You have a special place in Arthur Pendragon’s army because you lead your own warband, a group of about 50 men and women trained to fight and bound by mutual oath that they will never leave your side in battle, just as you will not leave them. In return, they expect you to reward them with regular feasts and a share of the treasure.
Your warband will belong to one of five types. Each type has a rating. Your Lead must meet or exceed this rating to command such a warband. Warbands always have an aspect related to its type. This aspect could be as simple as the type itself — like Shieldwall or Skirmishers — but it could also be more elaborate, revealing something about its history and composition. Ala Secundae Ambrosiacum Cataphractarii tells us that they are riders, but it also tells us that they are deeply committed to their Romanitas, that they are armed and equipped like Roman cataphractarii, and even that they were first formed under Ambrosius Aurelianus.
These close order infantry fighters lock shields, presenting a strong defensive line capable of standing up even to a cavalry charge, particularly when they take tactical advantage of the terrain. What they lack in offensive power they make up for in their ability to hold ground.
- Good (+3): Endure
- Fair (+2): Fight, Daunt
- Average (+1): Skulk, Move, Mark
Riders do not have the sheer staying power of shieldwalls or the ferocious aggression of warriors. Instead, they have mobility. Under the right commander, this is a deadly advantage. Many battles have been won by a well-timed cavalry charge.
- Good (+3): Move
- Fair (+2): Fight, Daunt
- Average (+1): Skulk, Endure, Mark
Most typical warbands consist of 50 or so men and women on foot armed with spears and shields, eager to enter the fray and win glory. Warriors will likely bring you frequent compels for them to charge headlong into battle.
- Fair (+2): Fight
- Average (+1): Move, Endure
Trained archers have become more difficult to come by since the days of the empire, but these trained skirmishers can turn the tide of battle. Most commanders rely on archers to control the battlefield (i.e., creating advantages) more than doing direct damage to the enemy.
- Fair (+2): Fight
- Average (+1): Move, Endure
Whether mounted or on foot, skirmishers harass enemies from a distance, only to fall back when they come under attack. Most commanders deploy their skirmishers to their flanks or fanned out ahead of their main line, and rely on them to draw out the enemy and generally create advantages for their other warbands to use in the full assault.
- Average (+1): Move
When creating a warband, you can add an experience aspect by increasing its rating by one. Experienced warbands have fought together, giving them strong morale and the ability to fight well together.
If your warband earns an experience aspect in play, its rating increases but you do not need to increase your Lead skill to continue to command it.
A warband with an experience aspect gains an additional mild consequence.
Warriors in Your Warband
When you create your warband, name three people within it — perhaps your most trusted commanders, those you know best, or simply three fighters typical of your warband. These warriors have the same skills and consequence slots as the warband. If the warband has a consequence, they have the same consequence slot filled in. They can each have an aspect, but it isn’t necessary to fill that in right away.
You can also create nameless NPC’s from your warband as needed. Like your three named NPC’s, they also have the same skills and consequence slots as the warband, with consequence slots filled in to match the warband.
Warbands do not take stress, but they have consequence slots determined by their Endure skill rating.
- Good (+3): A mild, a moderate, and a severe consequence slot
- Fair (+2): A mild and a moderate consequence slot
- Average (+1): A mild consequence slot
- Mediocre (+0): No consequences; a single hit will take out this warband
You can use a minor milestone to train your warband. Choose one of the following:
- Swap any two of your warband’s skills.
- Swap a skill your warband has at Average (+1) for one they don’t currently have (Fight, Skulk, Move, Mark, Endure, or Daunt).
- Add a stunt your warband qualifies for (maximum equal to your warband’s rating).
- Swap a stunt your warband has for a different one they qualify for.
Rewarding your Warband
The GM can compel the fact that you have a warband, as they demand compensation for their loyalty. Paying off the compel reflects the time and effort you put into arranging feasts and disbursing treasure to them, while accepting the compel may require overcome rolls or more complex solutions to provide for them. When you fail to provide for them, they gain the aspect Discontented, which you can remove with the sorts of rolls you would make to avoid the aspect in the first place. Failing to provide for an already Discontented can lead to a warband breaking up and abandoning you — even one that has fought by your side for years. Abandoning you in battle would bring shame and dishonor upon them, but outside of battle, failing to live up to your obligations to your warband brings just as much shame and dishonor on you. No one would rightfully expect any warrior to stand by when you have failed to provide for them as you have sworn to do, no matter how long you have fought together.
Warband stunts provide for your warband’s special training and experience. Some stunts are only available to particular types of warbands.
Your warband has trained to use ambush tactics. Before a battle begins, they can make a Fair (+2) Hide roll to gain the boost In Position. Any action besides creating an advantage with Hide will remove this boost. When you use this boost, you can attack with Hide or Fight, and it counts as a perfect invocation, so instead of rolling, your attack is set at your skill rating plus three.
Skirmishers only. Your warband fights as support to other warbands. They have a +2 bonus to create an advantage with Fight.
Requires Experience aspect. Your warband has proven itself in battle. They gain an additional mild consequence slot.
Your warband is especially large, up to 75 men and women rather than 50. You have a +2 bonus to Fight rolls, but suffer a -1 penalty to Move rolls.
Riders only. Your warband has mastered the cavalry charge. You can attack with Move against an enemy in your zone or (if there are no hostile warbands in your current zone) an adjacent zone. You gain a +2 bonus to this attack.
Warriors only. You command an unusually disciplined warband. You can refuse a compel for your warband to charge headlong into battle without paying a fate point, and you gain a +2 bonus to Move rolls to move your warband out of a zone with an enemy.
Your warband commits themselves completely to battle. When your warband has the Frenzied aspect, they have a +2 bonus to attack rolls with Fight.
Your warband is widely feared. When an enemy attacks you, you can spend a fate point to force them to make an overcome roll with Endure against your own Daunt roll first. If you fail, they can attack as normal. On a tie, you gain a boost against them. On a success, their attack automatically fails. On a success with style, their attack automatically fails and you gain a boost against them.
Riders, Shieldwall, or Warriors only. Your warband is equipped with heavy armor. They have a +2 bonus to defend rolls with Fight. Your warband cannot have this stunt and “Unarmored.”
Hold the Line
Shieldwall only. Your shieldwall has trained specifically to hold ground. They have a +2 bonus to any roll made against an attack aimed at moving them.
Archers only. Your archers fire from horseback, rather than the ground. They are considered cavalry rather than infantry, and have a +2 bonus to overcome rolls with Move.
Shieldwall only. Your warband is equipped with angones, javelins, and axes, allowing them to make Fight attacks against enemies in adjacent zones.
You have pulled much, or perhaps even all, of your warband from your own extended family. They show great loyalty to you, not only as the sworn leader of their company, but as their kin. Your warband has a +2 bonus to overcome rolls with Endure.
Your warband has trained to move quickly and effectively. They can move one zone for free every turn, even out of a zone with an enemy warband in it.
Requires Cavalry Charge. Your riders have trained to take advantage of their height from horseback to engage infantry with their swords. They gain a +2 bonus to Fight rolls against infantry warbands.
Your warband has a few well-trained scouts to provide reconnaissance. They have a +2 bonus to create an advantage with Mark.
Your warband is noticeably smaller, as little a 25 men and women rather than 50. You have a +2 bonus to Move rolls, but suffer a -1 penalty to Fight rolls.
Not available for Shieldwall warbands. Your warband fights without armor, relying instead on their mobility. You can use Move to make defense rolls against Fight. Your warband cannot have this stunt and “Heavily Armored.”