Monday, September 30, 2013

The Soldier - Queen of Battle

She stood there on the low revetment, shading her eyes with the flat of her hand and scanning the shallow valley spread out below her. There, in the dry and stony river bed at the bottom of the valley, a mixed force of heavy Gradniki musketeers and horse artillery fought a large remnant of the Witch armies. She squinted in a vain effort to make out the course of the fight, but twilight was coming, and the battlefield was obscured by dust and smoke. All she could make out was the flash and boom of the artillery, the peevish crackling of musketry, and the screams of the dying. Musket balls filled the air around her with a sound like angry hornets. A six-pound cannon ball shrieked out of the murk and smashed into the wall next to her feet, showering her with soil and stone fragments. Its energy spent, the ball rolled into the trench behind her, stopping at the feet of the frightened young conscript serving as her aide de camp.

“Sir!” He called up to her in a quavering voice. “Should not you come down?”

“Ne!” She replied, and turned to face the boy. He shrank back in terror, for as he watched her face changed. Her features spread and her teeth lengthened, her brow grew heavy and furrowed. Fine tawny hair sprouted from her cheeks and the backs of her hands. “Ne”, she said again. “Gather the men. It is time.” As her troopers came clattering through the trench, she turned in time to see a massive foreigner, one of the mercenaries bought by the Witches, come charging out of the smoke with a deadly looking bayonet fixed to his musket. She drew her heavy, two-barreled pistol from her belt and shot him in the chest at point-blank range. Already dead, his momentum carried him past her into the trench where he landed in a bloody heap at the feet of her assembled troopers. She looked down on them, smiling a fierce and toothy smile, and said, “Come you sons of dogs! Do you want to live forever?”

Soldiers are the hardy, rough and ready men and women who make up the backbone of most of Morden's armed forces. A general, catch-all designation, Soldiers are the foot slogging infantryman, the hardy engineer, the swift cavalry trooper, the intrepid scout, and the keen-eyed artilleryman. Trained in numerous military skills, they can carry a heavy pack, dig a ditch, or charge bravely into an enemy formation with fixed bayonets with equal aplomb.

Since the sundering of the Grand Coven and the end of the Bane Wars, countless soldiers have found themselves without a profession. Demobilized from their home armies and turned out into the cruel new world of Witch-Occupied Morden, each has struggled to find their place in this new world. Some have laid down their weapons and given up the study of war. Others have turned to drink, to banditry, or other, less savory pursuits. Some, however, use their considerable military skill in the resistance against the Witches. Even the greenest, lowest-ranking soldier is a godsend to the various resistance groups, and a Soldier's courage, prowess in battle, and varied skills are invaluable to the cause.

The Grand Coven Veteran Edge represents those characters who fought for the Witches during the Bane War. The Officer of the Alliance Edge represents characters that battle against the Grand Coven. Player Characters can choose to take both, neither, or one of these Edges, depending upon the role they played during the war.

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