Stormsworn Company


Round 2: Create a new organization

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

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Stormsworn Company
Alignment: LE
Headquarters: Giantspine Keep in the southern Mindspin Mountains
Leader: Tempest Lord Xorun Castrial
Structure: Military hierarchy
Scope: National
Resources: Giantspine Keep; magical and mundane armory; 200 mercenaries on active duty; agents seeking contracts across Molthune, Nidal, and Nirmathas; enslaved villagers and farmers

The Stormsworn Company are an elite mercenary force supplying battle hardened warriors and wizards in conflicts throughout northern Avistan. Their symbol is three gold lightning bolts on a dark grey background, proudly shown on banners, shields and cloaks. Ambitious nobles hire them to strike at enemy fortifications, raid behind enemy lines, and eliminate troublesome adventurers. The Stormsworn pride themselves on daring aerial assaults, descending from the clouds amid a shower of deadly lightning bolts. As much a cult as a military force, deep in forbidding Giantspine Keep they worship the rune-carved bones of a long dead storm giant.

Structure and Leadership
The Stormsworn have a strict chain of command, enforced by training and religious indoctrination. Their strategy blends martial and arcane power with many sorcerers and magi among the ranks. Stormbound warriors who rely on the blade alone are well supplied with potions of fly, shock weapons and javelins of lightning from the constantly working armory. Six warriors form a Bolt, the smallest fighting unit deployed. Five Bolts form a Tempest, led by a senior warrior who reports directly to the Tempest Lord. The current Tempest Lord is Xorun Castrial, a stormborn sorcerer of considerable power and military acumen.

Goals
In the short term the Stormsworn Company deploys its military might to amass wealth and favors among the feuding nations of Avistan. They work to escalate any conflict they are involved in, from skirmish to feud and from feud to full scale war. This is in service to a greater cause, for they believe that the souls of those slain by lightning hasten the awakening of their god, the rune-bound giant interred beneath Giantspine Keep. With the awakened giant’s power Xorun plans to create a storm-wracked empire stretching north to the Kodar Mountains and west to the Steaming Sea.

Public Perception
The Stormsworn have forged a reputation as feared enemies on the battlefield. Ruthless nobles seek them out, confident that they follow their contracts to the letter or die trying. Most employers and enemies think them simple mercenaries, more cruel and bloody than the norm, and very few suspect their long term goals.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Will, welcome to Round 2!

What you are getting from me in this critique: This round is all about conflict and story. I think the best organizations create interesting and compelling groups that will come into conflict with the PCs. My comments, and my recommendation, will focus on how well you do that. My comments will also focus on writing and use of your allotted content in achieving your goals. What you won't get from me: I don't have the total Golarion-fu that Neil and Sean do, so I will leave to them whether you got the nitty gritty details of some of the setting stuff to them (though apparently I did have enough Golarion-fu to know its Pharasmin not Pharasmian, you know who you are).

So here we go!

Initial Impression: So I'm listening to Iron Maiden "Run to the Hills" and Judas Priest "The Sentinel" on my headphones as I am reading this (I love Pandora). If that doesn't help an entry about war and mercs, what will? Let’s see how it goes…

Concept (name, title, is it an organization?, overall design choices, is the organization and antagonist and does it create direct conflict for the PCs?, playability): C
Mercs? That’s it? Man, this is a really thin core concept. Would a group like this exist? Sure it would. Would an entry like this make a regional book of organizations by a third party publisher? No doubt. Is it Superstar? Nope. I’ll give a pass to a great idea with some problematic execution more willingly than I will give a pass to a mediocre idea with some special effects, which is what this is. This seems way more like a group the PCs would want to be in than an actual antagonist organization. I want conflict. I want ready-made, head on collision ideas for conflict with the PCs. Plus, this is hardly that original. Hey, some mercs really dig lightning bolts, and they, like, totally worship the bones of a storm giant! That is so metal! Maybe I shouldnt have announced my love of 80s hair metal. Ride the Lightning, dude!!!! \m/ \m/ . Even with my love of such things, I think this is a miss. And if you can’t sell me on it, I can’t wait to see what the others say.

Execution (quality of writing, hook, theme, organization, use of proper format, quality of mandatory content, did you milk your idea for all it was worth? did you use your allotted space well?): B-
I thought this was cool for cool’s sake. Again, this seems more like something Neutral PCs would love to be, rather than an antagonist group. Spending so much time on the gear and insignias confirms this to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if this came from your home campaign in some way. You could have done so much more with this and didn’t.

Tilt (did it grab me?, is it unique and cool?, do I like it?, flavor, are you showing Superstar mojo?): C+
Gotta give you a little love for the storm giant reference, but still falls flat. This just doesn't have Superstar mojo to me.

Overall: C+
A rather generic merc company that smacks more of a rad PC group from someone’s home campaign than a professional freelancer’s submission.

Recommendation: I DO NOT recommend this organization submission for advancement.

Will, I loved the ghostvision gloves. I’m sorry to not like this, I really wanted to. I hope the voters see it differently. It’s up to them. Good luck to you!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Welcome to RPG Superstar, Will. If you've followed along before, you know the contest takes a new spin at this level. As judges we're here to comment on your work, both in the hopes of guiding you in honing your game design skills, and also to help the voting public assess how you measure up. With that in mind, I'm going to look for things you did well and highlight stuff where I think you could improve. So, let's see what we've got...

The Stormsworn is a cool name. I like it. You can envision those outside the organization referring to them that way, almost as if it's a title or an epithet. The fact that they're also a military company, no matter how mercenary, enhances that impression. I also like how you kept them somewhat localized with a national presence, and yet you've crafted their goals and overall profession in such a way that they can travel and become involved with a number of plots. These are reusable adversaries I could definitely see coming into conflict with PCs, either because someone hired them to chase down a bunch of troublemakers, or simply because the adventurers wind up raiding one of their outposts for someone seeking revenge against the Stormsworn.

I also like the intricacy with which you've layered in the cult-like aspects of their origin with the rune-carved storm giant bones. By putting this organization in the Mindspin Mountains, you've essentially given them an in-road to the Runelords and rune giants of ancient Thassilon in Varisia. That's exceptionally smart thinking and design. Then, to have their ultimate goal be the resurrection or, more realisitically, the divine ascension of the object of their adoration is even better. I totally get what you're going for here. The lightning theme is woven throughout and you've used it such a way that it fully supports all the other elements of your design. This is a very believable mercenary organization I could use right away in a Varisian campaign...even in the Rise of the Runelords AP...which, perhaps you realized with Paizo about to release an anniversary edition of that campaign. If so, that's even smarter design on your part. You're finding a way to partner up with stuff that a) supports the publisher you're working for, and b) taps into the gaming community's excitement and love for those elements of Golarion's history. But, the best part is that you've done so in a way that supports rather than breaks canon.

Alright, enough praise. If I've got any critique for you it's mostly nitpicks. A mercenary group is kind of safe choice. They don't come with much more than a generalized sense of conflict for PCs to encounter. If, instead, you had named this storm giant to which these rune-carved bones belonged and associated him with an actual Runelord--maybe as a rune giant seneschal or something--then you would have tapped a higher plane of inspiration. I think you'd have benefited most if you had stepped back from your write-up and asked yourself, "What's missing?"..."What questions are people going to have which I've left unanswered?"..."Is it better if I leave them unanswered to tantalize them with the possibilities?"..."Or is it better if I actually give them a little more information about what I've hinted at?" Personally, I feel like the latter would have helped you more. It's a tricky thing when writing world-building material to ensure you open some new doors (which your organization write-up will be doing) while also defining additional doors for the reader and giving them just a glimpse of what lies beyond. That kind of writing is what leads people to take inspiration from your work. You help them envision their own ideas of where else your ideas can take them for their own campaign. So, I would've liked to see some more attention to that. But, you've done a really good job here regardless.

So, I DO RECOMMEND that this organization advance you to the next round.

I'd love to see what else you can do. Your ghostvision gloves got some pretty favorable feedback from everyone. You had unanimous support from the judges on it, as well. I was more of a Weak Keep than the others, but your design thoughts in crafting the Stormsworn have won me over. I'd like to see what kind of monster ideas you could craft. Best of luck in the exit polls. I hope to see you on the other side.

Contributor

Great detail on the Structure/Leadership.

Cool evocative idea with the rune giant bones.

Nice nod to crafting magic items to supply the teams. Good call on using consumables, too.

I think the only problem with this organization is it's a mercenary company--that's a safe choice. However, their bone-worship and plans to awaken their "god" is a neat twist that makes these guys more than just some mercs you'll fight for a couple of sessions.

I think with a little polish this has a lot of potential.

I do recommend this to advance!


Generic mercenary company - swords for hire. They're tough, ruthless, and good at what they do. They've even got their own Secret Base.

Uh, why?

Does the Pathfinder world need more named mercenary companies? I think not.

This organization exists in a pure vacuum. It would work in Faerun. It would work in Athas. It would work in my homebrew Undermountain game. It's not Pathfinder in any sense except for the use of a few proper nouns for places.

Writing up an organization and following the template is the minimum level of work we expect in SuperStar. Then you have to actually do the SuperStar part that's creative, innovative, and appealing to the judges & the voters. You didn't do that.

I do not recommend that you vote for this designer.

EDIT FROM SEAN: Competitors, remember this item from the Round 2 FAQ, which reminds competitors about the rule against commenting about their own submissions. We're pasting this reminder into the last judge comment for every organization just to make sure all competitors see it and remember.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Clark, Neil, Sean and Ryan: thank you all for your sincere and honest feedback. I'm going to have a cup of tea to recover from the whiplash of reading such very different opinions back-to-back!

Cheers guys.


A mercenary company that starts wars, even if it is not the cause of the initial conflict to make sure they profit, not bad at all.
status-I like it.

Liberty's Edge

Will, welcome to Round 2!

This entry grabbed me with the evocative names (both the company name and the leader’s name / title) and the location in Golarion – well placed and well thought out to be in on the action.

I have to agree with some of the judges that the mercenary group thing is a bit middle of the road, but I’m intrigued by the rune bound giant bone thing – this seems very cool, I want to know more – to the extent that I wished you’d focused a bit more on the ‘cult’ aspect than the merc company aspect (but it’s tough being a Superstar – I absolutely predict that ‘cult’ would have garnered as many accusations of clichéd as ‘mercenary company’ did safe / boring).

Without having read many other round 2 entries, I think this is a solid but perhaps not quite standout entry; however, I think the coolness that was your Round 1 entry deserves something, and this + that = probably vote from me.

Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Thanks Mr Swagger.

Thanks Mothman for your comments both here and on my ghostvision gloves. I hope that I'll keep your vote when you've finished reading the other entries.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6 aka Evil Paul

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Ryan Dancey wrote:


Does the Pathfinder world need more named mercenary companies? I think not.

I'm not a Golarion expert but I have read the Inner Sea Guide cover to cover and lots of the other supplements also. I actually thought there was a lack of cool mercenary companies in Golarion. Compared to say, Song of Ice and Fire, I thought that merc companies were an oppertunity for this round and expected to see a few of them.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

While this is a perfectly cool and acceptable mercenary band, it is wholly untethered from Golarion. It takes a leap to get from there to the Runelords, but the possibility is there. The writing is good, if a little overly loving towards the subject matter.

I would probably be voting for this submission on its merits. I will probably be voting for you based on your previous work.


Okay, this is officially the first organization I've seen so far that's really made me excited. The name is cool, the theme and style is cool, and I have an awesome image of armored warriors swooping down across a battlefield with lightning flashing everywhere.

Clark, admittedly, does have a point that this seems like the sort of group I'd totally want to join as a PC.

Silver Crusade

Good sir, you are making me look at both sides of the GM screen with this submission.

GM's side: As a GM, it's not THAT exciting. especially since there a lot of other organizations that have the same idea with better flair (Aspis Consortium, and The Razmirians from Masks of The Living God). So if this were to be ever published, this would need some serious and far more detailed summary about their history and why they do what they do.

But:

PC Side: This group would scare the crap out of me. And I would be arming myself with all the destruction spells my cleric could learn, and carry both my shock and flaming Scimitars at all times..

Status: I am voting for it, but only because I would love to see it refined and published in a Pathfinder book somewhere. But if you carry the organization to the final round, make sure you make them not only intimidating as hell to fight against, but hearty enough for the GM's to have a good time portraying them as well.

P.S: I would also in your revision, consider making them pirates. Cause your name made me totally think they were pirates, and I was disappointed to find out they weren't.


The giant bones are cool; kinda like the Templars and the talking head of John the Baptist. The way they do battle makes sense.

And,.....I think that escalating battles would be good for business.
Keep it going, man!!!

I recommend, advancement.

To the next plateau.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

I agree on the not exciting part. I would have liked to see more of Xorun mentioned...

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Penne Al Arrabiata, Isaac, Sinosaur, dear Lady Ophelia, Spanky: thank you for your feedback and encouragement. I'm very pleased that you are considering voting for the Stormsworn!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka moon glum

An assault by these guys would be frightening, super-heroic, and dramatic. I wouldn't use them myself, but they get my vote.


I'm on the fence here. A sudden assault by these guys would pretty much make any group of PC's wandering about crap their collective pantaloons.

The issue here is that there's all that's really to them. They worship bones? But why when there's (il)legitimate gods about? They start wars? That sounds like every evil mercenary group written ever.

Overall it's not bad but could use a lot more detail to convince me to build a campaign or even and adventure around them. Right now they feel like throw away villains in a can and I can dedicate a short adventure on not something I'd dedicate a lot of time to. That bein said there are good ideas here and it's worth expanding on.


The evil mercenary company stoking things up to get a bit more work is indeed a cliche, but I don't think cliche has to mean uninteresting, things become a cliche for a reason after all. Adding a twist with the company essentially being a front for a cult trying to awaken a new god makes things very interesting to me. The entry does leave me curious as to just who this giant was and why the Stormsworn worship him. I'd like to know more, but what I do know is enough to interest me.

I haven't had the chance to read every organisation yet, but I thought that your item was one of the best as well so pretty sure I'll be voting for you. It's also pretty cool to see a fellow Aucklander in the contest and doing well!


"They work to escalate any conflict they are involved in, from skirmish to feud and from feud to full scale war."

I'm not sure a mercenary group with a goal like this would get much repeat business.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

You are the 4th entry read and the first that warrants a comment.

I like the stormsworn, cool enough name, and they have something going on besides offering mercenary services.

So great job, you atleast standout.

Star Voter Season 6

This is the type of group I would want to join as a PC. Its also the type of group I would slowly reveal to a PC that they are insane and need to be stopped. Heck, I could see the PCs being a Bolt that slowly learns more about the organization's purpose and is encouraged to defect (or help revive a rune giant.) For the entry, I wish you focused more on their cult behavior, teiring their knowledge levels about their purpose and going into their behavior of escalating conflicts more.


Awesome name. The rest of it kind of has me yawning. They're badass. They're mercenaries. K.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

moon glum, TarkXT, Berik, Kradlum, Darkjoy, Caineach, Saint Trickery: thanks for your comments and your feedback. I hope you consider me for one of your votes.

Berik - always good to meet another Aucklander :)

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Well done Will! Great name, well "fleshed" out and very evocative. Sure mercs are fairly safe choices, but therein lies the rub - making a safe choice stand out is the mark of a Superstar. I disagree with Kradlum

Kradlum wrote:

"They work to escalate any conflict they are involved in, from skirmish to feud and from feud to full scale war."

I'm not sure a mercenary group with a goal like this would get much repeat business.

If they manage this aim without being too overt, then fine - and there will always be employers who don't mind extra chaos if they get the job done. That's the bottom line. It's not like weapons manufacturers fool anyone promoting "security" and "armament" as a vehicle of peace, fellowship or understanding.

Stormsworn away! Dem bones..dem bones...


Kia ora, from across the Tasman. It's good to see the Southern Hempshire once again producing, interesting and great quality entries in this competition. You have my vote.

Dark Archive

You've done great on this and you've done great on your item. You have my vote for this round. Hope to see your monster submission.

I think you have enough of a solid background on game mechanics, with the writing chops and creativity, to be able to make it far in this competition.

Best of luck to you, sir.


I thought this was really quite interesting. Whilst mercs are not always that exciting, what we have here is clearly more than that. The cult element and broader anarchy and chaos agenda of the cult leader make these not only a terrifying group in their own right. But they also have the scope to expand into something much more substantial. Definitely a vote from me.


If these guys being a mercenary company is a detriment, it's one of the only detrimental things about this entry. I found your ideas and imagery evocative - I could immediately envision an encounter or two between PCs and the Stormsworn. 'Mercenary' may be overwrought, but it's an acceptable raison d'etre.

Perhaps that's all it would ever amount to. I don't think they have the reach to be the 'focus' of an adventure. I could see a brash group of PCs wanting to take them down, though, and you've given me enough material here that I could flesh them out.

Thank you for an exciting idea. Good luck in the voting!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Oceanshieldwolf, The 8th Dwarf, Ian Eastmond, NottLiam, Aspertix: Thank you all for your support and your votes. Much appreciated!

Promissary note: As with my item, I'll come back and give some design notes on the Stormsworn Company once voting has finished. I will be happy to touch on any specific questions as part of that write up.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Good job Will. At first I wasn't sold on this organization, but the storm giant connection caught my interest and the link between those slain by lightning and the awakening of the storm giant was a good touch. Ultimately I wanted to hear more about their plans involving the giant and would have liked to see that theme expanded to include exploratory groups seeking similar situations throughout Golarion. You've earned my vote, keep up the good work.


I like this. They'd be super-scary at low levels and could lead to a great end of tier confrontation. Their background has a lot going for it. Dangerous in their own right, and so easily manipulated by others too.

To my mind this is a very flexible organisation with a great deal of game building potential. I can imagine a group of pcs spending a lot of time trying to impress them enough to join them, being formed into a Bolt and then finding out that all is not as it should be.

Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

I went through this several time looking as to why you'd want to keep this. It's basically an uber super merc company, which is fine. Basically, they are a dime a dozen.

That said, they are perfect a the jerk organization that becomes a bit of a joke because they always loose to PC's. They are the Imperial stormtroopers when Ben Kenobi makes the comment about the shooting of Jawas. After the PC's kick their butt, they're the stormtroopers from the marksmanship academy.

Also, we need to know more about what kind of indocrination etc. Without some more, they feel like hellknight wanna bes.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

Even though it's a mercenary group, the cult worship of the giant's bones and its potential resurrection offer a subtle but unique spin that is intriguing.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's my tuppence for this round.

I've never written an organisation, so take as much or as little as you deem worthy of note.

My category of scoring this round will be:

Template fu: A small number of points (max 5) - my template fu isn’t so strong, and due to reviewing time constraints, I'm only likely to dock points for obvious errors here.

Adversarial Potential: (max 5) How they can get in the way of the PCs, cause them issues, direct conflicts, potential for becoming that campaign within the campaign.

Questions Arising: (max 10) Did I have any questions unanswered? This is the area where I will most likely gaff and occasionally make an incisive query.

Overall Impression: (max 5) This is an esoteric measurement that simply reflects how you have wow'd this reader taking into account any other observations not covered in the prior sections.

---

Template fu: 5/5

template fu smiles, curls up in a ball and purrs himself to sleep.

Adversarial Potential: 5/5

You mention very early on that these hit squads can be targetted at the PCs by nobles they upset - loved that straight away - easy integration for the GM there. Plus there is the potential for non direct situations too.

Questions Arising: 8/10

How does the leader run things? Is he hands on, working from the background? What are his desires and machinations? A few hints about the leader would have been useful to have to really round out an otherwise very useful organisation.

Overall impression: 4/5

Sometimes it's the small things, but I loved the ideas of the formations, the bolt and the tempest - that struck a chord and made me do the evil gm smile - very nice indeed. ANother band of mercenaries to call upon is nice, but you could have stepped up to almost religious fervor and zeal with this group - I know in my campaign they will be rather fanatic.

---

Final score: 22/25 - 88%

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Bombadil (you merry old fellow!), Rosey, Kerney, John Bennett, Anthony Adam - thanks for your comments, feedback, and possibly your votes.

Less than 24 hours to go before we find out the votes, and as promised I will post my design notes before then.

Cheers!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Design notes about the Stormsworn Company. Warning: wall'o'text. I have used various people's feedback as jumping-off points for my comments; if I didn't reply directly to your comment that does not mean you are unappreciated, just that I didn't have a direct point too make in response. Thanks for commenting and thanks for reading.

Before I get into any details, the feedback has come through very clearly that, if I progress to the top 16, I need to swing for the big hit and to bring more 'wow', 'pop', or perhaps 'kapow'. Understood!

I hope I get a chance to take that feedback on board next round.

Neil Spicer wrote:


These are reusable adversaries I could definitely see coming into conflict with PCs [...]

By putting this organization in the Mindspin Mountains, you've essentially given them an in-road to the Runelords and rune giants of ancient Thassilon in Varisia. [...]

"What's missing?"..."What questions are people going to have which I've left unanswered?"..."Is it better if I leave them unanswered to tantalize them with the possibilities?"..."Or is it better if I actually give them a little more information about what I've hinted at?" Personally, I feel like the latter would have helped you more.

I almost don't need to write this whole post, because Neil captured my intentions note-for-note. In particular:

- I wanted the organisation to have immediate GM utility, even in 400 words, so I included ways for the GM to throw them at the players, as well as hopefully some longer term plot threads and adventure hooks
- Yes, the link to the Runelords through the location and the runes and the giant is deliberate, and the storm giant was a senior servant of Alaznist, Runelord of Wrath. I wish I had cut something elsewhere and used the words to be more explicit about this link.
- Neil's suggestions about telling vs hinting are definietly borne out by the feedback from Clark, Ryan, and numerous voters who saw these guys as 'just mercs'. My concern with drawing out the link with the Runelords more strongly was this: The Runelords are a key iconic piece of Golarian IP, and not an area for a freelancer to dabble in without clear instructions from the developer. It's a bit like using the Starstone, or bringing Aroden back. Just not classy. On further reflection that was poor thinking for RPG Superstar, which is in itself an invitation to be bold.
--

Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Nice nod to crafting magic items to supply the teams. Good call on using consumables, too.

I gave a lot of thought to making the organisation real and grounded. The consumables and the armory are part of that, as are the insignias, as are the 'enslaved villages and farmers' providing food and supplies to the inhospitable mountain fortress. That one is also a plot hook - slaves in Nirmathas.

--

Ryan Dancey wrote:


Does the Pathfinder world need more named mercenary companies?

I actually saw this as a bit of an unexpected design space in Golarion. Off the top of my head I could remember the Bloodstone Swords from the River Kingdom and the Mercenary League from Druma. And that was it.

The deeper point that both Clark and Ryan identified is that, within the broad genre of heroic fantasy that Golarion is part of, mercenaries are well-worn. Again, that feedback is borne out by multiple comments from voters.

My intention was to bring to Golarion something that is missing - a mercenary group with something of the feel of the Black Company, the Silver Daggers, or the Dorsai.
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Mothman wrote:


I wished you’d focused a bit more on the ‘cult’ aspect than the merc company aspect

In my design the two aspects were better balanced. When I reread I can see that the cult aspect is far less developed in the final text, receiving only about 60 words out of the 400. Lesson: emphasis counts and voters only see what's on the page.

--

Sinosaur wrote:


I have an awesome image of armored warriors swooping down across a battlefield with lightning flashing everywhere.

I said in my notes to the ghostwatch gloves that inspiration for me is often visual. This was the core visual that solidified the Stormsworn as my entry. I also liked the idea of a fantasy Delta Force or SAS using mixed-unit tactics, airborn assaults, supporting firepower, and generally just doing things properly!

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TarkXT wrote:


They worship bones? But why when there's (il)legitimate gods about?

Three things going on here. Firstly, not just 'bones' but the 'bones of a rune-bound storm giant servant of the Runelord of Wrath'. The final part of the 32-page adventure that I didn't write because I was writing an organisation instead would have the players fighting a risen storm giant lich with plenty of sorcerer levels.

Secondly from a broader perspective, I believe that 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' (hat tip A. C. Clarke) has a fantasy counterpart. 'Any sufficiently powerful being is indistinguishable from a god.' We know, as players, that the gods are the gods, partly because they don't have stat blocks. Within the game world, however, can a peasant farmer really distinguish between a 10th level sorcerer and a god? Can a 5th level fighter distinguish between an advanced storm giant sorcerer lich and a god? Interesting question, to me at least.

Thirdly military organisations have a long history of breeding strange cults. I was particularly thinking of the Cult of Mithras in the Roman Legions. A lot of this got left on the editing-room floor, but I hoped the flavor would seep through.
--

Rec Rosey wrote:


To my mind this is a very flexible organisation with a great deal of game building potential. I can imagine a group of pcs spending a lot of time trying to impress them enough to join them, being formed into a Bolt and then finding out that all is not as it should be.

That's something that I hadn't considered, but fits very well and would make for an awesome set of adventures. The hooks I did consider were:

- Stormsworn Company hired by noble to eliminate players
- Players investigate missing farmers, and villages that have suddenly become closed and reclusive
- Stormsworn massacre innocents as part of a raid, players investigate or are hired for vengeance
- Players hired by Forest Marshall Weslen Gavirk to investigate rumours of slave-taking in the west of freedom-loving Nirmathas

I love that others have come up with more and better ideas!
--

Anthony Adams wrote:


Sometimes it's the small things, but I loved the ideas of the formations, the bolt and the tempest - that struck a chord and made me do the evil gm smile - very nice indeed

That's part of the design intent to make the organisation immediately useful to the GM. Alongside the formation details, and the consumables, there a visual hook in the insignia, and help on what sort of tactics they typically use. All reduces the workload for the GM to create something concrete and memorable for the players.

Dark Archive

I just wanted to add that out of the Round 2 submissions, this one was my favorite.

Now having read the background a bit more, I can really see where this came from and where you also had/have it going.

I'm not entirely convinced that spelling out the connection to Alaznist would have strengthened this organization, but perhaps a little more emphasis on the cult aspect may have taken focus away from the fact that these guys are mercenaries. That said, the most evocative parts to me were the details of what kinds of spells and items the units use, as well as the descriptions of what this organization looks like when they are in battle.

The part I like best:

Quote:
"...they believe that the souls of those slain by lightning hasten the awakening of their god, the rune-bound giant interred beneath Giantspine Keep"

This helps the organization have great potential as long-time enemies for an entire campaign, and that to me is one of the bests things an antagonistic organization can have. It is probably best that you left some of the backstory and ideas toward using them in a single adventure out of your submission as that could diminish this quality.

Just my opinion, and again hope to see more from you.

Liberty's Edge

Congratulations Will, very glad to see that you made it to Round 3. Hope that you rock that monster entry!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Will, the parts I loved about your organization were "they worship the rune-carved bones of a long dead storm giant" and the bit about six warriors making a Bolt and five Bolts a Tempest. Good stuff, man! Great job!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Ian, Chad, Mothman: Thanks, sincerely thanks. It's hard to convey how much I appreciate the positive feedback. And that goes for everyone upthread.

Cheers!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Work has me waybehind on supporting the contest and giving feedback. This is the first organization I've read, and I feel it's very bland and safe. A mercenary organization is something Golarion has and something pretty much anyone could come up with. Your execution of a trite idea isn't bad - the writing is evocative and the details on location, uniform and beliefs (murdered by lightning is good) is compelling. But the central idea here is something anyoen could construct and I can't call that Supestar.

Also, your writing is decent, but you fall into this habit of too many hyphenated descriptive terms like "X-bound" and "Y-sworn".

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Hey Steven, thanks for taking the time to come come back round and provide feedback - it's a big commitment of time when work is hectic. I'm glad that the execution worked for you even if the core idea didn't excite. Thanks also for the specific comment on x-y hyphenated constructions. They are a technique that can, like anything, get intrusive if over used and it's great to have such specific actionable feedback on writing style.

Thank you again.


Will Cooper wrote:

Stormsworn Company

Alignment: LE
Headquarters: Giantspine Keep in the southern Mindspin Mountains
Leader: Tempest Lord Xorun Castrial
Structure: Military hierarchy
Scope: National

Disclaimer:

You should know the drill by now, but in case you missed it the first time round, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus:
Spoiler:
Fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals rapidly losing it on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire a couple of hundred feet above a slowly rising pool of molten basalt try to do, and logic is one of those things which you could swear is there when you rattle the piggybank but if anyone other than a demon opens it the contents turn out to be a couple of dead wasps and a six week old ‘to do (in)’ list.
;)

Important Note:
There’s a difference between late and fashionably late. The former is what most other beings manage. The latter is what sophisticated, (very advanced) succubi manage.

First impressions always being important, do members of this organization wear nifty robes or uniforms when out on formal business?
No nifty robes or uniforms specifically stated, although they do at least have a symbol for their organization.

Does membership of this organisation seem likely to involve regular tea or dinner parties or other appropriate social occasions?
This is a martial organization, and dinner parties don't seem likely to at all be on their agenda.

Is the cost of being a member of this organisation likely to be acceptable to a succubus?
No membership fee is indicated, but presumably members are required to regularly involve themselves in brawls, and to be either martial types or arcane spellcaster types. (Divine spellcasters probably wouldn't fit in too well with the whole we-practically-worship-a-giant ethos, although that is likely to be a moot point for most sensible succubi, who stay clear of religion.) Basically, I'm highly doubtful whether a succubus would fit in with this sort of organization at all (apart from the fact that she needn't ever worry about being collateral damage from their favourite throw-lightning-all-over-the-place tactics).

Other comments?
Hmm. Hiring out to both sides in the Molthune/Nirmathas conflict? Risky...

Rating:
Organizations are not being rated except under special circumstances.

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