A few notes on Ethilrist and the Black Horse Troop I posted elsewhere and thought might be of interest here:
Sir Ethilrist was the descendant of a long line of mercenary captains in Ralios. After a series of defeats, he led his Troop across the great mountains, through the Syndics Ban,. To avoid the Ban, he led his troop through Hell. When they left Ralios they were the White Horse Troop. When they emerged on the western borders of the Lunar Empire they were the Black Horse Troop, and Ethilrist was a Hero.Ethilrist was a Hrestoli, but he encountered Hrestol himself in the middle of Hrestol’s own quest, ravaged Hell, and Ethrilrist gained great loot. Ethilrist is sometimes thought to be an incarnation of Hrestol.And yet. Ethilrist’s followers worship Hrestol as a god and Ethilrist as demigod. And somehow gain Rune magic from Hrestol (!). And the magic includes such strange things as Shield, Darksword and Control Demon (and I’ve seen rumours of Command Chaos!). And yet, Ethilrist is known to offer worship to the Invisible God, and trains a few sorcerers to serve him.Some think there are deeper secrets known only to the inner circles of the cult. That Ethilrist worships the Eternal Hero, or even the Anti-Hero or the Hero’s Shadow. Others claim he is a secret Arkat and that his cult is an Arkati fraud. Ethrilist knows the Red Emperor well (and personally dislikes him, although often serves him), many of the Feathered Horse Queens, and many others. He has likely long since transcended anything resembling Malkionism, but it is known that his runes are Man, Mastery, and Darkness. However, the Troop as a whole is commonly identified with Darkness and Harmony.
I’m undecided about Darksword. Here’s what I know:
Ethilrist gained this ability during the reavings of Hell, when he led the troop into chaos. The weapon (it can be any hand-wielded pointed or edge weapon) will turn black and anyone wounded with it will be attacked as if:
Jeff’s NOTE: either this is a 1 point spell where anyone wounded with it will be attacked as if by a Shade with a POW equal to the current POW of the caster,OR this is 5 point spell like Fang of Wachaza.
I am working off a variety of sources, including an unpublished RQ writeup of the Black Horse Troop that Greg wrote around 1981 or so. Also off Greg’s unpublished notes on Black Horse County, notes from the unpublished Armies and Enemies, plus stray notes from WBRM and the Hungry Jack story from RQ Companion.
But also fed through the heroquesting documents I recently prepared for Chris Klug, and the fact that I just spent the last year putting together the long version of about 100 Gloranthan cults and finished the new Prosopaedia. So I am in a really good creative space for Gloranthan mythology and cults right now.
So maybe about 25% published sources, 50% unpublished WiP documents, and 25% me having good brain waves and unexpected insights.
One of my biggest sources for everything right now is the Cults Book. Which almost nobody has access to. Or the new Prosopaedia. Or the Main Figures of the Hero Wars. Or the Chronology of the Hero Wars. Or the Master Maps. And so on. These are my foundation documents but unfortunately few are available outside my group of writers and kitchen cabinet folk. That stuff will get in print, but not yet.
Most interesting to me is the worship of Hrestol as THE Hero. And you know, he really is. Imagine worshiping Campbell’s Hero of Thousand Masks as a cult, with Hrestol as the perfect incarnation of that archetype.And then Ethilrist posits himself as the Shadow of the Hero or the Anti-Hero. But also the High Priest of the Hero. And an incarnation of the Hero. And he gets a nice cut on all those magic points from the Black Troop – you could do some pretty neat spells with a 1000 magic points a week, you know?
what’s Ethilrist’s Free INT? that’s going to be the big limitation on what he can do with all that magic. Either he casts numerous blessings on his commanders and senior troopers, or he has figured out how to use his presence in the Divine World to make more substantive changes in the mundane world.
Or he embraces the magical possibilities of BOTH.
It is worth keeping in mind that the Black Horse Troop ideally consists of five 500-man heavily cavalry units, and the 2000-odd Foot Auxiliaries. The Black Horse Troop hire themselves out at the highest mercenary rate, which enables them to equip themselves, and to purchase supplemental food from the Grazelands and Tarsh. And of course, their employer is required to keep them fed.Black Horse County is best thought of as a mercenary company that manages to have a remote base of operations rather than a sensible polity.
Much like Voltaire’s bon mot about Prussia: “Where some states have an army, the Prussian Army has a state.”
Might also be like some of the Greek mercenary companies that were settled in Bactria (Afghanistan and Uzbekistan).
What was Greg’s inspiration to create Sir Ethilrist? If I recall it was an excuse for the Doom Run in WBRM. Which you got to admit is pretty cool.
I’m surprised that a mercenary troop with vicious demon horses has Harmony as a Rune. Can you expand on that? The Troop itself exists in harmony with Hell.