Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Army of Tomorrow

The Army of Tomorrow first appeared in the first edition of Hero Wars published in 2000 as a Hero Band. My version is a smaller and less powerful organisation, less well established in Dragon Pass and more desperate for work. The Army is an irruption of the equivalent of the Earthly 14th century into a Bronze or Iron Age cultural milieu, an alien and sorcerous blot on the tribal landscape.

Who are they?

The Army of Tomorrow turned up in Rhigos in Esrolia about five years ago. They are a band of mercenaries originally from Loskalm in the far north-west of the continent, a country about which the inhabitants of Dragon Pass know next to nothing. They do know that they have many sorcerers and few gods, and that makes them figures of deep suspicion.

The Army has sort of prospered however. They provide decent soldiers at a very reasonable price and they are ideal for disputes where Heortling chiefs, Esrolian grandmothers and Lunar officials do not want to risk their own troops and calling in the Humakti or Yelmalios looks like expensive overkill. The Army has found itself doing all the really crap military jobs in the area – patrolling the Praxian marches and caravan routes, hunting down those bands of undead that make it past the Ducks, dealing with plagues of starving trollkin. evicting refugee squatters displaced by Lunar conquests – stuff no honourable Humakti and many Lunar troops would want to do.

These are all reasonable earners, but they do nothing for the military reputation of the Army; jumped up garrison troops sniff the Lunar officers, a pack of stickpickers who can march in a line scoff the Sartarite thegns.

Sir Malain the Slayer, the leader of the Army's outpost at the Monastery of the Rock in Rhigos knows better. Back in the west Army troops have fought Wolf Pirates, meeping chaos horrors from the Dilis swamps and have seen service against the fearsome trolls of Guhan. He needs one big glorious victory to make his name and his units reputation known in Maniria, and then perhaps he will start getting some real money in, and some better quality recruits. The Army brought a hard core of veterans from their various outposts in the west and have been following their practice of local recruitment in the Holy Country, but there is only so much good old Fronelan drill and discipline can do with the motley tribal outlaws and urban proles who have been signing up.

The Army is entirely ecumenical, they take anyone of any religion and do not proselytise, or try not to, though they do rather obviously favour fellow monotheists as sergeants and captains and the colonels are all followers of the Church of the Futurist. If they have a real prejudice it is against non-human sentients, Krjalki as they call them. Back in Fronela and Seshnela these beings are few and far between and they find it disturbing to see humans happily associating with such horrors as trolls, ducks and merfolk. However the teachings of St Dadivic are open to all, and some chaplains are coming round the idea that these monsters might have souls and might even be able to experience Solace and Joy.

Organisation

The Army is organised into Columns, as they call their companies, each with a different role. Each column has a Colonel, a Chaplain and two Captains and ideally has eight 12 man squads.

First and Second : Basic infantry units equipped with spear and shield or pikes with falchion/shortsword for close up fighting, 20% of the unit will be crossbowmen.

Third: Galleys, where seamen receive training in Seamanship and marines use crossbows, boarding pikes and axes

Fourth: Light cavalry – spear and shield, light crossbow. This unit is somewhat under strength after a series of disastrous encounters with Grazelander raiders.

Fifth: Heavy cavalry using lance and shield. The traditional juggernauts of western warfare, but this column is way under strength due to lack of suitable recruits and decent warhorses.

Sixth: Sappers and Siegers; A bit of a novelty for this part of central Genertela, where sieges tend to be drawn out affairs occasionally livened up by magical assaults and flying Orlanthi fanatics. They have yet to see action, but Sir Malain and their colonel Sir Willebord are confident that they could knock over one the silly little hill forts they have in these parts in no time. A quarter of the troops have pavises and heavy crossbows, the rest are trained in building a few basic bits of siege equipment like battering rams, galleries and siege towers and they have carts with the great sinew springs needed for onagers and ballistas and plenty of woodworking tools. Sir Willebord also knows how to tunnel and undermine, but doubts the flimsy forts of Dragon Pass will need it.

Religion

Sergeants must follow a Malkioni Religion. The Army has sergeants from a number of sects but all the Chaplains are members of the Order of St Dadivic. The Army follows the western practice of the Chain of Veneration, where lay members give magical power and support to a Liturgist who then casts spells that benefit the whole congregation, as long as they bear a sanctified holy symbol.

The Captains of the columns are all members of the Order of St Dadivic and their Chaplain-General Lostar Spellster is a former adept of the Order of Bardan's Book, which gives him a number of useful battlefield spells.

The Order of Saint Dadivic, also known as the Church of the Futurist, originated in southern Loskalm during the Syndics Ban when the whole of Fronela and the Janube Valley was cut into isolated units by magical barriers of mist. The Order is open to anyone who worships the Invisible God, though all the major sects of the west regard it as heretical to some degree. The Hrestoli Idealists regard them as worshipping the Demiurge as they cleave to the Abiding Book, Hrestoli Orthodox decry them as Progressives and Feminists, who make a mockery of ancient Caste Law, and the Rokari dislike their Hrestolism and belief in Joy of the Heart.

Nonetheless the Army includes members all these sects and more. Monotheists are a mistrusted minority in the Holy Country and Dragon Pass and in the Army's view they have to put aside their theological squabbles and stick together in the face of rampant paganism, and even welcome some pagans into their ranks as tools to serve the Futurist.

The doctrines of the Great Futurist involve a great deal of optimism about the World to Come, which will finally realise the plans of the Invisible God and see the Perfection of Man, but recognises that along the way there is going to be a bit of an Armageddon to get through. The Army of Tomorrow will lead humanity through that great war and set an example of honourable action, perseverance and tolerance. St Dadivic left a collection of poetic prophesies, called The Glimpses, which the Chaplains consult whenever the path forward seems unclear. One such prophecy rather unequivocally pointed at Dragon Pass as a place the Order ought to take an interest in, but now they are here no one seems to know what to do next nor fully understand the mix of contending factions. Some doubt that the Armageddon is going to happen here at all, just a petty squabble between two gangs of stupid pagans, and want to go back to Loskalm to fight the Kingdom of War.

Special Blessings from the Grimoire 'Glimpses of the Future'


Heal Futurist
Heals 1 HP per 15% of the casters Grimoire skill, plus 1 HP per 15% of the recipients Grimoire skill. Cannot heal serious or major wounds.

Steadfast into the Future
Adds the 1/10 of the recipients Grimoire (Glimpses of the Future) skill to their Persistence and Resilience, an affects one target per 10% of the casters skill. Extra targets can be added by Manipulation as usual.

The Ship of Life
Acts as a Mobility spell for an entire galley, plus one movement rate per 25% Grimoire skill.

The Future is Ours
Acts as a mass Fate spell, adding 1/5 the targets Grimoire (Glimpses of the Future) skill to their next skill roll and affecting 1 target per 5% of the casters Grimoire skill. Extra targets can be added by Manipulation as usual.