Orders and Guilds
Black Legion Mercenaries
Note - The Black Legion Mercenaries only exist during a certain period in Eradain history. The Black Legion mercenary company was inspired by the Black Company books by Glen Cook.
Symbol: A Black Rose.
The Black Legion is a mercenary company that is primarily composed of 'adventurer party' teams. They are a brotherhood of adventurers with a common code of honoring their contracts. Membership provides reputational benefits and some accorded protections granted under the code of laws governing the mercenary business. They also provide training, training facilities, labs, infirmaries, banking arrangements, legal representation, etc. They also will have negotiated contract prices with certain guilds, or have established agreements to provide services at inns, etc. Each adventuring company will typically call itself a 'squad' and may also have its own name.
Members of the Black Legion learn a set of codes using words and hand gestures that they can use to communicate basic information to other members. This code is called "Battle Cant" and is similar in theory to Thieves Cant, but is oriented more towards battle tactics than thievery. This can be used to give silent commands, indicate danger or treachery, give secret greetings and identifications, or help cause confusion among foes (such as shouting "retreat" and actually giving a code for the reverse to "charge"). Only very basic one, two or three word codes are possible.
The Black Legion is ruled by a three person council each called "Captain" and representing a branch of the mercenary company, the Warriors (fighters), the Saboteurs (rogues, bards, etc.), and Savants (spell casters).
There are three general levels of membership or ranks within the organization. These ranks are informal and the organization is loose. In any contract where multiple adventuring companies are in operation the command structure is haggled out among the members before signing the contract. Initiates are the lowest ranked members and might not be part of an adventuring company. They typically fill the support roles and contracts of more traditional mercenaries while looking to join or form adventuring companies. Journeymen are the backbone of the Black Legion. All Journeymen obtain a magical tattoo (a variation of a Mark spell) with the black rose symbol of The Black Legion. They are usually part of established and successful adventuring parties and may give orders to Initiates. Legionnaire is the title given to the most senior and successful within the organization. Frequently the Legionnaires will establish new enclaves and become leaders of other Journeymen groups. For example, a Black Legion Enclave may take the form of a fortified inn with 4-5 Legionnaires, 5-20 Journeyman and 5-20 Initiates, any number of which may be away working on contracts or independent endeavors.
The Tale of the Black Legion
Long ago, the Danrae Empire conquered the Angharad clans in the lands of Eradain. The Legion of the Rose occupied the city of Medrius as one of the southern most outposts of the Empire in Eradain. Decades after the Legion first came to Medrius, forces of corruption and decadence within the Danrae Empire, fermenting for centuries, spilled out into a civil war of succession. Quickly the civil war was followed by uprisings in other captured territories which had long chafed under the yoke of the Empire. By this time, many of the Legionnaires had established families in Medrius and the Legion had come to be grudgingly respected by the local Angharad people due to the wise and just Rulership of the Legion's Commander/Governors. In the wake of the chaos caused by the civil war within the Empire, bureaucrats within the Empire, already skimming funds for years began wholesale embezzlement of monies and supplies meant to support the Legions stationed in foreign territories.
For over a year the Legion of the Rose hung on in Medrius with no pay or re-supply, in the face of hostile Angharad clansmen, grown bold with the news of the Empire's internal conflicts. Finally after months with no word from home, or any response to the Legion Commanders many requests for support, a messenger arrived with orders that the Legion of the Rose immediately quit the city of Medrius and march for Danrae. Though the hardiness and discipline of the Legion was legendary, the Commander was not going to march through mountain passes with winter approaching and no guarantee of supplies available along the way. The Commander penned a note for the messenger to take back indicating that the Rose Legion would take the pay of a local Angharad clan ally in an upcoming conflict and use the funds to finance the march home.
In the spring, as the Legion of the Rose made ready to leave the place it had called home for so long, the Commanders message was returned with a reply that any Legionnaires taking pay from any source other than the Empire would be branded traitors or a 'black legion'. The Commander of the Legion of the Rose, infuriated by the hardships they were expected to endure, invoked an ancient military code of actions that soldiers may take when betrayed by their superiors. In a unanimous vote among the Legionnaires they officially broke ties with the Empire. Instead of being shamed by the title 'black legion', they took it as their new name in an act of rebellious pride.
The Black Legion, now a mercenary company, was hired by the Angharad clan they had long been allied with. The Black Legion survived for many years during the Shattering of the Empire and the dark age that followed until the Plague of Shadow struck the lands during a time called The Cold Years. Hordes of shadow creatures lay siege to Medrius, and The Black Legion mercenaries stood side by side with a band of local legendary heroes defending the city. During final battle of the Plague of Shadow the Legion was decimated, only one quarter survived and the Commander of The Black Legion lay dead. The remaining survivors of the Legion once again voted as had become tradition and the leader of the cadre of heroes that had fought with them was elected as their new Commander.
From that time till now The Black Legion has slowly evolved into a brotherhood of adventurers more than just a military force. Although still officially a mercenary company, and bound by the codes of the Mercenary's Guild, The Black Legion members now pursue their own goals as much as hiring out their services.
Angharad Religious Militant Orders
Hunters of Arawn
Militant Order dedicated to Arawn. See Arawn under Angharad Pantheon.
Symbol: Antlered Head of Arawn
The Hunters of Arawn are divided into two sects. The first sect are those that seek to represent Arawn's aspect of retribution and vengeance and seek out those who have committed crimes and evaded justice, or who (due to their personal power or influence) may be beyond normal justice. They sometimes act as bounty hunters or assassins (as long as they see the cause as just in Arawn's eyes). The other sect of the Hunters dedicates itself to martial prowess as monster slayers.
Danrae Religious Militant Orders
Knights of the Horn
Militant Order dedicated to Heimdal. See Heimdal under the Danrae Pantheon.
Symbol: A Curved Horn
Structure The Knights of the Horn are a religious order of paladins and clerics of Heimdal. The order was founded when... (under construction). The Knights often act as protectors of important religious leaders or holy relics. As clerics of Heimdal they are steadfast and imposing guardians who will defend their charges with their lives.
In addition to any powers granted to priests of Heimdal, a Knight of the Horn gain the following abilities and penalties:
- Knights are rarely surprised (are given bonuses to spot or other abilities relevant to the RPG system being used), but because of their gleaming white plate mail and up front credo of battle, a Knight will rarely surprise a foe (are given penalties to stealth or other abilities relevant to the RPG system being used).
- Knights of the Horn, due to many long hours singing the praises of Heimdal while at weapons practice, also have access to the unique ability Battle Chant (granted a combat bonus while chanting, similar to D&D xth edition 2nd level cleric spell Chant, except that a Knight of the Horn may use this while in combat).
- A Knight, while invoking the special protection bonus granted to regular clerics also temporarily gain (a feat or ability granting multiple attacks of opportunity).
The Knights are an entirely male order, and the few priestesses of Heimdal have not sought entry. The Knights however are allied with the Order of Sif, an all female warrior and clerical order and both organizations have an intense rivalry with the Tempus Knights. Many of its members are of the lower nobility and the upper merchant class, but all must be truly devout to Heimdal in order to gain entry. The Knights also hold to a little known tradition that if a Knight dies while defending a charge that is of selection age, that charge would be sponsored into the Knights. More than one young commoner has gained entry into the knights this way and many have been ranked among the Knights greatest heroes.
Currently the Knights are not what they once were. In the past administrative positions were filled with Knights that were wounded in battle and needed extended time to recover from their injuries. Often older veterans, who were not ready to seek death in battle but were to old to stay in the field for extended periods also filled these positions. Over time however, many of these key positions have been filled permanently by Knights from wealthy families. There is even a movement within the Order to have new non-combatant members, and pressure to elevate leaders who tend to "oversee" battles from the rear. These changes are causing a widening gap within the ranks of the Order. Some see this change as a huge benefit as the Order has been prospering with the connections brought by the upper class administrators. Others view these changes as a betrayal of the core values which founded the Order and worry that they may lose favor with Heimdal. Some have even claimed that this has already happened, and that fallen clerics even now are within the Order, but no formal accusations or inquiries have been made.
Tenets The Knights hold to the common belief among the Danrae that they must die in combat to enter Valhalla. However, the Knights also seek to be among those chosen to stand at Heimdal's side at Ragnorok. In order to earn that honor they believe they must complete a series of goals or quests, which are selected by each individual when they are elevated to Knighthood. Called the Life Quest by the Knights, and called the Death Quest by others (because so many knights die attempting to complete them), two of the goals commonly chosen by Knights are slaying a giant in single combat and obtaining or creating a unique horn which is the symbol of both the Order and of Heimdal. Knights of the Horn are particularly reverent of the horn's that were carried by past Knights. They believe that the spirit of the previous owner will watch over the Knight in life and will be the first to greet him upon entering Valhalla. Often as part of their Quests, Knights will enhance the horns that they carry, adding new engravings, inlays and even magical enchantments. It is not uncommon for an old horn to hold strong magical powers, but the knowledge of how to use them has been lost upon the deaths of the previous owners.
The Knights also believe that they will be armed and armored in Valhalla with the equipment gathered during the course of their lives. Whenever possible a Knight is interred with all of their equipment, save their horn which is usually passed on to another Knight. Generally, reverent members of the Danrae religion respect this belief and will not loot and will even help to protect the belongings of a fallen Knight. Those who view the Knights as enemies and know about this belief will actively strip a dead Knight naked in order to deprive them of arms in the afterlife.
Militant Order dedicated to Tempus. See Tempus under the Danrae Pantheon.
Symbol: A Flaming Axe
Order of Sif
Militant Order dedicated to Sif. See Sif under the Danrae Pantheon.
Symbol: A Winged Sword
Justicars of Tyr
Militant Order dedicated to Sif. See Tyr under the Danrae Pantheon.
Symbol: The Sword and Scale of Tyr