Thursday, August 19, 2010

Of Chaos Gods and Hirelings

I’m running a (Apocalypse) D&D game for Phil, sometimes in person, sometimes over email. It’s a solo game and he’s playing a wizard, so that means he’s been employing a number of hirelings to help buff out his chances of survival.

I always try to make a game with hirelings interesting. I don’t know how this matches the way other people run things, but I generally make my hirelings simple but dynamic people. I think of them as an interesting sub-plot that may occasionally take center stage. I don’t want to give the players too much grief via their hirelings, but I don’t want hirelings to be faceless minions either. Apocalypse D&D helps, because I’ve added in a couple of moves about working with hirelings (that’s another post, though).

So in his first foray, Suten Anu, the mysterious foreign wizard, engaged Mandle, a good-hearted farm boy, Tanga, a tough-yet-vulnerable fighting woman, and Roberto, a rather acquisitive thief. In the first adventure, Tanga emerged as a fearless warrior, Roberto grumbled continually about wanting more money, and Roberto Mandle died unceremoniously when a crossbow quarrel pierced his breastbone.

Back in town, Suten Anu spent considerable time and expense trying to make good with Mandle’s family (above and beyond the call of duty for a mere hireling), showing some of his better qualities. In town, we also got a glimpse of Roberto’s rather high-living lifestyle. No wonder he’s always after more money!

Suten Anu also hired Tartarus the Cleric, an old friend of Tangas. Tartarus finds the idleness of temple work a burden, and wants to escape his rather acrimonious marriage, giving him the perfect reason to go adventuring.

In their second Foray, Tanga discovered the dark lure of Chaos magic, which she embraced rather wholeheartedly, alarming Suten Anu extremely (also, it resulting in him growing a third eye in his forehead). The second foray ended rather abruptly, with Tartarus dragging Suten’s nigh-lifeless body back to town, but at least everyone survived and the undead were put down permanently.

Now Suten is getting ready for his third adventure. He’s gotten Tanga to foreswear chaos magic, but he had to promise to retrieve her father’s bones to get her to do it. They’re also joined by Rhackam, a rather shady Ranger character with a few secrets to tell.

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Blogger John Matthew Stater said...

NPCs are a great way to lure PCs deeper into the setting and a way to dangle potential storylines in front of players.

August 19, 2010 at 7:06 AM

Blogger Philip said...

That should say "Mandel [or Mandle, whatever] died unceremoniously", not "Roberto".

August 19, 2010 at 1:29 PM


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