Military Handbook

KAOS Expeditionary Army Military Handbook
Version 1.2
by Colonel Rat-Bastard (Retired) (AKA Simeon Lodge)


We may be in KAOS, but we're not completely disorganised. Sometimes organisation helps, and sometimes it's amusing just to have it, so we can call ourselves an army. Therefore we have the KAOS Expeditionary Army, or KEA. Our mascot is the Kea, New Zealand's aggressive alpine parrot whose hobbies include ripping things to bits, stealing shiney things, scavanging anything edible, having sex and sliding down tin roofs. As such it would probably be a better national bird than the small flightless Kiwi, which has as its claim to fame its keen sense of smell and ability to run like blazes and lay an egg the size of your fist. You can see why we're called KEA. Officially our motto is "We're having more fun than you!" Unofficially our motto is "Nothing funny you understand, had to keep warm."


KEA organises expeditions (or operations) of all kinds. That might mean Pacifist Warfare, a road trip, or just a trip to the pictures or the beach; the important thing is that it be a fun day (or days) out.

As we have long been "Friends of Democracy" in KAOS, this is naturally organised along feudal-populist lines. For example, in the case of a Pacifist Warfare battle, any agent being able to muster at least 3 other agents to snigger at them behind their back under their command will be issued the rank of sergeant for that battle; any mustering at least 8 will be commissioned as a lieutenant for the day.

KEA is divided into Regiments, one per branch. The Colonel of the Regiment is the Dictator of KAOS. Dictators however would rather get drunk often have important matters of state to attend to, and so might appoint an underling (a Lieutenant-Colonel for any decently sized regiment) to handle most of the day-to-day organisation and mischief. Whoever is doing the work may have a handful of staff officers (usually Lieutenants or Sergeants) make sure things happen. Note that the business of actual rank is temporary (even the staff only last for a year or two), but the title is yours to keep and boast about to bored younger agents at parties.

Long Range Expeditions

These are usually organised (when they're organised) when agents from one branch want to visit an event held by another KAOS Branch or some other group. This is usually a major party, often with a battle or short round timed to coincide with the event.

Obviously, this is something that a few people can usually organise for themselves. The larger the group, the more disorganised they become however, so in those circumstances it helps to have a few officers to talk to people and make lists.

Once an expeditions target is beyond the range of public transport, you should consider making logistic arangements for getting there (if it isn't beyond the range of public transport then it still helps to mention useful bus routes or train lines). Where possible, car-pooling is a useful way of transporting people over distances (road-trip!) Officers can make themselves useful here by compiling lists of people with cars and people needing a ride. Fuel costs for all vehicals should be split between all the occupants.

Regardless of the method of transport, it's important for each traveling-party to have the following:

  • The address of their initial destination.
  • Times and addresses for planned events in the target area.
  • A cell-phone, or failing that a phone-card.
  • A cell-phone number for the expedition-leader (or their communications officer).
  • A phone number for the host-leader (or their communications officer) at the destination.

If you're the host group, and you're expecting visitors overnight, you should consider where they're going to sleep. Officers can again make themselves useful in finding billets (spare bedrooms, sofas, and even garages in summer). If billets arn't desired, or are thin on the ground, you can compile a list of camp-grounds (or friendly lawns), hotels and backpackers hostals.

Pacifist Warfare

The purpose of pacifist warfare is not to win, it's to have fun and commit theater, usually for the benefit of the combatants, with the possible bonus of confusing the public. The winner may be predetirmined before the battle even begins, but winning isn't really important. As such, it's more important that weapons be flashy than effective. Weapons that are too effective can be unsporting, unless the intention is that everyone die gloriously at once.

Pacifist warfare is touch kill; if somebody hits it you lose it. If you get hit in the leg, you'll have to hop, in the arm, you can't use it, and in the chest, you're dead. When you're dead, wait for some sort of medic to come around and bring you back to life, so you can scamper back to your unit. If there are no medics at the battle (these things are not always organised as well as they might be), lie around for a half minute or so before rising from the dead.

Infantry Weapons:

  • Fun Noodle (i.e. a tubular foam pool toy)
  • Newspaper Sword or Foam Rubber Sword (soft)
  • Inflatable Toy (these can be quite large or elaborate)
  • Water bombs or flour bombs.
  • Miscellaneous (e.g. stuffed toys or rubber chickens)
  • Infantry weapons should be soft. Please don't strike at the faces or testicles of your opponents, genius.


  • A water-firing heavy machine-gun (background, on wheels)
  • A baked-bean firing spud-gun (left, with Colin)
  • A giant water-bomb firing slingshot
  • Artillery should fire soft shot, wet or dry, but not "gloopy" (eeaww). Direct-fire artillery is usually a bad idea unless it's just water or flour, fire it into the air (ballistically) so that it rains down on your friends and enemies. Never try and fire flour bombs from a spud-gun, unless you want to find out what a powder explosion is like the hard way.

Pacifist Warfare Variations

Pacifist Warfare mostly takes place in the afternoon in an open field or lightly wooded area (i.e. public parkland). Other types of warfare have been tried however and proven successful.

The two most obvious examples of this would be amphibious operations (usually battles at the beach) or naval operations (battles in boats with waterguns and umbrellas). Obviously lying around in the water isn't a practical option, so when you're killed in this type of battle you usually return to some sort of starting (respawn) point.

There are probably many types of pacifist warfare that we haven't tried yet; if you've got a good idea, why not talk to your commanding officer?

Drilling as a Humorous Excercise

Marching in neat straight lines isn't important to the dissipate troops of KAOS, but staying together on the field is important; it's easier for you know what's going on. To that end, there are some useful unit excercises that you can practice in the warm-up before a battle to make your allies and enemies look at you funny. You'll need a whistle or some other signal.

  • Gather together in your unit. It's important that you identify what you might rally around; your unit commander, any other officers, any devices, or your unit's flag.
  • When the whistle is blown, everyone runs around like chickens with their heads cut off (i.e. randomly without direction or purpose, flapping). If there's only one unit doing this, you scatter, if there's more than one you scatter and mix yourself up with the others.
  • When the whistle is blown again, you reform around your rally point (officer etc). As a varient, you (or your officer) may be declared dead, making things more confusing.

Constructing a Cardboard Shield

4-5 layers of corrugated box-cardboard, glued together, will make a light and strong shield (provided you spread the glue right across the cardboard between layers). PVA is probably sufficient. Press the card under something heavy while it dries, trim the edges, edge it in masking tape or duct tape, and paint it.

Flat coat buttons are useful for preventing fittings like straps from tearing away from the shield. It's a simple matter to inset the buttons in the front of the shield by drawing around them with a pen and cutting a disk out of the first layer of cardboard; you can then cover it with paper or add another layer of cardboard. Place buttons on the back face over the attatchment points of your fittings and sew between buttons on the front and back of the shield using fishing twine, and an awl if you have one.

You can often cut corrugated cardboard easily with a cheap steak knife or snips, avoiding the need to cut yourself with a sharp craft knife. It doesn't matter if the edges are a little rough, as you're going to tape over them.
Your shield is not a weapon. Don't hit people with it, it's supposed to stop them hitting you.

Constructing a Paper Sword

Although KAOS employs weapons other than the traditional paper sword, it has the advantage of being cheap and easy to construct at the last minute. This means it's still commonly used.

A paper sword is not simply a rolled up newspaper, fresh from the front lawn. Such a weapon has a goodly weight, and could easily break your nose. We only need a little of the newspaper for each sword.

  • Take 7 (double width) sheets of newspaper, lay them out flat as possible
  • Roll the sheets diagonally, as tightly as possible, into a tube. This will mean the tube is fewer layers thick at each end. Tape around the middle of the tube, to keep it rolled up. Flatten one end.
  • Grab the roll a little over a hand width above the flattened end. Bend the flattened end upwards and tape it to the roll above your hand, forming a hand guard. Make sure the curve is large enough to comfortably accommodate your hand.
  • You then have something that looks roughly like a sabre or cutlass. Used as a foil, (i.e. as a pointed thrusting weapon), you are less likely to hurt your opponent than if you use it as a slashing weapon, or club; keep it low and away from the face. Papers swords sometimes disintergrate in battle, especially if you get them wet, so it helps to bring spares.

The Other Stuff

KEA isn't just about Pacifist Warfare, although that's the popular choice. Usually we don't bother to organise things if other people are doing it anyway, but if we felt bored we could organise games of laserstrike or paintball, a trip to the ballet or a rock concert, a mountaineering expedition, a game of Artificial Elephant Polo, or just about anything that isn't supposed to be organised by somebody else (e.g. Stunts, Rounds or Parties). Of course, some of these examples are pretty silly, and are unlikely to happen, unless people think it's a good idea.

Uniform (Optional)

Not all operations will be uniformed, or require all (or any) of the equipment listed in this handbook, most of which is used in Pacifist Warfare. This will be specified at the time; some operations may even require something completely different, like $20, or a labcoat and a bicycle, or nothing at all. Uniform is usually voluntary, and there is no standard uniform as such; certain styles are just popular (or the Colonel may have a bag of them).

Bear in mind that uniforms are not usually mandatory. Getting together and wearing similar outfits to a battle is like putting together costumes for a costume party; it's fun and it adds to the event, but many people turn up whether they have a costume or not. The KAOS Expeditionary Army was only formed in 2002, and in the 20 years preceding that people mostly just put on their KAOS T-shirt or badge and turned up.

Nevertheless, uniforms are amusing, and they really do add to the event. KAOS is a villainous organisation, and we often favour black uniforms, but if you want you could dress like this or this, or even this. Just don't turn up dressed as Nazis or the KKK or something grossly offensive, because your commanding officer will tell you to bugger off.

Here are some examples of different types of uniform. Some of these are complicated, some are not:

The uniform of the Canterbury Regimental Staff in 2003 was as follows:
  • Visored stovepipe hat (black with a red band)
  • Rank epaulets (red with gold insignia)
  • Braid (gold and red)
  • Suit, or trousers and overcoat or tunic (black)
  • Tie (black)
  • Shirt (black or white)
  • Boots or shoes (black)
The uniform of the Hawaiian Sand Ninjas in 2004 was as follows:
  • T-shirt, worn over the face
  • Hawaiian shirt, loud
  • Swimming togs
Some other examples: Other units are welcome to adopt uniforms either similar or wildly different.

Units, Ad Hoc

A unit is defined by it's members wearing similar uniform (or costume if you prefer) in the field. Your commanding officer will count the number of people and props in the unit and apply a rank to the unit commander accordingly. If you can't easily answer the question "who is the leader here", your commander will probably single out the person who seems most to blame.

There are four general types of KAOS unit popular in Pacifist Warfare. Obviously this is less true of other kinds of operation:


These are people who just show up. It's prefered that you dress in black, preferably with a KAOS badge or t-shirt. Lots of people do this if they haven't been inspired to put costumes together, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Your commander may or may not divide the militia into units (e.g. by t-shirt colour), and may create an officer or put a staff officer in charge.


These are people who show up in costume. Free thinking is encouraged, we only ask that you do it in groups (we're aware of the irony of this situation) and try not to look like a non combatant (i.e. press, "medical" staff, the general public) or something in very poor taste. It's a costume party where you decide your own theme.


When the Canterbury Regimental Staff first took to the field in 2002 in black uniforms, people were impressed, and emulated the general style. In general, this classification applies to anyone who turns up in black pants with a black jacket with gold buttons (silver for Auckland), or a black overcoat. Common extras are cuffs or epaulets in your regimental colour, and various styles of hats.
This is a good choice if you want something special for battles without thinking up new outfits for each one. Black uniform jackets can sometimes be found in op-shops. Failing that however, black was chosen partly so that people could pick up an old second hand suit jacket and replace the buttons with gold ones.


Camouflage pants or jackets, and miscellaneous other bits of military kit bought from army surplus shops are another popular choice for people who want something extra to wear to battles on a regular basis. Going Commando is a popular choice, often favoured by people from the Dictator on down.

Plot Devices like beasts, war-machines, artillery or monsters can operate as part of a larger unit or independently. There is a grey line between an eleborate costume and a device; for example small plane and robot costumes are costumes, while large plane and robot costumes (center) are devices. If it's got two or more people in it, it's definately a device. Mixed infantry and device units are refered to as "reinforced".

Support staff are very important to an operation and should not be overlooked. Press, drivers, porters, caterers, and in the case of Pacifist Warfare "Medical Staff" (e.g. Nurses, Witchdoctors, Technicians etc) are always desirable.

Special units and devices are especially cool, but any unit is good! Try and stick with your officer in the field, that way you'll be just as confused as the people in charge.

Ranks, Temporary

As previously mentioned, KEA doesn't have permanent active ranks. After a person's rank expires, the person who held it gets to keep the title; they're termed "retired", e.g. Colonel Panic (ret). A person's retired rank is the highest active rank they've previously held.

As you can see from the example above, Officers sometimes adopt aliases that sound amusing in conjunction with their rank, or just sound amusing. For the purposes of this section, we'll include NCOs (Sergeants and Sergeant-Majors) under the general heading of Officers (in KEA there is no practical difference).

Ranks above the rank of Colonel exist only in theory, having never been awarded. The silver backgrounds indicate that they belong to no particular regiment.

Rank is awarded to the Regimental Staff (the people whose job it is to see that KEA does things) and to Field Leaders (people organising a unit (i.e. group of people) for a battle or expedition). Ranks are sometimes awarded on an honorary basis, usually to an opposing force commander the first time they face KAOS in Pacifist Warfare.


The table of insignia (right) shows the insignia assigned to each KEA rank, these are at least partially original to KEA. The birds represent Keas rather than Eagles as you might assume.
Active ranks are usually worn on a badge or coloured tab specific to an Officer's regiment, the "metal" is gold for most Regiments but is silver for Auckland. University based branches usually use the colours of their University's arms or device (this is not necessarily the same thing as the logo dreamed up by a University's marketing department, or the colours of the University's or Province's rugby team), with the addition of black.
Officers are free to apply the appropriate rank insignia to their uniforms in inventive ways, as they find amusing. However, wearing rank insignia in the field in such a way as to cause confusion (misleading regimental colours, or rank insignia that isn't current) is frowned on, in the spontaineous execution sense.
Retired or Honourary ranks are gold on a black background. After your rank expires, you should return the insignia to be passed on. You should receive appropriate retired rank insignia, unless you already have a higher retired or honorary rank.

Staff Officers

Staff Officers usually hold their active rank for longer than Field Officers (although field rank is perhaps more prestigious). The Colonel of the Regiment is the Dictator, for the term of their dictatorship. As mentioned previously, they may appoint a second in command to organise the regiment; usually a Lieutenant-Colonel, although with really small regiments (i.e. less than 6 or 7 people) they'd be a lower rank such as Major or Captain.

The highest ranking officer is refered to as the Commanding Officer. The officer organising the regiment (if there is one), or running a battle or expedition is termed the Officer Commanding. These are job descriptions rather than ranks. The Commanding Officer might organise things themselves as they see fit, and might not appoint a second in command at all, that is up to them.

Whoever is running things might appoint other Staff Officers, usually Sergeants or Lieutenants, to help out; sometimes these officers have specific areas of responsibility. Staff Officers serve for the term of the dictatorship, unless replaced beforehand; and capable staff officers my be recycled by subsequent Dictators, not necessarily with the same rank.

Field Officers

Field Officers are created for the term of of a battle or expedition; their rank determined by what resources or how many people they're responsible for. The following tables apply to Pacifist Warfare, this should be adjusted upwards or downwards depending on the relative difficultly of the expedition; e.g. a trip to the movies is easier while a mountaineering expedition is harder.

Points: (add together points from devices and troops)
Significant devices (beasts, war-machines, monsters, etc)
Number 1 2 4 8
Points 1 2 3 4
Troops, including Officers
Number 4 (squad) 8 (section) 16 (platoon) 32 (company)
Points* 1 2 3 4

Points Rank
1 Sergeant
2 Lieutenant
3 Captain
4 Major

Special Ranks and Titles

You may have noticed that some of the ranks shown in the insignia chart aren't covered by the point system, nor are they staff ranks. These special ranks are described below:

Sergeant Major (Regimental)

A staff rank issued in recognition of distinguished service to the regiment as a whole. There should only be one in any given year, and it's quite common for there to be none.

Brigadiers, Generals, Field Marshals (general grade officers)

There have never been any general grade KEA officers in KAOS and there may never be. These field ranks are provided to allow room for commanders of possible large alliances of KEA regiments, or KEA regiments and other groups. As such, the allied groups would have to agree beforehand on somebody to assume overall command (partially to allow the insignia to be manufactured). Like all other active rank insignia, this should returned after use and reissued in retired-insignia black.

General Grade Ranks
Number of Regiments (or equivalent) under command Rank
3 (1 Brigade) Brigadier
6 (1 Division) General
12 (1 Army-Group) Field Marshal


The title of Warlord is outside the normal rank hierachy, and is a title issued to leaders under very special circumstances, sometimes as a special award. For example, there was a staged 4 way civil war of the sucession in 2002, in which the factions were lead by Warlords. In addition the Wizard of Christchurch was awarded the title of Warlord in 2003 by KAOS.

You might have noticed that many of these definitions differ somewhat from those used by real armies. KEA is not a real army, and our system works for us, so don't bother us with pedantic objections.