Saturday, June 16, 2018

Amazons- The Horsewomen of the Steppe


The Amazons need little introduction, they are famous the world over.  These all women warriors roam the Steppe of Darfi, competing with the other people of that desolate region, raiding and brawling and warring endlessly over territory, horses and spoils.  However, unlike many of the other tribes that inhabit the area, the Amazons are quite famous.  This is significant, firstly because it displays how truly unique the Amazons are, but also how they are not.

But since you are here to learn about the Amazons, I will not bore you details or comparisons to other tribes.  But, some point of comparison must be established.  Firstly, like any Steppe people, the Amazons are skilled riders, archers, and herds-women.  They are proficient in these tasks in the same way that you are proficient in breathing.  They raid and fight among each other, and have little unity among themselves.  And, like all Steppe people, occasionally Amazons leave the hunting grounds of their ancestors and pour out into the civilized regions of the Earth, to plunder and loot, burning and pillaging before vanishing back into the wastes, laden with spoils and booty.

But like I said, there are differences.

Firstly, unlike any other Steppe tribe, the Amazons do not prioritize family bonds.  This is partly because they despise the idea of copulation (at least in public), but also because of the way new Amazons are recruited.  Amazons recruit new warriors in two ways.  First, if a girl is borne to them and she desires to, she may become an Amazon on her 16th birthday.  This process is always voluntary, you cannot be compelled to become an Amazon.  Even if you could, this would not be a wise idea, as slave armies tend to never work out, especially in the long run.  However, most girls borne of Amazon mothers will be taught that this is their destiny, and most accept it.  But the second way is more novel.  If a woman encounters the Amazons and impresses them, she may be allowed to join the Sisterhood.  This is the rarer of the two outcomes, and is doubly hard, not just because of its rarity, but because the Amazons are much choosier when it comes to adopting foreign women.  Thus, the women they adopt into their Sisterhood are all strong, capable and confident, and usually, but not always, young and beautiful.

So instead of relying on family bonds, Amazons rely on nepotism and favoritism.  Every Matriarch has her favorites to whom she favors.  The difference between them and a more traditional khan is that her favorites might not be her family members. Additionally, Amazon politics tend to be volatile and inscrutable to outsiders- they are in constant flux, a continuous shifting matrix of alliances, friendships and betrayals.  Additionally, since Amazons have a flat hierarchy based more on cooperation, bands of Amazons can stay together for very long times, before suddenly fracturing into dozens of smaller cliques overnight.  Skillful Matriarchs can keep a band together for years, if not decades, but ineffectual ones are begging to be overthrown, or for their subordinates to take the strongest warriors and leave.  This system is further compounded by the fact that while most bands have an executive figure in the form of the Matriarch, the Matriarch is not an imperial figure, but most rely on the Maid's Council.  This element of democracy pollutes the Amazonian political system even further, altering the dynamic between Matriarch and subject, rendering their whole system a morass of power politics and political theatre.  Avoid Amazonian politics like the plague, or you will swiftly find yourself up to your eyeballs, unable to tell which way leads back to safety.

Also, one final note on their system.  Most Amazon bands technically owe their allegiance to the Wytherton Conclave, based in the capital city of Wytherton.  This Conclave is responsible for making deals that almost all Amazons are in theory bound to. But in practice, this Conclave is toothless and has no authority beyond the boundaries of Wytherton.


State Enforced Virginity: The Maidens

Maidens are the upper-crust of Amazonian society.  They are the young, beautiful and powerful women.  They are the only class that can raise up one of their own to become Matriarch and lead a band, and when the Matriarch needs something or a pressing matter must be addressed, all the Maidens in a band come together to form the Maid's council.  Depending on the size of a band, these meetings can be quiet, informal dinners around the fire or great, shouting assemblies, a massive congress full of debate, speeches, and slightly more spear-flinging.  These meetings are further complicated by the fact that all Maidens are technically the same rank, and thus all have equal right to speak.  This means that as ineffectual as the Matriarch sometimes is, bound to the public will, the Maid's Council can be equally, if not far more dysfunctional, as only the most pressing issues that unite almost all Maidens can be heard, with the rest struggling for space.

Then to further complicate matters Maid's Councils are also the highest court in an Amazonian band, where the accused are dragged up onto the dais and questioned by any Maidens interested, before being sentenced.  The rulings presented by these courts are almost always unfair and sometimes unduly harsh, but Maid's Councils have also been known to let the clearly guilty walk free, if the Council and the Matriarch are at odds and the Matriarch wants to see the accused punished.  So if you have offended an Amazon band, you will likely be drug in front of a Maid's Council, where they will decide your fate.

Additionally, I must clarify something.  Though they are called the Maidens, the Maidens are not necessarily all Maids, having never known a man.  Instead, this statement of virginity is more a social status than a fact.  Now, Maidens are forbidden to lay with any man, and if they are caught doing this, they will demoted to Mother.  Accusations of loss of virtue are the most common cases a Maid's Council sees, and these cases are often filled with grief, raging, oaths of vengeance and occasionally, violence.  But some Maidens do lay with men, and if they do not get pregnant or caught in the act, they can sometimes escape without consequence.  Also, the Amazons do not consider other activities of the lascivious nature, such as when two women engage in sinful acts while laying together copulation, so be careful when an Amazon tells you she is a Maid still- she may well be, but her definition of maidenhood may be radically different from yours.

Finally, onto their nature.  Maidens are the strongest of the Amazons, with the exception of the Vestals, who are barely mortal to begin with.  They are stronger than almost all men, and their skill is unmatched in swordsmanship, horsemanship, and archery.  Additionally, Maidens are ageless, as long as they do not become pregnant, they will remain youthful and beautiful forever.

Amazon Maiden
HD 3  AC 13 (Shield and leathers)  Spear 1d8 or Arrow 1d6/1d6           
Mor 9   Saves 12+

Look at Me: An Amazon Maiden can take an action and call a warrior's gaze toward her.  That warrior then gets -1 to attack and damage rolls if they try and attack anyone else.  Female warriors and married Men get a save to resist, all others automatically faill their saves.

Defensive Stance: An Amazon Maiden can, as an action, take a stance that raises their AC by +4.  Once this done they can keep this up for every turn after it as a free action, until they launch an attack 

Great Strength: For purposes of STR checks and grappling, Amazon Maidens all have a STR of 16(+2)

Tactics:
- Take a defensive Stance
- Use 'Look at Me'
- Keep defending while your friends pepper your foes with arrows
- Retreat if you might die


The hated Pillar of the Band: The Mothers

One common theme running through almost all stories about Amazons is that, if you are losing, you can throw down your arms and the Amazons will let you live.  Then, almost all of these stories involve the hero being taken back to the Amazon camp, where he seduces a good-hearted virgin and she helps him escape, and he usually takes her back with him, where she fits back into his society, demonstrating how a woman's proper place is in serving and supporting her husband.  An excellent moral to teach, but unfortunately, the reality fails to live up to such simple tales.

For instance, most Amazon bands do capture prisoners and will not kill those who lay down their arms.  However, while they might take you back to your camp, they might also just steal your horses and weapons and abandon you in the middle of the desolate Steppe, leaving you to perish alone.  And if you are brought back, you are unlikely to either meet a good-hearted virgin or be sexually tormented by the Maidens' as is the common themes in such stories.  This is because Maidens fear men, because they are still women at their core, and most of them are still attracted to men.  And since laying with a man almost always leads to pregnancy, they will pass you off on the Mothers. 

For you see, if a Maiden loses her composure and lays with a man then becomes pregnant, the effects quickly become obvious.  The magical power she inherited when she first became an Amazon will suddenly begin to abate, and she will begin to age.  Additionally, her great Strength will begin to wane as well.  This Maiden is no longer such, and instead has become a Mother.

Mothers are the second largest class of Amazons, and perhaps the most vital one.  They are not as strong as Maidens and lack most of their privileges, but they perform a much more important role.  They produce new Amazons, keeping the band's population stable.  Again the stories have lied to you, for Amazons reproduce the same way that other people do.  They do not summon horrors from beneath the world or steal male babies and transform them into little girls, or any other number of perverse things you've no doubt read about.

But when an Amazon transitions from a Maiden to a Mother, there are several changes that take place.  First there are the physical ones, which I have detailed above.  But there are also the social ones.  For starters, she will be stripped of her status as Maiden, and be forever barred from becoming Matriarch or attending the meeting of the Maiden's council.  She will still be allowed to fight for a while, until her pregnancy makes such a strategy unfathomable.  But once she has given birth and recovered, Mothers are allowed to do as they wish, and are not so different from the Maidens.  Many choose to live with the man who sired their first children in pseudo-families, while others philander about, engaging in the activities so long denied them.  Some will never have any more children beyond their first, but they will still be Mothers.  This is a heavy burden to bear, as most Maidens will stop associating with them.  Sometimes this is done out of mere mean-spiritedness, but it may have another origin.  Every Mother is a reminder of a Maiden's own weakness, and how despite her current agelessness, even she will be captured by that hateful bitch Green Gaia, and even as her womb brings forth new life, Father Time will feast on her, until she's nothing more than another old Crone.

Finally, one last note.  Unlike Maidens, Mothers age normally.  A Maiden will, if she possesses sufficient willpower, can outlive generations of Mothers and Eunuchs.  But if a man lays with an Amazon and she becomes pregnant, she will age with him, as she normally would.  She will still possess some of her original pussiance, but in time, she will wither and decay, just like all mortal beings.

But until that time, and when they are not occupied with having or raising children, many Amazon Mothers still fight.

Amazon Mother
HD 2  AC 14(leathers and large shield) Sword 1d6 or Bow 1d6/1d6
Mor 7   Saves 13+

Parry: Amazon Mothers can, if successfully attacked, roll her damage dice and subtract the result from the damage dealt.  She must use a similar weapon, she cannot parry a ranged attack with a melee weapon and vice versa.  She can also step in the way of another successful attack, as long as that person is nearby her.

Waning Strength: For purposes of STR checks and grappling, Amazons Mothers have a STR of 14(+1)

Tactics:
- Stick close to the Maidens
- Shield them with your parry
- Flee if it looks like you might die


End of the Line: The Crones

All men die, and women are no exception to this rule.  When an Amazon Mother ages, assuming she doesn't die in combat or childbirth along the way, she will inevitably become a Crone.  Crones are the oldest of the Mothers, those who have weathered all of life's storms, only to be left with nothing.  But rather than respecting these venerable women, Amazons instead scorn and dismiss their elders, sending them away to Wytherton, the City of Crones, the ostensible capital of the Amazons.  However, this so called capital is little more than a place of sorrow and corpses, where the Amazons send anything the Matriarchs don't want to look at, such as useless prisoners, cursed treasures, the idols of dead Gods, and of course, their Crones.  Wytherton is said to be a terrible place, full of weeping old women, grey-haired Eunuchs, kings of smashed empires and the idols of fallen deities, a miserable city full of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But those Crones that can still prove themselves useful are sometimes permitted to remain with the band, though they are still quietly mocked by most of the Maidens and avoided by most of the Mothers, the former disregarding the Crones, the latter fearing them.  As such, many Crones live miserable lives, making thread, helping with children or assisting the  Eunuchs, or if they have the talent, becoming a Witch. 

The most famous Crones are the magic-users, and this is likely the source of that dreadful stereotype about old women being Witches or minions of the Dark Powers. 

Amazon Crone
HD 1  AC 12  Dagger 1d6
Mor 6  Saves 14+

Spellcaster.  All Crones that fight are spellcasters.  They have 1d4+1 Spellcasting Dice to work with, and all their spells are considered always prepared.

Tactics:
- Cast spells
- Stay close to the Mothers
- Avoid the Maidens

Additionally, depending on the effects of her dabbling in the arcane arts and the spells she gathers, all spellcasting Crones are different.  Roll on the following table to find out who.

Who is the Amazon Witch-Crone for this band?
1d10
1- Rebekah Stonecrusher.  If you've never seen her in action, you might wonder at the name.  She doesn't.  She wears a thick cloak and carries a bundle of fabric, ready to be thrown out onto the ground.  She doesn't fight with the Maidens or Mothers, but instead sticks near the Matriarch, and uses her spells to devastate fixed defenses.  Many enemy cities have given over hefty amounts of tribute after a dissolved gate and a few bluffs.  Rebekah knows the spells Acid Rain and Repel Stone

2- Lala Archer.  A secretive, spiteful old wench.  Trusts no one, and expects the same in return.  She would sell you out in a heartbeat if she thought it would benefit her.  She fights by using Edison's Insults to fling arrows at people.  She prefers to hide from the fighting, but despite her cowardice, her untrustworthy nature means she often finds herself accompanying bands of Maidens out on raids.  Lala knows the spells Spell Collapse, Illusion, Edison's Insult, and Elbow Block

3- Mama Gristle was not her name before, but no one remembers what her real name was.  She can't tell you either, as whatever she did to activate her latent magical talents evidentally took what was left of her mind with it.  She is utterly mad, and incredibly dangerous.  The Amazons fear her, and some are even plotting to assassinate her. Regardless of what this plot is, it will likely fail.  Mama has tangled with worse than the likes of you.  Mama Gristle knows the spells Liquefy and Edison's Insult.

4- Rachel Ashhair.  Rachel plays up her complete degradation, wearing only sackcloth and pouring dust on herself, riding only at the back of the band, and never ever drawing attention to herself.  When she fights, she pretends to be cowardly and useless, and begs for mercy if she thinks you'll offer it.  She will pretend to help in any way she can. Then, when you least expect her, she will betray her.  She is an avid collector of weapons, each one a Death Scythe created to kill a specific type of person.  She has one for kings, one for nobles, one for slaves, one for women, and one for adventurers.  Unlike other Crones, she has 5 HD and fights like a level 3 Fighter.  Rachel knows the spells Death Scythe and Grease.    

5- Rahab the Healer.  This old Crone is greatly beloved by her band, for her amazing ability to heal almost any injury.  She is endlessly gracious to her patients, but always demands something in return.  And unlike other Crones, which are content to merely survive, Rahab has plans.  Big plans.  First on the agenda is restoring her youth.  After that, maybe she will become Matriarch.  From there, who knows how big her appetite is?  Rahab knows the spells Healing Touch, Stone to Dust, and Portal.

6- Fiona Metalskin considers herself a failure.  She never had much talent for anything, except child-rearing, much to her shame.  Now an old woman, she attempted to learn sorcery, but only ever managed the one spell.  She is endlessly embarrassed by this fact, and also by the fact that some of her daughters are well liked, and thus have prevented the Council or the Matriarch from sending her away to Wytherton.  Fiona knows the spell Ounce of Prevention.   

7- Abigail Sunkiller.  Once, to prove her worth to a Maiden's Council, she darkened the sun in the middle of the day.  The spell only worked for the immediate radius, but no one, least of all Abigail told the Council that.  As such, Abigail has been retained as a Witch, in spite of her diminishing strength.  Other Amazons regard her with superstitious dread, and are very respectful toward her. Abigail knows the spells Freezing Wind, Incapacitating Grip, and Dimmer Punch

8- Leah Fireheart.  Leah is a brilliant strategist, known for not only her own personal power, but also for how she expertly uses her magicks to benefit the band.  She is famous for the time when she was younger for when she fought off three Wizards, all male, according to the story, and defeated them in a magical duel. In truth, one of the Wizards was a woman, and she killed two of them with her bow.  Leah knows the spells Fireball, Overdrive, Spell Deflection, and Invisibility

9- One-Eye Eliza.  Eliza is blind, as both of her eyes were put out when she was younger. But she endured, despite this, and now accompanies the Matriarch wherever she goes as a "Seer".  Eliza uses her spells to give people visions and make them see things to convince them she is a prophet.  She uses this to trick people and get better deals for the Matriarch.  The Matriarch knows that this is the case, but will pretend not to.  Eliza knows the spells Invisibility, Illusion, and Blinding Halo.  
     
10- Bad Moon Catherine.  She was born under a blood-red moon, and the other omens around her birth were equally grim.  As such, she was abandoned in the woods.  In a baetter world, she would have died there.  Instead she was adopted by a passing Amazon Maiden who figured adoption was a much better option than the blood and fuss of pregnancy.  And that Amazon raised her well, and sicne then, Bad Moon Catherine has terrorized all around her with her fell magicks and her milky white eyes.  Catherine knows the spells Baleful Moon and Freeze Ray.  


Old Mother Earth: The Vestals

Now, from the ancient and over, let us move to the opposite side of the spectrum, to the eternal and vital.  Vestals are what happens when the Witch-Crones, at the behest of their Matriarch summon a primal spirit of rage and fertility, and bind it to an otherwise normal woman.  This process is dangerous and occasionally fatal to all involved.  But when it works, it gives birth to a Vestal.  Vestals are terror-commandos, shock troops powered by the ancient power of wood and stem and stone.  They are completely illogical and implacable.  They owe absolute loyalty to the Witch-Crone who created it and to the Matriarch it is sworn to, and respect other Amazons, but they cannot be reasoned with.  This is the one trait that all Vestals are known for.  Unfortunately, the other trait all Vestals are known for is their dangerous attacks on men.  Any man who appears before a Vestal has a chance of being viciously attacked and torn to shreds.  Additionally, in some unlucky cases, these poor men are also brutally raped by the Vestal before it kills them, for reasons known only to the Vestal.  As such, most Vestals walk around blind-folded or in a haze of opium smoke, being lead by young girls or an expendable Crone.  Men who must approach near a Vestal are encouraged to cross-dress, douse themselves in perfume and speak in falsetto voices.  Even if your disguise is slap-dash and last minute, it still might enough to stop the Vestal from recognizing your masculine nature, as they are not known for their sterling skills of deduction.

Most Amazon bands usually have only one Vestal, if they have one at all.  Other, larger band may have upwards of 1d4 Vestals.  To see what kind of Vestal this band has, roll on the table below.

How Intelligent is this Vestal?
1d6
1-2: The Vestal is little more than a beast, entirely consumed with its base desires to fight, fuck and eat.  It regards the current Matriarch and the Witch-Crones who created it as supernatural beings worthy of unconditional love and worship.  However, if the current leadership perished, it might not extend its feelings to the next leader.
3-5: The Vestal is slightly more intelligent than a smart dog.  It can mimick speech and mannerisms, and does not fly into a rage at the sight of a man.  It can control itself, and understands the concept of a changing leadership.  That said, it is still quite stupid, and easily distracted by attractive men, tasty food, shiny objects, strange noises or cute things.  It will still kill and assault men if it feels it can get away with it, but not if it feels it might be scolded for it.
6: The Vestal is too smart for its own good.  It can speak haltingly, and possesses a strange, illogical code of conduct that it rigidly adheres to.  This one is not long for this world, as the Matriarch will likely try and have it assassinated, especially if it disobeys an order or employs creativity when it comes to fulfilling a vaguely worded one.

How strong is this Vestal?
1d6
1- 1d6 HD
2- 1d4+1 HD
3- 1d3+2
4- 1d2+4
5- 1d6+2
6- 1d8 HD 

What Vestal does the Matriarch have to sic on you?
1d10
1- Naked, runs around on all fours.  Barks like a dog.  Fights with teeth.  Accompanied wherever she goes by a pack of feral bitches.  And before you ask, the dog kind.
2- Wears a tattered wedding dress splattered with blood, mud and other things.  Wears a veil over her face.  Whenever the veil is lifted, she is revealed to have a Glasgow smile that goes from ear-to-ear, and a mouth that can open wide enough to swallow someone's whole head.  That's how she prefers to kill, by luring you close then biting off your head.
3- Dressed in a party dress.  Invites you to participate in tea parties, eat fancy meals with her, and dance with her.  Doesn't really understand these things, as these are all things she half-remembers overhearing from the Maiden's conversations.  Any acts of rudeness will be met with gratuitous violence.
4- Wears a steel collar and has manacles around each arm, each one trailing a broken chain.  Fears whips and must save or refuse to attack someone with one, and on a failure will flee.  On a success, however, she attacks that person with no regard for anything else until she tears them apart. 
5- Has a child's body.  Will pretend to be a normal child to lure you close, then she'll tear out your throat.
6- Loves cute and soft things.  Puppies, children, babies, soft hair and the like.  If a man is sufficiently cute, she might not even kill him.  Maybe.
7- Is ancient, impossibly old.  Her touch ages you on contact, and as she does, she regains her youth.  But this absorbed time never lasts, and soon she is back to her ancient self.
8- Is Vampiric.  Can only come out at night.  Has Vampiric powers, such as sucking blood, climbing up walls and clinging to ceilings, Freezing Touch and Space Ripper Stingy Eyes.  Carried around in a locked coffin during the day.
9- Eats people.  She fights with vicious hooked claws and uses these to tear away gibbets of flesh.  Is a cannibal, and eating intelligent beings heals her.  She saves the most important bits of the body and shrinks them, wearing them on her belt for good luck.  Among these important bits you will find shrunken heads, strings of hands and mummified penises.
10- Has large, glossy wings.  Can use these to fly.  Fights with a beautiful, jeweled sword.  Her swordsmanship is impeccable, and occasionally she whispers to herself in a language unknown to anyone but herself. 


Perhaps the Luckiest Men on Earth: The Eunuchs  

The Eunuchs is the name given to them by outsiders, the Amazons don't seem to have a formal name for them.  After all, why would they?  They aren't Amazons.  Instead, the Matriarch of each particular band will refer to them collectively by whatever name seems most reasonable to her- the boys, the men, my sons, etc, however, I will use Eunuchs to describe them, for ease of discussion.  The Eunuchs are the male hanger-ons of the Amazons, as even an all female band can find men useful every once and while.  The treatment of the Eunuchs is often described in stories as well, but usually these only depict two options, where the men are either subordinated to the men in some grotesque parody of how men and women are supposed to interact to show how Amazons are living sinful lives, or the Eunuchs are instead mercilessly teased and tormented for their love of the fairer sex, so the artist has an excuse to depict the Amazon's rampant, yet alluring sexuality.  But while surely these bands of Amazons do exist, they are not the norm.

Instead, the treatment of the Eunuchs and their role in the band varies greatly from band to band and Matriarch to Matriarch. Some bands subordinate them to the Amazons and act as a slave caste, while others allow the Eunuchs to fight alongside the Amazons as auxillaries.  Additionally, while the stereotype of the Eunuch is of a young man trying to win the favor of a beautiful woman, the Eunuchs also include other people the Amazons bring along with them, such as children, older Eunuchs who are now no good for anything, prisoners of war, and occasionally, women who are traveling with the Amazons but don't want to become Amazons as well.  Additionally, when the band stops to rest for the night, the Maidens sequester themselves away from the Mothers, and the Mothers from the Crones.  But where do the Crones go?  Why, they go to the Eunuchs, who help and care for them.  Pregnant Mothers are also sometimes included in their number, until their children have been born and they are back in fighting shape.

To see how the Amazons treat the Eunuchs, roll on the table below.  Also note that while this result will most likely apply to most of the men in the Eunuchs, there may be exceptions.  Even if all other Eunuchs are forbidden to fight, maybe one is permitted to, because he is an absolute genius.  Or maybe if most of the Eunuchs do fight, the Matriarch has a perfumed, hairless young man in her tent, waiting for her to come back.

What do these Amazons do with their Men?
1d6
1- Eunuchs are slaves, forbidden to bear arms.  Instead they handle all business the Amazons find beneath them.
2- Eunuchs are slaves, but they allowed to fight alongside the Amazons.
3- Eunuchs are second-class to the Amazons, but otherwise free to stay or go, fight or do something else.
4- Eunuchs are made to care for children, cook, clean, and do other traditionally feminine in a hilarious and inaccurate parody of marriage (as most Amazons have only heard of marriage from stories by disgruntled mercenaries or scorned women). 
5- Expected to conform to Amazon custom, but otherwise unmolested.
6- They have no Eunuchs, and this band is only composed of Maidens, Mothers and Vestals.  They may also have not Crones, as they couldn't keep up with the fast pace the Matriarch wanted.

If the Eunuchs don't fight, they are 1 HD commoners.

If they do fight:

Eunuch Retainer
HD 1  AC 14  Bow and Arrow 1d6/1d6
Mor 7  Saves 13+

Tactics:
- Ride around on horseback
- Avoid direct contact
- Don't steal the glory for yourself     


The Warband

The vast size of the Steppe that they roam and the flat hierarchy of the Amazons means that if you are traveling through their territory, you are likely to encounter dozens of smaller bands, all slightly unique.  So while certain larger bands are famous and unique enough to maybe get their own posts, you can use the tables below along with the ones above for Vestals, Witch-Crones and Eunuchs to quickly generate some smaller bands.

How large* is this band?

1d4
1- 1d20*1d10 Amazons
2- 1d20*1d20 Amazons
3- 1d10*1d100 Amazons
4- 1d20*1d100 Amazons

*This number does not include non-Amazons such as Eunuchs, children, slaves and etc.

What are they called?


Who is their leader?
1d10
1- Eve Steelfist.  Is actually pregnant.  Is still managing to keep up appearances, but she cannot let anyone know.  If so, she would likely be stripped of her position and probably killed.
2- Cayly Stoneheart.  Is lovesick.  A young man proposed to her, but she laughed him off.  However, she is now regretting it.  She is looking for that man to beg his forgiveness, as she is pretty sure she loved him.  However, she is not going to tell anyone this, and will deny it.
3- Nia.  Is an inexperienced girl.  She was appointed by an overbearing Maid's Council, after the last Matriarch got too uppity.  She knows how insecure her position is, and resents the Council for it. 
4- Veronica Hotflash. A hot-blooded warrior.  Wants to prove herself and raise hell.  Good intentioned, but likely to make some colossal mistake, or be tricked by some simple gambit, and doom her whole band.
5- Yara de Cal.  A recent adopted Amazon.  Before she was a bandit king's lover, but when he was captured by the authorities, she managed to escape.  The Amazons recruited her, and know nothing of this.  Right now, she is plotting her revenge on the people who harmed her lover.
6- Ashane, the Iron Bitch.  A genius.  The Maid's Council is helpless before this ancient warrior, who rules with an iron fist.  This would be a problem, if not for the fact that she was also eternally competent at both war and diplomacy.  You've never met this woman before, and you'll likely never meet anyone like her ever again.  Expect her to rope you into doing her dirty work then reward you with a kiss on the cheek, and you'll feel like you got the better end of the deal when you walk away.
7- Marissa Bloodrain.  A bloodthirsty maniac.  If she was a man, they would have hung her.  But because she was a man, they thought to spare her. So when she escaped and ran into the wilderness, they thought themselves rid of her.  How wrong they were.  However many Amazons she has under her command right now, it is not enough.  She plans to first rid herself of a few troublesome fools, then start expanding.  Once she has pieced together a sufficiently large warband, she means to attack her old homeland, and make those merciful fools wish they hung her at the crossroads.
8- Charity Agapos.  A convert.  Unlike other Amazons, who worship the smaller spirits of the desolate Steppe and the forsaken Mountains, this Matriarch worships a God of civilization, of law and order, taxes and civil services.  And not only that, this deity also happens to be male.  As such, her days are numbered.  She was appointed Matriarch and thought about refusing, and now realizes her error.  Members of the Maid's Council are onto her, she is sure of it.  She needs to throw them off her trail or flee.
9- Pia Noir.  A mole.  A black, forbidden cult worshiping some terrible God was once prolific in a nation bordering the Darfi Plains.  The cult itself was driven from the cities, but it still lingers on in isolated hamlets and the wilderness.  Even now, this cult plans on overtaking the nation they once ruled, and seizing the mantle of authority for themselves once more.  To accomplish this task, some female members were dispatched to join the Amazons, on the condition that they rise to positions of power and bring back an army of foreign women to aid the Cultists.  Since then, the cult itself has withered, and its leaders have resigned themselves to never returning to their former glory.  But the mole doesn't know any of this, and is returning to fulfill her end of the bargain, her warband in tow.
10- Yrachzi, I mean Ilena Sunhair.  A shapeshifter.  I'm not an Amazon, I'm not even a woman.  I killed this woman and took her form, and now I am hiding in plain sight, pretending to be her.  But the memories I absorbed from her brain, they are starting to fade.  I can't remember important things, things that I once knew.  Before I totally forget who I am supposed to be, I need to cause a big enough disruption and escape.  If I am discovered, I will likely be killed.


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