Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Useful definitions for those who die err... work for you

Hirelings are typically normal men with special skills. Hirelings typically are just hired and are effected by Morale.

Henchmen are leveled characters usually at a far lower level than the players themselves. Henchmens are recruited and are effected by Loyalty. They are typically are owed a small share of the treasure and a small share of the XP to level themselves.

Minions are just another name for Henchmen. It is used mostly for the henchmen of villain NPCs. (the folks that have the treasure you don't have.)

Retainers are the followers of name level Player Characters.


Anonymous said...

I always thought of it this way:

Henchmen: High morale, high loyalty, low level but are actual adventurers, very expensive, you can't have many.

Hireling: Low morale, low loyalty, zero-level, cheap, expendable.

Follower: High morale, high loyalty, depending on the master's class they might be a few high level types or a swath of lowbies, free, and they're never replaced.

Henchmen get a half share of XP (so in a group of 5 players and one henchman, the XP is split by 11, each player gets 2 shares and the henchman gets 1), hirelings don't get any XP and can never rise in level. Followers work in this regard based on whether they are zero-level like Fighter or Cleric followers, or have levels like Ranger or Thief followers.

Morale is what happens in a dangerous situation. Loyalty is what happens when you aren't directly supervising them. A failure or morale involves running from combat, surrender, playing dead. A failure of loyalty involves embezzlement, theft, desertion, turning on you in combat.

Christopher said...

Interesting. This comes at a good time for me because I'm writing up rules for henchmen, hirelings and morale for my homebrew S&W game right now.

I don't think I've ever heard of a Loyalty mechanic before. How does that work- is it basically the same as Morale, but rolled for at different times, or is it a completely different mechanic?

Anonymous said...

I'm just running from memory on the AD&D 1E DMG henchman loyalty tables. But here's how I would do it:

The NPC has loyalty of 2d6, rolled secretly, and do the same for morale. This determines the NPC's trustworthiness and bravery, respectively.

If he gets really good pay, especially bonuses, he has a temporary boost to loyalty. The length of his service with you adds to loyalty - people become more loyal over time.

Deductions from loyalty include poor pay, mistreatment, unpredictable orders, enslavement, etc.

If he gets really good equipment, especially magic arms and armor, or he stays with you for a really long time, he gains boosts to morale.

Deductions from morale include losses during battle, failed adventures, knowing the enemy treats prisoners very well, etc.

When the NPC has an opportunity to be disloyal (left alone with a bunch of money, left to protect the temple virgin alone) you roll 2d6 and if it falls under the Loyalty he acts entirely in the employer's interest. If it goes over he acts entirely in his own interests. If it's even he acts in his employer's interest but will scam a tiny bit for himself.

During combat, the first time he's wounded, and the first friendly fatality, at 50% losses, if a powerful opposing force emerges, or someone attacks him with a thing he's especially vulnerable against he rolls morale in the same way: 2d6. If you roll under you succeed and continue fighting. If you roll over you flee or surrender. If you roll even you remain in the fight but back off, or maybe just waffle around in indecision.

So Loyalty is about whether someone betrays you and acts in his own self interest. Morale is about whether someone stands in the fight or loses his nerve. Both are of course affacted by the qualities of the master (Charisma, alignment, brutality, etc).

Christopher said...

Awesome- thanks!