The Bündesphar Corps
“In the Age of Might, the Dark Queen brought us the word of Canus. Canus is the faithful. Canus is the guard. Canus is the hunter. Canus brought us the Bond, between wolf and man, wülfbunde and master, both loyal to the Corps. Nothing can break this Bond. Nothing can come between the Bond. No force can sway the Bond. Not even death.”
–Brek, Bündesphar Scout
(Minor): AL [LN]; 10,000 gp limit; membership 125 [racial mix: isolated] [human 100%]; Authority Figure: Arana, female, Ranger 10/Animal Lord-Wolf 2, (Captain); Krieger, male, Ranger 12, (Captain; alternate timeline); Important Characters: Syllany, female, Ranger 6 (Scout); Jaren, male, Ranger 6 (Scout); Brek, male, Ranger 8 (Scout); Karn, male, Ranger 10 (Scout); Others: Class Mix [Exclusive]; [Ranger, 1-16th lvl]
The Bündesphar stand as the greatest defense against the Dark in Ansalon. Founded by Takhisis, in response to the evil gods losing control of the Dark, The bündesphar are dedicated to service of Canus, the destruction of the Dark and above all else the Bond between wolf and man. While there have been examples of Blackguards and Paladins among the corps, for the most part the bündesphar have served as rangers for the dark gods armies.
In the Second Age, the bündesphar served as the personal scouts of Warlord Cyrnus and during the War of the Lance, the corps was enlisted by Duulket Ariakas to serve as scouts in the Dragonarmies. During the Chaos War, the bündesphar were a corps of specialist scouts in the army of the Dark Knights. They were considered eccentric and extremely dangerous. This reputation served the scouts, keeping them separated from many normal military matters and able to perform their secret, sacred mission.
The scouts share the Bond with their wolves, the Wülfbunde, a love the same as Takhisis had for her wolf, Canus, known as the Faithful and Lord of Wolves. The Bond allows the scouts to hunt The Dark, remnants of the powers of darkness from the Age of Might, “threads from the mantle of Father Chaos.” The Bond is an imperfect barrier against the Dark’s influence.
They have served in many wars over the years, including the War of the Lance, and even during the Reign of Istar.
Joining the Corps:
Joining the corps is a voluntary act. During wartime, bündesphar would make a presentation to soldiers who showed an interest in tracking to try to recruit scouts. If the PC’s defeat an unnatural foe or kill an enemy of the church, (Light after War of Souls), they might receive an invitation to join the corps. Becoming a scout of the Corps is fraught with risk. Recruits are taught to see their opponents before being detected and kill with dagger and fang, but they are also taught the methods of guerilla fighting when on the move. Among mercenary circles and other military areas, bündesphar enjoy a certain weary respect.
All members of the Corps are typically rangers, though those few with the Wild Cohort feat may join the corps.
Entry Requirements: 4th level ranger or Wild Cohort feat; must have no fear of dogs, submit/bond to Canus (A beastlord who was the working dog of Takhisis prior to War of Souls; Mishakal after the events in Coin of Adamant).
Initial training for new corps scouts is extensive. New scouts learn about the corps history, the Bond of Canus, and various commands and signals of communicating with the scout’s wülfbunde. In the unlikely event that a PC group qualifies to join, the corps encourages the group to form a Patrol. As a patrol of the corps, the group works like a wolf pack, going so far as to even establish a leader by restricted combat though a few have died by this process. Training ends when a character’s wolf learns to obey their commands and signals.
Bündesphar Corps Benefits:
The mission of the Corps is a holy one-to seek out the remnants of Chaos, the Dark, and destroy it where it is found. The scouts roam the breadth of the continent to complete this holy mission, sometimes even crossing the domain of Zeboim the Darkling Sea to get it done.
Economics: The corps provides the basic needs of the individual patrols but most scout patrols are expected to fend for themselves (like making lakrak). Clerics of Takhisis/Mishakal are willing to provide basic healing and restoration if required. Scattered across Ansalon are Kennels that the corps maintain. The kennels are places scouts can relax, groom their wolves, and spend time training. The kennels are stocked with the necessities and are maintained by those scouts who are too old to continue the Hunt.
During their time with the Dark Knighthood, the knighthood supplied the corps with weapons, food, and other basic equipment.
Gear: Anywhere the Church of Mishakal/Takhisis has a temple scouts can get necessities. As long as characters don’t obviously abuse this privilege, they needn’t return the gear when they’re done with it.
Services: A typical bündesphar kennel has a 7th-level cleric on hand to cast spells on its members’ behalf, asking only for the relevant material components in exchange for the spell casting. Spells that scouts often ask for (and the cleric often has prepared) include cure light/moderate/serious wounds, longstrider, protection from chaos, and calm animals.
Once characters reach the upper ranks of the Bündesphar Corps (around 12th level), they receive a greater benefit: a patrol of their own.
A patrol of the corps seeks out the scout and offers her a chance to be Patrol Leader by winning a brawl between 8-12 other scouts. Whoever is left standing becomes the new patrol leader and the others fill out the remainder of the patrol by order of last standing.
Information: Patrols are quite knowledgeable of the area they roam; however, the corps does not keep any centralized information stores. It mainly relies on oratory histories or reports.
Access: Scouts can always find a place to sleep and groom their wülfbunde at a bündesphar kennel, and being members of the Mishakal/Takhisis grants them access to most Orders of Light/Dark churches.
Status: Scouts receive a +2 circumstance bonus on interactions with retired or former soldiers and with mercenary circles.
Playing a Bündesphar:
Most Bündesphar Corps scouts are taciturn and distant, speaking monosyllabically when they have to talk. As the scout ages he begins to take on aspects of a wolf. His sense of smell improves and he gains nightvision. His wolf on the other hand becomes more human, often acting like a human in behavior. They share in everything they do. From training to relaxing, a scout talks to his wolf just as if he was another human.
Scouts spend their time hunting and scouting. That is what they do. Oftentimes this is with a patrol but sometimes the scouts and their wolves work alone. When working with an army, scout teams (one scout and one wolf) are assigned to a squad. There are never more than two scout teams per platoon. Having more than one scout team can interfere with a wolf’s ability to sense its surroundings or alert to danger. The scout team is point man in a formation. Two bodyguards usually back the scout team up. The bodyguards cover each flank far enough back so as not to interfere with the wolf’s senses. Once the wolf has made contact with the enemy, the scout team moves back into the protective circle of the platoon. Sometimes however, the team is caught out in the middle and has to fight its way back to the perimeter or stand its ground.
When operating on their own, they operate usually as guerilla fighters using hit and run techniques to defeat their enemies. When working with a patrol, the scout teams act like a typical wolf pack which each member it its fated place.
Combat: Most scouts rely on their natural skills to carry the day. Each scout typically carries the same equipment attached to specific places on their utility belts. Each utility belt holds a pouch of water, a rod w/lash, an eight-foot leather leash, a leather collar, a choke chain, a 20-foot leather leash, a leather muzzle, bandages, and knife sheaths. They rarely use their spell abilities and when they do, it is to aid them in scouting and tracking in the wild. Some of them use enchanted weapons, blessed by their goddess when fighting against the Dark.
When in combat the scouts fall on their enemy like their wolf brothers, dagger, and fang, attempting to neutralize their enemy as quickly as possible. When working as a patrol the scouts use pack methods to bring down their enemy.
Advancement: The Corps uses a pack system to determine who is in charge. At the core of a patrol are the Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader. After the core pair is the other patrol members who determine their own place in the patrol through different ways, perhaps being stronger or faster than the others are. This is their default way of operating until they join an army or another group. When working with an army they go by that nations ranking system.
Missions: Bündesphar Corps missions are pretty typical of Dragonlance: Hunt down enemies of the church or army, scout enemy base camps, locate a fugitive, and destroy a minion of Chaos, for example. However, whenever a minion of Chaos is near that mission takes priority over any other mission when possible.
The corps favors missions that act as cover so they can go about their real purpose undetected. Many are those who would destroy the scouts at every turn if they knew their real mission.
Responsibilities: The corps expects its members to respect the Bond and to honor Canus at all times. Patrol leaders are harsh on those who fail to meet this expectation.
As long as the scout does his job and takes care of his brother, they remain in the good graces of the pack. If there are, any wrongdoings or abuse then there could be trouble, either from the patrol or from the wolf pack.
Lore of the Corps:
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (history) can research the Bündesphar Corps to learn more about the organization.
DC 10: The Bündesphar Corps is a military organization, composed of rangers with wolf companions, serving in various armies.
DC 15: The corps focuses on scouting, sentry duty, and tracking.
DC 20: The coin of adamant is a good luck charm.
DC 25: The Grieving is an affliction that a Bündesphar suffers when his Wülfbunde is killed. When afflicted with the Grieving he may become Forsaken, possessed with the taint of the Dark and Chaos.
DC 30: The true purpose of the corps is to hunt down the minions of Chaos and the Dark.
Writing a Bündesphar Character:
Classes: Ranger. Go with two-weapon fighting combat style and the animal companion is a wolf.
Other Core Classes: Fighters and Scouts. Other core classes should have skills in Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature), Survival, and the Wild Cohort feat.
Prestige Classes: Dervish (CW), Tempest (CA), Bloodhound (CA), Animal Lord (Wolf; CA), Hunter of the Dark
Skills: High ranks in handle animal, followed by Knowledge (nature) and Survival. Intimidate is good too. Listen (page 78 PHB), Search (page 81 PHB), and Spot (Page 83 PHB).
Feats: Alertness, Dual Strike (CA), Favored Power Attack (CW), Greater Two-Weapon Defense (CW), Improved Favored Enemy (CW), Improved Two-Weapon Defense (CW), Natural Bond (CA), Quick Reconnoiter (CA), Skill Focus (Handle Animal), Track, Two-Weapon Fighting feats (bonus through ranger class), and Weapon Focus (dagger), Bündesphar Combat Style.
Favored Enemy: Outsider (Chaotic), Aberration, Evil, etc.
Weapons: Curved Fighting Knives, Hunting Knives, Kukri, and Short Swords.
Armor: Leather, Padded, Chain Shirt, and Studded Leather.
Other Equipment: Lakrak.
Deities: Takhisis pre-Age of Mortals, Mishakal after the War of Souls.