Monday, 31 December 2012

Men of Redwald: Cempestre


Cempestre (Warrior Women)

Meaning ‘women of the camp’ the Cempestre are Jutish warrior women who have left their homes and places in society to live and fight in a roaming camp. Jutland is pressed by many enemies, and has lost so many men that it called on its women to fight. They are all volunteers and over the years have become more feared than many male warbands.

The camp's numbers are kept to twenty-four warriors in pairs of Sword-sisters: mother and daughter, sisters, friends, or lovers. Whatever the combination Sword-Sisters are sworn to each other in life and in death. No sword-sister will surrender while her sister fights on, and none will live-on if their sister has fallen.

The camp is protected by ditch and dyke topped with a wall of sharpened stakes. They move camp every three days, making it harder for enemies to locate it, and enabling them to take the fight wherever the need is greatest. They are also great hunters and scavengers, and are able to live off the land when they need to.

Campestre: Armour Class: 5[14]; Hit Dice:4+1 ; Attacks: 2 Wælseax (1d3+1); Special: Never Taken, Sword Sisters, Sly Speed; The Worst Fear; Move: 12; HIDE/XP: 4/475.

Gear: Wælseax, Plegscield, tent, bedroll, small iron cauldron, snares, fishing line, wicker basket.

Lightly armed they are fast and have two attacks per combat round and move and fight as skirmishers rather than melee fighters in the combat sequence which often takes enemy warriors by surprise. They fight naked, armed only with small shield and a Wælseax this gives them extra speed and manoeuvrability that is as good as armour.

The Cempestre fight in pairs of sword-sisters and each pair will usually focus on one enemy and make short work of him when fighting in a pair they gain +1 initiative, -1[+1] to AC and +1 to hit due to the fact that each knows what the other is about to do. If one of a pair is slain the remaining one goes into suicidal berserk rage gaining +2 to hit and damage, but +2[-2] to AC.

If a pair of Campestre sword-sisters believe they are about to be taken alive they will abandon their shields and join in a final embrace where each drives their blade into the others heart.

The Campestre are particularly cruel to any male enemies, and excellent at stalking their foes (+1 to surprise). It’s not unusual for stragglers, sentries, or men who wander off to relieve themselves in the night, to be found tied to a tree with their manhood in their mouths. This is bad for morale (-2).

Friday, 21 December 2012

Éadwela Giúl


Enjoy the festive season folks or folc in Redwald speak. Can't believe this blog is over two years old, and I was working on Redwald at the S&W and OD&D forums before that! Damn. Well the first draft will definitely be finished soon. definitely. 

Éadwela Giúl (Happy Yule)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Men of Redwald: Warrior Queen


Gúðcwén  (Warrior Queen)

In a world of men and kings it takes an exceptional woman, and an exceptional warrior woman, to earn the respect of the warband, let alone to command them. Whether her husband falls, in battle leaving no male heir of age, dies before he gets an heir, or is too weak to lead the men himself no Cwén is ever offered the throne. Instead they must take it before another man of the family does. Those that are able to seize and hold a throne, lead an army, rule a kingdom; the names of those few Gúðcwén are destined to be whispered down the ages of legend.

Gúðcwén: Armour Class: 1[18]; Hit Dice: 8; Attacks:1 Gúðgár (1d6+1 2H Long Reach)or Wælseax (1d3+2); Special: Wolfhearted, Warband wife; Move: 12; HIDE/XP: 9/100.

Gear: Gúðgár, Wælseax, Irenhelm (and gold circlet), Beaduscrúd, 2d6 gold rings, gold armband, 3 silver armbands, 3d6 silver rings. Gold and Garnet jewellery, Gold and garnet belt buckle, bracelet, necklace, and brooch.

 As well her personal wealth a Gúðcwén has access to all the considerable wealth of her kingdom as a resource.

They might have the body of a (not so) frail woman but a Gúðcwén has the heart of a wolf. They’re fierce and fearless as a she wolf defending her cubs and never need to check morale. 

Many men will refuse to follow a woman into war, but those that do will, inevitably, in one way or another, come to love her. In battle none of her warriors will break (no morale check) as long as she lives. 

If she falls in battle her, Hearthweru, Champions, Gesiths, Ealdormen, and Thegns will erupt in fury and for 1d3+1 rounds will fight at +1 move, -2[+2]AC, +3 to-hit, +4 damage, +5 initiative and then die either from wounds, exhaustion, throwing away their lives needlessly or broken hearts, at which point the rest of the army will break and run.  

Monday, 17 December 2012

Men of Redwald: Shield Maiden


Scildmægden (Shield Maiden)

The women of Rædwald, especially noblewomen, have rights under law and as the wife or daughter of a powerful man may also wield power and influence. Even so, some reject the marriage their families made for them and run away or are cast out. Either way a new destiny beckons living the free life of the Scildmægden. It’s not an easy living though and only the strongest will and the swiftest sword keeps a Scildmægden alive.

Scildmægden: Armour Class: 3[16]; Hit Dice: 4+3; Attacks: 1 Wælseax (1d3+2) or Gár (1d6); Special: Mocking Manhood, Weapon Wife; Move: 12; HIDE/XP: 5/100.

Gear: Wælseax, Gár, Plegscield ,  Leðeren Cæppe, Leðeren Serc. 1d6 gold rings, 1 silver armband.

The Scildmægden is married to her weapons dedicating her life to the perfection of her individual combat skills. When fighting one-on-one she gets +1 initiative, morale, to-hit and damage, and -1[+1] AC. Any man that refuses a Scildmægden’s challenge to one-on-one combat will be mocked where ever his name is known.

Scildmægden should be quite rare in a campaign and if there is a Scildmægden player character in the party the referee might consider holding off using an NPC Scildmægden until later in the campaign if at all.

Redwald News and Progress Report

Christopher Brandon the author of Heroes & Other Worlds will be publishing a HOW: Redwald supplement. Which is cool. However the HOW Supplement might be out before my version of Redwald if I don't get a move on. On that note here's where I am with the 1st draft of Redwald . . .

Rules

Still need to write/do . . .

1) Random Mission Generator
2) Random personality and traits for NPCs and Frydmen
3) Chapter on running a Redwald Campaign
4) Sample Adventure
5) A wildling magic item in fairytale format.
6) Add morale scores to bestiary entries.
7) Add Warrior/Skirmisher/Caster tags on bestiary entries


Bestiary

Needs entries for . . .

Men: Shield Maiden, Warrior Queen, Prince, King, Shinning one.
Elves: Woodguard, bowmen, Spellsinger, elders.
Dwarves: Shield brothers, Deathdealers, fate weaver, kings.
Underworld: Orcus, Orcneas, various monsters.
Fey Court: Queen, Queen's consort, various fey.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Men of Redwald: The Royal Household


Cynehúsræden (Royal Household)

These are the non-combatants, the kings family, his court; the people who follow and serve a king. Although they pose no threat militarily that does not mean they can’t be dangerous. In their own way they each wield power and influence, and have the ear of the king.

Most courts include, but are not limited to . . 

Cwén (Queen) – Behind every great man . . .

Cwéne (Princesses) – Her heart, if she has one, is a stepping stone to a throne.

Boldweard (Steward) – Keys to the kingdom.

Hordere (Treasurer) – Money is power.

Rædgifa (Councillor) – Whispering in the king’s ear.

Fricca (Herald) – The mouth of the king.

Ærendsecg (Messenger) – He knows first.

Ealdwita (Sage) – With age comes wisdom . . . as well as impotence, male pattern baldness, nasal hair, a paunch, arthritis, and a short temper.

Héahsácerd (High Priest) – The enmity of the High Priest means the enmity of the gods (and often a knife in the guts from a zealous believer).

Sceop (Poet) - They can either sing of your glory or sing bawdy song’s about you and a goat.

Glíwman (Jester) – Just because he acts the fool . . .

Cildféstre (Nurse) – The Hand that rocks the royal cradle.

Byrele (Cup Bearer)- The poisoner’s patsy.

Þéowmenn (Servants) – They see everything, hear everything.

This lot spend most of their lives involved in one intrigue or another. When they’re not plotting against each other, they’re plotting against their king. All of them will see the Player Characters as pawns, a weapon to wield, or possible allies. All of them will want something from the Player Characters, and if they don’t get what they want the Party might soon learn that lies are as dangerous as spears.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Men of Redwald: Héahgeréfa and the Geréfan


Héahgeréfa (High Reeve)

A Héahgeréfa is a Ceorl who polices a Scíra for his Gesith. They are in charge of keeping the peace, especially amongst the lower orders, and enforcing the law, (the word Sherriff is derived from High Reeve). When the Gesith is away at court or war they also attend to his administrative duties.

Although a mere Coerl by birth a Héahgeréfa’s word has the power of the Gesith they serve. Thegn’s and Ealdormen tend to solve problems between themselves with the sharp end of a blade, but may still find themselves subject to arrest by a Héahgeréfa and his men if they murder their wives, cut down a slave or freeman, or commit other such non-political crimes in cold blood.

Most Héahgeréfa tend to reflect the Gesith they serve. A noble Gesith will be served by an honest Héahgeréfa, a corrupt and violent Gesith will have a likeminded Héahgeréfa. Of course the occasional goodly, but unobservant Gesith might have a rat of a man policing his Scíra, and sometimes an honest Héahgeréfa might stand up to a ruthless Gesith. The latter tend not stay in office (or the world of the living) for very long.

The Héahgeréfa and his men, the Gerefan don’t carry blades, after all their job is arrest not doom miscreants, so they carry the Stæf which as well as being a means of defence is a symbol of their office and power.  

Héahgeréfa: Armour Class: 6[13] ; Hit Dice: 4; Attacks:1 stæf (1d6 subdual); Special: Chain of Shame; Move: 10; HIDE/XP: 2/75.

Gear: Leðeren Serc, Stæf, Inwitwrásn.
As well as the Stæf all Héahgeréfa carry the Inwitwrásn, the Fetters of Shame. Anyone who finds themselves chained in the Inwitwrásn will find that all but the most loyal of allies, or blood kin, have turned against them and treats them as good as guilty. But even loyal allies and blood kin will be wary of openly helping those who wear the Inwitwrásn such is the stigma attached to them.

Geréfan (Reeves)

The Geréfan are deputies to the local Héahgeréfa. For every Hundred in a Scíra a Héahgeréfa is likely to have five Geréfan he can call on. Most of them are farmer’s sons in search of little more excitement and respect than can be found on the farm, and although not exactly quick witted they’re all stout hearted lads, and more than happy to crack heads when the need arises. They are equipped only with a Ságol(a cudgel) and a length of straw to chew on.

Geréfan: Armour Class: 8[11] ; Hit Dice: 1; Attacks:1 Ságol 
(1d3+1 subdual); Special: Easily Deputised, Night-Night Sunshine; Move: 10; HIDE/XP: 1/25.


Gear: Ságol

Geréfan are easily deputised so if the party run afoul of a Héahgeréfa and his full complement of fifth teen Geréfan and slay seven of them before they make their escape, next time the Héahgeréfa tracks them down he’ll still have a full complement of Geréfan. They’re also pretty handy with their cudgels and on a roll of 18-20 on their to-hit roll the victim is knocked unconscious for same number of rounds as the damage done.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Men of Redwald: Gesith


Gesith (Companion)

Gesiths are royal companions, the friends and peers of Cyningas and Æðelingas (Kings and Princes)drawn from the ranks of Ealdormen they are members of the Royal Warband accompany the king at court and in the field, and also rule Scíra (shires) in his name. Most are loyal and true companions to their Kings, but some few are more inclined to be loyal to the riches of the shire entrusted to them. Other’s have merely inveigled their way into the royal company to make it easier to step over the king’s corpse and onto the throne should the opportunity arise.

Gesith: Armour Class: -2[21]; Hit Dice: 7; Attacks:1 Gár (1d6), Broadsword (1d6+2)or Wælseax (1d3+2); Special: Word of Law, Word of Command,; Move: 10; HIDE/XP: 4/120.

Gear: Wíghelm, Lamellar Serc, Scield, Gár, Broadsword, Wælseax, 3 silver armbands, 2 gold armbands 3d6 silver rings, silver brooch, a fine cloak and an gold and garnet cloak pin, golden belt buckle, 3d6 gold rings.
A Gesith who is a personal companion to an Cyning or Æðeling will be in possession of many rich gifts, bestowed upon them by their lord. Those that control a Scíra will have a great many resources to draw upon, a small mead hall, and a hillfort placed to strategically dominate their land.

As valuable as any of these riches are the Gesith’s power to command, and their status as law giver. Within their Scíra their word is literally the law. Anyone below the rank of Ealdorman they accuse of a crime will be considered unquestionably guilty, and subject to whatever punishment they see fit. Any Ealdorman so accused will have the right to take his case to court. If, of course, he manages to get to court.

Because of this they are used to being obeyed and most folk are used to doing as they command. Any NPC’s accompanying the player characters, who are not long term companions or somehow bound by loyalty, friendship, or kinship to the party will turn on them at a word from a Gesith.

For example the characters, in the employ of an ambitious Thegn, are on a mission to convince another Thegn to see their patron’s point of view about the ownership of a disputed farmstead. They’ve decided to achieve this by visiting the rival by night and burning his longhouse. To aid them in this the Thegn has loaned them ten of his Fyrdmen.

On route they decide it’s vital to their mission’s success that they stop off at a locally renowned brewer of small beer to ‘collect taxes’ unfortunately for them the local Gesith arrives to collect the actual taxes. He is not happy about their adventures in freelance taxation and tells them he will see them hang.

The party order the Fyrdmen to cut down the old blowhard, but at a word from the Gesith they quickly turn their spears on our ‘heroes’ who now have to talk, or fight themselves free of ten Fyrdmen, an angry Gesith, and even more worryingly the brewer’s righteously wrathful Ealdowíf.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Men of Redwald: Ealdorman


EALDORMAN (Earl)

The Ealdorman are the ruling class of the Eorðwerod. Most are fearsome warriors, though some might be a little long in the tooth(-1 HD to-hit, ST, and Dam), but all are canny politicians who decide who can or can't be a Thegn, an Ealdorman, or a King.

Each Ealdorman will have at least ten Thegns, and twenty Frydmen, as well as 3d6 various low Fyrd under their personal command. An ambitious Ealdorman might also have the Thegns and Frydmen of fellow Ealdormen, who have sworn fealty to them, under their nominal command. Some few who are clever custodians of their lands may have enough silver to swell their ranks with Sellswords. Although the latter is often a risk as most kings are wary of any underlings hiring extra swords.

Ealdorman: Armour Class: -1[20]; Hit Dice: 6; Attacks:1 Gár (1d6), Broadsword (1d6+2)or Wælseax (1d3+2); Special: Lord of War,; Move: 10; HIDE/XP: 4/100.

Gear: Irenhelm, Lamellar Serc, Scield, Gár Broadsword, Wælseax, 2 silver armbands, 1 gold armband 2d6 silver rings, silver brooch, a fine cloak and an ivory and silver cloak pin, golden belt buckle, 2d6 gold rings.

The above is the personal gear an Ealdorman will carry, but at home or on campaign even the lowliest of Ealdorman has a great many resources to draw on including but not limited to: hounds, hawks, and horses, fine clothes, silver ingots, a horde of coins and jewellery, various luxury items such as drinking horns decorated with silver filigree, and of course their own modest mead hall and small hillfort.

Although any given Ealdorman might not be the greatest of warriors they are warriors born and all know their trade well. In Battle men look to them for leadership and are heartened by their very presence (+1 to morale)and respond to their orders promptly (+1 to move)and if an Ealdorman puts himself in the front ranks, cheek by jowl with his men, they’ll fight all the harder (+1 to hit, dam, and -1[+1] AC).