Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sir John of Ravens Wood Hold

Sir John Ravenswood of Raven's Wood Hold,
commander of the Black Band,
Captain of the Passes.
The medieval age is not exactly  known for uniforms, especially in the modern sense, the Military Orders, a badge or perhaps occasionally a livery, but references to uniforms are not uncommon in Sword and Sorcery settings. In this case they just felt right. With the uniform though, there had to be a backstory. I'm starting to enjoy  this matter of  exploring imaginary lands and history again.

The full field strength of the Black Band. Additional soldiers form a permanent garrison for Raven's Wood Hold itself.

There are two passes through the mountains that form much of the northern border of the Midlands. In the far distant past the Kingdom of Valdur controlled land on both sides of the mountains and the Great or West Pass was a busy avenue for commerce as well as an occasional route for invasion. The East Pass has always been a source of danger with the southern entrance in particular sitting either just within or well without the border as the fortunes of war ebbed and flowed.

The fort known as Raven's Wood Hold sits at the crest of the Great Pass a gateway or a barrier to those who would pass through the mountains. Sir John's family have held the post of Captain of the Passes for three generations now and they have adopted the surname Ravenswood and regard the Hold as their family home. 

The post of Captain of the Pass does not come with wide lands but it does come with the right to collect tolls. Rather than being able to rely purely on the levies from his lands the Captains have had to maintain a paid band of freelance soldiers,  mercenaries from all lands though few come from far away.  Since the mountain tribes are a minor  nuisance compared to the threat posed by raids by cavalry and archers from the Riders north of the pass or the Great King's Satrap to the East, the Hold maintains a quick response force of crossbowmen and armoured knights supported by local levies of light horse. Spearmen and war machines guard the Hold in their absence.

To mark the border guards, they have been given jacks or surcoats of Raven black and the knights bear not their own crest, for many who join the company do not wish their true name to be known, instead they bear the Great Tree of the Raven's Wood.


  1. Looks good. I am sorely tempted to lay in a Garrison contingent for my old fantasy armies when they reopen for business.

  2. Strangely, back in the long distant past long before I owned Garrison or anything and manufactured Hyborian figures, I used to write amateur SF and Fantasy. The Raven Empire (or Ravenhelm) was one of mine...

    Being a pre PC era, not much left of those stories; the only one I can find in print is called A Double Edged Sword and appeared in issue 7 of a fanzine called Crom -editor Mark Bilsborough. But that was back in 1978.