Exploring The Mad Sea: The World of The Cocked Roll pt. II

Part II: The Brandishers

Fans of the one and only Qrow Grundle, The Cocked Roll’s resident Dragonborn Fighter, may be aware that this glaive wielding tank of a reptile is part of a group called ‘The Brandishers’. For this installment of Exploring The Mad Sea, I thought I’d share some details of this warriors guild and their significant influence on the land of Waelyn over the past centuries. If you enjoy this article, you can check out the previous installment in my ‘Exploring The Mad Sea’ series right here

The Brandishers:

Originally founded by a small group of adventurers during the years that followed The Ruination, ‘The Branishers’ are a mercenary guild of bounty and monster hunters primarily based on the island of Waelyn.

They act as guardians and law enforcement in most settlements on Waelyn, with the majority of lords and townmasters preferring to contract The Brandishers’ services rather than train town guards of their own. They operate out of lodges in various cities and towns, the original and largest being the ‘Prime Lodge’ in the settlement of Lycandale.

Founding

As the story goes, the Dwarf Oldus Feinn and his humble party of adventuring companions earned their living in post-Ruination Waelyn by venturing forth into treacherous ruins and abandoned settlements in search of valuables and treasure. They would also offer their services to towns and villages in need of protection, be it from bandits, wild animals or the undead horrors that plagued Waelyn at the time, occasionally even taking up contracts to hunt and slay particularly problematic creatures or criminals.

It was during an expedition into the ruins of an ancient Draconic fortress that the group came upon the most profound treasure they would ever unearth. It wasn’t a horde of gold and jewels, or a powerfully enchanted magic item.

It was a set of stone tablets and expertly crafted carvings detailing advanced combat techniques developed and employed by what appeared to be an ancient order of Dragonborn mercenaries.

Among these records was also found a comprehensive bestiary, providing long forgotten information on hundreds of deadly creatures including their behavioural patterns, strengths and weaknesses.

With this new found wealth of knowledge, Oldus and his companions formed a guild of their own, transcribing the tablets and runes into a series of combat manuals and training mercenaries in these long lost martial arts.

With their unmatched combat prowess and vast knowledge of beasts, The Brandishers quickly became known as Waelyn’s most powerful warriors.

Ancient Combat Techniques

The techniques and combat tactics employed by The Brandishers are divided into three distinctive schools of training, with most members of the guild specialising in one of these schools while dabbling in the others to maximise The Brandishers’ efficiency when dealing with various types of foes.

The school of ‘Vynth’ (Taking its name from the Draconic word for ‘steel’) Is a set of techniques, maneuvers and philosophies applied to combat with armed and armored opponents of intelligent races such as Men and Elves.

It focuses on precise and practical strikes designed to target gaps in the opponent’s armor while implementing blocks and parries to keep one’s own openings covered.

Though Vynth is perhaps the least exotic or visually impressive fighting school of The Brandishers, leaving no room for flashy twirls and pirouettes, it is perhaps the most psychologically challenging set of disciplines taught by the guild, with an emphasis on predicting and countering one’s foe and striking with speed and accuracy.

The school of ‘Baeshra’ (Draconic for ‘animal’ or ‘beast’), on the other hand, is a style developed for facing the savage and fearsome natural creatures that stalk the wilds.

Implementing swift manoeuvrability and flurries of wild, spinning strikes to combat packs of ravenous wolves, never striking at the same target twice and maintaining a 360 degree defence.

When taking on larger beasts such as owlbears, however, each blow must be delivered with immense force in order to penetrate its sturdy hide and thus calculated spin attacks and leaping strikes are implemented to achieve maximum momentum and power before retreating to a safe distance to await the next opening in the creature’s defense.

Baeshra also places an emphasis on not only fighting such creatures but tracking and hunting them as well. Brandishers primarily trained in this school are generally expert survivalists with a vast knowledge of flora and fauna.

The third combat school of The Brandishers is ‘Malsvir’ (the Draconic word for ‘evil’).

There are far fewer guild members who choose to adopt Malsvir as their primary school than either Vynth or Baeshra. However, these few are among The Brandishers’ most adept and fearless fighters.

The school of Malsvir is designed to combat and vanquish unholy creatures brought into being by dark magiks and demonic influences, extending in some cases to demons and devils themselves. Those who choose the path of Malsvir often risk not only their lives but their very souls in combat with dark forces.

Ghouls, vampires and lycanthropes are among the prey of choice for these warriors as well as fiends and users of powerful necromancy.

A comprehensive knowledge of demonology and occult practices is essential for one trained in these techniques and it is not uncommon to find clerics and paladins among the ranks of the Malsvir school.

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