Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Into the Hills with the Reavers

The Hill Cantons have a strong martial borderlands tradition perhaps best summed up by their much-feared battle cry: “Live Weird or Die.”

Unlike the rest of the Overkingdom, most forces are directly drawn by the semi-autonomous cantonal councils (Radas) supplemented by the relatively small retinues of the nobility. Most able-bodied free adults have gone through at least rudimentary military training and possess some related arms and armor. While the cantons hold only 40,000 souls, they can field a combined force of almost 5,000 in a normal mobilization and another 4,000 in an emergency.

Military organization is loose and informal as it was in Earth's early renaissance. The Marlankh Reavers, the forces of Marlinko Canton, are called loosely a “company” but that has no numerical significance. The Reavers are subdivided into ad hoc groups called “battles” when the company is moving together in large numbers or “columns” when it needs to operate with smaller detachments (as it is now).

Ranks—themselves somewhat loose and informal--as such are more about a rough chain of vocal command than leading a set, formally-defined unit. Raugraf Androj Andimachus the Younger (NPC) is the current elected Captain and commanding officer of Marklankh's forces in the field. Each column leader is called alternately a “lieutenant” or “subaltern” depending on seniority and reports directly to the Captain. Non-commissioned officers are called “journeymen”.

Reaver Order of Battle at the opening of the Border War campaign
Total force
3 Hawkriders (courtesy of the Guild of Accipitaries and Drovers), giant hawk air cav, riders with studded leather, long bows and short swords.

10 Brothers of the Other Mother, martial clerics, half-plate, shields, maces.

160 Lancers, medium cavalry with scale mail, metal shields, lance, and longswords or maces.

420 Border Ruffians, light cavalry with studded leather, small wooden shields, javelins, and short swords or hand axes.

100 Amazon Outriders, light cavalry with ring mail, composite bows and hand axes.

300 Landsknecht Pikemen, medium infantry with slashed poofy doublets and hose (with half-plate), ostrovan pikes, short swords.

60 Landsknecht Swordsmen, medium infantry with slashed poofy doublets and hose (with half-plate), two-handed swords.

180 Hill Wardens, light infantry with leather jack, long bows, hand axes.

40 Skullcrushers, half-ogre medium infantry with ring mail, assorted pole arms.

60 Bushwhackers, black hobbit light infantry, short bows, sharp pointed sticks, barbed knives.

1200 Camp Followers, civilian “logistics workers”

By Column:
Main Battle, reserve stationed at the watchfort in the pass. Commanded by the Raugraf.
3 Hawkriders
10 Brothers
100 Lancers
300 Landsknecht Pike
40 Landsknecht Swords
20 Wardens
1200 Camp Followers

Column A*, led by Ba Chim
NCO's: Manzafrain
100 Ruffians
20 Lancers
40 Wardens
20 Landsknecht Swords

Column B*, led by Evagoras Sospiri
NCO's: Sir Eustace
100 Ruffians
20 Lancers
60 Wardens

Column C*, led by Ooluu the Sea Blood
NCO's: Donnal MacDonnal
120 Ruffians
60 Wardens

Sorcha's Stinging Whip Column, led by Barbarella
NCO's: Sir Eusyram
100 Amazon Outriders
20 Lancers

The Penal Brigade, led by Angrox
30 Skullcrushers
60 Bushwhackers

*Name TBA
(Note that some NCO players are still yet to be assigned to columns.)


  1. Upon awaking with another hangover, in a foreign land, and apparently as the under-officer of some be-gilled freak of nature, Donnal MacDonnal firmly decides that he's been hitting the ale a little too hard and maybe should get his life together.

  2. Being under Barbarella is an entirely new experience for tyro Sir Eusyram. He hopes to comport himself with honour. And wonders what his untimely death in a foreign land might do to his placement in the lists... should've appointed a second...

  3. Love that image of the arrow strewn battle scene. Where did you get it?

    1. I believe it's by Ivan Bilibin, an early twentieth-century Russian whose work is pretty excellent. It's also helped inspire a lot of my own campaign setting.

    2. Yep Bilibin whose public domain artwork adorns the cover of the HC Compendium.