by Greg Stafford
originally published in Wyrms Footnotes #3 (with additions taken from River of Cradles)
The Sisters of Mercy[editor’s note: two sets of counters have been provided. The first matches the color of the counter originally printed in Wyrms Footnotes, the second reflects the color scheme used in the Dragon Pass version of the rules.]
THE SISTERS OF MERCY live in an invisible nunnery whose exact location or dimensions are unknown to the natives of Dragon Pass. Some claim that it is as large as the world, encompassing all of the cosmos within its walls. This is, however, untrue, as proved by the Knowledgist Elad Kramdnil during the reign of the last king of Sartar’s dynasty. He showed that the Sisters are met wherever the old Empire of the Wyrm’s Friends was dominant, and he was the first to state that they are to be considered remnants of that lost nation. This would lend credence to the belief that the Empire was not totally corrupt, as such remnants as the Tusk Riders, Delecti, and the Goatkin would suggest.
The Sisters are the daughters, either real or adopted, of the Bell of the Lightbringers [Chalana Arroy], who is one of the Holiest Six who freed Lord Sun from the Underworld, thusly ending the Great Darkness and marking the start of Time. Like their mother ans as their name shows, these women are among the gentlest of people, and they extend their greatest help to those in the greatest need.
The Sisters of Mercy may be called upon by any unit or stack except creatures of chaos (i.e., the Crimson Bat, the Hydra, or Walktapi) which has received an Eliminate result on the CRT. We may trust that each person or creature would pray to someone with their last dying breaths. If a majority of them manage to gasp or gurgle for the Sisters then they will appear. This is determined by an emissary roll.
When a stack has been eliminated by the CRT, any form of magic (including Exotic Magic), bad Emissary results, or anything else in the rules, the player may try to save them with a single roll of the die. As with any emissary roll, an even number means a failed attempt and the unit dies.
If any unit attempts to get the Sisters but fails, none of that player’s forces may pray for them again for three full turns. The Sisters of Mercy are not able to help Superheroes or Dragons, neither of whom would ask for help in the first place.
If a stack is saved, it is removed with the Sisters from its hex and then replaced upon the board anywhere within the RF of the Sisters, except in an enemy hex or ZOC. The unit may move and fight as normal on their next turn, having rested and been healed in the nunnery by magical means. For the rest of the game the Sisters unit will remain loyally allied to help that player’s forces in any way possible.
Although magical in nature, the Sisters of Mercy may never engage in magical attacks, nor may their CF be added to a physical attack. They will help protect friendly units, though, and can act as a Ford if desired. Thus, they can use Magic Rules #’s 5 and 6, but no others.
Except when the Sisters of Mercy use Rule #5 above, any unit which attacks them is immediately routed. The only exceptions to this are Superheroes, Jaldon Toothmaker, the Blue Moon School, and creatures of chaos. Except for the superheroes, it is to be noted that all of these units were present during the fall of the EWF, as noted by Elad so long ago.
There are three Sisters of Mercy units available, for Malamse, Oronio, and Amprefesne are the three holy Sisters most often called upon. If a stack of Sisters meets an enemy stack with Sisters, then both Sisters and their friendly units [i.e., those units stacked with each] are immediately returned to the nunnery and removed from the game.