Covenant of Heroes
The Shield Of Covenant
Headquartered: There are Roosts present in every Ward, placed directly opposite to the Churches on the larger outside ring. In addition, the Guardian’s Gate, the large castle floating outside Covenant is a major Shield facility
Silver Keys: One representative each from the Templars, the Shield, and the Explorer’s Guild
Bronze Keys: The Captains of each Ward
The most populous Organization in Covenant, the Shield is an amalgamation of an army, a police force, and a mercenary guild. The Shield provides for all military services within the city, and is run by a group of experienced generals. Due both to its size and to the nature of its members (and even its Founder), the lower ranks of the Shield tend to be a little rowdy and can generally be found relaxing in any of the many taverns in the city. However, soldiers who choose to stay with the Shield for longer periods evolve into professional and highly trained military operatives. These elite troops tend to stay out of most domestic conflicts, preferring to travel off-city on secret and specialized missions. Effectively, the Shield allows less qualified citizens to serve as city guard and militia while training a cadre of professional soldiers for more important engagements.
When the Dragon Above founded the Shield of Covenant, other organized military forces were outlawed. In spite of this, many smaller guilds and merchant houses have begun to accumulate troops in hopes of breaking away from the authority of the Shield. Specifically, a group known as the Explorer’s Guild grew to prominence by gathering support from nobles who used the Guild to acquire various contraband items from outside Covenant. The only non-Shield group allowed to leave the city, the Explorer’s Guild is an organization composed mostly of Rangers, Rogues, and various primal classes. Conflicts continued to break out between Shield and Guild members until the Dragon Above intervened and absorbed the private Explorer’s Guild as a vassal organization. This has only emboldened other private groups to challenge the Shield’s authority as the sole military authority on Covenant.
The massive Dragon Roosts placed along the outside ring of the city act as the as the barracks and armories for the forces of the Shield. Each Roost houses all of the Shield members for that Ward, and also provides quarters to the mages assigned to run the gateway hubs inside the Roost. Each Roost is a heavily armored fortress, and takes up a significant amount of space, which is why it is built at the widest part of the curve of the torus.
However, the Dragon Roosts are only meant to be regional centers for the Shield. The true home of the Organization is the floating castle named Guardian’s Gate. This enormous castle floats outside Covenant’s walls and is the first point of contact when Covenant approaches a new plane. The Gate contains training facilities for elite members, many of the Shield’s important relics, and is the staging ground for all off-city operations that the Shield conducts. Furthermore, new adventurers entering the city always arrive at the Gate for screening and processing.
Experienced soldiers who wish to leave the ranks of the general militia are promoted to Guardians. These warriors help organize the ranks of the Shield and are treated as officers. In addition, the recently acquired Explorer’s Guild has been made almost exclusively responsible for scouting nearby planes and traveling outside the city for missions more clandestine in nature. The Explorers are not generally used within Covenant itself, and are held in almost mythical regard by the general population because they are the only ones allowed freedom of passage in and out of the city.
The Shield values strength of arms and spirit much more than political talent, so all officers are decorated and distinguished soldiers. Captains are entirely responsible for the Ward and Roost to which they are assigned, and are picked so as to be most compatible with their particular region. Almost all Captains were formerly Guardians within the same Ward that they currently manage, so they have extensive in-depth personal experience with their territories. In some exceptional cases, other Shield members will promoted to such a position. For example, Lord Ashdown, the Captain of the Fifth Ward, was formerly an Explorer with the Explorer’s Guild famous for his off-city exploits, and was therefore promoted to Captain in order to oversee all off-city missions.