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Dark fantasy book series The Black Company gets its first tabletop RPG in 20 years from Delta Green creators

Now we're Cookin'.

Wraparound dust jacket cover art for The Black Company novel
Image credit: Kai Carpenter/MidWorld Press

Glen Cook’s 1980s dark fantasy novel series, The Black Company, will be translated into an official tabletop RPG by the studio behind the tense and frightening Delta Green. Publisher Arc Dream announced the news earlier this week, saying The Black Company Role-Playing Game will head into open playtesting before any major timelines are laid out.

Cook’s The Black Company books are likely many people’s first exposure to dark and gritty fantasy, which twist the familiar, Tolkien-esque tropes into often ugly and stark reflections of a cynical world. If you’re a fan of Joe Abercrombie, Steven Erikson and their peers, Cook helped paved this subgenre’s path into the mainstream.

The Black Company Role-Playing Game will attempt to do the same, converting the saga of a mercenary company fighting in the trenches of a massive war between (relative) good and evil into a setting that players can experience first-hand. Instead of heroes, characters will likely be disillusioned and pragmatic soldiers fighting not for a cause but to keep as many of their fellow soldiers alive until tomorrow.

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Arc Dream Publishing, the studio that designs Delta Green, have assigned co-founders Shane Ivey and Dennis Detwiller to write the core book, which will sit atop a brand new RPG engine designed expressly for this title. Arc Dream didn’t go into details, saying only that it will “capture the suspense, terror, and savage heroics of the novels.”

“I’ve been enthralled by The Black Company since the first books came out,” Ivey said in a press release. “This is the thrill of a career. We’re writing the fantasy game that we’ve always wanted to play. Detwiller added that “Shane and I have long considered creating a dark fantasy game, and Delta Green always wanted a twisted, crazed little brother. The Black Company is a perfect fit.”

Arc Dream plans to playtest the core book in the coming months, giving players early access to The Black Company’s adventures serving The Lady and her imperial designs. Not one to rest on its laurels, the studio is already planning multiple supplements, adventures and other sourcebooks based on the rest of the series. The studio said it plans to spend “a great deal of time” on the initial manuscript and will show the public when it’s good and ready.

Arc Dream maintained that Delta Green’s previously planned releases remain a priority, and that fans will enjoy several upcoming supplements designed in concert with Adam Scott Glancy and Caleb Stokes. More information on playtesting can be found on the studio’s website, or you can sign up using this Google form.

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