OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
- Intent: Add some flavour to Tygara's native forces and provide an important NPC leader with a prestige unit.
- Image Credit: Here. Found on tolas.wikia.
- Role: Qadiri elite troops. Before Firemane's coming, the Qadiri's tech level was roughly Renaissance period. The Desert Winds perform the function of an elemental artillery unit, using Force powers for long-range bombardment purposes. They serve Shahbânu Semiramis, one of Tygara's most powerful native rulers, who is a Firemane ally and has been developed in several rps.
- Links: Qadiri. Tygara. Firemane.
- Unit Name: Desert Winds
- Affiliation: Shahbânu Semiramis, Qadiri.
- Classification: Infantry, Force support unit.
- Equipment: The Desert Winds are a support unit that, above all, rely on their Force skills. They tend to wear body armour made out of plastoid, complete with internal life support, rebreathets etc. In terms of quality and function, it can be compared to Stormtrooper armour. The gauntlets can be retracted slightly, should the use of their powers require it. For self-defence, the leaders carry Force-imbued blades, while the grunts carry vibroblades or scimitars. The rest of their arsenal consists of daggers, pistols and grenades. Sidearms tend to be blaster pistols, sonic pistols or slugthrowers. They make use of Force-focusing visors to clear their minds of distractions and help them channel Force energies. They utilise speeders for transport.
- Availability: Unique.
- Deployment: Limited
- Elemental artillery. Using their skill in Alter Environment and elemental powers, they can bombard enemy forces at range. Thus they can throw enemy troops into disarray, sow confusion and inflict severe casualties, allowing allied assault troops to move in and gain the edge. Can also damage enemy aircraft.
- Force-imbued blades can harm spirits and other Force apparitions. Only available to officers though.
- Use of speeders grants them mobility. Operating on a variation of the shoot and scoot principle, they can get into position, unleash their powers on a target and quickly move away from their location to avoid enemy counterbombardment.
- Speeders are lightly armoured and thus very vulnerable to damage if hit, especially from heavy weapons, tanks, aircraft and so on.
- Lose their biggest advantage if exposed to Voidstone and Ysalamiri. Conventional gear is rather minimalist.
- Strength of their abilities is based on the number of Desert Winds able to fuel them. Thus the more die, the weaker the effects become.
- Conventional equipment and skills lag behind their preternatural ones. Their only conventional weapons are blades and sidearms, though officers get Force-imbued blades. No rifles, repeaters, rotary cannons or anti-tank weapons. Puts them at a disadvantage against infantry that manages to weather the storm or sneak up on them. They're a support unit, not frontline combatants.
- Body armour is decent, but only as good as Stormtrooper armour. Lightsabres, heavy weapons etc. are a problem.
War for the Qadiri has always been a daily part of life and politics. Though Tygara's isolation from the rest of the Galaxy kept their tech level primitive, they have become highly skilled at the pursuit of warfare, viewing it as an art. Yazgid were utilised as lizard mounts to harass enemies or break through ranks of enemy infantry. Professional soldiers and mercenaries were favoured above the use of levies. Battle plans were based on a complex interplay between cavalry, infantry, archers and Force-using elite soldiers. In recent decades, primitive cannons, a secret taken from the Xioquo, were introduced. However, handheld gunpowder weapons proved unpopular. One innovation the Qadiri pioneered was the use of a type of napalm liquid firie.
However, the most powerful component of any Qadiri army has been its Force-using soldiers. Under Qadiri law, all Force-users must be trained. Some went to the Temple, others to the army. Indeed, being a Force-sensitive was a way for a slave to rise up in society and perhaps become a free man or woman. For the Qadiri, the Force, or Zari as they call it, is a gift from the goddesses, but also a tool. Many noble families prefer to pass on their inheritance to Force-sensitive children, a rare case when a male or younger female child can jump ahead of the pack.
Perhaps one of the most noteworthy Force-based military units are the Desert Winds. These warriors serve the Amikarese Empire, the most powerful Qadiri nation on Tygara. In the light of the fact that it has the size of the Abbasid Empire with the politics of the Holy Roman Empire, they have never been lacking in opportunities to demonstrate their valour on the battlefield. They are a highly prestigious unit. The Desert Winds have been part of Amikaron, a loose federated empire founded about a thousand years ago by the brilliant general and warlord Amira I. She was the first to assume the title of Shahbânu, though many regions declared independence after her death. It would take many wars before the empire acquired its current form and it became clear to the petty Mirzas that it was here to stay.
The Desert Winds' official history claims that it was Amira who established them. This is probably an embellishment. While units of this type were probably employed by the legendary warlord, it is likely that they only became an integral, formal part of the empire's armies under one of her successors. Regardless, every petty chief and Mirza has their own copy unit. The Desert Winds take great pleasure in disparaging these 'inferior' duplicates. They have a competitive rivalry with the Anusiya, the Force-using guards of the Shahbânu...who also have their equivalents in the armies of the various minor Qadiri states.
Whatever the case may be, the Desert Winds were conceptualised as a support unit. They can be classified as elemental artillery. From afar, they would manipulate the environment to their ends. To be precise, their focus lay - and still lies - in the following fields:
- Lightning/Air manipulation
- Force barrier
If properly positioned and utilised, they can inflict severe damage on enemy forces through withering blasts of fire and lightning or by summoning powerful whirlwinds. Their pyromancy can also be used to blind opponents by generating bright light or to create barriers by summoning walls of flame. They specialise in long-range attacks. The same skill set also gives them the ability to act as improvised anti-air troopers, using lightning strikes and strong winds to bring down aircraft. This was not pertinent at the time when the unit came into being, but it obviously of import now that the Qadiri have become aware of aircraft. It came in handy during a battle when the Xioquo, the Qadiri's long-standing enemies, attacked an Amikarese army with steam-powered gyrocopters. Fire proved very effective against Xioquo infantry due to that race's sensitivity to heat and bright lights. However, the Desert Winds are also vulnerable to skirmishers, sharpshooters and heavy weapons. Up close, they only have limited conventional options to defend themselves. They're a support, not frontline combatants, and thus require protection.
The Desert Winds have played a crucial role during the reign of Semiramis, the current Shahbânu of the Amikarese Empire. Ironically, they started out on opposing sides. For Semiramis' mother Adira IV fell ill and eventually died. As the only living daughter, Semiramis was the heir. However, a significant section of the court and military favoured her cousin Jaamini. At the time, Semiramis had been on the way to the city of Mansura to oversee tax collection. While she was away from the capital, certain nobles with Jaamini launched a coup and sent assassins after her. Semiramis and her slave/lover Bashirya managed to evade them, but were shipwrecked. Eventually, after hiding with some peasants, the deposed heir managed to muster an army after securing the allegiance of the local Satrap Ardashir.
Both armies clashed when Semiramis marched on Zeheb, capital of the Amikarese Empire, fighting Jaamini’s army halfway. The Desert Winds had been stationed in the capital and so they happened to be serving Jaamini. Semiramis was the legal ruler, but she'd been accused of treason and stripped of all titles. By contrast, Jaamini had been crowned. So they fought on the side of their sovereign. True to their name, they generated powerful winds to raise columns of sand and dust, significantly reducing visibility and sowing confusion among the enemy troops. Again and again Semiramis' army was bombarded as fire rained down upon them. It seemed like her army would break, but at the climactic moment Semiramis took charge, wading into the fray herself to rally her soldiers. Her example proved inspirational and gave them heart. Combined with a well-timed charge by Ardarashir's cavalry, this turned a rout into a great victory.
Many of Jaamini's soldiers ran, though the Desert Winds and her elite guard held out. Pursued, Jaamini fled but was betrayed and murdered by some of her supporters to try and curry favour with Semiramis. As the full force of Semiramis' army was unleashed upon them the Desert Winds took heavy casualties as they were not equipped for close quarter fighting. Using lizard mounts they retreated to a better defensive position in form of a few ruins, but surrendered after receiving word of Jaamini's death. When brought before Semiramis, their commander explained his reasons for fighting against her even though she was the legal heir. Making no apology for his actions, he placed his fate in Semiramis' hands. Impressed by his honesty, the Shahbânu pardoned him and his men. By contrast, she gave Jaamini a decent burial and had her murderers beheaded, as their betrayal disgusted her.
The Desert Winds also played an important role when Semiramis was confronted by alien raiders. These slavers were a small-time off-shoot of the Corsairs in the galaxy at large. However, when their leader learned of Tygara he immediately moved there, hoping to snap up a quick collection of slaves. Despite having only three ships and less than 100 men he was confident of routing the primitives.
And so, landing near the city of Mansura in Amikarese territory, he plundered and enslaved several villages. When troops from the resident Satrap attempted to stop him the blasers and terrifying machines proved irresistible and the army was routed. Semiramis heard of these incursions and marched with an army to Mansura personally. Attempts to negotiate were met with the Qadiri ambassadors being seized and enslaved themselves. With little option, Semiramis attacked, trying to use open order tactics and multiple fronts. However, their weapons were ineffective and the terrifying space ships and advanced weapons mowed down 700 Qadiri warriors in less than an hour. Even the Desert Winds had to retreat, since they lacked the means to defend themselves effectively against blaster cannons and turbolasers. After all, even Force Barriers had their limits, especially with so much firepower being directed their way. They were also harried by speeders that far outpaced their lizard mounts.
Semiramis barely escaped and withdrew to watch whilst summoning more reinforcements. It was at this stage that she received a piece of luck. The Corsairs greedily had not left yet and celebrated their victory and tormented their captives, thinking the Qadiri were gone. Seizing her chance, the Shahbânu led a stealthy night attack, overwhelmed the sentries and attacked the Corsairs whilst they were unprepared. The Desert Winds aided her in the assault by summoning a thick sandstorm that not only reduced visiblity, but helped keep the enemy vessels grounded and made communication difficult. Meanwhile, the Anusiya attacked in melee, adapting the enemy's blasters for their own use. This, combined with arrows and knives against unarmoured enemies led to a slaughter. Only one Corsair ship escaped and eighty of the slavers were killed or captured.
However, the star people soon returned. This time a slaver fleet was destroyed in Tygara's orbit by Firemane and Eldorai warships. Firemane's arrival on Tygara came as a great shock to the native cultures there. Some saw threats, others opportunities or a mix of both. Semiramis chose to pursue a policy of accommodation, in the hope that she could use the offworlders to her nation's advantage. She did her best to present herself as a flexible, pragmatic ruler and was able to establish a connection with Firemane's leader, Siobhan Kerrigan. This came at a price, as Firemane insisted on the abolition of slavery, though practicality would make this a gradual process to avoid the economy collapsing and millions being left destitue. Conveniently, both groups soon discovered they possessed a common foe: the Xioquo. Great battles were fought, until the Drows' subterranean lair was stormed and their dark 'goddess' Mystra defeated.
The alliance between the two powers was advantageous for the Desert Winds. They received better guns, vehicles and armour. The Qadiri's primitive armour was replaced with plastoid body armour, which is the equivalent of Stormtrooper armour in function and quality. Compared to the traditional armour of Tygaran soldiers, it is highly advanced, though on the galactic level it is only basic. The very temperamental Yazgid lizard mounts have been replaced by speeders. This grants the Desert Winds greater mobility and allows them to utilise a variation of the shoot and scoot principle. Of course, lightly armoured speeders are still very vulnerable to heavy weapons. They also received training from acolytes of the Order of Firemane, Firemane's Force-using branch, so that they would be better able to cope on a modern battlefield. They played a notable role during the early stages of the assault on the Xioquo capital, when they aided Eldorai and Qadiri forces in destroying the war machines the Xioquo unleashed in the plains ahead of the Underealm. With the Shahbânu taking an interest in what lies beyond Tygara, the Desert Winds may in time be deployed beyond their homeworld.