Saturday 9 September 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #237: The Black Gazelles of Gilded Horn

Seven hexes northwest, four north of Alakran. 


On an eminence, an out-thrust lip of the eastern Dhuga ridge, accessible only from the east, is the walled fortress of the military and hunting charioteer company, the Black Gazelles of Gilded Horn. Their black enamelled chariots with golden ornaments are drawn by trios of the titular beast, whose delicate strain has been bred to achieve an adequate size for the swift transport of two lithe and lightly protected men. The company numbers some eighty.

Their reputation as lechers and roisterers is confined within the walls of this fortress. There is a central keep, stocked with comforts and luxuries, whereto loose urbanites and wayward shepherdesses are often lured. But in Eryptos and the civilized country to the west, the Gazelles are the very image of rectitude, travelling to and from periods of formal leave in silent groups of 3-18. 

Their hunting excursions, by further contrast, are excuses to get away from both the stiffness of formal manners, and the exhaustion of sybaritic pleasures. In the chariot, in the tent of black silk pitched on the hillside amid a stand of terebinths, the groups of 2-12 Gazelles who roam the Dhuga Hills recover their spent virility. Some are even moved to stirring song, or heroic poetry, by their fellows' exertions in pursuit of the fleet gemsbok or the wrathful rhinoceros.

If you, adventurers, meet a group of Black Gazelles, know that they travel two to a chariot, with odd numbers riding alone. A group of 4 will contain the equivalent of two level 1, one level 2, and one level 3 fighter. The fifth will be a level 5, either fighter, ranger, or rogue. A tenth will be level 8 in one of those classes. They are all skilled and dangerous with the scimitar, long lance, and longbow, as much on foot as from a moving platform. If ten or more are encountered, the Prince of Eryptos (the Radiant Gemsbok of Autumn, level 2 because of his young years, but outranking them all), will be among them 50% of the time.

How will they receive you? With deference, if you are Wahatti nobility, or any kind of Urig from the middle classes upward. With camaraderie, if you are any member of the Wahatti military, for the Gazelles strive to avoid grudges in the fraternity. Anyone else -- out of the way, thou peasant, thou tinker! Or halt -- maybe you are poaching? Scandal, crisis, and relentless persecution from the full weight of the Wahatti state (minus the Prince's particular enemies) will follow anyone who slays one of the Black Gazelles, either the literal kind or the human kind.

No comments:

Post a Comment