Bloodhollow and Beyond - A Vigil of Vesh Campaign
The Vigil Oaths
Creating a character who is willing and capable of following these oaths should be a primary consideration for player characters. Characters who cannot work well with others and cannot adhere to this rather basic set of ethics and guidelines will not last long in a Vigil campaign. This is a military order and while it is not as structured and rigid as the Calastian military or the paladins of Mithril it should still be remembered that the Vigils exist to defend and serve Vesh and her people – that is their primary goal, that will always be their primary objective.
The Vigil Oaths, greater and lesser, are guidelines for ensuring this objective.
Vigil oaths are fairly standard throughout Vesh and originate from some of the original council meetings between the followers of Tanil and the Veshian Army. They are considered the central tenets of the vigilant code and are commonly referred to as the Greater Oaths. Although many vigilants, particularly those who follow Tanil, are of chaotic alignment, all respect and obey these duties as vigilants. With minor variations depending upon the vigil administering them, they are:
The Greater Oaths
- Obey the people of Vesh and their chosen leaders in all things.
- Obey lawful commands as you would the people of Vesh.
- Honor the goddesses Tanil and Madriel, and aid Corean the Avenger and his followers whenever possible. Honor and respect the followers of Denev the Earth Mother, save when their actions prevent the lawful execution of your duties.
- Defend the weak and avoid taking innocent lives.
- Oppose the titanspawn and the enemies of Vesh in every way possible.
- You are a vigilant for life.
- Obey the oaths, for they are the heart and soul of the vigils.
Violations of the Greater Oaths are considered to be quite serious. Punishment often involves suspension of vigilant status, expulsion or imprisonment. Extreme violations of Vigil tenets can result in loss of vigilant abilities or even execution.
The Lesser Oaths, also known as the Standing Orders, are written in such a way as to be flexible and open to interpretation. This is almost a requirement, given the independent and somewhat chaotic nature of many vigilants. A vigilant who habitually ignores the Standing Orders may end up being sent back to training or, if her unorthodoxy proves successful, she may be recruited as an instructor and her tactics enshrined as new Standing Orders.
The following is a list of typical Standing Orders, though these are unlikely to be the same from vigil to vigil; these are less rigid than the Greater Oaths and are often seen as useful advice to vigilants:
The Lesser Oaths
- Information is critical to the survival of our nation. Some pieces of intelligence are more valuable than your own life, but do not give your life away needlessly.
- Your reports must be as clear and specific as possible. If you are unsure, say so. Outline your concerns and the source of information as best as possible. Lies are poison in the bloodstream of the vigil.
- Beware sacrificing lives for purposes that cannot be put into words.
- Preparation is seldom noticed until it is most needed. Always anticipate future events, and keep your equipment in the best of condition and your supplies replenished.
- Your eyes are your first weapon. No matter where you are , remember that enemies may be near. Alertness and preparation are the hallmarks of a vigil.
- Wherever you are, be certain that you are in a place from which, if attacked, you can easily defend yourself. Instruct companions to do likewise.
- Always travel single file to confuse trackers.
- Be mindful of your enemy. Move when he cannot see well or when he is least active. Use his fears and superstitions against him. Make common cause with his enemies and work against his friends.
- Prisoners should be kept separated so that they cannot plan or raise each others' spirits.
- Say and discuss as little as possible in front of prisoners, should they escape or be released this will mitigate the damage they can return upon you.
- Execution should only be used as a last resort.
- Torture is not an accepted practice in the eyes of the goddesses we honor. If you cannot gleam the information you need from a prisoner, find someone who can.
- Always post watch. whenever possible, at least half of your group remains awake.
- Fortify your camp if possible.
- Avoid predictable patterns when traveling. Take new routes whenever possible.
- Always deploy scouts when on the march.
- Agree on meeting places in case the party is scattered.
- Those who live by day often strike at dawn. those who live by night often strike at dusk. Be wary then.
- Avoid crossing a river at a regular ford. these are often the sites of ambushes.
- If you are being followed or tracked, circle back and ambush.
- Use cover often and move silently.
- Be mindful of your resources. Do not waste ammunition. Those with missile weapons should attack the enemy at range, while others lie in wait.