Yes, the CR 3 wights march longer and have better stealth than 1st level Commoners... you sound shocked by that fact. But they also will kill you, because we've established that you're trying to use low level Experts to try and hit a DC 35 diplomacy check (and if they fail, all wights under that wight are happy to eat you). Plus, you seem to have forgotten that Friendly just makes them friendly towards that Expert... not the rest of your population. At the end of the day you've created a stealthy force of self reproducing killers that is just as happy to eat you as the enemy and you have no real defense against that... even the control spells you wanted to use are just charming effects, so they only make the wight friendly to the caster. One way or another, you're asking for a wightocolypse that you can't stop (because you haven't put together another army).
Says who? The best of the wight army it's that I can totally still copy your commoner army for home defense!
And why stop at friendly? Fill their heads with propaganda untill they're fanatic to your cause!
And depending on single target effects that just make the wights friendly to a single member of your population (but happy to eat the rest) is absolutely foolish.
That's why I'm using them for attacking. You don't keep your more psychotic soldiers near the big populations, neither will I keep the wights.
And again, wights are not mindless. They are actually wiser/more charismatic than your average human, and they'll quickly learn they have more to gain from just eating their quota than going into a rampage and scattering, ending up as easy prey for the average party.
And to be clear... as long as ANYONE in the opposing army can see some movement where the wights are (perhaps with basic bell and twine traps because wights don't have the search score to find traps?) the commander can fire at the general area with massive area attacks, vaporizing even an army he can't see.
Once per day, since that's how many times your bards can sing. Never heard of decoy attacks/diversions/sacrificing a pawn to capture the king? One wight will trigger your army to waste hundreds of arrows and all their 1/day abilities. Then the real army moves on.
Also by RAW no, you can't make basic bell and twin traps. You'll need some special Prc or pay horrendous GP costs. Otherwise just give me a minute to develop gunpowder, fire weapons and armored vehicles and we'll talk again.
To be clear, we're not playing by custom army rules. I tend to use the rules from Heroes of Battle and Complete Warrior for army battles, because those are the official rules. But in a big army, you have scouting groups who deal with enemy stealth troops... you don't have entire armies getting surprised all at once (unless somebody REALLY screwed up and walked into an ambush).
There's plenty of examples of armies being ambushed trough history. Very rarely do you get to just walk to the enemy army and bash away whitout any nasty suprises in the middle.
And good scouts can easily avoid wights, who are decent at stealth but not amazing at detection... a single scout with a Shirt of Wraith Stalking is completely invisible to them, for example and can walk around among them reporting their position back to the main group without fear.
That's 6k gold per scout for an item that only works against undead. You really can afford that? Why doesn't the scout just deserts and retires happily after selling it?
Well, first it doesn't block LifeSight, so he gets wightified anyway, and your treasury takes a nasty hit.
Meanwhile my wraiths shall be equiped with eternal wands of Wind Wall. Your arrows can't touch them now.
Or eternal wands of fireball for sniping your lv1 bards for the lulz.
Really, if 6K specialized items are common piece, then your lv 1 army is gonna be raped. There's so many ways all that GP can defeat a lv1 army by itself I could write a guide with it.
As for Kobolds, Races of the Dragon is not "clearly made by a kobold fanboy" or "random supplement fluff" from a specifical "Races of the Dragon setting." It's the primary source for Kobolds... an entire book devoted to them (along with other dragon races like the Dragonborn). It's not third party, it is indeed the primary source.
Actually in a closer look it says nothing about kobolds being a calm race that just wants to be left alone. Here's an actual excerpt from the kobold chapter:This paranoia and oversensitivity means kobolds often enter conflicts where none need have occurred. Other races regard kobolds suspiciously at best, since more than one diplomat has never returned from kobold-held territory.Kobolds’ antisocial behavior becomes raw hatred in the presence of fey or gnomes.
So we're talking about a race that shoots the messenger and will start wars if you look at them in a funny way. If you can make an alliance with those, I damn well can get wights to work for me.
And Warforged? Yes, they're common in Eberron. They're still not the only troops in Eberron, just pretty common. Even in Eberron you'd still want to mobilize other soldiers, and outside Eberron they're not NEARLY as common. Eberron has a higher population in general and highly militarized countries with easy access to magical forges... that's not standard. If you can get them great, but if not, no way.
Your side can craft highly specialized 6K items for every scout. You already admited you have some damn good magic forges to keep up with that.
1) You've only made some wights friendly to some specific people. They're still fully happy to eat the rest of your people.
That's why I'm offering them a mutual benefit agreement. They can either eat my enemies and enjoy my support, or eat my people and eventually run out of food and be slaughtered by somebody else. Wraiths are not mindless. They'll make the right choice.
2) Newly risen wights aren't friendly to any of your people.
They're however under command of the dude who raised them, who'll tell them how to behave. Or to sit down and listen to the propaganda show untill they're fanatic as well.
3) Since you're not actually controlling the wights, just influencing them to like individuals more, you can't be sure they'll actually follow your orders. There's plenty of farmers out there who really like some of their pigs... but they'll still send those pigs to the slaughter when the time has come, and they'll definitely eat that pig's friends. That's how the wights see you... mobile snacks. And that's how they see the rest of your people.
Still, the farmer is not foolish enough to blindly slaughter his pigs, and he keeps them protected from the other predators and even feeds them.
In the end, the pigs endure, and all the other nearby wildlife either submits to the farmer or is hunted down to extinction.
4) Wights can still be controlled by enemy characters, so if you set up any chain of command it can be quickly compromised.
You do realize that there's also mind-control spells for the living don't you?
5) Without very high level characters of your own, the whole "bunch of bards buffing an army" thing doesn't work so well on wights, so they end up doing less damage than first level commoners.
I don't really need the requiem bards, because I'm facing a simple bunch of lv1 dudes. Heavy crossbows will do just fine for one-shoting them at distance, and then level-drain in close combat.
6) It's pretty much standard practice during any sort of war time to clear the area around any fortification, wall, or village, so stealth only gets you small raids. At some point you're fighting enemies that can see you, and then commoners will indeed be vaporizing your troops.
Again, 1/day only. Sacrifice one wight to trigger the alarm, and then your army reverts to bunch of commoners.
And wight raids are that much more effecient because they produce instant reinforcments. You can't afford to let a single one slip, but you can only do the music show 1/day.
Or I could just burn and salt the fields, intercept the supply lines and laugh while your army starves to death inside their fortifications.
All in all, far too much risk of your army trying to kill you, and they can be countered by
commoners endless hordes of pimped PCs and tens of thousands GP worth of equipment 1/day, then they get slaughtered anyway. That's bad pretty good. At least other stealth types you can actually trust. can also be charmed/dominated or simply bought off.
Fixed. You keep insisting it's just commoners, but remove the bards and crusaders and your 6th level scouts (how high they would need to be to afford a 6K item) and the highly specialized expensive gear, and what's left? Meat for the slaughter.