By - Attlai
An all female mercenary of band about two-dozen operating out of a small mining town called Oracle's Eye.
**How were they formed?**
During the Partition War many mining villages were raided by the forces of the Imperalists. Among those towns was Oracle's Eye. This society lived in a tundra where very little could grow, so while the men mined the women hunted.
One evening the women returned to find the men had been slaughtered by Imperalists trying to gain access to the mines.
Under the guidance of Fayara Saravin they surprised the Imperialists and were able to get their revenge.
Their efficiency led to their reputation to become known. As the war raged in the Partitionists would often employ The Widows of Oracle's Eye as a secret weapon. Later the word just became "The Widows".
After the Partition War was won a few of the Widows returned home, but many stayed with their band and continued as a band for hire.
**Who is leading them?**
Currently the leading is Elisan Saravin the descendant of Fayara who is leading them.
**What kind of organization do they have?**
None of its members are allowed to be married or have partners. They tend to recruit from areas where men were slaughtered in conflict with the promise of revenge.
Leadership is determined through vote when the previous leader has died, though the Saravin bloodline who founded the band is extremely popular.
**Do they have some kind of internal code, or something like that?**
Do no harm to those who hold no weapon.
Never serve the Faith.
Vengeance is Free.
However their internal code has shifted over years of mercenary work. They used to be considered among the more honorable warriors. Unless vengeance was involved they would never needlessly spill blood. In recent years, especially under Elisan's guidance, they have become less moral.
Their core code to never serve the Faith stems from the Imperialists which were Soldiers of Divine Harmony. However as conflict has been harder to find the Church pays well it has been one they have considered dropping.
**What is an event or anecdote they are particularly known for?**
The Sacking of Ivaga was their crowning moment at the end of the Partition War where they were able to hunt down the man who had ordered the killings in Oracle's Eye.
In the midst of battle they cornered him, stripped him off his weapons and each widow was allowed to cut him once before he was beheaded.
**What do they do during peace time?**
Many continue training or do guardwork, waiting for their band to be called into battle. A Widow is not allowed to have a family, though if they do fall in love and find one they are allowed to leave without much of an issue.
This is a very juicy and complete piece of lore, lot of potential with this "merry" band of furious women warriors.
I am wondering though, how is Faraya seen by the current generations, who have never known her?
It does seem like she had a really sharp mind and strong charisma to enforce these strict moral rules, so maybe she almost has a mythical image in the band?
There's a lot of "Fayara would never..." going on with the groups of women whose ancestors date back to the beginning. She is considered to be almost flawless but many are quick to point out that in her time there was a clear enemy and she had a motivation for vengeance. It's a lot easier to be noble when you are fighting for a cause.
To be honest, I kinda like this concept of a band who was formed under a strict goal and moral code, but that kept existing, while its founding principles became more and more shallow :)
Part of the theme in my world is that over time you become the villain in your own story. There's a lot of duality like that where one side thinks themselves morally superior to the other and then over time they regress. Whether it is a person or an organization I think that is fascinating and, sadly, not uncommon in reality.
I also like this theme, as you mentioned it tends to be a big reality of our world :)
The Sand Thorns are a small mercenary army operating on the edges of the great desert. The Thorns are highly valued as elite troops, to those who can afford their services.
What makes them unique is that each soilder has a signature weapon that only works for them. These weapons are grown from a desert plant, also called the sand thorn. When properly treated the thorns of this plat become as strong as steel, and hold unique magical properties depending on the owner it is bonded with.
The leader is a short bald woman named Aria Valis, she possesses two thorn weapons, a longsword wreathed in frost and a protector (functionality a coil gun powered by magic) that launches razor sharp thorns which explode on impact.
How is it that the Thorns' weapons only work for them? Why can I not pick a Thorn's weapon and use it myself? You mention a system a magical bonding. Would love to hear a tad about this. Is it specific to those sand thorn weapons, or all weapons in Elas can have such properties?
The Thorns weapons are bonded to the user by pouring a vial of their blood onto the soil the plant is growing in. When the plant is large enough 1 to 6 thorns are removed and a ritual performed that gives them the properties mentioned and keeps the thorns alive. Anyone other than the original donor who touches the weapon finds it covered in poisoned thorns.
Orher bonding processes exist. What properties are conferred depends on what is being bonded to who and by what means.
I guess that weapon bonding is an important part of your world! But it's interesting concept :)
To an extent yeah a few groups use it for various reasons but it's not exactly common in the general population.
The Chareilthen are a mercenary group working in the Scratchlands and outskirts of the Bangs to observe, document and manage the encroaching desert.
With the Masanderry growing every year, invasions of shifters and Pixies are growing more frequent on these edges of the Periplane, but the petty kingdoms of the Scratchlands are too wrapped up in politics to notice or care.
The group was founded by Chareil, a woman who's village of Two-Moons-Rise-Above-The-Dune-Sea-In-A-Red-Sky was swallowed by sandpits when the king refused to send aid; Hervellia was fighting a border war with Crabsterry at the time and could spare no resources.
Disgusted, she travelled to the forest and set up the group, which slowly grew in number as the problems got worse and no help came forth.
Since the group was founded out of the frustration of Chareil that the king refused to send help due to having resources to spare, does it mean that this mercenary band mainly lends its services to the Hervellia kingdom?
Or is it more of a mercenary band that deals with problems of defenseless villages in times of war, to avoid the fate that her own village suffered?
Also, I just love this village name.
The mercenaries recruit from all kingdoms, as they consider the border wars and politics the main obstacle to fighting the desert's approach. Their long-term goals are to basically overthrow the various warmongering governments of the Scratchlands, and unite the people against the Masanderry.
Their short term goals are basically interrupt, obstruct and hassle any side in the border wars, from spreading false information about attacks to blowing up military buildings.
Also I'm glad you liked the name; the Hervellians are infamous for their long toen names. The capital city is called Shining-Mirror-Casting-Dancing-Rainbows-Across-The-Rich-Lands-Of-The-Blessed-Kingdom.
The thing is that, if those names were to be translated in another language (assumed to be the local language) it would sound very exotic, but in english, it just sounds almost comical ahahahah
Yet, it's very nice to have a culture that loves this kind of place naming, it's refreshing! (not for the brain though)
The Moose Pack. A basic adventuring group. The fighter has antlers on their helmet. The cleric has antlers on their helmet. The magician has antlers on their crystal ball. The barbarian has antlers surgically attached to their bald head. The thief has antlers on their cap. The monk an antler ended quarterstaff. When someone says that it should be "Moose Herd", it's time for a brawl.
Where does this obsession for the moose come from though?
Their first successfull adventure was to save a northern village from some bandits. At the celebratory feast, one of the locals remarked that the adventurers ate like "a pack of moose". They meant "herd" but made a bad translation. The adventurers took it as a sign.
A Møøse once bit the fighter's sister...
No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given her by Svenge - her brother-in-law - an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian møvies: "The Høt Hands of an Oslo Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge Mølars of Horst Nordfink"...
This is a total new worldbuilding project I've come up recently, so there are lots of things I haven't touched yet. There's a band called Troubadours (yes, a mercenary band named like that, you don't read it wrong). Its member are of many races, with one common feature is that they lost their land to the war between human kingdoms and demons. Troubadour is led by Hans, son of Rudoph, a perfectly standard peasant. Rudoph once served as a soldier in the army of Margrave Rosenrot, a commander of the previous war. After losing a hand, Rudoph went home and taught his sons how to fight. Being the 4th son, Hans had no chances to inherit the farm, and thus he became a mercenary.
Troubadour accepts new members solely bases on their abilities, things like races, nationalities or past are out. Thus they have a pretty hefty force with humans, elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, even gargoyles. The only "entrance exam" is that you must fight a renowned member to prove yourself. After that, just fight. Hans is a good warrior but he sucks at tactics, thus he has Father Baldwin, who used to be a priest on the battlefield, as his chief tactician. They're organised into 10 small platoons, each platoon has 30 members, with the 1st platoon led by Hans himself and the 10th serving as the HQ defenders.
The band made their name by being employed by Alkalgn "The Obsidian", an ancient and powerful dragon, ruler of the legendary dwarven city Rotenberg. She uses them as what their name means, troubadours. The dragon always throws Troubadour into "impossible" battles, but they will manage to get out alive, somehow. By doing so, the band becomes famous for being "immortal", while in fact it is Father Baldwin and Hans leading everyone through Hell. Though Alkalgn only sees that as a form of entertainment, she pays them well. Those who lost a leg gets 1,5 kg of gold, dominant hand 3 kg and the other, 2 kg. Just to show how filthy rich she is from selling mithril weapons and armors to all sides while remaining neutral.
Since the world is at war now, they haven't thought about peace yet. But Hans want to build a church for Baldwin to use as an orphanage. He actually wants to get out of Rotenberg as soon as possible, since he knows Alkalgn only sees his friends as toys to kill time. However, they signed a five-year contract with her, and Lord knows what that creature will do when she learns that Troubadour breaks the deal. As cruel as she is, Alkalgn is the type that puts trust and loyalty at the top. That's the only reason she pays with gold, even gives extras to the wounded despite seeing them no more than mice struggling in a pot.
So, if I have understood correctly, they eventually plan (secretely) on settling down and using their ideal of "accepting of everyone" to build an orphanage, or is it just something for Baldwin, while the rest plans on keeping the mercenary life?
For the rest, as most of them initially were just farmers that are forced to take up arms. The church is just the beginning, they want a settlement. A village, to be precise. But it's a hard goal during a time of continuous wars like this.
The Breadriders started to pop up all over the rural areas of Warakia after the invasion of Yok'Qang. They consist of independent regiments led by warlords who seek for men without perspective and a need for violence. Most Breadriders are cast from the poorest of families and often fight for survival - hence the name.
Successful Breadriders are known for their extravagant fur coats, pointy hats and their skill for dual wielding wheellock pistols on horseback. A skill they learnt from the nomads of Yok'Qang and which has proven useful against the tribes in the eastern Taiga or the battlefields of the west.
Breadriders are known to be ruthless and brutal, skilled in combat, torture and in capturing wealthy hostages. Their honor only depends on their leader and the quality of the pay.
But still, many of them have families back home in Warakia and wish to return back to their villages one day as rich and respected men. They live a life of war, but at heart, they are farmers and fishermen, smiths and carpenters.
Do they still fight mainly against the Yok'Qang nowadays, since it does sound like they were born initially out of a rebellious sentiment?
Or have they left completely their invaded homeland to fight elsewhere?
The Yok'Qang were forced to retreat after briefly occuping Warakia. They have now split into several smaller factions and are gradually pushed back into the steppes. Breadrider regiments play an important role in the conquest of territory from the nomads, but most of the fighting is done by troops directly aligned to local dukes and kings, or even the Arn Djetsa (High king).
The majority of the Breadriders is doing business elswhere. Going on adventure far from boring old home is part of advertising during the recruitment process. There are many thousand Warakian Breadriders fighting on both sides in the war between the southern powers of Vodrask and Ardonien. If they stem from different regions of Warakia, they show no resentement to fight each other and will gladly take on their competition.
Oh, so at this point it's no longer just one mercenary band but a whole system of several mercenary bands that has grown pretty big!
**The Black Dogs**
The Black Dogs are an incredibly small group of 5 that were former prisoners of nations of the Northern Alliance. Each of them arrested generally for some form of anti-political, anti-military, or war crime that caused enough of a stir to lead to their arrest. They would be activated in 1644 after the Federation of Cidon managed to capture the capital of New Aquarius, a very necessary city for the North.
The group was deployed by the Northern Alliance into the heart of the Federation of Cidon as a means to disrupt information, kill high value targets, and damage enemy moral. This wasn't the only group doing this, but they were one of the most effective. Later on they would earn a small battalion of agents that would act as a network between the Federation and the Northern Alliance nations.
Their most infamous work was an event known as the Bloody Dover Massacre which saw over a thousand people dead, several thousand wounded, and the toppling of a sky-scraper after crashing an airship into it. It was intended to be a celebration of the Federation soldiers that fought on the frontlines with many guests of Cidon's upper class attending. The mission was supposed to end with them killing the Grand Chancellor and the Federation's Highest Ranked General. That did not turn out well.
Two of them were accidentally discovered on their way to their position which set off the alarms. Causing a firefight in the main hall which caused a panic. Said panic started a fire and caused the Airship lose control after a sack had been punctured. The Grand Chancellor and the General had managed to get away, but the Black Dogs were forced to fight their way through the wreckage, into the building, and on foot through the streets before they could finally escape through the underground subway networks.
Local police radio frequencies would be going nuts and eventually the military was called in for search and rescue after the collision but would turn into full on firefight between the Black Dogs and their Battalion.
Sadly they would never get to experience 'Peace Time'. Despite the Northern Alliance winning the war, they still had to go deal with a final group of soldiers located on an island near the south pole. This same group were the ones that had operated in another battle to try and resurrect a Dead God. One of the main members would end up dead and the other 4 were captured. The remainder of their battalion would end up dead or being used for other experiments.
The 4 who were captured were put on some of the earliest Hyper-Freezing Experiments and were revived several thousand years later were they found themselves in a world unlike their own.
To say that they had quite the wild life would be an understatement ahahahahah
No kidding, imagine waking up 3000 years later and being told that you have to essentially kill a God. By someone who claims to have died and got resurrected by *another* God.
While mercenaries are common, they rarely become famous - when mercenaries achieve significant things, either the glory ends up going to their employer, they end up being employed permanently as a standing army, or mythologisation reframes them as acting under heroic causes, not money.
However, in the North-West, one particular ancient mercenary band has entered folklore and retained its mercenary status, owing to a rather unique quality (the historicity of which is disputed): the Blue-Cheese Bandits. According to the story, this band was active in the late second age. Exactly where they operated depends on who you ask, since most storytellers claim they operated wherever the story is being told. The mercenaries were not very rich, as mercenaries never are, and all they ever ate was the scraps they picked up from the places they went, which they chucked into big baskets. When they set those baskets on the floor each night, mud would seep through them and soak the bottoms. This caused the cheese in the cheese basket to rot. This would go unnoticed for a long time, since cheese was always scooped from the top of the baskets when needed. They would only get to the bottom of the baskets when they hadn't been able to get more food in a while, and by that point they'd be eating more mould than food. Naturally, by the end of wars, a heavy, cheese-scented fog would hang around them, that was so pungent that they would induce occupied populations to rebel, and allied armies to disband. This story is the origin of a popular idiom, "A case of blue cheese", meaning to lose motivation because of a colleague's poor conduct.
I really love this almost comical folklore story around this band ahahaha! I mean, it's funny but on the same time well thought and very believable as an old tale that the folks would tell
While not really a Mercenary anymore, still rooted from their Mercenary past.
***Silfira's Mercenary Company***
Led by Silfira after the death of her husband and claiming the family name of Shinan, she and her 2 Children, Silcana and Silseln fought as Mercenaries until her short retirement, which where the leader position is given to Silcana, but Silcana soon died from a stray arrow shot which makes Silseln the new leader.
Under Silseln the now Shinan Mercenary Company now works in a more safe manner, building up reputation through business deals other than warfare, which is soon taken by Silstefan while the Mercenary Company is given to Silhana.
Silhana soon bring the Mercenary company from Canterion Continent to Ordaine Continent where they fought for the Orlaine in their Revolution, and at the end Silhana became a Kidemona or Governor in the Chihan City, which is shortly renamed to Shinan.
Despite being a Governor Silhana delegated her work to her Daughter Silmina and goes out on campaign inside and outside Ordaine as mercenaries with a state backing, the City of Shinan have a shortage of workers so Silmina informed Silhana to at least send some willing people to become Citizens in the growing city.
Silhana shortly sent freed slaves and orphans into Shinan, which isn't what Silmina wanted but she give Citizenship to the Slaves while building a State controlled Orphanages to train the Orphans.
After Silhana death, Silmina manages to make the influence of the Shinan known and created the Shinan Principality thus becoming the first Grand Princess but shortly retires and giving it to her only son, Silvera Shinan which inherit a small but massive population territories, with the state funded Orphanages now having specialty in raising their Orphans into the Workforce or even the Army.
They truly completely left their mercenary life to integrate in settled life :)
I have to admit though that this piece of lore was a bit confusing to read, because of the similarities in the names ahahah
Not really, Shinan is the first place a exiled Ruler who have the cash would visit, since the Principality have the Shinan Mercenary Army, a Complete package deal of Infantry, Cavalry, and Siege Weapon, but to even negotiate the employer would have a strict background check.
For the names just detach the "Sil", since it's how Sil'fira Shinan name her children and then they just kept the tradition.
- The Tempest Blades
When their neighbourhood in the city-state of Koigan became a lawless area left unprotected by any of ruling the merchant families, some young locals decided to fight back against predation from criminals. A travelling veteran taught them how to fight and they successfully defended their homes. However, they were declared outlaws for illegal bearing arms outside of the employment of a merchant family and were banished to the border between Koigan and the Taman Empire. They turned to banditry to survive, by preying on the rich and offering protection to locals against other criminals. Eventually a young man called Rang Zhen and his friends emerged as the leaders of the group. While Zhen is nominally the overall captain, the leaders usually consult each other on decisions.
After defeating the forces sent by the empire and Koigan to destroy them, the Koigan authorities took notice of them and offered them amnesty in exchange for becoming sanctioned mercenaries. They accepted the offer and were contracted out by the city to put down rebellions in the Empire for local officials. However a rebel leader known as the Lady of the Dawnwing managed to convince them to switch allegiance and enter her employment. They became her elite force in her bid for the throne of the Empire.
Rang Zhen hasn’t forgotten his origin and he takes care to ensure innocent civilians are not harmed by his company unless necessary for survival. The Tempest Blades are also welcoming to all, regardless of species or nationality, which allows them to have an uniquely diverse force.
When not actively fighting, Rang Zhen and the other leaders train their troops for combat. There is little time for rest for these outcasts in a foreign land. They hope that they will be able to find a place to call home when the Lady secured her victory and brought peace over the land.
My main character actually used to be part of a mercenary company - the **Severrin Company**
**How were they formed?**
As the story goes, the company was founded by Severra, a noblewoman from the Seventh Empire, who had a passion for fighting.
Now, what's relevant knowledge about the Seventh Empire here is that women, especially nobles, are essentially owned by their families and don't have much control over their own lives, beyond what their family allows. And that the whole empire has a stringent system of slavery, including slaves being recruited and trained for combat in arenas, and for actual war in armies.
Severra naturally had a lot of contact with these people and established a rapport with some of them. Eventually, when her own family got involved in a war with another one, she snuck off to join in the fighting. During the war, she gained the trust of a lot of these soldiers, and after it ended, she convinced them to desert together, and form a mercenary group. Since then, they've made it a tradition to recruit slave soldiers from other armies they fight.
The company has been named after Severra, since its formation. Since it was originally literally her company.
**Who is leading them?**
A man called Brock. It probably isn't his actual name. The main character describes him as "a hard-ass and a mountain of a man". The company generally promotes from within, if the acting captain retires or dies, so he was lieutenant before he became captain.
**What kind of organization do they have?**
A pretty loose one. They've got a captain, the captain names a lieutenant, and there are officers serving below them that command individual units.
**Do they have some kind of internal code, or something like that?**
The code centers around three things:
- Freedom - company recruits slave soldiers they fight and frees them, everyone is free to leave the company, if they don't invalidate the other tenets in that, the company also guarantees that they will defend the rights of those freed men, until their deaths.
- Brotherhood - every member of the company is responsible for defending and helping the other members in the company, especially the officers, and the lieutenant and captain.
- Loyalty - the company keeps to their word, if they commit to a side, they stick with it until defeat, if a soldier starts a war as part of the company, they are generally expected to stick with it, until it's over.
**What is an event or anecdote they are particularly known for?**
The closest thing to that is Severra's original company initially fighting off forces her parents sent after them, and others they hired to bring her back. That's what properly established them.
Ever since, it's just been them following the tenets and being effective, that has brought them renown. A reputation isn't built in one day.
**What do they do during peace time?**
Within the Seventh Empire and their scheming noble families, there's always some war or another going on. If there isn't, somewhere else on the continent, there will be. And if even that isn't the case, there's always arenas to fight in, bandits to hunt down, etc.
Plenty of work to be had.
Finally, a prompt that applies to my world! Mercenaries are actually the main antagonists of my story.
**The Blades of the Ethereal Right**
The Blades are a centuries-old mercenary group originally founded by the Tymerithi Empire as an elite group of soldiers. After the empire’s collapse, they went on to work as mercenaries instead. They’ve mostly been employed by the empire’s successor, Farsreth. The leader, known as a viscount, rose in Farsrethi politics over the following years. Eventually, the king of Farsreth gave the viscount of the Blades an estate in the country’s second-biggest city of Freran. They heavily involved themselves in the Botzkian Empire Collapse of the 8th century (700 years after the Tymerithi Empire collapsed). This is where my story’s primary antagonist, Leopold Mateo Aldrick, met the Blades at a battle during the Botzkian Collapse.
Aldrick was a cunning man, and quickly rose through of the Blades. Within only a few years, he became the group’s viscount, inheriting the fortune of the Blades’ estate in Freran. Aldrick was an ambitious and unloyal man, and he betrayed his Farsrethi allies. He sent his Blades, with the help of local lords across eastern Farsreth, to capture the country’s capital of Aleigntrenith in the year 829. He sought to reunify the continent under the a new great Tymerithi Empire.
Aldrick succeeded in deposing the Farsrethi dynasty, placing a new puppet ruler in his place. He then set his sights on expanding his control eastward. After a long siege in 847, he seized the Duchy of Colliron. Later that year, his puppet ruler in Aleigntrenith began to act too independent for Aldrick’s liking, so he once again stormed the city. This would be his downfall, however, for he was defeated in a duel with his apprentice (and protagonist) Asher. A mutiny sprung up during the attack on the capital as well, and the Blades completely dissolved.
The Blades are pretty recognizable. They all wear colored scarves, which demarcate rank. Red marks lower ranks, gold is for officers, and blue is for the viscount. They also generally wear the highest-quality armor available, and kettle-shaped helmets.
**The Môravichen of Moresia**
The Môravichen—roughly translating to “white birds” or “eagles”—are a smaller group of mercenaries in the eastern fiefdom of Moresia. It is led by the Hemomancer (my world’s magic system) Sir Bernhardt of Moresia. They are just as effective as the Blades because of the Hemomancers within the ranks. Aldrick and Bernhardt are friends, so these two groups often work with each other to great effect.
That's a nicely furnished piece of Lore, was nice to read! :)
And this whole thing about an armed group integrating into the politics and eventually going full political game reminds me of a group in my world, the Black Squadrons.
They used to be a guerilla rebellion movement in occupied territory, which got sponsored by the king of Lodr, to help to their liberation. When the lands in question got liberated, the Black Squadrons (they got this nickname because they were operating mainly by night) had already organized themselves as an elite small but mobile army. So the Lodrian king decided to employ them as a semi-autonomous military order, which was officially vassal to Lodr, but possessed several privileges.
Over the centuries however, their leaders grew hungry for more influence and power, using the Lodrian dependance on them for their cavalry forces as a leverage to gain privileges and lands. Some very influential characters from the Black Squadrons rose in Lodrian politics. This came at the expense of their martial discipline however,
as the leaders kinda stopped focusing on military might.
Basically it grew decadent and very flawed as a military unit (their ranks were now mainly made of fresh noble sons who were lured in the ranks by the appeal of prestige and fame, but who didn't have much training). It eventually hit them back, as their ineffectiveness made Lodrian armies lose a decisive battle in the infamous Nibelian civil war.
As a consequence, they were stripped of most of their titles and lost a lot of their prestige, and are now mostly seen as a thing of the past that has far outlived its prime time.
Sorry for the unrequested piece of lore, but your own not-so-mercenary-anymore mercenaries reminded me of it :)
I don’t mind much; that was also intriguing to read. A mercenary group mainly composed of poorly-trained nobles is an inspiring idea.
Blackwatch is one of the world's preeminent supernatural PMCs. Based out of New Hampshire, they have a large number of combat-trained mages and wizards among their ranks, and their members are trained to deal with all kinds of occult threats, from demons to dragons. They prefer to take on government contracts, but are willing to accept most contracts that come their way--so long as they aren't blatantly illegal. Can't go pissing off their best clients, after all!
All told, Blackwatch has around 2,500 soldiers-for-hire. Many of them are former members of the American military and law enforcement, though some do come from the American occult intelligence agencies, like Majestic-12, Department-7, and the FBI's Occult Files Bureau.
The Southern raiders would fight for you if paid, but it's only a side job. The Verthjol of Nordheim are warriors that you can pay to fight for you.
[The pirate ship Clairvoyance](https://crayshack.com/2021/08/27/living-pirate-ship/). Originally a hodge-podge of hedge mages turned pirate, the ship itself gained sentience and eventually became the leader of the group. From time to time, they've worked as privateers (even getting their start with such work in the War of the Spanish Succession) but during peacetime, they relied on piracy work.
Like many pirates, they closely followed the Pirate Code. Later in the ship's career, they moved away from the entire crew being made of spellcasters due to the ship itself having a growing capacity for carrying that duty herself. Also, over the years she gave birth to two daughters creating a small fleet. This allowed them to be powerful enough that even as the world moved away from privateering, they were formidable enough of a force to stay relevant.
Their careers as mercenaries came to an end in WWI. At [Dracula's](https://crayshack.com/2021/06/30/the-romanian-empire/) behest, Clair's daughters became involved in the conflict on the side of the Allies. But, at this point privateering was heavily discouraged and they had no ability to link up with Romania's small fleet, so they enlisted in the British Royal Navy. Clair could not bring herself to work for the British Crown but also could not bring herself to join the side opposing her daughters, so chose to retire rather than join the war. She remains in retirement to this day.
My world is set in western times, so take it with a grain of salt.
The angel eyes is a mercenary COMPANY, if that counts. A place where one can go for mercenary work, either as a contractor or a mercenary.
It was founded by a man who went by angel eyes. He was able to start the company with a cache of gold he got after a three way duel, where he was the only survivor. The company has its own ‘work force,’ but more and more they’ve been just contracting work out to freelancers. Angel Eyes headquarters in a city tend to be a very busy place, looking something similar to a slightly down scaled grand central terminal of New York. There’s usually a very large cork board where contracts can be posted, large enough that there needs to be hidden doors all over its face so workers can lean out to pin something to the wall.
Then there’s Her Lady’s Courtesans, a brothel / mercenary guild. This guild was started after the 16th fire of Lonelywood, a wooden gambling and trade town at the center of a cursed grass plains. Essentially, a fire was started during a riot in the town. Madam Amba and her four daughters(?) refused to evacuate and chose to make a stand with the brothel. At first, she ordered her courtesans to fight the fires closing in on the brothel. As the rioting grew closer, Madam Amba had her girls and boys raid a nearby arms dealer for weapons to subdue the approaching mob. While the brothel ended up burning down while they were distracted, Madam Amba and her courtesans managed to successfully put down the riots. After this, the neighborhood helped rebuild the brothel and the governor of the town offered her a contract. Enough money to start up a mercenary guild for the guarantee of their protection in times of crisis.
While relatively new, Her Lady’s Courtesans have seen quite a few contracts by now. After their defense of Lonelywood, THE shining jewel of the gold road (a major trade route), people can’t seem to get enough. It might help that mercenaries of Her Lady’s Courtesans tend to be both prostitute and mercenary, though not often at the same time, to costumers disappointment.
Honestly, out of all my mercenary bands, Her Lady’s Courtesans have to be my personal fav. A ragtag group that came into its new life during a time of crisis, upturning the views of their profession and gaining fame and fortune.
**Land of Our Gods**
Whilst not exactly a "regular" mercenary group in the common sense, the **Crows** do fill the role of an independent military force who serve those who recruit them.
However, the catch is that they do not actually fight in wars or conflicts against other people. Instead, they fight against the *rot plague*, which turns humans and animals into mindless beasts and spreads from the fumes emitted by infected creatures.
The crows see themselves as "cullers" of the plague, and so they answer where they are called. Their services are rather cheap, but they are usually only summoned as a last resort, as their "cleansings" are often extremely brutal and leave wide swaths of damage and deaths in their wake. But such is the brutality required to fight against the coming plague.
In the years that they have operated, they have garnered a reputation as being violent extremists. Reliable, yes, but violent nonetheless. Nowadays, their Morion helmets and steel plague doctor masks have became a symbol of ill omen amongst the populace, as their presence in an area means that a cleansing is about to happen.
**How were they formed?**
The oldest of the Crows are said to be originally a religious sect of doctors. As such, they were familiar with the base concepts required to quarantine diseases before they spread, "Nipping the bud" as they might call it. Even before the first wave of the rot plague, these doctors were known as being rather...unconventional in their ways. When the first plague of rot appeared, they saw it as an opportunity to take up arms and deal with the plague "as god intended".
**Who is leading them?**
Leaders of the Crows usually comes and goes, usually the next leader being the apprentice of the previous. The current leader of the band is an unknown man who is nicknamed "Old Redhat", named so due to the color of his helmet, which has been irreversibly stained red from the countless years of dried blood from numerous cleansings caking on the surface.
"Better to kill one man today than a hundred beasts tomorrow."
This has been their code of operation since the start of their days, and a code which every member has always followed religiously. This also informs why they have such violent and aggresive ways, as they would much rather kill innocent people if that means the plague do not spread any further.
**What is an event they are particularly known for?**
An infamous event involving the Crows which has etched itself into the mind of the people is the burning of the oceanfront ward of the city of Blechfeld. The story goes that in the northern docks area of Blechfeld, a seaside city known for being a trade hub, had experienced a surge in the rot plague. However, the city officials were hesitant in closing the dockyard operations as it was an important economic zone. By the time they finally took forceful measures, the rot plague had gone out of control, and so the Crows had to be called in.
Seeing the extensive damage that had occured, the Crows simply blocked off all exit paths from the Oceanfront ward and set the ward alight, they then watched from the edges of the fire and shot any living thing that tried to escape. After a week of fire, the entire ward was completely burnt to cinders, and no living creatures were left.
**What do they do during peacetime?**
Peacetime is a rather rare occurence for them, as the plague is spreading wide thoroughout the continent. However, in the rare moments of reprieve they do get, they use it to train new members, or to procure weapons.
**Tactics, strategy, and organization**
The Crows have two different strategies when hunting beasts, one used in urban areas and another used in open fields. When fighting in urban areas, they would usually quarantine and section off streets where they suspect a beast is present, where they would then set those areas on fire.
The other strategy, used in open fields/forests, would involve traps or redirected paths which would eventually direct a beast into a "killing ground". When the beasts have came into a killing ground, groups of spearmen and musketeers would slowly circle around them and then deal the killing blow.
The Crows themselves are organized into two groups; the mainline group and a specialized "hunter/scout" group. The hunter/scout group are the elite veterans who are well versed in the behaviour of the beasts. They are generally considered the "cleanup crew", which will set out after stragglers or escaped beasts after the main operations are finished.
The Athenian Empire has used mercenaries as their primary form of defense for centuries. The Empire found that it was cheaper and more efficient to pay bands of mercenaries a flat fee and have them be responsible for outfitting their own men. Jak Northmarch is a top advisor to the Emperor and has helped move the Empire in the direction of a standing army.
There are still plenty of mercenaries about, but in my WIP I only mention The Alchemists. They are a group of weak earth mages that were trained by the founder to be able to control lead balls which they shot using a sling. There name comes from the fact that they were able to turn lead into gold.
**The Island Erinblack**
It's Manner's minions, more a bunch of mercenaries who choose to work for Manner.
>How were they formed?
They found each other during the early chaos right after the Rain, and stuck together as a way to stay alive. Only after the early chaos they went to Manner to work for him in exchange for food and shelter.
>Who is leading them?
Manner, or Charles Wellington, seemingly two people in the same body constantly fighting for control. He never personally partakes in bloodshed himself, instead sending his minions out to kill people for him.
>What kind of organization do they have?
None, really. There's just three of them: Joy, or Natasha Elhart, Hinge, or Nathan Peeves, and Carnage, or Jack Cruce. Though observations do show Joy to be the one sent out for sneaking missions, and Carnage is sent out when they need mind games. Hinge is usually sent out when they need brute force, total anarchy.
>Do they have some kind of internal code, or something like that?
No, they know each other and therefor there's no need for a secret code. The closest thing they have is that they all know sign language, since Joy is mute, and that's the only way she can communicate.
>What is an event or anecdote they are particularly known for?
Among outsiders, they're known as the party that always greets visitors, and usually the party to kill them as well. Among the islanders, they're the party that introduces strangers that they can hunt for sports.
>What do they do during peace time?
Peace? On Erinblack? Hahaha, don't make me laugh. So long as there are people both in and ouside of the island, there will be conflicts over it.
Highwater-Brigham Security Company was a Mercenary force often hired by Corporations in the Empire of Ultimus. They formed from a merger of Highwater corporate security and Brigham Young Defense corporation. They were organized as a real military organization, squad-platoon-company etc, their "leaders" Paul Highwater and Alan Brigham Young, were businessmen rather than soldiers, and the company trusted its field leadership to its ranking officers. The company was wiped out in force by The Empire when they were implicated in kidnapping one of the Emperor's many children, Princess Rose, to use in a cloning experiment to create soldiers for the shadow cabal known as Chimera. Members who chose to surrender were charged with the associated guilt clause, though most were determined to have been upstanding citizens and released with probation. Those that chose to fight were killed by the Auxilary forces or the Imperial FIST shock troops. Notably, they possessed a fairly high number of combat converted freighters and decomissioned obsolete frigates, around 25 vessels overall. The Imperial Navy crippled, sank, or took captive all 25 ships in the space component of the battle of Aegerium, where the rest of the company's forces were also defeated, and the Princess recovered. They were well known for being discrete and professional, wearing black outfits and tinted helmets to avoid standing out. Famously, they also took the planetary governor hostage leaving Aegerium unable to respond to their activities until an Imperial Inspector-General arrived because of the missing princess.
I made a mercenary group up for running a D&D session for work and decided to keep it.
**The Black Swords**
**How were they formed?** They were formed out of necessity, defending human lands from a larger, stronger military. They took payment in order to maintain their gear. After the war, they were one of the only surviving mercenary outfits and it's members were far better off than the remaining refugees so they stuck together.
**Who is leading them?** The Black Prince. No slouch in a duel, he is ferociously faithful to his people and land, and actually had the capital to put the group together.
**What kind of organization do they have?** It's fairly loose by necessity. Broken up into different cells and units and spread all over the military front. Many of the cells are themselves split up into smaller units with an expertise at a specific type of mission or objective.
**Do they have some kind of internal code, or something like that?** Do Good, get paid. These people were all themselves refugees or soldiers trying to stand against the Gargoyles. The lands they protected were their own.
**What is an event or anecdote they are particularly known for?** The 3 Day River. Armies aren't particularly fast, but one of the cells was able to stall the entire military advance of the Gargoyles for 3 whole days. Essentially, orders were 'given' that the army needed to cross a river to proceed with its advance, so it settled down to build gear for the crossing. It took 3 days for the disaster to be sorted out for a river that didn't exist.
**What do they do during peace time?** Currently, rebuilding efforts. They get paid to help the refugees go back to their villages and homes and protecting it.
They’re a splinter group of the iconoclasts (a loosely organised group of revolutionaries trying to overthrow the kingdom of Portos and establish a democracy) who became disillusioned with their cause. Their leader, a former iconoclasts political theorist and general, Juani Espers, predicted that the violent revolution the iconoclasts are planning will be worse for the island, and lead to decades of political instability. So Juani, her husband Wass and their platoon left the iconoclasts, and are now hiding out west in the Chinampa islands.
Juani leads the chupacabras military operations, with Wass handling the financial side of their work. The other 37 mercs are usually split into three groups with the most experienced merc being in charge of them, and reporting to Juani. They’ve vowed to avoid involvement with the iconoclasts or Portos, and at generally hired by Axolotl tribes or the Angles from the far north in dealing with territorial disputes or villages who won’t pay their taxes. But they did come into conflict with the Portan military once.
The siege of Kuodasha was a 5 day battle where the chupacabras were hired by the pink gill tribe to ward off Portan troops from the village of Kuodasha, which was an holy site in Axolotl culture for being the last stop on their pilgrimage to the mother Lake. A lot of the chupacabras were Axolotls, and Juani was a human raised in one the Axolotl tribes, so the village was of holy importance to most of the group. By the end of the siege, 400 Portan soldiers had lost their lives. The chupacabras had lost only 5.
A group of assassins who train orphans into powerful warriors, they master in stealth and mastery of all sorts of weapons
The Pahlav hillmen are a large group of ethnic mercernaries who come from the mountainous region of Pahlavand. Numbering in the thousands, they all fight as mercernaries for the neighboring empires, and often against each other in tribal conflicts.
They all speak the same language and follow the same warlike customs and traditions, however they lack defined borders and central authority, and mostly stay in tribes or live as nomads and brigands in the high, dry mountians, where they often resort to raiding their neighbors.
Their warriors fight with axes, spears and javelins, usually with crescent shaped light peltast shields and little to no armor, making them very agile in the mountainous terrain, where they outperform and outpace any outsider arrogant enough to invade their lands.
They mostly wear simple tunics and caps during the hot summer months, and thicker hide coats during the cold winter, which means hillmen fight exclusively as light infantry and skirmishers and perform poorly against heavier infantry on flat terrain. In the mountains and forests however, their hit-and-run tactics have proven deadly to all the large empires around them, who have never succeeded in securing Pavlavand permanently.
Many thousands get recruited for every war due to their fighting spirit and skills in rough terrain, making them the most availible and reliable mercernaries in the region.