Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

The Warband

by James Ruhland

Leader: Vishnap ul Ullani (Sindhi male Avenger)

Lieutenant: Lokrig Uthantor (Denagothian male Avenger)

Heroes: 2 Avengers, 6 Clerics, 6 Mages.

Composition: Roughly 40% of The Warband is human, 40% is Orcish, 20% is Gnoll.

Of the humans, about 60% are cavalry, split between heavily armed lancers and lighter skirmishers/horse archers - armed with big ugly morningstars or battleaxes, as well as short bows (specialised). The lancers wear plate mail and carry kite shields. The skirmishers wear studded leather and strap bucklers to their forearms (in a way that allows them to still use their bows, though they don't get the benefit of the buckler when firing them). Some few of both the lancers and skirmishers (about 20% of each) use crossbows (instead of shortbows in the case of the skirmishers - in that case they specialise in crossbow).

The Orcs (almost all tough Orc Guard types) form the heavy footmen, armed with javelins (for throwing at approaching enemies) and halberds (specialised). They wear chain mail.

The Gnolls use wicked longbows (specialised) to great effect, and typically form up in loose order between the units of orcs. The cavalry is on the wings (light/skirmishers) or in reserve for the decisive charge. Mages often use massmorph spells to disguise the location of part of the Warband, so it can strike with surprise on an enemy's flank. Illusions and disguises are often used to mask their movement through enemy land, making them appear as something other than an invading warband (a merchant caravan, friendly troops, a band of refugees, etc).

The Warband travels with a large group of camp followers, including goblin servants (little more than slaves, actually, but most employers in lands where slavery is technically outlawed look the other way in this case - after all, they're only goblins). These camp followers perform the scut work, take care of the baggage, and guard the camp during battles (even the goblins. . .after that last time when they didn't show enthusiasm for the job, they've been more diligent).

The skirmishers also perform the duty of scouting and reconnaissance for The Warband, and are very good at it.

You might think that because of its leadership and composition, The Warband only hires on with less selective nations. But this is far from the case. The Warband has been hired by a wide variety of rulers for the simple reason that they suit their purpose - they perform the task they are hired for, which is dispatching enemy troops.

The Warband is most adept in infiltrating the enemy's rear, striking at their supply lines (pillaging and looting is a favourite hobby), and thus forcing an enemy to tie down troops in garrison duty, chasing The Warband around the countryside. This allows the ruler who hired them to concentrate his (or her) regulars on engaging the enemy army. Many a ruler who is on the defensive, facing a large enemy invasion force, has turned to The Warband as a way to slow down the advance of their foe - by forcing them to divert troops to their own rear, it makes it easier to counter-attack.

Though The Warband is burdened with a lot of heavy troops and a fairly large baggage train, they can move unusually swiftly when they need to, and are very adept at evading forces they'd rather not fight and striking swiftly at easy targets (small patrols, etc.)

N.B. - I have left the levels of The Warband's leaders unspecified, as well as the total number of troops. You should vary these depending on the needs of your campaign. As a guideline, Vishnap ul Ullani should be around 15th - 18th level, Lokrig Uthantor about 2-3 levels below that, and the other "Heroes" between 9th -12th level. The Warband can be anywhere from 250 - 500 troops total, more if you need it to be, but probably no more than 1,000 (though, in special circumstances, the Clerics & Mages can "spontaneously generate" reinforcements via the usual necromantic spell.)

The Warband is also very good at recruiting and replacing losses (Vishnap ul Ullani should be considered to have a Cha of 18) - on campaign they actually tend to pick up new troops faster than they lose them (booty & beguilement) - it is when they are "between jobs" that they tend to suffer attrition (fights break out in camp, ul Ullani has troublemakers executed, or Lokrig Uthantor just picks someone for the sport of it to relieve the ennui and finds an excuse to dispatch him in a duel, etc). They can be hard on their camp followers, as well, especially the "traditional" sort that hangs around bands like this - thus the need to campaign to recruit more of these as well, to replace the ones that they "wear out."

Yes, not a nice group. But very effective. And thus they are rarely without work for long.