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|“||A General is...the same as a hundred or thousand-man commander, nothing more than a position, a rank. However...Only a select few are able to achieve it. Only those who overcome numerous brushes with death and accomplish numerous deeds are able to arrive at that destination. As a result...A General obtains the responsibility of overseeing thousands of lives, and the greatest of honours. Hence, a general's existence carries so much Weight. Hence, a general shines to such a degree, that they are dazzling.||”|
—Ou Ki, the Monstrous Bird of Qin to Hou Ken.
|“||The more a general relies on logic, the easier they will be tripped up by feats that surpass logic.||”|
A General is a leader of an army usually with less than 100,000 men, who use military tactics, strategies, and knowledge to achieve victory on the battlefield. They carry political weight and can sometimes wield immense power and influence in some of the warring states. Having a good general is crucial to the defense of a state's territory as well as for offensive campaigns into other state's territory. Few soldiers actually achieve the position of General due to the difficulty to get the rank.
Types of Generals
There are two types of generals in terms of tactics and style of warfare:
- The Strategic type is Generals who use tactics and knowledge to achieve victory in battle. Many Strategic Generals are generally seen to fight battles logically. Go Kei of Wei is an example that represents the strategic type.
- The Instinctive type is Generals who typically fight battles with intuition and reacting to situations on the battlefield. Many Instinctive Generals generally seem to charge into and fight battles head-on like wild beasts. Duke Hyou of Qin is an example of an instinctive type.
- The Hybrid type - Despite there being two types of general it has been noted that there are some generals that embodied both types with Ren Pa being considered such hybrid.
Despite there being different types of generals, there are contrasting ways of how a general should lead their armies. Typically they are divided into two categories. Those who lead their armies from their HQ will generally provide a sense of security to their army with the knowledge that they're being guarded by the most trustworthy of vassals. Meanwhile, there are those who lead from the front personally that will raise their men's morale with each strike they make alongside their men.
Strategy versus instinct has been an eternal theme among generals, as Ou Ki commented to Shin in the battle between Duke Hyou and Go Kei, two highly contrasting generals who met and fought in the battle of Daikan Plains.
It is expected for a general to be the best of the best in all things war-related. They must display capable leadership abilities as the numbers of soldiers under their command can vary from thousands to hundreds of thousands. In addition to this, they must use clever or crude tactics (depending on the general) to achieve success on the battlefield. Most generals have been shown to wield their respective weapons of choice with superior martial skill, though it has been seen that the instinctive type tends to be stronger when it comes to combat. Using the environment to your advantage, predicting what the enemy will do in response, and having tremendous martial talent are the differences between a general and a Great General.
How to Become a General
In the State of Qin, true strength, supremacy and principle have pushed lineage to the back burner. The system that's in place now allows anyone to go to war, and if they do well they get promoted. If they keep it up, they'll eventually reach the level of general.
The army is made up of men from noble families, and regular citizens who either enlist or are drafted into the army. However, the only ones who can enlist are those who are on the family registered of there villages, and they must come from a village that meets certain criteria. If they are servants, like Ri Shin was, who didn't have a family register, they can't raise their name through battlefield exploits, they can't even make it to the battles (under normal circumstances). Even to nobles, to become a general is a nearly insurmountable task. So for a servant like Shin, it's like trying to reach the stars.
The personalities vary from general to general. Some like Duke Hyou and Mou Bu charge recklessly into battle, while others like Go Kei, his son Go Hou Mei, give out commands from their headquarters. Using the lives of men is a common tactic used in warfare which cannot be avoided. A general's presence is far above that of the average person to the point where they seem larger to those around them, crushing them to the point they start to sweat uncontrollably or cower before them. The pressure invoked by a general's presence puts fear into men and makes some reluctant to fight against such warriors on the battlefield. It is also said that there are two types of generals in regard to the way they affect their troops' morale. Some, such as Geki Shin, control their army through fear or subterfuge. Consequentially once they die, a major portion of their army will lose their morale and will usually surrender on the spot or flee out of cowardice. Others, such as Ou Ki, are predominately charismatic and are a major source of inspiration and loyalty. As a result, if they were to fall in battle, their army would usually go berserk, and they will then go on suicidal charges with the intent of taking as many enemies as they can with them before joining their general in the afterlife.