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The Black Company Campaign Setting

Written by Damien

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Chapter Four
Chapter 4 presents the all-new classes of the Black Company setting. Since the standard D&D classes just wouldn't fit a Black Company game, Green Ronin devised a whole list of new classes (some of which are heavily based on core D&D classes). This chapter also opens by explaining the use of Action Points in a Black Company game.

The new classes are as follows; Academician, Berserker, Fighter, Jack-of-All-Trades, Noble, Ranger, Scout, Thief, Weapon Master, Wizard, and Zealot.

All of the classes seem slightly more powerful than a core D&D class. For example, the Fighter gains his normal bonus feats, plus extra action points and a new first level ability called 'Command.' The power level difference is negligible but present. All the classes are really good, and there's something here for everyone. And best of all, there's only one spellcasting class, as befitting a low-magic, gritty setting.

The chapter ends by discussing how other classes (the D&D core classes, and other base classes published in products by Green Ronin) would act, and how well they would fit, in a Black Company game. What it comes down to is that you can freely have fun with non-spellcasting classes, but a spellcasting class from another source will invariably be screwed in a Black Company game.

Chapter Five
New rules for skills are presented in chapter 5. This includes everything from changes to the Perform and Knowledge skills (and more), to adding completely new skills. The new mundane skills are Command and Research - both excellent skills that fit the setting, not to mention many other settings. This chapter also introduces 'magic skills.' In the Black Company setting, magic is controlled via these skills, and is extremely open-ended. You don't just cast a spell like everyone else in the world of the Black Company. Instead, you create a magical effect and then change and adapt it to create the desired spell. That will be discussed more in the magic chapter, however. This chapter just gives an overview of the skills that govern magic use.

On that note, that's the biggest issue I have with this entire book. The magic skills should have been saved for the chapter dealing with magic. The current layout is simply confusing, as you can read the skills, but you have no idea what you'd do with them until later. The entire thing would have been easier to follow if the skills had been placed with the rest of the rules for spellcasting.

Chapter Six
Feats and nothing but. Now, I'm biased. I love feats and think they're one of the best things to happen to D&D's 3rd edition. With that said, this book has a bunch of cool feats, including a list of Epic Level Feats (from the Epic Level Handbook by Wizards of the Coast) that can be used in this setting, and two new kinds of feats; Command feats, and Magic feats. There are just under 60 feats in this chapter, so I'll only mention some of the ones I really liked.

Armour Focus reduces your armour check penalty and increases your Maximum Dexterity Bonus.

Defy Time is a magic feat that allows you to literally stop aging.
Hard To Kill allows you to roll twice, taking the better result, when rolling to avoid death by massive damage.

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