School of Rangers
|School of Rangers|
The Ranger’s Order is a fragmented organization of warriors, hunters, scouts, watchers, and occasionally monster and bounty hunters for hire. Rangers were first noted in the earliest records of Altalar history, serving as a highly regimented taskforce in service to the Allorn Crown, but they would fragment and splinter over the centuries following the Cataclysm, reshaping the strictly honorable “Elven Rangers” into several broken off schools dedicated to training expert warriors to combat the most potent threats of both the Void and man. Today, Rangers lack any recognized chain of command or leadership, but maintain a loose code that values a lack of cruelty, fighting the unnatural forces of the void, and the freedom of goodly folk.
The Rangers Order finds their origins in the murky past of the Altalar; at some point during The Awakening, Empress Talea Sunvidal was known to employ a small regiment of Altalar Rangers to assist in the conflicts with the Asha. One Ranger in her employ, Elue Dualorn, commanded the Order as the “Eldest Servant”, translated today in Ranger hierarchy as an “Old Ranger”. Following the death of Telea Sunvidal, a short succession of other Empresses would command the Altalar Rangers, who always remained strictly loyal to the Crown of the World and thus the Empress alone. The Floundering would see the first splintering of Ranger Schools, breaking off from the Altalar Rangers to form their own Schools, independent of the Allorn Crown; the most significant of these was established by the Cult of Ciellonia. Altalar in service to the Cult would be trained in herblore, fighting in woodland areas, and bridging the gap between humans and elven peoples. Later worship would also include that of Tal’Sieth. Rangers in these early days would combat outsiders or brutish attackers and pray with the Cult of Ciellonia, seeing themselves as becoming stronger with each kill under Tal’Sieth’s brutish, Ailor eyes. Ultimately, the Altalar Rangers were some of the first casualties of the Cataclysm, almost the entirety of their Order being wiped out, before spreading out over the centuries that followed to the Regalian Archipelago, Ellador, and various other sites throughout Aloria.
Today, The Order of Rangers is no longer one specific School, but a varied collection of Schools spread throughout Aloria. Three of these Schools are the most well known, each have their own individual styles, skills, and training. The First School is that of the School of Allorn, the Altalar Rangers, who were nearly wiped out during the Cataclysm but restored to power in the centuries that followed; the Second is that of the School of Regalian Rangers, situated in Anglia; and the Third and most recent School is that of the School of Bounty Hunters, a less formal school based in Kinwrey.
School of Altalar Rangers
The School of Altalar Rangers is the original, but least widespread of the three Schools under the larger Ranger Order. It was founded shortly after Teala Sunvidel’s formation of the Allorn Empire, and is presently situated in Sunvidel Keep, along Sälarna’s Shield in the Successor Principality of Hyärra. The School was recently decimated by the Dread War but is slowly rebuilding in the wake of the conflict. Altalar Rangers, despite the name, include some Nelfin from various subraces as well as a few Ailor who have become trusted by the older Rangers in the School. Altalar Rangers are easily recognizable by their dark green cloaks, usually accompanied by a longbow over their back. They strike the image of the classical elven ranger, making use of light leather armor, with older Rangers being known to carry exquisite Nightsilver chainmail armor. Both the First and Second Trials are required to Graduate.
|Entry Requirements||Altalar, Cielothar, Isldar, and rarely Ailor.|
|School Location||Sälarna’s Shield|
|School Proficiency||Light Bow Combat Skill, Fast Blade Combat Skill, Natura Care Sciences, Anima Care Sciences|
School of Regalian Rangers
The School of Regalian Rangers is an academy based out of Wolf Keep, an ancient fortress sitting just outside the Beesterwald forest in the North of Anglia. The origin of the School came in the direct aftermath of the Five Family Rebellion, with members of Houses Cadar and Kade moving to the Keep to train, accompanied by a small band of disgraced Altalar Rangers. Initially, the School was to be dedicated to the service of both noble houses, but within a decade much of the Kade and Cadar founders had left the school to help their families in wider political affairs, leaving behind a mix of Ailor warriors and Altalar rogues that bred to form their current identity; a primarily Ailor regiment of frontline fighters, skilled in bladecraft and agility based fighting. Two-handed swords, bastard swords, and longswords are common among the school, with many Rangers keeping at least two to three weapons on their person at any given time. Within Wolf Keep, the most populated and united Rangers in Aloria exist today, with a council of five Old Rangers supplying training and wisdom to the lesser ranks, sending out their ranks to train others abroad, and ultimately bring them back to Wolf Keep. The First Trial is required to graduate.
|Entry Requirements||Any Race|
|School Location||Regalian Archipelago|
|School Proficiency||Blades Combat Skill, Command Tactic Skill, Stealth Rogue Skill, Athletic Training|
School of Bounty Hunters
The School of Bounty Hunters is a relatively recent addition to the Order of Rangers, with the Fort Phaden in Kinwrey being built just after the destruction of Silveredge. Initially a more loose Order with membership across Old Ceardia, the School formalized their training and moved their headquarters and School to the city of Kinwrey. It is unusual for a Ranger School to be so close to, let alone within, a city of considerable size, but this is because the Bounty Hunters do the majority of their training “on the job” and abroad, being paired with a more experienced Rangers skilled in Bounty Hunting to travel from city to city, collecting coin and successful bounties as they go. These pairs return to Kinwrey for a few months each year, during the roughly five-year training process required, bringing with them a cut of their profits to the city government. Bounty Hunters are known to be more ruthless and efficient in combating the forces of the void and evil folk, and insist upon proper payment for their services, while also spending considerable amounts of coin to ensure their own folk are equipped as well as they can be. As such, Bounty Hunters are often seen in more expertly crafted armor. Bows are the more common weapons used by this School, as well as an emphasis on Cavalry Combat when travelling abroad, and Hunting when closer to their School’s headquarters. The School of Bounty Hunters does not typically require any of the Trials to be completed by any of its applicants.
|Entry Requirements||Muscular-capable Races only|
|School Location||Headquarters in Kinwrey, Gallovia, Various.|
|School Proficiency||Heavy Bow Combat Skill, Hunting Art, Cavalry Combat Skill|
Code of Freedom
The Code of Freedom is unlike the Knightly Codes, as the language has been misinterpreted repeatedly since the first version in the Allorn Empire. Small variations in how to perceive the concepts of nature, freedom, politics, and otherwise exist in all Ranger schools, and as such, these are the only parts of the Code that seem to be represented in each School.
Code of Freedom
- Freedom is to be defended and kept among all goodly folk. To face certain death is a failure of adequate preparation. Rangers must always prepare ahead of time to meet enemies of humanity and goodly folk and isolate their weaknesses accordingly. Rangers must remain strong and well off to protect others, and use their skills in exchange for coin or service, ‘lest they be in danger of entering complete servitude. A Ranger never serves any one entity with blind faith; no force in this world can be trusted forever, and no political allegiance can guide one's blade forever. Join Humanity in Freedom, or die in Chains.
The Hierarchy of each Ranger School is based upon which trials the individual has completed, with one rank existing outside this structure, that of the “Old Ranger”. Each School has a learning period of roughly 3 years, but most of them hold some version of what is known as “The Trials” to mark the end of their training. These are a series of three grueling trials that test the physical, emotional, and spiritual strength of a Ranger before their graduation, though only two are commonly practiced today. They can only be undertaken, at most, once for every year of a Ranger’s life due to the severe strain it puts on the body and mind, and each Trial passed grants the Ranger additional power and capabilities, but at a steep personal cost.
The Old Ranger(s)
The Old Rangers are those who have been operating after graduation for 20 or more years. Given the dangerous and high-demand lifestyle of Rangers, Old Rangers are a rarity among their ranks. Most who reach that level of experience tend to retire to a Keep to train younger Rangers, but wandering Old Rangers are a danger unlike any other, for they know what it means to survive despite all odds.
Ranger (Third Trial)
No Ranger has successfully completed the Third Trial, because the results have not proved successful in centuries. In old records of the Altalar Rangers, it is noted that a Third Trial existed that allowed for the injection of various substances and herbs into the applicant, to give them unique resistances and abilities beyond the power of any human. Experimentation on the Third Trial is strictly disallowed in most Ranger Schools, but rumors persist of individuals trying to perfect the operation at the cost of aging Ranger’s lives.
Ranger (Second Trial)
Rangers who have completed the Second Trial have passed the First Trial, and almost always have completed their three years of training. The Second Trial involves the Ranger travelling to a foreign land far away from their School. They are blindfolded during the last day of their journey and are left in the Wilderness alone, armed with only a small knife and half a day’s rations. Should they survive and find their way back to a town, and then to the School, which often means crossing a Continent, the Ranger is considered fit to survive in most conditions, and resourceful enough to live anywhere in the world.
Ranger (First Trial)
Rangers who have completed the First Trial have begun their training and have been initiated into the ranks of a School. Over the course of a week, the applicant is kept in near-constant motion, training with weights, sparring, hiking, reaction-training, and running all day every day until they reach the point of exhaustion. Their physical limits are pushed to their absolute zenith on each day until their will becomes nearly unbreakable and their reflexes are refined to a razor edge. Their diet consists only of rations and herbs that can be commonly found in the wild. An untrained individual can die from just this first trial, but the survival rate is roughly 90%, as most who begin this first Trial have at least a year of training under their belt. A Ranger can join the Order from a different School, so long as they pass this first trial.
- Altalar Rangers are also called “Elven Rangers”, or “Nelfin Rangers”. Most Rangers of the Nelfin races that are not Altalar will prefer to be called by their subrace’s name. Regalian Rangers have no such distinctions.
- In Wolf Keep, there is rumored to be a Dragon Temple situated within the imposing but ancient fortress. The truth of this is not widely known, but the Rangers therein often travel abroad to watch over and defend various holy sites across Anglia.
- There is rumored to be a secretive laboratory found within a Seraph ruin that houses the secrets to the Third Trial. Many have searched for the location of this laboratory, but none have ever succeeded. Scholars debate whether the ruin is more likely to be near the Allorn Empire’s old lands, or if it is to be found in Anglia, while others insist the ruin is actually in Ellador; none have proved conclusive.