Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ar: His Heavenly Majesty's Boltmen

Updated from the original version in Champions of Mystara

Chief Boltman
Armor Class
Hit Dice
MU1 or E1
MU3+ or E3+
120' (40')
120' (40’)
No. of Attacks
1 wand
    1 wand     or spell
      8d6 or       by spell
No. Appearing
1 squad (1d6+6)
Save as
MU1 or E1
Per class level
XP Value

The Imperial Alphatian navy and fighting skyships of Ar commonly use troops armed with wands of lightning bolts. Reliance on boltmen elsewhere in Alphatia varies with individual kingdoms. Differences may exist between imperial and provincial boltmen, depending on local culture and traditions. These experienced troops are well trained in the arts of aiming and discharging such weapons, and they understand limitations and risks involved with such magic. They neither use it inconsiderately nor without orders.

The wands typically contain six charges each and can be recharged, normally by a navy magist after a battle. If a warship hasn't engaged in battle for several days, it is likely that the boltmen's wands are fully recharged as per navy regulations.

Mystara Alphatia Ar Skyfleet Heraldry
Boltmen are usually 1st-level magic-users or elves. In the Imperial Skyfleet each wears knee-high hoots, white knickerbockers, a laced shirt, a blue padded jacket with epaulets, and a black velvet cloak. In Ar’s skyfleet jackets are red, and rods are slowly replacing wands. Rods are harder to conceal, come with a leather lanyard to secure them around their boltmen’s wrists, and can be used as clubs when depleted. Boltmen wear leather headgear and carry equipment on their belts in leather cases. Their equipment normally includes a wand (or a rod), one or two daggers, a score of darts, food, and other minor field equipment (rope, hooks, spade, bandages, waterskin, torches, etc.). Aran skyship crews all wear magical rings of air pressure. This equipment, not always available on other Alphatian skyships, enables them to operate at high altitude.

Chief Boltmen (Chief Petty Officer rank): these higher-level spell-casters use wands with more charges and causing more damage than regular boltmen's wands. Chief Boltmen wear magical headgear made of very thin metal over leather. This does not provide magical protection, except perhaps from sun, but does provide magical protection granting a +2 saving throw against any magical attack.

Chief Boltmen command boltman squads. They report to the Chief of the Guard on their ship. Boltman have different command words to activate their weapons and have sworn never to reveal them. However, many boltmen who have fought together know each other's magical words. Chief Boltmen ensure that these words get changed, especially after a major battle. In addition to the Ordinary Boltmen, there are Able-Bodied Boltmen (MU2 or E2) and Lead Boltmen (also known as 1st Class Boltmen, MU3 or E3, but not yet qualified for NCO status).

In addition to boltmen, squads may rely on various specialized troops. They have the same game statistics as those of the standard boltmen but use different magical items. Dispel Wardens use wands with six charges of dispel magic. Protection Wardens use
wands with six charges of protection from normal missiles. Light marines use wands with 20 charges of magic missiles (1d6 damage/shot). Heavy marines are not commonly seen: these are low-level fighters, complete with chain or plate armor and bastard swords. Heavy marines are used only during large-scale battles, usually on imperial vessels.

Although enlisted personnel, boltmen are paid better and have a few more liberties than non-spellcasting crew members.