Sergeants, Officers, and The Temple of the Frog

Author: DHBoggs / Labels: , ,

This is a post about garrisons and troop organization in OD&D and for this discussion I'm going to look once again at Supplement II Temple of the Frog, and the exact nature and composition of the forces defending the temple.

If someone were playing a game set in Blackmoor and wanted to launch an army against the Temple itself, it would be very useful to know exactly how many defenders there are and where they are stationed, but that's not my concern here.  My interest is more fundamental: to explore the set up of the temple forces and apply that knowledge as an OD&D template for the organization of guards and garrisons.   

OD&D has rules for stocking lordly castles full of exotic retainers, rules for making bandit  and pirate bands and so forth, but nothing for setting up a small fort garrison or body of troops, so sussing out Arneson's method in TotF has the potential to provide similar guidelines.

This takes a bit of digging to do.  

Lets begin with the overall structure we find:

A lord commander
Officers- 8th Level Fighters
Sergeants - 5th Level Fighters
Guards/soldiers - 1st and 2nd Level Fighters

That was the easy part.  When it comes to numbers, things get trickier.  There is no overall total given in the text, so let's start with leadership.  Often in the room descriptions with officers or sergeants, instead of exact numbers we find number ranges, things like "1-4 sergeants" etc., and there is no reliable way to get numbers from ranges.  Luckily we have a chart that solves the problem.  The chart shows the relationship of various rings worn by the Temple cultist.  These rings have to be worn at all times to move about the temple, and the chart tells us exactly how many rings there are of each type, including officer rings and sergeants rings.  Thus we know without doubt that there are exactly 12 officers and 48 sergeants in the service of the frog.

But how many guards?  For the the upper defense we are given exact figures in the text (pp 30-33) of how many guards are in a particular tower or guarding a particular wall.  These all add up to a total of exactly 400.  

However, within the first level of the dungeon, once again we aren't given exact figures.  Rather each barracks room accommodates a certain number of soldiers (80 for example), as shown for each room marked Barracks on the level map. Further, we are told in the text that 30-80% of the room total could be present at any given time.  If you just add up the total possible shown on the dungeon level 1 map you'd get 1140.  Combining that with the 400 present on the upper works and you get a grand total of 1540 soldiers.

But, are all the barracks rooms on dungeon level 1 really filled to capacity?  There's a note at the bottom of page 33 that says "Within the first level of the dungeon under the temple are some 1000 guards...." 

"Some 1000" seems deliberately imprecise, but if this latter figure were accurate that would mean a smaller grand total of 1400.  So lets look at the math for each:

Soldiers Total
Soldier per Sergeant
Soldiers per Officer

Neither figure yields a particularly satisfying answer.  I began to wonder if there was some mistake somewhere along the line.  In particular, the "40" of the 1540 total bugged me.  Why 40?  What if, I thought, the 40 was correct but the rest of the figure was off by 100 due to some error?  In other words, instead of 1540 or 1400, what if the intended figure was 1440?  Here's the math:

Soldiers Total
Soldiers per Sergeant
Soldiers per Officer


What this means in rulespeak is that for every 30 men in a troop or garrison there will be 1 hero level sergeant; for every 120 men there will be 1 superhero level officer.  Groups with multiple superheroes will be led by a Lord.

Finally, for the sake of completeness I may as well list the Arms and Equipment the  garrison is described as having, though I think this is less useful that the basic rule given above.

Officers:  armed as bandits - leather armor, sword, dagger, 20% chance of a magic item (Dungeon level 1, rooms 8 and barracks)

Sergeants  armed as bandits -leather armor, sword, dagger, 20% chance of a magic item (Dungeon level 1, rooms 8 and barracks)

Guards , heavy infantry - leather armor, shield, 50% sword, 50% spear, 10% bow, 10% chance of a magic item (Dungeon level 1, rooms 4 and barracks)


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