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A little bit of Background - Again




As the Raven Clan have expanded from the initial concept of Northern Alliance Allies to their own burgeoning army, the idea of forming a Narrative campaign has sprung forth from the fevered minds of the Trolls.

One of the first things that was thought of was taking the opportunity to make units that otherwise wouldn’t go into the Tournament Army , and so the idea of using Rangers to fight small scale battles in the Halpi Mountains was conceived, the actual models to be used are under construction and will be the subject of another blog post but true to Trollish form I started to develop a rational as to why the Army of the Raven Clan was structured as it was and the following piece is the result.  If you follow the Blog then you may already have encountered the short story that was written to introduce the concept of the Raven Clans Rangers ( and also to introduce one of the other protagonists in the campaign - Here) and further short pieces are being prepared to expand the Free Dwarfs of Bowland’s background even further.

 

Meanwhile here is an overview of the Clan Ravens Military forces.

 

Raven Clan Free Dwarf Rangers and the Warhost of the Raven Clan of the Free Dwarfs.

As the Raven Clan was part of the larger Free Dwarfs of Bowland Collective their Rangers were trained by the experienced Forest Wardens of Bowland. These highly experienced troops had protected the Free Dwarfs on their exodus from their various homes in the Halpi Mountains and throughout their journey down through Abercarr and onwards to their allotted lands in Estacarr. It was the surface navigation skills of the Rangers that allowed them to find their new home and the surface experiences of the various groups of Rangers that enabled them to arrive with a minimum of hardship.

Once the Free Dwarfs were settled into their new home in the Trough of Bowland the Rangers began to patrol the Forests and Mountains in order to safeguard their new home, but this task was beyond the existing numbers of Rangers and so each Clan in the coalition levied their Youths to be trained to perform this most vital of services. As the Free Dwarfs new home was a long abandoned and semi ruined Mountain hold, with many of its upper halls and galleries open to the sky, most of the contact with the outside world was by surface tracks and trails which needed to be patrolled and maintained all Year round. Only a few of the underground tunnel routes were passable and effort was concentrated on opening those that led to outlying Dwarf forts and watchtowers first, this policy did mean that the initial outlying farms and communities which were vital to the feeding of the New Colony of Free Dwarfs could only be protected by patrols of Rangers and their own small Spear Levy bands.

The Expansion of the Ranger corps of the Free Dwarfs of Bowland also enabled the fielding of different troop types from the norm and Rifles and Brock Riders were seen amongst the ranks of the Free Dwarfs of Bowland Rangers, whilst these troops were not trained Rangers per se, they provided vital support functions that were organic to the Rangers and so more readily accessible.

The Rangers were trained and equipped to survive and fight in the terrain most prevalent in Bowland, craggy mountains and broadleaved forests and they were able to co-ordinate with both the Forces of the green Lady that already call the forest their home and with the handful of Stoneclaw Riders that had accompanied the Free Dwarfs to their new home.

These Raven Riders and their mounts were all that was left of the Stoneclaws after the frantic battles in the Halpi Mountains, time and again the valiant riders and their faithful mounts had attacked against impossible odds to cover the retreat of Free Dwarf armies as they fell back through the mountains, pursued by the Fiends of the Abyss and their debased servants, many of the Stoneclaw riders fell in those mountains , some fled with the Free Dwarfs to the lands of the feckless Imperial Dwarfs and a few even managed to flee Northwards and made new alliances with the Half Elves and Clan-Kin of Prince Talinnar, where they remain to the day as Frostclaw Riders, now loyal to a different cause.

Those that remained bided their time, waiting until they could reclaim the nesting grounds of the Mountain Ravens that they rode, as the birds were native to the Halpi Mountains and unheard of in other lands.

With their new found training the Raven Clans Rangers were able to operate in the Mountains in conjunction with the Stoneclaws, the ariel support afforded by the Stoneclaw riders allowed the Rangers to operate farther away and for longer periods of time in the Mountains, allowing a more responsive defence of the newly reconquered Holds and lands.

The Ranger Units usually consist of a Company made up of four or more smaller patrols of around 5 Free Dwarf Rangers , this is the smallest unit that is fielded and is deemed to be the minimum size of unit that can operate independently in the Mountains. The Company is led by a Commander and two or three specialists, usually a Junior Stonepriest that doubles as a Communicator and Healer (and also support if the Company is fortunate enough to have a Stonepriest with summoning capability), a trained Healer and a Weapons artificer whose job it is to maintain the crossbows of the Company in the field.

Carrying enough supplies for two weeks the Rangers will travel through the underground highways from the Hold, reaching the surface by way of cunningly concealed exits amongst the high passes and rocky plateaux of the mountains. The tunnels also support a network of chambers which can be used as resupply stores or shelters for the Ranger Companies as they patrol the trails and passes around the mountains. Each exit also has a garrison of Ironclad to maintain the security of the hold and in some of the older sections of the hold these garrisons’ man cunningly wrought towers formed from the very Mountain itself and able to keep watch over the most important passes and gates into the Raven Clans new won Realm. If the Ranger companies are moving further afield they are resupplied by the Patrols of Stoneclaws that share their duties in the Mountains although the Stoneclaws can only operate in fair weather conditions which limits their usefulness and which is why the capabilities of the Rangers are very much in demand for the Clan, the Stoneclaws operate from the very peak of the mountain where the ancestors of the Raven Clan carved mighty eyries in the unscalable cliffs high above where the Ravens and their riders are lodged, ready to swoop down when called forth.

The Cooperation between Rangers and Stoneclaw riders has been very beneficial to the safety of the newly recovered Raven Clan hold and helps the relatively small Raven Clan to make the most of their resources. The Clan has a larger than normal number of Ironclad troops for guarding the Hold itself and there is Lord Osric’s standing guard of Shieldbreaker regiments but only a small number of Brock Riders from the Brock Clan chose to accompany the Raven Clan and because the Clan travelled a great distance by ship and through narrow Mountain passes their war machines and heavier equipment had to be left behind until the Free Dwarfs foothold in the mountains is made secure enough for them to travel in relative safety from the Harbour to the Hold, the Raven Clan also boasts a large number of Dwarf Mastiffs like any other Dwarf Clan worth its salt , but the Raven Clan discovered on their return to Caer Y Cudd that the abandoned Mastiffs had multiplied in the time they were left and now the Halls of the Mountain hold teemed with the belligerent canines, allowing the Raven Clan to field large numbers of Hunting Packs to support their Warhost.

When a large threat to the Hold is detected, usually a strong war party of Goblins or Ratkin or maybe even a strong force of Abyssal Dwarfs with their foul slaves, the disparate companies of Rangers can consolidate using their internal lines of communication via the mountain tunnels and be reinforced by Ironclad, ShieldBreakers or Brockriders if the terrain is suitable. This allows the Raven Clan to respond quickly to any encroaching threat after it is detected. If the threat is deemed large enough then the whole Raven Clan panoply of war will be assembled to be arrayed against the foe, Stone Priests will summon the spirits of the mountains and the rare Jorrun Bombards will be fetched from the armoury to lob their deadly payloads down onto the enemy. As the Raven Clan have yet to set out external settlements there are no Spear Levy to call upon but occasionally Lord Sveri will aid the Clan with Brock Riders and foot berserkers from his own stronghold of Cwl Gen now that it has been recaptured as it is in his own interests to have a strong force of Free Dwarfs protecting the North-western approaches to his domain.

 

More will follow as the Trolls research further into the reconquest of the Halpi Mountains.

 

 

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