Hey, those of you who have used or just read through the Followers rules.

Hey, those of you who have used or just read through the Followers rules.

Hey, those of you who have used or just read through the Followers rules…  *how would you handle a treacherous follower?*

I’m thinking about an NPC who the GM knows is trying to join up with the PCs with the intent of eventually betraying them.

If the GM doesn’t give you their follower stats or let you use the follower moves for/on them, you’ve got all sorts of metagame warnings that this NPC can’t be trusted.

If the GM does give you their follower stats and lets you use the follower moves, isn’t the GM effectively lying to you?  What, then, does their Loyalty stat represent if the GM knows they intend to betray you?

I’m inclined to treat them like any other Follower, but:

1) Drop soft moves that bring their motives into question

2) Reveal their true motives/betrayal as a hard GM move, either when the fiction leads to it or a 6- to Command Followers.

Does that seem fair?  Any better ideas?

6 thoughts on “Hey, those of you who have used or just read through the Followers rules.”

  1. Jeremy Strandberg Endeavoring to answer this question lead straight to a more fundamental question:  *How is the GM meant to use the results of moves in Perilous Wilds?*

    – Should the GM emphasize results that fit a plot the GM has devised, and downplay those that move away from it?  

    – Or should the results be taken at face value and let them develop the plot as it occurs?

    If you let move results develop the plot then things like a follower’s treachery will appear naturally (e.g. as the result of failing an Order Follower or Do Their Thing move).

    However, trying to impose treachery on the Follower moves (Order Follower and Do Their Thing) runs directly counter to the way those moves work.

    The GM can, of course, have a follower betray the party at some other time (e.g. a 6- result on Make Camp).

    So, to answer to your original question:

    I’d suggest treating the follower as normal (i.e. hand over stats, use the follower moves, etc.) and let the treachery come out when it happens naturally in the game.

    (It helps that the character doesn’t have to give up some other ability to gain followers, which means messing with a follower doesn’t affect the character.)

    Finally, some ideas for tweaking Make Camp to accommodate followers:

    Make Camp: 6-: Everyone marks XP, and a Danger appears. Whoever’s on watch had better Stay Sharp!

    Make Camp 7-9 options:

    * A Danger appears —it’s not immediately hostile, but whoever’s on watch had

    better Stay Sharp anyway

    * [new] One or more followers cause a problem 

  2. Michael D, great questions, good suggestion, one question: why do you prefer “appears” over “approaches?” Is “approaches” to movement-oriented?

    Jeremy Strandberg, I think you’re in the clear with your inclination. It strikes me as eminently fair.

  3. Jason Lutes Correct. “Approaches” implies a separation that doesn’t fit with something happening within the camp.

    However, “Danger approaches” does work well in play.  On reflection, instead of messing with that, something like the following might be better:

    Make Camp: 6-: Everyone marks XP, and a Danger approaches or a Crisis arises within the camp. Whoever’s on watch had better Stay Sharp!

  4. Michael D Thanks for the input.  My intent with the follower moves is definitely “use them and see what happens.”  But I don’t think that’s at odds with the GM’s prep having established up front that this particular follower is planning to backstab the PCs.  Or that they follower shouldn’t be able to backstab the players when the moment is ideal.  It’s pretty easy to couch that in terms of GM moves (reveal unwelcome truth, use up their resources, etc.) and principles (begin & end with the fiction, think Dangerous, etc.).  

    My chief concern is that, by giving players the follower’s stats, they’ll feel like they “own” the follower. Or at least, that they are entitled to an attempt to Order Followers to prevent their betrayal.  And, yeah, maybe they do get to try and talk down the follower.  But if the GM has given at least one soft move hinting that the follower might betray them… yeah, I think it’s fair to spring the betrayal even without a missed roll.

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