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    Greyhawk mercenary groups?
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
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    Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:59 am  
    Greyhawk mercenary groups?

    I think being a mercenary, especially an elite one, is the closest you can be of an adventurer, and maybe most adventurers are just glorified mercenaries? That is arguable, of course, but I want to talk about Greyhawk mercenaries. There are also 2500 Yeomanrish mercenaries fighting for Keoland, but I don't think these are actual mercenaries, but rather just tough peasants who want to get back to their fields ASAP. I would say that these guys are just commoners with hearts of true warrior.

    Anyway, let's start with famous mercenary companies. The Golden Scimitar seems to be the best of the best in the Flanaess, but not much is known about them. Are there dozens or hundreds of mercenary companies in the Flanaess? What can be said of them? Any facts or opinions?
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 am  

    The Minifigs list of forces by nation/region includes a number of mercenary troop types, which suggests that there's quite a bit of mercenary groups active in the Flanaess:

    WOG05 Berserker Mercenaries (6) swords, spears, javelins - Wild Coast/Pomarj
    WOG06 Hireling Men-at-Arms (6) axes, spears, bows - Wild Coast petty kingdoms

    [no territory given for WOG43-48]
    WOG43 Wandering Adventurers, magic user, cleric, bard, halfling thief WOG44 Heroic Mercenary Foot (5) axes, spear, bow
    WOG45 Heroic Mercenary Foot (5) swords
    WOG46 Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) swords
    WOG47 Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) short sword, spear
    WOG48 Heroic Mercenary Cavalry (2) morning star, bow

    See Joe Bloch's Greyhawk Grognard blog @ for the full list including pictures of the minis where available.
    Allan Grohe (
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:47 pm  

    Mercenaries rarely 'return to the farm'. Farmers HATE professional soldiers, mercenaries most of all. They're not going to be kind to a soldier caught alone, just as soldiers are rarely kind to farmers when they have the upper hand.

    A short-term militia is a completely different thing, of course.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
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    Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:37 pm  

    WG8 Fate of Istus gave us the Iron Fist Guild in Nyrond, FWIW.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:28 am  

    The Bronze Band is probably the most famous mercenary company in the Flanaess. It does not hire out to just anyone, and mainly serves within the Shield Lands fighting against the forces of Iuz, the Horned Society (or remnants), and the Bandit Kingdoms. I have an article on them underway...somewhere. Suffice to say, in later years the Bronze Band is a very formidable and experienced "mercenary" company due to all the action they have seen. If it comes from Iuz, the Lands of the Hierarchs, or the Bandit Kingdoms, they have probably fought/killed it at one time or another.
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    CF Admin

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    Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:56 am  

    Is the Bronze Band the group that Incosee (from Artifact of Evil) founded?
    Allan Grohe (

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    Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:22 am  

    The Greyhawk Gazetteer lists pike-wielding mercenary companies as one of the major exports of Perrenland.

    I mentioned the Witch is Dead, Mercenary, Merchant, and Adventurer's Guild along with the Archangel Mercenary Guild in my articles on SirXaris and Sanctigaard, though little information is provided.

    SirXaris' Facebook page:
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:26 am  

    grodog wrote:
    Is the Bronze Band the group that Incosee (from Artifact of Evil) founded?

    Yep. Cool

    Collected notes from various sources (including the Gord the Rogue books):

    "Incosee- A slight built, tough, normally taciturn Flan mercenary, noted for endurance. Company's symbol is a bronzewood tree. Bronze Band’s colors are green and brown. After the Horned Society fell, he sought employment in the Shield Lands, where he and his company became notable heroes. He was eventually knighted by the Earl himself before the Shield Lands fell (just prior to the Greyhawk Wars). He likely has a sword, and definitely has a barbed spear suitable for throwing. Skilled fighters and spell workers are members of the Bronze Band, and the brown and green is a byword among Shield Landers, meaning the Bronze Band is noteworthy, reputable, and capable."
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:35 pm  

    I would argue that the Johrase are the best and most famous mercs north of the Nyr Dyv. We fleshed them out as a meta-org during Living Greyhawk. See below (from the last version of the Bandit Kingdoms Meta-campaign Guidebook I was working on). It should be noted that this information does not include the fact that Kinemeet was reclaimed by the Johrase and a PC was named their king. The meta-AR is too complicated to paste, I wish we could attach files.

    Johrase Mercenaries

    The Kingdom of Johrase was founded in 324 CY when an heir to the Aerdy Rax dynasty, Andrellus, came to the region and imposed his will on the peoples there. With him he brought the trappings and customs of the Aerdy, creating his own Great Kingdom in miniature. Andrellus was of course the king, various minor nobles that made the trip with him became his court, and the native Flan peoples became the commoners.

    While this system lasted for a time, civil unrest, as well as the nobility breeding with the local Flan, created an increase of violence and reverence for strength as the Flannish culture began to take over. Eventually the Flannish warrior culture prevailed, and the throne of Johrase was soon held by the most powerful warrior, regardless of caste or race. The king could be challenged at any time, with the victor taking the throne. However, this did not do away with the importance of the Rax nobles. While the strongest warrior figuratively controlled the throne, he usually had no interest in or knowledge of politics or Diplomacy. Thus, the nobles retained much control by administering the day to day operations of the kingdom. These nobles were viewed as advisors by the commoners, while truly being the power behind the throne. The reputation of the Johrase as skilled and fierce warriors existed even at this time with annual raids of Redspan ensuring that everyone in the region knew of their ferocity.

    In 583 CY, Johrase allied with the Principality of Dimre to combat the invading forces of Iuz, but was defeated. After their defeat, the warriors of Johrase spread throughout the Bandit Kingdoms and neighboring lands, ostensibly to sell their martial skills and eke out a living as best they can (some few even sought solitude in Dimre). However, their agenda is much more extensive than that.

    To date, the Johrase have been one of the most successful organizations since the occupation of the Combination. By maintaining strict adherence to a mercantile code, they have been allowed to sell their services to various factions inside the Combination. The Johrase mercenaries have a reputation of professionalism, skill, and tenacity. This reputation allows the Johrase mercenaries to command hefty sums for their skills throughout the Flanaess. The minions of Iuz have hired a fair number of Johrase. This has done nothing to endear themselves to the anti-Iuz factions in the Combination.

    The people of the Kingdom of Johrase have not taken their defeat at the hands of Iuz lightly. They are a displaced people whose only goal is to regain their homeland. To this end the Johrase have taken to the mercenary life for two reasons. One, to continue to improve their already impressive martial skills for their eventual war to reclaim what they have lost, and two, to earn the money that will be required to equip and fund an army capable of defeating the occupying forces.

    In order to ensure the Johrase do not diminish their fighting forces, all fly the black morning star emblem of Johrase in combat, and Johrase men never fight each other, regardless of professed allegiances. When they meet in the battlefield, they greet one another with the solemn phrase: “One day, in Kinemeet, we shall finish this.” All have long memories and have not forgotten the halls of Kinemeet. All possess a burning hatred for humanoids and will put themselves in jeopardy to murder those sub-humans who took their lands from them.

    Important People
    The four mercenary lords or ladies that currently control the resources of the mercenaries are of primary interest. They are listed in order of prestige:

    Lord Forlone Malchat: Lord Malchat was said to have been the king's personal advisor before the coming of the Old One. Malchat now heads the loosely knit mercenary organization. To all outward appearances Forlone has made peace with the foul God, or at least his minions, by strengthening ties to Cranzer and Zeech. Many find this “business move” unthinkable, even for the profitable mercantile purposes. Nevertheless, he has sizable holdings south of Rookroost, and has been seen strolling Cranzer’s estate on more than one occasion.

    Lord Calmert Hind: If Forlone is the diplomat and leader of the Mercenary Lords, then Lord Hind is their swordarm. Calmert is a silent and honorable man, who speaks no foul word against another Johrase. He uses his mercenary company to further the goals of the dead kingdom. Calmert and Forlone are fast friends and Calmert has come to other mercenary's lords’ aid on several occasions in the past decade.

    Calmert has a deep hate for all things associated with Iuz. While he does not openly dissent with his friend and leader, Malchat, his hate for the Demi-gods minions is barely contained in any interaction with them.

    Lady Dania Odrean: The lady maintains a low profile, but she is known to have holdings on northeast corner of Riftcrag. How many Johrase report to her is unknown.

    Viscount Jorn Brerse: In the simplest of terms, Viscount Brerse sticks out from the other Mercenary Lords. While the other Johrase lords are grim, dour fighting men bent on the retaking of their homeland, the Viscount is an extraordinarily overweight, overbearingly pompous, elitist, money wasting, free wheeling sybarite. He knows the boundaries to which luxurious decadence can be pushed, and he spends every waking moment of his life attempting to expand them.

    After the invasion, in which he took little part, he was sent to Dyvers on a diplomatic mission. Once there he took a liking to the splendor and ready fineries so much as to have little care for the idea of returning to the cold, inhospitable Bandit Kingdoms. Since then he has never returned from the City of Sails, and resides in a mansion in a well-to-do community of wealthy merchants. He introduces himself to his wealthy friends as Sir Jorn Brerse the Tragic, Grand Duke of the Johrase, Viscount of Kinemeet, Baron of the South Province, Master of the King’s Horse (All titles save Viscount are fabricated for a tad of grandeur, but he was not the Viscount of Kinemeet, rather instead the poor South Province).

    Recent Events
    Since the forging of a working relationship with Cranzer, Lord Malchat has been walking a thin line. On one side stands his force of Johrase soldiers and their desire to take back the lands of their birth. On the other is an opportunity for a political victory with Cranzer, and reinstatement of their lands without spilling a drop of Johrase blood. The Urzun Orcs have become undependable resource for Cranzer. Malchat hopes to push the Orcs from Kinemeet by the hand of their own master, a risky game at best.

    It has been, however, twelve long years since the fall of Kinemeet and many warriors, especially youthful hotheads, grow impatient at their leadership’s inaction. They do not dissent openly-they are still fanatically devoted the Johrase leadership and the Johrase cause-but instead try to sway the mercenaries away from its current completely neutral mercantile mentality and more towards a mindset hostile towards Old Wicked. These hawkish warriors have been dubbed Loyalists, and their numbers are certainly in the minority, but they continue to grow daily after every Iuzian atrocity. The overwhelming majority of the Johrase, those advocating acceptance of the mercenary life and patience until the opportune moment for acts of rebellion have come are called Realists.

    The assault on Stonehill Fortress, a prior holding of the Johrase Kingdom has already cost Malchat political revenue with Cranzer. The assult was led by a wayward Johrase named Traynen, who along with some other members of the faction managed to free the Fortress from the control of Iuzian forces. Riftcrag has ordered Malchat to hold the fortress in the name of the Old One, as well as to capture and execute those responsible for the attack as a sign of good faith. So far, none have been executed, although several of the rebels are believed to be held in Stonehill’s prision.

    Relationships with Other Groups
    The Johrase Mercenaries strive to maintain a neutral relationship with all factions in the Bandit Kingdoms, having said that there are a few minor annoyances and alliances worth noting:

    The Johrase Mercenaries do not deal kindly with thieves or their guilds. They lack the most basic understanding of honor and business.

    The Johrase have a grudging respect for the Dazark Orcs and will decline work that takes them into the Dazark’s land. The Johrase leadership recognize that the Dazark do not work for the Old One.

    The Johrase find the Fanlareshen elves to be a pathetic group, hiding in their forests. The Johrase have accepted several missions from Cranzer that have encroached on this group. The Johrase insist “it’s just business”. This has caused more than a little animosity between the elves and mercenaries.

    “One day, in Kinemeet, we shall finish this.”
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
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    From: Verbobonc

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    Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:25 pm  

    There would probably be two types of mercenary organizations in the Flanaess. One, as Sutenmi alludes to would be your elite specialists which would look a lot like an adventuring party. A real world equivalent would be Executive Outcomes which focused on training, reconnaissance, and giving conventional forces better leadership. These could either be adventurers who want a steadier pay check, or former, state-run military types looking to make a little more money with more risk.

    The other type of unit would be the actual military force, like the Bronze Band. Perrenland, as a pastiche of Switzerland, as its famous pike-armed mercenaries, and as I recall the Yeomanry exports soldiers as well. Possibly like the German landesknechts, they have a rivalry with the Yeomanry troops (competition) and are difficult to have in the same force, and might get carried away in battle with each other. A good historical reference would be Sir John Hawkswood and the White Company, fictionalized by Conan Doyle in the book, the White Company.

    A mercenary company will be most successful if it is bringing a capability to the battle that its employer lacks. Thus, a company of long bowmen supplementing a nation that does not traditionally use the longbow would be more successful than some assorted swordsmen joining an army of assorted swordsmen.
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