The Black Company
From the Annals of The Black Company
In those days the Black Company was in service to itself, until the defeat of the goddess Kina. In the aftermath, the Company gradually declined as its members drifted away to explore the sixteen worlds now open to them. After many years of wandering through the worlds, some members of the Company found their way into Godville and re-formed The Black Company here.
Who actually founded the Company in Godville is lost in the mists of time. Their names are no longer found in the Book of Gods and Heroes. Perhaps they have earned the right to be forgotten.
The Company they founded... remains.
The Company... endures.
The Black Company takes its inspiration from the Black Company books by author Glen Cook. These books are dark fantasy set in an imaginary world with medieval-level technology and culture. Magic works there, and the world has a deep history of wars and sorcery that is gradually laid out as the series proceeds.
The Black Company in the books is a company of mercenaries, some 400 years old. The books tell the last 40 years of its history and gradually illuminate the remaining 360. The Company is made up of ruffians and outcasts, but they have a code of ethics that sets them apart from their competition. When their employer screws them over, they ensure that he or she gains no profit from it. When employed by an evil empire, they somehow become its enemies and help to bring it down. They form a fierce brotherhood, recruited regardless of race, creed, class or politics, from all the lands they have passed through. Nor are they all men. In the later books, many brothers, some officers and even two of its Captains, are women.
The Black Company in Godville starts from there. The rest is up to you. We are neither evil nor good. We can embrace both. This Company will be what you make it.
The Company Symbol
For use in your motto, the Company symbol is ■ - a simple black square. Use it how you please, but the recommended place is as the first character, like a bullet-point. "■ This is a sample motto."
The Company Standard
During its time in the North, the original Company adopted the badge of the sorcerer Soulcatcher to be its new banner. This badge was a silver fire-breathing skull with fiery eyes surrounded by a silver circle. However, the Company had an older banner that only Croaker remembered:
It might have been a raven. Or an eagle.
That design has been recreated as the standard of the Company in Godville.
The significance of the original banner is lost, but here we choose to read it anew as follows:
- The shattered skull stands for Shivetya/Croaker, preserver of the Company.
- The bird and the head stand for Soulcatcher, who joined next.
- The six daggers stand for the six senior members, who built the new Company.
- The nine hanged men stand for all the brothers who have joined since.
The Company Lists
The guild maintains a system of titles that can be applied to each member. A title can be a job role, e.g. Captain, or a nickname, e.g. Frogface. Generally a nickname sticks forever, unless overridden temporarily by a job role.
Of these titles, only Captain and Annalist actually require any work.
There is only ever one Captain. The Captain is the most recently elected leader of the Company. The Captain appoints one Lieutenant and one Sergeant and when this happens any existing bearers of those titles lose them.
The captain also appoints the Physician, Annalist and Standard-Bearer should one of those titles become vacant, whether because the previous bearer resigned it or has left the company.
Physician is an honorary title originally created for the guild's longest-serving member when he stepped down as Captain, whereas the Annalist maintains the Company rolls and Annals.
The Standard-Bearer is selected for notable bravery in arena, and holds that title until they surrender it or leave the guild. There can be only one Standard-Bearer at any one time, but the additional title Forvalaka can be awarded to multiple other notable arena fighters, on the same condition. These titles recognise past service to the Company and should never be awarded frivolously.
The title Veteran was created for use by members who joined prior to 1 June 2015 and who do not bear any other titles.
Members active in arena during the current season are Corporal if their rank is Chief Master or higher, and Duelist otherwise.
The regular guild member with no other title is simply Brother, no matter what their gender.
Officers and other appointees
Officers in bold, appointees in italics.
|The Croaker||Physician||Regent||Jul 2014|
|The White Crow||Annalist||Patriarch||Nov 2014|
|Shistra||Standard Bearer||Hierarch||Mar 2015|
Officers and NCOs (if Chief Master or above) and senior members (Cardinal or higher) of the Company.
|Doubakiin||Sergeant||Grand Master||Oct 2015|
|The Croaker||Physician||Regent||Jul 2014|
|The White Crow||Annalist||Regent||Nov 2014|
|Shistra||Standard Bearer||Patriarch||Mar 2015|
|The Lieutenant||Chief Fence||Patriarch||Jan 2015|
|Sergeant Elmo||Frogface||Patriarch||Jan 2015|
|The White Rose||Head Spook||Matriarch||Jan 2015|
|Daughter Of Night||Old Death||Matriarch||Feb 2015|
|My Idiot||Veteran||Patriarch||Mar 2015|
|AFK NPC||Forvalaka||Hierarch||May 2015|
|The Unknown Soldier||Veteran||Hierarch||May 2015|
|The Gaffer||Veteran||Hierarch||May 2015|
|Asa Woodcutter||Veteran||Hierarch||May 2015|
|Lance of Passion||Brother||Hierarch||Jun 2015|
|Alex Riddle||Brother||Hierarch||Jun 2015|
|Toadkiller Dog||Brother||Hierarch||Jun 2015|
|The Piano Guys 2||Brother||Cardinal||Jul 2015|
|Familiar Toad||Corporal||Cardinal||Aug 2015|
|Kevin Mckay||Corporal||Advisor||Nov 2015|
|Starch Screech||Corporal||Chief Master||Dec 2015|
|Dorotea Senjak||Corporal||Chief Master||Dec 2015|
|Badger55||Corporal||Chief Master||Dec 2015|
|Riptyde||Corporal||Chief Master||Dec 2015|
|Maarte||Corporal||Chief Master||Jan 2016|
The Annals of The Black Company
From the Book of the Founder
Once my Lord was a mighty sorceress. Now she’s a puny god. I’m so confused.
Once I led armies. Now, I’m not sure I can lead myself to the nearest bar. Oh wait, I’m already in a bar. Well, in that case – cheers!
Still – I can’t just spend my days staring at the bottom of a glass, tempting though that is. I know! I shall recreate the Black Company in Godville. Maybe there are other reborn souls out there who will find it and join me to reminisce about the good old days. I can tell that my Lord agrees.
10:20: I feel that I ought to start a movement. Heading off to collect the signatures in support of the new guild – ‘The Black Company’!
04:28: Finally! Now there is the “The Black Company” guild in Godville and I’m its first member!
“The “The Black Company” guild is not widely known in Godville.” Huh. That will change. Oh yes, that will change. The boys in black are back, and soon everyone will know.
I'm so lonely. I hope someone else arrives soon.
11:50: The guild’s second member has arrived, and I fear for our future. He cuts a less imposing figure now than he did as The Dominator, but his soul is as dark as ever. He is filled with the ambition to rebuild his empire here, founding it on the tumbled skulls of his enemies.
I don't think this is the direction the revived Company should take. The old Company worked so hard and so long to keep this old evil under the ground, and now he is to be the new Company’s Lieutenant? I am aghast.
10:01: Our third member has arrived. It is Croaker!
No new members have arrived since Croaker. Dominator's early forays into the Arena were disastrous for him, but he is learning. If he stays, and new members join who don't know him, he will corrupt what I have begun. But I lack the power to cast him out of the Company.
There is just one way to stop him. It is a risky way and it will destroy both of us. It may also destroy Croaker and dissolve the Company. I have discussed it with Croaker and he agrees that it is better that there be no Company than that it fall into the grip of the Dominator.
I am going to do it. Farewell.
From the Book of Croaker in Godville
22:01: I never expected to find the Black Company here, but we used to specialise in turning up unexpectedly. The Company had only two members before I arrived, but it is our nature to pick up members as we go.
17:37: They are gone and I am alone. The loss was unavoidable but that is little consolation.
It feels silly to call one man a company. The original Black Company never fell quite so low. We were down to seven members after the battle in the Barrowland. Still, the Company is what it is. Someday, hopefully soon, more members will arrive. Until then, I must keep on keeping on.
I have busied myself around our ragged little encampment, throwing out discarded bedrolls, cleaning and storing abandoned gear against future need. The location is good – an empty lot inside the city walls of Godville, beside a stream that flows into the city, yet still convenient to Temple Row and the main gate. The Company sometimes used to settle down in places for long periods and gradually build a town around itself – Abode of Ravens comes to mind. I shall make this the Company's Godville Guild HQ, for as long as we are in Godville.
From the Book of The White Crow
Where to begin...
We have already lost brothers. Their names shall be recorded here. I feel odd about this, because few things are permanent in Godville and some of the fallen may someday return to us. I never would have been so foolish about public records in the old days. In the old worlds, if you were the only one who remembered something, that might give you an edge. Obscure names recorded in fusty old manuscripts brought down more than one mighty sorcerer. We are not in the old worlds, and it is a Company tradition for the Annalist to record the names of the fallen, so I do it.
We have begin construction of a guild hall on the site of the encampment, stealing stone from the city walls by night. We are not stonemasons, and the Company's treasury does not allow for large expenditures on workmen or architects, so we are reduced to choosing stone that has already been roughly shaped. The result, predictably, is a lumpy building that looks like a fortress, but somehow that is appropriate. It will be defensible, at least.
Croaker has procured space for the Company on the city bulletin boards and wants me to publish updates to the Annals there, but I think I shall not. The Annals were never intended for public consumption.
April Fool's Day. The Company opened its Totem Campaign with the first day of the new dueling season. Our objective: to achieve, though not necessarily to hold, 20th position in the Duelery Pantheon and therefore to qualify for a guild totem. Within three days the Company stormed from the 51st position to the 26th position, but then changed tactics to embrace a more cautious approach that may take longer to achieve the objective but is less likely to attract unwanted attention. The old Company generally did best when working from the shadows, and the new Company is attempting to do the same. Since we cannot actually select a guild totem until we can elect a leader, there is little point scrambling up the pantheon and drawing a lot of attention that can only work to our detriment.
We take the opportunity here to acknowledge, who has single-handedly carried the guild standard to within a short stone's throw of the top of the Duelers (Junior) Pantheon. To you we award the title "Standard Bearer"!
13th April. As of the PM update, Operation Totem has achieved its objective. The Company is #19 in Duelery! Debate now rages as to our next step. I think it is obvious: to take and hold a top 10 position in Duelery. Without temples, we lack the charges to make an impact in Popularity, and raising Unity is a long-term goal. That Leaves Duelery, and there our youthful membership helps us, as over the next two months we will be boosted by each new Chief Master we gain who has any sort of Duelers ranking at all.
May Day. Astonishing. Yesterday we captured the 10th position in Duelery in the morning, and the 9th position in the afternoon. The guild is showing its quality, and that quality is high. If my troops in Taglios had been... but that is maundering. Back then, the Company was my foe.
We now number 136 brothers, but I try not to let myself dwell on that. Our membership has been as high as 138. Altogether 249 heroes have joined, but 113 have left. History shows that as a guild matures it receives fewer random recruits, and tends to shrink until either its Unity falls low enough to suck in new members by osmosis - random members who will leave as soon as Unity rises again - or it attracts keen new members who choose to stay.
17th May. Yesterday we took the 8th position in Duelery, and we held it today. The 7th position is held by the guild Sowing Sun, and as they are also setting a brisk pace up the pantheon, their lead is hard to overcome. However, we are both gaining on the 6th guild.
So much time has passed and so much has happened. Where to begin? Perhaps I should just summarise.
We overachieved our goal, peaking at 6th spot in Duelery. Since then some other guilds have passed us, but we still hold the 8th spot.
The guild membership has fluctuated, as it always does, but a hard core of brothers has developed and have begun driving the Company in directions that interest them. The future will be different to the past, but that makes it interesting.
(hero The Croaker) was elected the first leader, as was appropriate for the time. After canvassing opinions, he chose the Inglourious Basterd to be the guild totem monster.
In the 22 November guild elections,surrendered the Captaincy to a new generation of brothers, when (hero Bonegnasher) won the post of leader. In December, and voluntarily stepped down as Lieutenant and Sergeant to make room for the new Captain to choose his own officers. The former officers chose new nicknames - Physician, Chief Fence and Frogface. I chose to remain as Annalist, unless/until the new leader chooses another.
15th December. The Captain promoted(hero Fishflap) to Lieutenant and (hero Doubakiin) to Sergeant.
30th May. Today, the 30th day of May, the Black Company mercenaries start a campaign to reach top 5 in duelery, this campaign is called “Operation Takeover” a name chosen by our leader .