Rasenna’s military is informed by its wealth. The nation largely employs mercenaries rather than keeping standing armies; this is done in part to keep the fighting men and women happy and largely tamed, and in part out of a desire to limit the powers of the Princes. If a Prince is reliant on the flow of coin to keep the peace, then he proves more willing to work with the Houses. Of course, politics being what they are, civil wars still break out between Princes now and again.

Mercenary units vary widely in training and armament. The more expensive units are those with the greatest versatility: trained to hold a line, assault a strongpoint, or weaken the enemy with withering fire. Crossbows are slightly more common than bows; partisans and ranseurs are the most common long weapons (pikes being deployed only in battles where the terrain can support cavalry), and side weapons vary greatly. Individual mercenary captains are often skilled in exotic fighting styles, in part to distinguish themselves and in part to utilize any element of surprise or intimidation they can.


Swordsmanship is a popular practice outside the mercenary profession as well. Many upper-class and even some artisan-class train in sword and dagger for the purposes of self-defense or the expectation of dueling. The most popular swords are rapier and longsword, with short sword, main-gauche and dagger all common shorter weapons. Numerous sword schools jostle for prestige across the nation, claiming to teach secret maneuvers or citing the (sometimes inflated) reputation of famed members. And although blades are the favored weapons for dueling, several schools teach more singular styles, such as the mace and morningstar, halberd or partisan, even dueling axes in certain locales.

Seasoned warriors learn to read the signs of martial skill. The way a gentleman or lady has belted a sword may indicate an understanding of the need to draw quickly, or an affectation of style. Mercenaries often wear some sort of badge to indicate their company, former or current, at least if said company has any successes to its name; the skeleton of a fish pinned to a hat would be a questionable fashion choice in almost any setting, but those who recognize the name of the Fisher Knights are rightly cautious. Individual blades-for-hire tend to keep their hair cropped close as a sign of constant readiness to draw steel. But if a talented warrior chooses not to advertise her profession, it may take another armsman to read her build, body language and gaze to see her for the danger she is.


Rasennan Summer Barastrondo