"Beat us, burn us, brand us: you only make the Herd stronger."

— Last words of Gnak, Prophet of the Beasts

The Beast Herds are a faction within the 9th Age.

The faction mainly consists of so called Beast-men or Beasts, also know as Splitfoots or Horned Ones. These come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. The beasts can be found on almost every continent in the world and are often a thorn in the side of civilized nations.

History[edit | edit source]

Early history[edit | edit source]

Little is know of the origins of the Beast Herds, it is said to be lost in the Ages of Ruin. The Church of Sunna supposedly claims that they are daemon-spawn, but that is a debated claim. Some say that they are a people that have shaped themselves using their own will and magic, but also a result of their environment. [1]

The earliest known historical mention of the Beast Herds is during the Third Age of the World Hymn, in which they are depicted as rising up in great numbers to combat the dwarves. The armies of men and elves are described as leaving the dwarves to battle the herd alone, catalysing hostility and distrust between these races. [2]

In the Fourth Age, the beasts are shown combating the Avrasi Empire, who are said to have allied with the dwarves. [3]

Taken from the tapestry imagery of the Eighth Age in the World Hymn. Presumably it depicts the forces of the Dark Gods, among them are Beast Herds.

During the Sixth Age, the traditionally more civilised races had retreated to the point where their various aggressors were brought into conflict. The Beast Herds are described as defeating the orcish hordes, only to themselves fall to the Vermin Swarm. [4]

The final appearance of the Beasts in the World Hymn is during the Eighth Age, where they are shown amongst the forces of the Dark Gods. [5]

The Scourge of Vetia[edit | edit source]

"Go ahead, run. The joy is in the chase."

— Attributed to Bragh the Black Bull, scourge of Vetia

Before the coming of Sunna in the Eighth Age, the humans are said to have been under pressure from the Beast Herds, barbarians and others. Bragh, the Black Bull, emerged from the Beast Herds to lead these forces, and set upon a westward rampage. This brought them to the Kingdom of Askar. [6]

The Askar come close to defeat at the Battle of Gewache River, with many falling to Bragh until coming face to face with their king, Warin. Bragh defeats Warin in combat, but before he can deliver the final blow, the duel is intercepted by and Askar maiden warrior. As the dawn breaks, she delivers an attack while Bragh is blinded by the sunlight reflected in her breatplate. With three blows, Bragh is said to have been defeated, leaving the remaining beasts to rout and flee the field, many are said to have perished. Later, the warrior is claimed to be the goddess Sunna made flesh. [6]

It is not clear whether Bragh and his herd were in the service of the Dark Gods during this battle, though it is plausible given the timing of the conflict. It is also possible that the encroachment of daemons and the Dark God's worshippers had forced Bragh to abandon his normal territory and forge west into human lands. Looking at the tapestry imagery of the Eighth Age in the World Hymn, the beast-man featured has an eighth pointed star in his face, a symbol of the Dark Gods. This further suggests that Bragh too might have been connected to them.

Geography[edit | edit source]

"It is said that wherever a human explorer goes in this world, a beast has been already."

— Unattributed quote [7]

The Beasts Herds are believe to be found almost everywhere in the world [8]. In Vetia they can be found in the wilderness of the greater nations, despite several attempts to root them out. Large herds are also rumoured to gather in the boglands in eastern Vetia. There are also claims of titanic herds that roam the uncharted parts of Taphria and Silexia. [7]

It is said that all across the world the Beast Herds are also found in the woods. This often causes a great deal of enmity with the Sylvan Elves. [9]

Species[edit | edit source]

Main Article: Beast-men

The Beast Herds faction consists of a various mix of so called beast-men. Many, if not all, are supposedly in a way part of the same species. This comes as a result of a sort of forced mutation and evolution where the soothsayers use magic on the fetus while still in the womb. Generation by generation they are able to change the beast-men, creating even their largest horrors. The beast-men can be able to learn human languages through this method, or grow extra limbs or even wings. [10]

Culture[edit | edit source]

Shamanistic rituals form the basis of much of the Beast Herd's culture, where their soothsayers are among the most respected individuals of a herd [9]. There are also theories that the culture of the Beast Herds is based on ancestral belief rather than belief in gods. It is said that they they believe the spirit of an individual lives on for as long as the individual is remembered among the living. This theory is argued on the basis that storytellers among the beasts supposedly command a great deal of respect, rivalling that of the chiefs and soothsayers. [7]

A beast-man wildhorn, wearing a belt bearing the symbol of the eight pointed star, common among followers of the Dark Gods

Another observation about their culture is that they seem to hold a great deal of respect for statues; their own as well as those of others. There are stories told of how the beast herds have ransacked building and towns, but left the statues untouched, sometimes even leaving flowers and wreaths. Another story claims there are beasts who cared for looted Aradai statues for generations, and demanded statues of themselves made to the same quality in exchange for returning them [11]. If true this supports the theory that their belief structure is ancestral in nature. [7]

The beast herds are also said to hold not only their heroes of war in high regards, but also those of significant artistic skill or wisdom. There are claims that knowledge of such heroes can save ones life if ever found in captivity among the beasts. [7]

Herds[edit | edit source]

It is proposed that Beast Herd society is divided into two types of herds, warherds [8] and hidden herds [12]. The warherds act as the military arm of herd society, are autocratic and often lead by chieftains. Challenges regarding the rightful leader of these herds are common and sometimes lead to death [8]. The worth of a leader is measured in not only their martial prowess [9], but also through the stories they've accumulated [8].

The hidden herds are the heart of herd society, and consist of "herd mothers" and their young, soothsayers and monstrous beasts. It is said that the warherds hold the hidden herds as sacred, and if one is attacked nearby warherds will take action to defend it. [12]

Politics[edit | edit source]

A common misconception about the Beast Herds is that they mainly serve as lackeys to the Dark Gods and Father Chaos. This belief is founded in that they have been used by these entities as pawns in their greater game. The greatest similarity they share with the followers of the Dark Gods is that they often plague the civilized nations of the world. [9]

The Beast Herds likely do not have a greater game of their own. As a tribal people, each tribe has its own agendas and concerns. [8]

On occasions the Beast Herds are used as mercenaries by other factions, being both cheap and deniable. In many cultures though it comes with a risk to ones reputations though to hire beasts, and it is known that they can be a double edged sword once released.[7]

Magic Use[edit | edit source]

The magic users of the Beast Herds are known as Soothsayers. These are held in great esteem in their society [7] [9], some even believe the Soothsayers to be the true leaders of the herds [13].

In war the Soothsayers use magic from the paths of Druidism, Shamanism, and Evocation. The former use the forces of the Mortal Realm to the users advantage, and the two latter are focuses on the manipulation of souls [14].

The Soothsayers are also said to mutate or evolve the beast-men species. Supposedly they use magic to tamper with fetuses while they are still in the womb. Generation by generation they are able to change the bests and create new kind. [10]

Totems[edit | edit source]

The Beast Herds also employ magic in the form of totems. These are fuelled by the beliefs of the herd, which the Soothsayers are able to tap into and tie to groups of beast-men. The totems are used to gain advantages in the hunt – allowing the herd to move more swiftly and to create ambushes. [15]

Units[edit | edit source]

A Beast Herd comes to battle with a wide array of different creatures, comprised of the following:

Characters[edit | edit source]

Beast Lord

  • Beast Chieftain
  • Soothsayer
  • Minotaur Warlord
  • Minotaur Chieftain
  • Centaur Chieftain

Mounts[edit | edit source]

  • Raiding Chariot
  • Razortusk Chariot

Core[edit | edit source]

  • Wildhorn Herd
  • Mongrel Herd
  • Mongrel Raiders

Special[edit | edit source]

  • Feral Hounds
  • Longhorn Herd
  • Minotaurs
  • Centaurs
  • Raiding Chariot
  • Razortusk Herd
  • Razortusk Chariot
  • Briar Beast
  • Gargoyles

Terrors of the Wild[edit | edit source]

  • Cyclops
  • Gortach
  • Jabberwock
  • Beast Giant

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Interview with Sigmund Selig, the Great Sage (The 9th Scroll, Issue 3, p13)
  2. The World Hymn: The 3rd Age (T9A:FB Rulebook, v1.3.5, p127)
  3. The World Hymn: The 4th Age (T9A:FB Rulebook, v1.3.5, p128)
  4. The World Hymn: The 6th Age (T9A:FB Rulebook, v1.3.5, p129)
  5. The World Hymn: The 8th Age (T9A:FB Rulebook, v1.3.5, p130)
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Book of Askar: chapter 1, Sunna Cycle (T9A:FB Rulebook, v1.3.5, p3) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":3" defined multiple times with different content
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Informative text on the Beast Herds (The 9th Scroll, issue #9)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Interview with Sigmund Selig, the Great Sage (The 9th Scroll issue #5)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Jorge Zamoran; An account of the peoples, nations and monsters which inhabit the world: Beast Herds (T9A:FB Rulebook, v1.3.5, p143)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Thomas the Bard; speaking before Duke Regnaut of Aven (The 9th Scroll, issue #9)
  11. Translation of elven documents found in the ambassador’s quarters in Avras (The 9th Scroll, issue #9)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Thane Parigrimm; Letter to Count Verislak (The 9th Scroll, issue #9)
  13. Account by Carl the Younger, Ex-Mercenary Captain (T9A:FB Paths of Magic, v1.3.1, p24)
  14. Collected teachings of Simoni Kasradze, Tutor to Princess Josefa (T9A:FB Paths of Magic, v1.3.1, p3)
  15. On races and their magic (The 9th Scroll, issue #5)
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