Author Topic: Hawkshold Design Brief  (Read 475 times)


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Hawkshold Design Brief
« on: December 07, 2016, 03:15:26 PM »
This is where we'll post up the design briefs for Hawkshold.  I'll start with the proposed background story for the faction, but I hope to include things like the art brief and the design philosophy for the rules. 

For now, we'll start with the draft background:

Men of Hawkshold

“Order the militia to stand fast!  They need only persevere until the lancers turn the enemy’s flank!”
   —Bergán Téméraire, Grand Duke of Hawkshold, at the Battle of Weslan River

Hawkshold is first among equals of the Holds of Men.  No other kingdom is as wealthy, populous, or powerful as Hawkshold.  The ancient defensive alliance that binds together the Holds of Men was built around Hawkshold.  When an Orc invasion must be repelled, Hawkshold sends its army.  If there is an outbreak of necromancy, it is a Hawkshold lord who investigates.  And when the call went out to free the ancestral homeland of Men, it was the Grand Duke of Hawkshold who led the crusade to drive out the Orcs and Goblins from Tangräth.

However Hawkshold is threatened by its own success.  Its protectorates and dependencies are far-flung and its feudal army does not have the wherewithal to honor all of the kingdom’s obligations.  The newly crowned Bergán, the fourth Grand Duke from the House of Téméraire, has made bold and sweeping reforms across Hawkshold.  Although personally austere and traditional, he has been a patron of trade and innovation, and the wealth they bring.

One of his first reforms was to discourage the use of peasant levies by his vassals to fulfill their feudal military obligations.  A peasant plowing a field of wheat does more good for Hawkshold than he does on a battlefield, Bergán decreed.  He recouped this loss of manpower by negotiating with the various Free Cities inside his realms, granting them greater freedoms in exchange for taxes and military service by their town militias.

The most far-reaching and controversial decrees was Bergán Téméraire’s creation of a standing army, primarily through the use of mercenaries.  His corps of Lancers is a rapid reaction force, able to respond to raiders and bandits and ghoul packs without waiting for feudal vassals to send troops.  He also replaced the ad hoc Great Swordsmen, dismounted knights who were good warriors but unmaneuverable in formation, with cadres of free company Great Swordsmen.  Dispossessed nobles from the fall of the Tangräth kingdoms, these mercenaries were more effective on the battlefield, even if their loyalty was slightly more suspect.

Noble knights and Wildmen raiders, upland Longbowmen and lowland Militia, free company Great Swordsmen and Half-Orc bands.  It would seem a monumental task to forge an army from these disparate peoples, yet it seems Bergán Téméraire has accomplished just that.  Although some have called him brash, the ambitious young recognizes only posterity as his only judge.