Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Henchfolk, sometimes Hench, are fanatical, personal attendants for player characters whose morale is beyond contestation. For this reason, it is not necessary for the DM to run henchfolk as non-player characters, as they will always act in the best and most serviceable ways for the benefit of the player character whom they serve. As such, the running of henchfolk is awarded to the player, who then best decides what the henchman does, without dispute from the DM. In this way henchfolk differ from followers and hirelings.

In effect, the henchman is then another player character for the player, though there are rules and conditions that apply to the acquisition, experience gained and associations that relate to the presence of the henchman in the campaign. Henchfolk are not subject to morale checks in any circumstances and will be willing to risk or even sacrifice themselves for the character whom they serve.

Acquiring Henchfolk

All characters of any class will receive their first henchman upon reaching 5th level. Thereafter, for all classes except for the druid (who begins to receive animal friends at 4th level), additional henchman will be gained for every 2 levels after 5th (at 7th, 9th, 11th, etc.). Druids will gain additional henchfolk for every 3 levels after 5th (at 8th, 10th, 13th, etc.).

In game, when the character of sufficient level enters a population center larger than 250 persons, the 'aura' surrounding the character will be so strong as to compel the attention of a 1st level character of as yet indeterminate class to approach the character and offer themselves as a henchman. Effectively, the new would-be henchman is struck dumb with awe at the character's obvious prowess and impressive demeanor, demanding an immediate and complete expression fealty. The character (non-player or player) agrees and the new henchman becomes part of their entourage.

For player characters, they are then empowered to roll up the new henchman, generating die rolls to determine the new stats for the character similar to the manner in which one would do for initially generating their first character. Unlike with the starting character, however, there is no minimum stat expectation. Players are permitted to generate six numbers for their stats, then consider whether they'd like to keep these numbers or attempt again. If the decision is made to attempt again, the first six numbers are discarded forever, so that the player must now accept the new numbers, regardless of how poor they may be.

Thereafter the henchman is created using all the same policies as an original character: select which stats to place the original numbers under, choose the character's class, race and gender, receive maximum on the first class die for hit points, no 1s rolled for hit points per additional levels gained, background generation and so on. In effect, the player rolls up a new character.

The maximum number of henchman that a character can acquire is limited by charisma, as shown on the right-hand table. As shown, every character has the benefit of gaining at least one henchman, regardless of how ugly or unpleasant they are (as the aura of success and ability promises adventure and excitement for the new henchman even if the liege is somewhat unpleasant).

Additional henchfolk can yet be gained, however, for henchfolk can gain henchfolk. If a character's henchman reaches sufficient level to acquire a henchman themselves, then the acquisition of the new hench progresses exactly as already indicated. It must be understood, however, that this new henchman is not a follower of the player's original character; to explain this, see the example below.

Ranking of Henchfolk

In the example shown, the player's original character, Aretha, is an 8th level mage. At 5th level, Aretha acquired Bertrand, a bard, and at 7th level she acquired Brigit, a ranger.

Since those acquisitions, Bertrand has succeeded in reaching 6th level. At 5th level, Bertrand acquired Caleb, a fighter. Brigit, in turn, has reached 5th and has acquired Corrigan, a druid.

So long as all the characters are present, they may run together as a party: Aretha directs her henchfolk and those henchfolk in turn direct their own henchfolk. However, the rules regarding the running of main characters and henchfolk do not allow Aretha to directly control Caleb - if Bertrand is not present to do so, then Caleb cannot be present either (he will be either attending Bertrand or off on his own - he owes no fealty to Aretha whatsoever).

Moreover, Bertrand and Brigit cannot run together if Aretha is not present to manage them both. The same is true for Bertrand and Corrigan, Brigit and Caleb or Caleb and Corrigan. In every case, without the henchman's direct liege, no other associations can take place in game. The various henchfolk may inhabit the same castle or sphere as the other characters when they are not adventuring, but they will not adventure together if the ranking characters are not present. However, note that Bertrand and Caleb can run together without Aretha; likewise with Brigit and Corrigan.

Which brings us to another important consideration: what happens if a ranking character dies? If Brigit is mauled by a dragon and perishes forever in the dragon's belly, what becomes of Corrigan? Presumably, the player has become attached to the character and does not wish to lose him.

When this happens, the henchman is downgraded in status to the rank of follower. This empowers the player to continue the character's presence in the campaign, though that presence is now tempered by those rules that apply to followers. Moreover, the experience that the character will gain may also be subject to reduction (see below).

Experience Gained by Henchfolk

When calculating experience following combat, the bonus x.p. that is awarded to the whole party is divided by 50% for henchfolk. This is intended to reflect that the leading characters are making decisions while subordinate characters are following orders.

For example, if Aretha and Bertrand were to enter combat and suffer damage, the 20 x.p. bonus per point of damage that they have received together would be divided by 1.5, not 2 (as would be the case if both were of the same rank of character). This means that if together the two characters took 3 damage, 40 points of the bonus would be awarded to Aretha and 20 to Bertrand.

Note that this applies only to bonus x.p. The usual amount of experience received for causing and taking damage is unchanged for henchfolk.

Henchfolk that are two ranks removed from the original character (Caleb and Corrigan, above) will have their share of the experience bonus reduced to 25% of the total number of shares. Those that are three ranks removed will have their share reduced to 12.5% and so on.

If, in the example above, Bertrand and Caleb adventure without Aretha, then Bertrand would be counted as a 'main' character and awarded 1 full share of the experience point bonus and Caleb would receive a 50% bonus.

Additional Discussion

Collecting Henchmen
Effects of Henchmen on a Campaign
Henchman Expansionism

See Player Characters

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome; however, the content on this blog is not purposed for critical evaluation. Comments are strictly limited to errors in text, need for clarification, suggested additions, link fails and other technical errors, personal accounts of how the rule as written applied in their campaign and useful suggestions for other rules pages.

All other comments will be deleted.