Captains of Renown: Dar’Vok

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Captains of Renown: Dar’Vok

Written by Craig Gallant | Tags:

Blood Reaver Dar’Vok, Tar’Nak of the Azure Hunt and Oathmaster of the Traargant Tek’Far

Contemporary Ralgard culture is in shambles. For a thousand years they were the dominant force upon the continent of Gamorria, marching to war during the season of Low Water and subjugating entire races across the continent, then marching back to dark jungles of Traargant with the rewards of warfare. However, several centuries ago this venerable pattern was disturbed by the advent of a powerful race of newcomers…

Blood Reaver Dar'Vok

Blood Reaver Dar'Vok

After the bloody confrontation upon the fields of Zjun’Tar, the Ralgard had their confidence shaken to its very core. The essence of their pride and identity as the masters of all they encountered was shattered upon the brazen shield walls and powerful enchantments of the interlopers from across the seas. A generation of Ralgard warriors was left upon the bloody fields, and after a day and a night of negotiation, the Ralgard nation rose from its knees as a client state of an invading power.

The clan structure of the Ralgard would not support the immense efforts required by their new overlords, and so the entire culture was rebuilt from the family unit outward. Discipline was instilled within the ranks, and new technologies and tactical concepts were introduced. Their new lords, intent on nothing less than the domination of Gamorria, pushed forward once again with the legions of the Ralgard leading the way. Nation after nation fell beneath the blades of the giant warrior race and their new masters, and the Ralgard enjoyed a position of power and authority the likes of which they had never been able to achieve on their own.

But as the old ways faded away, replaced by the cold calculation of the new age, the clan structure of Ralgard society suffered. The once-fluid system, based upon the raw prowess and tactical acumen of individual warriors constantly tested in battle, was torn down with nothing to replace it but rank structure and chain of command. The leadership line of the clans was frozen, with those who had been in power on the day of the Field of Blood maintaining their position and prestige through the manipulation and decree of their new overlords. Noble lines emerged, titles that were once the proud trophies of elite warriors became nothing more than sinecures passed down to untested children. Even though the Ralgard, as a people, prospered as never before, their culture and the core of their spirits was crushed beneath the necessities of empire.

The heart of the Ralgard people has never been completely reconciled to the new condition. Unrest and secret conservative brotherhoods abound. Their overlords, seeing this turmoil within their strongest allies and subjects moved to curtail the festering of the social wound by bringing the trappings and the rituals of old Traargant back into prominence. But those stubbornly opposed to the new society saw through these actions as the tricks that they were. To this day there are secret fraternities who keep the old ways alive, remembering the glory of the Ralgard standing alone against a continent of cowering foes, and they yearn for a return to those simpler, grander days.

The position of Blood Reaver was, in the ancient times, that of second-in-command of the armies of Traargant. It was the Blood Reaver who commanded the vanguard and pushed ahead of the main force as they crossed the land bridge at Low Water, securing the passage for the rest of the forces and then moving on to attack those enemies attempting to prepare for the Ralgard onslaught. Today, however, it is a hereditary position conveyed upon the first born son of the Tal’Nak, or Overlord of Traargant. For nearly three centuries it has been this way, and yet there are those who remember fondly the days when the title of Blood Reaver was earned through feat of arms and bravery in battle, not bestowed at birth upon a puling infant.

The Ralgard

The Ralgard

The current Blood Reaver was approached at a very early age by the adherents of the old ways. Several of his teachers and instructors were secret devotees of the ancient paths, and the young prince was reared on stories of Ralgard strength and independence, and of the merit of the old ways. By the time Dar’Vok was old enough to assume his first command, that of a Shar’Nak leading fifty warriors chosen specifically by his instructors, he was an ardent believer as well.

Blood Reaver Dar’Vok was ordered south with his Kek’Rar, to bolster the forces of his father as they sought to quell a particularly vicious uprising within one of the overlord’s client states. Dar’Vok’s forces were transported down the coast upon a Raknarl Heavy Cruiser, and the young prince was captivated by the power and beauty of the vessel, and the enormous strength the tri-barrel cannons represented. He had never sailed upon a Ralgard ship of war before, and his heart was immediately lost to glorious visions of commanding such a powerful vessel alone upon the sea. In the subsequent battles his Kek’Rar fought well, and he distinguished himself admirably. He was unable to hide his disdain for the Ralgard’s masters, however, and for his own father who seemed to kowtow to their every whim. Tensions built between father and son, as the Overlord of Traargant realized that his son had been subverted by the traditionalist vipers in his midst.

Dar’Vok was ordered to return to Traargant at once, and swift messengers were sent by balloonship to Yaari that those advisors guilty of corrupting the crown prince could be swiftly silenced and brought to justice. However, when the overlord’s warriors rushed into the palace to seize the instructors, they were already gone. Not long after, the Tal’Nak discovered that his son had not returned to Traargant, but instead had taken command of the Kalor Cruiser upon which he was journeying, ostensibly to oversee anti-pirate operations in the southern seas.

Dar’Vok rose swiftly in the naval service, earning the respect and admiration of his warriors, both the marine Dar’Nak and the Bal’Nak in charge of the guns and the actual running of the ships. He had never lost his knack for infantry battles, however, and it is said that a boarding action choreographed by the Master of the Azure Hunt is a thing of beauty.

Dar’Vok is now of an age where he should be returning to Traargant to assume the responsibilities and duties of the crown prince. Rather than follow this new tradition, however, the Blood Reaver has assumed command of a massive fleet that was being marshalled to push northward, retracing the ancient path of their masters. The captains set to lead the expedition were eager to have the prince command them, not knowing of the mounting pressures from Traargant for him to return home. The prince has already been declared the Oathmaster for the fleets, ironically tasked with ensuring the fidelity of the warriors under his command to the ancient Blood Oath that binds them to their masters. But Dar’Vok is convinced that if he can fully grasp the glory and the honour made possible by this new endeavour, it will convey upon him the prestige and authority to confront his father and seize command of the Ralgard, to forge a new, and independent, destiny for his people.

Blood Reaver Dar’Vok of the Azure Hunt in games of Uncharted Seas:

In any game where the players have agreed to allow the use of Captains of Renown, any Ralgard fleet may field the Blood Reaver as their Admiral. He must be assigned to the largest-sized ship in the fleet and will not serve on anything smaller than a Cruiser.

Blood Reaver Dar’Vok in Battle:

Dar’Vok conveys the following special abilities upon his fleet:

Blood Reaver: In all boarding actions involving Dar’Vok’s ship the Ralgard player may re-roll ALL dice rolls of 1, from any ship involved in the boarding action. These dice may only be re-rolled once regardless of the second result or the use of any cards.

Master of the Hunt: Once per game Dar’Vok may, instead of using his Blood Reaver ability, focus solely on the performance of a single ship nearby. The Ralgard player may, any time he activates a Squadron within Range Band 1 of the Fleet Admiral’s Vessel, re-roll ANY of the dice used in a Ram action involving ONE ship from that Squadron.

The Cost of Greatness:

It will cost nothing to field Blood Reaver Dar’Vok in any suitable game during the Cauldron of Silence campaign. However, in any other game, the Blood Reaver adds 30 points to the cost of whatever ship he is assigned to for MFV, Fleet Composition and Victory Point purposes.