So I have a pitch and I'm looking for feedback before I start seriously investing time and effort. Feel free to make comments and suggestions!
The Celebrated Company of Mongrels is a game in an original dark fantasy setting, and also the name of the organization the game will revolve around.
Taking place in the ancient kingdom of Goëtika, society is extremely rigid and (on the surface) honor-based, with no upward mobility between classes and a lot of corruption in the court; this is compounded by both its relationship with the Church of the Crimson God, a fanatical religion that was elevated to the official faith of the realm by a devout king hundreds of years ago, and the subjugation of non-humans that happened nearly concurrently.
Getting denobled, defrocked/excommunicated, stripped of knighthood, etc is fairly easy in the current atmosphere of the kingdom and tensions in all corners are high given that the last king allowed his vassal lords the freedom to openly war on one another, and several small to middling conflicts have burned across the land for a generation.
All players are former nobles/knights/priests/priestesses, non-humans, or commoners who have been disenfranchised or left the service of a noble army to join the Mongrel Company, an extremely egalitarian group of independent contractors where rank is granted based on merit and the past hierarchy is largely ignored.
The themes of the game are unrest, determination in the face of despair, and uncommon or unexpected fellowship. The focus will be on how the Company as a whole will survive/thrive as the kingdom grows closer to outright civil war and other possible conflicts, including the brewing prospect of a commoner revolution in the face of an inept monarchy and religious persecution -- and the growing threat of a neighboring assortment of barbarian clans to the north waiting for a moment of weakness.
Players can take contracts on behalf of the Company, politick with local villages and nobles for support, and generally adventure -- the kingdom is full of old ruins to explore, monsters to hunt, etc.
Because we'll be using Fate, each PC starts on pretty equal ground -- the system's premise is that everyone is competent at what they do and should expect to make a difference.
And, a peek at the org itself:
The Celebrated Company of Mongrels
Banner: Several hounds of different coats and colors, pulling a scrap of meat from different corners, on a field of yellow.
Nicknames: Nobles of the court have referred to the company disparagingly as "Nikolev's Dogs," even though the former Captain Nikolev has been dead for several years now; this is said to be due to the fact a commoner -- and rumored half-elf -- is the current Captain Lillian, so it is meant to be dismissive and insulting of her command and the Company all at once. Members of the Company, however, are proud to call themselves Mongrels or "Lillian's Dogs" interchangeably.
Organization: The Company consists of roughly a dozen regiments each under a lieutenant, every three reporting to a Commander, who then serves under the Company Captain. Founded some fifty years ago out of the surviving remnants of several other bands and smaller companies, however, new recruits are often surprised to learn that rank is a somewhat informal affair. While the Captain and then her Commanders collectively have final say in any given dispute, and can give general orders that are expected to be obeyed and/or call the entire Company to battle, each regiment is largely autonomous and free to pursue whatever contract or interest they please -- with the friendly but non-negotiable understanding that the Company will take its cut of any profits.
Culture & Law: While each regiment has a variety of expectations in regards to behavior, and many different traditions and oaths that have survived the test of time, the one consistent and unbreakable oath across the Company can be summed up in a common saying among them -- "We Do Not Harbor Rabid Hounds." This means that any member of the Company regardless of seniority, service, or rank found guilty of abhorrent crimes (especially against one another or the common folk) will be swiftly and unceremoniously put to death.
This is a point of extreme pride in the Company considering some other mercenary companies in the kingdom are hardly better than brigands, and any member who questions or tests this oath quickly learns better or dies.
What I'm imagining with this is that while the highest ranks (the Captain and Commanders) will be NPCs, players are free to lead individual regiments as basically sub-orgs with loose internal rankings, and come up with their own cool backstories, uniforms, etc. Every regiment is assumed to have a large number of NPC troops so that players can play as leaders or grunts, whichever they please.
Thoughts? Questions? Concerns?