The Purple Dragons of Cormyr are the standing army and main defence force for that realm. They act as police, army, and border force, all under the strict control and financing of the Crown, allowing Cormyr to have a strong centralised government.
Like most kingdoms, the King of Cormyr has always had a large military force devoted to the protection of himself, his family, and his personal estates. However, the creation of a national armed force completely controlled by a King is something of an oddity in Faerun and is only possible through the large amounts of wealth possessed by the Royal House of Obarskyr, and the unwavering support of the related Royal Houses of Crownsilver, Huntsilver, and Truesilver.
The name Purple Dragons, as applied to a military force, was first used in 432 DR; the Year of the Sea Princes, when King Duar stole into Dheolar (modern: Suzail) accompanied by twenty of his best knights (including the later ennobled Lord “Firetongue” Haubrynton so named for his flaming sword), and slew Magrath the Minotaur. The King and his knights were known as the Purple Dragons and renowned throughout the realm. Since that time the armed forces of Cormyr were known as the Purple Dragons of Cormyr
Cormyr’s national army had its origins in the war with the Witch Lords of the Wyvernwater. In 900 DR; the Year of the Thirsty Sword, King Galaghard amassed the greatest army the kingdom of Cormyr had ever seen, it was called the Glory of Cormyr, and with it he drove back and defeated the Witch Lords and their monstrous forces.
Following that war, the Crown maintained a large standing army (prior to that most military actions were fought using hired mercenaries paid for by the nobility who preferred to keep their own troops to defend their homes), and the Purple Dragons of Cormyr grew to become the military wonder of Faerun.
Only once since 900 DR has any other name been applied to the Purple Dragons; In 1286 DR when Salember claimed the Crown for himself (refusing to abdicate in favour of Crown Prince Rhigaerd upon his coming of age), he dismissed the most loyal of the Purple Dragons and created a new army known as the Red Dragons of Cormyr. The “retired” Purple Dragons joined with Rhigaerd and fought for their true King, reclaiming the Crown and their name.
Headquarters: Cormyr, Suzail, Citadel of the Purple Dragon
Leader: Lord High Marshal
Symbol: A purple dragon facing forward with wings unfurled
The Purple Dragons have the following ranks from lowest to highest; Blade (Private), Telsword otherwise known just as Sword (Corporal), First Sword (Sergeant), Sword Captain (Lieutenant), Lionar (Captain), Ornrion (Major), Constal (Colonel), Oversword (Major General), Battlemaster (Lieutenant General), Lord High Marshal (General). The Lord High Marshal is a Court title and is appointed by the King himself.
Dogma / Motivation / Goals
The Purple Dragons are charged with the defence of the realm of Cormyr. This requires them to patrol the borders to keep out threats, to guard the Crown and its assets, to police the Royal Word and protect the citizens of Cormyr, and in times of war to form an army to fight for the Royal House of Obarskyr.
Membership / Recruiting
The Purple Dragons are the primary defence force of the realm of Cormyr, acting as the army, navy, border control, and police force all in one.
Not every member of the Purple Dragons is a full time professional soldier. Those that are classed as professional soldiers, form the core of the Purple Dragon membership, some 4,000 strong. These soldiers are all veteran members, having been blooded in at least four battles, and they receive the best armament and training. The soldiers generally rotate between guard duty at important locations (High Horn, the Royal Court and Royal Palace in Suzail, etc) and between patrolling the countryside and border regions to keep down monstrous and bandit presence.
When a person first joins the Purple Dragons, they do so on a “Short Sword”, a term of service 3 years in length, with the possibility to extend to 5 years. During this time, these Short Swords perform a variety of duties in the militia of various cities such as non-essential guard duty (gates, outposts, sites of local government), and also serve alongside veteran units to gain combat experience. Those that serve with distinction are offered the “Long Sword” and become part of the veteran, professional soldiery of the Purple Dragons.
The remaining members of the Purple Dragons are the part time members that make up the majority of the militia in settlements. These members are rotated onto service at least one tenday a month, or 3 months continual service a year (up to the individual), and when on active duty they perform Watch duties mostly. The Crown may call any part time members of the Purple Dragons into active service as needed.
Joining the Purple Dragons is simple enough, there are hiring fairs where the Purple Dragons often have representatives, alternatively any Local Lord or Crown official will be able to direct potential candidates to a recruiting officer. Once an oath is signed the recruit embarks upon a 3 month training regime where their capabilities and loyalties are assessed. After the training period is complete they are offered a term of service, the “Wooden Sword” (for part time positions in the local militia and the Watch), the “Short Sword” (for those candidates showing promise but needing further development), and the “Long Sword” (for those candidates suitable for a permanent career in the military).
Purple Dragons are paid 1 copper thumb per day per rank, with an additional 1 silver falcon per day per rank for those days of confirmed combat duty or dangerous assignments (including patrols in the Stonelands). Room and board is provided for all active Purple Dragons (those with the Wooden Sword of service are only active for one tenday a month or 3 months continual service in a year), all standard equipment is also provided free of charge.
Uniforms: Uniforms in the Purple Dragons are made by a number of Crown Badge (they own a Royal Warrant giving them permission) tailors (26 in total). Warcoats dress (otherwise known as battledress) consists of their armour and weapons plus a white surcoat bearing the emblem of a dragon with wings unfurled (coloured purple). Unit emblems are held on the shoulder and back of the surcoat. Rank insignia are small and line the left breast, noble or court rank and Purple Dragon rank are signalled separately. Cavalry surcoats are longer than those of infantry.
Fancycoats is the dress uniform of the Purple Dragons that may or may not include the armour (only dress swords are permitted at official functions, and special permission is required to wear dress swords at private revels). Fancycoats also includes a sash (left shoulder to right hip) in purple that holds pins and medals for any special awards, and a halfcloak also in purple.
All purple coloured items of Warcoats or Fancycoats are coloured royal blue for members of the Blue Dragons.
Retirement: There are a large number of former Purple Dragons still living in Cormyr. These former military personnel are given land and an annual pension (unless they are disabled by service in which case they receive no land and a smaller pension, but have a permanent residence in the retirement fortress of Daunthers), the size of which depends upon the term of service. This leaves most former members well disposed to the Crown of Cormyr and more than willing to be recalled into service to defend it should the situation warrant it (they Grey Dragons are rarely used but have served a vital role in the defence of Cormyr in ages past).