The Blackwheel Company Recruit Primer
Presented by General Mach Ogdin
These are grand times hires! The war may be over, but the fighting certainly is not. Looks like you already knew that. If you want to explore Xen’drik, make your fortune and apply steel to skin while doing it, the Blackwheel Company is the right outfit. Only the terminally brave or stupid would try to do it with a bunch of clerics, bookworms, or moping mental cases. We’ve got the best gear, the best leaders, and nerves of steel. We’ve got all that because we are organized and disciplined. Let me tell you a little about how it works.
Recruit - As it sounds. You’re at the bottom of the food chain. Do what you’re told when you’re told. The only place to go from here is up, or a shallow grave if you’re not so bright or lucky.
Dragoon - The first position of real responsibility, just don’t let it go to your head. You’ll be expected to guide recruits and not be such a dolt.
Mark's Man - Someone who’s proven their skill and value as a soldier, but they’re not quite ready for the responsibility as a sergeant. Expected to aid their superiors in ensuring that the lower ranked members stay focused.
Sergeant - Tough, competent, disciplined. A sergeant is expected to lead, make good decisions on the fly and put the needs of his platoon and the Company first.
Field Sergeant - See above, only meaner. It is reputed that field sergeants can only die in battle if they choose. Dolurrh doesn’t want them if they do.
Captain - A premier leader and tactician. Captains oversee larger, more complex missions and have much to worry about. Fortunately, they have trusty field sergeants and sergeants to apply motivation to the troops.
Lieutenant Commander - Typically, lieutenant commanders report to the senior battalion commanders. The ultimate tactical success or failure of large or very important operations rests on their shoulders. The pinnacle of achievement in the Company.
Now then… everyone begins their career in the BWC as recruits until they can prove themselves worthy of the next rank. After all, promotion recognizes potential and potential must be demonstrated! Promotions are earned through completion of mission objectives, working as a team, and to an extent, level of experience. Rank is represented as a wheel with spokes, imagine that. Each rank after recruit earns you spokes. As you progress in the service of the Company you’ll see that rank has its privileges. See the guy mucking the latrine? Want to be him? Ok, work your way around the spokes, then it’ll never be you, get it? The other important thing rank carries with it is better gear. Leaders need better toys, after all. More rank also equals more pay. More pay means you can blow more Galifars on companionship, longswords, and ale. As if that weren’t enough, those who’ve proven their mettle to the Company may be asked to field test new equipment on their missions and put it through the paces. The trusty sergeant will be more likely to test out the spiffy new mace of speed over Recruit Snuffy, who’s just as likely to smash his own toes in combat. Plus, nothing like trial by fire to see if the artificer’s new gadget is worth a spit.
One thing to keep in mind is that while hires always defer to greater rank, it isn’t unusual for crack special mission platoons to be assembled from hires of the same rank. When equal ranking members are adventuring together, they’re expected to use their wisdom, experience, and training to determine the type of leadership best suited to the parameters of the mission. Blackwheel hires know that rank is earned, never given, that’s why rank always commands respect. Few live long enough or possess the intestinal fortitude or skill required to advance to the upper ranks. So when these highly trained and disciplined individuals get together, they tend to treat each other with the respect they’ve earned. The next thing we need to cover is how the Company is broken down.
There are four main battalions in the Blackwheel Company:
White Hand Battalion: The finest battalion, my battalion! We are in charge of everything from making you miserable recruits fit to serve in the Company, to finding out what our enemies are doing. Between you and me, we should just kill them, and then we know what they're doing: Rotting. But others think it better to "observe" and “gather intelligence” instead of slaughtering... What do they know?
Arrowhawk Armada: Death from above! The second battalion makes sure we have the fastest, most comfortable, and most well-armed means to arrive anywhere in Eberron. Admiral Findecano has proven worthy of leading this branch. When not entertaining young noble's daughters he can be seen captaining the finest airship to ever fly, the Glory Road. He isn't all show and has taught many a hire the proper way to fire a bow from high ground - the very high ground. Nothing says diplomacy like a thousand arrows from 5,000' above...
Arclight Battalion: This battalion makes sure we have better toys to play with than any that should oppose us. Tubal d’Cannith has proven he can craft anything for any purpose, that is, at least as long as he can remember what the purpose was. While his branch will create the finest weapons, be sure you are getting a flaming longsword if that's what you ask for. He also oversees the trickery and light makers. Now trickery and lightshows are all well and good… but we all know the way to win a battle is with cold, hard steel.
Six Paths Battalion: A forged named Pilgrim has been chosen by Mace to lead this battalion. The Paths are responsible for 90% of the BWC's missions. When we’ve got hires armed and out in the field, they usually belong to the Six Paths. They excel in missions where there is a fine line between killing and diplomacy. Fortunately, that line tends to be carved out by the blades of the Paths. They’re not always known for taking the cordial way out of a mission. Then again a silver tongue opens just as many doors as a steel boot. Or at least that’s what that crazy ‘forged always tells me. Pilgrim has been known to mutter, "Heads…Pikes," concerning any who would wish harm on him or his hires. Unfortunately for the other factions, he is deadly serious, and the most proven of our veteran commanders, save me, of course.
After basic training with the White Hand, you’ll likely start handling the Company’s business in the Six Paths. As you progress in the service of the Company you might find that your skills are a better fit for another of the Company’s battalions. A sneaky type may feel like scouting (and scalping) for the White Hand, while an artificer may feel drawn to blowing things up in Arclight. Each has a role to play and the battalions routinely combine forces with each other to accomplish a mission. In fact it’s not uncommon for hires to switch battalions from time to time to fit with their skills and experience. Not all the battalions can be as fine as White Hand, but without them I can’t do what I do as well. Remember that. Friendly rivalry is good, makes you fight harder; just keep in mind that we are on the same team! Once you end up in the jungle with some maniacal drow trying to jam a long dagger down your throat, it’s your brother or sister standing next to you who’ll keep your butt out of the fire. We are many different weapons that present one united front. It’s also a well known fact that no hire in the Company can die without my permission, so keep each other alive out there until I say otherwise.
One Aim, United!
General Mach Ogden