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The Clash of Good Against Evil

Over seven hundred years ago, the forces of good united in a desperate attempt
to halt the rise of the cruel tyrant Soul Ripper. The greatest army ever
assembled by the Good and Free Peoples faced the sorcerer king’s horde in one
climatic battle. The outcome was inevitable. The golden army fought valiantly,
overcoming terribly odds, and in the end…was utterly defeated. In one fell
swoop, Soul Ripper vanquished the light, and plunged the world into darkness
and despair.

As the decades stretched into centuries, it became clear to those beleaguered
remnants of the Free Peoples who suffered under Soul Ripper’s iron-shod heel
that but one hope remained to end his rule. When the long hoped-for day
finally arose, the world held its breath and awaited deliverance. Indeed, Soul
Ripper’s reign of terror did end: his inner circle, his trusted lieutenants, known
to the fearful masses as the Blasphemers rose up and tore down Soul Ripper’s
empire from the inside. In its place, they left anarchy, death, and ruin.
Senseless, bloody war raged on for centuries. Warlords and tyrants ascended
and were toppled. The strong took what they could, and the weak forgot hope.

It is among this grim landscape that the Company of the Broken Spear has
sought fortune and gained infamy.

The Company of the Broken Spear

It is written that the Company of the Broken Spear—often called simply the
Company—traveled to this land from a far-away country, the last in a line of
great mercenary companies, drawn by the promise of battle and riches. It is
widely held that the Company participated in the last stand of the Free Peoples
against Soul Ripper and his minions—though none can say on which side they
fought. In the centuries thence, the Company has drifted from one employer to
the next. At times, its ranks have swelled to several thousands—though at
others barely a hundred members have fled the battlefield in defeat. Through
it all the company has hewn closely to its guiding principals: To provide loyalty
as solid as the payments from its employer, to put the interests of the company
above the interests of any individual, and never to finish a fight on the losing
side (for a defeated employer is unlikely to uphold the terms of the contract).

You have joined the Company as it serves a shady individual known as the Dark
One. Rumor has it that the Dark One was once, long ago, the trusted lieutenant
of one of the mighty Blasphemers. Whether he betrayed or abandoned his
master, no one knows. All that matters is that, after biding time and laying
careful plans, the Dark One appears to be in ascendancy. At the time they
entered the Dark One’s service, the Company was roughly three-hundred
strong. They quickly rose in the Dark One’s favor, handing defeat after to
defeat to his chief nemesis, the brutal warlord Bone Crusher and his Army of
the Red Hand. Eventually, the Dark One shattered Bone Crusher’s hold on
power and scattered his forces, with the Company playing a pivotal role in the
final confrontation.

You joined the Company after this last battle, as they recruited new blood to
replenish their ranks after the casualties of the long campaign. You keep your
reasons for wanting to join to yourself. Whether you are fleeing some trouble,
seeking fame and fortune, or just out of better options, everyone knows better
than to poke around your past.

Elements of the Company have been deployed throughout the region to solidify
the Dark One’s hold on the resources in the hills and valleys once held under
Bone Crushers thumb. The people of this region are numb and broken. They
offer no resistance when you come to take what the Dark One wishes. Mostly
your days are filled waiting and gambling (and your nights occasionally with
drunken revelry). The old timers tell you to enjoy it while it lasts: the Company
rarely enjoys much of a break from combat.

Key Members of the Company’s Leadership

The Captain is the leader of the company. He has been doing this job for the
last two decades. He is a barrel-chested human with salt and pepper hair
and a closely cropped beard. He runs a tight ship, and his tactical genius
has gotten the Company out of more than one tight scrape.

Lefty is the Captain’s lieutenant. (Ironically, he is the Captain’s “right-hand”
man.) He is a stout Dwarf with a long brown beard and a completely bald
head. A fierce warrior, his unyielding toughness is legendary.

*Stitches *is the company medic. The affable Half-Elf is well-liked by everyone in
the company, though close to only a few. He is also widely acknowledged as
the Company’s moral compass, when such luxuries can be afforded.

Scrivener keeps the company Annals. Scrivener’s been with the Company for
longer than anyone can remember. Scrivener is the only Eladrin anyone can
remember seeing who actually looks old. Although his age is unknown, he
has been keeping the Company Annals for as far back as they currently go.
(The Annals from the first several centuries have been lost.) Rumor suggests
that Scrivener is an original member, although he remains silent on that
point and any other questions of the Company’s far past.

Diablo is the chief caster for the Company. The raven-haired Tiefling seems to
enjoy stoking his diabolical reputation, but in the heat of combat he
becomes all business. Diablo maintains an extensive collection of rituals
and is a master tactical ritualist. On the battlefield, the difference between
narrow victory and utter defeat often rests with the quality of the casters.
Diablo sees to it that the Company rarely finds itself at a disadvantage.
Although he appears much younger, rumors among the company suggest
that Diablo and Scrivener are contemporaries.

Crackle is everything that Diablo is not: friendly, easy-going, humorous, and in
combat, brash and wild. The purple-skinned stormsoul Genasi specializes in
elemental magic, especially lightning blasts. In an all-out slug-fest, Crackle
provides heavy artillery for the Company. He is particularly young for one
of his talent, and Diablo makes no secret of his belief that Crackle has cut
corners to achieve power. The top two casters in the Company barely
maintain a civil relationship.

You have been assigned to a unit charged with keeping order and the Dark
One’s Law in the small town of Brindol. The personalities in your unit include
the following:

Hatchet is your unit commander. Though not particularly bright, he is
extremely experienced, and very loyal to the company, whom he’s served for
twenty years or more. Hatchet is a greying human who favors leather armor
and axes in combat.

Trog is a hulking Minotaur who joined the company after being captured
during the most recent campaign. A former commander in Bone Crusher’s
army, Trog has risen quickly in the Company ranks, though Hatchet is
basically the only friend he’s made in the process. There are those who
question his loyalty, given how recently he’s switched his allegiance.
However, the last person to doubt Trog openly disappeared shortly after,
and the pieces of him that have been found did not tell a very nice tale. The
one way in which Trog has gained acceptance in the Company is in the card
games which proceed pretty much continually anytime the Company is
sitting in one place long enough. Trog plays fanatically, never cheats, and
rarely wins, making him welcome at any table any time.

Grifter is widely acknowledged to be the laziest member of the Company.
However, he also has a serious knack for sorcery and—at least according to
rumor—managed to save the Captain’s life a while back, earning him a
certain amount of tolerance. This Halfling enjoys nothing more than food,
drink, and practical jokes, and can be counted on to do the absolute
minimum necessary in any circumstance to avoid disciplinary action. He’s
been with the Company long enough that he’s risen in seniority among the
casters, despite his best efforts. The various units in the Company go to
great length to try to ensure that he ends up assigned somewhere else.
Hatchet continually watches for opportunities to dump him on some other
commander.

Special Rules for this Setting/Campaign

For the most part, this campaign will use the standard 4E rules (including
Errata). Any race, class, feat, power, or item available in a WOTC book,
including Dragon, is acceptable for play. This includes material from Forgotten
Realms, Eberron, and Dark Sun.

Character Backgrounds

Your characters have only recently joined the Company of the Broken Spear.
The Company draws its members from a wide variety of backgrounds, and
most members have some secrets in their past they’d rather not discuss. Some
possible backgrounds for your characters may include:

*Survivor from a devastated unit: The Dark One has a number of regular

forces and occasionally, soldiers will join the Company, particularly if
their unit has been destroyed in action in a region near where the
Company is operating

*On the run: You have joined up with the Company to escape something.

Perhaps you are a criminal fleeing punishment, or perhaps you are the
victim of some persecution. Whatever the case, the Company offers your
ticket out.

*Seeking fame and fortune: You want more from your life than the lot

you can expect from being a helpless peasant, worked to an early death
by your oppressive ruler. You leapt at the opportunity to join the
Company and seek your fortune.

*Desperate Need: You are desperately in need of something—likely

money—and you have joined the Company in hopes of securing what you
need. You then hope to slip away and return to your former life
(although now that you’re in the Company, you see that leaving might not
be as straightforward as you’d hoped…)

Character Advancement and XP

There will be a single XP total maintained for the group and all characters
participating in the session should be set at that XP total. If your character dies
or you decide to swap out characters, your new character enters at the common
XP total value. (Items and other possessions stay with the original character
though.) There is no penalty for switching characters between sessions. The
old character remains part of the Company.

Divine Characters

There may once have been gods—all powerful beings who lent meaning to the
world—but if so, all knowledge of them have been lost during the dark
centuries since the fall of the Free Peoples. In this age, characters with Divine
abilities draw their power via a connection to one of the powerful entities who
have ruled the world and striven against each other, typically Soul Ripper or
one of the Blasphemers. If you choose to play a Divine character, select a deity
from the standard lists (or propose a set of Domains for your character’s deity),
and I will fill you in on who your patron is.

Coming Back from the Dead

The Raise Dead ritual certainly exists, and in fact Stitches is able to perform it,
but the component cost is expensive enough that the Company does not use it
as a matter of course. There are only a limited number of circumstances when
a fallen Company member may expect to be raised:
1. Members of the Company may pre-pay their Raise Dead costs.
2. Friends of the fallen may provide the component costs from their
personal fortunes.
3. The Company will raise fallen members who, through their death, serve
the greater good of the company. For example, sacrificing one’s life so
that the Company may escape an ambush would be worthy of being
raised, assuming some part of the body of the fallen could be recovered.

Note: The Company will not put at risk its members in order to retrieve the
remains of slain members. In the case where no part of the body is easily
recoverable, any pre-paid component costs are forfeited.

True Names

In this setting, knowing someone’s true name gives you significant power over
them. For example, there is a ritual that can be performed on a weapon with
the true name of a target that will cause the weapon to score a maximum
damage critical strike on the next attack on the target. For this reason, most
people who take up a life of danger and conflict—like those in the Company—
assume a false name and keep the secret of their true name hidden at all costs.

Bibliography
This campaign is inspired by the Black Company novels written by Glen Cook.

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Company of the Broken Spear ChubbyJerk