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Freedom Riders

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The Freedom Riders were the military forces organized by Randal Morn to expel the Zhentarim from Daggerdale. After victory in 1369 DR, they became the official army of the dale.


Randal Morn had been fighting for Daggerdale's liberty since 1339 DR, when he was a young man of about sixteen winters. Gathering a small band of outcasts, he formed the Freedom Riders, a rebel force whose single goal was to overthrow the Zhentarim-sponsored government that had ruled Daggerdale since 1316 DR.

Their numbers increased to a hundred in the early 1350 DRs. About half of them were cavalrymen who fought on horseback; the rest were mounted infantrymen who could quickly dismount and fight on foot. Being mounted provided them with the mobility to strike at Zhent-controlled hamlets hard and fast. As a guerrilla-style unit, the Freedom Riders never established a permanent headquarters, but they often used Castle Daggerdale and the surrounding hills as a base of operations.

Their numbers increased steadily over the next few years as Randal and his officers, Lord Ariton Delmis and the ranger Mestin Durmark, went from hamlet to hamlet seeking support from the masses. Peasants and noblemen alike fought under his flag. Since most of these people did not own horses, however, and could not be provided one by the Riders, the creation of an infantry unit became essential. Some of the mounted infantry became regular footmen, but most of them trained to become true cavalrymen. Perhaps the most important development during this expansion period, however, was the addition of the mounted crossbowmen. They provided the Riders with a fast and powerful unit capable of both hit-and-run maneuvers and open battlefield missile support.

By the mid-1360 DRs, the Riders' strength had almost doubled, and included fifty or so mercenaries and volunteer troops from Mistledale and Shadowdale. About half the Riders' total were infantrymen. Unlike the cavalry, though, which somewhat depended on great numbers, the infantry had become too large to manage, and so were divided between Mestin and her former lieutenant, Reiner Trall.

By the time of Randal's disappearance prior to the battle for Dagger Falls in 1369 DR, the Riders had peaked at a maximum strength of about 210 soldiers and mercenaries. During the days leading up to the battle, however, their numbers swelled to more than 500, possibly even 600, as volunteers poured in from every corner of the dale and beyond.

The organizational structure of the Freedom Riders remained virtually unchanged since Daggerdale achieved its independence.




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