The Iron Tower Mercenaries

I am an admirer from across the pond. While i probably won’t make it out there this year i hope to make it over in the not too distant future. I am super interested in the game world, system and everything. I had an idea that i wanted to put out there if anyone wanted to take it and run with it. That idea is the Iron Tower, it is a defensive mercenary company of players who sell their skills as body guards to the influential and wealthy.
Here is the brief run down of the way i would run the company. If anyone tries out this idea or modifies it i would be really interested in learning how it goes.

The Iron Tower

“Our Strength is your Strength”

“Peace is not permanent, nor free”

There are always those who wish to do harm to the empire both without and within. We are the wall against those threats. The empress has her throne guard but what do you have? You have the Iron Tower. We provide protection within the walls of anvil and out on the field of battle.
With Anvil becoming a more dangerous place as people seek to gain power through the shortcut of the knife we offer a shelter in which you may safely reside. A our standard package for our patrons includes one of our finest defenders and a mage, with the option to add a personal physic. With a personal retinue any would be assasins will have to think twice before they make a move. We operate three watches a day and you can purchase our service for one, two or all three watches.
On the field of battle you have your fellow comrades in arms at your side. As your fellow countrymen fight for the empire you can get lost in the melee. You can hire the Iron Tower to be your personal guard where their one goal is to keep you alive and well. As others fight and fall you can rest assured knowing your squad will stay by your side through the thick and thin of it all. Say goodbye to the fear of getting left on the battlefield, fallen behind the enemies lines.
We are a strictly defensive band and will refuse any and all offers to kill or roughen up any person. We only kill when our patron is directly in immediate danger.

Optional Packages:
Interrogation of assassins: Drop them to zero HP, wait for them to almost time out, give them a stay with me and knock them back down again to restart the timer if needed to get the info from them or a magistrate. For an extra charge we can interrogate your would be killer to see who hired or if they are the one with a grudge. Includes option to then let them bleed out or to gather the magistrate to deal with them.

The Iron Tower is an international organization and any player wishing to join the organization is welcome. They must swear an oath to uphold the contract to their best capacity, to death if necessary.

Ranks:
General: Head of Organization, appoints Sargents/ Squad Leaders/National Captains, leads council of what decisions that impact the whole of the Iron Tower, Accepts contracts

(Optional Rank if the organization grows large enough)National Captain: Contact point local to each nation for those who seek our protection

Sargent: In charge of battle field squad

Squad Leader: In charge of Anvil protection Squad.

The General position is filled by the founder of the organization and if the vacate it through choice or death then the next General is chosen by the Council of Sargents and squad leaders/ National Captains.

Sargents are chosen by the General based on their combat prowess and the rank can be obtained through great feats in battle or duel. Can be warriors or mages

Squad leaders are chosen by the General usually for the combat prowess or their cunning to be able to detect threats. Can be any specialization.

Every guard group MUST someone with at least “stay with me”.
Guard groups ideally default with a soldier and a mage, though can be changed based on the need of the patron.

Contracts can be paid for with coin or materials, usually imperial weins, and half is paid up front or atleast with a form of downpayment.

Reputation is paramount for this type of organization and must be cultivated and well maintained. Our guards die before our client dies. Option to add a loss of life clause in the contract for increases cost if a guard dies.

I’m not sure to what extent this would work… assassination and murderous muggings, even given this last event (which, to be honest, I’m suspecting is down to new players who like being murderous thugs), are pretty rare. I doubt you’d get much employment as bodyguards…

As battlefield (or skirmish) troops, you might be more in demand. I can certainly see the option of hiring a squad from the Iron Tower for a skirmish or two. Taking the battlefield though, you’d probably want to do as a unit. With a Mercenary Banner (I think?) you could all pitch in in support of whichever nation hired you. But you’d have to take the banner, and you’d have to fight that one battle and not both. On the other hand, once on the field you could reasonably split up into small dedicated bodyguard squads…

Healers and mages don’t really get paid for their actions at Anvil. It’s a patriotic thing, an opportunity to show off your compatency in front of the lords and ladies of the land. While I can see you charging some cash at Anvil, high prices would be less of a thing than a glittering resume of powerful individuals, and many favours.

Here’s a thought. This as a group concept for the League: a company of mercenaries who will hire out for various parties. Bodyguards on demand, but also available groups for skirmishes and battles. If you have a large group of equipped guys ready for any given skirmish (which aren’t nationally specific), then you’ll certainly be in demand.

Personally for that, I’d find the relevant groups you’ve skirmished with, and turn up later requesting (substantial) discounts on magic items, enchantments, and anything else they can provide.

As for the battles, if the League hired you, great. If another nation fighting alongside the League hired you, go with them. If the other group of nations hires you, wave your mercenary banner, fight in that battle, and buff your League brothers till they go before waving them off.

For those fights, you might be able to get some good payment.

But I’m not sure if the service industry at Anvil extends to bodyguards…

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I’m still quite new so I may be mistaken however:

You also would most likely have serious legal troubles advertising ‘advanced interagation’ taking a hit point from someone is still assault even if that person is a would be assassin (assuming you arnt directly defending yourself) not to mention the (attempted) murder of putting someone down and offering the service of letting them bleed out.

You could hypothetically get away with it IC if you can convince the magistrate and the militia. But if you were trying to go compleatly above board you may want to look into the laws in anvil.

I’m not sure this would quite work as you’d expect. The Empire has an existing, relatively competent militia and a seriously enforced legal code that makes ‘assassin hunters’ borderline illegal.

We did have a mercenary guild at one point, but they folded recently.

Thanks for all the feedback! That’s why i wanted to run the idea here first before trying it out on the field. I will use the feedback to refine the idea and make it playable without major consequences.

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I’ve played a mercenary in Empire for four years off and on and ran a lot of the aforementioned mercenary group, so if it’s helpful il chip in with a few suggestions:

  • Playing a mercenary is difficult.
    The majority of battles/engagements/fights already have willing volunteers attending. Why should I pay you, when I can have fighters known to me for free? Not to say you can’t have hired mercs, but in the same way, you can have soldiers coming to your aid because they know you/out of solidarity etc. There is still some epic game here. You need to be proactive in finding it.

  • Murder is rare in-game.
    Murders do happen in the game it is true, but they are rare, and the game is specifically designed to make it hard to kill a character and get away with it. This makes it more fun if you are up to no good to plan, execute and try get away with your actions, but also has the bonus of removing the need of gate guard duty.

  • Know your market.
    Following the context points above, you need to do the legwork and truly understand your market. Why should powerful senator/general/mage trust a random group of mercenaries over their own nation, house, banner etc.? Trust here is essential, so do your homework, work out who/what nation might need support and do the legwork to pitch why you are the best person/group to support them.

  • Proof is key.
    A lot of people can IC/OC they are amazing fighters or have X experience, but can you prove it to your client? Expect to do a job or two for free or at a major discount, to prove that you are as good as you claim.

  • Numbers matter.
    Sure you could prove you are the best fighter in the League/dawn etc. and guard someone on your own… but on the battlefield having five mates with you is a superpower in itself. This is doubly important as a mercenary group/company because you need to actually have “impact” on the field to show that you are worth what you claim.

  • Have an identity.
    If your just a random group of people in nondescript armour then you could be anyone. How can I tell you apart from other fighters on the field? In a similar vein congratulations, you are a fighter in chain claiming to be the best fighter in the empire… but you look the same as any fighter – make an identity for the character.

  • Mechanics.
    As others have mentioned if you want to take the field on a day your nation isn’t fighting as a mercenary group, you need to procure a mercenary banner. Crucially you also need to swear the banner to a general at the military council on the Friday council to allow for OC weightings to be adjusted for the actual battles. This is crucial as a lot of people assume you can rock up to the gate with your troops and go “we are fighting with X nation” on the day. You can’t, so you need to have done your homework first, procured your mercenary banner, found your general/senator you are binding to and informed the Friday military council. Skirmishes are easier and don’t have the same mechanical restriction… but have a lot of fighters from the various “non-merc” nations meant to go on the skirmish wanting to fight. So again prove your concept as to why you should go into the conjunction over other fighters.

A final note.
It’s a lot of fun to play a mercenary if you are willing to put the effort in. Sounds a fun concept you are developing, so give it a shot!

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The concept as written sounds a lot like a sodality: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Imperial_sodality

However, I would be very surprised if this was a popular enough service to become a viable sodality. As a League group I think it makes some sense, you might get enough business with good advertising.

Conceivably a possibility for the Brass Coast as well, but mercenary Free Companies in the League have a page to themselves on the wiki: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Free_company

I can imagine the bodyguards-for-battles idea might have a chance. Perhaps a life-insurance type of contract like “You pay us (some agreed amount) to make sure you make it back from the battle and survive. Otherwise, we pay (some bigger amount) to your grieving friends,” maybe with both sides leaving the money with a trusted neutral person in advance.

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To reiterate, I am a member of a League Free Company, and we didnt take any battles last event due to lack of payment. Its VERY hard to play a merc. Rewarding but has taken us a long time to get where we are.

This is the direction is was thinking, the purpose of hiring the iron tower isn’t to win the battle but to make sure you come back from it.