"Most people of either education or experience believe there is only one thing standing between continued growth and utter anarchy in the Wildlands - Grayson’s Grey Rangers. "
"Part constable, part sheriff, part scout, and part soldier, a Ranger’s life is filled with adventure and danger. They enjoy a great deal of respect from those they serve, and intense animosity from those they oppose. "
In 2997, Lord General Jeremiah Grayson retired from his position as the leader of Galea’s 3rd Legion, also known as the North Guard. Rather than take the lands granted him by the crown for his service, he accepted the extraordinarily generous offer of Kaylus Garr, the Duke of Kythros, to become the new Baron of Homestead, in the heart of the Wildlands. The Duke hoped that such an august person as the General would instill fear in his enemies and increase the security of the region.
Grayson did not even reach his new home before tragedy changed both his life and the future of the Wildlands forever. Agents of the Dominion attacked his family’s caravan on the road, killing his wife and two youngest children among dozens of others. He and his eldest son, Robert, survived to avenge them, and they put together a private force comprised of mercenaries and men who had previously served the General to launch a raid deep into Dominion territory to strike back at the house that had organized the attack.
Rather than pack it in and return to Galea, as even his patron had expected, Grayson took up his post and settled in. However, instead of a more leisurely life of noble comfort and administration, he immediately began building a force of arms. He called for veterans who served under him before, but he also began recruiting those with experience in survival, woodcraft, scouting, and tracking. Any who signed on with him were required to undergo additional training to make them more comfortable with outdoor life and long-range patrols.
As well, Robert Grayson was tasked with traveling throughout the Southern Kingdoms in search of those with training and experience in dealing with criminals – sheriffs, constables, and magistrates who understood how to administer justice and bring order to developing communities.
News of Grayson’s “experiment” spread like wildfire, and soon others within the duchy of Kythros were providing support and resources in order to ensure they would benefit from his efforts. By the year 2999, Kythros was widely considered the most secure place within the Wildlands, and even those in the greater Southern Kingdoms were starting to hear about “Grayson’s Grey Rangers,” so named for the cloaks they wore to identify themselves.
When Kaylus died in late 3000, he named Jeremiah Grayson his successor. Even as the new Duke was moving into his home on the lake, a contingent of leaders and representatives from other Wildland communities came calling with a proposal. With an offer of regular support and funding, these various Wildlands communities wanted Grayson to expand his force and extend its range and duties to include many more people and lands.
The old general was somewhat stunned by the idea; it was winter, so he put up his collective guests for a time while he mulled over their proposal. This is where the story enters the realm of legend; according to multiple sources, Jeremiah Grayson was visited by Saiderin, the Wanderer (also known as the “Raven,” a near-mythical figure believed to have influenced heroes and great leaders throughout Shaintar’s history). It’s not certain what they spoke of that night, though some stories say that Grayson, in his last days, revealed that Saiderin brought word from Cyria Eridor, the High Mage of Galea, and that the two of them agreed wholeheartedly on the course he was planning.
Regardless of what actually happened that night, the next morning brought agreement from Grayson on the proposal. The rest of that winter was spent planning for and initiating the transformation of his personal army into a multinational force prepared to defend against enemies as well as find and prosecute criminals throughout the Wildlands. Word spread far and wide, and by that spring, even more countries and communities had signed what came to be known as the Kythros Charter, acknowledging the rights and authority of Grayson’s Grey Rangers to act as their defenders and their constables.
Spring also brought the first caravans from Eldara, the elven capital, full of supplies and money meant to support this new endeavor. Soon after, similar deliveries arrived from Olara, Galea, and the Freelands, as well as several dwarven clanhomes. The Southern Kingdoms were in full support of a force intended to bring stability to a region that so directly impacted all of them.
As spring began to shift into summer in 3001, the first long range patrols of Grayson’s Grey Rangers set out from their headquarters in Kythros, forever changing the destiny of the region.
The main source of support for the Rangers comes from regular tributes paid by signatories to the Kythros Charter. Though this is most often in the form of actual money, supplies of food, raw materials, manufactured goods, and even laborers and craftsmen are all acceptable contributions. In this way, Kythros can focus less on sustaining itself as a country and more on the business of defending and protecting the rest of the Wildlands.
As well, each community is required to send a portion of its able-bodied men and women for training and service. The larger ratio of those sent will undergo basic weapons and survival training for a few weeks, to be returned home to their lives prepared to act as militia when called. A chosen few will be taken on as full-fledged Rangers.
A significant amount of monetary and material support for the Rangers now comes from the Southern Kingdoms; each ruler sees this support as continuing insurance towards a more secure border with the Wildlands region. There is no specific charter governing this support, however, and during lean times this source of funding and resources can become fairly scarce.
There is one primary exception, however; the Kingdom of Galea and the Rangers have a very specific treaty in place, one that ensures a certain level of support in return for the Rangers keeping certain trade routes open as well as providing extensive training to Galean men and women sent to them. Seasoned troops are selected to come and serve with the Rangers for a year at a time, thus ensuring Galea of a steady source of effective woodland guerilla fighters and scouts.
Every community that relies on the Rangers for security tends to offer full hospitality to Rangers when they come through town. This includes room and board, as well as basic repair services. Rangers, however, are generally instructed to rely little on these offers, thus avoiding being too much a drain on local economies.
Kythros was long ago restructured as a military holding, its ruler abandoning the title of Duke in favor of being addressed as the Lord Commander; the current Lord Commander is Valinda Norwood Grayson, a direct descendent of “the Old General.” In the tradition of her family, she’s taken her maiden name as her last, preserving the line and its influence. The day-to-day business of running the region falls to the Lord Seneschal in direct service to the Commander. The current holder of that position is Lord Markus Reuter.
The Second-In-Command (usually referred to as “the Second”) is Lord Great Colonel Kesspar no Visstor, a Dregordian who has served the Rangers with distinction for many years. The same can be said for the dwarven Grand Sergeant Major, Kork Mindril. Though he is technically only ranking above all non-officers, it is generally accepted that he is the de facto “Third-In-Command;” he is often left in charge of Kythros when the Lord Commander and the Second must both be away.
The rank structure under them is as follows: Lord Colonel, Lord Major, Lord Captain, Lord Lieutenant, Sergeant Major, Sergeant Minor, Sergeant, Corporal, Ranger First Class, Ranger, and Ranger-Trainee.
All Rangers receive full Room and Board, within the limits of what the Rangers can provide, wherever they are garrisoned. When in the field, Rangers are expected to fend and forage for themselves, or else purchase what they need in whatever towns they stop over in. Many towns will offer partial or full hospitality, which the Ranger is permitted to accept. However, Rangers are expected to never take advantage of this, and they should never accept such hospitality where they perceive it will cause a burden to their hosts.
Upon completion of First Stage Training, all Rangers are issued: one Melee Weapon (typically a one-handed weapon, although special cases are considered), one Bow or Crossbow, one Quiver (for 20 arrows/bolts), one suit of Armor (up to Full Ring mail), one Horse with Full Tackle and Saddle (to be kept and maintained by them), one Large Backpack, one Light Bedroll, and 2 Sets of Ranger Clothing (boots, pants, shirts, reversible green/grey cloaks, etc.), complete with Ranger insignia stitched in (black crossed bow and sword on a grey circle). The Grey Ranger cloak, if worn with the mottled green side out, can provide a +1 to Stealth rolls in appropriate settings. Other gear may be assigned at the discretion of a commanding officer, either for specific missions or permanently.
* - At this rank, they receive a Silver Signet Ring with the Ranger Seal.
# - At this rank, they receive a Gold Signet Ring with the Ranger Seal.
Rangers normally serve 3-year contracts, although special cases are often made during wartime circumstances.
Oath, Code, and Cause
Upon joining the Rangers and passing initial training, a Ranger is expected to take the Oath, live by the Code, and never forget the Cause of the Rangers.
Oath of the Ranger
“I do hereby solemnly swear, in the sight of the Ascended, that I will uphold the Code and the Cause of the Rangers. I will take no action that would dishonor the Rangers, or bring unjust harm to those they protect and serve. I will follow all lawful and rightfully-given orders to the best of my ability, and I will never shirk my duty to my fellow Rangers, to the lands we serve, or to Life itself.”
The Code of the Rangers
Our First Mission is the protection of Innocents against those that would cause them harm, deprive them of that which is lawfully theirs, or infringe upon their natural rights as Living Beings.
We abide by the Laws and Policies of all Charter Sovereignties. We will respect the laws of all lands, save where those laws directly and egregiously violate our First Mission.
Our Second Mission is to strike against the Powers and Agents of Darkness and Flame. We will oppose them wherever they strike, and we will defend Shaintar against them wherever they may reside.
We will abide by the borders and sovereignty of any nation, state, province, or other political entity, save where such abidance directly and egregiously violates our First and Second Missions.
We will respect and adhere to the Chain of Command, and we will follow all orders given to the best of our ability. Only when the First or Second Missions are egregiously obstructed can we issue a Question of Authority, and we must be prepared to defend such a Question with our Lives.
The Cause of the Rangers
To provide protection and aid to those in need; to defend the good people of the land against enemies who would deprive them of Life, Possessions, and personal Freedom; and to uphold the Laws of the sovereign lands to which we are Chartered to defend and protect.