The Red Height Tribe is infamous among the settlers in the Dragon Maw Range. They are well known for the Red Mountain War nearly a century ago in which they were the primary aggressors. That war marked the rise of the Salamander Cult. Orc shaman near Dragon Maw Mountain had always been drawn to Selacion, the Salamander God, but in the years leading up to the Red Mountain War the Red Height shamans became particularly passionate in their devotion. Many of the lay members of the tribe became fanatics of Selacion as well and soon the head shaman had taken control of the tribe. In his coup, he was aided by a red dragon, sent by Selacion himself. Riding the dragon, he led the tribe in war against their neighbors. He was slain, the dragon maimed, the tribe and her allies defeated. The tribe withdrew again to the Dragon Maw, but the Salamander Cult remained in control.
Now, the current High Priest of Selacion, chief of the Red Height Tribe: Mardug Firemaw, is stirring up the tribe to again lead an attack on the surrounding human settlements. After their crushing defeat only a few generations ago, the other orc tribes in the area are reluctant to join the Red Height Tribe in their endeavor. Their chief is convinced that they will change their minds after a few victories. He is moving out with his tribe, prepared for war after a century of rebuilding.
With chiefs over the last century pushing large families in order to grow the population of the tribe, the Red Height Orcs have swelled in population and boast the largest body of warriors in the tribe’s memory. Of their over 500 tribe members, 357 are considered fit for battle (not counting the chief). The population generator spits out way too much to mention here, but it’s all necessary for encounters. The bulk of the army is low level soldiers and fighters: 222 soldiers levels 0 to 3 and 136 Fighters levels 1 to 8. Most of these are level 1 or 2, with a few outliers. Other classes that would march into battle armed like soldiers and fighters include 5 drunks (Brawler acolytes) levels 0 to 2, 8 Brawlers levels 1 to 5, and 29 Berserkers levels 6-12, most of which came from Fighters, but a few from Brawlers. These Berserkers are often ranked in Mardug’s army, especially those that are Salamander Cult fanatics.
Mardug’s fighting force also includes a number of support soldiers. He has 38 Hunters levels 0-4 and 12 Rangers (4 level 5, 2 level 6, 2 level 7, 1 level 9, 1 level 10, 1 level 12, and 1 level 15). His level 15 Ranger is his brother, Milgun, a prominent member of the Salamander Cult who was a Druid before becoming a Ranger. Most of the other Rangers came from Hunters, though 3 (levels 9, 10, and 12) were Fighters previously. The Hunters and Rangers are used by Mardug as scouts for his troops, but also as archer support during engagements. Milgun commands them.
Finally, Mardug Firemaw commands and inspires his army primarily through the leadership of the Salamander Cult within his tribe. He is himself a level 23 Priest, the High Priest of Selacion now 4 years. His closest counselors are a level 18 and level 14 Priest, the first his uncle and the second his son. The other cult leaders include 4 Druids, levels 3, 6, 8, and 10, and 2 herbalists (Druid acolytes) levels 1 and 2. All of these Druids and Priests have large lizards or salamanders for their companions. Most of them have lizard-like animal forms. Many of them are also adept with magic, especially fire magic.
Before the tribe went on the war path, the soldiers, fighters, drunks, brawlers, and berserkers tended to the camp and farmed. The hunters and rangers brought back game (though their efforts have reduced game populations to almost nothing in their area). Now, however, their camping grounds are nearly abandoned, with just the young, the weak, and the elderly left to fend for themselves while Mardug marches with his army. He has already sacked a number of villages, and there are rumors that other tribes are considering joining him.
Tomorrow we will discuss Mardug himself, stay tuned!
This whole concept would be a central component for a campaign. Would you throw it at your players? Mind Weave’s Master Weaver tools should make it easier to manage when finished. How would you plan to deal with an army like this as a player? Let us know below.