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 Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel

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The House of Ainsley
Keeper of the Dark Mirror
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Male Number of posts : 2024
Age : 45
Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:55 am

[Enter, Gustov Ainsley]

[Gustov is presently a Level 5 Fighter with all skills, Feats, attributes and equipment as listed.]



At the Zelezo Kanvica river, on the North side of Zelezo Ford, South Karkova
March 10, 1371 SE











The Imperial Civil War had dragged on for far too long.  Stiff had been the Red Alliance's resistance.  Fierce had been their warriors, and ample had been their resources.  But Hrothjurgan Major had already fallen to Imperial forces to the North, and from where General Wulfreid Reiherstadt sat astride his armored charger, the majestic capitol city of Karkovagrad shimmered among the distant rivers and lowlands like a white jasper, begging to be plucked from its cradle.

But Tsar Orsek Yukurov was not yet finished with his rebellion against the Faceless and Eternal Emperor, and the soldiers of the capitol stood ready to fight to the last man.  The Karkovan commonfolk, however, were possessed of far less resolve.  As the Emperor's army amassed on the northern bluffs of Zelezo Ford, the people of Karkovagrad--from beggars to artisans to merchant-princes--began to quit their fair metropolis, mobbing and milling through the city gates or taking to the river in whatever rafts or dinghies they could find, before dispersing into the surrounding lands like a swarm of locusts before the typhoon.

But they hurried without warrant, for the army of Karkova had set themselves to their defense on the south side of the Zelezo Kanvica, waiting for the Imperial legions to make the first move.  Foot soldiers, archers, a catapult laden with cobblestones, even a towering ogre armored for the warfield and kept chained by a pair of minders--at least for the moment--he and his scouts had counted.  For the moment, there was naught but the wait.  And the air across the river hung heavily with patience soured by anxiety.

General Reiherstadt noted the standard of the dogged General Vilao Kaganovich wavering in the river breeze.  The weariness and desperation of Kaganovich's men was palpable; they were but few, and no small number of them remained wounded from their skirmishes with General Alliwadei Savassci and his river fighters.  Though Savassci and his Shadhiran mariners had been killed to the last in a decided rout, those battles along the river had cost Kaganovich dearly.  And there, on the far ledge and among the silt-nestled scrub, his skirmishers kept themselves ready yet prayed fearfully against the inevitable.

He and his men had marched to Zelezo Ford to join the stronger forces of two more estimable generals.  Having successfully defended the river city of Trock Reik against a vicious, nocturnal Kunyakarovan offensive, General Zuko Hurinog and his forces hastened downriver, half by land and half by water, where Hurinog hoped to grant Karkova's forces a second wind with a resounding comeback victory at the fords.  And General Vladislaus Ilsev had emerged fresh and high in confidence from the walls of Karnovagrad, having gathered daughty soldiers from the barracks and menacing ogres from the slave pits.  The midday sun glared down on the throng, waiting with arrows nocked and oiled longswords bared and glinting, salivating to strike a turning blow against the Eternal Empire, even if that blow proved to be their last.

"No matter how you long stare at that river, Wulfreid, it shall never grow any narrower."

General Reiherstadt rewarded the clumsy greeting with a dismissive grunt.  Though a shrewd tactician, General Wiesedorf--his companion for the moment--could never seem to be anything but catty or condescending with his words.  Reiherstadt remained stoic for seconds more, surveying the river in silence until Wiesedorf broke that awkward silence with a more welcome tone.

"You may be pleased to know that Lord Herrich von Gastwirt's forces retreated from Meirvad soon enough to spare themselves any great losses.  So Brustagg shall be standing side by side with Konegheim in this crucial battle.  Such a pity it is that General Boartooth was routed at Jola's Watch, or Nellowswann might be standing with us as well."

Reiherstadt nodded curtly.  "And what of our bastard cousins, the Bardosylvanians?"

Wiesedorf rubbed the back of his chainmail-coifed neck, chagrined.  "When last my scouts heard from them, they were proving through the skirts of a thick pine forest on their way here.  They may have been beset by Karkovan tree warriors.  I myself hope that the Ainsleys perished to the last; they would surely bring doom upon us all were they to arrive here."

A loud scoff prefixed the old cavalryman's retort.  "Even their thrice-cursed lineage should be welcome at our sides, Wensel.  We shall soon be at the gates of the greatest, most prosperous city in all Karkova, the seat of their royal palace.  And if we are to take Tsar Orsek's head and bring an end to this war, then we shall need every sword-arm that we can get.  Karkovagrad's streets shall run red, for we shall surely pay in blood for every wretched back-alley that falls to us."

"Well...I'm sure that you'll agree..." Wiesedorf asserted with a crinkling of his nose, then fell silent with a startled look behind himself.  As much as Wiesedorf loved to hear himself talk, he would never interrupt himself without reason.

"What is it, Wensel?"

"Oh, blast my old hide!" snapped Wiesedorf.  "The Ainsleys have arrived...two of them, at that!"


• • • • •

At the behest of Lord Heward, both Darrovan Ainsley and his son Gustov have arrived to represent Bardosylvania on the battlefield.  Naturally, Darrovan's force is the larger of the two, but Gustov's force may yet prove crucial in this battle, provided that you choose your units well and deploy them shrewdly.

Gustov may choose his army first.  He has 300 points with which to staff his force from the following:



Commoners

Standard Bearer
Cost: 1

Standard bearers are crucial to an organized fighting force, particularly if its commander divides his soldiers into multiple units.  Troops of that unit will center or form on the standard bearer when so commanded, and each standard bearer in a fighting force is assigned to carry a different banner for easier identification and address of each unit (the First Foxbat Legion, the Manticores, the Unbroken, the Sotten Bastards or any other unit name of the force commander's choosing).  If commanding a single unit from within it, the force commander himself has the option of bearing a standard into battle, making a standard bearer largely unnecessary.

Trumpeter or Drummer
Cost: 1

Shouted commands can easily be drowned and lost amid the clamor of battle.  To maintain communication in such skirmishes, soldiers are typically trained to recognize specific instrumental melodies or rhythms and identify them with tactical commands such as "Charge," "Disperse," "Assemble" or "Retreat".  A force commander will typically keep one musician for each unit close at hand, so that units may be commanded individually through multiple musicians with a different instrument or pitch for each unit to be commanded.
Neither standard bearers, trumpeters or drummers are commonly suited for battle.  For that, one would be better off choosing the Peasant Militiaman....

Peasant Militiaman
Cost: 1

Clad in leathers and armed with little more than farm implements, these commonfolk are hastily rounded up from Bardosylvania's hamlets and towns, then pressed into service with rousing speeches, intimidating threats or both.  Whatever their cause, they are armed with a measure of loyalty for their homeland (if little else).

Penal Militiaman
Cost: 1

In dismal Bardosylvania, death is the sentence for many a crime.  Those so convicted--save for the worst of their lot--are offered a choice: swing from the gallows like a lowborn dog, or fight for the penal squad and earn a more dignified death in battle, or perhaps even a pardon should one's valor be distinguished on the warfields.  For all but the daftest of criminals, the right choice is obvious.
Pound for pound, a Penal Militiaman is twice as formidable as a Peasant Militiaman.  However, being criminals who are all too aware of how expendable they are, their loyalty is lower than their fragile morale, and they are likely to desert if not closely minded.

Veteran Peasant Militiaman
Cost: 2

Some commoners must answer the call of conscription several times in their lives.  This peasant has weathered the horrors of warfare yet survives to tell the tale, bringing a greater degree of experience and skill to the field.

Hardened Criminal
Cost: 2

Though this penal militiaman has fought several battles for his lord, both death and pardon continue to elude him.  His experience has made him twice as nasty as a lesser Penal Militiaman, though the caution against desertion still applies.

Lifer
Cost: 4

Having looked Death in the eye far too many times, this battle-scarred penal warrior has abandoned all hope of ever knowing peace and freedom again.  He (or she, as the case may be) is among the direst and most vicious of cutthroats and thugs, but rather than desert in the absence of a minder, this criminal is prone to seeking the sweet release of a warrior's death by recklessly charging into suicidal battles, even with a minder close at hand.  Still, with all his skill and tenacity, he promises to send a goodly number of enemies to their eternal reward before his blaze of glory comes to a predictable and very bloody close.


Fighters

Bardosylvanian Regular
Cost: 2

Clad in studded leather and armed with battle axes and but a modicum of training, these crude yet disciplined soldiers populate the bulk of Bardosylvania's standing army.

Medium Infantryman
Cost: 3

Regulars who prove their worth may be elevated to fully fledged infantrymen.  Bardosylvania is not known for her abundance of metal ore, so their full suits of chainmail are greatly prized and envied by their lessers.  An oaken heater shield improves the infantryman's armor further.

Medium Infantry Sergeant
Cost: 4

The best among the infantry forces earn the title of Sergeant.  Though armed and armored no better than the rest of the medium infantry, the sergeant brings greater experience and prowess to the battlezone as well as a talent for leadership, the better to help his lord keep the privates in line.
Having a sergeant among the common soldiers will ease Gustov's burden of leadership.  Give the unit's orders to their sergeant and he shall see those orders through to the letter, leaving Gustov free to handle other tasks.  Sergeants may also be appointed over peasant militias and penal militias

Heavy Infantryman
Cost: 4

Those who become truly valued by the infantry forces are to be better protected from the rigors of battle, and an oaken tower shield--coupled with a suit of banded mail--suit this end quite nicely.  The battle axe cuts just as deeply as it ever did, no more and no less.

Heavy Infantry Sergeant
Cost: 5

Because heavy infantry needs leadership too, this veteran infantryman has risen to the challenge.  He is similar to the Medium Infantry Sergeant, though with the superior armor expected of heavy infantry forces.

Archer
Cost: 2

Lightly armored for sake of movement, this archer is a good choice for unleashing volleys of arrows from his shortbow, then going somewhere else--quickly--before the survivors of his barrage can mount a counterattack.

Heavy Arbalist
Cost: 3

Bardosylvanians tend to scorn crossbows in favor of bows; in the thick brush and wolf-scourged forests of Bardosylvania, a comparatively delicate mechanical device with an obtrusive profile and no ease of reloading can quickly become a liability.  Still, those Bardosylvanians who persevere and master the heavy crossbow are rewarded with a weapon which is easy to aim and capable of bringing down armored knights over a great expanse.

Longbowman
Cost: 4

Though not quite as damaging as the heavy crossbow, the longbow more than compensates for that lack with ease of reloading, the startling rate of attack which comes with it, shot penetration and accuracy over great distance, edges which this longbowman exploits without mercy.

Arbalist Sergeant
Cost: 4

This sergeant is a veritable sniper, felling armored enemies with pinpoint accuracy and grievous wounds.  He knows the art of the heavy crossbow intimately, and though a common crossbowman cannot match his accuracy, his leadership and expert advice have a way of improving on those subordinate to him.

Archery Sergeant
Cost: 5

Bardosylvanian bowmen are said to be able to loose one arrow into the air, then follow it with ten more arrows before the first one hits the ground.  While this claim is often doubted, the Archery Sergeant exists to refute those doubts with staggering barrages of arrows over a vast distance, inspiring the bowmen at his command to strive towards such mastery themselves.

Light Cavalryman
Cost: 5

Astride a leather-barded charger, this cavalryman can swiftly drive into enemy infantry with his lance, then engage them with his horseman's flail at close quarters.

Light Cavalry Sergeant
Cost: 6

A well-trained and evolved cavalryman, this sergeant is a worthy asset to any light cavalry formation.

Medium Cavalryman
Cost: 7

Chainmail barding ensures the survival of this horseman's steed, and his own armor improves to boot.

Medium Cavalry Sergeant
Cost: 8

Clad and coifed in chainmail, this sergeant will gladly lead your cavalry force--be it light or medium--into the fray.

Heavy Cavalry Sergeant
Cost: 9

Full plate armor is uncommon and prized in Bardosylvania, and this sergeant has proven himself worthy of such armor.  He can lead any of Bardosylvania's cavalry forces into battle.  But note that Bardosylvanian heavy cavalrymen do not exist, and this sergeant has proven his merit well with such plate armor as his reward.

Knight
Cost: 10

For those armies which can bring such noble and refined men-at-arms to the field, the knight can prove to be a formidable champion on the battlefield.  Many a gathered infantry force has been driven to flight by a galloping chevron of cavalrymen with a knight leading the charge.


Rangers

Ranger
Cost: 2

This ranger has not progressed far beyond laying his hand on the pulse of the wild.  That said, rangers make ideal scouts, trappers and multi-purpose warriors, being formidable with a variety of talents and techniques.

Giant Hunter
Cost: 3

Ogres and hill giants are not unknown in Bardosylvania, and this ranger is devoted to thinning their numbers and reducing their threat to the towns.

Elf Hunter
Cost: 3

Elves and humans have had their differences in Bardosylvania.  Humans such as this ranger help keep the elves in check.

Goblin Hunter
Cost: 3

Goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears and gnolls are common nuisances in Bardosylvania.  Some rangers answer the call and become goblin hunters for hire, earning tidy coin in the doing.

Deathstalker
Cost: 3

The undead have been with Bardosylvania for as long as than the House of Ainsley has.  Naturally, humans and elves have risen to suppress the threat.

Manhunter
Cost: 3

This ranger is more likely to be an elf, for the history of contention betwixt humans and elves has led more than one elf to find his favored enemy in human kith.

Beast Caller
Cost: 4

As rangers become more attuned with the wild, they learn to call animals to their aid.  This one, often flanked with such creatures as hawks, wolves and boars, has attained such learning.

Harasser
Cost: 4

This ranger has focused on stealth and tracking, not on animal attunement.  The result is a ranger skilled at striking without warning before vanishing back into shadows or scrub.

Beastmaster
Cost: 6

No mere beast caller, this beastmaster's link to the spirits of the wild is strong enough to call bears, great cats and other mighty beasts to his aid.

Vampire Slayer
Cost: 6

Vampires are among Bardosylvania's greatest threats.  Years of stalking and killing these blood-drinkers has left this ranger highly resistant to vampiric domination and other mind attacks, whether the source of the attacks is a vampire, a wizard, a mind flayer or otherwise.

Giant Slayer
Cost: 8

Giants are truly dangerous foes.  To make a living out of their deaths demands a most formidable ranger who, while capable of killing giants more swiftly than most, remains no less a threat to prey of other species.


Clerics and Druids

War Priest (Cleric of Hextor)
Cost: 3

A young devotee of Hextor, this cleric can spur allies into berserk battle-rage while crippling enemies with unholy maladies.

Wildling Priest (Druid of Obad-Hai)
Cost: 3

A young devotee of Obad-Hai, this druidess can control beasts and shape elemental forces to turn the tide of battle.

Suffering One (Cleric of Ilmater)
Cost: 3

A young devotee of Ilmater, this cleric absorbs the pains of others to become an ideal healer.

Scarlet Priestess (Cleric of Wee Jas)
Cost: 3

A young devotee of Wee Jas, this cleric assails enemies with horrid powers while turning their own dead against them.

Red Scourge (Cleric of Hextor)
Cost: 6

This aged and masterful cleric of Hextor is more powerful, smiting entire legions with eruptions of unholy power.

Voice of the Heavens (Druid of Obad-Hai)
Cost: 6

This aged and masterful druidess is more powerful.  Shaping the celestial forces of weather is not beyond her power.

Ashen Saint (Cleric of Ilmater)
Cost: 6

This aged and masterful healer is more powerful.  Even the pall of Death may be pulled back by this Ilmatari's hand.

Lady of the Dusk (Cleric of Wee Jas)
Cost: 6

This aged and masterful cleric of Wee Jas is more powerful than lesser Jasidans and can call forth such powerful undead as wraiths, spectres and vampires.


Arcanists

Alchemist
Cost: 2

This scholar has only begun to court the arcane and can brew such concoctions as alchemist fire and choking powder, harming enemies or aiding allies in minor ways.

Sorcerer
Cost: 3

Born to a mystic lineage, the sorcerer brings a useful assortment of spells to the field but is best kept out of close-quarters battle.

Master Alchemist
Cost: 4

This alchemist has mastered his art and can brew concoctions untold.  Enemies will find his explosive acid bombs and poison gas capsules to be very nasty indeed.

Hearth Witch
Cost: 5

Bardosylvania is home to many covens of witches, whether kindly or baleful.  This witch specializes in spells of comfort, sustenance and protection.

Moon Witch
Cost: 5

The moon is an enchanting mistress, and the moon witches who hold moonlit ceremonies in her honor become weavers of enchantments and illusions.

Plague Witch
Cost: 5

Witches are feared and shunned in Bardosylvania.  Such specimens as this disease-spreading plague witch are, at least in part, responsible for that malaise.

Black Witch
Cost: 5

For lack of proper necromancers or schooling in necromancy, Bardosylvania has these witches instead.  They are no less capable of animating corpses for their devices.

Necrotic Witch
Cost: 6

After dancing too close to the grave one time too many, this black witch's body has become host to a necrotic mother cyst, a parasitic lump of undead flesh feeding off her own lifeforce and granting her strange new necromantic powers in exchange.

High Witch
Cost: 8

Though age has not been kind to her, this weathered crone has earned many powers in trade.  Choose the type (Hearth, Moon, Plague or Black) for each High Witch.  As they are too busy mastering the powers of their mother cysts (and stemming the cysts' efforts to consume them utterly), Necrotic Witches may not become High Witches.

Infernal Sorcerer
Cost: 8

Sired through an unholy union betwixt a mortal and a devil, this sorcerous half-blood is as much a terror in melee as he is with magic.


Elite Forces

Arcane Archer
Cost: 10

This wood elf has the power to imbue her arrows with arcane power, so that they leave greater wounds, explode with sonic force and strike their targets unerringly, even twisting and arching their trajectories around obstacles to do so.

Assassin
Cost: 10

As silent as the grave, the assassin is useful for shaping shadows and creeping through them, emerging from the encroaching darkness to swiftly kill his prey with blade and venom.

Blackguard
Cost: 10

Sworn to the Forces Infernal, this black knight channels the power of the Hells to summon devils to his aid and to carve a bloody swath through droves of defenders.

Loremaster
Cost: 10

This archmage is a learned advisor and a bountiful source of lore and information.  No small measure of that knowledge has been focused on the arcane arts, making the loremaster a mighty magician with many mystic talents as well.

Pale Master of Bones
Cost: 8

The most depraved of arcanists long to understand undeath on the most intimate level possible, grafting the limbs harvested from undead creatures to their own living flesh and bone.  This pale master has amputated his own arm and replaced it with a skeletal arm capable of causing unholy fear with a touch.

Pale Master of Ghouls
Cost: 10

The most depraved of arcanists long to understand undeath on the most intimate level possible, grafting the limbs harvested from undead creatures to their own living flesh and bone. This pale master has amputated his own arm and replaced it with the cadaverous arm harvested from a ghoul, giving himself a raking claw attack and the power to paralyze with a touch.

Pale Master of Wraiths
Cost: 12

The most depraved of arcanists long to understand undeath on the most intimate level possible, grafting the limbs harvested from undead creatures to their own living flesh and bone.  The remnant stump of this pale master's severed arm perpetually weeps a mixture of gore and ectoplasm to form a phantasmal limb capable of sapping a victim's lifeforce to the core with the merest touch.

True Necromancer
Cost: 10

This Jasidan priestess sought to expand her knowledge and her power by courting the dark side of witchcraft.  Now her powers over necromancy meld the divine with the arcane, resulting in a horrifying gestalt of dark, unearthly command over doom, pestilence and undeath.


Undead
If you have at least one Jasidan Cleric, one Black Witch, one Pale Master or one True Necromancer in your army, then you may pick undead units as well.  They tend to be cheaper and more formidable than comparable mortals, but they may break free from control if you do not have enough of these keepers to mind them.  Morale issues may arise if certain units are forced to work with the undead as well.

Skeleton
Cost: 1

Without the burden of flesh, undead skeletons can move swiftly across the battlefield and can spite all but the keenest of archers.

Zombie
Cost: 1

Hindered by its slow, lumbering gait, the zombie feels no pain and can push relentlessly though even the most crippling injuries.

Raiment
Cost: 3

The clothing in which a person dies may at times absorb a measure of that person's miserable soul, becoming a raiment, swift and animated by ghostly power.

Skeletal Horseman
Cost: 3

Seated in a crumbling saddle on an equally skeletal steed, this undead lancer is well-suited for swiftly closing gaps and engaging enemy archers at close quarters.

Ghoul
Cost: 3

Drawn to the aftermath of practically every warfield, ghouls strive endlessly to feed their cannibalistic appetites.  Though a Jasidan Cleric or a Black Witch must be used to call ghouls forth, the ghoul needs no minders to keep him obedient; the simple promise of having first pick of the carrion after he has aided in your victory is enough to earn his loyalty...at least for now.

Wight
Cost: 4

With the power to shrug off blows from common weapons and to harrow souls at a touch, the wight is a fierce and vindictive enemy of all life.  Mind him closely.

Ghast
Cost: 5

The stronger cousin to the ghoul, the ghast can exude an overwhelming death-stench from his skin to cripple nearby living prey.  He too will join your cause for the promise of carrion, but woe betide the one who denies the ghast his due....

Vampire Spawn
Cost: 6

This fledgeling vampire is all that remains of a mortal who perished to the teeth of a vampire, bound in servitude to that master until the master is destroyed.
(You need not have vampires in your army in order to pick vampire spawn; it can be assumed that the spawn's master is safely back in Bardosylvania, lending her thrall to the House of Ainsley for some nefarious purpose.  As always, sunlight and flowing water will destroy this creature.  So although he will need to wait out the Battle of Zelezo Ford from the safety of his coffin, perhaps the vampire spawn will prove useful later....)

Wraith
Cost: 7

A soul twisted into undeath through a horrid demise, this wraith must replenish that waning soul on lifeforce stolen from the living.  Against common soldiers, the wraith is invincible.  But against magic or holy power, the wraith can be struck down easily.  Choose its battles with care.

Vampire
Cost: 8

Vampires are counted among the most feared of the undead, and that reputation is quite justified in light of the vampire's many unearthly powers.  However, as with his childer, the vampire shall crumble to ashes if exposed to direct sunlight or to flowing water.  Guard your vampire well, for he may prove his might later.

Spectre
Cost: 8

Stronger and more malevolent than their wraithly cousins, spectres are rightly dreaded for their power to rend a victim's soul with the merest touch.  Though weaker by daylight, their etherealness and nigh-immunity to common steel are not to be dismissed.

Mohrg
Cost: 10

The most black-hearted villains who refuse atonement are not freed from the burden of their guilt by mere death; instead, their rotting remains too often return as mohrgs, doomed to perpetuate their atrocities through a tortured and miserable existence, an existence sustained on those hapless enough to be ensnared in the fiend's lashing tongue and entrails.


Devils
For every Blackguard or Infernal Sorcerer in your army, you may choose one of these devils as well.  As with undead, certain units fear and detest the denizens of the Inferno, and troubles with morale may arise if such malaise is not addressed.

Lemure
Cost: 3

Little more than a pathetic blob of melted, mindless flesh, this lemure seeks to share its state of perpetual suffering with whomever it can catch.

Imp
Cost: 4

With nimble wings and a venomous stinger, this tiny devil can swiftly swoop down from the skies to poison unwitting enemies, then soar high to deny them their retribution.

Osyluth (Bone Devil)
Cost: 6

Such tall, skeletal fiends form what passes for the police of the Infernal plane of Baator.  In battle, the osyluth can conjure walls of ice to divide enemy forces, then race forth with sting and claw to tear the halved defenders apart.

Kyton (Chain Devil)
Cost: 8

A torturer and tormentor whose sadism is eclipsed by few, the kyton's otherwise naked form is clothed--and perpetually wounded and scarred--by a tangle of dancing, snaking, barbed chains which serve the kyton as clothing, armor and weapons alike.

Barbazu (Bearded Devil)
Cost: 10

Leering maliciously through a long, repulsive beard of writhing black tentacles, this savage barbazu has come eagerly from Baator to once again slake his thirst for blood and test his sawtoothed glaive in battle.

Erinyes (Fury)
Cost: 10

This black-winged angel of darkness exists only to prey on mortals, striking them down, taking them alive and tormenting them with the weight of their own sins.  With as many transgressions that can be laid at the Karkovans' feet, she expects to be very busy in the battle's aftermath.


Lycanthropes
Werebeasts are not as plentiful in Bardosylvania as one may expect, as their reckless aggressions against their homeland's persistent problem with the growing undead menace intruding on their forests has taken a great toll on the lycanthrope population.  Still, though lycanthropes are notoriously difficult to control, they can prove to be dogged and harrowing enemies, both hard to kill and hard to withstand.

(In D&D 3, lycanthropes are not an independently listed creature type in the Monster Manual; rather, they are templates to be applied to existing creatures or characters.  Assume that any lycanthropes listed here are rangers, the most common wilderness-type class in Bardosylvania and thus the most likely to come into contact with--and be infected by--lycanthropes.  Unlike rangers, lycanthropes wear ragged clothing and no armor at all, as any armor worn will invariably be rent or torn to shreds during the creature's transformations.  They are also prone to transforming and going berserk when injured, making lycanthropes hazardous to allies but doubly hazardous to enemies.  Lycanthrope lords are higher-level characters who have mastered their bestial hearts and can become men, beasts or man-beasts at will; they are also in control of their rage and unlikely to go berserk in the heat of battle, thus posing far less of a threat to their allies.  The full moon will not be rising until the end of the month, so Gustov need not fear losing control of his lycanthropes in a bloody, frenzied orgy of carnage...at least not for another eighteen days or so.)

(And yes, one type of lycanthrope is missing.  There are no tigers in Bardosylvania; therefore, there are no weretigers either.  Apologies, Tiger.  Wink )

Wererat
Cost: 3

Though the lowliest of the werebeasts, wererats are swift and more likely to appear in greater numbers.  Their animal forms are those of dire rats, allowing them to move about relatively unnoticed.

Werewolf
Cost: 4

Werewolves are legendary for their tenacity and their teamwork; when working as a pack, they can bring down foes several times their combined mass.

Wereboar
Cost: 5

Unlike werewolves, wereboars tend to be loners...ferocious, powerful, leathery-tough and hard-to-kill loners with tusks capable of eviscerating a horse in one sweep, that is.

Werebear
Cost: 8

Werebears stand alone among lycanthropes in their habitual honor and benevolence...which is good, because when a werebear grows enraged, people tend to die by the wagonload.

Wererat Lord
Cost: 6

If a wererat is good, then a veteran wererat who is in control of his rage and his transformations is better.

Werewolf Lord
Cost: 8

If a werewolf is good, then a veteran werewolf who is in control of his rage and his transformations is better.

Wereboar Lord
Cost: 10

If a wereboar is good, then a veteran wereboar who is in control of his rage and his transformations is better.

Werebear Lord
Cost: 16

...you know the drill.  This hairy juggernaut may be expensive, but he (or she, perhaps) is surely worth the cost.


Creatures

Swarm of Rats
Cost: 1

At the beck and call of a Beast Caller or a Beastmaster, this small swarm of famished rats--of which Bardosylvania has no shortage--can be hard to kill and difficult to stave away, given their size and their numbers.

Swarm of Plague Rats
Cost: 2

Crazed with a variety of bloodborne illnesses, these dreaded carriers of disease can cause significant long-term harm to enemy forces.  But your Beast Callers should mind them very carefully, for pestilence knows no friends.  The uses which a Plague Witch could have for rats or plague rats should be obvious.

Goblin
Cost: 1

This goblin has agreed to serve Bardosylvania in exchange for a purse of coins.  Though not as formidable as a human combatant, the goblin is better suited for rigging traps on the fly, or for disarming traps where needed.

Goblin Prankster
Cost: 3

The name sounds harmless enough, but when one considers that to goblins, a "prank" is one or more lethal traps being sprung on an unwitting victim, the name takes on an entirely new meaning.

Goblin Wolf Rider
Cost: 3

This goblin spearman has trained a wolf to serve him as a steed in battle.  By working in concert, both the goblin and the wolf can swiftly close distances and leap into terrible, flesh-ripping lunges.

Goblin Worg Rider
Cost: 5

If a wolf is good, then a worg--larger, stronger and far more cunning than any wolf--is better.  Such beasts--and their riders--are not to be disregarded.

Ogre
Cost: 4

This savage brute is not known for its keen mind.  But then, when one's calling is to tear away tree limbs and use them to batter people into oozing pulps, intellect is overrated.

Sea Hag
Cost: 4

Though the weakest and most wretched of hags, this hag is capable of swimming swiftly and striking from the water without warning, sometimes killing victims instantly with her Evil Eye's gaze.

Nymph
Cost: 4

This nymph has joined the House of Ainsley's army in order to placate them and divert their attentions from her sylvan home.  Though she will perish quickly at close quarters, she can mesmerize enemies into betraying their comrades, or kill them with a focused gaze.

War Ogre
Cost: 6

Karkova has her share of ogres enslaved and girded for war.  But then, so does Bardosylvania.  This war ogre happens to be one of the Bardosylvanian sort.

Annis
Cost: 7

This black hag is graced with many magical powers--including a more irresistable Evil Eye--but is not above raking foes to pieces with her steely sharp claws and iron hide when the situation demands.


Siege Weapons and Engineers

Siege Engineer
Cost: 1

Trained to man a variety of catapults and ballistae, the siege engineer can make or break a siege or a massed field battle.  But guard them well, for they are ill-equipped to face enemies at close quarters.

Draft Horse
Cost: 1

This horse is prized for its muscle and its endurance, not for its utter lack of discipline.  It is predominantly used to haul siege weapons or other burdening cargo to or around the battlefield.

Arbalist Ballista
Cost: 2

Essentially a very large crossbow mounted on a pintle and a lumber tripod, the ballista's bolts are feared for their power to kill a heavy warhorse with a single shot.  An arbalist ballista must be manned by at least one siege engineer, though as many as three engineers may man it to increase its rate of attack.

Talent Ballista
Cost: 4

Larger and sturdier than the arbalist ballista, the talent ballista can loose as many as five bolts at a time, making it more useful against concentrations of infantry.  Given this ballista's complexity, no fewer than two engineers must man it, and any more than four assigned engineers will be a waste.

Light Catapult
Cost: 5

This lightly framed catapult is wheeled for ease of mobility, and the wheels can be pinned or locked to steady the catapult for attack.  Four men can tow a light catapult to the field, as can a single horse.  Up to three engineers can ensure a steady stream of attack from this catapult, and though it serves best against fortifications, the spoon can be loaded with cobblestones, lead shot or burning pitch to kill and disperse enemy units at a distance.

Heavy Catapult
Cost: 7

This bulky catapult is too heavy for wheels and must be deployed on a specially designed wagon drawn by two horses.  Those willing to compensate for such a slow and cumbersome weapon, however, will find it notably more powerful than the light catapult, with a larger spoon, a heavier torsion bar and the improved range, damage and areas of effect which come with them.  The heavy catapult will need from two to four engineers to be anything more than a waste of wood and space.

Battering Ram
Cost: 1

Yes, this iron-headed battering ram will find little use at the Battle of Zelezo Ford, but what lies beyond?  No siege engineers are needed to bear the battering ram; that's the infantry's job.  From six to ten soldiers are needed to wield the ram effectively.

Siege Shed
Cost: 2

This wheeled wooden canopy is useful for protecting infantrymen from enemy archers, gouts of burning pitch or hails of catapult shot.  It comes with chains and stout cross supports under the roof, so that a battering ram may be suspended from the rafters and swung to strike a fortified surface with far less effort.  When so combined with a siege shed, a battering ram only needs from three to five soldiers to be wielded effectively.

Siege Ladder
Cost: 1

This sturdy ladder can be raised to help infantrymen scale walls as tall as 25 feet in height.  Unfortunately, any defender on the parapets can use a siege fork or a pole arm to push the ladder away, repelling the scaling attempt and potentially injuring or killing anyone climbing the ladder when it falls.

Siege Tower
Cost: 4

Far safer and more effective than a mere siege ladder, the siege tower can be rolled to up a wall (up to thirty feet in height) and its gangplank lowered to allow troops protected within the siege tower to rush forth onto the wall and engage the fortification's defenders.  Up to six archers or arbalists may stand atop the siege tower, protected behind the tower's parapets as they soften the enemy's defenses with hails of arrows or quarrels; the siege tower is an easy target for enemy catapults, so such besiegers would also do well to target enemy catapult crews first.


Heroes and Villains
Whatever their motives may be, whether righteous or nefarious, these renowned characters have agreed to join hands with Bardosylvania's forces and take the battle to the Karkovans and their renegade king.  For obvious reasons, these characters are unique; only one of each may be added to Gustov's army (and as nice as it might be to have two of Livonya the Forsaken, you can't do that for obvious reasons).

Livonya the Forsaken
Hero-Level Outlaw of the Crimson Road (and evolved Lifer)
Cost: 25

A deranged weaver who was first jailed after cooking her philandering husband's severed limbs and force-feeding them back to him, Livonya Baird was sentenced to the gallows by Lord Heward Ainsley but escaped the dungeon and fell in with the Ironshods, a band of highwaymen who continue to scourge Bardosylvania's roads and wayfarers.  But after many years with the Ironshods, Livonya proved to be a very bloodthirsty sort...too bloodthirsty for the Ironshods' tastes.  So they lured the lordship's lawmen to their treetop hideout and ensured their own escapes by binding Livonya in her sleep and quite literally throwing her to the dogs.  This time, Lord Heward gave her the option of joining the Penal Legion, and Livonya accepted.  She is not a fool enough to believe that Lord Heward will ever pardon her; she willfully remains with the Penal Legion simply because--murderous neurotic that she is--she enjoys the work.

Frederik One-Boulder
Hero-Level Expert (and evolved Siege Engineer)
Cost: 25

Though a man of over sixty winters, Frederik One-Boulder is a burly and towering man who has worked catapults and ballistae since he was but a strapping boy.  He has worked for several nations as a mercenary but, being something of a connoisseur for siege machines, he has nothing but praise for Bardosylvanian woodwork and the land's abundant oak and ironwood from which her army's roundly superb siege weapons are built.  On the field, he can easily do the work of two men and his accuracy is without peer; when employed with the County of Nellowswann in recent years, he earned his reputation after commandeering a heavy catapult, aiming low over a mustered force of orc brigands and killing their seasoned war chief by decapitating him with a single hurled boulder.  The orcish army then panicked, dispersed and fled back to the mountains without a fight.

Colonel Marco Mac Braddock
Hero-Level Fighter
Cost: 25

This grizzled old commander of Bardosylvania's Boarhounds legion began as a boy keeping the armory's weapons sharp and its armors polished when Lord Borogon was in the throne.  He has faithfully served in Bardosylvania's army ever since, rising through the ranks from common foot soldier to cavalryman to lieutenant and beyond.  Unusually enough, his weapon of choice is a dire flail...an exceptionally large and thrice-enchanted dire flail which endlessly radiates dark, explosive energy from its twin morningstars, at that.  And more than once have the soldiers under his command been rallied and inspired by the sight of Colonel Mac Braddock twirling and wheeling through throngs of enemy soldiers converging on him only to be struck aloft and away the very moment they come into his striking distance.  Even when swamped with so many enemies that only his baldric-mounted Boarhounds banner can be seen wavering over them, Colonel Mac Braddock has emerged with life and limb intact.  Enemies find such displays of force--and the sight of their comrades reduced to so much hurled carnage--to be equally intimidating, of course.

Starkad the Swift
Hero-Level Ranger/Shadowdancer
Cost: 25

Starkad the Swift is a peculiar sort of cavalry.  Having earned the acquaintence of a black tiger during his travels to Seolemark, Starkad rides the tiger--Dusksaber by name--as most people ride horses, though with the distinction that horses cannot climb trees or scale sheer cliffs with a rider astride.  Starkad is no less formidable when on foot; he has mastered a disturbing talent for disappearing from plain sight when among scrub or tall grass, then emerging behind his would-be stalkers with Rimesaber and Cindersaber--his paired scimitars--drawn and leveled to strike.  Starkad was once swept over the Triton's Throat waterfall and plunged a hundred feet, only to come clambering out of the river and rejoin his companions three miles upstream, loudly berating them for not even bothering to see if he had survived the fall.  Such a feat certainly didn't harm his reputation as a peerless hunter and survivalist.

Sir Bryan of the Three Hollows
Hero-Level Paladin/Sacred Purifier
Cost: 25

Though Bardosylvanian paladins are far from common, what few emerge from her horrible forestlands tend to be proven men and women of great prowess.  Born to the Three Hollows thorp in the South Ainsley Wood, Sir Bryan the Half-Elven was trained by friars of Saint Cuthbert and grew into a seasoned champion of the commonfolk.  Dismayed with House Ainsley's dealings with the undead, Sir Bryan has confronted Lord Heward about the problems which come with consorting with such abominations.  After coming to an unspecified agreement at that conference, Sir Bryan has agreed to aid Bardosylvania in her struggle against the mighty tsardom of Karkova under the condition that the House of Ainsley will take a more defiant stance against the undead.  What Sir Bryan has thus far left unvoiced is that his divine visions hint that the land's rash of undeath has its roots in the Ainsley ancestry itself, and uprooting the menace will thus be a very daunting task indeed.

Hath Kull the Bear-Born
Hero-Level Druid of Obad-Hai
Cost: 25

Hath Kull's adoptive family can trace their ancestry back to the Vorgir barbarians who populated the land before the coming of Bardos Ainsley I, but Hath Kull himself has no such lineage.  Two decades past, his circle of Vorgir-descended druids wandered upon a pregnant black bear sow laboring through the pangs of childbirth.  But what emerged from the bear's womb was not a bear cub but, rather, a human infant with a full head of rich black hair...and, disconcertingly, a coarse coat of human body hair to match.  The druids named the baby Hath Kull and, never ones to forsake such signs from the gods, began grooming the boy into a man worthy of rekindling the pyres of the lost Vorgir tribe, casting off the Ainsley-imposed shackles of oppression and returning the Vorgir to the land once more.  Lord Heward harbors his doubts about the thick-haired young man who so loudly professes his ire against the enemies of Bardosylvania, noting that Hath Kull has never once specified whom those "enemies" actually are.  But for now, both Lord Ainsley and Hath Kull seem content to join hands in line with the philosophy of keeping their friends close and their enemies closer.

Serrica the Thrice-Drowned
Hero-Level Cleric of Umberlee
Cost: 25

A priestess of Omikoric descent, Serrica Thallys introduced herself to Bardosylvania by plodding barefoot across the thrashing waves of the Imperial Sea, tossing her cape of crusted aquamarines about her as a grumbling sea storm darkened the heavens mere leagues behind.  As every Umberlant cleric does, Serrica underwent--and survived--the Drowning, a ritual in which acolytes are chained down before the sea's rising tide to see which ones Umberlee spares and which ones she claims.  But that was not the first time Serrica drowned, nor was it the last: The Church of Umberlee took her in after finding her--a girl half-dead and sputtering sea water from her lungs--in a capsized ship washed against the jagged rocks, and again did she drown herself--to be resurrected through her goddess' judgement--when she chained a millstone to her ankles and threw herself into the ocean, plunging into a sacred communion in the Underdeep.  Though armed with little more than several Decanters of Endless Water and Greater Bowls of Commanding Water Elementals (though elementals summoned by her own spells are mightier yet), Serrica makes the most of such relics and uses them to horrifying effect, leaving fields of sea-bloated corpses in her wake even through the most arid of deserts.

Red Rycroft of Lunaghaen, Bishop of Battles
Hero-Level Cleric of Hextor
Cost: 25

Bishop Rycroft of the Church of Hextor is known to be a pleasant man, ample of belly, portly of jowl and broad of smile.  However glib and skilled with words he may be, he is also a war leader and a politician in equal measure.  His acolytes and fellow priests claim that he can directly address the God of Tyranny at any time, speaking into any roaring flame and hearing Hextor's voice in answer.  Through these means has Red Rycroft proven to be a devilish tactician, divinely inspired and capable of perceiving his enemy's every move well in advance.  So effective are his divinations that he rarely sees fit to invoke his god and call rains of fire down upon the battlefield, though that option remains at hand for dire straits and unexpected circumstances.  Should he win this war for Bardosylvania, he hopes to earn a place in Lord Heward's court, the better to guide House Ainsley as an advisor and shape the culture and government of Bardosylvania into those more befitting the Black-Handed God.

Bishop Elyssa Loveless
Hero-Level Cleric of Evening Glory
Cost: 25

Draped over her radiant scarlet chainmail is an equally radiant gown of scarlet satin which wavers and drifts in its own rhythm, no matter how strong or still the ambient winds may be.  Silk-voiced and of indescribably beautiful countenance, Bishop Elyssa Loveless hails from the northern reaches of Nellowswann and has come to the killing fields, where she may preach and minister to both the living and the dead.  Her heart and her ambitions are not given voice, leaving most to mere guessing at her motives.  All that is known is that she somehow survived General Boartooth's disastrous defeat at Jola's Watch and has come to join the errant forces of Bardosylvania, that she may continue in the struggle against Karkova.  She is closely attended by Amity and Templeton, a duo of silent revenants whom she claims to have stirred into undeath with but a prayer and two kisses; that Amity and Templeton are still clad in the blade-marred ceremonial garments of a bridegroom and his bride is a mute yet telling hint of the corpses' origins, and a tragic and macabre hint at that.

Weedy Peg of Boughbog
Hero-Level Sorcerer (and evolved High Black Witch)
Cost: 25

Weedy Peg is an enigma.  Sometimes, she appears as a haggard and withered old crone steeped in weed sap and brackish water; other times, she appears as a smooth-skinned and comely young peasant maid, fair of skin and flaxen of hair.  What is known is that she hails from the dismal village of Boughbog and that she claims direct descent from the Ainsley bloodline, a claim hotly denied by heralds and scholars who insist that Corwin the Bastard--her purported ancestor--died at sea without ever siring children.  What is less than known is that this witch, though very much alive, is a Life Leech with a tomb-tainted soul; not unlike the predations of a vampire, she must perpetually restore her youth and her vitality by siphoning the lifeforces of her victims away through kiss or through grasp.  Most of the shambling corpses which infest the pools and marshes of Bardosylvania's Crag Swamp are the products of her handiwork, and through research and skullduggery has she laid her hands on the arcane Staff of the Unholy Army, a magic staff which can unleash the nigh-legendary Plague of Undead spell three times before crumbling to useless ashes.  She will not hesitate to invoke the staff's power if either desperation or temptation rear their heads, and a vast field of the sundered war-slain can be a powerful temptation indeed.

The Gentleman Caller
Hero-Level Assassin
Cost: 25

The Gentleman Caller is a lithe, elegant and enigmatic man who favors noblemen's suits of black silk, satin and cashmere.  His shoulder-length hair is the color of flowing wheatfields in autumn, and his true face is rarely if ever seen, hidden as it is beneath a white porcelain mask not unlike those of the operas enjoyed among the societal elite.  Though they are little more than whispered rumors, claims persist that the Gentleman Caller's modus operandi is that he, a masterly disguise artist, will take on the flawless guise of whatever sort of person his quarry finds desirable--be it man or woman, young or old, ruddy or fair-skinned, human or otherwise--after which he seduces his prey into their own bedchamber and finishes the assassination there, leaving a page neatly cut from The Two-Hundred Sonnets of Contessa Geillay--his favorite book of poetry--on the victim's breast as his calling card.  Should he be discovered in his shadowy work and confronted, he is also frightfully adept at wielding poisons, minor wizardry and Heart's Yearning, an ensorcelled rapier which leaves weeping wounds that defy healing, as at least eight armored guards of Riverwood City's Watch--now dead and buried after greeting the Gentleman Caller together with their steel bared--can attest.

Merlitha, Dancer of the Hundred Tombs
Hero-Level Crypt Chanter/Dirgesinger
Cost: 25

Only one man alive knows exactly whom Merlitha was, how long ago she lived, how she died or how she came to be, and one man is one man too many for her comfort.  All that most people can guess from her ghostly visage--and of all its nakedness, tattered clothing, bristling arrows and gaping wounds which continually weep and drip with spectral ichor--is that she was a traveling minstrel who came to a bloody and violent end somewhere along the roads of Bardosylvania.  Lord Heward, through his studies and his aptitude with history, has discerned the crypt chanter's identity but reveals it to no one, the better to maintain his grip of control on the ghost.  To this end, he keeps five handwritten pages of yellowed paper--the sheet music to Merlitha's final masterpiece--in a scroll case; whomever holds the scroll case can control Merlitha and compel her to do his bidding.  When left to her own devices, Merlitha of the Hundred Tombs--so named for all of her sightings in graveyards throughout Bardosylvania--will tilt and bob her way in a long, mourning funerary dance along the roads and trails of Bardosylvania, leading a small throng of dancing ghosts and corpses, and strumming soft and lilting dirges from her ghostly lyre from sunset to sunrise.  Those who hear her melodies and survive are often stricken with profound and irrecovable madness; those who perish to her banshee song soon rise again and join her troupe of the dancing dead.

Sir Dregan the Blood-Bathed
Hero-Level Vampire/Master Vampire
Cost: 25

Sir Dregan Starchester began as a squire to a then Lord-Prince Borogon Ainsley, back when Lord Rasketh was ruler of Bardosylvania.  Though he was at first reluctant to join Borogon on his hunts for human and elven prey, he soon relented, and from that he learned to relish the thrills of hunting the most treacherous and cunning prey there is.  He gradually became every bit the monster that Borogon was, and before long, he was the one rousing Borogon from his bed to join him in the blood hunt for his latest captive.  When Lord Rasketh died and Borogon took the throne, Squire Dregan was knighted on the spot and bequeathed with a suit of blood-red plate armor which shone with a dread luminescence under moonlight.  Sir Dregan's doom came about when he captured a Vistani woman and turned her loose before his hounds; run through on his longsword, she spat in his face and, with her dying breath, cursed him to an existence of blood, dust, darkness and torment forever after.  Within the year, Alliondria Falsteen, the wild elf whom Lord Borogon had tracked in his final hunt, came to Sir Dregan and poetically ran him through with the same handcrafted spear which she had used to kill Lord Borogon.  His curse came manifest and stirred him from his grave, but he did not emerge whole.  He has sought Alliondria in hopes of garnering vengeance ever since.

Sir Dregan is attended by Squire Corbanis Nelbert, a lesser vampire whom Sir Dregan himself sired and trained.  Through the hour-long Rite of the Master's Chosen, Sir Dregan cut the ring finger from his left hand, then compelled Squire Corbanis to swallow it.  Thus is he empowered for as long as Sir Dregan exists, but until someone slashes Squire Corbanis' belly open and retrieves the finger from his bowels, Sir Dregan's control over the vampiric squire shall remain absolute.


[This post must resume below, for the sake of character limits.]


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:07 am

Bushengorg the Hungry
Hero-Level Hill Giant/Barbarian
Cost: 25

Bushengorg is as persistently famished as he is stupid, but his magnificent strength, great size and raw savagery make him far from helpless.  After descending from the Gargoyle Tails and pausing to speak with a friar snatched from the outskirts of Bereghel's Green, Bushengorg decided that the gods must live well with so many mortals waiting on them hand and foot.  He devoured the friar anyway, then cobbled a throne together from logs and boulders just outside the town and took his seat there, demanding that the people of Bereghel's Green should worship him as a god and leave with him their offerings of meat and ale.  The townspeople, amused with his presumptuousness, played along and brought before Bushengorg their fattened sheep and honeyed mead.  Through those gifts did the mayor and his townsfolk gain what leverage was needed to manipulate Bushengorg: what manner of god would he be if he took their offerings but did not answer their prayers to him?  Would other gods prove worthier of their offerings than he?  And so Bushengorg has answered the town's "prayers" ever since, desperate to prove himself worthy of their devotion--and their delicious offerings--through tasks which range from fighting off intruders to helping the farmers bring in the harvests to digging wells.  And now, the threat of the Red Alliance looms over Bardosylvania and all other nations of the Eternal Empire.  What must Bushengorg do to prove his godhood--and to keep his belly full--this time?

Murmorgeirrath Once-Lashed-the-Thousands
Hero-Level Kyton
Cost: 25

An uncommon kyton decorated with golden, topaz-studded shackles around his wrists and ankles, Murmorgeirrath--formerly He Who Lashes the Five-Thousand--was once the Srri'katha-rank field commander of the Shass'paatrigoryss, a legion under the pit fiend King Belltoremas.  In his stay as a field commander, the kyton earned great praise and many accolades for his victories over the armies of the Abyss and intruders from the Astral.  But Murmorgeirrath, convinced of his own invincibility, grew cocky in his negotiations and his tactics, paving the way for his army's complete rout before the demonic forces at the Battle of the Million Fire Opals.  Utterly disgraced, Murmorgeirrath was personally stripped of his title, his trophies and his dominion by King Belltoremas, and fearing that he could never show his face in Baator again, he quit the Inferno and left for the Prime Material Plane, alarming a pair of toiling blacksmiths as he emerged naked from beneath their forge's burning coals and marched forth into the street, trailing his many chains of brass and black iron behind him.  After gathering what insights he could about the surrounding climate of Bardosylvania, Murmorgeirrath set forth to find the lord of the land and pledge his service to the House of Ainsley.  If the devils will no longer welcome him as a commander and grant him an army worthy of conquest, perhaps the mortals will.

Kadnykess d'Serrad, the Kiss of Perdition
Hero-Level Erinyes
Cost: 25

In Kadnykess' eyes, mere Loviatan clerics are not enough.  Having toiled in the Barrens of Despair--Loviatar's own plane among the many Hells of the Inferno--attending the Goddess of Pain's needs and wishes for centuries, Kadnykess could not have asked for a better teacher on how to inflict the most agony with the least effort.  Her preferred instrument of bondage is a cord forged from white mithral, every inch of its length barbed and terminating in a barbed three-pronged hook at either end; the intimacies of how she applies this cord to a live victim are best left undescribed here, but more than one privy's walls have often trembled with the screams of someone who once endured such horrid minstrations.  But Loviatar is unhappy.  Too many churches eclipse hers.  Not enough people give her their prayers and offerings.  And too many lands of the Eternal Empire are too placid and content.  And if Loviatar is unhappy, Kadnykess is unhappy.  So the erinyes has come to this world, where she might take on Loviatar's enlightening work.  And where better to make her nest than Bardosylvania, a veritable smorgasbord of fear and suffering?  Smiling beneath her red-hot iron tiara as she dons her spiked mail of black steel and stretches her devilwhip taut between her hands, the Kiss of Perdition goes to work.

Briny Addie the Filth-Swaddled
Hero-Level Annis
Cost: 25

Briny Addie is another denizen of Bardosylvania's southern swamps.  Local folk know to give her hut a wide breadth, lest she catch them in her steely clutches and turn them into stew ingredients or useful spell components.  But such avoidance is not so easy, for by night her hut is borne from the ground atop a thick mass of slug slime, whence it may silently creep and slither around the swamp by its own will and volition.  In desperate times, the very soil and mud will swallow the hut whole, then vomit it back up elsewhere...somewhere where Briny Addie can safely resume her awful work.  One can only wonder what Sir Gustov could possibly have said to that lanky old hag draped in fetid burlap and leathers in order to gain her alliance, for neither Addie nor Gustov will speak freely about it.  But given the hag's appetites, it must have been something truly foul, sinister or both.


Most of the common units will be human, but half-orcs, wood elves, wild elves, shield dwarves and tallfellow halflings (and everything that comes with each race) are available for substitution on special requests.

And just as certain units combine poorly with certain other units, pairing certain units can also improve on one, the other or both.  For an obvious example, while archers and longbowmen can loose a small number of flaming arrows, with an alchemist at their side, their flaming arrows will burn longer and hotter for more damage overall.  Replace the alchemist with a master alchemist and the arrows start to turn explosive.  And so on.

That is all.  Choose wisely and well.



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:42 am

(OCC.  Okay here is what I have. I have not role played in many years so this is not my best work.  Any constructive criticism will be much appreciated.  Here I GO)

And so it begins as Gustov makes his entrance from stage right.

    The towers of the Capital could be seen in the distance as Gustov sat atop his mount.  Though he had never been to Zelezo Ford, this was the where the final battles of the Karkovan rebellion would be fought.  Gustov knew it was only a matter of time before the rivers would run red with the blood of many a rebel.  He and his father had already spilled some Karkovan blood on their journey here, but that was only a fraction of what was to come.  As Gustov surveyed the Eternal Empire’s forces spread out before him, his mind began to drift as he thought of some the events during his life that brought him to this place.  
   
    Different was how Gustov often would describe himself.  Oh sure Gustov had the looks of the Ainsley line, with hazel eyes and brown hair, but inwardly he felt different.  At only 5’6” he was shorter than most of his family and even those that he associated with on a regular basis were taller than him.  Often teased for his height, this had caused Gustov to become more aggressive in how he pursued life.  Gustov often felt that his stature had forced him to push himself harder to achieve what came easier to others.  

    Another thing that made Gustov different was his choice of deity.  While his family line had long dedicated their lives to the worship of Wee-Jaz goddess of death and magic, Gustov often felt that his own personal feelings did not align with those of his family’s deity. Gustov had always believed in the rule of law and he often felt that those that broke laws should be punished without mercy.  A little fear in the populace could go a long way to making sure that the people stayed in line.  It was because of this belief that Gustov found more kinship with the followers of Hextor, god of Tyranny and Strife, than Wee-Jaz.  Though no formal commitment had been made Gustov just knew in his heart that his path in life would be one that would bring glory to the might of Hextor.  For now Gustov kept this to himself as he wasn’t sure his father would approve.  

    His choice of weapon was something else that made Gustov feel different.  The people of his land usually preferred battle-axes, swords, or some other edged weapon.  Gustov on the other hand preferred using a warhammer.  While he was trained in the use of many different weapons, there was just something about the feel of a warhammer as it shattered bone and other body parts that sent a thrill into Gustov every time such a thing happened.  After a training accident involving a warhammer broke his arm when he was 10, Gustov resigned himself to train with the warhammer until he made himself worthy of such a beautiful weapon.  The hammer he now carried was such a weapon.  Made of the finest materials and perfectly balanced, the hammer was plain in appearance, save for the family crest on its head.  Gustov preferred the plain appearance, for this was a weapon meant to kill, not some flashy weapon that would spend its days on a wall, or only drawn for some special ceremony.  Gustov had only been gifted his current hammer shortly before he and his father had set out the join with the forces of the Eternal Empire’s at Zelezo Ford.  It was during that march as the warhammer shattered the skull of a Karkovan infantry man that Gustov found a name for his hammer.  Shatter-Storm was what the hammer would forever be called.  

    “Fucking rebels”, he cursed under his breath as Gustov gripped Shatter-Storm a little tighter.  

    They should have been brought to their knees a longtime ago.  While Gustov didn’t always agree with the edicts of the Emperor, he was the Emperor and without the rule of law there was only chaos.  Sometimes that rule had to be enforced with an iron hand and these rebels were about to learn that the hard way.  The final battles were near and Gustov secretly hoped that when this whole insurrection was over, all the leaders where made examples of in such way that any thought of rebellion would be squashed for several generations.  

    As if sensing his rider’s thoughts, his mount began to stamp his hooves and shake his head in anticipation as they got closer to the other encampments.  Gustov reached down and patted his mount on the neck to calm him down.  

    “Easy Kampfer,” Gustov said.  “There will be enough fighting for the both of us soon.”  His words had little effect on the horse, for having raised and trained Kampfer personally since he was a young colt Gustov knew that his horse would be on edge until the fighting began.  Gustov could hardly blame his mount’s mood, for Kampfer was a trained warhorse and fighting was in the horse’s blood.  

    Gustov had seen battle and combat before today, but those had been small scale engagements.  This was to be his first large scale battle.  Gustov said a quiet prayer to Hextor as looked upon that the forces he had put together for this final engagement.  Hopefully Hextor would see them through the challenge of crushing the Karkovian slime.  

     (OCC.  I am still putting together Gustov’s forces together the composition of which will follow in the near future.  I just wanted to get Gustov out there and into the campaign.  By the way Golden Drakon, Gustov doesn’t have a harp so you will just have to find something else to steel from him)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:07 pm

Lord-Prince Darrovan's force consists of the following (500 points, or 200 more than Sir Gustov's force):

Darrovan's entourage:
3 Trumpeters (one for each battalion) with a tenor trumpet for the Timber Wolves, an alto trumpet for the Oakenbloods and a mountain horn for the Foxbats, so that the three battalions won't mistake the others' signals for their own. (3)
1 Knight (Sir Andrick Hewenn), to serve as Darrovan's lieutenant. (10)
1 Infernal Sorcerer (Mezannicus, Darrovan's bodyguard) (8)
1 Barbazu (Largoth-Ninshik, Darrovan's bodyguard) (10)

The Timber Wolves (Primary unit)
1 Red Scourge (Unit leader) (6)
5 Suffering Ones (15)
3 Giant Slayers (24)
15 Manhunters (Wild Elves) (45)
10 Elf Hunters (30)
50 Rangers (100)

The Oakenbloods (Secondary unit)
1 Standard Bearer (1)
1 Archery Sergeant (Unit leader) (5)
25 Longbowmen (100)
4 Hearth Witches (20)
4 Moon Witches (20)

The Foxbats (Tertiary unit)
1 Standard Bearer (1)
Livonya the Forsaken (Unit leader) (25)
1 High Black Witch (8)
2 Necrotic Witches (12)
3 Scarlet Priestesses (9)
5 Lifers (20)
28 Penal Militiamen (28)

Total: 500 Points



(The Timber Wolves and the Oakenbloods will be working closely together, with the Oakenbloods barraging the enemy and keeping their heads down while the Timber Wolves advance.  Enemy archers and other ranged units will be given priority, with the moon witches cloaking the Oakenbloods' archers with Invisibility Sphere and other Illusion spells in order to hinder or prevent retaliation from said enemy archers and allow the Oakenbloods to loose their arrows with impunity.  The Timber Wolves are led by a Red Scourge, who can augment the rangers' martial prowess, divine the enemy's weaknesses and exploit those weaknesses.  As the Timber Wolves are the advance force (and thus more prone to injury), the Suffering Ones trailing the rangers can tend to their wounded.  Lord-Prince Darrovan, harboring a degree of distrust for elves, has mixed in some human Elf Hunters in order to keep an eye on the wild elves (and slash their throats at the first sign of insurrection, trusting in initiative and their human comrades to keep the elves from doing likewise to them).  With their Elf Hunter minders in tow, the Manhunters are to stalk and kill enemy leaders or other key figures as opportunity permits, separating themselves from the rest of the Timber Wolves if necessary.  As the Timber Wolves are a stealth-optional unit, no standard bearer has been assigned to them; they'll just have to come together through their own savvy and "pack hunter" instincts.)

(The Foxbats, being a penal unit, are the most expendable of the three.  The criminals are to rush in as sacrificial lambs--however wittingly or unwittingly--in order to provide opportunity for retreat if the Timber Wolves, the Oakenbloods or any crucial allied units get in over their heads (and Darrovan won't lose any sleep if some or all of the witches and priestesses just happen to die with them).  As if the presence of Livonya the Forsaken isn't enough to keep the penal warriors in line (and it is), the witches and the priestesses are there to ensure their obedience, taking advantage of the criminals' common superstitions and employing fear tactics to stave off rebellion or desertion (and using Horrid Wilting or other horrifying displays of necromancy on anyone who turns tail and runs); the Necrotic Witches will also infect the Lifers with cysts and command them through Necrotic Domination if the need arises.  The witches and the priestesses can also animate any slain lifers or militiamen into undead replacements, and alternately, the Necrotic Witches can turn a number of criminals into living bombs, infecting them with cysts, spurring them into charging the enemy and remote-detonating their cysts with Necrotic Eruption once the enemy is within range.  As the witches can't cast Necrotic Eruption more than once or twice apiece, they'll really have to make these ghastly suicide bombers count.  But the sight of their comrades getting cut down in explosions of bone shards and gore couldn't possibly be good for the enemy's morale.  (Not that the Foxbats' morale is any better, but they're expendable scumbags.  Screw 'em.))

(Lord Darrovan has given the witches and the priestesses explicit orders that Livonya the Forsaken is not to be touched by their corruptive magicks...not that they're fools enough to invite the madwoman's fury, given Livonya's history of dodging or shrugging off enemy spells and butchering their casters in response.  But they're well within their rights to defend themselves by any means if Livonya slips into one of her psychotic fugues, and a lot of chaos and confusion can happen on the battlefield....)


From where he sat tall in his saddle, Gustov's nose noted the ferrous reek of a familiar devil as his father goaded his steed nearer to his side, his Infernal bodyguard following closely with him.

"Do my ears taste a hint of your disdain for Karkova's own, my son?" Darrovan highly intoned.  "Keep that fire burning in your breast, for it serves you well.  I dare say that even Jozen could not have fared so well in that skirmish mere leagues from Mersek.  Mayhap we ourselves shall yet be the hands who deliver Tsar Orsek's head to the Emperor, hmm?"

There was that measure of truth in his father's words.  Though he was Darrovan's eldest son, Jozen was far more a politician than a warrior.  The battles to this point in time had winnowed Bardosylvania's fighting forces from thousands to hundreds, but through the cunning and tenacity of the Ainsleys and their many allies had Karkova suffered losses vastly more staggering.  Where the Empire had clashed headlong with layered lines of steel-skinned Karkovan cavalrymen in the early years of the civil war, they now trampled roughshod over scattering, half-trained peasants and crudely armored pike-boys not yet ascended to the ranks of men.  Karkova's dusk was drawing near.  By whose hand would the tsar's sun be finally plunged from the heavens?

"Lord-Prince Darrovan Ainsley.  I see that Bardosylvania's army is as wretched and abominable as ever."

General Reiherstadt of Konegheim had been the first to ride forth and greet the arriving Bardosylvanians.  With eyes glaring between Darrovan and Gustov to deplorably appraise the armies marching in lines behind the two, Reiherstadt's heart fostered the lingering disdain which had fettered relations betwixt Konegheim and Bardosylvania since the latter nation was first carved from the breasts of oaks and barbarians alike.  And Lord-Prince Darrovan was swift to see that disdain returned.

"General Wulfreid Reiherstadt, a pleasure as always.  Has Konegheim at long last fielded some proper men-at-arms, or have your regular cowherds and dung-rakes plundered enough bastard plate from the Karkovan dead to finally make themselves presentable?"

Reiherstadt scoffed loudly.  "I would wager ten Konegheimer milkmaids against a thousand of your ghoul-bitten goat-mounters any day of...."

"Lord-Prince Darrovan?" General Wiesedorf addressed, raising his voice to interrupt his countryman's retort.  "I am pleased to see that your army has arrived so punctually.  I heard of your battles along the way here; more the fools those Karkovans were to challenge Bardosylvanians in a forest, of all places.  But...where is your son, Sir Jozen?"

Pleased with Wiesedorf's more welcoming tone--however feigned and simpering it may have been--Darrovan fixed Reiherstadt with a parting, piercing smirk before turning his attentions fully to the newly come general saddled aside.  "Jozen remains at Ainsley Manor, acting as seneschal in my stead and attending my father, Lord Heward Ainsley.  This is my youngest son, Sir Gustov Ainsley.  And he has proven to be a more capable war-leader than even I had first expected."

Reiherstadt turned his gaze aside with a scornful furrowing of his armored brow as Wiesedorf prodded his roan charger nearer, bowing his crook-nosed countenance and offering an open hand to Gustov in greeting, forcing a thin smile to his lips as he did.  "I regret that I know naught of you, Sir Gustov.  Mayhap we can amend this lack here.  Pray speak more of yourself and what you bring now to this eve of battle."


Gustov >


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:18 am

(OCC I know that it took longer than expected to get Gustov's forces together.  This configuration is not perfect, but I think that it will work given the battles ahead.  Gustov's forces in some ways look similar to his fathers, but given that he learned tactics and fighting from his father that is too be expected.)
Gustov’s Forces: (300)

Command Staff:   13                                                                          

1 Black-Guard of Hextor:   Hansel the Dark (This person will serve as Gustov’s Second in command and will be deployed wherever Gustov needs him most) (10)

3 Drummers: (If daddy is using trumpeters then Gustov should use drummers) different beats for each unit.  (3)


Infantry Unit:   145    The Blood Hammers

1 Standard Bearer (1)

Medium Infantry Sergeant (4)  Unit Leader though Gustov or Hanzel will spend most of their time with this unit

40 regulars (80)

15 Medium Infantry (45)

2 war priests (6)

3 Suffering ones (9)


Archery Unit:  66   The Blood Rain

Standard Bearer (1)

Archery Sergeant (Unit Leader) (5)

25 Archers (50)

2 Moon Witches (10)


Ranger Unit:     76        The Blood Hunters

Starkad the Swift (Unit Leader) (25)

23 rangers (46)

2 Suffering ones (6)

 
(Tactics are simple.  The Blood Hammers are the primary unit and will be the first in the fight.  The Blood Hunters will work closely with the Hammers.  They are to be a mobile fighting unit attacking where the Hammers tell them or striking from a flanking position.  They are not a reserve unit more like a precision strike unit.  The Blood Rain will support both units with hit and run tactics, by firing arrows, then moving to avoid incoming fire.)


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:55 am

General Reiherstadt's question hung in the air between the two. Though one might mistake it for a simple and harmless introduction, Sir Gustov could perceive the general's dismissiveness murmuring somewhere behind his eyes. And in those eyes, Gustov was a mere boy playing at being both warrior and leader yet fit to be neither.

The answer, then, would be to somehow prove that unvoiced judgement wrong, whether by words or through deeds. And which was Gustov's greater prowess?




(This map of the northern reach of the battlefield has been overlaid with a grid for your convenience. Gustov has three units as well as himself and his command staff; choose the grid coordinates where Gustov will be deploying each of his forces; he may deploy no further south than the ridge line. I shall deploy Darrovan's forces afterwards, but you may also suggest or advise me where I shall deploy them; Whatever his character flaws may be, Darrovan isn't one to turn a deaf ear to his own flesh and blood.)


Gustov >
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:10 am

OCC. Gustov has decided to reconfigure his forces a little.  Below in the old and new configuration of The Blood Hunters.

Old Configuration forces.                                                                                    New Configuration of forces:
Ranger Unit:     76        The Blood Hunters

1 Red Scourge (6) (Unit Leader)                                                                              Starkad the Swift: Ranger/Shadowdancer (25) Unit Leader

20 rangers (40)                                                                                                      23 rangers (46)

8 Giant Hunters (24)                                                                                               2 suffering ones (6)

2 Suffering ones (6)

Gustov has decided that on the advice of the GM at least one hero unit will be included in his forces.  As you can see the giant hunters and the red scourge have been dropped in favor of a Hero unit and a few more rangers.  I will also need to see the stats on that Hero Gustov is using.  GM should give the final Ok before Gustov deploys his force for the upcoming battle that will crush the rebel Karkovan scumbags.  Tactics will remain the same though Hanzel the Dark will now stay with Gustov and be deployed as necessary per Gustov's orders.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:18 pm

(But the new configuration for the Blood Hunters would bring their total point value from 76 to 77.)

(Eh, what the hell.  One point isn't going to make or break all that much.  We'll go with that.)

(Also, as per your request:)



Starkad the Swift
Human Male, Ranger 10/Shadowdancer 2
Hit Points: 103
Armor Class 19, Flatfooted AC 19, Touch AC 15
Base Attack Bonus +10/+5, Melee Attack Bonus +12/+7, Ranged Attack Bonus +13/+8
Fortitude Save +10, Reflex Save +9 (+12), Will Save +5

Abilities: Strength 14, Dexterity 16, Constitution 16, Intelligence 11, Wisdom 14, Charisma 12

Skills: Animal Empathy 6, Balance 4, Climb 6, Handle Animal 3, Hide 12, Intuit Direction 4, Jump 4, Knowledge (Nature) 3, Listen 3, Move Silently 9, Perform (Flute) 5, Profession (Butcher) 3, Ride (Tiger) 5, Search 4, Spot 4, Swim 6, Use Rope 2, Wilderness Lore 7

Feats: Light and Medium Armor Proficiencies, Shield Proficiency, all Simple and Martial Weapon Proficiencies, Ranger Dual-Wielding, Track, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Hide in Plain Sight, Darkvision, Evasion, Uncanny Reflexes (always retains Dex bonus to AC), Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Endurance, Mobility, Improved Critical (Scimitar), Weapon Focus (Scimitar)

Favored Enemies: Animals (+3), Shapechangers (+2), Beasts (+1)

Animal Companions: Dusksaber (black tiger), Skyhunter (red-shouldered hawk)
Dusksaber Commands: Accept rider, come when called by name, come when called by flute, attack, fetch scimitars, fetch backpack, speak.
Skyhunter Commands: Hunt and fetch small prey, come when called by name, alight on shoulder, alight on gauntlet, attack, fetch boots.

1st Level Spells: Magic Fang, Pass without Trace
2nd Level Spells: Speak with Plants, Sleep

Equipment: Rimesaber (Scimitar +1, +1d6 Cold damage), Cindersaber (Scimitar +1, +1d6 Fire damage), Cuirboulli of the Pines (Leather Armor +2, Damage Resistance 10/- vs. Piercing damage, Damage Resistance 5/- vs. Bludgeoning damage, Damage Vulnerability +25% vs. Fire damage), Ring of Protection +2, Cloak of Elvenkind, Boots of Reflexes +3 (+3 to all Reflex Saves), Shortbow, 25 Arrows +2, 2 silver daggers, 2 Potions of Cure Serious Wounds, 1 Potion of Barkskin, 1 Potion of Expeditious Retreat, backpack, masterwork reed flute, Dusksaber's saddle and riding gear.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:52 am

Gustov inwardly felt a small sense of pride at his father's compliment, yet he also felt a bit ashamed that he let his emotions get the better of him.  So for now Gustov simply nodded and occupied himself with plans for the battle that would soon be upon them all.  His thoughts were soon interrupted as he and his father Lord Daarrovan were approached by the Generals Wiesedorf's and Reiherstadt.  Gustov had never met them personally but he knew who they were by the way they carried themselves.  They acted self-important, high and mighty, and always trying to look more important than they really were.  These thoughts were confirmed the moment General Reiherstadt spoke to his father.  After a few words Gustov watched as the general turned his attention toward him.

Reiherstadt turned his gaze aside with a scornful furrowing of his armored brow as Wiesedorf prodded his roan charger nearer, bowing his crook-nosed countenance and offering an open hand to Gustov in greeting, forcing a thin smile to his lips as he did.  "I regret that I know naught of you, Sir Gustov.  Mayhap we can amend this lack here.  Pray speak more of yourself and what you bring now to this eve of battle."

Gustov could see the contempt in the General’s eyes, and even a blind man could sense it emanating from the General as he offered his hand toward Gustov.  Gustov wasn’t quite sure if the contempt was directed at him personally or toward Bardsoylvnaia and the Ainsley line as a whole.  It was most likely a bit of both, but either way Gustov did not like him immediately.  More a military thinker than politician, Gustov knew that despite what he and the General thought of each other they needed each other.   His small force and that of his father’s would not be enough to defeat the Karkovins arrayed before them and the General despite all his disdain for the Ainsleys was smart enough to make use of seasoned warriors on the battlefield.  However that was not about to stop Gustov from seeing at least some of that contempt returned.  

Offering his gauntleted had in a formal greeting to the general, Gustov put on his best fake smile and spoke.  “Greetings General Reiherstadt.  I guess this is the part where family honor demands that I hurl an insult your way.  I have more important things to do instead of sitting here looking over the battlefield trying to look important.  You want to me to speak of myself. I will tell all you need to know about me.”

At that moment Gustov raised his warhammer slightly above his head and spoke in a firm tone.  “This is my voice!”

Pointing with his hammer to his soldiers lined up behind him, “They will amplify my voice for all to hear!”

Lowering his hammer Gustov pointed to the fields of Zelezo Ford, “And over there, the Karkovins will hear my voice the loudest.  THAT General is all you need to know about Sir Gustov Ainsley. Now if you’ll excuse me General I have a battle to prepare for and forces to deploy. Good Day Sir.”  

Gustov did not wait to see the look on the general’s face as he wheeled his mount about and began to ride toward the battlefield.  He could only imagine the look on the general’s face as he turned away, but it didn’t take a mind reader to know that the look wasn’t a pleasant one.  

Silently Gustov’s Lieutenant, Hanzel the Dark, pulled his mount beside Gustov’s awaiting orders.  Quiet for now, Gustov knew Hanzel well enough to know that once the battle began he would become a loud, whirling instrument of death.  Too often a person had confused Hanzel’s quiet demeanor with that of one who could be easily defeated, however once weapons were drawn they quickly realized the depth of their mistake.  This was one the reasons that Gustov found a kinship with Hanzel.  Another was that they both shared the same belief in Hextor god of Tyranny and Strife.  For it was Hanzel that first introduced Gustov to the ways of Hextor and ever since then had become a mentor of sorts on Gustov’s spiritual journey.

“Hanzel my friend,” Gustov said with a friendly tone, “Deploy the men over there (see questions below).  I feel that is the best place for our forces considering all things.  Hextor be with us on this day.”



(OCC:  Hazel the Dark will be Gustov’s basic entrance into the faith of Hextor.  We will come up with the rest of the back story later for his blackguard transformation. Exact deployment of forces will follow in a few days but first a question.  How big is one gird?  Can I fit all of Gustov’s forces in one grid or is it one unit per grid? I also need to know exactly what a Black-Guard can do.  Hanzel may be in the back for the moment, but there were be a time when his magics and steel will be needed, therefore I need to know his stats and spells to utilize him correctly.  By the way Golden Drakon I still posted before you.  I WIN)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   Fri Apr 03, 2015 7:07 am

(Couldn’t wait for your reply so I posted more of Gustov's stuff.)

(OCC:  (()) equals the gird coordinates or position in relation to the other units.  I will edit those with exact info once you have answered the questions from Gustov’s previous post.  The enemy is not show on the map and knowing where they are would be helpful in deploying forces.  Is that an oversight or does Gustov not know where they are?)

In a loud deep voice that was the opposite of his previously quiet self, Hanzl began giving commands to the soldiers and other warriors that Gustov  assembled.  Hanzel’s commands were quickly echoed by each unit’s respective leaders.  All of the warriors here had some level of combat experience and they quickly fell into line as they marched toward their assigned positions.  As he watched each unit leader take charge, Gustov received a sense of confirmation that he had chosen the right sergeants for the job.

Hans sergeant of the infantry unit called The Blood Hammers and Franz sergeant of the archery unit with the name The Blood Rain were the leaders that would serve as an extension of Gustov’s will on the battlefield .  So close in stature, looks, and name that at a glance most people would assume that they were brothers or at the very least relatives of some kind.  That is where the similarities ended as each man shared no relation with the other and both men had different upbringings.  Hans was a career soldier and had joined the armies of Bardosylvania at the young age of 17.  Franz was a farm boy who initially learned to use a bow to hunt, but after being drafted into service and his skill with the bow became known, he was offered the chance remain in the army to lead and teach others.  Despite the different paths that led them here today, Gustov did not doubt their loyalty to their homeland of Bardosylvania.  

Starkard the Swift was the only member of the command structure that Gustov had not chosen personally.  He had been assigned by Gustov’s father.  As Gustov was putting together his forces for the battle, Lord Daarrovan Ainsley felt that Gustov needed a more seasoned ranger to lead the unit that would be called The Blood Hunters.  The person he chose for this task was Starkard the Swift Ranger/ Shadow dancer extraordinaire.  At first Gustov did not like the idea of Starkard leading his rangers into battle.   He wanted to be the one to choose his own commanders to prove his worth on the battlefield and a heated discussion with his father soon followed.  Upset over the situation Gustov eventually gave into his father’s persistence, yet Lord Daarrovan was wise enough to know that that Starkard’s skill and experience would be a valuable asset on the battlefield.  Gustov had started to warm up to the idea of Starkard leading one of his units once he saw Starkard skill in their earlier fight with the Karkovin forces.

After a short march Gustov’s warriors reached their assigned positons on the field (()).  In a deep baritone voice Hanzel the Dark turned to Gustov, “The men are assembled and await you commands Sir Ainsley.”

Sitting astride his mount Kampfer, Gustov slowly rode back and forth in front of his men as he looked them over.  After a quick inspection he took a deep breath and projected his voice for all assembled to hear.  “Warriors of Bardosylvania you stand here today ready to fight.  Not only do you fight for the Eternal Empire, but for our home country of Bardosylvania.  Each of you brings a different strength with you today and it those strengths that will carry us in the fight before us.  I have just come from speaking with General Reiherstadt and he does not speak highly of our fighting prowess.   We will prove him wrong on the battlefield with our arrows and steel leaving many a Karkovin dead in our path.”   Pausing to take a breath Gustov began to address each unit individually.

From his mount Gustov first addressed Hans and  The Blood Hammers. “You are The Blood Hammers.  Steadfast and strong as iron.  For strength is your greatest gift and it is that strength that will smash our enemies to bits.  Of my warriors you have the honor of being the first into combat this day.”

Next he turned to address Franz and The Blood Rain.  “You are The Blood Rain.  Swift, agile and keen of sight.  Just like the rain that falls from the sky, so too will your arrows fall bringing death to our enemies.”

Finally he turned to Starkard the Swift and The Blood Hunters.  “The Blood Hunters are the name you have been given.  Silently you stalk the battlefield waiting for your moment to strike.  When that moment arrives you will strike with precision leaving many a body in your wake.”  

“Gentlemen to your positions and LETS SHOW THE WORLD WHAT BARDOSYLVANIAS ARE MADE OF!!!"

After speaking to each unit Gustov ordered his commanders near him to go over his final battle plans.  “Hans, line the Hammers up in the center.  They are the core unit and will see the heaviest fighting.  Franz I want the Rain to our (()).  Keep on your toes and use your agility to move as the Hammers move.  Use your moon witches to help conceal your firing positon.  Starkard, line the Hunters up on our (()) flank slightly behind.  Be prepared to move quickly for when the opportunity to strike arises I will need you to lead your men to take advantage. “

“Hanzel I will lead from the front and join the Hammers in first combat, so for now you are to stay in the rear and direct the other units. In time I will return to the rear to make adjustments as necessary. Do not worry my friend your steel will draw blood soon enough.  Gather your magics for they will be needed before this day is done.  Good luck Gents.”

(Forces go their positions and Gutov awaits the command for battle)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel   

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Chapter Zero: The Song of Blood and Steel
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