Okay, what are these?
Companions come from The Companions’ Quarters, and provide a writer a means to have a companion that can be detailed without having to make an account for that companion. They essentially function as pets, meaning you can rp as them on the account you own them on.
Armies, in contrast, come from The Mercenaries’ Camp and allow for characters to have armies if they so desire.
What's the difference between the two?
Companions can have rich backstories and are also permanent editions to an accounts inventory. They do not decay, and any equipment or spells they cast must be owned. They can also be rped as individual characters on the same account, albeit with limitations. A major drawback to companions is that you CANNOT command groups of them like an army, and you can only have 10 in a single thread at a time. Each companion must be treated individually when describing their actions, so there is no hive mind from a writer's perspective.
Armies, in contrast, can be directed as a hive mind, but cannot be given personalities. These are the typical, 2-dimensional NPCs you use every day in your threads. They also come with equipment/spells and decay after six months from purchase.
Cool! So both come with equipment?
For the companion NPCs, assume that they come with the basic starting package associated with their classes. If you want them to have more specialized equipment, spells, clothing or items in general; then they must be purchased. The military units come armed and armored, but any spellcasters are more heavily limited than companions.
Why is there a decay timer on the military units?
This is meant to represent the wearing down of military units over time, due to battles lost, deserting, training, and people having to retire for various reasons. An army is not free. They have upkeep, and so the decay timer serves to enforce realism and balance.
What kind of spells can magical companions cast?
Companions and pets are allowed to cast most spells up to a cost of 700 silver. If a spell costs more than 700 silver in the shop, a companion can't cast it. Also, conjuring spells are off limits to companions with the exception of spells like conjure food and summon item in order to ensure fairness.
The exception to this rule is military units. Military units that can cast magic possess all the limitations of companions and pets, but are also specialized in a single element and can only cast combat magic only. They are weaker individually than a regular companion, but their numbers make up for that weakness.