Crown Guard During his reign as the Pendragon, High King Julius Ambrosius instituted a policy of mandatory military training for every able-bodied man and woman under his rule, from the lowliest peasant to the highest-ranking noble. During their training the best, brightest, and most skilled would be invited to enlist in the Crown Guard-- the standing army of the Pendragon. Today, two generations removed from High King Julius, only three kingdoms still require mandatory training-- Albion, Malagant, and Lyonesse. these three kingdoms each have their own separate forces, but all three nations still refer to their best soldiers as the Crown Guard. Some exceptional few even progress to become Crown Knights, officers in the King's Army. When they enlist, every single Crown Guard trainee goes through a grueling 6-month training course-- regardless of social status, for the nobles and commoners in the Crown Guard serve their basic training side by side without regard to their blood. They go through a grueling physical training regimen, as well as advanced training in weapons, armor and tactics. They learn military customs and traditions, and those who cannot already are taught to read and write. Those who begin the training phase with the required skills earn quick advancement, so the children of nobles who don't need the book-learning sometimes end the basic training phase as Yeomen. Once their initial training is finished, Crown Guards are assigned (based on aptitude tests at the conclusion of the basic phase) to specialty schools corresponding to the branch of the army they will be serving in. These branches are designated by color, and as a soldier increases in rank they wear stripes upon the sleeves of their clothing to show the rank they have achieved. All rank chevrons are worn pointing up, in the middle of the upper arm on each side. All rank insignai are in the color of the soldier's branch-- Infantry, Dragoon,Engineer, or Support (see below). Every Crown Guard starts his career as an enlisted Trooper. Once a soldier has attained the rank of Yeoman, he can attempt to obtain a knighthood and become an officer, referred to as a Crown Knight. NOTE: No player character can START play at a rank greater than Yeoman. Advancement can (and should) come through playing the game, and opportunities for doing so will be provided via plotlines and adventuring. Enlisted Ranks Trooper-- first rank in the Crown Guard, usually put in charge of civilian militias or organized into tactical units. Wears 1 chevron Yeoman-- typically in charge of several troopers, overseeing groups of militia in times of danger, or directly in command of a squad (6-8) of troopers. Wears 2 chevrons. Sergeant-- non-commissioned officer rank, usually in charge of an entire platoon (~50) of soldiers. A platoon is usually made up of several squads. Wears 3 chevrons. Most battlefield mages and/or healers are defaulted to sergeant rank (see below). First Sergeant-- senior non-commissioned soldier in a company (~100). In charge of the welfare of every soldier in his company. A company is usually made up of several platoons. The First Sergeant wears 3 chevrons with a diamond at the point of the chevrons. Sergeant Major-- senior non-commissioned officer in a regiment or battalion. Cavalry units call a grouping of companies a regiment; infantry and engineer units call a grouping of companies a battalion. Typically in charge of 300-1000 soldiers. Officer Ranks Once a soldier becomes a Yeoman and serves with distinction, he can petition to become an officer-- a Crown Knight. Yeomen candidates are required to have knowledge in advanced tactics, engineering for the battlefield, etc-- thus, nobles with access to formal education before enlistment outnumber officers from the common classes, but it is not an exclusive arrangement. Crown Knights are literally knighted by the King or a Crown Knight of high rank-- they are technically nobility in their own right, and those who survive their entire term of service (20 years) retire as lords, gifted with lands by the crown. However, in most situations, the non-military lords of a land have authority in most situations save those of military consequence. Thus, Crown Knights are looked down upon and given the nickname, "swordbloods" by those whose family, not military service, granted a noble title. The tension and conflict between the swordbloods and non-military nobles during times of war can be very great. Instead of chevrons, a Crown Knight wears a crown that sits horizontal to the soldier's arm in the same way as the chevrons of enlisted soldiers. Depending on the officer's rank, the crown might have additions or modifications to it. All rank insignia are in the colors of an officer's branch-- Infantry, Dragoon, Engineer, or Support (see below). Knight-Lieutenant: oversees a platoon. Wears a crown with a single horizontal bar underneath the crown. The Executive Officer in a company (second-in-command) wears a diamond on top of the bar in the center. Knight-Captain: oversees a company. Wears a crown with two bars beneath it. Knight-Major: oversees a task force or a group of companies (but not an entire battalion or regiment). Wears a crown with a shield beneath it. Knight-Colonel: oversees a battalion (infantry or engineers) or a regiment (cavalry). Wears a crown with a pair of crossed swords beneath it. Knight-General: oversees an entire army group of at least two battalions. Wears a crown with a single 5-pointed star beneath it. Branches There are three major branches in the Crown Guard, and a fourth pseudo-branch that exists scattered within it. Each branch is comprised of a particular kind of military unit, and even a soldier of a different function, when permanently assigned to a unit of that kind, will change the color of his rank insignia. For example, an infantry soldier (blue) who gets assigned to an engineer unit (red) would change his stripes at the first available opportunity. Unit color is determined at the company level, so even if a cavalry company (yellow) with three companies of cavalry soldiers has a platoon of infantry and a platoon of engineers to support the main combat force, that entire company would wear the yellow cavalry, because the UNIT is designated as cavalry. Infantry: soldiers who fight on foot, focused on heavy armor and weaponry. The largest and most numerous branch in the Crown Guards of Albion and Malagant. Dragoon: troops who go lightly armed and armored, focused on maximum mobility and shock value. The largest branch of the Crown Guard in Lyonesse. Engineers: specially-trained soldiers skilled in designing, building, and breaching fortifications, sieges and siege engines, bridges, etc. Support: This is the least-numerous branch of the Crown Guard by a massive amount, and is comprised of those with magical or technical skills that is most useful when added to a conventional unit. This branch includes battle-mages, druids and shamans of primal beliefs, clergy of various deities (Dagmar, Rhaine, and Ghorn most commonly), as well as "personnel elimination specialists," rangers, scouts and field guides. A character with this background gains their advanced skills depending on their Branch. Tier 1 Basic Training (0 CP) Your initial military training has hardened your mind and body and given you basic weapon skills. You gain a +1 to your base maximum Vitality and Stamina, and you gain one free Medium Weapon skill. Tier 2 Foot Soldier (Infantry) (0 CP) It takes a lot of endurance to march everywhere, in armor and weighed down with a heavy rucksack, for a living. Your base maximum Vitality is increased by +1 and your base maximum Stamina is increased by +2. Move Fast, Hit Hard (Dragoon) (0 CP, Battle) To you, mobility is everything. If an enemy stops you from moving, you're as good as dead. Once per battle, you can call, "Resist by Background" against a Slow or Root effect. I Fix Things (Engineer) (0 CP, Watch) Through extensive experience, you have become skilled at fixing things that are broken... and you also happen to be really good at breaking them, too. Once per watch, you can do ONE of the following: Touch an object that has the Destroy effect and call, "Cure Destroy by Background" to remove the Destroy effect. Touch an object and call, "Destroy by Background" Touch a suit of armor, spend 10 seconds of Activity time roleplaying fixing the armor, and call, "Refresh Armor by Background" Hard Target (Support) (0 CP, Watch) Spellcasters and other specialists on the battlefield often become "prime targets" because enemies want to finish you off first. You have learned to shrug off powerful enemy attacks, though the effort in doing is incredibly painful. Once per watch, when you take a Damage effect of 5 or greater, you can call, "Reduce to Agony by Background" and immediately take an Agony effect that cannot be negated or defended against in any way. Tier 3 Grizzled Veteran (Infantry) (0 CP) A career of leading foot soldiers has made you tough as the boot leather you march upon. Your maximum Vitality and Stamina are increased by 2. Always Ready (Dragoon) (0 CP) Cavalry must always be on their guard-- being stationary is dangerous, and being caught unawares is even worse. Once per watch, you can completely negate a backstrike attack by calling, "Resist by Background" Experimental Ordnance (Engineer) (0 CP; Event) You have been working on a special new kind of demolition technique. Each event, you gain 3 alchemical items that, when thrown, call, "5 Damage and Slam by Fire." You are the only one who can make these alchemicals work, and they expire at the end of the event. Note that the player is required to supply the orange packets for the alchemicals. No Time To Bleed (Support) (0 CP; 0 Stamina; Watch) On the battlefield, a healer can't afford to use his time or energy to mend his own wounds, a battlemage is far more useful destroying enemies than bleeding out on the ground, and the scout is usually so far away from help that he has to be self-sufficient. Once per watch, you can take 5 seconds of activity roleplaying binding wounds, casting a minor spell, or just catching your breath. Then call, "Heal 3 to Self by Background."