“There is no waste after a battle. He is finished with his fine boots, isn’t he? He has no need for them now and I can use them to barter with, at one of the many stalls in the Zandu marketplace. They have a trade value and I want something fancy to eat. The harshness of the sands has exhausted me and I refuse to eat any more cactus flowers! They are all I have eaten for days and they stick in my gullet, the mere thought of their texture makes me retch. I want some ale and some real food, some meat for now and a haunch to carry with me.
There is safety in numbers and our herd is large, but we have to keep moving. The battle has ravaged this land, the food is gone and our leaders say that the south is where we should go. Our herd numbers in the many hundreds and we can eat anything but sometimes there is nothing. When the threat of starvation hangs over our heads, then we serve the Formorians as we do now. They feed us and our families and we survive another season, but it is not all good. We are forced to fight in the front ranks and we are the first to fall. I accept that it is as it should be. If we are destined to fall then we shall fall but why was it ordained that my clanbrothers should die on the first day of the Khalsastra campaign? I continued alone, my anger stronger than ever before and the axe in my hands turned into a death machine. I survived my clanbrothers to avenge their death’s, one life at a time, but victory did not erease this loss I felt. I feel that still.
I run with the pack, alone and strong with no brothers and no family. I am strong and I live, I roam the world with my pack and my life is in the killing of those who would confront us. There will come a time when we will have a homeland of our own, when we can create a new history for our people, but for now, we fight for the reptiles and my family eats.”
Mongrelfolk – the Beastmen
Beastmen were created by the Formorians to serve as slave labour and to function as mindless mercenaries. While some function in this capacity within the realm of the Formorians, many broke away from their despotic rulers and made the desert their home. These nomadic outcasts now wander the land, bitter and resentful, fighting for food and survival and attacking the Formorians at every opportunity. They are most angered by the fact that they have no realm to call their own and no land to lay down their roots despite a tiny enclave in Marmundi, a harsh scrubland in the northern part of the continent Voran. The Hadab avoid this part of the continent, as it is a inhospitable place without any resources worth to exploit. Mongrelfolk especially despise the Ratkin, laying them blame for their creation and exploitation firmly at their feet. While the Ratkin had nothing to do with it – as it was their accidental creation which led the Formorians trying again and the Beastmen know this.
A visual mishmash of horrible half-beasts, covered in the armor of history’s fallen, their scavenging is second in scope only to the Ratkin and their armories feature weapons and tools from every known race. Although vicious and deadly, Mongrelfolk warriors never really become attached to any specific weapon, preferring to have skills in many different types. For this reason, it is difficult to gauge what to expect, or which style of combat to prepare for, when you confront a contingent of these mongrels. They will steal weapons from the dead, swapping their maces and axes for polished steel, if they think it will improve their chances in the next battle.
Since the days of their slave revolt and escape from the clutches of the Formorian, the Mongrels have been looking for a fighting style which suits their physical build and state of mind. Function tends to follow form and in this way, the Centaurs used by the Formorians as beasts of burden have become the Mongrelfolk army’s mobile force. The prsence of a Minotaur, the powerhouse of a Beastman force, on the battlefield will inspire and motivate heroes and champions to follow them. Mongrelfolk warriors are fast and vicious but will not stand up well to a long fight. This has been compensated for in recent times with the training of new legions who fight in deeper formations with the added sting that they throw javelins into the oncoming contingent just before contact. Mongrelfolk Berserkers, who have lost all sense of reason and now exist just to fight, are herded into units for use as shock troops. These Fanatics almost always die in the attempt to demoralize the opponent army, but not without taking a dozen of their enemies with them. It is said that those Berserks kill themselves after their bloody rampage if they run out of targets.
To come across a battlefield after it has been gone over by victorious Beastmen is a gory and disturbing sight. Any piece of intact clothing or footwear and all weapons and shields are gone, stripped from the corpses. While it disgusts the other races, angry as they are that the Mongrels show their dead no respect, the Beastmen themselves have no qualms about ransacking the losers – or even eating them on some occasions. It is not an evil act to them but rather a logical progression of their belief that it was their victim’s time to die and that the dead have no further need of equipment, clothing or gold.
Occasionally, a Mongrel will emerge from the ranks who is considerably sharper than his comrades and it is this intelligence which pushes them into the role of a leader. They realize that the better they are at commanding their forces, and the more successful their skirmishes and battles, the more they will be rewarded. Consequently, Leaders will do almost anything to remain at the top and will amply reward those who follow them. Large tribes will only gather if they have a particularly strong and charismatic leader. These gatherings rarely last, though, and while you will see tribes numbering in the thousands, it will be very rare indeed to find an army composed entirely of Beastmen.
In the past, Minotaurs more often than not were solitary creatures who kept to themselves, hating even the company of their own kind. When the Mongrelfolk appeared in their world, they were encouraged by the opportunities to bully and control them. They gradually came out of their shell, as it were, as they realised that they could use the easily manipulated Beastmen to their own advantage. Being excellent fighters themselves, the Minotaurs discovered that they were very effective in combat and with a little help, the Mongrels were too.
The only problem was that their style of fighting didn’t lend itself to military tactics. A tactic they developed in early battles which they still utilize is the so-called Horns tactic. Basically, a main mass of Mongrels in a centre field of battle would slowly march towards the enemy. To each side of this main block would either be Boar Riders or Centaurs. The idea being that the main block would engage and swarm into the enemy and the flanks – the Horns – would close in about the rear. While the tactic worked, it was not a tactic they could use repeatedly and they are continually developing their military skills.
Wizardry & Religion
Fatalism, the Mongrelfolk religion is a dark, clouded subject and is never discussed or openly practised outside their own ranks. They believe that all events are predetermined and controlled and that the individual can do nothing to change it’s destiny. This belief structure makes them formidable opponents as they do not panic if a campaign goes wrong, or a battle is lost, and they waste almost no time on grief for fallen comrades. They just keep thundering on. The fact that they are a created race, and they know it, probably has a lot to do with their choice of faith.
Although from the opposite side of the battlefield, they might appear to be allied with the Formorians, they have no allies and desire none. They will serve as mercenaries for the duration of the campaign, the ones paying them are their allies. However once the battle is concluded, so is the alliance…until the next time.
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