Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Volunteer Hirelings

In my last session report, I said this:

"There were also three volunteer hirelings this time - Lucky Pete, a one-handed swordsman; Borgnar the Bold, tough barbarian; and Zeke Spearman, a mercenary spearman. Volunteers? Yep. Word of the increasing success and routinely good hauls (and steady bonuses to hirelings) has attracted some volunteers. Hirelings who just showed up, offered their services, and asked only for a bonus if they made a good impression. Naturally, the kind of guys who'll offer their services free of charge for a potentially fatal mission aren't exactly the highest quality."

One thing about the Random Hireling Traits table in DF15 is, it's an effect roll. High roll, good. Low roll, not so bad. You get a -1 on the roll for every 10% less than a fair salary you offer, for a -10 if you're seeking a volunteer.

The rules on finding henchmen are good as far as they go, but they don't really address what happens if you stay in the town and spend your loot there, trip after trip, and build up a reputation for success.

So I decided that cumulative spending would affect the city.

I also decided that it must, therefore, inspire rival adventuring groups . . . but also inspire a certain class of fortune-seeker to offer their services to the party, for nothing. Just for a potential piece of the action.

Naturally the kind of hirelings who'd do that are of dubious value.

They're the desperate.

The foolish.

The treacherous.

The untrustworthy.

The unqualified.

The just plain dumb.

You also get the idealistic, the dreamers, the starry-eyed kids, the despondent (suicide-by-monster?), and the confused.

You know, the kind who get a -10 on that table.

And that's who is showing up and offering to come along for free. Now, I don't actually roll on the table at -10 every time. I make up some fun-seeming hirelings, throw in a ringer or two perhaps (good or bad) and roll for them straight-up. After all, the PCs aren't seeing these guys out and offering low pay, these guys are showing up and offering to work for free, for their own reasons. The fame of the PCs, and their success rate, goes well for them.

After all, my group has brought most of their hirelings back alive - they treat them as employees at worst, fellow adventurers at best - not as meatshields or guys to shove into trapped rooms. They've gone back into the dungeon and suffered heavy casualties trying to rescue lost hirelings. They've paid out solid bonuses every time (often 2-3x their pay rate) and take home vast wealth. For the honest hireling types, it must seem like a great job if they can get it, even without the daily rate. For greedy types, the chance to get some of that, perhaps sneak off with a little of the good stuff, must be extremely tempting.

So every session after a successful delve, my players can expect some volunteers to show up. They're of dubious value but they're free and they are right there, ready to go . . .


We've only done this one session, so we'll see how this works long run. But so far, they've been fun.

It's a good way to introduce some hirelings to a group that might not take them otherwise. They're good for comic relief. They're potentially dangerous, but only in the worst possible circumstances.

It's also a fun way to get people to take along camp followers and otherwise useless types, because they're free.

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