Shattered Band

Heraldry: A Broken Diamond

The Shattered Band is one of the most prolific mercenary companies in Verden. Although they are headquartered in Vale, they have centers in every major city in the world. The secret to their success is that they will take any and every job available, regardless of who it's from or how dangerous it is. Similarly, they will employ anyone who applies to the company and passes their challenging initiation test, and they don't ask for tithes or membership fees. Essentially, the company is a loosely-formed collection of middlemen who have their ears open, and mercenaries who do the actual work.

They have several hundred middlemen who work directly for the guild, and thousands of mercenaries across Verden. However, most members will never meet one another and even the middlemen in different cities may function completely differently. This is where the name "The Shattered Band" comes from - it implies a single group that is broken into pieces. On international jobs where the middlemen are unaware of each other, it's even possible that two Shattered Band groups will go head to head.

The only unifying tenet across all pieces is the rule that no member of the company may knowingly harm another member of the company. This rule was originally enacted when too many teams were wiped out by greedy and unscrupulous members who wanted to collect the fee for themselves, but it has grown even more useful since the Inquisition. It is a well-known secret that The Shattered Band is a good place for sorcerers and other magic-users to earn a living with their craft, as turning in a fellow member to the Stoutsmen would be considered against this golden rule. Those who do defy this edict are immediately ejected from the guild and, depending on the severity of the crime, might be crippled or killed.

The guild keeps track of what each member has done in the past both in and out of the guild, allowing them to assign jobs with difficulty levels that generally match the skills of those being sent. Still, the mortality rate of Shattered Band members is among the highest of all mercenary groups, due in large part due to clients who provide jobs with misleading or incomplete information.

Because they function entirely on a need-to-know basis and due to their usefulness to various law enforcement groups, The Shattered Band is typically able to function above the law. They will accept many jobs that are against the laws of the cities they function within. The risk typically lies upon the mercenaries themselves - the guild and the middlemen who run it always have plausible deniability.