Friday, November 25, 2011

Trollslayers - Henchmen (part 2) and Morale

More stuff on the fine art of hiring lackeys meat shields henchmen to assist you in your plunderings noble endeavors.  This post refers heavily to both the previous post regarding henchmen as well as the post regarding reaction rolls.

At any given time, a standard roll of 8+ is needed to find a potential henchman (usually rolled once per week).  This is assuming that the potential employer is currently in a large village/small town of about a 1,000 people or so.  For settlements less than that number, there is a -1 penalty for every 100 or so less that a thousand.  For larger establishments, every doubling of the population past 1,000 nets a +2 bonus.  This same modifier based on population is also applied to the roll that determines the potential henchman's character level (rolled separately).  For every 4 points the roll is exceeded by, there is an extra potential henchman available in the area.

If advertising for someone of a specific skillset, penalties apply to the roll for finding potential henchmen.  Advertising just for warriors is a -1 penalty.  If you want a warrior with a specific skill (i.e. archer), or one of the Expert types (thief, priest, bard), that's a -2 penalty.  Looking for an Expert with a specific skillset (not just a thief, but a cat burglar) gives you a -3 penalty. Trying to hire any type of spellcaster is a -4 penalty.

Relying solely on word of mouth is free, but nets you a -3 penalty.  Hiring a town crier on your behalf costs around 5 SP a week, but there's no penalty on the roll.  Hiring a scribe to put up postings (usually torn down after a week or so) costs around 10 SP, giving you a -1 penalty on the roll (or -2 if the type of henchmen you're looking for tends to skew closer to illiteracy than not).  You can also make a roll at no cost or penalty if you are part of a connected organization of sufficient size (i.e. thieves' guild), but you're limited to prospects of that specific profession.

As noted previously, actually getting the potential henchman to agree to hire on is essentially a PRE Reaction roll, so all the usual modifiers for Reaction rolls (outsider, religion, magic, reputation, authority) apply here as well.  Talents such as Persuasion would also apply.  Other situational factors may also modify the roll, with anywhere from -2 to +2 as appropriate.

Example: after his misadventures in the big city, Drogo is laying low (relatively speaking) in the not-quite-so-big-city of Haresh, which has a population of just over 2,000.  He has heard of an abandoned temple nearby with riches for the taking, but he wants an extra pair of hands with him to deal with any monsters that might be nearby.  Drogo begins putting word out that he is looking for someone to help him on a treasure-hunting expedition.  Drogo gets a +2 modifier due to the size of Heresh, but a -3 penalty because he is relying on word of mouth.  Because he doesn't specify what type of aid he's looking for, there's no penalty there, so his overall modifier is -1.  He rolls a 10, which becomes a modified 9; there is one potential henchman (named Ranulf) available that is willing to consider the offer.  The GM rolls to determine Ranulf's level, adding a +2 modifier; a roll of 7 becomes a 9, indicating Ranulf is 1st level.  A further roll indicates that Ranulf is a Warrior.

Now Drogo must convince Ranulf to join him.  There are no modifiers for reputation or other such factors, so Drogo is mainly relying on the +1 modifier his high PRE score gives him.  He rolls a 6, which becomes a 7 after his PRE mod is added.  Ranulf's reaction is neutral; he's not totally opposed to the idea, but he needs something more to sell him on it.  Drogo modifiers the offer to include giving Ranulf a full share instead of a half-share (not that Drogo intends to keep such a promise, but hey, it sounds good).   This gives him an extra +1 modifier, so the GM rolls again, this time with a total mod of +2.  A roll of 8 becomes a 10, and Ranulf agrees to the job.

Whenever a henchman or henchmen face a grave threat, or begin taking casualties (say, 1/4 of your number dead or incapacitated, and again when 1/2 the party shares that state), a Morale check may be needed.  As with Reaction rolls, a 6 or less is bad (flee!), 7-9 is neutral (hold your ground but not advance, fight defensively), and 10+ is good.  The employer's PRE modifier is included in the roll (something along the lines of a Leadership talent would also be applicable), as well as mods for Religion and Authority.  Penalties for Magic and Outsider status may apply, although these may eventually fade away if the henchman sticks with the employer over an extended period of time.  Modifiers for Reputation will fade very quickly, to be replaced by appropriate mods regarding the employer's actual treatment of the henchman, which may vary from -2 to +2 depending on circumstances.  Other situational modifiers include:

Relative numbers - Being outnumber 3:2 gives you a -1 on Morale, and being outnumbered 2:1 puts you at -2.  For every next step in terms of ration outnumbered (i.e. 3:1, 4:1, 5:1, etc), an extra -2 penalty accrues.  Outnumbering your foes gives you bonuses to your Morale roll equivalent to the penalty for being outnumbered.

(this is, obviously, only appropriate given humanoid foes with roughly similar arms and training - different monsters would be treated as if worth more or less than a human(oid) threat, with a dragon (for example) being worth at least a hundred or more men)

Henchman level - a 1st level character (as opposed to a zero-level 'man-at-arms) gets a +1 to their roll.  Characters 2nd level or higher get +2.

Length of association - having served with an employer on a previous adventure gives the henchman a +1 bonus to Morale.  If that time together is a year or more, the bonus is +2, and five or more years together gives a +3 bonus.

Casualties - having lost half or more of your forces incurs a -1 penalty, and having lost 3/4 of said force is a -2 penalty.  Also, there's an extra -1 penalty if your leader has been knocked unconscious, -2 if they've been killed. 

Magic - encountering a spellcaster, or a creature with magical abilities, incurs a -1 penalty for those not used to dealing with magic.

Example, part deux: Drogo and Ranulf are poking around the abandoned temple when a trio of animated skeletons show up, skulls grinning and swords a-swinging.  The GM decides that this is as good time as any for a morale check for Ranulf.  The unlikely duo are outnumbered three to two, so that's a -1 penalty.  Ranulf is a 1st level character, so that's a +1 bonus.  Ranulf has no real prior experience with magic, so that's another -1 penalty.  Combined with Drogo's +1 PRE modifier, and the previously established +1 mod for Drogo giving Ranulf an equal share of the treasure, this totals out to a +1 mod on the roll.

The GM winds up rolling a natural 8 for Ranulf, which becomes a modified 9, a neutral result.  Ranulf fights defensively, but needs to keep making further Morale checks until he gets either a negative (run! run away!) or a positive result.

No comments:

Post a Comment