Jiral's War Chariots
Your group is travelling along the southwest road, heading through the Empire of Quempo on your way to the Kaldross Pass when you see them. At first, all you see is a cloud of dust thrown up on the horizon. Your group is probably a little too curious for its own good, and you begin to approach. As you get closer, you begin to hear screeches and yells coming from the dust cloud. You catch glimpses of cart-like vehicles pulled by horses whirling a central creature. The creature is thrashing and whipping around in the middle, and you watch one of the creature's appendages fly out and knock both of the people from one cart, causing it to careen out of the dust cloud towards you. The cart is drawn by two large brown horses. The vehicle is rather small, only big enough for its two former riders and strapped-on quiver of colourful arrows. The large spoked wheels of the vehicle drive through the packed dust of the Wild Wastes with ease, the horses keeping them from sinking too easily. The front of the cart is only tall enough that the lower half of someone's body would be protected; the rest would be easily to hit, judging by the two fallen riders. As the dust cloud begins to settle down and the monster stop thrashing, the horses drawing the chariots (and you now recognize them as chariots) begin to calm down. The drivers, some bloodied and bruised, others proud with dark green blood dripping from their spears. They introduce themselves as the Chasers, the elite guard force of the city of Jiralhold. You've heard of them from stories, but it's another thing to see the elite charioteers in person.
ConstructionA couple of specialized carpenters in the capital of Kwinan produce these fine vehicles, making a new chariot every few days between the two of them. At that point, a pair of trained warhorses are paired to the chariot. Then the ensemble is shipped off to Jiralhold, where the warriors that will ride in the chariot await. A chariot is built of lightweight wood, with the ability to disassemble and reassemble the whole for easy transport. The wheels of the chariot are spoked, as large wooden wheels are too heavy for the dusty and sandy ground of the Wild Wastes. After arriving in Jiralhold, many riders paint or customize their chariots, choosing distinctive colours and attaching quivers or spearholders to the inside of the cabin.
Armaments and DefenceChariot riders quickly learn that short and/or bludgeoning weapons are nearly useless at the speeds of a chariot, so many learn how to use piercing weapons or slashing weapons to do damage to enemies. Spears, javelins, bows and Kaharian scimitars are common choices for Chasers and other chariot riders in Jiralhold. As mentioned previously, some charioteers carry shields. These are commonly large tower shields instead of small bucklers; as discussed above, their goal is to deflect as many missiles as possible.
History and Cultural ImpactThe Emperor Jiral II is the believed creator of The Chaser's Reward and therefore the charioteering corps. That is why the line of chariots bears his name. His lead engineer, a weddelar by the name of Corrin Dungwail is believed to have made the first chariot of this type, and even modern chariot-makers take inspiration from Dungwail's early designs. While charioteering has been a large part of the culture of Jiralhold since before the Five-Hundred-Day Fire, the empty wasteland of the Wild Wastes that followed that event made charioteering popular. The lightweight vehicles made it simple to travel over the sandy dunes and dusty wastes quickly without sinking, which made it desirable. It wasn't long before the guards and monster-hunters of Jiralhold were all riding chariots to get around the region.
Unique to the town of Jiralhold.
1.7-1.8 metres wide.
1.4-1.5 metres long.
1.6-1.8 metres tall
55-60 km/h at most
UpkeepDue to the fact that dust gets everywhere in the Wild Wastes, the spoked wheels have to be greased regularly to prevent them from grinding and snapping. The same is true for the main axles of the cart. The horses driving the cart have to be fed and watered regularly so they can continue to travel through the harsh conditions of the Wastes without losing their effectiveness. Regular repairs and re-paintings are also normal for these vehicles.
CrewEach chariot has two or three passengers, depending on the size and use of the chariot. One person of this crew is always the driver; this person holds the reins and controls the horses. In the heat of battle, expert use of the horses is essential. The other one or two will be warriors of some kind; they carry the weapons and be the actual soldiers of the chariot. In chariots with three people, and when the squadron might be going against enemies with significant ranged weaponry, the third one will often carry a shield to deflect attacks and defend the melee fighters aboard.
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