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The Four Horsemen (Now with more mercenaries!)


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So, between my kick-the-kitten session and milking children's tears for my margarita, I had a weird idea. Basically, it would be... well, four horsemen, a mercenary commando team specializing in infiltration, espionage, sabotage, and assassination. The premise behind the name Four Horsemen is that one of the original four would have found a fragment of a fragment of an ancient legend referring to our Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and decided that s/he liked the name (I am not gender-specific on this one). Each of the four would be assigned a title, basically as follows:


War- The muscle of the group. Generally around for the heavy lifting and, in the event of things going pear-shaped, mayhem of a violent and bloody nature.

Famine- A saboteur. Specializes in finding weak points in an opponent, be it supply, a small grate in a massive shield wall, or any of the other 1001 little details that make a city/army fall apart.

Pestilence- Infiltration and espionage expert. Good people skills and incredibly charismatic, able to map out floor plans and find potential allies/scapegoats.

Death- Assassin. Athletic with unrivaled knowledge of stealth, as well as poisons, traps, and the good, old-fashioned "stab them until it stops being funny."


These four would not necessarily be good guys or bad guys, but a neutral group available to anybody who can afford them. And they don't come cheap, if they can be found at all. They would be treated as a rumor, and any channel to contact them would involve finding the right people (a very small number) who know the right people (an even smaller number) who can put them in touch with the right people (maybe five)... you get the picture.


So... thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Scoffing?

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I actually think that's quite an interesting idea Quibby. I can think of a few problems that could hinder it, but they could be easily fixed. With the titles of the characters, would you be calling them War, etc. Or would you be willing to go by other names, as to fit in better to the PSW? And with the skill level that they would be expected to have, would require a lot of retro RPs, so what if the four was originally just 4 companions that built up their skills? Another thing (I'm bored, and have thought quite a bit about this :tongue: ) Would you call them The Four Horsemen, or something else? I don't see an issue with the name, I'm just poking for more information from your mind on it :P

Edited by Arlow
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*shrugs* I figured that the names and such could actually be explained away by some of the things that are implied in the books themselves. Things like Anla the wise councilor or Lenn (the person who went to the moon in the belly of a fiery eagle). Thom refers to these as old legends, from the age before the Age of Legends. These two items have been linked to Ann Landers and John Glenn, respectively, so it's been (arguably, I don't know if there's any actual Word of God on this) established that some things from our time (or this Age, if you will) have made it to the world of the Wheel. I do know that the two worlds are the same, though, ergo the idea that it could be linked.


I have no characters in mind for this, really, aside from possibly having Mehrin as War. The idea would have to be retro RP, as the world's going to end soon. Either that, or people who already have the required skill set could volunteer for the roles, but I doubt that would work. :tongue:


Like I said, this is just brainstorming, so nothing is set in stone. (Except the names. I really like the names. Besides, it could be reversed in that the 3rd Age's Four Horsemen are the Four Horsemen of the tales and legends of our Age.)*



*This statement is not necessarily true, but is pretty damn adamant.:biggrin:

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I'm having difficulties wrapping my head around this in a WOT setting, to be honest.

People using titles like that (in the WOT world) seems very odd to me.


what would be your plan for this group? how would they operate in the WOT world as it is? How do they fit in with the main storyline, if they do at all? Is this a rogue/mercenary group that would recruit others to join them?


It does feel very A-team like, the only one missing is Hannibal in that group.

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I picture them as the ones that get called when somebody really somebody else to have a bad day. They would serve more like tools than actual mercenaries. Think 'scalpel' compared to 'ICBM'. It would mostly be a group of characters that came together for major plot-shifting events. To use a retro example, maybe they were paid by the White Tower to retrieve certain rare books from the library at Cairhien in fear that they would be destroyed by the invading Aiel (wouldn't happen due to the Aiel's respect of books, but the Tower may not know that). Or, perhaps, an agent of the Shadow wanted a certain field commander killed before they began their assault on Malkier. (That one's going back waaaaaaaaay before anything remotely possible for this.) This isn't the group to hire to defend a small town from the local biker gang or to drive your watermelons to market. This is the group that you hire when you want serious results. They change small things to affect big events.


In the time between contracts, they would probably lead somewhat ordinary lives, while taking the occasional contract on the side to keep sharp and make a little extra.


The reason for the nicknames is for anonymity. The concept is the group is such a deep-cover team that they never appear together except for planning, and if meetings with a potential employer occur, they only meet one member, who is in disguise and keeping to the shadows to hide any distinguishing features.


The team would always consist of (X number) of operatives. Again, this is not the military storming in and tearing everything apart. In theory, War would not even need to be a high WS character. Just as long as he's as capable as a soldier, he should be fine. For the rest, Pestilence just needs to know how to talk, Famine needs to know how to set a fire in the right place or cut a support just so, and Death needs to know how to hide and stab people when they're not looking. (Still operating on the concept of 4 people. Nicknames used for brevity's sake.)


Quick explanation: this is not a proposal. This is a 'weird idea, is it feasible enough to actually sit down and work out the details?' thread. If so, then cool, sounds like fun, I like the detail stuff, they need a pilot. If not, oh well. I fantasize about what could have been and eventually come up with some other, possibly stranger idea.

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I love it Quibby! Dont let arlow and mystica ruffle your feathers!



*steals cookies from mystica* *glares at arlow, who already ate all his cookies*





all i want to know is like what is your goal with the group? where do you want to take the rp after retro rps are finished?







looks like fades or the hooded guys from lord of the rings(forgot)myrddraal.gif

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At the risk of being labeled rigid, I'm still apprehensive about it Q. The problem I have with this is that it has all the elements of potential godmodding and I hate that with a passion. I've been spending the last three years trying to clean up egotripping crap in the FL from the past and it's a sucky job, believe me. On top of it, the whole thing balances on the edge of realism with a constant risk of tipping over to the wrong side. Also something I am very wary off and have spent a lot of time fixing unrealistic stuff from the past.



I'm fine with you creating a mercenary gang, but it has to be realistic within the WOT PSW setting. It has to be something people can recognise as a WOT setting and fit in with the main timeline. Even if the characters are never used in the main storyline (which Mehrin was, with his history) they still operate in that same timeline or exist in that same timeline. So retro's back to Malkieri for anyone other than channelers is simply unrealistic.


Already I see some unrealistic elements in your setup/plan. For one thing, Aes Sedai would never agree to meet with someone that doesn't identify itself or that they can't see. They simply wouldn't. Nor would any Borderlander, as the number one rule in the Bordelands is 'you don't hide your face'. So the whole keeping to the shadows thing is simply not an option when dealing with those.


Also, the whole thing feels like these four would be mightier than anything else. Their reputation, as you describe it, sounds like they would be so high above everyone else that even the Dragon Reborn wouldn't be able to touch their feet. Now, them 'thinking' that they are is one thing. Everyone else thinking that they are, is another. As said, I have no problem with superiority complexes in characters as a character flaw. So long as that isn't the actual case. In the books too, some characters think extremely highly of themselves, but are proven wrong on more than one occassion and usually end up being thought a lesson quite severely that brings them down several notches. Having read Mehrin's history, it seems unlikely that one with such long experience would adopt such a superiority complex. His history is full of well balanced failures and successes and his personality reads as one that doesn't think he's all that, despite his obvious skills. I loved that balance and would hate to see it go to waste. It makes people identify with the character, makes them struggle with 'do I like him or not?' questions. And how is this going to tie in with his search for his daughter?




So, I'm ok with the idea of a mercenary gang of high status, with a fierce reputation and one that is limited to 4 key members is fine by me. But make it more WOT-real and less supermanlike. Make sure the characters fit in with their history and the main storyline and the RP's respect the main storyline as well. Godmodding is out of the question. Period. So they will not always succeed, no matter how good they are. And find other names for them, that whole 'remnants of remnants of remnants of ancient prophecies of our world' thing is really out there. That sounds like a good idea for Revolutions, but this is PSW. You can still use the concepts that you linked to each of the 4 horsemen, but put them in a different cloak. I don't want people to start to think 'oh, that is allowed? Well then we can bring in characters from Star Wars too! Because they found a remnant of a tv-script and mistook it for prophecy.' Before you know it, we'd be having discussions up the wazoo about these types of things.

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The Cairhien and Malkier examples were not meant to be actual history, but more the idea of the size of the contracts that the group would tackle. I didn't mean for that to sound as if it was canon. Also, the idea of Mehrin as one of the four was more a passing thing as I was fleshing out the idea. Didn't mean to imply that he was going to be one of 'em. My bad.


From there, I'm going to go ahead and declare the idea dead. It would be a pain in the rear to find writers that could walk the balance between reality and godmodding with something like this, if it's even possible, and I really can't imagine a way to bring it around to feasibility without losing the core of it, and that's just no fun. :tongue:


*creeps off to the drawing board in order to come up with some more outrageous ideas*

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As long as you can find a way to get away with it, by all means. Hell, I still have one character at DM that nobody's busted for being what s/he is. *toothy grin*

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I was acctually just reading DR again, the part with the brigands in Cairhein. I think we already talked about this a while ago Quibs, but what about a group of brigands/mercenaries. They can basically be there for the other gorups to beat up on when there isn't anything else to do, but strong enough to be a real threat to most. The bottom guys/gals can be cannon fodder, while PC leaders and officers can have one of the skills you want your 4 Horsemen to have.

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Okay, so we have established that mercenary groups are possible. Now to establish the size and other restrictions.


I'm thinking a small team, maybe 20 to 30. If you start getting much larger than that, then various countries would (probably realistically) treat the group as a military threat to the security of their outlying villages. A smaller size also avoids the temptation of every other division at DM to treat them as their own little punching bag, much the way the Trollocs have been treated in the past. To reintroduce the Four Horsemen-type thing, have the group led by 3 to 5 captains, each with different skill sets and ideas. That way, the group isn't subject to the whims of one individual.


Small-group tactics and planning would be the only way a group this small would be able to survive. Things like diversionary attacks to allow small strike teams to enter unimpeded, multi-pronged pinpoint assaults, supply line harassment, and guerrilla warfare would be their stock in trade.


My one big fear with this is, if it manages to become popular, it might draw people away from the Band or the CotL, the two actual armies who could probably use the people more than a mercenary group.

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That's a small team? *laughs* Due to there not being as many members in FL at the moment, I think 10 at most (at least to start off with) would be a more appropriate limit, and even that may be stretching it. I haven't seen a flood of people coming into the RP community, and so we might still be stepping on toes. The Band is the main mercenary group on DM, we don't want to start a rival group, and the Children of the Light is the other military group on here.


Also, the maximum WS that can be assigned by a BC is 5 for the Freebooters, as the mercenaries would fall under the FB Guild. I'm afraid it's unlikely that we can make an exception for these bios, even the leaders, as other members not involved could view it as favouritism. That would require the characters to RP to get their WS up to the skill they wanted, and if you have a character that starts at WS 5, it wouldn't take too long to get the WS up if the character is active.


Weapon Scores Example:


5. With a bit more work could be accepted into an army or a decent mercenary company.


8. You’re a veteran at this point, maybe you’ve had the luxury of instruction in a professional military force or you’ve picked it all up over a period of time.


10. You’re on par with some of the finer soldiers that military companies such as the Queen’s Guard of Andor or the Tower Guard of Tar Valon have to offer.


For the complete list of Weapon Scores, click here.


I'm definitely not against the idea, in fact I really like it, I'm just trying to make sure that it will work out without unintended consequences.


Arlow :)

Edited by Arlow
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For clarity, this is basically how the group ends up. This is not "you join, you join as gods of the battlefield," and I never intended it to be. Even with the original idea, the four would have been required to work their way up to the level of the finished product.


I chose 20 to 30 because I figured that would actually be more feasible than 10 (note that '20 to 30' also includes NPCs/the occasional cannon fodder). Not every person in this group is going to be a PC, especially not right away. It's easy enough to have PCs join as the result of an NPC 'retiring'.


It would also be conceivable that the group require a certain WS to join. In fact, I think that would be preferable. It would prevent the group from being filled up with writers who won't stick around. They would have to have some track record of consistency in order to get to the required WS.

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I like the idea, it has much potential and I think with the right people in the right position, we can avoid it becoming a nuisance to the other Groups. In fact, it may even end up being an added bonus to them if we play our cards right.



The idea of having people reach a certain WS level before they can join this group is one I fully support for all the reasons you mentioned, Quibby. It gives them something to aspire to. We could even make it so that those that join understand that they can lose WS as well (and consequently be kicked out of the group) if they go inactive or due to some IC events (people could choose to lose WS for instance on purpose).



To address the fear of drawing people away from the Band or CoTL, this group would be totally different in nature and culture. The Band and the CoTL have each a very specific identity and status. Being a soldier in 'Mat Cauthon's' army is very different from being a mercenary in an unaligned small group. The mercenaries, for one, wouldn't have access to the tactics and weapons of the Band (directly linked to Mat's battle memories, luck and connection to the Dragon). Nore would they have the effect that the CoTL have on the world and the people in it.


It's also possible that the Band or the CoTL may recruit members from this mercenary group along the way, which would mean we would be losing members to them. And it would affect us more since our group would be much smaller and limited.


With the right approach, limitations and specifics, we can make this work for all involved, including the Band.

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The Tattered Ten (working title)



Required WS: 8-10 (for discussion)


This is a group of ten soldiers, veterans all, who employ their skills in pinpoint strikes and guerrilla combat.


The men come from all walks of life. The only constant is that they are all veteran fighters. The moniker "Tattered Ten" comes from the concept that they're a disparate collection of men cast off from various places.


The command staff is made up of two men. One man deals with the financial and diplomatic functions. He speaks to the potential employers and negotiates the costs. With him is the actual tactician and battle leader. Of the ten, he is by far the most fearsome fighter. Both commanders fight alongside their men. The men are all competent fighters, but many possess skills beyond combat. Thieves, saboteurs, poisoners, other sordid types. It is a combination of brotherhood and fear that keeps the mercenaries together. Men don't desert, for fear of being tracked down by their vengeful brothers, and they do not fight among themselves for fear of their battle leader, a man who could defeat all the rest in combat on his own.


The number of the troupe is ten. It is always ten. If a man dies, or if a man retires, he is replaced. Men retire quite often; the Tattered Ten are a well-paid group, due to their unique skills and their tactical abilities. The group is a veritable band of demons. Several in the group are accomplished archers, and they are efficient at rapidly turning the odds towards the favor of the Ten. A favored tactic is a two-sided strike. All men who can draw and fire a bow wait on both sides of a path where an enemy group will pass. When the group is between the two teams, all men point to their targets and fire. After first volley, any man more comfortable with a melee weapon (or who can't shoot a bow), hit from both sides, with the remaining bowmen feathering other targets. Since odds against the Ten are usually stacked wildly against them, they will resort to any sort of treachery or trick to swing them in their own favor. Poisoned weapons, vicious traps, even assassination are all tools employed by the group.


Group Make-Up:


1. Master Swordsman/Commander

2. Expert Archer, Spokesman/Commander

3-5: Expert Archers

6,7: Dual-skilled archers and melee weapons

8-10: Expert melee


Among these ten, there are some with a more... interesting skill set:


1 master thief

1 assassin

1 poisoner/saboteur

1 spy/infiltrator


These men (separate men in order to spread the power roles around) also aid in the tactical choices of the Tattered Ten. It is their influence that helps to lay opponents low in order for the Tattered Ten to annihilate the remains.


As a note, this is how the group ends up. The original Tattered Ten will be recruited for their skills, hopefully through RPs. The final goal will be to have the group made up of dedicated PC characters.

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A few questions:


1. is it only men, no women?

2. this commander of battles. It's said he can take on the remaining 9 on his own. How will you make that believable?

3. they are always 10. How would they go about recruiting replacements and how would a retirenment of one of the members go? I assume they can't just allow them to go and spread the word of their ways or anything. Will there be a policy about that which the group has to uphold? How will this be controled/monitored? Is there an initiation for new members?

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1. No, it is not just men. However, "men" is shorter to type than "men and women" and I 'm lazy like that.

2. That statement assumes that the position is filled by Mehrin, and that's considering that he would be injured in the fight, as well as assuming that the other 9 are WS 8 to 10. I don't have any illusions about him being unstoppable, but I also feel it's feasible for the odds to be pretty good in his favor.


-Recruitment would be handled by the surviving/current members themselves, though their own networks. The two leaders, for certain, would be well-networked in the world, so they could hear about promising talent. I picture it as having the Ten as the combat team, but having sources information in major cities who relay them information (sometimes unknowingly; Mehrin would be more than willing to take advantage of the Band's eyes-and-ears as long as he could, for example).


-Their recruiting pool is pretty much anyone who will listen, or seeks them out; the difficulty of finding the right questions to ask and the right people to ask would constitute the first initiation test. It would prove tenacity and resourcefulness. As for other initiation tests, there would probably be tests of combat skills, teamwork, and of personality type. None of these would be handled in the group. The combat testing would probably involve being approached by a combat member of the team to engage in some sort of duel or fight, for example. The personality test would be handled by another team member who would establish whether the person would be able to keep the organization secret.


-Leaving the group for NPCs would be easy: death in the field or retirement as follows. As for PCs who choose to leave, well... As part of the initiation mentioned above, they'd be chosen for their ability to develop strong loyalty. Leaving the group would be due to some sort of personal issue. Maybe they feel they're getting too old for the business, or maybe they feel called to go somewhere else. Whatever the reason, the retirees would continue to receive a really small stipend, and they would be retained as part of the groups eyes-and-ears network, feeding them information. This would be one of the ways that the group expands its network. Former members would be required to deliver weekly reports detailing anything they may have seen or know and their current location, and they would receive occasional messages reminding them to keep the group's secrets. Occasionally, a representative from the group will check up on the retired member to observe their actions. Failure to report once will result in a visit from an assassin. This assassin examines the circumstances:

a) If the retiree has simply stopped, or if they've stopped and are beginning to feed information to foes, they are silenced.

b) If the retiree has been captured and is being interrogated, the assassin eliminates the offending kidnappers, then the retiree is given funds to move to a new place.


If anybody has any alternatives or ideas, I'd like this to be a group project.

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