Domains At War: The Black Company

In which some light re-re-re-rereading of Glen Cook’s classic is used to guess what the Black Company would look like in ACKS/D@W:

It seems on it’s face to be a neat way to run a campaign.


This is actually something I’ve been thinking about (setting up a campaign as a mercenary company a la The Black Company or a mercenary version of the Bridgeburners).

So I am interested to read this!

I just started a reread of the Malazan series to see where I could pick out Domains At War rules.

I’d just finished Joe Abercrombie’s First Law (and the subsequent three standalones) and there’s a lot of ACKSable stuff in there.

First Law trilogy - a standing of the ‘fellowship quest’ on it’s head

Best Served Cold - mercenary revenge

The Heroes - a story about D@W Heroic Forays (no, seriously)

Red Country - a western, like, you can smell the sagebrush. It’s worth reading the previous 5 books just to get here.

And, additionally, if I was to run something like this, I’d make the Captain and Lieutenant very nebulous entities and have them been the agents of the player’s will to drive the company’s (and game’s) direction, then have the players at the “Sergeant” level.

My thought was to have them as NPCs who pay a lot of attention to the opinions of their sergeants (that is, the PCs).

The general map in my head is that, at the very beginning of the campaign, the PCs would comprise a squad, so one corporal and a bunch of privates. The PCs would thus get introduced to the style and the world over the course of their first military campaign, without needing to learn everything beforehand and then make decisions about what to do. (I find with most of my players, they work better this way, with the first adventure being chosen for them and then move into sandbox from there.)

After the first military campaign, there would be promotions for the survivors, and they’d have more and more of a voice in the decisions as they moved up through the ranks until finally a PC becomes the captain and they’re making all the decisions.

The one I was looking at statting out was the different groups from the Deed of Paksenarrion (The Company of the Fox, Siniava’s Company, Vladi, etc), but I haven’t had time to re-read them recently.

I do know what the Foxes used - leather armor, shields, shortswords, on rare occasion spear, and one company was trained as archers. A cohort consisted of 100 troops plus 2 corporals and 2 sergeants, so each cohort would be an undersized company, probably with something like a 5th level sergeant, a 3rd-4th level sergeant, and a pair of 1st-2nd corporals. The Fox himself would be at least a 9th-level fighter (he was granted a border duchy to hold against orcs and hostile neighbors, and hires out part of his army as mercenaries to pay for it all).

Yes, but what class would Paksennarrion be?

runs and hides

For the first novel and a bit, 0-level human.


Some are fairly obvious, although some require class changes partway through the novels - both Duke Phelan and Dorrin Verrakai switch (fighter to spellsword for Phelan, fighter to ruinguard for Dorrin). Arvid is an assassin. Kuakkgannir could be done with either the Priestess or Antiquarian Witch classes. Dwarves are Venturers and gnomes are Dwarves…