Last week, I talked about creating a ranger for Ranger sof Shadow Deep. This week, I want to look at the companions. Unlike Frostgrave or Ghost Archipelago, a ranger does not have a fixed ‘warband’. Instead, before each new mission, they may select a group of companions to accompany them. A ranger can select the same companions for every mission, and there is some encouragement to do so, but it is not required.
Every ranger has Base Recruitment Points (BRP) as one of their stats. This number starts at 100 and can be increased by spending Build Points as discussed last time. If you are playing the game solo, this is the total number of Recruitment Points (RP) you will have for any mission, and you can use those RPs to select up to seven companions. If you are playing the game co-operatively, there is a chart which tells you how to modify your BRP to get your actual RP for the mission. It will also tell you the maximum number of companions you have. So, when playing co-operatively, each player will have a ranger and at least one companion, but not as many as if you are playing the game solo.
The rulebook contains a large list of companions, each of which has an RP cost. Each companion has their own stats, abilities, and sometimes skills. Companions include everything from bloodhounds and falcons, to rouges and guardsmen, and even barbarian warriors and conjurers. Obviously, the more powerful the companion, the more RPs they cost. While companions do not gain experience points like rangers, they do have their own, much simpler progression system. So, it is possible for the companions to improve along with the ranger, if they are taken on a lot of missions (and survive).
With my ranger Aelwyn getting ready for her first mission, it is time for her to select her companions. I knew she would be going it solo, so I increased her BRP up to 120.
Since Aelwyn chose not to take any spells, I decided the first thing she needed was a bit of magical support, so for 20 RP she took a Conjurer. The Conjurer can take two spells each game, or 3 if you pay an extra 10RP, but I wasn’t sure I was going to have those extra points.
Next up, there are several skills that Aelwyn is lacking. So I picked up an Arcanist for 15 RP, who is skilled in both Read Runes and Ancient Lore, and a Rogue for 20RP who is good at traps, picking locks and the like.
All good so far, but a bit weak when it comes to fighting. Next up, I took a couple of Men-at-Arms for 20RP each – partly because I just got a sprue of Oathmark humans and wanted to paint them up.
The party is taking shape, but a little lacking in missile weapons, so for another 20RP, I selected an Archer. This left me with a total of 5RPs remaining, so Aelwyn took a loyal hound to round out her party. As a last step, I can choose one skill for each of her companions to have at +3. I won’t bother going through all of these with you. These won’t come up much, but it gives each companion just a little more character, and there are situations where it may prove useful.
So Aelwyn took the maximum 7 companions. In truth, she went pretty ‘middle of the road’ with most of them, generally avoiding either the cheaper or more expensive models. This was mainly driven by the models I wanted to paint more than anything else. Once I have them all painted, these will probably be Aleywn’s usual party, at least when playing solo. Should I happen to play co-operatively, I’ll have less RP to play with, and I’ll have to rethink who I take.
So there’s a quick look at selecting companions. If I manage to get the all painted, then next week I’ll see if I can give you a quick report of Aelwyn attempting her first mission.
For those really interested in Rangers of Shadow Deep, I have shared a couple of other small bits and pieces on the Facebook group, so you might want to join, but all major announcements will be made here as well.
As you can see, I haven’t quite finished painting them up all of the companions. The two Men-at-Arms are Oathmark Human Infantry, one with a Ghost Archipealgo head. The Archer is a Frostgrave Barbarian – if you paint them green they just look like rough woodsmen! The Conjuror is the apprentice Sigilist from Frostgrave. I’ve nearly finished painting the thief, who is a Frostgrave plastic soldier. I just need to find a dog – back to the box of unpainted lead!