Hearthweru (Household Guard)
The Hearthweru are the elite fighting men and the bodyguards of a king. More than that these hearth-warriors are a symbol of all that is best in Redwald’s warrior culture. Thegns, Ealdormen, and even Kings may make and break oaths as often as the wind changes, or as often as is politic and to their gain. There isn’t much difference. A Hearthweru on the other hand is a man who will hold his oath to the last, perhaps even beyond that if the legends are true.
They’ll even keep their oath for a king whose own oaths are worth less than a pig farmer’s or a gang of murderous outlaw scum. This is because Hearthweru serve the oath as much as the man, the station and status of all warriors as much the kingdom. In a world of political compromise, petty revenge, and bloody power grabs they are the one shining beacon of true warrior nobility.
They care nothing for gold, any that they wear is due to the vanity of the king they serve not their own. They never marry, engage in trade, art, craft, farming, gambling, hunting, or carousing. They live only to fight, serve, and uphold their oaths. The only reward they seek for this sacrifice is glory. Glory in life and in death. To be remembered through the ages as a true and great warrior is the dream of every Hearthweru.
In peace time they act as bodyguards to their king, and enforcers of his royal will. In war they form the heart of his army. Even the weakest of kings (or even would be kings) will have at least twelve Hearthweru in service.
Heavily armed and armoured they are required as Hearthweru to own and maintain a war helm, chain armour, a spear, hand axe, great axe, sword, shield, and dagger. Like the lords they serve they ride to war on ponies, but fight on foot.
Hearthweru: Armour Class: -3; Hit Dice: 10; Attacks:2 Brádsweord (1d6+2)or Wælseax or(1d3+2), or Gebyrdæx (1d6-1 crit) , Brádæx (2d6 drop lowest +3, 2H, LR, or Framea (2d6 drop lowest can be thrown or used in melee); Special: Lords of War, Word, Oathsworn; Move: 9; HDE/XP: 11/850.
Gear: Beaduscrúd, Wíghelm, Scield, Brádsweord, Wælseax, Gebyrdæx, Brádæx, Framea. 1-6d6 gold rings.
Warfare is the main business of order for Hearthweru, when they majority of a warband is made up of Hearthweru all troops gain +3 Morale, initiative, to hit, and damage, as well as any other bonus from formation, leadership, tactics, circumstance, etc. Unless their enemies are also Hearthweru they suffer a -3 to their own morale. Any friendly or allied troops in front, behind, or next to a formation of Hearthweru gain +1 to morale, initiative, to hit, and damage.
The word of a Hearthweru is worth more than gold. If a Hearthweru says something it is true, and no one would ever doubt it. Luckily for the kings they serve a Hearthweru can’t be made to speak against his own king.
Hearthweru are oathsworn to serve their king unto the death. Once he takes the field of battle the Hearthweru will not quit the field unless directly ordered to do so by their king. They have no morale score and will never break. If their king flees the field they will stay and die, selling their lives dearly to cleanse the shame of their kings cowardice. If their king dies they will stand over his body and defend it with their lives, every single one of them will have to be slain outright or mortally wounded before they’ll let the enemy lay hands on their fallen lord.