limbs, etc.
- 'Sword', 'Axe', 'Hammer', 'Crossbow', 'Gun' is fighting with the appropriate weapon. Gun covers pistols and blunderbusses.
- 'Shield' is the offensive and defensive use of the shield.
- 'Dodge' shows how easy it is for the gnome to dodge an attack. This does get impaired a bit by heavy armor and the use of the "Frenzy" Perk.
- 'Armor' show how easily a gnome can move while wearing armor.
Do not be too picky though. Stats and skills will rise with use. You will need anywhere near 5-10 Soldiers starting 1st summer. Of course you won't have enough weapons or armor for everyone; just assign them an empty uniform with "way of the gnome" as perk. Unarmed combat does damage too, and 9 monks and 1 swordsman make a better military than 1 swordsman alone.
The Military Menu
This screen is a bit daunting at first, but it will get easier once you understand each section. For the purpose of clarity, start from the far-right tab, 'Uniforms', and make your way left.
- Uniforms: Here you can customize what weapons and armor a specific gnome will try to equip when assigned to a position.
- Positions: Here you can create new positions. A gnome assigned to the Position will attempt to equip armor and weapons listed for the selected Uniform.
- Formations: A Formation is were you can customize each Position of each slot of the squad. A gnome assigned to the Slot #1 of the squad will be in slot #1 of the formation and is thus assigned that Position within the formation.
- Squad: Here is were you actually 'assign' your gnomes to a squad and give the squad a name.
Putting what you have learned to practice
Now that you have learned the UI, we will actually put a squad together. Since we do not have much for armor and weapons, we are going to start by making a squad with only 1 gnome. Since we want our gnome army-of-one to just grab anything, the Uniform, Positions and Formations tabs are sufficient the way they are right now function properly.
- In the squad tab, Create a 'New Squad' and name it however you like.
- Select the formation that the squad will use. If no formation is selected, your gnomes will fight naked since they don't know they should grab any weapons or armor since they weren't assigned a Position and thus were not given a Uniform!
- In the first slot for the squad find and select your chosen gnome. Gnomes that are already in a squad will have '(S)' beside their name.
That's it - you now have a squad. However, if you click on the 'Overview' screen, it will say the squad is idle! This is because we need to assign the squad to active duty. We can do this by giving them a location to guard, a path to patrol or a place to train.
Patrol Routes are simply paths where gnomes will move between points and engage any hostile they see while walking between patrol points. To create a Patrol Route simply open the context menu -> Designate Area -> Patrol Route. Select the starting tile where the patrol will begin and then create any number of additional patrol points. When you have finished placing your points, left click on your last placed point, or you can also select your first patrol point. A menu will appear asking for a name for the Patrol Route and will also ask which squad to assign to the route. This is where you select the squad that you created. You also have the option of Looping your patrol route, which means that when gnomes get to the end of the route, they will go back to the beginning of the route and patrol it again.
Guard Areas are just areas where your squad will stand and engage any hostiles they see.
Training grounds let a squad train by having mock battles against each other. Training will stop if anyone sees a real enemy, so it's like a guard area with the boon of enhancing the soldiers skills. You get a better effect from the training ground if the squad isn't filled, as the individual gnomes each get more fighting time. However, many combat perks like "The best Defense is a good Offense" do get a bonus for every member in the squad. A smaller squad would perform worse in a real combat situation - keep this in mind.
Tip #1: Gnomes will leave Patrol routes if they become exhausted, starved, or extremely thirsty. They will return to duty once they've been sated.
Tip #2: Gnomes assigned to squads that are not assigned to a patrol or guard area will go back to their assigned jobs, including hauling, if they are using the Militia Perk. This can cause them to drop whatever weapon they were carrying in order to do their task. This becomes problematic because they can get into a fight before picking up back their weapon. Idle squad members will hang out at your Great Hall and will eat, drink, sleep with their armor and weapons.
Recovering from Battle
The unfortunate side of protecting your settlement is that it's possible for your gnomes to get injured, seriously injured, or die from battle. A Tailor can create bandages to help your injured gnomes survive, make sure to have several ready for your military and civilians just in case. Bandages can disappear quickly, so keep an eye ball on your stocks.
- Light Injuries and Bleeding: Make sure to have Bandages ready. Gnomes with these injuries typically will be fine after they have been wrapped up. Do notice that bleeding kills due to blood loss if left untreated.
- Seriously Injured: These gnomes can survive, however, being severely injured means it's something permanent unless you have a Hospital with medic to treat such. Injuries include: inability to walk and blindness.
- Dismemberment: Gnomes can lose limbs due to some kinds of damage, like a bite from a Mant. If they lose an arm, they may be unable to use two-handed weapons or carry two items, while losing a leg impacts their speed. Currently there is no way to replace their lost limbs.
- Death: This can and probably will happen. Currently, there is no way to have funerals for fellow gnomes, so the best you can do is put them in a body stockpile. Tombs are coming, though.
Tips for different enemy types
Golems are weak to slashing damage. They do not bleed but can be dismembered. They do get more difficult the deeper they are encountered.
They are weak to slashing damage, can be dismembered, and bleed out. However, as your Kingdom worth rises, they start wearing tougher and tougher armor into combat. Armor is good vs. slashing damage - this makes iron or steel clad goblins quite sturdy adversaries.
Ogres accompany goblins. Their hides are exceptionally resilient against blunt damage. They are very tough and take a long time to kill. While they can theoretically bleed out, they take so long for it to happen it's not very likely to happen. Two-headed ogres are even harder.
Insects are weak to blunt damage, mainly hammers. They do not bleed and can not be dismembered.
- Beetle: Stronger than Mants. If left alone they create cocoons that spawn more beetles.
- Mant Scout: A single mant. Will wander around your kingdom, but will fight if sighted. After a while, it will depart and trigger a mant invasion.
- Mant Worker: Part of a mant invasion army. The higher your Kingdom's worth, the more mants workers will show up. You get more mants if you have excess food / drink - this kicks in if you have more than 2,000 combined food and drink.
- Skeleton: An undead being that wields random weapons and armor. Can be dismembered but does not bleed.
- Zombie: An undead being capable of infecting gnomes with the zombie virus. Can be dismembered and does bleed. For more information about the Zombie Virus, see Gnome Health.
Spiders are not insects. They are also the toughest enemies in the game, and spawn only at the lowest levels. Think less "daddy long legs" and more "Kankra" from Lord of the Rings.
- The higher your Kingdom's Worth, the more likely it becomes that invading enemies will attack in bigger groups, thus being more difficult to defeat. Goblins will have improved weapons and armor. Thus it is wise to keep upgrading the gnomes' weapons and armor in anticipation of this greater threat.
- The lower you encounter spawned enemies, the harder / more numerous they will be.
- It is a good idea to make enough military squads to enroll every gnome. They do not need to be assigned to a duty, just put them in a formation with Militia Perk and be sure to use the "Uniforms" tab to set "Any" for everything. This will cause the gnomes to put on any armor they can get and pick up any weapons dropped by goblins. Once leather or metal armor can be made, the gnomes will soon all be armored and less vulnerable to surprise attacks. Use "Avoid Enemies" option if you do not want your gnomes to fight unless as last resort.
- If you have access to coal but lack the ores to craft weapons, Torches can be a good choice for the early game. They deal more damage(burn) than fighting barehanded and utilize the sword-skill. Torches increase vision range, and after you replace them with weapons or shields, there will always be a spot for lighting.