The Barbarians (formally styling themselves as the Great Armada, a name that was rarely used by others) were a military power which emerged in RAR! Space during the 26th century. Forged out of pirates, criminals, mercenaries, and other renegades, they have been likened to the historic primitives which often posed threats to the more developed civilizations before the advent of gunpowder weaponry, invading, subjugating and plundering planets to feed their war machine. The Barbarians possed a distinct threat to galactic stability before their eventual defeat.
History of the BarbariansEdit
The Rise of Joel ForesterEdit
The history of the Barbarians is directly linked with that of its leader, Joel Forester, who had started out as a relatively minor fleet commander. By sheer chance, he managed to discover a fully intact battlecruiser amidst the debris of a deep space battle site sometime in 2540; said warship, named the Hercules, had its crew killed in battle due to depressurization and was abandoned as both sides were forced to fall back after the battle's conclusion. Forester seized upon this and had the craft towed to his base, where his engineers made her once again combat worthy. The resurrected Hercules proved to be a great boon to Forester, enabling him to attract additional followers through displays of force and more effectively raid and seize convoys. Most pirates would have simply thrown away such resources without much abandon, but Forester had bigger ambitions. He made connections with a variety of criminal organizations and mercenary groups, built up stockpiles of weapons and ammunition on his asteroid bases, and prepared to make the first move in his plan for greater glory.
In 2549, advance elements of Forester's rag-tag fleet began intense commerce raiding around the planet of New Colombia, causing the small New Colombian Navy to mobilize. In the chaos, a single Barbarian spearhead dscended from hyperspace and moved into the system. The New Colombian planetary defense fleet was not suited to defend itself against the Barbarian onslaught and was dispatched relatively quickly. Forester then encircled the planet and ordered its surrender. New Colombia became the first conquest of the Barbarians; although about half the planet refused to surrender, all organized resistance was crushed within five weeks, as the New Colombian Army was small, poorly funded, and did not have any combat experience.
The New Colombian BuildupEdit
After the fall of New Colombia, Forester divided up the planet and system into fiefs among his captains. Valuable items such as artwork and so forth were collected and either sold for additional capital or used to furnish a large number of pleasure palaces. New Colombia's previous government was fairly corrupt and generally ineffective, which Forester exploited during his conquest, though Barbarian governance could hardly be seen as an improvement over the old regime.
Soon after their arrival, the Barbarians set to work on a military buildup. What industries existed on New Colombia were pressed full tilt into making more industrial equipment, and additional resources were imported where local industries were insufficient. Over the next two decades, New Colombia was remade into a factory world, and vast shipyards were built in orbit. The Barbarian warlords cared little for the well-being of their subjects, simply contenting themselves with making sure that they and their men had a high standard of living and that quotas for the production of equipment were met. The cities of New Colombia became crime-ridden slums, with thousands of crude apartment blocks among an endless number of factories. While there were occasional attempts at rebellion, the Barbarians crushed them swiftly and mercilessly, generally involving large numbers of executions. Despite skyrocketing death rates, New Colombia's population ultimately grew to three times its pre-conquest size through various means, such as human trafficking, cloning, hiring of mercenaries, and government policies meant to encourage large families. Those who weren't made to work in the factories or shipyards were pressed into service with the Barbarians' ever-growing fleets and armies.
New Colombia's neighbors were alarmed by the buildup, but Forester managed to work around this. Forester made sure that his men did not raid local commerce, and in a few cases, he even succeeded in signing trade deals with his neighbors, using the profits from exports to purchase even more equipment and other resources for the buildup. For the time being, Forester managed to avoid direct confrontation. Nonetheless, some preparations were made to deal with possible invasion, though these would ultimately prove to be too little for the coming onslaught.
The Barbarian InvasionEdit
On March 10th, 2567, several fleets under the command of thirteen of Walker's most prominent warlords were launched striking at New New York and Darwinia. The simple bulk of the Barbarian fleet allowed for comparatively short victories and the conquest of two new worlds with six months. Newport put up a more dedicated resistance before it too fell after an additional nine months. The same policies that the Barbarians employed on New Colombia were employed on these worlds, and soon the Barbarians would be gathering more forces. With the entirety of Darwinia sector under Forester's control, the Barbarian hordes became a much more pronounced threat that warranted direct intervention.
The states of Nova Atlantis and Zhongguo Sectors mobilized themselves to defeat the Barbarian threat, but severely underestimated the effectiveness of the Barbarian war machine. The fleets that were dispatched did not co-ordinate with each other and were small in size. Expeditions sent out between 2567 and 2569 were harrassed and eventually either destroyed or forced into retreat. At the same time, Barbarian armies fell upon seven more systems and seized control of them. Attempts to coordinate a more centralized military force were made by a newly formed alliance between Nova Atlantis and Zhongguo, with the former emerging as its core. In an attempt to give himself time to further incorporate the new conquests into the Barbarian war machine, Forester sent Khan Malik (his most powerful vassal and, at least in Forester's eyes, a growing rival) with a massive fleet into Nova Atlantis with the objective of doing as much damage as possible. Khan Malik's fleet was successful in destroying many mining stations, supply depots, and minor settlements, though his three attempts at striking against major population centers were failures; an attack on Nova Atlantis was defeated after a two-week space battle, an attack on Norfolk was repulsed after three days with the arrival of Alliance reinforcements, and a final assault against Nova Australia in August 2570 ultimately resulted in Khan Malik's death after an extremely brief space battle that lasted only six hours.
Khan Malik's offensive put the Alliance forces on the defensive, where they would remain for the rest of the 2570s. At the same time, concerns gathered over what was happening in Forester's territory. Reports indicated huge shipyards being built and vast armies being raised. At a series of meetings between various Alliance heads of state and military leaders, it was concluded that to defeat the Barbarian hordes, a single major push was needed. As such, what had been a loose military alliance gradually became more and more integrated as they moved to total war. A single command structure as created. Spacecraft, weapons, and equipment were standardized for logistical purposes, and military/industrial development was coordinated. Even with the offensive push being planned, the policy of the Alliance became that of defense, protecting what they had against Barbarian incursions.
Even though actual Barbarian expansion slowed during the 2570s, with Seafoam and a few other marginal planets falling, Forester continued on with his own buildup as his armies and fleets increased in size. He also organized fairly frequent raids into Alliance territory, generally directed against asteroid settlements. Forester's war efforts culminated in the invasion of Ny Norge in 2574 after a set of particularly intense raids against the Nova Atlantis Sector, all meant to slow Alliance industrial growth. While the Barbarian fleet did manage to overpower Ny Norge's local defenses and land ground forces on the planet, the Barbarian fleet was driven out after only a week, and remaining Barbarian ground forces were ultimately neutralized after seven months.
In late 2580, the Alliance launched a single massive advance into Barbarian-held territory to retake the world of New Zoria, swiftly crushing the defending fleets and allowing for the landing of forces to free New Zoria from Barbarian rule. The invasion of New Zoria prompted Forester to launch a counter-offensive to dislodge the Alliance forces. The resulting Battle of New Zoria in early 2581 involved thousands of spacecraft; while the Barbarians managed to inflict significant casualties against the Alliance fleet, their wall of battle remained strong all throughout, ultimately forcing the Barbarians to cut their losses and withdraw. This would be followed by a system-hopping liberation campaign in which the allied fleet would wait and its targets one at a time with a spearhead.
The Barbarians were not done yet. Their fleets largely dispersed and began launching raids on convoys and patrols. Ground resistance was especially fierce, making heavy use of human shields and terror tactics against "disloyal" civilians; even so, desertion and defection rates among Barbarian conscripts skyrocketed, though such individuals were often at risk for reprisal from loyal Barbarian forces. Several large-scale battles happened as the Barbarians attempted to retake lost ground, including an attempt at driving the Alliance fleet from Darwinia. Between the general civil decay that was brought about by Barbarian rule and devestation caused by holdouts. The most infamous case of this was that of Hephaestus, when an Alliance fleet under Admiral Minoux reached this world on December 2nd defeated the fleet stationed there, six retreating warlords after telling the allied fleet to leave the system gave an order which had the orbital defenses to drop everything they had into the planet while billions of tonnes of orbital shipyards, half finished spacecraft, asteriods under processing and slag was dumped onto the surface resulting in complete planetary sterilization and the deaths of over two billion lives. Ultimately, not everyone was willing to die for the cause; many warlords began to cut their losses and run with what troops and equipment they could bring with them, while a fair number of more minor pirates simply deserted the hordes.
The Barbarians largely ceased to be a coherent military threat by 2585. Reduced to the worlds of Freyja, Speranza, and New Manitoba, Forester organized and personally led the bulk of his remaining forces in a last-ditch gambit to reclaim New Colombia. The Second Battle of New Colombia ultimately proved to be the last great stand of the Barbarians, ending with Forester and his flagship Will to Rule carved to bits by the concentrated firepower of a dozen Alliance battleships. With their last great hope destroyed, the remnants of Forester's fleet broke apart and fled. In the following three months, the warlords of the remaining Barbarian worlds began to evacuate their worlds, leaving behind chaos and anarchy while Alliance fleets quietly moved in.
When the Barbarians were defeated, what was left on their worlds was was chaos. Leaving aside the casualties that their war machine sustained, the Barbarians were directly responsible for more than seven billion deaths during their reign (out of a total population of some 34 billion people at the height of their power), and left those that were not killed in ruins. Cities were reduced to ruined slums, looting was commonplace, and Barbarian remnants were given over to guerrilla warfare and terrorist campaigns. Hundreds of millions of soldiers were required to keep order and stability on these planets, and considerable aid was required to rebuild their industries and infrastructure to prevent them from further degenerating. Barbarian forces were gradually apprehended and reprogrammed into functional members of society. These planetary reconstruction programs were critical in the eventual creation of the Nova Atlantean Commonwealth of Worlds.
Many historians believe that a Barbarian victory over the Alliance was a possibility. If this was the case, there is little doubt that the Barbarians would have simply done what they had with their previous conquests by turning the Alliance's resources towards their own cause.
Those Barbarians that escaped would prove to be a major problem afterwards. With advanced warships, transports loaded with trained soldiers and heavy weapons and vehicles, manufacturing equipment and a level of military skill well above average these fleeing fleets would in general go back to their old ways of general piracy. The number of raids per year sugnifigantly increased and would stay high for decades to come. Some pirate warlords with command of capital ships would attract fleets of followers and a few attempted to seize control of remote star systems, but never had Forester's sucess.
An inadvertant trait of the Barbarian Wars was that of turning the population of what would become the Commonwealth away from Human Supremacism. The Barbarians were a human faction and despite this was capable of base, depraved and horrid acts in their grab for power. They are also seen for centuries afterwards as the greatest enemy that the Commonwealth ever faced and one which needed to be put down which would be passed down through fiction and pop culture. To a citizen of the Commonwealth the idea that Humans have some fundamental superiority to other sapients is one that was dispelled by the actions of the Barbarians (and in modern times, the actions of the Byzantines during and since the Imperium/Tau war). The common retort to Human Supremacists in and around RAR! space is "Forester was Human" and things to the effect of which.
Barbarian Society and HierarchyEdit
Barbarian society was feudal in nature and centered around the rule of Joel Forester, the self-declared il-Khan of the Great Armada. Forester, his personal staff of senior clerks, and his most senior and loyal vassals collectively set policy, gave orders, and commanded attacks. Forester directly commanded the largest forces in the Barbarian hordes; at its apex, Forester's contingent made up about 45% of the total Barbarian forces and were disproportionately well-trained and well-armed compared to the forces of other warlords, although Forester only controlled 10% of the Barbarians' actual territory. Forester's contingent also contained various oversight forces, which helped ensure loyalty among his subordinates and made sure that they met their quotas.
Directly beneath Forester were his vassals, various warlords who had proven their worth to their lord. Many of his vassals had been captains who served in his fleet before the invasion of New Colombia, though there was certainly room for advancement, and many junior officers managed to rise through the ranks given enough time and effort. Each warlord was given a fiefdom with which he/she was to run as they saw fit with autocratic authority, and would in turn raise forces and provide tribute to Forester. They were also given quotas to meet in terms of industrial output and forces raised and were obliged to provide personnel on request. Those warlords who were successful in battle or provided significant economic support earned more territory and subjects, as well as a greater degree of forgiveness for any mistakes they would make. Likewise, those who chronically failed had their lands and forces distributed among their rivals. There was plenty of competition between warlords to outdo each other, providing the main driving force behind the rapid industrialization programs that fed the Barbarian war machine. Lower-ranking warlords often swore fealty to higher-ranking ones. The smallest fiefdoms were terrestrial agricultural plots or remote asteroids and had populations in the thousands at most; the largest fiefdoms encompassed entire continents.
Beneith the warlords were the warriors themselves. Warriors in Barbarian society were generally afforded superior treatment compared to civilians; they had free access to specialized recreational facilities, they were guaranteed a cut of any plunder taken in action, and they were free to advance their positions, possibly gaining fiefdoms of their own if they worked hard enough. The warriors were also the tools used to enforce the will of Forester and his vassals. Predictably, many warriors were given over to abusing the power that had been granted to them; extortion was a highly popular practice.
Administrators were ranked roughly equal to the warriors. True to their name, they were charged with overseeing the Barbarians' economic and governmental functions. Administrators were often kept on short leashes and under close observation by their masters; as such, they were rarely seen outside the company of warriors. A handful were assigned minor fiefs for excellent preformance, but this was quite rare and only happened 14 times.
At the absolute bottom of Barbarian society were the subjects, whose primary purpose was simply to man the factories and feed the Barbarian war machine at any cost. Standards of living for most civilians on Barbarian-conquered worlds fell considerably after the conquests, with corresponding increases in crime due to a lack of effective law enforcement. These lowered living standards were especially noticeable just after the conquest of New Colombia, though the Barbarians eventually learned to curb their excesses; among other (minor) improvements, workdays were reduced to less than 14 hours, workers were allowed at least some recreational time, and efforts were made to control disease among the worker populations. Even so, attrition rates among subject populations were extremely high; to keep up numbers, large families were encouraged and cloning was often employed, especially on New Colombia.
Despite their level of militarization, the Barbarians were willing to engage in trade with the rest of the galaxy. Trade gave some legitimacy to the Barbarian government after the fall of New Colombia, provided access to luxuries for warlords, and was useful for building up the industrial base which would feed their war machine. Barbarian trade generally tended towards exporting surplus weapons, drugs, and luxury goods and importing industrial machinery and other high-end technology. To dissuade concerns of the threat posed by Barbarian society while building up their shipyards, several lines of low-cost freighters were manufactured by several Barbarian warlords on Forester's orders. Naturally, a massive black market thrived under Barbarian rule, where all manner of shady businesses could operate relatively unmolested.
Barbarian Space ForcesEdit
Much of what the Barbarians used was either improvised or directly copied from existing designs. That said, there was considerable experimentation among the Barbarians. Developing and producing superior products was a good way for a warlord to gain prestige, and as such, vast numbers of prototypes were made and tested in battle. The Barbarians valued ease of production and heavy firepower above all else, and as time went on, Barbarian technology steadily became more standardized.
Pirate ships were the starting point of the Barbarian fleet, a motley selection of old warships, armed freighters, improvised fighters, and other crudely assembled amalgamations. Though they were eventually superceded by later, purpose-built combat craft, they were still important as reserves, fleet screens, and commerce raiders. Older pirate ships were replaced by newer ones as more pirates in search of fame and glory came under Forester's banner, though their role shrank considerably as the Barbarian War progressed.
Being pirates, it was only natural that the Barbarians would make use of warships that they captured, from fighters to capital ships. These spoils of war were typically up-armed and modified in other ways to suit the needs of the warlords who had captured them. In some cases, the Barbarians continued to produce warships made by conquered states, mainly because it was a more expedient option for most warlords and because these ships were often of higher quality than what they already had.
The main craft that the Barbarians produced were Marauders. Triangular ships about 150-300 meters long, Marauders typically sacrificed range for maximum reactor output and had bussard collectors to refill their tanks. Hundreds of types of Marauders flew out of Barbarian shipyards with a variety of armaments, such as box-launched missiles, gatling gauss weapons, gamma ray lasers, and plasma weapons. Marauder quality varied considerably; some were fairly reliable and respectable craft for their size, while others were substandard vessels made by those with minimal resources who decided to cut every corner possible. Even though space aboard these ships was usually at a premium, Marauders always carried breaching equipment and complements of marines. Some experimentation with stealth technology was also performed on Marauder testbeds.
Frankensteins, as their name suggests, were flying patchworks, a product of the "waste not, want not" attidude that the Barbarians had. Typically, various pieces of captured civilian shipping were taken apart and rebuilt into warships; salvaged remains from both friendly and enemy warships were also used in their construction. No two Frankensteins were truly alike, though they were generally cruiser-sized. Frankensteins were notable for their highly modular and decentralized construction, which could make them quite hard to disable in combat; depending on what a given warlord wanted, they carried very large arsenals for their size or served as carriers. The patchwork design philosophy clearly had its drawbacks, though; such ships were inherently slow and ungainly and were often subject to major rebuilds after every battle, and their interiors were notorious for being noisy, uncomfortable, and downright dangerous workplaces. Assignment to a Frankenstein was often used as a disciplinary measure. Technically, many of the pirate ships from Joel Forester's initial fleet could be considered Frankensteins. Historians have often remarked that even the Bragulans or the Orks would look down on a Frankenstein as being a crude, ungraceful, unsafe, and ugly mess of a warship, a sentiment which has actually been confirmed in a few cases.
While the main focus of the Barbarian fleet was on smaller craft, Barbarian capital ships did exist. Capital ships were usually seen in the service of Forester himself or as flagships of various warlords, although some of the more prominent warlords did have small fleets of capships. Forester's fleet was one of the few to have standardized ship classes, such as the Blackbeard class battleship, the Wokou class light cruiser, the Calico Jack class heavy cruiser, and the Brigand class carrier. These ship were also used by Forester's warlords, alongside a plethora of other highly customized designs. As a rule, Barbarian capital ship captains would have a fiefdom of his/her own to ensure that they had a stake in Forester's domain.
Barbarian capital ships were designed around a large number of weapons mounts, which ensured that they could deliver truly devastating opening salvos in combat and could survive having their weapons disabled by their opponents. However, Barbarian weapons emphasized brute force at the expense of range and accuracy, and they typically ran out of ammunition fairly quickly. The sheer amount of weaponry available necessitated similarly large crews to operate and maintain them.
For defense, Barbarian capital ships had decentralized shield grids composed of dozens, if not hundreds, of generators to maintain a single shield bubble. Even with numerous redundancies to ensure continuous operation, the shields could rarely be engaged at full power due to numerous power failures and burnouts from previous battles. Large amounts of low-cost applique armor were also used to supplant the shields. Barbarian capital ships were typically held in reserve during fleet engagements, only being deployed when conditions were deemed favorable; general tactics typically involved barrelling towards the opponent at high speed before opening fire.
The most common Barbarian made strike craft were the Butcherbird fighter pods. These low-class, low-cost spacecraft were quite standardized, being the result of a design contest between several different prototypes. Butcherbirds were small fighters designed for maximum maneuverability in space and were easily recognizable by their round forward cockpit and three triangular wings; given their emphasis on space combat, they were only capable of the most basic flight when in an atmosphere. The standard armament for a Butcherbird was a single low-power laser and six hardpoints for missiles, but it could be outfitted with a variety of weapons such as railguns, crude plasma cannons, and additional missiles and lasers; as such, customization was quite common. While quite maneuverable and lightweight (thus making them easy to transport), they were slow (especially with additional weapons) and fragile, meaning that they generally relied on force of numbers to win the day. Elite and high-ranking pilots were given superior fightercraft. These were generally from special limited production runs, custom built or stolen. Certain warlords made use of gunships as missile or point defense platforms, but their overall use was limited.
One of the most iconic symbols of a Barbarian invasion was the drop disc, a disposable disc-shaped landing craft about 30 meters in diameter with a convex bottom and four low-cost retro-rockets on the side. Each drop disc was designed be dropped into an atmosphere. Each one of these craft could carry up to 400 tonnes of armored vehicles or 800 troops, which were to leave through one of four side doors. Typically they were armed with nothing more than a a set of laser cannons to clear out the landing site, but they could be fitted with a 120mm rail howitzer or an anti-aircraft missile launcher to provide some minor support to disembarking forces. Drop Discs were usually deployed en mass as part of first waves of invasions. First generation Drop Discs had a very low saftey record, although this was improved.
Barbarian Ground ForcesEdit
Barbarian ground force equipment started out as a mish-mash of whatever they could get their hands on, then eventually moved to a more standardized form with various categories of basic designs, with some deviations due to the preferences of the warlords. Barbarian-manufactured equipment was generally rudimentary but capable and was at least partially copied from other designs.
Barbarians were particularly fond of rocket artillery, as it required fairly basic launching systems, was mobile, and could be used to dump large quanitities of munitions onto a target. Tube based artillery was also used, ranging from fairly primitive cannons used by lower ranking forces to complex rail based systems and rocket propelled shells used by the more elite forces. They were also quite fond of chemical and nuclear weapons, though the latter were very rarely used against cities due to the fact that they made pillaging far more difficult (if not outright impossible) afterwards.
Barbarian armored vehicles were stratified between slow and heavily armored and fast and lightly armored. One of the most iconic Barbarian land vehicles was the Firerat, a four-wheeled armored car armed with a 25mm autocannon and a pair of anti-tank missile launchers. Another was the Mudlord Tank, a boxy and ungainly vehicle weighing 200 tonnes armed with a 165mm rocket assisted cannon and no less than 12 side-mounted Bastard laser guns on simple automated turrets: the chassis of which was used as the foundation of the Mudbeast APC. The Barbarians were also rather keen on attack helicopters and other forms of close air support.
Typical Barbarian body armor was similar to medieval terran brigandine in design and varied in quality. Power suits were also employed, with a glaring lack of standardization due to the fact that most warlords had their own individual designs. Barbarian small arms were generally composed of various Bastard derivatives, although projectile weapons remained common in the areas of sidearms and anti-material rifles.
The Barbarians conscripted more than four billion men and women to serve as cannon fodder for their armies. Unless they had some specialized position or was pregnant, any person in Barbarian territory older than 17 (and they rarely checked the dates formally) could be unceremoniously taken away to serve as a conscript. Conscript forces were run by a mix of pirates, volunteers, veteran conscripts, and mercenaries. Training was generally minimal and also varied from region to region (as did command structure). Most conscript forces were motorized infantry with limited armor and artillery support, which was limited to specialist units and veterans. Their equipment was as cheep as possible and was often reused, as well as being augmented with other articles looted from fallen enemies. To motivate them, conscripts were often promised a share in loot and a route to status and prestige; some warlords chose instead to threaten the loved ones of their conscripts, while others gave their conscripts highly addictive drugs.
Conscripts were also employed to keep order in occupied territories, and were often quite brutal in doing so. Conscript leaders also corsetted their forces and habitually lied to them to keep order. Conscript mutinies still happened, but were generally containable. Though overall quality improved as time went on due to experience, conscripts were generally quite poor soldiers, although they could still pose a threat in large numbers. Warlords generally saw conscripts as being disposable, although veteran units were seen as less so. Conscripts who were transfered to Forester's direct command were generally better treated.
The Barbarians made a habit of inducting criminals, praticularly violent criminals into their military. That said their were two diferent catagories of Penal forces, the first were prisonners from conquered planets, who were offered either service in the Barbarian military and prospects that came there with or death. The other were arrested and charged under barbarian rule. The former were generally treated about the same as volunteers while the latter were generally treated like conscripts. Both of which were generally looked down upon by conscripts and volunteers and the latter generally used in missions where high casualties if not annilation was to be expected.
Volunteers were those who willingly served the Barbarian armed forces. As they did so out of their own free will, they were generally considered more trustworthy than conscripts, even if they were still kept under close observation. Volunteer forces were typically given bigger shares of loot and were picked out first for promotion, as well as being more likely to be trusted with armor and artillery support. Their performance, while generally superior to conscripts was still subpar compared to professional soldiers from the allied militaries.
foreign mercenaries played an important role in the Barbarian war machine and both Forester and his warlords sent out agents to recruit them. First they were useful as soldiers to pad out the Barbarian military, secondly they were useful for training new soldiers. Mercenaries varied in quality considerably, the best class of mercenaries were used as special forces while lower quality mercenaries were used as more conventional soldiers alongside formations of conscripts.
The Barbarian ground forces had their origins with this collection of thugs, renegades and pirates. Pirate warriors started out as a unorganized lot of corsairs, capable fighters but disorganized and inefficient. After the fall of New Colombia, a gradual restructuring started. The original pirate warriors were reshaped and retained, gradually becomming more disciplined and able to fuction as units, despite blatant irregularities. They were also given high rank among the regular forces of conscripts and volunteers. Eventually, most vassals used their best pirates as the foundation of (at least theoretically) elite forces, adding to their ranks the best men and women from conscript and volunteer forces. These soldiers typically served as marines or special forces and were distingished by a lack of standardization in uniforms and normally having the best equipment the barbarians warlords could obtain. By the 2570s, some formations of pirate warriors became feared and respected units, while others simply became creatively ineffective fighting forces. Newer pirate warriors who joined the Barbarians during the Barbarian Wars were typically treated like volunteers.
Not to be confused with the Klavostani forces of the same name, Janissaries were an elite force and among the most capable Barbarian soldiers, which Forester had an exclusive monopoly on. Modeled after the old Ottoman model, Janissaries were recruited at childhood (ages 4-8) from orphans and raised to serve as soldiers loyal to Forester. Janissaries were given the best equipment the Barbarians could manufacture and in larger quanities. Janissaries could be temporarily assigned to warlords, and receiving a force of Janissaries was considered a sign of favor. Janissaries were typically deployed as a second wave, after other forces deemed more disposable were sent into an area to engage the enemy. Janissaries had at their disposal a large number of armored forces and power suits for their hardened veterans. Even after the bulk of Barbarian forces had been destroyed during the liberation campaigns, Janissaries would often engage in guerilla campaigns. Those that fled after Forester's death often became the most feared pirates.
To help pad out their ranks, Barbarians applied cutting-edge medical technology towards a sinister end. Using regenerative medical nanites, low-cost cybernetics, electrical stimulus, and a combination of various drugs, the Barbarians managed to devise a way of reanimating the recently dead. This reanimation process had a high failure rate; only 65% of all attempts were successful, and approximately a third of these successes had particularly suboptimal results. The resulting creature typically had reduced intelligence and would at most live for about five years of activity, but it could easily be programmed to obey orders, could be pieced together from a variety of body parts, and could have its metabolism adjusted to make it consume as little as possible. Some of these were used as laborers in dangerous industries, but most were employed to pad out the ranks of the Barbarian armies.
For reasons of morale, Forester ordered that the bodies of fallen Barbarian warriors not be used to make salvaged soldiers and that only condemned criminals and bodies found on the battlefield be used; despite these orders, some degree of unofficial "stock padding" with the actual corpses of fallen Barbarian warriors still occurred nonetheless. Salvaged soldiers were typically used as light infantry in urban or forest warfare, either fairly conventionally with oversight from a regular soldier for every 4-6 salvaged soldiers or as berserker terror soldiers, armed with shotguns, shockaxes, and bundles of fragmentary explosives set to go off in case life functions ceased.