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General Organisation of the Order -- 7. Gear & Identification

by Bruce Heard


Archer/Crossbowman: leather armour, dagger, short sword, long bow or heavy crossbow, hatchet.
Pikeman: leather armour, buckler, short sword, dagger, 12ft pike.
Man-at-Arms: plate mail, battle axe or bastard sword, dagger.
Sergeant: plate mail, battle axe or bastard sword, dagger, one medium war horse, unarmoured.
Squire: leather armour, shield, bastard sword, dagger, 12ft pike, one light war horse, unarmoured.
Knights and Priests: plate armour; shield, lance, and depending on skills, horseman's mace, war hammer, bastard or two-handed sword, dagger. Knights and priests always have three heavy war horses and a set of plate barding.
Simbasta: Simbasta are entitled to their ancestral weapons (spears or javelins, cowhide shield).

Clothing and Identification

Lay brethren and novice priests normally wear a brown surcoat. Sergeants and squires also wear a patch sewn on the upper left of the chest displaying a white shield with a black lion rampant. Knights wear a white tabard with a large lion rampant; their mounts normally have matching trappings. Priests wear black robes or surcoats and, around their neck, a silver chain with a lion-shaped medallion. Etched inside the medallion is either a heart supporting a flame, a hammer, or a star, indicating the priest's branch. Priests serving in the military in other functions than the Hammer, wear the knights' attire. All shields used in the Order are white with the black lion rampant. Simbasta wear their normal ethnic clothing plus blankets or furs in the colder climes of the metropolitan Heldannic Territories.

Armour and weaponry appearance varies little with the geographic location of a garrison. Troops always carry some markings to identify their original garrisons. For infantry, they consist of a coloured armband on the soldier's weapon-bearing arm, indicating the province of origin. If the unit is from another town or village than the capital of the province, three ribbons hang from the armband, their colour indicating the town or village. If the unit is from a rural garrison, such as lone tower, a commanderie, or a remote abbey, a specific metal token is fastened to the armband. The armband colours are:

Freiburg: black only
Vanya's Rest: white only
Heldland: blue & white
Altendorf: black & white
Hockstein: red & white
Grauenberg: green & white
Oceansend: purple & white
Oostdok: orange only
Stonehaven: brown & yellow

For example, a black armband indicates troops from the Great Fortress in Freiburg. If ribbons are present, their colour indicates instead a specific village within Province of Freiburg. If the armband bears a metal token, it would indicate a specific commanderie near that village. In some cases, there could be just the armband and its token, indicating a commanderie near the city of Freiburg itself (whichever is the closest).

Cavalry markings appear instead on pennoncelles flying at the tip of the knights' lances. Pennoncelles show the province of origin. Ribbons (if any) are attached to the lances while tokens become metal rings fastened to the lances (lances are generally white). Tokens traditionally include a lion, a star (horseman's spur), an acorn, a clover, a sun, a moon, a rose, a thistle, (etc.), in order of importance or proximity to the closest urban centre.

Vaward, Main Battle, and Rearward always display a square standard, at least six foot large, which remains unfurled during the entire length of a campaign. The main battle's standard displays the black lion rampant over a white field. The vaward's standard is identical, but with a black border. The rearward's standard displays instead a white lion rampant over a black field with a white border. Army standards are permanently blessed in a way that bestows a +2 bonus to the morale ratings of Heldannic troops within 100 yard radius. They are impervious to darkness, continual darkness, as well as normal and magical fires. Upon command, they can radiate a continual light (at will) and dispel fog and smoke once a week within 100 yard radius.

A three-foot, square banner marks the position of a Chapter commander. A banner displays the usual black lion over a white field with its border indicating the commander's province of origin (the assigned garrison), along with any ribbons and tokens. For example, if the Chapter commander is from the commanderie closest to Hockstein, the banner's border would be red and white with a lion-embossed token circling the banner pole. Banners are blessed so all Heldannic troops fighting within 30 yards do so with a +1 bonus to hit.

Companies and lances follow a Knight Bachelor's pennon. A single tail pennon is generally attributed to a secular knight, while a commanding priest would carry a double-tail pennon. Pennons are two to three feet long and a foot wide. A pennon is either black or white (without the lion), and shows the commander's place of origin much like Chapter banners do. With ritual prayers by their pennons prior to a battle, commanders receive a temporary +1 Experience Level. In a cavalry unit, it is generally considered bad form for other knights not to join in their commander's prayer. The bonus remains until the end of the battle, or until the pennon is either destroyed or captured by enemy forces.

It is a sign of honour for a warrior to carry a banner or a pennon. Only Sergeants-at-Arms normally carry army standards. For some of the more liberal and colourful Chapter commanders (especially those who served in Davania), it's become increasingly fashionable to use Simbasta as standard-bearers, causing occasional grumbling on the part of some subordinate commanders.

Troops of various types often come from many different garrisons and are reassigned when an army is formed. They are attached to Chapters and companies according to their types so they can be used more effectively. For example, retinues from several different garrisons each include cavalry, infantry, and archers. Cavalry may be regrouped into one single Chapter in the Main Battle, while the infantry and archers are regrouped into several Chapters in the Main Battle, Vaward, and Rearward. The use of garrison markings and banners becomes crucial to control fighting units before and during battle. Unit commanders must know their commanders and their colours.