Bannermen in service to their lord; wandering sellswords looking to trade their martial prowess for a bit of coin; feral wildlings tearing into their enemies with tooth and dagger — these are but a few of the types of Men-at-arms to be found across the Seven Kingdoms. They form the core of any lord’s army, and find work across the continent in city watches and castle guards.
There is a marked difference between a trained warrior and a peasant forced to pick up a sword to defend his or her home. One fights because he or she has no choice, while to the Man-at-arms it is a profession. Men-at-arms may be known by many names across the Seven Kingdoms — sellswords, freeriders, adventurers, marauders, or soldiers. They can be found in every town and castle, using their strength and skill to advance themselves through life.
Wars, insurrections, hunting criminals, and playing at tournaments are the common professions of the Man-at-arms. Many Men-at-arms use their skills to help maintain order in the land, whether they are members of a city watch or just concerned citizens in small frontier towns. Even Men-at-arms turned brigands are still welcomed on the Wall, where the Night’s Watch can make use of every available sword arm it can obtain.
Men-at-arms are the most common soldiers in the Seven Kingdoms. They master many different weapons, and most are as comfortable fighting in armour as without it. As Men-at-arms gain experience, they are better able to command others in battle and to keep track of everything that happens in the fog of war. Prowess at arms can get a Soldier far in life, but the ability to command others can help a Man-at-arms transcend his or her birth and achieve new heights of success.
Men-at-arms come from all walks of life, from the lowliest of smallfolk to the noble bannerman. Both men and women can be trained at swordplay by a variety of teachers, each imparting a unique style of fighting that can then be passed on. Some are trained from birth to become knights, learning to joust and fi ght in grand melees. Others learn the back-alley arts of streetfighting in order to survive in the harsh underworld of the city.
All of the houses of the Seven Kingdoms have many uses for Men-at-arms, from the sellswords that accompany their armies and caravans to the loyal house watch that guard their castle walls. Men-at-arms can become trusted advisors and loyal friends to the noblemen that they protect.