Impiltur sports a rugged countryside and untamed frontier. Local lords train their peasants in militia duties whilst the greater paladins and standing army inspire youths to join their ranks. Already the hardy survivors of ancient daemon and hobgoblin cruelty, their lifestyle and training make the people of this nation into an excellent pool of mercenary material.
Although the teachings of the Triad encourage selflessness and sacrifice, few priests begrudge laymembers the right to earn a living. For the mercenary, this living comes from conflict and they compete with their peers and adventurers for work. The mercenary is often more professional yet more expensive than the opportunistic adventurer, giving them equal claim to most jobs. Local lords, passing Heralds, traders and desperate villagers alike are looking to hire mercenary bands on a regular basis. The lone mercenary however may be forced to sell their services to ambitious adventurers instead, a degradation few willingly suffer for long.
Whomever the employer, mercenaries do no work without negotiating their pay. A typical mercenary contract defines how many men the company will spare for which duties, length of time and above all price.
It describes which supplies the company receives and which it must provide for itself. It mentions signing fees, standard wages, bonuses for riskful action and a buy-out sum. Some of the pay comes in the form of goods or shelter, or as a percentage instead of a flat amount.
Nearly all contracts demand a high price for lives and limbs lost during the mercenaries' service to discourage careless deployment, whether this pay goes to the victim, their company or next of kin.
Charged with finding employ and dealing with all legal and practical considerations involved in fielding an independent armed force, a good mercenary captain must be more than a warrior and tactician to win the hearts of his men and the coin of those who need them. Meticulous accounting, shrewd contracting and a tight rein over the men appear to be the secrets to success. A wise man respects successful captains regardless of their reputation and appearance.
For those who'd join a company rather than hire one, a different sort of contract awaits. The articles of the company describe what they can expect and what is expected of them in turn. These terms can vary wildly from one band to the next.
Some past examples are included below. It should be noted that the punishments set forth in these contracts are often unlawful, and a just man should seek to present evidence of such contracts or happenings to the legal authorities. All of these companies have been disbanded, whether for these practices or other reasons.
Men of the Free Sword
I. Every man has a vote in affairs of the moment, equal in weight to their number of shares.
II. Every man has equal title to provisions or liquors and may use them at pleasure, unless scarcity or battle makes it necessary to withhold.
III. Every man is to be called fairly in turn, by list, for distribution of captured equipment and their ration of divine potions.
IV. The commander and quartermaster receive two shares of a prize. The captains and healers one and a half and other officers one and a quarter.
V. Every man is to keep their arms and armour clean and fit for service.
VI. There to be none who game at cards or dice for money, nor any who invite boys or women amongst the company.
VII. None to stike one another, but every quarrel to be ended at first blood in sword and buckler duel.
VIII. Desertion and disobedience during battle is to be punished with death.
IX. No man speaks of breaking from the company before they earn one thousand silvers.
X. Any man who should lose a limb or become cripple in their service is paid eight pieces of gold out of the public stock and for lesser hurts proportionally.
XI. Musicians to have no shifts on the last day of the week but the other days and nights, none without special favour.
Green Dove Cavalry
I. Every Man must obey civil command.
II. If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company or game for gain, they shall lose one hand and be cast out.
III. The Commander and magician shall have one full share and a half, the horsetender and other officers one and a quarter.
IV. That Man who shall not keep his Arms and Steed clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Commander and the Company shall think fit.
V. That every man shall provide his own mount and materials of healing and enhancement and gain a half-day in each town to obtain these.
VI. If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.
VII. That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive 40 lashes.
VIII. Any Man to desert or keep any secret from the company shall be abandoned in wilderness afoot with naught upon them but one skin of water and a dagger.
IX. Any Man who shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement shall have 40 Pieces of Silver; if a Limb, 80.
Company of the White Mask
I. That every man shall obey his commander in all respects, as if he received monthly wages.
II. That no man shall give, or dispose of, the company's provisions; but every one shall have an equal share.
III. That no man shall open, or declare to any person or persons, who they are, or what designs they are upon; and any persons so offending shall be punished with immediate death.
IV. If any Gold, Jewels, Silver, etc. be found in raiding, and the finder do not deliver it to the Quarter Master in the space of 24 hours he shall suffer what Punishment the Majority of the Company shall think fit.
V. That no man receives more than half their share of coin or gemstones while the company is under contract.
VI. That every man shall keep his watch night and day; and at the hour of eight in the evening every one shall retire from gaming and drinking, in order to attend his respective station.
VII. Every person who shall offend against any of these articles shall be punished with death, or in such other manner as the company shall think proper.
I. The fund of all payments under the articles is the stock of what is gotten by the company, following the same law as other companies, that is, No contract, no pay.
II. A quarterly compensation is provided the Captain for the arrangement of contracts and tending of the Company to the sum of 80 pieces of silver. To the surgeon for his time and supplies, a sum of 150 pieces of silver. To the treasurer for the safe keeping of company funds, a sum of 50 pieces of silver. A sum of 300 pieces of silver is set aside for provisions and victuals.
III. A standard compensation is provided for maimed and mutilated mercenaries. For the loss of a right arm, 300 pieces of silver. For a left arm or right leg, 250 pieces of silver. For a left leg, 200 pieces of silver. For an eye, 50 pieces of silver and for a finger of the hand the same.
IV. The remainder is divided as follows: The Captain is allotted six shares. His sergeants only two. After whom each draw equal shares excepting those in training, who receive one half of a share by reason that they are spared the greatest perils.
V. An oath must be sworn that no sum is usurped nor the least thing concealed from each other, or the mercenary to be outcast immediately and assaulted upon future encounters.
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