Review: Rite Publishing – #30 Mercenary Companies (Pathfinder)

#30 Mercenary Companies
#30 Mercenary Companies is an epic fantasy supplement, from the #30 Series of supplements, for Pathfinder, written by Liz Smith and published by Rite Publishing.
By Cape Rust

Learn more about #30 Mercenary Companies here
Purchase #30 Mercenary Companies here
Find other #30 Series posts here

This 23 page product contains 21 pages that provide succinct and really fleshed out descriptions of 30 different mercenary companies that both players and game masters can use in their Pathfinder campaign as well as other fantasy settings with few or no adjustments. Entries are formatted just like the entries one would expect to find in a Bestiary or Monster Manual and include the alignment of the company, the name or a brief description of the company’s’ headquarters, the name of the company’s leader, resources, structure and leadership (Order of battle), uniform and banner, an overview described using Difficulty Class (DC) to determine how much information a player can get on the company, a description of the company normally narrated by one of its members (usually one of the common soldiers rather than the commander) and a statblock that allows you to use the company not only in an encounter, but in the Pathfinder mass combat rules.

The folks over at Rite Publishing have been listening and this is one of the tightest, most cohesive products that I have seen from them. I’ve always loved their products, but in every one it seemed like there was some little thing that kept a really well done product from being the best that it should be. Those problems could be a tiny editing problem or even stock art that varied between amazing and dreadful, or even the mixing of very desperate types of art to ruin the flow of a product. #30 Mercenary Companies had none of those problems. If you look at the list of problems you will notice that I didn’t mention content as one of the problems, because Rite has always done a great job of bring its customers interesting and affordable content.

Liz Smith, the author, was on point with her vision for this product and the gang really supported her. All of the art in this product was public domain and it all worked really well for the entries near which it was placed. All of the art was in a similar style, and it was all in color, no color on one page, and then black and white on the next page followed by three more pages of color. The cover evokes thoughts of swords for hire and the interior art syncs well with the entries. The page borders are the normal Rite Publishing “lions head” style which blended well with the theme of this product.

As a GM this is such an elegant product; in a very small space and with minimum amount of time I can reference this book and generate 15 different ideas for encounters or even adventures and campaigns based on the companies presented. Smith was smart to include some companies that tend to operate in environments other than the typical European type forest with interspaced mountain ranges. I was a big fan of a few of the nautical companies especially. Who doesn’t love a group of aquatic elves that likes to cut holes in the hulls of ships and attack them from below? That right there is fodder for a series of amazing at sea encounters or even an undersea/above sea campaign.

This is the first Rite product I’ve reviewed in a long time and I was completely satisfied with it. Each mercenary company felt alive. Sure not all of them were original, but how many dire hippogriffs ridden by small hill giants companies do you need? I hope that Rite can keep this up as they have been nipping at the heels of some of the big companies for a long time. To sum up my feelings about this product in one word… Respect!

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