Gamers' Corner


The Black Company Campaign Setting

Written by Damien

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Chapter Ten
Chapter 10 is all about magic. How to cast spells, how to modify spells, and everything else you could possibly want to know about being a spellcaster in the world of the Black Company. It would be impossible to accurately describe the spellcasting mechanics without writing an entire review on just the spellcasting system. That being said -- the rules are fairly complex. New gamers, or gamers not used to playing spellcasters, shouldn't make their first Black Company character a spellcaster. Even Game Master's should be advised to only use spellcasters when it's plot-driven, the casting is just too complex to have random spellcasters as villians.

However, that is not to say the spellcasting system is bad. It's incredibly good - just complex, not to mention extremely unique and innovative. Players that enjoy spellcasters in other games will love the freedom of Black Company casters. The only exception is that magic is, by and large, too time-consuming to be attempted during combat, so players should remain aware of that.

Chapter Eleven
Chapter 11 discusses the various concerns of running a Black Company game, including styles of play and the different aspects of running a company of soldiers. New rules for sanity (and thus, insanity) are also presented. Different timelines you can set your game in get full coverage, as well as a few variant rules and concepts. There's also a section in this chapter called the Glittering Stone - which discusses how planar travel can effect the Black Company campaign, including Elves showing up, or an incursion of Yuan-Ti. Basically, The Glittering Stone hast he potential to tie together standard D&D with this alternate setting.

Chapter Twelve
Prestige classes. I'm a firm believer that there should be something really prestige about prestige classes. I also believe there should be a reason an entire class was chosen to represent a concept, rather than feats and skill choices. Bearing that in mind, the prestige classes presented here are: Artificer, Deciever, Great General, Nightstalker, Oracle, The Spirit Shaman, Siege Engineer, Sword Master, Topkick, and Veteran.

The artificer makes sense, being a sort of specialized wizard that crafts magical objects.

The deceiver strikes me as a rather useless class just as easily played out with the thief, some clever uses of skills, and a feat here or there. However, as a five-level class, it's not a big deal.

The great general is another five-level class that gives up a fighter's base attack bonus for more abilities related to commanding armies and more skill points.

The nightstalker is essentially an even better thief, and strikes me as a bit powerful for a class with multiple abilities at each level and two good saves. Some thief-specific feats would have been preferrable than an entire class.

The oracle is just confusing. I'm still waiting to know exactly what is 'prestige' about an oracle. This seems a better fit as a type of background and background-related feats or skill-uses. It has prophecy-related abilities at almost every level, three good saves, and the worst attack bonus.

The spirit shaman is a type of druid - a combination of a nature-lover and a wizard. It functions well as a 10-level prestige class, and a shift for wizard characters.
The siege engineer is is pretty cool with a full attack bonus, one good save, and abilities all related to ripping fortifications apart.

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