The History of the Banner
It is unknown how old the Black Banner is, or where its true origins lay. Though all rumours head that it’s made out of the flay of a Nurglite Champion. Stripped from his flesh by three Champions of Tzeentch. In revulsion that his pet-follower was mocked this way, Nurgle cursed the banner, making sure that once the Black Banner isn’t subject to three men, it will send a plague to those who are in close proximity. Tzeentch, bearing deep hatred for his brother-God, blessed the Banner in turn, so it may strengthen the bearers. Allthough it remains unknown if the stories are true, there has always been three followers of Tzeentch who shared the Banner, on which a large blue eye was printed, moving like it was the Banner’s own eye.
The latest information I’ve gathered is that it is being shared by three self-proclaimed Black Lords of the Banner. That they’re powerful is a truth, but if they are that strong as they say, that remains a rumour. The Ghur-tribe has been their host for several months. They whisper that they prepare an army to follow a far mightier Champion, in hope that they can replace him. I have my doubts if that’s going to happen, I expect animosity to tear them apart, just like most other Lords sharing an object, but you can never be too sure.
I have the names of the Black Lords, right here in my head. Ghar Bloodtooth, formerly known as Rudger van Mulder, ironic name, isn’t it? He has a long backstory and quite a reputation, doesn’t he? Well, he’s one of the Ghur’s, I’m not sure if he’s actually the chieftain, but I know that he heritaged his father’s armour, in spite of his half-brother Azubal. Oh, I’m sorry, I went a bit off… Then there are Ralzar and Hadhfang… I don’t personally alot about these two, but that they’re vicious and don’t go under for Gharunkal is sure.
What they’re doing? I have no clue, they’ve raided a couple of villages, the occasional deal… you know… Killing some infants, experimentating on them. As I TOLD you, they’re at the Ghur-village, in Norsca! Please, in Sigmar’s name. You’re working on my nerves. Hahahaha…Aargh, no stop! Ok-ok, they’re heading south. They’re going in small numbers to remain undetected. They’re using only one longship and they may have embarked on your shores as we speak. Ehm… they’re pretty fast with the guidance of the banner. Argh, no, get out of my head. Please,no more. Wretched human, you shall perish. Hahaha. I am… I am… more powerful than you could imagine. No, please, no!
“Enough of this, I’m not listening any further to this blasphemous madman. Take him away.” The Witch-hunters looked at eachother as two of them dragged a raving, frothing old wrinkled man away. “Perhaps he is speaking the truth…” The higher ranked Interrogator gestured, as the door locked into its place. “I think not, just the words of one who’s mind has been destroyed. Burn him, like the rest of his lot!”
Roleplaying a TBB-member
Practically easy, as you’re playing in a huge and detailed world. Roleplaying is practically acting, you’re the actor and your character is the personage you try to put down. In Warhammer Online you have the possibility to visualize it, without wearing a costume. Your avatar will represent the character you’ve created, in looks and behavior and his/her speech will appear as a text-bubble, just like you would in a comicbook.
Why RP then? Because it adds a new dimension to your game-sessions. And most of all, even non-Rp-ers don’t really play as themselves, but as their avatar, at least in name. It is called roleplaying when you take it a step further, as in playing like your character would. To name an example Timmy is a happy boy, helps grannies cross the street, is helpful towards others, but he also loves games and roleplaying in them; in Warhammer Online he’s the evil and malicious Shorn’rath, Chaos Overlord who eats the babies of his tribe in the darkest rituals, while summoning forward Daemons to aid his army maul the Imperial Army. Of course… if that’s evil can be discussed, but that’s rather philosophy and debating on morality, so with other words, not really my point.
To help you on the way to RP in our guild, I will present some kind of background-setting on us. As you might know The Black Banner is named after its dreaded artifact, in Dark Tongue it is: Dha’lethor, meaning ‘Source of Black’ or ‘Source of Dark Magic’. The suffix –or depicts it as an object, in this case the banner.
The Black Banner-regiment is ruled by three Lords. Lord Ghar, Ralzar and Hadhfang. There is a reason that they work together. The Banner is both blessed and cursed. The three Lords who have found it were previously already rivaling, but they also saw the potential to work together to unlock the power of the artifact. In the hands of three (the sacred number of Nurgle) it will grant great power to the wielders prominent of Tzeentch, once the number changes the Curse will be unleashed in 30 days, once the 30 days are over, everything will decay in rapid speed. How this is known?
Zhaerr the Malicious was before the Empire existed a tribesman who turned himself over to the God Tchar. Zhaerr was heavily ambitious and it didn’t take long before he ascended to the ranks of the Chosen. In his conquest he found the Black Banner, despite visions and advises from his seers he wielded it alone. When the thirty days were almost over, he fought in Naggaroth in the year -1666 against the Druchii-kin. He led a battalion as one of the lesser Warlords trying to prove themselves. When the thirtieth day passed, a sudden plague overcame his men, even the behemoth himself fell ill and died the following day. Zhaerr will be referred to later on as on the previous Black Lords as his story is one of the most famous, ironically thanks to the Druchii who witnessed the events and who still live this day.
The Black Banner currently is in the state of preparation for the coming invasion, the largest ever launched by one God, and possibly even larger than the infamous Incursions. The Black Banner has many men and women, and is a lesser entity in the Raven Host. A few dozen villages have allied with the three Lords and they offered their own ground as places to prepare and gather.
Ghar is chieftain of one of the larger villages, having conquered or befriended others to aid his own personal goals. His own tribe is descended from the famous Ghûr, but his own is named the Fjrörn, which is also the last name of his kin. Translated from the Norscan Tongue it means Bloodtooth, derived from their ritual to twist the neck of a blackbird at their feasts and drink its blood to idolize their blood being the same to favor the Raven God Tchar.
Other tribes are the Hrignarr, led by Olaf Hrignarr, who comes from a small village of thirty men (men, as in gender). While some tribes are fully represented, others only have one member who went on his own terms, all flocking to the prophesied banner. Yet, not only tribes go the Fjrörn-host, it welcomes converted Southerners (Ghar is half-Imperial himself nonetheless! ), mercenary Greenskins, who love the spoil and the fight the Black Banner offered them, and last but not least Druchii. Their acceptance of new races does not mean they led them climb high in hierarchy, but it offers new opportunities, like a larger influence on the great picture. Most of the Orcs see the Black Banner as some kind of tribe who is kind to his members (Orc-terms), it isn’t seen as weakness, as the Black Banner often fights other lesser tribes to conquer them, using the Orcs as cannon-fodder in their attacks. Luckily, the Orcs want this themselves and love a good fight, which the Norscans can easily provide. Goblins and smaller Greenskins look at their Chaos Overlords as if they are Warbosses, except they get kicked less and above all, the Norscans don’t eat them. They’re fairly maltreated and shunned by their human masters, but they also have a little protection from the Orcs.
Druchii who come to the Black Banner are often outcasts or emissaries. Some of them allied with Tzeentch. A few male Sorcerers have done so to increase their power on magic and certainly to avoid the wrath of the Witch-King Malekith once the war is over. They know it is a trap to make them come out of their shells, to use them as weapons and once it finishes to dispose of them.
Despite that members have it relatively good within the perimeter of their Chaos Warlords, it doesn’t mean the sun shines. Many Slaves and even Goblins are working hard at the forges of the Fjrörn-village to melt metal and create weapons, while chained together and tortured by their mutated overseers. Enslaved Dwarfen Smiths are hammering day and night to create runed weapons for their masters. The Druchii Sorcerers mentioned earlier are used to summon power from the Polar Gates to create magic resistances, it has not been unheard one of the Dark Elves being so stressed that he destroyed himself in the process… Goblins errant, and many of the Orcs perish on the raids. Also many of the slaves come from the Imperial or Brettonian lands, as well from Norsca itself, some even are Kurgan or Hung.
The village Fjrörn is large and surrounded by a strong wooden wall, enforced with stone and brazen metal. It is located on the southern coastline bordering the Sea of Chaos. Escaped slaves have little to no chance of survival, as the barren wasteland stretched inland is frozen with a thick layer of snow, little to no vegetation and minimal food (assuming the survivor takes the fastest route). The village itself uses fishery and hunting of birds for their food supplies and the creeks sporting melting snow coming from the mountains to the East for water. Once roamed a mighty beast in the mountains, a Chaos Spawn, Rudger von Mulder killed it, his father, and was reincarnated himself as the ruling Ghar Unkal Fjrörn, naming himself in Dark Tongue to this feat.
The village is unlike its surroundings full of life and the streets are swarming, all for the greater cause. The forges and houses bellow smoke constantly and the fisheries are constantly sailing in order to provide food for the expanded population. On a hill within the village the lodge of Chieftain Ghar is situated, while near the East Walls are the slave-camps and a improvised walled Orc-camp. Both the Orcs and slaves are well guarded, with the Orc-camp walled to prevent outbreaks. What sets it apart is that the Orcs build the walls themselves. This temporarily influx of Orcs in a human settlement is closely watched and is only for the time being, once the war ends it is probable the Orcs will be disposed of, their Chaos-masters see them as a weapon only, a dangerous weapon I might add.
The mountains are swarming with miners who literally harvest ore and other objects, such as warpdust. The clouds amplify the colors as seers try to foretell the future and magi are busy creating new objects of power. The efficiency is high as the town is ruled with iron fist by the Black Council. Economical and by conquest the influence of the Black Banner is spreading, but it is far from being recognized by both the Norscans and other major races. The numbers of all villages summed together reach into a thousand, including women, children and slaves. But in a world of assumingly millions, races breeding like rabbits it’s practically nothing, thus the rulers are in constant strife. One of the lesser emotions of Tzeentch: ambition is prominent in this small collective.
The hierarchy is thus, at the head of this are the Three Lords mentioned before, each of them have two lieutenants, making the Black Council of nine (Tzeentch’s holy number). While the Lords can be seen as dictators, they use their Leiutenants as overseers and enforcers of the law and occasionally as place-holders in times of absence. Some of the Lieutenants also have a personal task, like Kael Kinski, has been mentioned as the leading and ambitious Seer, currently applied as the Lieutenant of Ghar. Or Nerror the Magus, sided with the brutal Ralzar.>> Others have less of a distinctive approach, some have great names of their own but haven’t really climbed the ladder into greater ranks.
Players in the guild may choose whatever suits their goals in the large branch of Warriors (due to be renamed on mass-request). Warriors stand for playable characters of different ranks within the guild, based on their RP, with the exception of the Black Command. It can ranch from errand-boy to Chieftain of a certain tribe. Olaf Hrignarr is a Chieftain (and an alt), but a character like him is fit in the Warrior-branch as he hasn’t got a place in the Black Council.
Even members from other races can be seen on different places in the hierarchy, determined by their RP, but due to the martial law can never enter the Black Council. It is not unknown of Orcs creating their own hierarchy within the Greenskin-areas while being allied with the Black Banner. Despite they’re kept in place by their Chaos-masters, they still tend to pick on the weaker and smaller, provided they’re not under protection.
It is a bizarre vision to see a ‘multi-colored’ organization like the Black Banner, but then it is also known as true Chaos, it does not really discriminate, and being there gives many different observations. Some might call the Black Banner on events unruly, while others are dazzled by the orderly leadership. It is as the name fits; chaotic. It is a miniature utopia for some, and many who’ve joined the Dha’Lethor seek to expand its rule.
The philosophy of the Black Banner is that it wants to create its own twisted utopia, in the name of the God Tzee’neth.