The Valley of the Dragons: The Warrior Tribe
by Glenn Seiler

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The Protectors of the Valley are modeled after the Fianna of Celtic myth. They are small in total number, and base themselves out of WestHold. They divide themselves into bands of 5-15, depending on strength. While they all share the same cause, they have no one leader; each band is independent. The leadership of the tribe is distributed between the bands, and the leaders of the bands coordinate their efforts by regular meetings at WestHold.

Organization

The Protectors of the Valley are not an actual tribe. In an effort to discourage tribals from leaving their tribe to join them, an unofficial smear campaign of sorts was started by the Elders of the Valley's tribes. They named them the Warrior Tribe, with the implication being that joining them would, in effect, be Banishing yourself from your former tribe and home. In their defense, the Elders were seeking to prevent a war from starting, and they didn't completely understand the purpose of the Protectors due to their secretive nature.
It is their belief that war has come to the valley, and it is time to take up arms (of metal) and fight back to defend it. While many in the valley consider them savage and bloodthirsty, in reality they have a complex code of honor and take no sick glee in the battles they must fight.

Code of Honor

The Protectors swear to defend the Valley from it's enemies, and also swear not to take vengeance on those who attack their families, but rather report those injustices to the Elders of the respective tribes, so that they can be sorted out in a lawful fashion.
Additionally, Their code of honor (similar to that of the Fianna), is a 15 point disadvantage and is as follows:
Be respectful of the Elders of the tribes, and be respectful of their land.
Do not abuse those who love you.
In battle, leave buffoons alone; they are just fools.
Do not criticize anyone of high repute; do not get involved in brawls; have nothing to do with madmen and wicked people.
Be gentle to children; do not be violent to the common people.
Do not boast; or say you will not yield what is right; it is shameful to boast if you cannot carry out your boasts.
Do not abandon those you are sworn to protect, for coins or any other reward.
Do not abuse a tribe in front of it's Elder.
Do not gossip or tell lies; do not talk too much or criticize others; do not stir up hostility against yourself, no matter how good a fighter you are.
Do not drink to excess, or make fun of old people; leave poor people in peace.
Be generous with your meat, and do not make friends with miserly people.
Do not force yourself upon Elders, or cause them to say bad things about you.
Keep hold of your gear; respect the tools of your trade.
Be more keen to give than to deny, and always be gentle.

Finally, the Protectors tend to be secretive (which has worked against them, unfortunately). This is to be sure that any information gathered during their mission doesn't get out, and hence back to their enemies.

Joining the Protectors

Theoretically, anybody can join the Protectors of the Valley. It doesn't discriminate based on age, sex, or tribe of origin. There are a few changelings, but there are notably no self-called "First Bloods". It does, however, have a number of standards for joining.

First, the "initiate" (prospective member) must be reasonably intelligent. Some display of that must be shown a band leader (by a successful skill check). A variety of mental skills is helpful, though not necessary. If none apply, a general IQ test will suffice (but may affect the final judgment negatively).

Second, the ability to defend oneself is tested. The initiate may choose a weapon (though one that you can parry with is recommended), and is attacked by a tribesman. They may not fight back, and doing so immediately excludes one from progressing further. They must successfully defend themselves at least two out of three times.

Third, one's combat prowess is tested. Again, the initiate may choose a weapon (or no weapon at all, if desired) and must successfully land one blow on a tribesman, and once again three chances are given. Striking a killing blow is considered extremely bad luck, though it does not necessarily exclude you from joining.

Finally, a physical feat must be performed (initiate's choice).

After the initiate goes through the testing process, a final evaluation is made. If the initiate passes, he takes the vows of the Protectors (as noted above in the "Code of Honor"), and is considered a full member. Initiates who do extraordinarily well may be considered to lead a band immediately upon acceptance.

Inter-Tribe Relations

The Protectors are generally not looked upon favorable by the tribes of the valley. It is a society that has been at peace for hundreds of years, and the existence of a "Warrior Tribe" (as they are known) embodies an end to that. However, the Protectors try their best to maintain good relations with their neighbors, despite their bad reputation. They don't aggressively recruit, rather they wait for prospective members to come to them (which is why they are so small in number currently).

Life in the Bands

Any tribal who joins the Protectors can expect to do a lot of traveling. While their base of operations is in WestHold, it certainly isn't their home. They use WestHold as a meeting place only, and the individual bands go where they are needed throughout the Valley. A band is expected to be self-sufficient, providing it's own equipment and supplies (though the bands certainly trade amongst themselves). Bands rarely have contact with one another outside of the monthly meetings (under the full moon). It is somewhat of a lonely life, so the bands become very tight-knit, and a family to one another. As of now, bands stay together for life, though that may change if their numbers grow.

Current Battles

Right now the main concerns of the Protectors are the Fomori and the Graalites. They are taking up a very active fight against the Fomori, but they are being very careful with their dealings with the Graalites. There is rumored to be a band of Warriors that have infiltrated the religious fanatics, but no one will come forward and admit to it.

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