Chainmail- The Sundered Empire
On a high plateau in the blasted lands of the south, twenty-nine hobgoblin warlords answered mighty Drazen’s call for a parley to discuss confederation. They brought their bodyguards, their shamans, and enough of their warriors to feel secure. The first night they pounded each other’s chests in greeting, drank, and diced. On the second night, an hour before the treaty talk, life changed.
The falling star flamed out of the darkness and blew the Snakehold Tribe’s encampment into sparks and dust.
A good place for a star to fall, thought Drazen, looking at the smoking crater where his chief rival’s tent had been. Too good for luck, they’ll think. He was right. Snakehold survivors, scattered among the milling warriors of the thirty tribes, yelled that Drazen was to blame, that he had called them to this spot to betray them all.
Drazen kept his sword sheathed and stepped forward to answer. Then he saw what was at the bottom of the pit: an axe, a giant bloody axe, humming with so much power that he could taste it from the crater’s edge. “With this axe, I will be unstoppable,” said Drazen, shocking himself by speaking his thought aloud.
The other warlords spotted the axe moments later. Crying in voices ripped by bloodlust and desire, they threw themselves down the crater walls. They flailed at each other with their swords and screamed as they stumbled into still-molten rock. Drazen drew his sword and chose his route. “Mordek,” he hissed to his finest shaman, “ward me. Fire. All you have. Then get away from here.” Mordek cast the spell and scrambled away. Drazen sprinted around the crater along the path he had marked, veering right at the last moment to throw himself into a knot of adepts casting spells indiscriminately at the warlords fighting below.
The first adept saw death in Drazen’s sword and blasted him with fire. The fire rolled off Drazen’s ward. The adept’s head rolled into darkness. The warlord spoke. “The axe is mine. Follow me down and fight for me, and you will serve me as champions. Fight against me and die now.”
One by one the adepts pounded their foreheads in assent. They followed Drazen as he cut through the melee, charging and tumbling over the molten rock that boiled other warlords’ flesh inside their armor. Drazen took hold of the axe. His roar shook the plateau. He spoke no words, but all understood: “You are MINE!”
Drazen’s gifts of strength, tactical insight, and force of personality have been supercharged by the power of Stratis’s axe. Other hobgoblin warlords measure success by how many orcs, ogres, and savage beasts they can kill. Drazen has overpowered these chaotic rivals of the hobgoblin peoples and forged the whole alliance into a mighty kingdom. Out of the grim lands of the south, across the Blazing Desert, they cut into the soft belly of the Sundered Empire like an axe swung by ten thousand thousand hands.
Homebrew Options for Chainmail: A Decade Into The War
Drazen has made some serious gains in the past decade. The entirety of the Southlands is his. Regular skirmishes with Naresh have culled the weak from his forces. Clashes with Ravilla and Thalos have created a no-man’s-land that doubles as an unofficial buffer state between the three warring powers. However, all is not well- the buffer state of New Govis extends into his territory, and human zealots are defending their new home with the assistance of keen-eyed elven snipers. Drazen himself was also concerned over Jangir’s “ascension”- could the Nomog-Gaeya have a similar fate in store for him? Growing paranoid, Drazen puts boges loyal to him in positions of power far from the front lines and employs goblin assassins to bring him the heads of treacherous ones.