Monday, 25 March 2013

Elves of Redwald: Wuduheald (Woodgaurd)

Wuduheald (Woodgaurd)

Although not as famous, or as feared, as their archer kin the Ælfcynn Wuduheald are fearsome enough in their own right. Especially to those who have witnessed their speed and prowess in combat and the, literally, gut wrenching damage their primitive Gáe Bulg spears are capable of.

It is very rare for any Ælfcynn to be encountered outside of their woodland homes, but if they are they’re likely to be a small group of elder (7HD) Wuduheald on a mission whose reasoning is beyond the ken of mortal men.

It is much more likely they’ll be encountered in their main role as defenders of their tribe’s territory and the forest in general.

Although vicious and savage in combat the Ælfcynn do not mindlessly lust after the blood of strangers. They believe in the divinity of tree spirits, the sacral purity of the forests, and the inviolate laws that none but kin shall enter their territory without permission.

No Ælfcynn could ever accidentally wander into another tribe’s territory. For them the markings that designate a tribe’s borders are clear. An Ælfcynn without hostile intent will simply wait at the border until contacted. 

Unfortunately men often miss these tribal markings, and need a less subtle warning. This warning is normally in the form of a young(3HD) Wuduheald emerging from the forestry, as if from another world,  spitting at the interlopers feet, and disappearing again before they can act. Vague as it is the Ælfcynn consider this a clear enough warning.

Anyone, man, Ælfcynn or otherwise who enters an Ælfcynn tribe’s territory without permission will be attacked, and pursued without mercy until they either leave, are destroyed or every Ælfcynn is slain. They themselves cannot flee as their territory contains their spirit trees.

The first anyone will know they are under attack from Ælfcynn is when the younger (3HD) Wuduheald start ambushing them. These first attacks will come from a series of lone Wuduheald who will strike then disappear into the forestry again if they can. If this does not deter the enemy the attacks will come in twos and threes, and become more sustained.

Anyone who survives this gauntlet will next find themselves surrounded by a combined force of veteran (5HD) Wuduheald and Ælfcynn Scytta (archers). Finally all surviving Ælfcynn will fall back to the sacred glade of their spirit trees to make a final stand with their Gealdor Sangere (spell singers) and the elder (7HD) Wuduheald.

Wuduheald: AC: 3 [16] HD: 3/5/7; Attacks: 3 Gáe Bulg (1d6+1/1d6+2) or Heort Seax (1d3); Special: Forest Fast, Sly Speed, Truestrike, Gut Rippers; Saving Throw: 11; Move: 12; HIDE/XP: 3/5/7/600/800/1000.
Gear: Heort Seax, Gáe Bulg, Déorhýd

All Ælfcynn are fast and silent when moving in wooded terrain and gain 2 to move and +1 to surprise and initiative. The Wuduheald although melee fighters, move and attack as skirmishers in the combat sequence, often taking unsuspecting foes by surprise with their sly speed.

If they win the initiative the Wuduheald delivers a blow so fast and accurate that it bypasses any armour their foe is wearing and they attack as if the enemy were AC 9 [10].

A successful hit with the fearsome Gáe Bulg means the victim’s gut has been impaled. If they survive the damage dealt by that (1d6+1) they may fight on, but cannot disengage. With their next attack the Wuduheald rips the weapon out. An attack that requires no to-hit roll (1d6+2). This may only be done once per foe, after all you can’t have your guts ripped out more than once.