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Thursday, January 15, 2015


From Monty Python Like I Needed to type that.

My series on henchmen and hirelings continues (this will all come together in a post or two.)

Here is how I handle Morale in my game AAIE.
NPC henchmen start with a base morale between one and  20  with oddly  enough 20 being the best.
most hover between  9  poor morale and 15 excellent morale.
when a morale check comes up the  gm rolls 1D20 if the roll is over the moral the Henchman has failed the check and things happen.

Morale fluctuates:
Any time I roll a morale roll if the  result is a pass, I add one to the  Hirelings morale improving it.
If the result is a failure subtract one form the  hirelings morale, making it worse.

I will also adjust the Morale of a hireling for the following reasons.

Adjust Downward for bad things:
  • Verbal abuse by the characters, generally just being  mean to the  retainers. -1 up to -4
  • Physical abuse hitting the retainers or what not. -1 to 6 depending on the  severity.
  • Lack of food -2 per day (make a check each day  the retainers are not fed.)
  • Lack of rest -1 per day (make a check each day of forced march.)
  • Giving the  retainers  obviously  dangerous commands. -2  (requires a check right away)
  • Suicidal commands -4. (requires a check right away.)
  • Injury -2 or more.
  • Seeing another hireling die violently -1d6 (requires a check  right away)
  • Seeing a player character die violently -1d8  (requires a check  right away)
  • Attack by a particularly nasty monster. - the monsters level (make a check)
  • Anything else the Gm feels would scare or  insult the Retainers -1 or 2 is always a good fall back.
Adjust morale upward for good things.
  • Characters help or  praise the hirelings appropriately +1
  • Character saves the hireling in combat +1d6
  • Character defeats a particularly nasty monster +2
  • Character heals Hireling +2
  • A good meal or shared logging for a rest +1 to +4 depending on how good it was.
  • Brothel in town? +1 
  • Sharing treasure  + sky is the limit at least +1 perhaps more consider the amount shared.
  • Anything else the Gm feels deserves it +1 or +2 are good fall backs.
A retainers Morale may never go above 20 and may only fall into the  negative between  morale checks, which would effectively make the next check an auto failure.

For my game when a hireling fails I generally just make something up based on the  situation  that is either amusing to me or otherwise troublesome for the players. I can understand where a GM might want a more concrete way of determining how hirelings react to a failed  roll.

Roll a D6 and add the hirelings current morale.

Less Than One: The hireling turns violently on whomever hired them they have had enough and would rather die fighting than deal with the characters any more If this is a combat with intelligent opposition they join the enemy. There is a 1 in four chance the hireling will bite their lip for now and wait till the party takes a rest, attacking a party member in their sleep then running off.

1 to 5: The hireling deserts dropping what ever he or she was holding and running away.

6 to 10: The hireling  drops what ever he or she is doing and runs away to hide behind the nearest cover. The hireling will remain there for  a few rounds until he or she can gather their wits. If this is a not combat situation they simply slink away to sulk.

11 to 13: The hireling  argues boisterously with any orders given and if this is a combat situation they  refuse to follow orders instead do their own thing.

14 to 16: The hireling does exactly the opposite of what  is prudent at the moment. If they should hide they charge, if they should charge they cower.. and so fourth.

17 to 19: The Hireling freezes in place unable to act, stunned. this lasts one round. Anything attacking the  Hireling will hit automatically.

20 or better: The hiring grumbles but follows orders as given.

I track morale for each hireling, until there are more than five of them running around then I give one morale number for each group of five. This causes groups and individuals to sometimes have  differing morale scores and differing reactions to situations. This is a goo thing in my book.

Thank you for reading.
Please leave questions and comments bellow.

Bonus stuff:

Random Hireling generator  from Discourse and Dragons.
Random Hireling traits from Papers and Pencils

A post from Tenkar's Tavern on the subject.
A handy chart of hireling service costs from Pathfinder by Pazio.
Another reasoned Morale and reaction Post From the  Author of "Into The Odd". That post was inspired a bit by this post from "Goblin Punch." And now the  circle is complete.