Most of the histories of the Guilds speak of battle and bloodshed, blood and thunder, death and glory. The Outriders are different, our skills were not honed on a battlefield, our ethos was not born in the crucible of war, the Outriders were chartered and trained by other forces and powers.
Cities and villages have the militia, the general populace of this great Kingdom has the army to protect it, the seas have the Royal Navy and all these brave souls give their duty, their dedication and their lives to earn the coin of the Royal Treasury. But the land is not safe, the woods still teem with bandits, with creatures of the ancestral lands, Ancient tombs, uncovered, spill untold terrors into the darkness beyond the lights of the great towns. So come the outriders, we protect those that travel those dangerous routes. For a price of course. We train in the arts of sign and hunting, in seeing the unseen, of setting ambush and trap along the roads and in keeping our clients safe from harm. None know our trade better than we and few are as well paid for it, long ago created by the Battered Shield to stand by the merchants and the landowners we not only protect trade routes and caravans but we also trouble shoot for other merchant and civilian interests.
We are a relatively new guild that has only been in operation since 1322 when the Kingdom had suffered from a sequence of damaging wars and plagues that had left the people beleaguered and in an isolationalist situation. We were formed in response to the constant need of the Mercantile houses for assistance in these dark times: The world was a dark and dangerous place, the clergy was in the midst of a civil war, the Colleges were dealing with efforts by Daemonic and twisted Elemental houses to press into our world. The Brotherhood and its allies were spread thin on the borders of the Duchies and even the Altars and their Vormearn had retreated to Dreff to battle the coming of the Hunting Horrors and their ilk. The folk of the Battered Shield were all that the men of wealth and letters could turn to in these times. The Shield however was already deployed across the land deflecting the damage to the small folk and maintaining the peace where they could. The Shield were used to dark times and realised that it could be hundreds of years before order was re-established and all were safe. With the merchants hammering on their door seeking protection they formed a plan that was to be the birth of our guild and hold to a long association with the Battered Shield.
Chieftain Alyisia McBane, who led the Shield in the thirteen hundreds, turned to an enigmatic but elderly member of the guild who was responsible primarily for training in the Northern quarters of the Royal Basin. Inimik Pil, a Tzi Tzain, was short on recruits but, regardless was given a simple proposition: Receive funding from the Merchant houses for a new Guild dedicated to amalgamating the skills of various magical Sources, the Hunter, the Warrior and the esoteric knowledge of the monster hunter. The Costa’s and the Magnates real problems stemmed from the fact that they were forced to cross what was becoming land saturated in beasts and threats from nightmare. As the Rising of Chaos spread, unchecked, across the land rogue necromancers and Daemonologists coupled with creatures long sealed away by the Oath were becoming rife. The Outriders were needed and so trained to provide protection and in the long term a deterrent to further appearances of such threats.
When the new influx of individuals began Pil was in control of some seventy older members of the guild, many of whom were infirm, wounded or nearing retirement. A smattering of green warrior rankings made up the remainder of the taskforce but this did not dissuade the Tzi Tzain from his task. The prospect of creating the Outriders was a perfect foil for old age as far as the Hetman was concerned, a prospect that Pil was willing to meet head on. His resources regarding manpower may have been slim but his resources as far as favours went were not; his contacts spread across most of the guilds and he had soon filled the burgeoning guild buildings with instructors, experts and lecturers from Sourcerous, Priestly and various other magical corners of the land. His plan was to create a new statute of skills, a spectrum of abilities that would supplement the Battered Shield Training and give his new Guild a strong purchase against the foes that they had chosen to battle against. So the Outriders grew from this period filling in various gaps in the adventuring communities repertoire and serving the guilds and merchant houses. Like the Oath before us we dared the curfews and the wild lands between city states and without the guidance of the Dukes and the armies.
The years passed and we have become a mainstay of the Royal Basins Guildic community although never fully accepted by the majority of the mystical houses. During the time of our creation the Churches and the Colleges were not able to police their borders as well as they may have liked. The trainers and instructors that came to the Outriders effectively bought secrets of their orders to our doorstep and gave us that knowledge. The reasons at the time were open enough and no malice was intended, the masters of their power were far away from the people that needed them, the Clergy looked close to collapse and the Colleges seemed to be involved in a war that they could not win. To pass those secrets to us was in the best interests of the peoples that we now represent. However that is not the view of the edifices that did not crumble and still stand tall, they fear that what gives us the powers that we now possess could fall into enemy hands or be used against them. This is not a feeling that we share but certainly we do not intend to return their power at any point, without it we would not be Outriders. Regardless we will serve all those who can fund the power that we possess for the maintenance of such strength does not come with ease.
The length of our deeds are many and impressive and serve as a resume of excellence that few can match with any honesty. We understand, of course, that any credit for the experiences that we began life with fall to the Battered Shield; they had already taken into account failings and success when they devised our teachings so we entered this world forewarned and forearmed. We owe our brethren in the Shield a great debt for everything that we have become and so an alliance exists between the two guilds. Their training has been essential but we remain very much our own entity, we do not follow the same doctrine as they, money is the directive force that keeps us fed and the economy ticking, not the good will feeling that comes with aiding the folk of the land gratis. Our skills are legend, our actions are flawless; with the Outriders you pay for a service and the price of that service is so high that the quality of such is the highest that can be offered.
The spectrum of individuals that join the guild is wide and varied, the outriders accept everyone from any walk of life and any background. The training however is deep and detailed ergo any guild member must have been indoctrinated into the Outriders by the time they are seven (human years) old. The training is so vigorous that even if they do make the first grade they must also take the year of three test, unsurprisingly in your third year of your time with us. In the main we accept orphans or the young of small folk who know that their children will get a better life and education with us even if they fail in their tenth year. Those of nobility that join us are often of the lower ranked houses or are low down the chain of inheritance although our numbers have always boasted, traditionally, a member of the Lionsgold, Silverlight and Darkspur family Higher ups since the rescue of the three screaming maidens of Salian Keep in 1735. Equally the majority of the mercantile houses send children of their families to us on a regular basis in order to protect their own interests.
You have been trained well, such services are not inexpensive. You are to be paid well and better than others around you. You will never accept payment after a mission. All funds to be paid up front. If people feel that you might not be able to complete the mission and offer ½ now and ½ later, doubt their motives. Two primary concerns: Do they believe that you are too inexperienced to complete this task, is it a suicide mission or set-up? Are they casting dispersions onto the ability of an Outriders Guild member? Report either concern to the Guild before you decline or accept the mission. If you fail to complete a contract all money that you were promised will be paid to the client. If you are asked to protect an individual, object, area e.g. with your life place a monetary value for that mission at least double the value of: The value you believe that your skills to be worth The cost to the Holy Order of Tranquillity to protect your soul and the movement of your corpse to such a location. We are primarily designed and sponsored by Merchant Houses and the nobility, our priorities and policies are clear:
Basanic Merchant Houses: When you join the Outriders you will pick a merchant house to be your sponsor. Upon joining they will offer you 10 Helms sponsorship. From then on you will wear their badge and colours with pride. They will always be your first priority, above even the guild itself. Any mission undertaken for that Merchant house will be at the value they offer without negotiation. The Nobility of the Royal Basin: These are our second priority. When you join the Outriders pick a Basanic Noble house and they will be your benefactor house. They will provide you with accommodation in the city of your Guild house. From now on you will spend 5 days of every month training members of the houses free of charge and will prioritise their missions over other noble houses and those lower on this list. The Crown: Any missions undertaken directly by the Crown are likely to be highly dangerous which means we cannot question thier motives. The Military: The armed forces are expected to get the job done on their own. If we have to be hired we must be given the temporary rank of Captain. The Battered Shield: They are our benefactors and as such fall into a special category. Assistance is to be given and expected to/from them on mission without interest in charge or recompense. Payment for missions put to us by the guild fall into two categories one as a mark of respect and the second because nothing lasts forever. Each year the guild may ask each member of the Outriders for a demonstration of their skills for free. It pays to advertise. In all other matters the Outriders offer a 50% total discount to missions put forward by the battered shield. Anyone else who doesn’t fit into this category. We do not work for any enemies of the Royal Basin under any circumstances save Royal Decree. Any criminal uncovered and captured/killed by the Outriders is handed to authorities cannot be claimed in bounty by ancient tradition; this is not an excuse to shirk duties such as ridding the land of banditry that would threaten our merchant investors. During time of War the Guild handles all monetary issues of Guild Members. If you fail to complete a mission the guild will investigate, if you are found to be the cause of the failure you will be fined 10 Helms by your guild and your next undertakings finance will be handled by the Guild. If you are found to be liable for the failure of three missions you will be expelled from the guild.
Conceived in 1980 in the backstreets of Shriekspire to a local whore and, rumour has it, a high up member of the Outriders Guild Abbey was handed into the guild based on the strength that “Backstreet Bess” her mother remembered the guild insignia and ranking of the Orc that came to her one Earthnew night. The stories are presumably true, the blood of an Outrider must flow through her veins so skilled in their arts is she but that is not what she attests her true mastery too: Abbey was born in the Abbey of the Blessed Day, hence her name, and grew up on the scraps that her mother’s pimp threw her way. By the time she was five Abbey was more than proficient with a shiv, dirk, short sword and belaying pin, she could get through pretty much any tavern door, locked or otherwise and travelled unseen down the back alleys and cut throughs of the Great City. However half way through her sixth year she was caught by Gifford Lance, Captain of the Frozen Men and tried for the murder of Danny Way, the very pimp who had abused her mother for many years.
Despite the sentence being commuted to manslaughter prison beckoned for an extended ten year appearance and not something that she could walk away from. Gifford however had other ideas, seeing in the girl great potential and that the killing was of mercy to her mother rather than due to a murderous nature. So he offered her up to the guild with his own blessing and under condition that she was his responsibility. She did not let him down and the relationship that the two fostered has been of great benefit to the guild houses in the Bitter Vale. She rose through the ranks very quickly, her work ethic, sense of responsibility and unfailing ability to sense a trap, set up or lie have seen her through all kinds of peril. According to legend she once stared down Quinn Shadowreaver himself at a public function in only her first week as Guild Mistress. The truth of that particular statement is very much in contention and certainly Mr Shadowreaver refuses to comment. Either way she is not a woman to trifle with and, as mentioned, her relationship with now Commander Lance is one of Father/Daughter structure. She has ears to the ground, through him, across the Royal Basin with regards to all things criminal and equally woe betide any criminal who wishes to push their luck to far on the streets of Shriekspire.
Under her leadership the Guild have weathered a number of storms: The financial crash of the Dragon Empire, Esan, Basin Trade Routes in 2010, the Rhygahrean War, the Cataclysm and currently the Hukerethian troubles. All of these have challenged the financial validity of the Outriders and equally placed a plethora of increasingly challenging and dangerous missions on their plate. Her Guildsman have great faith in her, something that she cherishes highly and works hard to maintain whilst her appearances on the Table of Swords are less common than some would like she still keeps up appearances. It is hoped that she will remain in her role for many years to come but her advisors have noted that her static position has led to much nostalgic wishing for the old days and a return to the field, specifically the streets that she so misses.
Named for his Uncle, the legendary founder of the Outriders, Pil is a very opinionated and desirous young Eaölf with few supporters among the council. He was born in 1801 and joined the guild in 1825 where he was bought up on stories of his Uncle and his heroic actions, specifically his final stand in the Calamacje Mountains of Egaria that earned the guild a new contract with the Garalanis Trading House. The older guild instructors doted on him and unfortunately instilled in him a bloated sense of self importance and belief that he was the reincarnation of the great man himself; the guild founder come again. The fact that our beloved founder was not the legend that many guild heads are was completely lost on Pil and has led him to the wrong conclusions about his own abilities.
“Pil is an Outrider of average skill and performance who was lucky to scrape through his year of three tests. However he shows great aptitude for mathematics and accountancy that could see him in good stead when he seeks a guild position.” Such was the position of Instructor Makoros on Pils finish of third year. The words were true. Pil’s life as an Outrider fell wildly short of his own expectations and severely short of the Guilds expectations for an Outrider. He cost the guild almost fifty helms and was relegated to accounting whilst his fate was discussed. However, whilst in accounting, three months saw Pil make the guild almost eight hundred helms due to shrewd investment and sale. His fate was sealed and the Guildic Council beckoned.
The decisions that have affected his life are caused, in the main, by his family title: The man is not an inept Outrider but he lacks the skills to be one fulltime, he is a genius with money and what is more he is of the line of Pil. It would not be seemly for the Guild to abandon a member of the founding line not just for the reasons that he may be swept up by another guild and our secrets shared. However Pil is still firmly of the belief that he has the de facto right to lead the guild and that his ability as an Outrider is legendary. His continued challenging of the right to lead, coupled with his insistence that if Abbey cannot attend a Table of Swords meeting he be allowed to go in her place, something that he has done on more than one occasion, has lost him much support.
Mol was born in 1945 and bears the scars of thousands of encounters that he has endured during over fifty years of missions for the Outriders. He is missing his right foot, two fingers from his right hand, most of both ears, his teeth and eyelids and the bones in his left forearm. However his success in the field has meant that he is wealthy enough to replace the majority of his missing paraphernalia with artifice and magic leading him into the well deserved mocker of “The Golem”. He was only forced into retirement when an unfortunate curse was deployed against him causing him to give off a dull light and strange rattling noise when he attempts stealth against his enemies! So in 2006 at the age of 61 he left the field and prepared for a life outside the guild, sadly that life would have been a lonely one as Callil had never found or fostered a family of his own. Fortunately Belect was unwilling to let one of her best Outriders go but with The Golems instructional skills far below par she was forced to offer him a different role that utilised different talents:
Mol had worked for so long that he had developed a huge rapport with all of the merchant houses and in all honesty the majority of major and minor merchants that trade in the Royal Basin. His continued relationship with those representatives has earned the Outriders innumerate contracts and kept the faith with many of the employers who have lost faith with Outriders challenged by overwhelming odds. It has proven to be a masterstroke appointment by Abbey Belect and one that has helped to secure her position at head of the Council. It has certainly done her no harm with the popular Callil who would have been consigned to a solitary life and undoubtedly ended up joining some forlorn hope regiment of the Basanic Army never to be seen again. Despite his previously active life Mol is happy in his new role and is clearly enjoying the opportunities to enjoy the finer things in life with his merchant clientele; a fact that his waistline can clearly testify to.
Armon was sent to the guild by his family when he was seven in 1982 and has clearly never felt at home in the Guild houses. However he is a noble and a man of duty, his family are bound by their words during the affair of the three screaming maidens of Salian Keep in 1735. It was his great, great, great grandmother who was kidnapped, among two others, by the Sire Raven and the Outriders who alongside Battered Shield members saved her. The agreement for more noble involvement in the Outriders project was honoured since that day and so, here stands Armon. He is a skilled warrior and marksman, his hunting talents are sufficient and, although he does not excel, he has mastered the basics of the mystic tutors. His ambitions within the guild have always been to seek a more sedentary position than field officer and this he has finally achieved as a member of the Guildic Council. In his role as noble liaison officer his duties involve him spending much time away from the guild and in the company of his kinfolk surrounded by the opulence that he believes he should be used to.
He served in the field from 1995 until 2003 when he suffered what was considered at the time a mortal Wound at the hands of the Mandragoran. Fortunately he was rescued and healed by a skilled Chirugeon from the University who had been mastering the techniques that would allow the healing of Mandragoran wounds. However it was considered that such trauma, of a partial assimilation, should not be taken into the field and he was given light duties until the death of Lord Jonathan Silverlight whom he replaced as Liaison Officer. He is a staunch supporter of Abbey Belect, despite her early life and many consider this to be a sign that the guild has changed him sufficiently that he can represent their best interests as well as the interests of the nobles that fund the guild. Since his convalescence ended he has shown practically no interest in returning to the field despite his clear ability and dedication once deployed on a mission.
Born in 1992 Verity is a child prodigy who was born among the guild. Her story is a strange one but explains the reasoning behind her talents: Both of her parents were Outriders, the now deceased but famous Chesterton Wright and Susan Wright of whom the latter was powerful psionicist with a great deal of potential. The two were married in 1990 after a difficult ‘89 in which Chesterton was nearly killed in a Skirmish with supernatural horrors, this prompted the marriage and undoubtedly the swiftness with which Susan came to be with child however their happiness was not to last. In the midst of 1991 the Guild happened to be guarding a powerful piece of Variscite crystal in their guild buildings in Rendrith where the Wrights were resting. The building was attacked, before the crystal was removed, by creatures from the deep Astral; in the fighting both Wrights were dragged into the Church of the Shining Pulpit. The truth of what happened there is still sketchy but Chesterton did not emerge alive and his wife had been exposed to the direct power of the Church.
When Verity was born she killed her Mother but she bought with her express skills that are beyond the ken of most folk. The Outriders faced an early battle for custody of Verity with the Institute of Contemplation one which, due to both her Mother and Fathers will, they won. Verity grew within the guild and soon demonstrated that she was capable of not only learning skills intuitively but also to implant the thoughts of how these skills work into the minds of others. No sooner had she learnt something then she was able to pass that knowledge on effortlessly. As she grew these skills became more and more apparent and were coupled with an almost eidetic memory; by the time she was thirteen she was already instructing with the guild and now that she is eighteen the role of Senior Instructor seems to have come naturally. The other guild council members tend to keep a strict eye on her as her knowledge is not matched by her wisdom but that too seems to be growing at an alarming rate.
The first Guild buildings that the guild used were donated by the House Dumor and comprised an abandoned Fire Building and next door coach houses in the City of Great Strabain. This remains the main guild building although the Outriders now own the surrounding area and have constructed there a great temple to the past. All of our experiences and our honoured dead are there, waiting to teach the young and the old alike, touching on strategy and skills that we have long studied. From there the network of estates have blossomed out from Strabain and across the Royal Basin usually supported by the Merchant Houses and the Orsai Bank. There are several standards and ranks of Guild buildings ranging from the standard Chapter Houses all the way down to supporting way houses.
Each of the Chapter Houses covers the same extensive training program and any updates to one of the buildings is sequenced through to all others. No chapter of the Outriders has any precedent over the others and any guild member is welcome at any other. However the Chapter Houses are not the only place that we may find refuge. Like our comrades in the Battered Shield we have long fostered good relations with the keepers of Inns and Taverns across the land; few Coaching Inns are there that do not keep horses and hearth prepared for a visiting Outrider, most carry the guild emblem above the door and know that this is enough to ensure both their safety and our arrival.
The prospective Guild Member chooses a merchant family to sponsor them and then wears the or colours either across the back of the torso, on a banner carried by a squire or themselves or prominently on equipment or leg and arm grieves. This is coupled with the mark of the Outriders Guild
The Nine Stars: Nine White Stars on a Black Background
The Eagles Wing Trading Costa: An Eagles Head
Scourge Bourne Trading: The Words SCOURGE BOURNE TRADING
Nightstar Trading: A Silver Sword
Phyphor: An Egarian (Arabic) style Lamp
Garalanis: A Dragons Claw
Dumor: The words DUMOR; For quality with style.