There is still plenty to work out with this campaign concept. Jason and I had some pretty interesting discussions about how to manage the improvement of the company. My initial thought was that it be based on the average level of everyone in the company. The problem with that is that as more new members are recruited, the average level will decrease, not a big deal, as you can just say that when your company hits a level it stays that level. Jason's initial thought was that your company gains a chunk of experience from missions as well as characters and levels up using its own advancement chart. My second thought was that your company gains levels based on how much loot you have. I thought it would make sense, as mercenaries are primarily oriented towards cash and I was looking at the wealth by character level in the core book when the idea struck me. Jason actually came up with something that I liked a lot more.
His idea revolved around a series of licenses. Like each company starts out with a basic license governing how many members they can have, what classes they can use, and so on. Then, as they make money and stuff they can buy other licenses to increase size, recruit other classes, grant them the right to possess firearms and alchemical supplies, and so on. I really like this system. It kind of offers a company a certain level of customization. You could spend all your money on gun rights and alchemical rights and have yourself a small, elite company loaded to the gills with guns and bombs. Or you could have a massive company with only a few class options and just the basic weapons.
So, to figure out what licenses to make, I first need to have an idea as to what a basic company is allowed to be made up of. I want to start with a small amount, something like 20 characters, maybe 25. Something along those lines. There will be a restriction on classes among your mercenaries as well. No psionic classes or the Monk, obviously as they are a strongly kept secret by the Shale. I'm thinking Barbarian, Bard, Cavalier, Fighter, Magus, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Witch. I am pretty sure I'm yanking out the Druid and Ranger from my class options as the only reason I really included the Druid in the first place was so that there was a class that had access to a lot of Cleric healing spells, but the Witch has access to more and is already an arcane class. As I've said on here before, the Ranger kind of bugs me and seems like a class with multiple personality disorder. At some point here I am planning on setting my sights on a good hard review of the Scout class and I would add it to this roster of basic mercenary company classes.
Now the classes we don't see here are the Alchemist, Gunslinger, Summoner, and Wizard. I see those as the highly restricted classes of the nobility. I don't feel like the Gunslinger should really be restricted though, but what is the point of having Gunslingers in your company if nobles will confiscate any firearms your company possesses if you don't have the proper license? So I guess Gunslinger isn't a restricted class, but firearms are. So you run the risk of having your battered firearm confiscated if the company or the character gets searched by nobles, which is going to be pretty much mandatory if you wander anywhere near the walls of a city-state, and since we're using the Emerging Guns rule in this campaign, it'll costs a few thousand gold/marks/whatever to buy a new one. Probably more, as you'd have to buy it on some sort of black market if you don't have the license for your company to possess firearms.
Now, I am not entirely sure how I want to figure out the costs of the licenses. I don't think I want to assign specific costs to each license, instead I think I want to assign costs that scale up based on what number of licenses you have. For instance, your first license, whatever it may be, costs 250 gold, the second one costs 500, third 750, and so on. Like I said, I don't have specific costs in mind yet, but I would like the costs to scale up as you accrue more licenses. I'd also have certain licenses available only when certain prerequisites, like the license to allow Wizards into the company only be available if you do a specific job or jobs for the Wizard guilds/schools of the city-states.
In addition to the thoughts above regarding classes, I think I have a few thoughts on restricting certain class archetypes. For instance, the Reanimator and Vivisectionist Alchemist archetypes seem like they might leave people in charge of cities and stuff with a big frowny face, as their experiments and nature are kind of icky. I dunno, it is something I'm toying with, but I'm not entirely set on. I'm also considering making racial archetypes mandatory, but I feel like that might be too restrictive for players. It would make sense that all Shale Monks use the same archetype, as they all learned to be Monk through similar training regimes, but one of the points of Pathfinder is to build your character to your specifications, so I probably won't go that route.
I think that's all for now. I'll probably post another one of these next Monday, maybe not though, as I feel like if I come up with any more concrete information I need to start penning a new campaign book. We'll see.