Monday, May 5, 2014

Chernye Klobuki - the Black Hoods

The Chernye Klobuki or "Black Hoods" were a mercenary force that can be used as "Swords for Hire" in the Saga game. They are an upgrade to the 'Steppe Tribes' in the Rus Princes faction. Who were they and what can they bring to the Saga game...?

A hardened unit of Black Hoods from the Gripping Beast Range!

You can find a link to these great looking models here.... link.


The Chernye Klobuki ("Black Hoods") were a semi-nomadic mercenary force who fought for the Rus Princes. They performed the role of light cavalry.

Up to the 10th Century, the Rus were a mainly infantry force. The need for more cavalry became more prominent in the 11th Century. This lead the Rus to look to the Steppe Tribes for a light horse addition to their forces.

As the Rus looked to expand into the grasslands to the south and south-east they came across the armies of the Turks and Mongols who were better suited to these conditions.

This meant that the Chernye Klobuki were the ideal choice for the Rus to use in these conditions to even up the fight.

In the 12th Century, the Rus cavalry were from two branches, the heavier Druzhina lance-armed cavalry and the lighter Horse-archers, probably in the main the Chernye Klobuki.


When it comes to practical dress the Black Hood would probably wear short mail shirts, split to aid riding. These would have been lighter than the Rus Nobles they found themselves working and fighting closely with. The Black Hood would have stirrups that were shorter, a whip used rather than spurs and more likely an asiatic helmet. The Standard Bearer would have worn a taller more fluted helm with a face mask. He may have worn a lamellar cuirass beneath a decorated tunic in the later (12thC) period.

If you are interested in the History of the Rus I recommend that you read a copy of the Osprey book Men-at-Arms 333 Armies of Medieval Russia 750-1250AD

Saga abilities:

The Black Hoods build on the Steppe Nomad abilities and form a unique part of the Rus Prince faction.

The Rus Princes' can upgrade a unit of Steppe Nomads further to Chernye Klobuki (the 'Black Hoods') for an extra point.

In addition to all of the abilities of Steppe Nomads (see here for a link to the Sagatapestry article) this special unit also gain the following advantages...

Firstly they no longer count as Levies they count as Warriors.

As a result of this "upgrade" they generate the following abilities:

The unit creates one Saga dice.

They get an armour of 4 (3 versus shooting).

In melee combat they generate one Attack dice each.

For the purposes of activation and using Saga abilities they count as Hearthguard (Druzhina).


The Black Hoods make a formidable unit capable of free and fast movement. They can be activated much more easily than Levies or Warriors.

In shooting they are very accurate and if called to fight in combat they have more attacks and better armour than Levies.

The Saga dice generated gives them a feel more like Warriors or Hearthguard. Being able to fire off a "javelin" like shooting attack at the start of and activation and also then run off is a good option.

Finally, the option to go into combat as Warriors with access to Hearthguard abilities make them very special indeed.

They will cost you two points for 8 men and give one Saga dice. In some ways they are almost as good as two units of Hearthguard fielded as one in the game but on the downside are a little vulnerable in hand to hand combat.



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