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The Seekers of Sendria


 

A small and hardly visible part of the Sendrian military operates mostly in the shadows and behind enemy borders. The unit of some sixscore men has no official name, as it doesn't officially exist, but the other soldiers in the army have given its members the name Seekers, due to the nature of their assignments.

Seekers are trained to hunt, but their prey consists not of animals or even monsters - it walks on two feet. Their targets are most often known criminals on the run: thieves, robbers, raiders, murderers, and suspected traitors. Sometimes they are sent out to capture spies of the neighbouring nations, even across borders. Another main task of this group is scouting, and small parties of four men constantly watch the borders between Sendria and its neighbours, observing the troops on the other side for any changes in their routines and numbers.

The ignorant common people are not at all fond of the Seekers. Almost everyone knows of the group's existence, but no one seems to exactly who they are and what they do, and not knowing makes people afraid. Every now and then, people disappear mysteriously; almost as a rule, the Seekers are blamed, and not always without reason. These incidents have earned the soldiers of the group nicknames like Bloodhounds, Thieves in the night, Amer'Loc's assassins, Predators, as well as some others.

Seekers act under the direct command of the Hand of Amer'Loc, who at the moment happens to be Piers Aelfgar. All reports and orders go through Captain Taeron 'Whisper' Magar, a veteran (9th level) warrior and the leader of the shadowy group, a former Seeker himself who still sometimes takes part in important operations. The company is divided into four platoons of thirty men, two of Scorpions and two of Hawks. The former specializes in hunting men, and the latter in scouting enemies.

The Scorpion platoons consist of six squads of five men. Four of the five are regular soldiers while the fifth is the group leader, usually a sergeant by his rank. The Black Scorpions are the only part of the Seekers that really hunt men, where they operate mostly during the nights and in the shadows, unseen and silent. The Red Scorpions have been trained to commit surprise attacks and assassinations. Their target's location is first pinpointed by the careful scouting of a Hawk squad and if needed, the use of some scrying spells. When the information reaches the Seeker headquarters in Davnor, a strike force leaves immediately, mounted on their powerful chargers.

The Hawk platoons are formed differently than the Scorpions. There are thirty men in both the Silver and Gold Hawk platoons, but the squad size is four men. In addition to the squads, six runners deliver messages from a group to another, as well as between the squads and the operative headquarters. The only difference between the two platoons is that Silver Hawks work within the country and at its borders, observing possible enemy movements, and the Gold Hawks operate outside the nation.

The members of the Seekers are chosen from willing applicants within the army. At least two years of military training or similar experience is required from those wishing to apply. Due to the rarity of women in general in the Sendrian army there have been no women among the Seekers so far, but no rules forbidding women to join exist.

The competition in which new members are chosen to join the Seekers is held annually in a small forest near the capital. It contains various small contests testing the physical condition, fighting abilities and observation skills of the applicants, all of which must be passed. The culmination of the three-day test is called simply, "the Hunt." The soldiers willing to become new Seekers are put to the ultimate test, which, if failed, will mean certain rejection for at least another year.

Five applicants at a time are sent to a forest area roughly the size of a square mile. The contestants may stay together or go their own ways, but after a short while five Black Scorpions go after them. The ones that are able to remain unseen and are not found by their hunters within a given time period, are then accepted to join the Seekers. If for some reason the limit of ten new members per year is exceeded, then the results of the tests from the previous days are take into account. Such a thing has not happened in the last thirteen Hunts.

The new Seekers are put into a rigorous, yearlong training before they are allowed to join any real action. The platoon in which the novice joins affects the training to some degree. The Hawk training is focused on scouting skills such as tracking, spotting and identifying enemy troops, drawing sketches, moving silently and hiding in nature, as well as climbing. The main weapons used by Hawks are the short bow, short sword, dagger, light crossbow, and short spear. Also, they learn to some degree how to build traps and use caltrops to slow down possible chasers.

Black Scorpion training resembles the one received by Hawks greatly. In fact they go through most of it together, but train in hiding and soundless movement to a lesser degree and focus on running, endurance, and silent killing instead. In addition to the weapons favoured by all Seekers, Blacks are trained in the use of nets, lassos, and slings.

Red Scorpion training concentrates on totally different things. Naturally, they also receive basic instructions in hiding and movement, but killing efficiently and fast are they specialties. Blowguns, garrottes, hand crossbows and poison are their chosen weapons in addition to the basic Seeker weaponry. The Reds are also trained to become riders of exceptional skill. Their mounts are bred solely to run. This yields horses of exceptional speed and endurance at the cost of carrying capacity.

In combat, all Seekers prefer hit and run tactics (or, if possible, shoot and run). They are too lightly equipped to efficiently fight hand-to-hand with heavily armed foot soldiers; and without shields, are easy targets for skilled archers.

Seeker non-player characters
(these stats reflect the average seeker; sergeants and lieutenants should be adjusted accordingly

HD: 3
THACO: 17 (longbow, longsword) or 18 (other)
# Attacks: 1 or 2 (per weapon)
Damage per weapon
AC: 6 (studded leather + high dex)
Morale: Elite (14)
Movement: 12

* Seekers try to use as much cover as possible to shield themselves from ranged attacks of their opponents.

Seeker player characters
 

  • Fighter sub-class (Use ranger tables for Experience, Hit Points and Attacks)
    Ability requirements: Dexterity 15, Intelligence and Constitution 13
  • Free proficiencies: tracking, running and endurance (these do not apply to Red Scorpions)
  • Recommended proficiencies: observation, drawing, swimming, rope use, set snares, survival, tumbling, jumping, bowyer/fletcher
  • Required proficiencies: direction sense; all weapon proficiencies must be chosen from the following list: dagger, short bow, shortsword, crossbow (light & hand), short spear, net, lasso, blowgun, garrotte, sling
  • Special benefits: hide in shadows, climb walls, open locks (Scorpions only), move silently as in Dungeon Master's guide Table 19, modified by race, dexterity and armor worn; surprise: +2 to surprise when moving in squads or less; +1 to hit with ranged weapons
  • Special hindrances: may not wear armor heavier than studded leather; weapon proficiency limitation; reaction adjustment of -4 if known to be a seeker

 

 


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Thanks to Raven for this contribution!

 


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