Freeguild

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Freeguild
Freeguild 01.png
Freeguild fighting Chaos
Grand alliance Order
Associated factions Cities of Sigmar
Main grouping Regiment
Allies Dispossessed
Ironweld Arsenal
Races Human[1]
Duardin[11a][24a]
Aelf[49a]
Ogor[10b]
Mounts Demigryph
Griffon
Steed
Warhorse

The Freeguilds are military guilds that operate within and without the Cities of Sigmar, serving as the brave mortal defenders of the Free Peoples and the Cities of Sigmar. These guilds can vary greatly in size, some only capable of fielding a company while others are known to be able to field over a hundred regiments at once.[1e][23a]

The Cities of Sigmar are defended by many different forces such as the Stormcast Eternals, the Ironweld Arsenal and the Collegiate Arcane but much fighting and sacrifice fall to the mere mortals of the many Freeguild Regiments.[1e]

However, as the reclamation of the Mortal Realms progressed more and more regiments were created from those cultures that had survived the onslaught of Chaos - although tensions often run high between the original Azyrites and the Reclaimed. All free cities have several Freeguilds, organised into regiments for battle and acting as city watchmen in times of peace. Each is different and has its own customs, cultures, colours and traditions differing greatly from Realm to Realm and city to city. [1e]

Structure of the Freeguilds

All of the Free Cities of the God-King's empire boasts a handful of Freeguilds. In many cases, a Freeguild will be structured into several regiments whose officers will serve under an overall commander.[4b][12][3a][23a] Freeguilders often operate as both a standing army and as city watch, sometimes regiments will alternate between active military service and guard service, though some cities assign specific Freeguilds to this duty.[4a][4b][23a]. The Freeguilds, and even individual regiments, will often develop their unique styles of combat, based on the environments and surroundings of the cities that employ them.[1e] Such as the coastal city of Anvilgard, which has several marine regiments in their employ.[1g]

The Prime Commander, a member of a Free City's Grand Conclave and supreme commander of its military forces, acts as the highest authority of a city's Freeguilds.[42]

It is within the Free City of Hammerhal Aqsha that the military doctrine of Sigmar's Empire is codified, tested, and put into practice. Moreover, its vast population forms the vast majority of Sigmar's mortal military. As such many armies of the Free Cities use the traditions and methods of Hammerhal Aqsha as a template for their own. As a result, many pictures a Hammerhalian Goldjacket when they imagine the common soldier of the Freeguilds.[23c]

Many Freeguilds develop unique traditions and will outfit themselves in colours unique to their regiments and companies, though there are some cities where all the regiments and companies operate under a single, unified banner and so bear the same colours. The tactics of the Freeguilds vary from realm to realm, kingdom to kingdom, city to city.[1e] For instance the Sons of the Black Bear, who hail from the northern baronies of the Realm of Heavens, operate as a lance of knights[5a], while companies like the Ironsides and Iron Bulls of Tarsus make extensive use of firearms or artillery.[5a][4]

Oftentimes a Freeguild regiment on campaign or expedition will carry a Grand Hogshead, an armoured barrel full of Aqua Ghyranis, with them. Usually, these are carried in wagons that are guarded at all times.[18a]

The bulk of the Freeguilds' forces come in the form of the Freeguild Guard. These Guard companies, who are most often employed as city watchmen and frontline troops, are typically composed of citizens from all walks of life men and women, Azyrite colonists and Reclaimed settlers, old veterans and young greenhorns, volunteers and conscripts, militiamen and career soldiers, noble sons and guttersnipes. All of these varied folk and more are forced to fight side by side within the Guard. The only thing as diverse as the recruits within the regiments are the weapons they carry into battle. Spears, halberds, and swords are commonly found in abundance among the better-equipped regiments, but less influential and renowned regiments will have to make do with whatever is at hand. These scrounged together armaments are known as 'militia weapons' and can consist of anything from clubs and simple blades, to wheel-lock handguns.[1e]

The Guard is often supplemented with specialized units of Handgunners and Crossbowmen. Even the worst of a horde of Khornate berserkers can be put down by well-placed volleys of leaden shot or bolts.[1e]

The Greatswords formations are prestigious all across the Free Cities of Sigmar's empire and are renowned as some of the best soldiers in the Freeguilds. The Greatswords are recruited from the biggest and strongest veterans within the regiments. These warriors are clad in plate armour and wield massive zweihanders in battle. They are elite shock troops of the armies of the Freeguilds.[1e] But if these brave soldiers are the anvil of the Freeguilds, then the elite cavalry of the Fre Cities are the hammer. These cavalry units often consist of valiant Pistoliers and steadfast Outriders. The Pistoliers are typically young and brash popinjays who go into battle with a brace of pistols and long-barreled firearms, they are often seen patrolling the borders of their home cities in search of new foes to fight. The Outriders are an older, more grizzled class of soldiers who are used extensively for reconnaissance missions and other vital duties.[1e]

But the finest warriors of the Freeguilds are the Demigryph Knights. These are noble scions of the noble bloodlines of Azyr, they have been raised since birth in the arts of cavalry combat. These venerable riders wade into battle with Sigmarite tipped greatswords and lances, whilst always rising atop their fierce Demigryphs which are themselves a devastating tool upon the battlefield.[1e]

Auxillaries

Nearly every Freeguild employs a Cogsmith specialist that can craft prosthetic limbs sometimes known as Medimantic Appendages. These prosthetics can vary wildly depending on the resources and budget available, the realm of origin, and purpose. Some can pass as flesh-and-blood limbs, others are simple wooden pegs, others have bladed edges, and there are stranger ones such as those constructed from Hyshian crystal. These Cogsmiths are meant to only work on soldiers, but if approached by a civilian with mobility issues or a desire for a prosthetic, higher-ups within the Freeguild will usually look the other way.[24a]

Warrior Priests dedicated to Sigmar can often be found serving alongside and even among the ranks of the Freeguilds. For some Freeguilds, such as the famed Blackshore Guard of Lethis, having these holy warriors among their ranks is standard procedure but in other cases priests end up assigned to a regiment through the machinations of a powerful member of Azyrite society.[45a][46a]

Hierarchy of the Freeguilds

Jordain, Crown Prince of Edassa and commander of a Lions of Edassa regiment

The Freeguilds are semi-autonomous military guilds found throughout Sigmar's Empire defending everything from meagre border outposts to the great fortress-cities that serve as capitals of Sigmar's Empire beyond the Realm of Azyr. These guilds vary in size, with some being little more than a single, understaffed company while others boast well over a hundred regiments.[6a][1e][11a][23a][23d]

The overall commanding officer of a Freeguild can vary significantly, though most often they are simply known as Generals. Other times they will have loftier titles such as Lord-General, Captain-General, Lord-Commander, and Lord Marshal.[4b][12][3a][23a][41a][45a][47a]

Occasionally a Colonel, a rank directly below that of General, may serve as the commander of a regiment.[30][40a]

Captains serve as the commanding officers of companies, and sometimes entire regiments.[3b][8a][28a] These companies are then often divided into platoons commanded by Lieutenants.[27a]

Sergeants are non-commissioned officers ranked below lieutenants and have myriad duties, usually acting as the leaders of squads or similar units. These non-commissioned officers are often placed in command of patrols[4a] and community outreach programs, such as the Bright Wardens initiative to train the citizenry of the districts they patrol in methods to defend themselves.[8a]

There are many Freeguild companies and regiments have specialized sergeant ranks. These include Lance-Sergeants, Line Sergeants, Marksman Sergeants, and Gunnery Sergeants. Gunnery Sergeants, such as those within the Lady's Justice and similar companies, command artillery units within a company.[5a][11a][15a][15c][15d][31a]

Other Hierarchal Structures

There are many Freeguilds throughout the near-infinite expanse of the Mortal Realms who break the hierarchal norms. Whether by using unique ranks and specialist units, operating differently than their peers, or other subtle differences.

For example, the officers of the Sons of the Black Bear are known as Boyr and the First Age Celestians regiment maintains a second officer known as a Field Marshal. Both originate from the Realm of Azyr.[5a][37d]

The Golden Lions of Hammerhal Aqsha, one of the city's seventeen major Freeguilds, are known to have Impressment Officers, whose duties include recruiting new soldiers into the Freeguild.[23a]

There are some companies of Freeguild that operate independently, not being part of a larger guild or regiment, which are led by Captains.[11a]

The Accari Hounds eschew all traditional notions of Freeguild hierarchy, instead being more akin to a loosely organized mob of than a regiment. The officers of the regiment are collectively known as Chiefs, no matter their rank or size of their force, who commanded forces largely comprised of their extended kin. The top of their hierarchy is the infamous Dozen who serve as the regiment's overall commanders and champions.[37a]

The Leatherbacks, a gun-and-halberd company originating from the Realm of Ghur, were a similarly disorganized and rambunctious force whose ranks were filled solely with members of a singular clan, all of whom were related in complex ways and formed equally complicated internecine grudges against one another. Their overall commander was Poppa Chown, titled as such as he was both captain and patriarch of the clan.[5b]

Recruitment

Some of those who join are volunteers, part of a long family history of service, others see it as a path to glory or riches whilst others are conscripted for all city districts are required to provide recruits to replenish the ranks for their regiments. [1e]

Though the overwhelming majority of Freeguilders are Humans, other Free Peoples have been known to join the ranks of the guilds such as Aelves, Duardin, and Ogors.[10b][11a][24a][49a]

The Freeguilds of the Azyrite cities of Nordrath, Grimpeak, and Hallowstar actively recruit the fen-dwellers of the Smoak Fens, for the clansmen are renownedly famed as gunsmiths and marksmen. Many of these skilled warriors have risen to fame and glory within the Freeguilds.[19a]

Some Freeguilds have Impressment Officers who will press known criminals into service, such as the Slumgunners of the Golden Lions Freeguild.[23a]

Equipment

Within many of the Free Cities, every Freeguild regiment and company maintain its own traditions, colours, and uniforms. While in other Free Cities the Freeguilds are unified under the same banners and wear the same uniform no matter how many companies the city has. In either case, these soldiers are sporadically equipped with whatever arms and armour are readily available, with those recruits who hail from more affluent backgrounds supplying their own.[1e] The following is a list of strange and unique equipment used by the Freeguilds:

Notable Equipment

  • City Banners: Battle standards that bear the heraldry of a City of Sigmar, Freeguild, or regiment are of vital importance to many Freeguilds, serving to inspire and direct those that fight under them. Some are also known to be enchanted to bring strength or speed to the soldiers that fight beneath them.[24a]
  • Freeguild Trumpet: Trumpets used by the Freeguilds,[24a]
  • Grenade-Launching Blunderbuss: A powerful firearm that fires explosives. These are only trusted in the hands of veteran Freeguild Outriders.[24a]
  • Medimantic Appendages: Every Freeguild boasts a Cogsmith who specializes in replacing lost limbs with medimantic appendages. These prosthetics vary wildly depending on the budget and resources available.[24a]
  • Trident Dagger: A mechanical dagger developed by the Ironweld Arsenal, a simple press of a button hidden on the guard of this weapon causes its blade to split into three.[20a]

Roles of Freeguild

Freeguilders and Allies Defending a City of Sigmar

The Freeguilds serve as one of the primary military forces of any given City of Sigmar and more often than not they also serve those same cities as mercenary guards, city watchmen, patrolmen on trade routes, and even garrisons for outlying farmsteads. But the Freeguilds have a myriad of duties, both extraordinary and mundane, beyond the typical work of footsloggers. Below is a list of several of the roles and duties assigned to freeguilds across Sigmar's empire.

  • City Watch: Many a Freeguild will be employed to serve a Free City as their city watch. Many of these are given extensive garrisons or barracks to call their own.[6a][8a]
  • Standing Army: The most common use of the companies and regiments of the Freeguilds, is as a city's professional standing army. These military forces will often be supplemented by artillery from the Ironweld, mages of the Collegiate, and any other forces the city can muster.[6a]
  • Marine Regiments: Freeguild regiments trained to fight both on land and at sea, the most notable marine regiments are those of Anvilgard, such as the Rumrunners. Such units often employ Freeguild steam-galleons.[1g]
  • Underjacks: Often pulled from the ranks of sellswords and convicts, Underjack regiments serve as one of the first lines of defence against those forces that would assail a Free City from below. They typically clear out, or attempt to at least, infestations of grots and Skaven in the lowest sections of the city.[6a]
  • Pyre-Gangs: Tasked with quarantining and eliminating the deadwalker epidemics that began in the wake of the Necroquake.[6a]
  • Freeguild Fire Marshals: These civic servants are responsible for putting out any fires in their cities before they become too big of an issue to combat.[8a]
  • Freeguild Prison Guards: Many regiments and companies of the Freeguilds are directly assigned to guard, maintain, and operate the prisons of a City of Sigmar.[8a][9a]
  • Freeguild Palace Guards: Some regiments and companies have the honour of being assigned the duty of guarding the palaces and government buildings where the Conclaves and ruling councils of a Free City hold government assemblies. Such companies are held in high regard and are given extra privileges.[8a]
  • Outpost Garrisons: The Free Cities maintain many outposts, garrisons, forts, watchtowers, and waystations across their territories and more often than not companies of the Freeguilds will be tasked with maintaining and defending these outposts. Fort Foothold in the Flamescar Plateau and the watchtowers of the Emerald Line in Verdia are among some of these fortresses.[11a][16b]
  • Collegiate Guards: As the arcane colleges of the Collegiate Arcane are rarely allowed to maintain their own standing armies, they will often employ smaller Freeguilds under long-term contracts. Ostensibly these Freeguilds act solely as guards and escorts, though they have been known to be used to protect Collegiate interests.[3d]

Medals and Honours

Known Freeguilds

Major Freeguilds

Other Freeguilds, Regiments, and Companies

Quotes

If I should fall in hard-pitched battle An orruk's axe betwixt mine eyes Then sing for me, while I lie bleeding And mourn for a career most fleeting But heed ye well the Colonel's cry, "March on lads, there is no retreating!

Marching song of the Golden Lions, Freeguild of Hammerhal Aqsha.[30]

I don't care if they've got two heads, no heads, tentacles for arms or their skin's turned inside-out. You're men of the Hammerhal Goldjackets, damn you - now start acting like it and fill their hides full of Sigmar's blessed lead.

Trovan Joth, Marksman Sergeant of the Hammerhal Goldjackets.[31a]

Heraldry

The Freeguilds use a wide variety of heraldry including:

  • Crowned Skull of Penumbra[1]
  • Sanguine Lady of Flames[1]
  • Stonehearted Blood Bull[1]

Freeguild Coats of Arms

Images

Sources

Freeguild
Units DemigryphDemigryph KnightFreeguild ArcherFreeguild CrossbowmanFreeguild GeneralFreeguild GreatswordFreeguild GuardFreeguild HandgunnerFreeguild OutriderFreeguild PistolierGriffonSteedWarhorse
Characters Aaric Gothghul - Armand CallisPoppa ChownDignan CrantJon CrusoRena DashosBrida DevholmCerdimun GhorleByrun HessAlbain LorcusSuhla MorguinOtto NimyardSeguin ReynarHamuz el-Shaah
Major Freeguilds BoldheartsCharrwind RangersBlackshore GuardGlymmsmenGold GryphonsGolden LionsGreycapsHeldenhainLeaden BullsScions of the CometSun SeekersVandusian Guard
Smaller Freeguilds, Regiments, & Companies 9th Mountain Guard14th Dracolions86th Starfielders‎117th Greywater Foot198th Regiment 'Slumgunners'Accari HoundsAzure CometsBlacktalonsBone Desert Bow and FootBright WardensBronze ClawsColdguardCrimson ShieldsEagles of GlimmerheimFaithful BladesFirewolvesFirst Age CelestiansFootmenGallowsmenGreenhelmsGreywater SappersGriffon SpearsHammerhalian LancersHoldashi IrregularsIce BaronsIron Bulls of TarsusIronsidesJerech Blue SkiesLady's JusticeLeatherbacksLionesses of EdassaLiving City RangersLost SoulsMist BatsMyrmiditesNighthaunt GuardNordrathi Red and BlacksPenitent LegionPenultiman OutridersPhoenix CompanyRed MachetesRevenant SpearsRumrunnersSilver CompanySixth Zoshian RiflesSons of the Black BearSons of BretonSteel LionsSteel SanctorsStormblessedSunlancersTurnkeysTuskan WildmenWallguard of Fovos KeepZephyr Spears
ArmouryArtworkMiniatures
Cities of Sigmar
Fortress Cities ExcelsisHammerhal AqshaHammerhal GhyraLethisMisthåvnSettler's GainVindicarum
Seeds of Hope Greywater FastnessLiving CityPhoenicium
Cities of Flame AnvilgardBrightspearHallowheartTempest's Eye
Other Free Cities AccarAlshimeAnvalorAventhisAnvilheimAnvilspireArbitriumAstronicaBarbed PromiseBlackwallBrighthallCarthaCatransaCelestriusColonnadeColostrumConcordiaDarkdelveDesperanceDraconiumDuskhengeEdassaEshunnaEverquake CityFort DenstFort GardusGaldheartGlimmerheartGlymmsforgeGravewildGreenfireGreyspireHarkraken's BaneHeldenhammer's TriumphHeldeliumHelmgardHoldashHollenwaldHoundsgateIzalendKurnotheaLifestoneMatarkaMhurghstMurmurusNew SadoriaOak's HeartOasis of GazulPilgrim's ReachPort SorrowRavensbachScant HopeSeven WordsShanskirSkythaneSundsforTabernaTallowreachTansisThanator's ManseThraeshTor LiminaTwinned Towns of BelvegrodUliashtaiUmbramoxVandiumVeilgard
Cities of Sigmar
Subfactions
Collegiate ArcaneDarkling CovensDevoted of SigmarDispossessedFreeguildIronweld ArsenalOrder SerpentisPhoenix TempleScourge PrivateersShadowbladesWanderers
Allied Factions Eldritch CouncilDaughters of KhaineFyreslayersKharadron OverlordsLion RangersOrder DraconisStormcast EternalsSwifthawk AgentsSylvaneth
Background Aqua GhyranisAzyritesReclaimedSigmar's EmpireDawnbringer CrusadesGoldjacketsSigmarite Strongpoint
Artwork
Grand Alliances and factions
OrderChaosDestructionDeath
Cities of Sigmar (Collegiate ArcaneDarkling CovensDevoted of SigmarDispossessedFreeguildIronweld ArsenalOrder SerpentisPhoenix TempleScourge PrivateersShadowbladesWanderers) • Daughters of KhaineEldritch CouncilFyreslayersIdoneth DeepkinKharadron OverlordsLion RangersLumineth Realm-lordsMonsters of OrderOrder DraconisSeraphonStormcast EternalsSwifthawk AgentsSylvaneth