Freeguild

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Freeguild
Freeguild and Alchemite Warforger 01.jpg
Freeguild March to War
Grand alliance Order
Associated factions Cities of Sigmar
Main grouping Regiment
Allies Collegiate Arcane
Dispossessed
Ironweld Arsenal
Races Human[1]
Duardin[11a][24a]
Aelf[49b]
Ogor[10b]
Orruk[51b]
Mounts Demigryph
Griffon
Horse
Rockcrusher Scarab
Vehicles Cogfort

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 vary greatly in size, some being small bands of no more than forty to fifty soldiers while others are immense organizations capable of fielding over a hundred regiments at any given time.[1e][3e][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. Most Free Cities have several Freeguilds, typically organised into regiments 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]

Contents

Origins

The origins of the first Freeguilds date back long before the Age of Sigmar.[3e][19a] With some believing they began as mercenary bands formed in Azyr during the Cleansing of Azyr, arriving in the other seven Realms in the Age of Sigmar.[19a] Though Gardus Steel Soul, a Lord-Celestant of the Hallowed Knights, recalls Freeguilds operating in his home city of Demesnus during the Age of Chaos, well before the re-opening of the Gates of Azyr.[3e]

Organization

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Personnel and Structure of the Freeguilds

Freeguild At War

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]

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]

Freeguilds will often 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. Whatever the case may be Freeguilds will often boast an eclectic mix of forces including a dozen varieties of footsoldiers, knights, beast riders, militia, and city watchmen. {Fn|1e}}[26a]

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 Leatherbacks are known for making extensive use of firearms and artillery.[5a][5b] 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]

Structure of the Freeguilds Before the Vedra Reformation

Before the sweeping changes brought by the Vedra Reformation the Freeguilds Freeguild Guard. These Guard companies, who were most often employed as city watchmen and frontline troops, were 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. The Guard was often supplemented with specialized formations of Handgunners, Crossbowmen, Greatswords, Pistoliers, Outriders, and Demigryph Knights.[1e]

Structure of the Freeguilds After the Vedra Reformation

With the widespread adoption of the Vedra Reformation and Castelite formations, the structure of the Freeguilds have changed dramatically. These forces are divided into the eclectic Fortress City Armies and the well-drilled Castelite Hosts, the latter of which use the military doctrine of the Vedra Reformation.[61b]

Before the reforms the Freeguilds were disorganized, often ad-hoc forces which would include a patchwork of formations rarely trained to work together, and were often given little training. After the Reformation the Freeguilds have been drastically transformed. These Post-Reformation forces receive training within military academies and strongholds, are commanded by officers who earn their ranks through merit, and are typified by tight formations of Castelites directly commanded by Freeguild Marshals.[61b][61c]

The bulk of these new Castelites come in the form of Steelhelm and Fusilier formations, the former hammering into the enemy forces whilst the latter provides ranged support. Deployed alongside them are Great Cannons provided to the guilds by their Ironweld allies.[61b][61c]

The cavalry formations of the Cavaliers serve as the anvil to the hammer that is the Steelhelms. Each Cavalier is a battle-hardened veteran who is driven by past tragedy, or simple talent for killing. Their specialization is crushing charges and sustained assaults.[61b][61c]

The Wildercorps are the scouts and guerrilla fighters of the Freeguilds who have an affinity to the wilds. These Hunters serve a vital, if not often glamorised, role in the defense of the city. Aiding them in this are their Trailhounds.[61c]

Command Structure

Jordain, Crown Prince of Edassa and Ezomo of the First Edassan Lions

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]

Freeguild Ranks
Grand Marshal[71a]
Marshal[61c] Cavalier-Marshal[61d]
Sub-Marshal[70b]
Colonel[30][40a] Wildercorps Warden[69b]
Major[35a] Bombardier-Major[70a] Fusil-Major[61c]
Captain[3b][8a][28a] Captain of the Watch[55a] Ranger-Captain[56] Arch-Knight[61b][61c]
Lieutenant[27a]
Sergeant[8a]
Corporal[49c]
Lance-Corporal[15d]

General Staff

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][61a] The overall commanding officer of a Freeguild host will typically be a Freeguild Marshal, or some other equivalent rank.[4b][12][3a][23a][41a][45a][47a][61c]

Command Corps

Aiding the Freeguild Marshals and Sub-Marshal of a host is a collection of specialists, champions, and experts known as the Command Corps. The most well-known of these figures are the Arch-Knights, Great Heralds, War Surgeons, Whisperblades, and Soul Shepherds.[61c][69b]

Other Formations and Units

There are many Freeguilds throughout the near-infinite expanses 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, the latter is a position below staff officer.[5a][37d] There are some Freeguilds that operate as independent companies, rather than as a unit of a larger guild or regiment, which are typically led by Captains.[11a]

Known specialist units, used by various Freeguilds across the Mortal Realms, include the beetle-riding Shellriders of the 68th Veldtguard, tunnel-fighting Tunnelmen of the Greywater Sappers, and the hammer-wielding Greathammerers of the Accari Hounds.[23b][37a][44a]

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

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]

Auxillaries

Freeguilders and Allies Defending a City of Sigmar

It is not unheard of for Freeguilds to employ specialists from other guilds and factions of the Cities of Sigmar, such as the Dispossessed, Ironweld Arsenal, and Devoted of Sigmar.[24a][45a][46a][53a]

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]

Duardin Rangers of the Dispossessed clans have been known to serve among the ranks of the Freeguilds as well.[53a]

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]

The majority of Freeguilders, whether recruited or conscripted, belong to Human lineages though beings of other races have been known to serve alongside them including Duardin and Aelves of the Free Peoples, Ogors, and even Orruks. Though typically those Ogors and Orruks who join do so only briefly, and are often kept under a watchful eye.[10b][11a][24a][49b][51b]

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.[19b]

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

Roles and Formations of Freeguild

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.

  • Chivalric Orders: There are many Freeguilds that double of martial orders comprised of knights, such orders often ride into battle upon Demigryphs.[5a][14a][26a]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • District Regiments: A regiment whose area of operations is centered on a district of a City of Sigmar, typically to act as its defenders.[35a]
  • 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]
  • Garrison Regiments: Regiments that are usually stationed within fortresses and barracks throughout a Free City or other settlement to serve as a garrison.[54]
  • Heavy Artillery Battalion: A battalion comprised of artillery pieces, such as Ironweld Great Cannons.[63a]
    • Fire-Support Formations: Heavy Artillery Battalions specializing in providing fire support to allied regiments.[63a]
  • Longscout Regiments: Specialist regiments that engage in patrols and long-ranged reconaissance.[54]
  • 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]
  • Mercenaries and Private Armies: Some Freeguilds are independent of their city's Grand Conclave and are instead employed by private individuals such as the minor Freeguilds under some Steam Lords of the Greywater who guard the properties of their Lord and may even be used during an aggressive takeover.[49a]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • Pyre-Gangs: Tasked with quarantining and eliminating the deadwalker epidemics that began in the wake of the Necroquake.[6a]
  • 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]
  • 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]

Notable Corps and Branches

The Freeguilds are divided into many branches and formations including:

Equipment

The Freeguild Uniforms of Several Major Cities
Equipment of the Freeguilds

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]

Medals and Honours

Members of the Freeguilds are awarded with a variety of military awards and decorations to commemorate campaigns they fought in, acts of valour, and even displays of martial skills such as markmanship.[13d][23d][35b][62] There also exist awards that commemorate the actions of an entire unit, such as battle honours which are displayed on banners.[4a]

Known Freeguilds

Freeguilds of Hammerhal

Freeguilds of Hammerhal Aqsha

Freeguilds of Hammerhal Ghyra

Freeguilds of Major Cities

Freeguilds of Azyrheim

Freeguilds of Excelsis

Freeguilds of Greywater Fastness

Freeguilds of Hallowheart

Freeguilds of Lethis

Freeguilds of Living City

Freeguilds of Misthåvn

Freeguilds of Vindicarum

Other Cities

Freeguilds of Anvilgard/Free Anvilgard Movement

Freeguilds of Arbitrium

Freeguilds of Black Eyrie

Freeguilds of Brightspear

Freeguilds of Edassa

Freeguilds of Everquake City

Freeguilds of Glymmsforge

Freeguilds of Holdash

Freeguilds of Izalend

Freeguilds of Kranzinnport

Freeguilds of Lifestone

Freeguilds of Nordrath

Freeguilds of Seven Words

Freeguilds of Slicston

Freeguilds of Starhold

Freeguilds in Multiple Cities

Other Freeguilds, Regiments, and Companies

Related Organizations

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 Post-Reformation Freeguild CavalierFreeguild Command Corps (Arch-KnightCorpus SomniGreat HeraldMascot GargoylianSoul ShepherdWar SurgeonWhisperblade) • Freeguild FusilierFreeguild Marshal (Freeguild Cavalier-Marshal) • Freeguild SteelhelmFusil-MajorIronweld Great CannonRelic EnvoyOgor WarhulkWildercorps HunterGriffon
Pre-Reformation DemigryphDemigryph KnightFreeguild ArcherFreeguild CrossbowmanFreeguild GeneralFreeguild GreatswordFreeguild GuardFreeguild HandgunnerFreeguild OutriderFreeguild PistolierGriffonSteedWarhorse
Characters DochevalIscilla Thorian, Dame of LeavesTahlia Vedra, Lioness of the Parch
Extant Freeguilds Major Freeguilds BoldheartsCharrwind RangersBlackshore GuardGlymmsmenGold GryphonsGolden LionsGreycapsHeldenhainLeaden BullsScions of the CometSun SeekersVandusian GuardVeldtguard
Smaller Freeguilds, Regiments, & Companies Accari HoundsAzure CometsBlack Eyrie Free Republican GuardBlacktalonsBright WardensBronze ClawsColdguardCrimson ShieldsDurar HalberdsEagles of GlimmerheimFaithful BladesFirewolvesFirst Age CelestiansGallowsmenGreenhelmsGreywater SappersGriffon SpearsHearthguardHoldashi IrregularsIce BaronsIron Bulls of TarsusIronsidesJerech Blue SkiesLady's JusticeLeatherbacksLions of EdassaLionesses of EdassaLiving City RangersLost SoulsMacarazzo's Long-gunsMist BatsMyrmiditesNordrathi Red and BlacksPenitent LegionPhoenix CompanyPosthumous ReclamationRed MachetesRevenant SpearsRicoh's Light CavalryRumrunnersSilver CompanySeven Words FreeguildSons of the BarrowsSons of the Black BearSons of BretonSteel SanctorsStormblessedSunlancersTurnkeys
Background Great Hogshead
Hierarchy Grand MarshalMarshalSub-Marshal (Command Corps) • Colonel (Wildercorps Warden) • Major (Bombardier-MajorFusil-Major) • Captain (Ranger-Captain) • Arch-KnightLieutenantSergeantCorporalLance-Corporal
ArmouryArtworkMiniatures
Cities of Sigmar
Free Cities of Sigmar Fortress Cities Capital Fortress Cities ExcelsisHammerhal AqshaHammerhal GhyraLethisMisthåvnSettler's GainVindicarum
Seeds of Hope Greywater FastnessLiving CityPhoenicium
Cities of Flame AnvilgardHallowheartTempest's Eye
Free Cities of the Realms
Great Cities of Azyr AzyrheimGrimpeakHallowstarNordrathSkydockStardockStarhold
Cities of Aqshy AnvalorBrighthallBrightspearCallidiumDraconiumEdassaFort DenstIpsalaIrrigation KeepNew HarrazanRozhVandium
Cities of Chamon AnvilspireEshunnaGreenfireHelmgardRavensbachSephyrumTabarTansisUliashtai
Cities of Ghur AccarBilgeportCarthaColonnadeConcordiaEarthquake CityEsthu'dorEverquake CityIzalendMatarkaSeven WordsShu'gohlSkyheldSkythaneSundsforTantalumThornwallVeldtwend
Cities of Ghyran ColostrumDagolethDruhiel of the PinesEverythFort GardusHeldenhammer's TriumphHoundsgateKernelstoneKranzinnportKurnotheaLifestoneOak's HeartSlicstonSludgemootSupcliffeXil'anthos
Cities of Hysh CelestriumCity of PrismsTor Limina
Cities of Shyish ArbitriumAstronicaAventhisCity of SighsCotherquillGholdenhalGlimmerheartGlymmsforgeGravespurnGravewildLugolMonsam SpireMhurghastThanator's ManseOasis of GazulPort SorrowTwinned Towns of Belvegrod (EastdaleWestreach) • VeilgardWestport
Cities of Ulgu Barbed PromiseDarkdelveDesperanceDuskhengeGaolintarGreyspireHarkraken's BaneHollenwaldMurmurusNew SadoriaScant HopeTarnastipolUmbramox
Unspecified AlshimeAnvilheimBlackwallBleinhamCatransaCelestriusFarcragGaldheartHeldeliumHoldashPilgrim's ReachShanskirSigmar's ReachTabernaTallowreachThraesh
Factions Collegiate ArcaneDarkling CovensDevoted of SigmarDispossessedEldritch CouncilFreeguildIronweld ArsenalLion RangersOrder DraconisOrder of AzyrOrder SerpentisPhoenix TempleScourge PrivateersShadowbladesSwifthawk AgentsWanderers
Background Aqua GhyranisAzyritesGrand ConclavesReclaimedSigmar's EmpireDawnbringer CrusadesFree AnvilgardGoldjacketsMotor VehiclesSigmarite 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