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 4: Regional Companies
This chapter covers mercenary companies that originated in areas other than Faerûn, or in little-known and culturally unique areas of the continent. None of the corps presented in the next few pages are medieval and western European in feel.
The corps in this chapter offer DMs an opportunity to introduce other cultures to players, but be warned: these entries are very brief. To give the players a real feel for an encounter with members of another culture, DMs will need to do some independent research.
One difference is especially notable in the companies of this chapter: the motivations for formation. Some companies formed for a specific task, while others began as an exploratory mission, and still others became mercenary groups and traveled to Faerûn because of the promise of better conditions than they faced at home.
Whatever the reason, these companies are generally less concerned with the primary motivations of gold and glory. This is not to say that companies from other regions are never inspired by such things; these samples are simply presented as a contrast to the standard companies of the Realms.
Several of the entries in this chapter appear in abbreviated format.
|Base||the Elven Wood near Elmwood|
|Current Sphere(s) of Operation||The Dalelands and the Stonelands|
|Leaders||Nkonzi and Kwanza|
|Number of Members||90|
History: This company of black men and women is a brotherhood of warriors sworn to defend one another to the death. Membership is open only to fighting couples; man and wife join at the same time and fight in pairs. Two small rows of diamond-shaped ritual scars on the scalp signify initiation.
The current leaders are Nkonzi Maru, an 11th-level ranger specialized in the spear, and her husband Kwanza Maru, a 9th-level priest of the snake god that is the Anaconda's patron deity. The troops are mostly 3rd-level warriors with concealment and tracking skills.
The origins of the Anaconda warrior society are lost, even to Nkonzi. Their culture is sophisticated but insular, and their language and rituals are never shared with outsiders. Their homeland is an island far to the southwest. Persistent rumors of weretigers among the Anaconda ranks have never been confirmed or denied.
They use poison when outnumbered, but only under a strict code. Only missile weapons may be poisoned, and only one member of a pair may use them.
Strategies and Tactics: The Anaconda take any paying job, but their pay scale always reflects the amount of trouble they expect. Rumors place them as taking jobs both protecting and looting caravans in the Dalelands as well as fighting both with and against the goblinoids of the Stonelands. Their enemies claim they occasionally work for the Zhentarim; as on many subjects, they have no comment.
The Anaconda excel as irregular troops and advance scouts, harassing and withdrawing or setting ambushes. Their ambushes frequently take place by night and involve poisoned blowgun darts. Kwanza can mix a potion that mimics infravision, allowing the Anaconda to operate at night.
In large battles or when on caravan duty they employ Blanka, their elephant mascot, as a rallying point. Nkonzi sometimes has other animal companions as well, including a brace of hawks and a white tiger. The Anaconda's ability to speak an obscure language makes the use of codes unnecessary in battle.
Personality: The Anaconda is a closed group, unwilling to admit outsiders into their confidence. They have a calculating approach to their work; they resent every loss they take, and employers who seek to place them in unnecessary jeopardy often find themselves facing a blood feud carried on by the entire company. However, they never back out of a contract; even if it costs them a dozen pairs of fighters, they finish the job. As soon as their contract expires, however, their employer had better have hired some new help - the Anaconda will destroy everything they just finished defending if their services were under-appreciated.
Logistics: The Anaconda travels light; members use scimitars, spears, hand axes, and javelins, and a third of them carry blowguns. They wear hides or leather armor and carry shields.
The basic cost to retain the Anaconda is 120 gp per week but can go to as much as 400 gp for night raids and long-range reconnaissance.
|Current Sphere(s) of Operation||Chessenta|
|Number of Members||181|
|General Alignment||Lawful neutral|
History: Inspired by western contact during the Horde Wars, this corps is learning about Realms cultures and hopes to report back to Kara-Tur. It contains 60 heavy infantry, 60 medium calvary, and 60 mounted archers.
The samurai Noro Amoto, a 10th-level fighter, raised the Bushido to defend the lands of Kara-Tur against the Horde. After fighting well, his men kept marching west.
Noro is choosy about commissions and accepts only honorable work. In battle, Noro prefers to deploy his footmen in strong set positions for foes to break themselves against while the archers harry them. The cavalry are saved for the final blow or to cover a withdrawal. Hard-riding messengers convey orders from Noro to his three lieutenants.
Noro rules with a firm hand; all decisions are his. The company always abides by the code of bushido. They never loot the dead. Transient, they make few attachments, and are curious about both customs and military skill. They have had two inconclusive run-ins with the Renegades.
Bushido is well armed. The archers carry short composite bows and short swords, and wear leather armor. The footmen bear spears and wear brigandine armor. The cavalry has katanas, lances, and banded mail.
The cost of the corps is 700 gp a week.
The Jaguar Guard
|Base||Myratma in Tethyr|
|Current Sphere(s) of Operation||Tethyr|
|Number of Members||72|
History: The Jaguar Guards are from Maztica (see the Golden Legion entry).
Each member of the company is a Jaguar Knight from the city-state of Kultaka. Jaguar Knights are part of an elite order, a brotherhood that served as leaders for Maztican armies. They are recognizable by their distinctive jaguar skin armor.
Kultakan warriors helped the Golden Legion conquer the great nation of Nexal. Many of them did not realize their entire continent had been opened to the people of Faerûn. Later, when things quieted a bit, the leaders of Kultaka decided to learn about the newcomers by sending a group across the seas to Faerûn.
The decision was aided by the presence of a merchant from Myratma, a port city in Tethyr. This fellow, Gar Hollan, offered transportation to Faerûn and glorious battle when they arrived.
The Jaguar Guard has been active in skirmishes in Tethyr, where they have lost a few men. They will probably become more active in the future, either as elite skirmishers or as leaders of other military units.
Each Jaguar Guard is a 5th-level warrior, except their leader, who is a 10th-level fighter. Miquiztl Manik has hopes that he and his company can claim some land in Faerûn, to which they can bring family and friends.
The Jaguar Knight kit is fully described in the Maztica boxed set. If that reference is unavailable, use the following abilities for these characters: they can transform into jaguars at will and may cast one spell per day, talonblade, which allows them to give a stone weapon a +3 enchantment for a period of one hour.
Strategies and Tactics: The Jaguar Guard currently has an exclusive contract with the council of Myratma, and accepts almost any combat duty. They will not engage in needless slaughter, and they understand honor.
In battle, the Jaguar Guards often act as skirmishers, their ability to change into jaguars giving them some advantages in surprise and stealth. When not using guerrilla tactics, the Jaguar Guard will offer opposing units the chance to become prisoners (a compromise between their style of battle, in which taking prisoners was important, and the style of Faerûn).
Miquiztl Manik (roughly translatable as "hand of death") is a master tactician, as are most of his warriors. They follow orders explicitly.
Personality: The Jaguar Guards were raised as warriors. As Jaguar Knights, they were nobles in their homeland. In Faerûn, they have not received treatment befitting nobles because most people regard them as ignorant savages. Savages they may be, but they are intelligent ones with a sense of honor.
The Jaguar Guards have few enemies in Faerûn, though it is only a matter of time before they earn the enmity of other forces in Tethyr.
Logistics: The Jaguar Guards are armed with knife, spear, and maca (treat the latter as a battle axe). They charge 50 gp per week, plus food, lodging, and any steel weapons used by their defeated enemies.
The Realmspace Companies
If the SPELLJAMMER(r) boxed set is used (or even acknowledged), the DM should consider the companies detailed in SJR2, Realmspace. Though these companies act primarily in wildspace and on the other planets of the Toril system, they occasionally interact with the peoples of Toril.
This chapter briefly discusses the four major Realmspace companies and their operations on Toril. If the DM wishes, these companies could be used as adventure hooks to move the player characters into a wildspace adventure.
In particular, if the players happened to stumble upon a neogi or illithid slaving operation, they may come in contact with one or more of the following groups. Alternatively, if someone were able to contact one of the groups, their services might be purchased-provided they were hired to do something basically good.
This large group (more than 300 people) resides near the sixth planet of the Toril system, Glyth. They conduct raids against mind flayer "ranches" to free the humanoids held as slaves and cattle by the illithids.
Most members of Code Helm are paladins (including their leader, 21st-level Easel Gifford of Amn), though many are specialty priests of Helm. The company is ruled in a military fashion.
If illithid activities increased on Toril, or if word reached Code Helm of a mind flayer "ranch" in the Realms, they would very likely arrange a large raid.
If contacted and offered both money and a chance to kill mind flayers, Code Helm would probably operate much like a mercenary company.
This group started out as adventurers in the Realms, operating in Amn, Tethyr, the Thornwood, and the Snowflake Mountains. They were taken into wildspace by illithid slavers.
The Emerald Brotherhood has pledged itself to fight neogi and mind flayers. They may follow individuals of these type to Toril-or may be followed to Toril by neogi, who have offered a high bounty for their deaths. Though the Brotherhood has only four members, it is possible they would recruit an army if a neogi or illithid slaving operation were discovered on Toril.
The Enforcers consist of 11 people who are active against pirates and mind flayers in the Toril system. The group is led by a lizard man ranger (8th level Frollth) and a good frost giant (Murray Coldstare). There are also mages, priests, and fighters in the crew.
Members of the Enforcers are vigilantes who have a tendency to ignore established laws when pursuing justice. Like the Emerald Brotherhood, they are potential mercenary recruiters.
This is another group devoted to ending neogi and illithid slaving operations. They consider themselves the police force of the Tears of Selûne, the small group of asteroids that orbit Toril in the wake of the moon Selune.
The 14 members of the Gauntlet include high-level mages, priests, and paladins. As with the Emerald Brotherhood and the Enforcers, if a neogi or illithid operation were discovered on Toril, the Gauntlet could become mercenary recruiters.
|Base||Ixinos, Vilhon Reach|
|Current Sphere(s) of Operation||The Vilhon Reach, the Sea of Fallen Stars|
|Number of Members||240|
|General Alignment||Lawful neutral|
History: The She-Wolves are female warriors from a small island in the mouth of the Vilhon Reach. Their society is an amazon-style culture, and the women of Ixinos are trained for battle almost from their birth.
The She-Wolves mercenary company was formed nearly a century ago to allow amazons with wanderlust the opportunity to travel while helping to support their homeland.
Though the membership of the She-Wolves rotates, the company always has two units of infantry (each with 50 3rd-level warriors), one of cavalry (50 4th-level warriors), and one of archers (50 5th-level warriors). There are also 10 scouts (rangers, levels 4-7), 10 sorceresses (levels 2-5), and 20 priestesses (levels 3-8). Each unit has a leader of like abilities, chosen from members of the unit. The group's current overall leader, Theia, is a 9th-level paladin.
If possible, the DM should use the amazon kits from The Complete Fighter's Handbook, The Complete Priest's Handbook, and The Complete Wizard's Handbook.
Strategies and Tactics: The amazons will take almost any military job, though they greatly prefer to be on the "good" side of a conflict. They will not accept employment from men who look down on women. In times of need, the She-Wolves also defend the shores of Ixinos and neighboring islands from pirate incursions.
The She-Wolves' tactics vary with the terrain. Since the She-Wolves have trained all their lives to be warriors, they can work together without the usual confusion inherent in battle. They have developed a rapid code that allows them to change tactics for the entire company with only a few sharp commands. Their shifting lines and contrasting tactics often throw enough confusion into their enemies that these foes do not last long on the battlefield.
Personality: By nature, the She-Wolves are a reclusive and strongly matriarchal society, and feel no debt to men whatsoever. However, they will help any woman in trouble.
They also have a well-defined code of honor, and will not betray their contracts. Wise employers should be wary, however, of cheating the She-Wolves. If they suspect that they are being taken advantage of in some way, their vengeance is deadly and quick.
The She-Wolves have few enemies, except for the pirates of the Fallen Stars, who cannot remember a time without the amazons. The She-Wolves have disrupted piracy near their isles for their entire history and have earned the wrath of the pirates.
Logistics: The She-Wolves are generally well-equipped: one infantry unit carries short swords, the other spears, and both wear bronze plate mail; the cavalry wears scale mail and carries lances and shortswords; archers, scouts, wizards, and priests carry long bows and daggers, with all but the wizards wearing leather armor.
The basic cost to retain the She-Wolves is 500 gp per week.
|Current Sphere(s) of Operation||Anauroch|
|Number of Members||80|
|General Alignment||Neutral good|
History: There are rumors of a land in the far, far south, where there exist civilizations of great glory and might, and where the people live and have always lived in peace and prosperity.
The Sirocco claim to be from the far southern lands, beyond even the Great Sea south of Halruaa. Little is known of their past, except that they entered the north a dozen years ago.
After accepting mercenary jobs in the Shaar and in the Old Empires, they eventually arrived in Anauroch, where they quickly carved a life from the hostile sands.
The Sirocco have none of the strange prejudices that mark many of the tribes of Anauroch; all races are welcome as long as they pay due homage to the true gods. None are turned away on their appearance alone. Their commander is a fiery 10th-level female elven fighter, and she leads a mixed band of human, elven, and dwarven fighters. If the Arabian Adventures book is available, use the Desert Rider kit to define every member of the Sirocco.
Strategies and Tactics: The Sirocco see their job as protecting caravans crossing the dangerous desert, as well as patrolling the sands to defend against hostile creatures. Although they have, on occasion, been known to take jobs outside the desert, they do so only when absolutely necessary. The desert may be inhospitable, but it is their home.
Their tactics are simple: waving their scimitars over their heads and shrieking out a ululant war cry, they trample their enemies into the dusty desert.
Many of their enemies have come to expect the charge of the desert riders, and prepare themselves accordingly. However, they often find themselves surprised by a different maneuver, for the Sirocco's scouts are legendary among the peoples of the great desert.
Personality: The members of the Sirocco live by their word. They take their oaths very seriously, and members of their group who knowingly break their word to a client are ejected, without water, into the searing sands.
Employers, even those who break their word with the Sirocco, can expect the desert riders to keep their end of the bargain. However, betrayers of oaths will earn themselves a tireless enemy, one that will not hesitate to offer complete and passionate destruction.
The Sirocco maintain good relations with most of the tribes of Anauroch, and have made an enemy of the Zhentarim. However, their knowledge of desert ways has thus far kept them from the terrible wrath of the evil ones, and with any luck this will continue.
Logistics: Members of the Sirocco are light cavalry armed with scimitars and light lances. Approximately 30 use short bows to harry their opponents from a distance, to fell lone scouts, or to send warnings to their comrades.
The cost of hiring the Sirocco is 120 gp per week. In addition, Hajima sitt-Nasir expects news of the outside world, and appreciates a few luxury items to make life easier for her people. When one considers the dangers in crossing the treacherous wastes of Anauroch, this is a small price to pay for security.