I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the hireling rules.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the hireling rules.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the hireling rules. Or, honestly, the rules for the ranger’s animal companion.  I find there to be more GM fiat than I’m comfortable with. I find that the hireling skills feel fairly limited, and dislike how many of them treat hirelings as disposable.  I find the division between hirelings (or the ranger’s animal companion) and monsters (including adversarial NPCs) weird. Why does the goblin have HP and a damage die but my pet wolf doesn’t?

So, I made this for #Stonetop. It’s a new set of rules for followers as opposed to hirelings.  I’m thinking I’ll also redo the ranger’s animal companion to use these rules as well.

Feedback appreciated!

(Though please don’t bother trying to sell me on the hireling rules or the animal companion. I’ve thought a lot about them, and I’m not really interested in discussing them.)


18 thoughts on “I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the hireling rules.”

  1. Awesome!

    I’ve been thinking along similar lines with a sci-fi hack I’m working on.

    Would it be cool to take a note or two on your followers and adapt it to my hack?

  2. I really love it. The Shadow Hunter has a similar move to get informants: three stats are Trustworthiness, Loyalty and Cost, which are basically the same as yours here.

    I really like the idea that there is one move that allows them to “do their thing”.

    Well done.

  3. Looks pretty good to me, although I would never have followers make moves for things other than what they do on behalf of the PCs. It doesn’t seem like you specify if that’s the case or not with these rules?

  4. I feel like limiting how many moves a follower has, but allowing them to use their moves at least as freely as a monster, fulfills the principle of making NPCs living and breathing parts of the world.

    But I would include a note against attacks that directly do damage to an enemy (that’s what the players do) and so keep that warrior tag as is, but rename it to a general combat tag, used whenever a follower needs to cause damage per the fiction.

    And a note about magic using followers only knowing a spell or two, and those spells being their moves.

  5. Wynand Louw  The game is about the PCs and their adventures, which is where the focus should be. If the PC tells a follower to break down a door, pick a lock, or go steal a phoenix egg, it’s cool to roll for it.

    But they should only roll once for the whole task, because the PC only does one thing in sending them off on a task (aside from if they have to convince them by making a loyalty test). How the follower actually gets it done should be up to the GM, including deciding if any future trouble comes out of it. No need to roll for a follower making the perilous journey up Fire Mountain AND also rolling to sneak past the phoenix, etc. The follower’s not a PC, so the places where they don’t interact with the PCs should be skipped over.

    And if a PC decides to hang out somewhere for a month and tells his followers they can go do what they want, whatever they do should also be in the realm of the GM deciding stuff — until it comes back to the PCs and they do something about it.

    (Obviously I’m talking about standard DW. If you’re doing something special or deliberately hacking the game to do something else, it’s fine to change things.)

  6. OH, this whole time I thought we were talking about monster moves as follower moves.

    yeah, I’m 100% behind Johnstone on moves that are rolled.

  7. Yeah, just rolls! Followers having monster moves is great. I might even let a follower do damage, if the PC is commanding them like a general and not fighting also, but I’m not sure. I would have to think about that one, because I think you’re right that it steps on the PCs’ toes.

  8. Some slight edits made to the document:

    1) Limited the trigger of Do Their Thing to only apply when they act on your behalf (per Johnstone Metzger’s comment).  Is that clear enough now?

    2) Added a clarification to the first page & column that followers deal & take damage like monsters do. (More on that in a moment.)

    3) Changed the archer and warrior tags so that when they Help Out, you roll their damage alongside yours and take the better outcome. (This feels better to me than adding Quality.)

    4) Minor typo/formatting fixes.

  9. I was going to post a long diatribe on how, no really, I think followers should always roll damage like PCs do.  But as I got into it, I realized I don’t actually think that.  I just updated the doc again to add a “Resolving Follower Actions” section that (hopefully) spells this out.  Feedback appreciated.

    I still think followers should have the option to deal damage, and a damage die with which to do so when appropriate (and also so that they can easily transition to become monsters if necessary). But whether or not you have them roll that damage should be largely dependent on how the players are using them. 

    Like, if I’m sending my hired man-at-arms to hold that orc in the doorway while I finish jimmying the prisoner’s manacles, a 10+ might be that he holds the orc off and deals his damage. A 7-9 might mean that they deal damage to each other.  The specific amounts of damage become important because we (the PCs) might have to deal with that orc ourselves in a moment.

    But if I’m sending my murderous sneak-thief to kill a sentry, it’s happening off-screen.  I don’t want to make damage rolls and play it out like a PC was doing the murdering.  On a 10+ my guy’s just gonna kill him.  On a 7-9, he’s gonna kill him but with cost, consequence, or limitation.  I’m guessing the GM would say my thief either takes damage from the sentry or that they make noise and someone’s coming to investigate. 

  10. I dig it.

    Though I still feel that tags like archer and warrior would be better served as a more general combatant or deadly or dangerous tag.

    Like, the important part is “this follower with this tag is useful in a fight, here’s how” rather than trying to specify exactly.

    Like the difference between a tag like messy, and a tag called slices dudes apart. Messy leaves the specifics up to you and the fiction.

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