Army/List: Demonslayers

[From Ken Blackley]

The Empire of Charn (who remembers where I stole that name from? hint -- C.S. Lewis) was an aged, somewhat decaying force for Law and Order. Good and Evil wasn't overly important to the Empire; what was important was Law and Order, the Pax Charnia, if you will.

The Empire guarded its fading empire with its legions, foremost of which was the Ninth. This elite legion was formed from a secret Order within the Empire known officially as the R'hann, but recognized by all as the Demonslayers.

Every year, priests of Vashanka (a Lord of Law and the official war-god of the State) went forth and examined all young boys, the most physically perfect being taken from their families and moved to the R'hann's fortress-monastery of Dawnwater's Edge, where they remained until becoming full members of the Order on their eighteenth birthdays.

While at Dawnwater's Edge, the neophytes trained intensly in martial matters while being indoctrinated into the absolute doctrine of the Church of Law, and against the doctrines of their sworn enemies, the Lords of Chaos and their demonic minions. They emerged almost robot-like in both bodily perfection and mental simplicity.

Once a year, the initiation took place for all eighteen-year-old neophytes. It was presided over by the A-Rhann (Grandmaster), and two special events occured. First, the Neophyte drank from The Blessed Well of Vashanka (located at the monastery), and second, each neophyte was possessed by the spirit of Vashanka and temporarily became his avatar.

These events had two major long-term effects.

The drink from the well caused a hardening of the physical body, making the neophyte incredibly resistant to physical damage. This was a permanent effect. And while possessed by Vashanka, the neophyte gained supernatural attributes, increasing his strength and combat abilities tenfold! This was temporary, and only lasted during the period of possession.

Now here's the catch. Once Vashanka has possessed the new demonslayer once, he can do it again. But he only does it when the Demonslayer comes in contact with a demon! When that happens, Vashanka posseses the demonslayer, making him ten times the fighter he was, and makes him berserkly attack the nearest demon. The slayer fights any and all demons present until he dies or all are defeated. Only then does the spirit of Vashanka leave his host. A Demonslayer NEVER retreats from a demon; he fights until he can fight no more. Only the most strong-willed of the demonslayers can control this impetousity.

So the trick in the old D and D game was, if you're playing a demonslayer, DON'T MEET ANY DEMONS UNTIL YOU'VE GAINED A FEW LEVELS! Even with all the boosts from Vashanka the new demonslayer would be toast fast fighting a real demon! Many players would make it a few games with their Demonslayer characters, then would meet a demon, become possesed, and wade in to certain death. After a while, noone wanted to be a demonslayer . . . .

The Ninth Legion in Fantasy Rules!

Depicting the ninth legion is easy in a game. All Demonslayers wear unadorned plate armor with pot helmets and carry identical two-handed swords. They all look exactly the same in their armor (in the flesh they are all blonde blue eyed guys with brush cuts) and carry no insignia or banners. They never speak. They are always accompanied by their auxiliaries, who are blonde-haired, blue eyed guys in leather armor who carry crossbows and/or handguns. The auxiliaries do all the talking, while the Demonslayers stand impassively in the background. Although the auxiliaries don't carry bows, they function as skirmishers, so bows is the best class for them.

While Demonslayers only respect Clerical magic ( the manifestation of Vashanka) and consider all other magic to be the Stuff of Chaos and therefore evil, they have no qualms about using lawful technology. Thus, their auxiliaries are equipped with the latest in handguns and Artilllery. The Demonslayers, themselves, use only the two-handed sword.

Should a demon(s) appear on the battlefield, the Demoslayers (not the auxiliaries) would all be entered on masse by the spirit of Vashanka, and attack, with a plus two on the dice. They will move impetously to attack the demon, mowing down anyone in their way (including their auxiliaries) and have at the demon. Once the demon is dead or gone, the possession ends.

However, any demonslayer unit with an attached character may move normally (as they respect authority even when possessed by Vashanka), while still retaining the bonus, even if the attached character is a Demonslayer himself. I assume that these high-level Demonslayers can control themselves and their troops even under Vashanka's possession.

In FR! terms, a Demonslayer unit is an Elite Handweapon unit that is immune to fear. As well, a demonslayer unit gets a +2 bonus in combat against demons, but must charge any demons within his NORMAL MOVEMENT RANGE. If any non-demon unit is between the charging demonslayer and the demon, the Demonslayers attack it instead, friend or foe, and counts the +2 bonus as they try to hack their way through the intervening unit to get at the real target (in a straight line). Any unit accompanied by an attached DEMONSLAYER CHARACTER is not required to charge, but still receives the +2 when attacking the Demon.

[SCR] The Demonslayer unit receives the +2 bonus while the Demon is present within the unit's NORMAL MOVEMENT RANGE, due to possession by Vashanka, regardless of whether they are attacking the Demon (or intervening units) or are controlled by a Demonslayer Character.

[SCR suggestion] The Demonslayer Character may attach to or leave a Demonslayer unit while it is possessed by Vashanka, but the unit must make a rally roll in order for the Demonslayer Character to gain/regain control. Character's rally bonus applies. Until such a rally roll is made, the character's +1 or +2 CF does not apply to the unit (they aren't being directed and focussed by the character).

If the controlling Character chooses to allow the unit to charge through other units toward the Demon (as opposed to going around intervening units), the unit must make a rally roll (Character's rally bonus applies); if it fails the rally roll, the Character immediately loses control of the unit. The Character may regain control as above, or may detach from the unit and attach to a different unit. (Of course, simply detaching from a controlled unit frees it to pursue the Demon, anyway.)

[SCR] From the description and the sample army (below), I think that a Demonslayer Character is the General (the A'Rhann) or a Hero (Big Demonslayer in the sample army). The General can control the unit to which he is attached and the two flanking units, and a Demonslayer Hero can control only the unit to which he is attached (the units they could move for free). A Cleric (Bishop of Vashanka) and other characters are not Demonslayers, and so cannot be Demonslayer Characters. Thus, if the Cleric is attached to a Demonslayer unit when a Demon appears, the Cleric will *not* be able to control the unit!

Thus a Demonslayer unit costs 60 points: 50 for elite handweapons plus 10 for immunity to fear. The anti-demon bonus is a double-edged sword, and doesn't cost any points.

A demon is any creature, usually summoned either before or during the game by Great Magic, that is from an Infernal plane of existence.

[SCR] The definition of Demon seems a bit fuzzy. However, it sounds to me like...

Since the change occurs as a result of possession by Vashanka, the Demonslayers would presumably not go berserk when other things, such as elementals, are summoned.

So if you're fighting a Holy Army (one that *doesn't* agree with the aims of the R'hann, of course), you effectively pay 10 points extra for your elite handweapons. Against fear-causing units, you've paid the extra 10 points for immunity to fear, and against various evil armies things get really interesting!

A Demonslayer Army

Unit Type
Point Cost
1 General A-Rhann 150
1 Cleric Archbishop of Vashanka 100
2 Hero Big Demonslayer 40
1 Major Spirit Avatar of Vashaka 80
7 Elite Handweapons Demonslayers (R-Hann) 420
7 Bows Auxiliaries 140
2 Heavy Artillery Really Big Guns 80


[SCR] Looks to me like each Auxiliary (i.e., Bow) unit will normally be attached to a Demonslayer unit. The Cleric might have a Holy Hand Grenade or a Holy Relic (not a banner). The General or a Hero might have an Exceptional Weapon (a "holy" weapon). Since they are totally humorless, Demonslayers would not use Taunt, nor would they be immune to its effects.

Did you ever see "The Terminator"? Well, the terminator is much like a demonslayer. They are humorless, emotionless and completely single-minded. In battle, their one strategy is to march straight ahead and kill anyone or anything that is in their way. They are not cruel, but rather completely indifferent to anyone and everything (including themselves) in the quest to fulfil The Great Purpose of slaying Demons and defeating Chaos. They have absolutely no concept of Good and Evil. Everyone and everything is else irreleveant; only The Great Purpose has meaning. A scary bunch.

The R'hann used to try "subtlety" in my D and D game. They'd move into a town and set up a phony business, invariably called "The Demon Extermination Company," and man it with blonde-haired, blue-eyed guys with brush cuts. Guess how long it took the players to figure it out?
I first got the idea from an old Doctor Who episode. It was one of those Key of Time episodes (With Tom Baker), with a guy named the Graf-Vinfer K in it who was after a mineral called Jeffric on a medieval Mongol-like planet. He had a bunch of guards with him, in pot helmets who stood impassively in the background, never said anything. I made up the demonslayers that very night.

Copyright © 1999 by Samuel Reynolds. All rights reserved. Last modified 1998/08/14.
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