I don't want to provide a very specific list of pay grades at this point in time, but I can speak in
general terms. I do feel that the standard wealth tables as provided for d20 are not quite right for
the Iron Kingdoms in several respects. Similar to my opinion on the fact that I think an NPC
who's actually good at his job and has been around for a while should have some levels under his
belt and not necessarily exist to make a PC look like superman. In addition to the large topic that
our setting does not replicate the more medieval economic model (being set more within an early
industrialized era), armies in our setting also function in a different way than they do in certain
other fantasy settings. Rather than having an enormous army of basically untrained and barely
paid spearmen wearing whatever they can afford, you are more likely to see professional, well
trained, reasonably well equipped, and regularly paid soldiers.
By and large being a soldier in most of western Immoren is a good profession that offers decent
wages, and also provides room & board. Certainly this applies a bit more to your average Cygnaran
soldier vs. your average Khadoran Winter Guard, but even in Khador the Winter Guard is a
respectable job that provides a decent means to support your family. The same is true even in the
Protectorate, although there when I am talking about a "soldier" there I am referring more to a
professional Temple Flameguard than your random bomb-throwing zealot. Deliverers probably fall
a bit between this and their stature is part of a transitional niche, one that is moving away from
being a loose militia toward a more integrated part of what passes for a national army.
Naturally an entry level soldier like a private in Cygnar is going to be receiving a relatively modest
wage (but still enough to support a family) and I think this would increase reasonably with each
increment. The lowest fully commissioned officers would be making substantially more. This does
start to get complicated in most of the kingdoms and particularly in Cygnar where you have a
mix of commoner officers and nobility. I do think many of the landed nobles would have a
tradition of "refusing" the wage as part of their station and duties to their king.
This gets particularly interesting given the highest officers are often elevated to a noble rank as
part of the process and as a fairly common reward for services rendered. This could often
accompany some random lands somewhere in Cygnar which might not be guaranteed to offer an
income comparable with their officer's commission, which they might be pressured into "refusing."
I could certainly imagine circumstances, if a man or woman did not manage their affairs properly,
where you could get "promoted into poverty" in this manner. One could imagine a commander or
a general who is also newly appointed baron, marquis, or viscount with some squalid lands
somewhere who can barely support his family in the style to which they have become accustomed.
Such a circumstance could lead rather naturally to a degree of corruption and vice, or a bit of "war
profiteering" (sending false reports about damaged warjacks needing replacement parts, which are
then sold on the black market or the like) or looting to help bring in that missing income and
restore one's family to its former comforts.
I don't think this would be particularly common, but the possibility makes for some fun
roleplaying opportunities. Particularly with the Thornwood seized after 607 AR, that's a lot of
crappy land Cygnar can't offer to any bootstrapped nobles or war heroes. Then again, good chunks
of this land would have already been parceled off to other officers/nobles who are presently more
or less homeless, and who still might claim they have the proper right to such lands despite the
Khadorans setting up bases on them. There's lots of other areas with crappy lands, however,
including the Gnarls (full of trollkin), the Wyrmwall Mountains, and various other remote
wilderness regions that are far from civilized. Adventure opportunities abound in this type of
setup. I could certainly see the entertainment of giving a PC officer/hero some lands somewhere
that are actually a well fortified enclave of the Circle Orboros or that actually contains a hidden
Retribution safe house, unknown to the crown.
The trenchers have in fact changed over time, as will often happen with military units as they
establish themselves. This is still described briefly in Remix and was expanded upon in the
Trenchers Guts & Gears entry in No Quarter Magazine. The extensive and strenuous training
regimen originally implemented to turn criminals and insubordinate soldiers into a useful fighting
force has proven just as useful when applied to properly qualified recruits. The Trencher program
was greatly expanded and they now represent the second segment of the Cygnaran Army (behind
the Long Gunners).
From a background perspective, Trenchers are not considered "elite" but simply highly trained
infantry who are also sent in first. If comparing them to US military branches (not always a good
idea, but useful in this specific instance), the Trenchers have a similar reputation as the Marines
compared to the Army, but neither are a "special forces" elite force. Cygnar is a bit unusual as all
of their soldiers are considered fairly well trained, but long gunners and Trenchers comprise the
"grunts" in Cygnar.
All of the knights and the gun mages (and more broadly, any military arcanist) are considered
elite, requiring not only additional training but specialized hardware. (In the case of gun mages,
they must also be born with a rare ability.)
Rangers are an unusual case, being a highly specialized force somewhat removed from the regular
chain of command. They have their own distinct status, being individually more comfortable
socializing with the "grunts" than what we might call the elite branches, but certainly widely
respected for their difficult and dangerous specialty.
Field mechanics are part of the support staff, and are respected as technical specialists.
Stormsmiths likely have a similar niche/reputation.
The comparison in esteem and attitude between US Army and Marines is certainly an apt
comparison for the relationship between long gunners and trenchers in particular. However, I
think some folks may have a mistaken idea about the general attitude toward rangers. Rangers,
like Trenchers, tend to be respected for their willingness to tackle the riskier tasks relying solely
on their training and individual capability rather than specialized or expensive hardware. It's also
well known in the services that the rangers are not paid very well for their work and that
promotion is extremely slow and difficult. There is a certain special pride in this among the
veteran rangers which is carried over to the other "commoner" enlisted, even as many of them
don't envy the rangers for what they have to do. Ranger Swift Sergeants carry a particular prestige
and have done so for quite a long time. You can see this in the fictional intro to NQM#5's
historical scenarios regarding the Battle of the Tongue, where rangers played a key role in bringing
news of the Khadoran incursion to Lord General Vinter Raelthorne II (who led this army before
he was king).
There are definitely several echelons of status in the overall army which makes for an interesting
mix. Not only is there the typical enlisted/officer divide, but you also have the distinction between
commoners and those who are born of noble families. Even among the knights there are
differences in attitudes between the various orders. But one of the more interesting distinctions in
Cygnar specifically is the attitudes between those who have access to the high-tech gear and those
who do not.
Cygnar Martial Ranking
* Lord General
* Warmaster General
Cygnar Arcane Ranking
* Apprentice of the Art
Khador Martial Ranking
* Supreme Kommandant
Khador Arcane Ranking
Cryx (Thrall) Martial Ranking
* Thrall Warrior
* Thrall Lieutenant
* Thrall Captain
Cryx (Thrall) Arcane Ranking
* Iron Lich