Gold & Glory
by Tim Beach
- Chapter 1: Mercenaries in the Realms
- Chapter 2: Standing Companies
- Chapter 3: Nonhuman Companies
- Chapter 4: Regional Companies
- Chapter 5: Specialists
- Chapter 6: Retired Companies
- Chapter 7: Recruiters
- Chapter 8: Adventuring Companies
- Chapter 9: Current Events
- Index of Mercenary Companies by Region
Chapter 7: Recruiters
As mentioned earlier, only some companies stay together at all times; others are formed only when the need arises. This chapter offers information on several of the better-known mercenary recruiters in the Realms.
Some recruiters are simply agents, who put mercenaries into contact with prospective employers, either in small numbers or in large groups. Other recruiters build a mercenary band which they lead into battle.
Recruiters are likely to interact with adventurers. When building a company, they often have a certain composition in mind for the corps; if a PC in the campaign meets the requirements, a mercenary recruiter may try to hire the PC. Other recruiters may simply need as many people as they can get, quick.
Not all recruiters are scrupulous. Though most of the individuals covered in this chapter try to hire mercenaries by honest and legal means, there are others who recruit by kidnapping.
The Famous and the Infamous
Though the famed recruiters of the Realms have preferred operating areas, those who actually lead companies into battle will usually travel to almost any location. For this reason, recruiters are not mentioned in the index or placed on the reference map. They and their bands can show up almost anywhere.
Since these are not companies in the sense used elsewhere in this book, the format for presentation differs, focusing on the personalities of the individual recruiters and leaders.
The secret owner of the Bowels of the Earth Tavern in Waterdeep, Blazidon One-Eye acts as an agent for sellswords in Waterdeep. For a small fee, he will help individual mercenaries (or small groups) contact prospective employers.
It has been a number of years since Blazidon went into the field, and he does not recruit large groups. However, he keeps an eye on the happenings in Waterdeep, and he knows where to find mercenaries. Blazidon may be able to put employers in touch with many individuals, or find employment for a group of adventurers.
Further description of Blazidon can be found in FR1, Waterdeep and the North.
Daria the Hammer
A half-elven 10th-level mage/9th-level fighter, Daria is also a moderately wealthy merchant in Waterdeep. Suspected by some to be one of the mysterious Lords of Waterdeep, she is the best-known mercenary recruiter in the City of Splendors.
Once hired for a job, Daria contacts her regulars and puts out word that she is building a company. She often works with Blazidon One-Eye and Filiare (see individual entries) to find mercenaries of a certain type, when special units are desired by her employer.
Daria prefers to lead her company in the field, and she is quite good at strategies and tactics. She is capable of supervising almost any type of unit, from underwater cavalry to normal pikemen to magical artillery.
Daria is known for gaining lucrative deals for her recruits, who receive shares according to experience. Unless the employer wishes otherwise, recruits must bring their own equipment.
This cunning and charismatic fighter (8th-level) recruits from his home in Arrabar, Chondath. He employs a number of messengers who spread the word when he is hired for a job.
Most of the people he recruits come from a body of faithful veterans, but he is always willing to look at new recruits as well. He forms recruits into a company he calls the Will of Enhanen.
Enhanen can raise a body of 100-200 warriors (all infantry) within a day or two of being contacted. Though recruits are asked to bring their own equipment, Enhanen does keep a rather large arsenal that holds several of the more commonly used weapons.
Enhanen used to be more interested in glory and fame than anything else, and he traveled for a time with a semi-permanent company. After too many battles, the thrill has mostly worn off, and Enhanen sees warfare as simply a job at which he happens to be good.
Another Waterdhavian tavern owner, Filiare is Blazidon's major competitor in the recruitment of individual hireswords or small groups.
This jovial former mercenary welcomes mercenaries in his tavern. If an employer needs a few mercenaries in a hurry, Filiare can usually recruit 20-30 within a few minutes.
Like Blazidon, Filiare never leads a force into the field. However, Filiare happily takes part in strategy sessions for a small fee (10 gp per session).
Most of Filiare's recruits have their own weapons, but Filiare does keep a large stockpile of used weapons at his tavern, the Dripping Dagger.
Filiare is quite friendly with Blazidon.
Goran of Tethyr
One of the best-known recruiters in Tethyr, Goran is a 12th-level fighter. He has a small permanent staff of six fighters and thieves who help him build mercenary units.
When an employer contracts Goran to build a mercenary company (for a fee of 1 gp per recruit), the warrior starts by advertising (posting bills, hiring criers, and so forth). If the response is not quick enough, Goran has been known to send his assistants out on a special mission in the waterfront taverns of Zazesspur and other ports along the coast of Tethyr, Calimshan, and Amn. Though he treats conscripts well and even pays them, Goran is very adamant about keeping them with the company. Those who escape earn Goran's anger, and if he has his way, his revenge.
Goran is mostly apolitical, caring little about who eventually runs Tethyr. He does, however, bear ill-will toward some of the cities of Tethyr (notably Ithmong) for failing to pay him promptly.
Goran will form three types of units for his employers: infantry, cavalry, and archers. Goran's infantry is generally irregular and somewhat disorganized, though if time permits, he will train them-a little. The cavalry tends to be more disciplined, not because of Goran's efforts, but because of some qualified officers who work as mercenaries in Tethyr. Archer units vary widely in quality; Goran knows nothing about them other than where they should go and whom they should shoot, so the quality of the unit is totally dependent on the quality of the recruits.
There are very few veterans who feel loyalty to Goran, so his companies tend to be fairly inexperienced.
Marius the Valiant
Marius, a 15th-level fighter, was a gladiator in arenas in the Old Empires and around the Vilhon Reach. He eventually led a slave revolt on an obscure island in the southern Sea of Fallen Stars. He and many of the slaves who revolted with him formed a mercenary band, the Free.
The Free operated along the coasts of the Sea of Fallen Stars for many years until they found a small city-state that offered them a home as well as a job.
All but Marius settled down at that time. He felt he should remain fighting, doing what he could to free other slaves in the region. Now, Marius maintains a headquarters in Alaghon, Turmish.
For a fee of 100 gp, Marius will recruit a corps of infantry for an employer with whom he agrees about politics. He gathers the recruits at a prearranged meeting spot of the employer's choice, reviews them, and selects the best among them.
Marius is an expert tactician, a master of many weapons, and a magnificent trainer. Within a month of being contacted (he refuses to work quicker), Marius will build a crack unit for his employer.
Though Marius is best with light infantry units (particularly swords), he is also quite adept at building, training, and supervising units of scouts, ambushers, pikes, and archers. He will gather a cavalry unit if the employer will provide good, trained horses.
Marius has never lost a battle, either in the arena or on the battlefield. Though he has a stringent code of honor and expects his employers to follow it as well, and despite his fighting to free any slaves he happens to see, he is well worth any inconvenience.
The Mercenaries' Guild of Westgate
The Guild is a group of recruiters led by three men and two women, all of whom sometimes take the field. For troops, the Guild recruits mostly warriors, levels 2-4. The Guild also locates duelists for private quarrels.
In a city full of mercenaries, the Mercenaries' Guild thrives by recruiting primarily from the proud merchant families. Locally famous as a group of ne'er-dowells and wastrels, the Guild is also known for its brave and skillful recruits. Though the company has a core of veteran recruits, new members are added with every job.
The Guild operates exclusively in the Heartlands of the Realms. It began by rooting out pirates along the coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Later, it fought orcish bandits in the Hullack Forest between Highmoon and Arabel. Later, they fought with the Dalefolk when Lashan made his bid for hegemony.
The guild leader and founder, Palla the Light, is a 14th-level enchantress who began the operation as a way to cajole bored and disaffected members of the Guldar merchant family out of the city so they could make a name for themselves. Detractors claim she uses magic to recruit her troops so quickly, but, in fact, the Guild's lieutenants and their skillful propaganda deserve the credit (or blame) for filling the ranks.
Varen Malavhan, a 9th-level bard, is the guild's chief recruiting and propaganda officer and its treasurer; he makes offers and distributes shares from the payroll. His flair for selling the glory of the company (and his shameless compositions extolling its triumphs) are largely responsible for the company's reputation. He is a slender, blond fellow who carries a long rapier, and he sports a very neat small beard. His family has long since given up apologizing for his unmerchantlike behavior.
Varen always joins the recruits in the field; his songs and exhortations have helped the Guild carry the day more than once. His saga of "The Battle of the Yellow Eye Orcs" was a triumph of propaganda in the taverns and made the company's name, but it also annoyed the Urdo family, whose symbol is a yellow eye; they took his song as a personal slight. Varen rarely sings publicly in Westgate anymore; he uses a network of bards, fighters, and priests to help him recruit, in exchange for a bounty on each person they enlist.
Sehlmari "the Lucky" Ssemm, a 5th level priestess of Tymora, is the morale officer and quartermaster. She generally travels a day ahead of the troops with a platoon to buy, gather, or commandeer food, drink, and other necessities. Her ability to haggle-and her knack for scrounging up enough to get by-are legendary among the troops, as is her sense of humor and her talent with loaded dice. She is always with the recruits, but rarely leads them.
Mannin the Stout and Losifan Urdo are the field commanders, both 7th-level fighters specialized in their weapons and scarred from their days as duelists. They started as Guild recruits, but impressed Palla enough to be taken on permanently. Mannin has craggy, clean-shaven features and carries a huge double-bitted axe. He is very muscular, with short black hair. Mannin is a pragmatic and harsh commander.
Losifan is a bit of a dandy, with his small goatee, long blond hair, loose, flowing clothes, and his tastefully decorated longsword, a family heirloom. He is a member of the Urdo trading family. Mannin and Losifan are responsible for discipline and training.
Duelling among the troops is discouraged and punished, but is linked to the rivalries between the merchant families that many of the Guild's recruits come from.
The Mercenaries Guild of Westgate is very proud of its independence from any particular merchant's interests. They are active against bandits who loot caravans, but, for reasons of professional pride and propaganda, they refuse to raise troops for caravan guard contracts. This drives their families to distraction.
The Guild prefers to lead cavalry attacks, riding to the fore where danger and glory abound. Their charges are generally carried by their élan and prowess. When a charge collapses, it is usually due to poor discipline, high spirits, and insufficient coordination; many Guild charges have been premature. Given enough time to train their recruits, the Guild curbs this tendency to charge first and think later.
The Guild recruiters provide light warhorses, swords, and light lances for the recruits. Armor varies from plate mail to studded leather; the Guild requires volunteers to bring their own.
The Guild uniform is a dark gray cloak, generally worn off the shoulder, a violet shirt with open collar, and dark blue trousers. Fashion counts, since recruits are often younger sons and daughters of the merchant nobility. Veteran recruits, male and female alike, soon affect a long braid of hair hanging from their left temples.
A troop of 100 2nd level dragoons costs 250 gp a week; costs go up from there, and if Palla's help is needed, the cost doubles.
The Order of the Blue Boar
It is said that anything can be purchased in Amn, and that includes mercenaries. The best and most famous mercenary recruiters in Amn belong to the Order of the Blue Boar.
The Blue Boars were once headquartered at Castle Spulzeer, but moved out several years ago when the Spulzeer family began to fall apart (see FR3, Empires of the Sands for more information). The leaders of the Order-the seven "Boar's Heads" -now operate from the sprawling Castle Blue just outside of Riatavin.
The Boar's Heads approve the membership of "Swords" in the Order; they can also expel them at will for unprofessional conduct. About 400 Swords-all wealthy, experienced veterans-belong to the Order, spread throughout the cities of Amn, Calimshan, Tethyr, and the Sword Coast. Though all the Boar's Heads are male, a few of the Swords are women.
Employers seeking the aid of the Blue Boars must apply in person at their Amnish headquarters. The council of Boar's Heads decides whether or not to accept the job. If they do accept, they inform the Swords, who may then apply to take part in the operation.
Based on the employer's offer, the Boar's Heads determine how many soldiers and leaders are needed for a job, then review the applicants from the Swords. If there are too many applicants for a given job, membership seniority determines who gets the job.
Each participating member receives a share of the bounty. They can take part in the mission alone, or involve as many assistants or substitutes as they want, including non-member wizards, warriors, and even monsters, though they are responsible for the actions of their hirelings. Some members always use hirelings, being disabled or too old to participate in battle themselves.
The Order will take almost any job that they do not find morally repugnant. They ask for relatively high fees (5 gp per Sword per day, plus a finder's fee of 700 gp initially, payable to the council of Boar's Heads).
The Order of the Blue Boar has considered retaking Castle Spulzeer, and they have complete plans ready for implementation the moment someone offers to pay them for doing it.
The badge of the Order, worn only by the Boar's Heads and the Swords, is a grizzled, razorback boar, rampant on a red, russet, or silver field. The standard uniform of the Order of the Blue Boar is a dark blue shirt with gold buttons and a stiff collar, dark blue trousers, and black, calf-high boots.
What follows are descriptions of the Boar's Heads and their functions in order of seniority. All these men are lawful neutral human fighters. Kits are given for those DMs who use The Complete Fighter's Handbook.
Ristamar Rhaal is a 10th-level noble warrior, a distinguished-looking man in his 40s. He is the chairman of the council of Boar's Heads and the owner of Castle Blue. Ristamar is very dignified, but is not without a sense of humor.
Besides leading the council, Ristamar negotiates contracts with major governments, because his noble heritage gives him an advantage in dealing with other leaders. He is a charismatic warrior known for the tournaments and parties he regularly sponsors.
Lord Rhaal occasionally dons a suit of full plate armor and leads a company of cavalry into battle.
Ghont Tavvas, a 10th-level noble warrior, is the oldest Boar's Head, almost 90 years old. Once a great warrior, he led infantry companies into major engagements. Now, he sits on the council and offers strategic advice, but always hires substitutes to lead his recruits in the field.
Ghont is very dignified and is rarely seen out of uniform. Though he is now frail and well past his prime, his mind is sharp and he is quite proud.
Lord Tavvas is distantly related to the former ruling family of Tethyr, a secret known only to a few. He was exiled from that country, and mostly forgotten, nearly 70 years ago after participating in one of the brief wars of succession.
Sinmom Thul, a 10th-level myrmidon, is a large man with brown hair and a bushy mustache. The third son of a wealthy Amnish merchant, Sinmon had to make his own fortune.
Sinmon became a mercenary, leading a company of cavalry that gained fame along the Sword Coast. Since making his fortune and joining the Order, Sinmon has put on some weight. A tactical genius, he sometimes supervises field operations, but he rarely leads a cavalry charge any more.
Sinmon is uncomfortable with the trappings of nobility and rarely wears a uniform. He sees the bureaucracy of the council as an unnecessary waste of time.
Bromdurr Tathen is a 13th-level peasant hero. Now in his early 40s, Bromdurr gained fame in his youth by helping defend his home of Memnon (in Calimshan) from pirates. He later helped start Calimshan's navy.
Bromdurr is an expert at both naval operations and anti-naval defenses. He still owns a ship and will happily take to the sea in any naval assault.
As a "hero of the common man," Bromdurr is also very adept at turning peasants, farmers, and urban mobs into effective fighting forces.
Thantan Rhyrdyl, a 13th-level cavalier, is the consummate battlefield leader. This charismatic fellow is an experienced cavalry officer, but is able to get the best effort from any unit.
Off the field, Thantan comes across as somewhat stiff and arrogant. From another wealthy Amnish merchant family, Thantan formed a well-armed and armored cavalry company in his youth and left to seek thrills and fame. Though disappointed in him, his family still acknowledges him as a member.
Samoth Dier, an 11th-level myrmidon, is tall, muscular, and dark-complected. A recent addition to the Boar's Heads, he replaced Gaurundur Thasz after that fighter died fighting in Tethyr.
This Waterdhavian is a master artillerist and an expert at leading missile units. He prefers to take part in field actions, and usually dresses in his field gear. First and foremost a soldier, Samoth is very confident in his abilities.
Samoth serves as chief logistics officer for the Order. He constantly keeps track of supplies and soldiers, and establishes caches and supply lines for most of the Order's operations.
Cullen Salgoud, the swashbuckler of the group, is an 11th-level fighter. He joined the Boar's Heads to replace for Dustar Klathor, slain in the Horde Wars.
Cullen is charismatic and sarcastic, the most flamboyant of the Boar's Heads. He wears his hair, goatee, and mustache very neat, and usually refuses to wear the Order's uniform.
Cullen is an authority on scouting and spying missions, and he directs overall intelligence gathering for the Order. He is secretly a member of the Masquerade.
Cullen has an uncanny sense for whether someone is lying or not, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.