In recent years this ceremony has gained particular significance for the participants – though in Brotherhood-controlled areas the ceremonies are carried out in secret.
Traditionally a Szek has ruled Onnwal. Originally appointed by the Herzog of South Province, after the assumption of independence the title passed to Parmus Destron in whose family it has remained ever since. Jian Destron is now Szek in all but name and currently the last of his line. The Szek was responsible for the upkeep of the armed forces of Onnwal, the levying of taxes, law and order, and for the maintenance of Onnwal’s dwindling woodlands.
Onnwal is split into four provinces: Gilderond, The Azure Coast, The Storm Coast, and the Eastern Marchlands. A Duke, who held the territory from the Szek, oversaw each of these. The four ducal families are Destron, Cadwale, Coriell, and Relaster ruling (respectively) Gilderond, The Azure Coast, the Eastern Marchlands, and the Storm Coast. Rulership of Gilderond typically passed to the eldest Destron child. Duke Coriell has the additional title Seneschal of the East. Of these individuals only Duke Coriell survived the fall of his country. The third most important man in Free Onnwal, Coriell has remained in Irongate where he agitates for Irongate intervention in the struggle.
Responsible to each of the Dukes were a number of Barons, Village Mayors, and other landholders – most of who were slain or carried off during the occupation. Each was responsible for a fief (or Cantred) within a ducal province. Some of these positions were hereditary while others were within the purview of the Dukes to grant. Normally centred upon a village or small town, several of the hereditary fiefs had multiple settlements and were politically quite powerful. Killdeer, a fortress town in the Eastern Marchlands, is officially the capital of Free Onnwal although it is doubtful that this is where the leaders of the Resistance actually are. Both have been subject to several assassination attempts by the Brotherhood and must therefore mask their movements and true locations.
The Szeks of Onnwal Since Independence
|446 – 473
||Parmus Destron. Parmus led the nation to freedom and was rewarded by the remaining nobility with the hereditary title Szek.
|473 – 495
||Elverd Destron. A warrior well schooled in naval action. He held the pirates of the Pomarj in check throughout his reign. Nicknamed the Sea Wolf.
|495 – 497
||Triolar Destron. Slain early in his reign during a skirmish with pirates in the Gearnat.
|497 – 521
||Parmus Destron II. A skilled negotiator and diplomat, Parmus forged closer relations with the demi-humans of the Headlands.
|521 – 534
||Warnalf Destron. Able but unimaginative.
|534 – 554
||Farnuk Destron. An unimaginative man given to relying on advisors for council.
|554 – 572
||Parmus Destron III. Parmus spent much of his reign energetically defeating the plotting of the newly appointed Chelors.
|572 – 584
||Ewerd Destron. Assassinated by the Brotherhood on the eve of the invasion.
|584 – 591
||No crowned Szek but Jian Destron is widely accepted as the ruler of the land.
Before its capture by the Scarlet Brotherhood, Onnwal was a feudal state. The nobility held title to all the land and, therefore, all the power. The Lords of the Great Houses – the four Dukes of Onnwal – divided their holdings into Cantreds that they granted as fiefs to their vassals in return for military service in times of war and taxes in times of peace. The Cantred Lairds – the hereditary Barons and appointed Mayors – in turn, divided their fiefs among their own vassals who owed them feudal service. At the bottom of this feudal pyramid was the peasantry, reliant upon their noble lords for their lands and for protection. Only since the rebellion from the Great Kingdom has the numbers of freemen – those able to purchase their own property – become significant. The nobility are the masters of the land and its society and customs are designed to accommodate them. Nonetheless, Onnwal’s nobles are, by and large, wise and their rule just.
The Great Houses
The four Great Houses of Onnwal claim descent from the captains of the Aerdi general Azharadian who conquered Onnwal centuries ago. As a reward for their loyal service to the Malachite Throne, they were granted extensive lands in the new Imperial fief. The Great Houses have ruled as Dukes of the Provinces of Onnwal since this time. It was they who led the rebellion that saw Onnwal throw off the oppressive rule of the Great Kingdom.
Minor Houses of Onnwal
Onnwal’s Barons – the rulers of the sixteen hereditary cantreds – consisted of nobles from the great houses of Destron, Cadwale, Coriell, and Relaster as well as those from minor houses. Mayors are appointed directly by the provincial Dukes. Originally, they were appointed to oversee the Duke’s affairs in the four provincial towns. During the sixth century of the Common Reckoning, mayors were appointed to more of the wealthier cantreds in the lowlands – usually where the ruling line became extinct – a sign of the slowly growing influence of wealthy commoners in Onnwalish society.
Cantred Lairds are responsible for upholding law and order, the collection of taxes, and the organization and training of the peasant levies. Nobles are required to furnish household troops to the Szek in times of crisis, whilst mayors (or more precisely their fiefs) shoulder the costs of garrisoning Onnwalish regulars.
When the Scarlet Brotherhood invaded, the Lairds were among their first targets for assassination and it is believed that up to twelve were slain in the first terrible night of blood. The remainder are hunted by the Brotherhood and publicly executed if captured (a further seven Lairds have fallen in this manner). Of the remainder, four escaped – the Lairds of the Dwur March, High Bergard, Fallnos Vale, and Silvervale – and one became infamous for his treachery.
Rohal Soldas, mayor of Sornhill, admitted an advance force of Brotherhood troops into Duke Relaster’s tower in the town, resulting in the capture of the Duke and most of his immediate family. When Brotherhood ships were sighted entering the bay the next morning, Soldas ordered the surrender of the town in the name of the now-deposed Duke. Only the refusal of a young marine commander – Barrend Desharn – to obey this order prevented the town from falling without a struggle.
Though Desharn’s resistance was ultimately in vain, it did allow several ships to flee the port (including a naval caravel packed with marines and other refugees) and the torching of several other Onnwallish vessels, thus denying their use to the Brotherhood. While Desharn is believed to have fallen in a valiant rearguard action on the quays, Soldas went on to become an adviser to the Kesh of Sornhill. The traitor was not found (alive or dead) when the town fell to the rebels, but recent reports place him at the side of the deposed Kesh in the hills around the town.
Despite the liberation of much of the country since the Brewfest Rebellion, Jian Destron has not appointed any Lairds to the recovered territories. To do so would be to condemn the men to certain assassination or subversion by the Brotherhood. Instead, local Resistance cells – usually led by members of the Wreckers – administer parts of Free Onnwal anonymously. This has angered some of the surviving nobility – affronted to see brigands and criminals usurping their rightful place in society. Jian has promised to make amends once the Brotherhood is driven from the country and he ascends his throne in Scant.
The Legal System
The Onnwalish legal system is taken almost directly from the famed Legal Code of Schandor Cranden, Lawgiver, set down in the golden age of the Great Kingdom when the empire was yet good and just.
Justice and law in Onnwal is officially the province of the Szek. However, in practice, this right is normally delegated to the Chief Justice of Onnwal, also known as the Prime (and usually the High Priest of Pholtus). Disputes between nobles are dealt with by the Prime himself and three other High Priests (usually Zilchus, Heironeous, and Osprem), or in exceptional circumstances, where the security of the country is deemed to be endangered, by the Szek.
‘Middle’ justice – that is serious crimes (such as murder, arson, theft of goods to the value of 500 gold gulls, magical crimes, sedition etc) and disputes between peasants or freemen are dealt with by travelling Judges of the Sessions. These were almost always priests of Pholtus (though occasionally some were of Heironeous’ faith). As a restriction to help ensure impartiality, neither they nor any relative through blood or marriage could own land within 50 miles of the place of judgement.
Justices of the Peace (usually appointed by cantred Lairds) deliver ‘Low’ justice. That is petty crimes and disputes between peasants or freemen. These Justices are generally constrained in sentencing by guidelines issued by the Office of the Prime, though there is some leeway for Lairds to adjust the sentences in certain cases.
Schandor’s legal code further stipulates that at least half the local watch should be local peasantry.
The Code of Laws for the Free State of Onnwal.
Note that under the Code of Laws, victims must be “People” – i.e. Humans, Olve, Dwur, Hobniz, and Noniz. Half-Orcs are not considered people under the Code of Laws. However, Familiars can be classified as People, Monsters, or Property depending on their ability to speak intelligently, the nature of the creature, and the mood of the Judge – but Golems and other constructs are considered the property of the maker.
Major Crimes are tried at an Assize of the Court of Sessions before a Judge of the Sessions. Convicted persons may appeal once in the case of capital crimes and once at the judge¢s discretion in the case of non-capital offences.
Minor Crimes are tried before a local Magistrate appointed by the Cantred Laird or Mayor/Provost of provincial capitals. Appeals are at the discretion of the Cantred Laird, but are rarely granted. Minor crimes include:
- Minor Assault (no broken bones)
- Blasphemy against a Priest
- Blasphemy against/Desecration of a Temple
- Dangerous Conveyance of a Vehicle/Mount in a Public Place
- Dangerous Navigation in Port (inc unauthorised Landing on the shores of the Free State)
- Disturbance of the Peace (Excessive noise, light smell etc)
- Public Disorderliness and Drunken Conduct
- Offences against Noble/Free State property
- Use of Interdicted Weapons*
- Receiving, Possessing or Fencing Stolen Property
- Slander or Libel
- Slavery or Procurement of Slaves
- Tax Evasion (< 50gp)
- Trespass, Violation of Privacy and Unlawful Entry into the Free State.
- Unlawful Hindrance of Business
- Use of Magic in a Public Place without Due Cause.
*: Interdicted weapons: Polearms, Pikes, Garrottes, and all forms of poison are interdicted except for Nobles and their Bannermen, Agents of the Law and other servants of the Free State, members of the Regular Army, Free State Navy, and Marines and commoners fulfilling their Militia duty.
Tariffs for Minor Crimes are at the discretion of the Magistrate and the Cantred Laird. They usually vary from Hard Labour (two weeks to two years) to fines of 1-30% of the Convict’s True Worth up to a maximum of 1,000gp.
The Free State of Onnwal
||1, 5-7, 9
|Grievous Assault (inc Rape)
||1, 3, 6-11
|Banned Religious Worship
||1, 2, 4, 9
|Bribery of a Free State official
|Burglary of/damage to Free State Property
|Counterfeiting of Free State Coinage
|Fraud (inc. lying to agents of the Law and the Free State)
|Impersonation of Free State Official or Nobility
|Importation of Dangerous Controlled Items
|Incitement to Riot
|Magical Interference with the Integrity of the Person
|Rioting and Affray
|Robbery (of goods or coin greater than 500 gp)
|Tax Evasion (50 gp+)
|Trafficking with Dark Powers
||Permanent Exile and Banishment – if exile returns to Onnwal – may be killed on sight.
||Mutilation (loss of hand, tongue, eye etc)
||Hard Labour for Life
||Hard Labour for 11-20 years (more for Olve, Dwur, Hobniz and Noniz)
||Hard Labour for 7-12 years
||Hard Labour for 5-8 years
||Hard Labour for 1-4 years
||Enormous Fine: 90-95% of convict’s true worth
||Heavy Fine: 60-80% of convict’s true worth
||Standard Fine: 25-40% of convict’s true worth
The Legal System Today
The old legal system was, of course, replaced by the Brotherhood’s own harsh laws. All those enslaved were denied any legal rights or status – effectively becoming the property of the Brotherhood. The laws of the Brotherhood bound the remainder, now sub-citizens in the new order. The three cardinal laws were:
The Destiny of the Suel: Do not take actions that slow the Suel people on the path to their true destiny.
The Bonds of the Brotherhood: The Brotherhood has a shared birthright. Behold their superiority above the slave races.
The Words of the Fathers: Acknowledge the authority of your superiors and obey their commands.
Aside from these precepts, a lexicon of specific statutes bound sub-citizens. Sub-citizens were not allowed to carry weapons longer than six inches in length unless they served the Brotherhood. Wilful or incidental acts causing damage to an excess of 100 square feet of property, causing the injury or death of a citizen by wilful or accidental acts, or theft of damage to the property of a citizen were punished by imprisonment, enslavement, or death. Torture and/or execution punish wilful acts of treason against the Brotherhood. Thralls breaking these laws are generally executed publicly as an example to others.
In Free Onnwal, the legal system of Schandor has been restored in name. In practice however, the Office of Prime remains vacant, and few Judges of the Sessions survived the Occupation. Local rebel commanders enforce the rule of law on an ad hoc basis. However, as many of these are members of the Wreckers, enforcement tends to be lax to say the least. Only serious crimes such as murder and treason tend to be rigorously enforced – generally with a death sentence.
This state of affairs is a further cause for complaint among the noble supporters of Jian Destron, who want to see him take a stronger line in this regard and appoint a new Prime. Also keen for this to happen is the new High Priest of Pholtus, Purcennd Kerondas. He has already encouraged his clergy to enforce the old laws whereever they are. This they have done with zeal, though the church’s adoption of intolerant dogmas from the Theocracy of the Pale has caused some disquiet among some rebels and other faiths, notably Trithereon, and may be the cause of Jian Destron’s reluctance to appoint Kerondas as Prime.
The Brotherhood in Onnwal
The Scarlet Brotherhood replaced the traditional system of government with a network of Kesh (in effect a Mayor) each of whom is responsible for the running of a village or town. All of them report to the Kesh of Scant, Maranefel Toktot, who in turn answers to Exalted Sister Kuranyie, Keshkal and Shepherd of Onnwal. Now, however, most settlements of any size apart from Scant are under the control of the rebels. The fate of the few Kesh who survived the fall of their territories is unknown. The sections below relate some information regarding the internal workings of the Brotherhood in Onnwal that is generally thought to be correct.
The Office of Diplomacy
It has been asserted by the Dwur sage Morrev Ironseeker of Scant that agents of the office have been operating in Onnwal since before the public appearance of Brotherhood emissaries in 573 CY. It is apparent that the Brotherhood has managed to infiltrate all levels of Onnwalish society to one degree or another. The Office of Diplomacy was probably responsible for the espionage and assassination that so quickly disabled and destroyed any resistance to the Brotherhood invasion. Morrev Ironseeker is certain that the Office still maintains the Brotherhood’s network of spies and assassins in Onnwal.
The Office of Arms
The Office of Arms coordinated the naval assault on Scant and the other Onnwalish ports, the landing of troops, and the destruction of what scattered military resistance there were inland. Brotherhood forces continued their drive inland towards Irongate but were recalled after the failure of the coup there. Command of the land armies in Onnwal, the naval forces maintaining the blockade of the Straits of Gearnat, and the vessels re-supplying Scant and Onnwal is thought to have remained in the hands of the Office of Arms after the invasion. It is notable though that where the forces of the Brotherhood acted with great tactical and strategic coordination during the invasion, this was almost completely absent during the Brewfest Rebellion. What this might mean in terms of the command structure of the Office of Arms is still unclear.
The Office of Sovereignty
The Office of Sovereignty was given control of Onnwal, alongside Sister Kuranyie as Keshkal of Onnwal, after the crushing of all open resistance in 584 CY. The Office enforced the rule of Brotherhood law in the territory, commanded the Brotherhood’s military forces, and coordinated the activities of the other Offices. Sovereignty also sought to infiltrate and subvert the Wreckers – though the cell structure and the thieves’ implacable resistance to the Brotherhood confounded most of these efforts. Kesh was appointed to oversee each of the major towns and cantreds. Kuranyie and her subordinates ruled with an iron fist, determined to crush dissent and sedition wherever it was thought to exist.
However, the Brewfest Rebellion in 586 CY caught Sovereignty totally unprepared. The Office was overconfident after the speed of the Onnwalish collapse in 584. Added to this, the speed of the rebel advance left the Kesh and their military commanders disorientated and disorganized. Only Kuranyie’s personal intervention halted the rebels before they retook Scant itself.
Since then, the Office has tried to regain some of the ground lost during the rebellion seemingly by any means necessary. In light of this, rumours of yellow sailed ships moored in the Great Harbour of Scant certainly bode ill.
The Office of Faith
Agents of the Office of Faith arrived soon after the fall of Onnwal to bring the pure Suel faith to the conquered land. The delegation was headed by groups of priests of the five main Brotherhood religions: Bralm, Llerg, Pyremius, Syrul, and Wee-Jas; as well as a mixed group of priests representing the remainder of the Suel pantheon (chiefly, Dalt – sentinels and fortifications, Kord – warriors, especially savage warriors, Lydia – indoctrination and re-education, Osprem – sea and navy, Xerbo – trade and supplies, and Phaulkon – archery). The existing churches of Suel faiths such as Osprem and Xerbo were taken over and their clergy “re-educated” in the ways of the Pure Faith. Non-Suel religions were brutally suppressed, their priests executed or enslaved, their temples levelled and the masonry used to construct temples to gods of the Pure Faith.
The Church of Bralm has aided the efforts of the Office of Thralls in managing and mobilizing the populace as labourers and in the indoctrination of the thralls to their new status. The Church of Llerg has chiefly aided the army, lending guidance, morale, and healing where needed.
The Pyremians are greatly feared by the local populace for their depravity and cruelty. They have declared the hot springs of Scant (and thus the rest of the city) sacred to their lord and have vowed to defend it to the last. They also have considerable interest in the Hezarin Isles (Hezarin is Old Oeridian for Hell), which they call the Spires of Pyremius. The Church of Syrul also aids the Office of Diplomacy in its efforts against the Rebels.
Finally, the Church of Wee Jas, as well as aiding in the enforcement of law and order, has close ties to the Office of Sorcery in their efforts in using sea creatures to blockade the Straits and harass rebel shipping.
The Office of Purity
Members of the Office of Purity arrived soon after the fall of Onnwal and quickly spread out across the land visiting each town and village assessing the purity of the inhabitants. Onnwalons were classified as either sub-citizens (for those of pure or nearly pure Suel descent) or slaves (those of significantly mixed blood, Oerids, or demi-humans). Slaves had their lands and properties confiscated and were subject to the tender mercies of the Office of Thralls. Sub-citizens were allowed to keep their property but were compelled to obey the commands of the Office of Sovereignty. Those of pure Suel blood was seized and shipped to unknown destinations.
The cataloguing of the populace was interrupted in its final stages by the Brewfest rebellion. Since the rebellion, the Office of Purity has maintained only a small presence in Scant which is mainly involved in indoctrinating the populace as to the destiny and superiority of the Suel race and of the Brotherhood. Followers of Lydia assist the Office of Purity in its task.
The Office of Thralls
The Office of Thralls arrived in the wake of Purity to take control of the large slave population in Onnwal. With the aid of the Church of Bralm, the Office enslaved all those deemed impure by the Office of Purity then mobilized them in the restructuring of Onnwal – mainly the repair of damaged fortifications, the destruction of non-Suel temples and monuments, and the erection of Suel replacements. In the countryside, the lands of slaves were seized and amalgamated into large plantations worked by slaves to provide the large Brotherhood armies in the country and elsewhere. The Office has also moved significant numbers of slaves to the dreaded Obelstone Keep. Though many enter, none have been known to emerge and terrible and wild tales abound about the goings-on there.
Given their treatment of the populace, it is hardly surprising that the Office lost many members during the rebellion as liberated slaves lynched their oppressors. The Office now appears to manage the large slave population of Scant, helping to bolster the defences of the beleaguered city. However given the shortage of food, the condition of many of the slaves is appalling and many die every day, despite the efforts of the Office to stem the loss of their “beasts of burden”.
The Office of Sorcery
The mages of the Office of Sorcery are chiefly occupied in aiding the blockade of the Straits of Gearnat and the harassing of Rebel shipping. Their base of operations for this is Obelstone Keep, which is located on the western tip of the peninsula. Here also the Brotherhood’s storm mages wreak havoc on enemy shipping.
Onnwal and Other Nations
The notes detailed below apply exclusively to that portion of Onnwal referred to as the Free State of Onnwal. Jian Destron maintains diplomatic relations with a number of sovereign states within the southeastern region of the Flanflanaessss. Allies of Onnwal include the demi-humans of the Headlands and Iron Hills, Irongate, Sunndi, Nyrond, Duchy of Urnst, and the Free City of Greyhawk. Enemies of the rebels include (obviously) the Scarlet Brotherhood, Lordship of the Isles, and some piratical elements in the Pomarj. It is rumoured in Onnwal that the yellow sailed vessels of the Slavelords have again been seen in the western portions of the Gearnat although no ship bearing such sails has been seen further eastward than Blue. What this unwelcome development could herald for the Resistance is unknown.
Irongate: Since the founding of the Iron League, Irongate and Onnwal have been closely allied both in matters of mutual defence and trade. Since 590 CY when Irongate officially recognized the “government in exile” of Jian Destron, Onnwal has sent much-needed foodstuffs east to Irongate. Diplomatic efforts fronted by Duke Coriell of the Eastern Marchlands now frantically revolve around convincing Cobb Darg to commit troops to the struggle in Onnwal.
Nyrond: As a member of the Golden League and signatory of the Eastern Pact, Nyrond is still very much allied with the free portion of Onnwal. Jian Destron wintered in the port of Nessermouth in southern Nyrond after the fall of his country and still has many friends who agitate for stronger support from Nyrond to assist him in his campaigns. Unfortunately, Nyrond has more pressing concerns of its own and cannot commit itself to any major programs of support. Elements of the Nyrondal fleet do however assist rebel vessels whenever they can, although they are forbidden to attack Brotherhood ships.
Sunndi: Sunndi’s main attention is focused in two different directions: keeping an eye on Ahlissian imperialistic ambitions to the north and in guarding against Brotherhood attempts to subvert their land from within (attempts that until now have been impressively unsuccessful).
As a former member of the Iron League, Sunndi supports Destron and his followers with intelligence, training, and provisions smuggled through Ahlissa via Irongate. Unfortunately, while the intelligence it provides is excellent, most deals with the internal political machinations of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa. Little real support (weapons, armour, and troops) manages to trickle through to the rebels. King Hazendel has seen fit, however, to dispatch several military advisors to assist the rebels.
Messages arrive infrequently via courier from the Elfking’s court in Pitchfield. These couriers have to make the long run from the Rieuwood across the Hollow Highlands, through occupied Idee into the Iron Hills and thence to the Headlands via Irongate.
The Scarlet Brotherhood: Free Onnwal is currently waging a bitter all-out war with the Scarlet Brotherhood for control of Onnwal. The two nations have no diplomatic ties at all. The rebels of course want nothing more but the complete destruction of all Brotherhood forces within the borders of the old nation. During the occupation Sister Kuranyie was responsible for many atrocities against the civilians of Onnwal and so this is a particularly viciously fought war with no quarter offered or given.
United Kingdom of Ahlissa: Universally distrusted by all in Onnwal, the new Kingdom of Ahlissa currently has no stated plans of conquest in the south. Indeed Overking Xavener I is currently engaged in limited (and cautious) trade with Irongate. Xavener is also attempting to gain control over the shattered remains of Medegia, rebuilding his neglected navies (of primary concern to the rebellion), checking the advances of his northern cousins and Nyrond, and in stamping out internal disorders brought about by renegade army units. However, Xavener is known to hate and fear the power of the Brotherhood and it is thought that his efforts to rebuild his naval strength is primarily an attempt to secure his coastlines from the threat of Brotherhood invasion. He is aided in his campaigns against the Brotherhood by Prince Reydrich of House Naelax, an archmage of great power and the ruler of the Principality of Zelradtron. Reydrich seems obsessed with avenging himself against the Brotherhood whom it assumed was instrumental in his death and subsequent return to life.
The Pirates of the Pomarj: The pirates of Blue are a degenerate bunch consisting of humans, orcs, and half-orcs. After the fall of the city in 513 CY, the two races slowly intermingled the humans teaching the orcs maritime skills and the orcs instilling in the humans an appreciation of strength and violence. Blue is ruled by the Council of Three made up of the most successful and powerful individuals in the city (currently one representative of each of the three major races in the city). Pirates operating from Blue sailed the Gearnat up to around 578 CY when the Onnwalish navy defeated Blidg Fanger in a fierce action off the coast of Blue.
Turrosh Mak won over the Council of Three with lavish praise and gifts and within weeks had transformed the whole city into a fortified port used as a base for piracy, slaving, and trade. Today it is not unremarkable to see many allied ships in the harbour including other Pomarj vessels, the yellow-sailed craft of the newly resurgent Slavelords, and the flagless ships of the Brotherhood. The pirates themselves assist the Brotherhood in keeping the Gearnat Straits closed to all that will not pay the levy, although they are not above attacking a ship that has already paid. Rumours abound in Onnwal that Kuranyie is planning an alliance with the orcish hordes of Turrosh Mak who would fight for her on the peninsula in return for slaves and booty. A development of this magnitude would undoubtedly make things very difficult for the rebels and cause many woes amongst the free inhabitants of Onnwal.
The Military of Onnwal
Traditionally Onnwal had supplied naval units to honour its treaty obligations with the Iron League. It also built up a small but skilled army, backed up by well-trained peasant militias. The army relied upon a very rigid and well-defined chain of command with one in six men being either a sergeant or officer. Unfortunately, this chain of command stunted many junior officers’ initiative, hampering their ability to operate without clearly defined orders from their superiors. This situation saw many officers blindly following the last orders received from their superiors even when these orders were clearly rendered void by the changing tactical situation.
The notes below are intended to portray the condition of the Onnwalish military after the Brotherhood has taken control of the country.
Onnwalish troops were well equipped. Wearing scale mail (or chain mail for officers and sergeants) they either bore crossbows and short swords or long swords and spear. In addition, crossbowmen bore small shields while spearmen carried medium shields. Cavalry was rare in Onnwal because of their unsuitability for use in the Headlands and the difficulty inherent in transporting them by ship. Several noblemen however maintained small cavalry squadrons.
Onnwal relied upon a relatively small standing army directly under the control of the Szek to protect its borders. To counter the aggression of the South Province, Onnwal increased its army strength from 1,600 to 3,000 in the autumn of 578 CY. A proportion of these troops were dispatched east, to be semi-permanently based in Idee, thus countering the manoeuvres of South Province.
Dukes and Barons also maintained small personal forces that could number up to 400 men at arms. Armed and armoured to the personal taste (and pocket) of the noble involved, these troops would in time of war come under the control of the Szek. Law prohibited their use outside Onnwal however, and so any expeditionary force had to be made up of troops from the Szek’s personal command.
During the battle for Onnwal, Duke Coriell fled to Irongate with over 200 followers while Jian Destron in Nessermouth managed to gather to his banner around 800 sailors, marines, and soldiers. However, many more soldiers perished in the vicious fighting around the Inner Harbour in Scant and still more have been incarcerated or used as slave labour in the plantations of the south or to repair buildings in Scant.
The Hillstalkers were an elite unit within the Onnwal military. Nevermore than 50 in strength, these resolute and resourceful men were outside of the normal chain of command of the Army. Skilled outdoorsmen all, they worked closely with the demi-humans of the Headlands in their vigil for South Province aggression. Equipped for stealth and never operating in groups of more than three, Hillstalkers have been used by the Army of Rebellion as messengers carrying tactical information and orders from Jian and Chert to their units in the countryside of Onnwal.
In the autumn of 578 CY, the Militia was reorganized and increased in size to include all able-bodied men between the ages of 15 to 45. In the past, each Duke had been responsible for the training and upkeep of the Militia. The reorganization put the onus on the Lairds of the cantreds to service the Militia needs. Szek Ewerd hoped that in this way the Militia would be more flexible and better trained.
The majority of the Militia was armed simply with spears and outfitted in leather or studded leather armour. Even so, the Militia fared better than the regular armed forces during the occupation. Not given time to form up by the swiftness of the Brotherhood’s campaign, many Militiamen simply hid their weapons and armour and waited. At the first sounds of revolt, many took to the Headlands, joining the Wreckers in their fight for freedom.
Onnwal traditionally relied on its powerful navy to keep it safe and to protect its maritime trading interests. The Navy was spilt into two fleets each commanded by a Sea Eagle (the Onnwal title for admirals of the fleet). Both Sea Eagles (Lord Elias Maldrenn and Lord Delmad Edanis) were slain by assassins in the first days of the conflict and, leaderless, only a few vessels managed to escape to Nyrond. The majority fell into the hands of the Brotherhood.
The navy was primarily made up of caravels and galleys. Most of these are now crewed by a mix of savage warriors, Brotherhood agents, co-opted sailors, Hobgoblin soldiery, and mercenaries. Some Suel sympathizers and converts to Suel deities have also found places here.
The few remaining vessels under Jian Destron’s control are mostly stationed at Killdeer and Sornhill. A few regularly make the run to Nessermouth in southern Nyrond carrying messages of import to the Nyrondese crown and much-needed supplies on the return trip.
Rumours persist in Onnwal of one vessel still unaccounted for… The Chimera fled the fighting in Scant chased by two Lordship of the Isles warships. She was last seen seeking sanctuary in a fog bank westward of the port. Her wreck has never been found and neither of the two vessels chasing her has to date returned to port. The ultimate fate of all three ships remains unknown.
The Marines of Onnwal, commonly called Leathersides after their characteristic armour, were particularly hardy fighters proficient in fighting on either land or sea. Equipped with studded leather armour, broad swords, crossbows, and polearm, a 40 strong Marine contingent was stationed on all naval vessels as a matter of course. However, the Marines suffered particularly heavy casualties in the fighting losing perhaps 60% of their total strength killed or captured.
The Order of the Golden Sun
Known more commonly as the Glaives of Azharadian, this order of chivalry is made up exclusively of members of the nobility. The Glaives all have a devotion to Heironeous, and the core body of the Order, which before the war numbered about a score, is supported by a group of priests of the Invincible One – known as the Glaives Cohort.
The Glaives and their retinues of mounted men at arms comprised almost the entirety of Onnwal’s medium and heavy cavalry – numbering about 100 before the Wars. The Glaives saw action in northern Idee during the Wars and won distinction. However, they were betrayed during the Brotherhood’s invasion of the country and only a handful of the Order remains, with scarcely a score of their cavalry.
The Forces of Free Onnwal
The following section details the composition, condition, and leadership of the rebel forces. After five years of conflict a rather informal command structure has evolved in the rebel ranks.
In overall command of Free Onnwal is Jian Destron, Szek of Onnwal. He holds direct command over Free Onnwal’s Navy and Marine forces, and the allegiance of his surviving nobles and their household troops as well as the remaining Glaives of the Order of the Golden Sun (both of the latter refuse to take orders from Rakehell Chert).
Rakehell Chert is the leader of the Wreckers, formerly Scant’s Thieves Guild, but latterly the armed resistance to the Scarlet Brotherhood in Onnwal. Jian Destron has also given him command of the remains of the Regular Army and of the peasant Militias – now collectively called the Onnwalon Army of Rebellion.
The Army of Rebellion
Onnwal’s regular army was decimated during the invasion. Of a force of 3,000, less than 900 remain, although training of new recruits from the Militia is ongoing. Now under the direct command of Rakehell Chert, the Regular Army is being restructured for guerrilla warfare as part of the new Army of Rebellion. Before the Wars, the Army was top heavy, with one in six men being an officer or sergeant at arms. This “weighting” in favour of officers and sergeants in the command structure bred inflexibility and a lack of ability to cope with rapid changes in the tactical and strategic situation.
Chert has reformed the Regulars into Sertads (Companies) of ten warriors commanded by a Sertern (Sergeant). Four Sertads, commanded by an Altern (Captain), combine to make a Altad (Column). Five Altads in turn make a Braetad (Brigade) led by a Braetern (Brigadier). Altads are designed to travel light and fast, foraging off the land and are capable of operating independently of orders from above. Their role is as mobile units capable of striking at the enemy and withdrawing before they can concentrate their forces to reply. Equally, Altads react to block and repulse enemy thrusts into Rebel territory. Altads are generally made up of light to medium infantry, with a good proportion of crossbowmen or other missile troops. Only one Altad in any Braetad is mounted, given Onnwal’s traditional emphasis on infantry for its Regulars. This force is generally kept in reserve to react speedily to threats.
Chert’s reforms have been largely successful in producing a more effective fighting force. Despite this, many traditionalist officers resent him for his criminal connections and for his use in what they regard as cowardly brigand tactics.
The Militia – peasant levies – fared better in the occupation that the more regular forces as there was insufficient time for the levies to be mustered before Onnwal fell. Thus, most of Onnwal’s fighting strength is now made up of Militia units. For the moment, Chert uses the Militia in a defensive role – providing protection for the local people from attack, at least until help arrives in the form of Regulars. They are to attempt to repulse attacks by Brotherhood forces if they can but if the enemy force is too great, they are to lie low and harry the attackers in hit and run raids, until aid arrives. Commanders are picked from their own ranks, supplemented by Regular officers, members of the Wreckers and even priests of Trithereon and Mayaheine, rather than nobles – a notable break with tradition.
Chert has embarked on ambitious programme of training – with the aim of turning the disorganised and undisciplined Militia into a an effective fighting force of proper soldiers, to fill the gaps left in the Regulars by the Occupation. Some among the nobility have expressed concern about this, fearing that arming and training the peasantry and encouraging them to command themselves now will encourage a climate of rebellion after the Brotherhood have been driven out.
The Free State Navy
As of Needfest of 590 CY, the Navy of Free Onnwal consists of seven warships and two converted merchantmen (on loan from the merchant family of Carbani). Before the Wars, Jian was known to have been a fine sailor and naval tactician. However, given his responsibilities elsewhere, he has appointed two new Sea- Eagles to command his naval forces. Lord Carthen Relaster commands the Sornhill Squadron of three vessels and has taken the step of renaming his vessels to signify his resolution to hold Sornhill at all costs. He commands the galley Fearless and the caravels Tempest and Gallant. Lord Carthen is charged with the defence and re-supply of the beleaguered garrison in the disputed town, as well as providing a screen for ships making the perilous run to Nessermouth in Nyrond.
In command of the Killdeer squadron is Degan Corlennd. The galleon Revenge, the galleys Vehement and Relentless, and the caravel Fury make up this squadron. Also attached to the Killdeer force are the caravel Indomitable and the cog Valourous – a pair of converted merchantmen on loan from the merchant house of Carbani. The duties of the squadron include defending the approaches to Killdeer, keeping Dunhead Bay free of Brotherhood shipping and running the Brotherhood blockades to Nessermouth and the Free City of Greyhawk.
Free Onnwal is desperately short of ships and needs to either construct more or to recapture lost vessels. Other pressing tasks facing the Navy are running the Brotherhood blockade of the Straits of Gearnat and getting naval vessels to defend the port of Longbridge. The town is currently without a naval screen and relies on small fishing vessels and shore defences to fend off attacks by Brotherhood and Lordship of the Isles craft.
The Free State Marines
Lynhern Deshend (brother of Barrend Deshend, hero of Sornhill), commands the Free State Marines. The force took heavy losses during the invasion, occupation, and rebellion, always being where the fighting was fiercest – they now number less than 300. They are now based in Killdeer (their former base having been Scant) and the marines man all the ships of Free Onnwal’s navy, with usual contingents numbering about 20 – less than half the strength of pre-war forces. The remainder are used for garrison duty in the ports or training of new recruits (for which there has been no shortage of volunteers).
Like their masters, the household troops of the nobility suffered greatly during the occupation – being forced either into hiding or exile. Given that most of the ruling Barons were killed during the Occupation, many noble retinues have disbanded entirely – with men at arms either joining the Army of Rebellion or becoming mercenaries or bandits elsewhere. Others have remained loyal to the noble houses they served and either fled into exile or stayed and fought in Onnwal as guerrillas. Duke Coriell and his brother, the Baron of Dwur March, were both able to escape to Irongate with their household guards – a combined force of some 300 men at arms. This force now provides the core of Killdeer’s garrison. Baron Geldrenn of Silvervale led his household troops into the Headlands where they waged a guerrilla campaign against the Brotherhood. They liberated Silvervale in late 586 CY.
The nobles and their retinues have refused to recognise Rakehell Chert as their commander. Thus they are under the direct command of Jian Destron and outside the chain of command of the Army of Rebellion. Consisting of a mix of infantry and a small squadron of medium horse, they are mainly used for garrison duties in their native Cantreds.
Order of the Golden Sun
The Glaives of Azharadian have always been beholden to the Szek alone. However, they are now only a shadow of their former strength – able to field scarcely a score of medium to heavy horse and divided by mistrust and suspicion. Furthermore, they are unsuited to the hit and run nature of the war being waged, and have seen few engagements since their return to Onnwal in 587 CY. The two factions within the Order are divided between Longbridge (Cadwale) and Dunheern (Lorendrenn), where they aid in garrisoning the towns.
Knights of the Chase
The few Knights of the Chase in Onnwal recognise no authority but that passed down from the Pursuer through Nialle the Wanderer. Dangerously unpredictable (in some people’s eyes) they profess allegiance to neither Chert nor Destron, instead preferring to act as their conscience dictates. A number of the Knights do however admire Rakehell Chert and the steps he has taken to free Onnwal of the Brotherhood’s oppression. Many of the nobles view this particular Knighthood as useful to the rebellion, but dangerous to the “natural order of things” none- the-less.
Of impressive individual prowess the Knights prefer to act alone or with small groups of followers. Operating behind enemy lines they can be out of contact with the regular chain of command for weeks or months at a time. If they have a leader amongst themselves it is likely to be Kelmur Trantis.
The Regular Army’s elite, these hardy patriots have no time for the politics of the rebellion and report to both Destron and Chert. However, they have all sworn oaths to defend Onnwal and view Jian as the ultimate leader of the movement. Of its pre-war strength of 50, fewer than 30 members still warm themselves around rebel campfires. The rest have either disappeared while carrying despatches or have been captured by Brotherhood agents and tortured to obtain the information they were carrying. A few new recruits have entered the ranks of the Hillstalkers, mainly from the Eastern Marchlands and the eastern Cantreds of Gilderond.
Though called the Thieves Guild of Scant – the Wreckers operated throughout the country, and their network of safehouses and hideouts proved useful when they were forced to go to ground prior to the invasion of Onnwal in 584 CY. The guild is structured into cells capable of working independently of the rest of the guild. Though this structure was originally adopted to hinder infiltration of the Wreckers by Onnwalish authorities, it proved equally effective against the Brotherhood.
The Wreckers waged a low-level guerrilla war though out Onnwal during the occupation – ambushing small units of Brotherhood soldiery, engaging in assassination, arson, and sabotage to disrupt their rule and ease the suffering of the common folk. During the Brewfest Rebellion, they mustered and organised the common people to rise up against the oppressors, and as well as taking and holding villages and towns, they disrupted the Brotherhood lines of supply, hamstringing the ability of the Scarlet Sign to halt the advance of the rebel forces.
The gangs are still in place across most of Onnwal – acting in concert with the rest of the Army of Rebellion – but specialising more now in what they are good at; intelligence gathering, subterfuge, sabotage, and assassination. In some regions, however, particularly in the west of the country, the gangs provide the only effective leadership and law. For the most part, gang bosses have dealt fairly with the people they now rule in practise, if not in name. Others however, have set themselves up almost as robber barons or petty despots, exploiting the common folk who depend on them to protect them from the vengeful Brotherhood.