Reserves… lovely idea, often committed early on. Given that the battles tend to be pretty evenly matched in terms of quality AND quantity of troops, everybody ends up doing something pretty quickly…
An important note, alluded to elsewhere, is that these are not, OOC, military formations. Apart from a few contingents on each side, they aren’t well-drilled military formations IC either.
Both in and out of game, you have hundreds of individualistic enthusiasts wanting to do something, few of whom have experience at marching or even standing in formation.
On both sides, we don’t tend to pause to allow the other guys to get a breath or get into formation, we charge, IF its a viable tactic. So IF our guys are ready, IF we have a good chance of pulling it off successfully, IF it won’t screw up everything else.
I’ve taken the field with Dawn since the game began. And we love to charge. Sometimes we don’t because we’re outnumbered heavily. Sometimes we don’t because we’re holding a flank, battle-line with others, or position of importance. And sometimes, rarely, it’s because the guy in charge says “Hold!”* for no apparent reason.
The dying rules are pretty finely balanced, and many many heroes have fallen behind and died, cut-off from their friends. Executions and torture, being really rather traumatic, are done carefully and judicously by the Skirmish Crew.
And casulties are still pretty heavy. Last event, Dawn lost nearly 20 in one battle. The next day, the nations fighting lost over 100 between them.
On the Honour subject… generally you’re right, although we’ve been trying to fight honourably against the Jotun for a while. As they won’t consider any sort of treaty against a dishonourable opponent, and we’d really like to stick that war on Hold for a year or two…
There are generals etc. I might see a Field Marshal (overall battle command), national commanders (commanding each nations troops), and lance commanders (each commanding 10 to 20 troops). With runners and similar passing information and orders around. Which means that sometimes you have a breakdown in communication, or a lack of battlefield understanding, or even a general doing the wrong thing for the right reasons…
Which is entirely appropriate. Our battles have become far more co-ordinated since we started using more banners, and being able to easily identify runners, generals, etc. This is not a bug, it’s a feature.
Ritual teams have and do enter the field of battle. Nothing like unleashing a MASS VENOM into the middle of a battleline… No, they can’t recover mana by ritual, but they can only cast using crystal mana anyway, so they may well carry a large cask of that onto the field, and maybe a Mageblood potion to replenish their personal mana if they’ll be doing something else (battlemage, healing).
*More usually “Dawn! Stop trying to charge! Stand your bloody ground and hold formation! No! Hold!”