Social Interaction in 5e part II

Part 1 is here.

Okay. We have a specific mechanism: NPCs have (relatively fixed) Loyalty, Morale and Insight scores, and then a laundry list of preconceptions, traits and grudges, their ideals, flaws and bonds (IBFs).

Now let’s talk about attracting henchmen and keeping them loyal.

Your average hired hand has a Bond “The Party” +1, as well as Morale and Loyalty equal to its wisdom save, +/- whatever fudge factor the DM is using to make them more complex (probably a +/- 2 point swing). I’ll be using those stats a lot, so I’ll just be referring to the “party bond” hereafter — it means the strength of the NPC’s relationship to a specific character or to the party as a whole, as is appropriate.

In addition, the kinds of things that can affect bond strength adversely actually operate in similar fashions, so have a handy Bond Damage chart. To use it, roll a check (specific to the type of situation) and compare the total adjusted result below:
<5: Party bond damaged by 1d6/2 (1d6 if doubled, 1d3/2 if halved)
<10: Party bond damaged by 1d3/2 (1d3 if doubled, 1/2 if halved — track fractions!)
<15: Party bond damaged by 1/2 (track fractions! 1d3/2 if doubled, no effect if halved)
<20: No effect (1/2 if doubled — track fractions!)
20+: No effect (even if doubled)
In general, lowering the party bond to -5 or lower as a result of this chart results in the NPC turning on the party (or at least triggering a fight-or-flight response!), and lowering the party bond to -2 or lower as a result of this chart results in the NPC balking at the situation and becoming undependable (but not actively harmful).
One way to do the fractions is to track whole numbers, and whether the bond is “tenuous”. A half-point of damage to a non-tenuous bond makes it tenuous. A half-point of damage to a tenuous bond makes it non-tenuous — but reduces it by 1!
To roll a d3/2 on a d6, treat 1-2 as 1/2, 3-4 as 1, and 5-6 as 3/2.

Risk

When the NPC is exposed to risk, check for Bond Damage via Morale + Party Bond. Sources of risk include:
1) Entering a known dangerous locale, half damage (the dungeon entrance, and then again whenever being asked to scout ahead or put self at a known risk).
2) Being reduced to- or below- 1/2 its maximum hitpoints, or having a party member fall (normal damage).
3) Exposed to friendly fire, double damage.

Temptation, Sloth and Discipline

When the NPC is exposed to an opportunity to better their situation by acting selfishly, check for Bond Damage via Loyalty + Party Bond. Examples of circumstances under which you should check loyalty include:
1) Upon beginning a specific unpleasant or long-duration task, like searching a sewer for something, guarding a prisoner for a week, sorting through paperwork, and so forth. Adjust the damage per the fittingness of the request; someone who knew going in they’d specifically be guarding a latrine takes half damage at that task; someone who thought they would be eating gourmet meals but ends up on latrine duty takes double damage.
2) Upon being exposed to privation: forced marches, low rations, no sleep, or no shore leave. A good proxy is “each time a check for exhaustion is made, whether passed or failed”. Read the “turning on the party” result as fomenting mutiny amongst anyone with a party bond < 0.
3) The Lure of Gold. When treasure (food, drink, friendship, a magic item — bribe, loot or happenstance) is available to the NPC but the PCs prevent it from having the treasure.

Charm effects, Fear effects

The first time each short rest that an NPC is subject by a charm effect or a fear effect, whether or not it makes its save (if any), lower its Party Bond by 1. If the effect originated with the party, defer the change until after the effect ends. This means that recruiting an army to go against the fey or against a dragon or something is going to be a problem: NPCs do not enjoy having their minds messed with.

Making Friends and Influencing People

It’s not all bad news! The good news is that bonds can also be strengthened, at great cost of effort and gold. Remember that a +5 is the sort of loyalty one should expect of a parent/child or spouse, a +2 the sort of loyalty one should expect from a well-paid mercenary eager to do a job, +1 from a paid mercenary willing to do a job, and a +0 from someone with no active reason to be distrustful.

Downtime activity: Recruit.
You can amass followers and hirelings — or at least bodies — depending on your stated goals, reputation, timeline and price point. What you can gather depends on where you are and what’s available. This is going to work a lot like rolling for treasure: You’re determining who’s in the labor pool and whether they’re willing to sign on. There can always be one-off special laborers (rare as magic items) in the pool, additionally. When recruiting for a specific set of skills, roll based on the CR for the number of hirelings available.
CR 2 (or costing 10gp/day — may request an additional full share of treasure)-> d4
CR 1 (or costing 5gp/day — will generally request an additional half-share of treasure)-> d6
CR 1/2 (or costing 2gp/day — skilled base pay, may request an additional half-share of treasure)-> d8
CR 1/4 (or costing 1gp/day)-> d10
CR 1/8 (or costing .5gp/day)-> d12
CR 0 (or costing .2gp/day — unskilled base pay)-> d20

Up to 1% of a given settlement’s population is available for hire, and they are generally available from least skilled to most skilled. As a result:

Village: Up to 10 hirelings are available — usually 10 CR0.
Town: Up to 60 hirelings are available — usually 20 CR0, 12 CR1/8, 10 CR1/4, 8 CR1/2, 6 CR1, 4 CR2, 1 CR 3
City: Up to 250 hirelings are available — usually 80 CR0, 48 CR1/8, 40 CR1/4, 32 CR1/2, 24 CR1, 16 CR2, 4 CR 3

Each downtime day spent recruiting results in the given die size in recruited hirelings of the requested quality at the given price. Recruitment rates can be greatly improved by spending more — allow an additional roll if players are doubling base pay and providing other incentives, or have access to an actual craft guild to connect hirelings with work.

The number of hirelings in a settlement returns to the listed number after a season (Say: 90 downtime days).

Perhaps just recruiting isn’t enough.

Downtime activity: Bond. You can devote time and treasure to improving the bond of the worker with the party.
Spend 1d10 days. Spend 10 times the base pay of the hireling (+ number of days). Make a Charisma (Persuasion) check, opposed by the hirelings Insight + Party Bond (the more they already trust you, the harder it becomes to improve their connection).

If you succeed, improve the party bond by (1d6)/2. If you fail by fewer than 5, improve it by 1/2. If you fail by more than 5, reduce it by 1/2.

This activity may be combined with carousing, and may be repeated indefinitely.

Downtime activity: Train. You can devote time and treasure to improving your hirelings, outfitting them with new gear and improving their skills.

Spend 1 day and 10 times the base pay of the hireling. Make an Intelligence check. You can improve the Morale, Leadership or Insight of your hireling, or give them a proficiency which you have, by the following schedule.
>20: 1.5 points, to a maximum of +5 (or your proficiency modifier, whichever is lower), taking 1d4 additional days.
>15: 1 point, to a maximum of +4 (or your proficiency modifier, whichever is lower), taking 1d6 additional days.
>10: .5 points, to a maximum of +3 (or your proficiency modifier, whichever is lower), taking 1d8 additional days.
<10: Failure, taking 1d10 additional days.

You may train half your check result in hirelings simultaneously, each additional hireling costing one additional downtime day overall and another charge of 10 times their base pay.

Combat Action: Rally. Make an Intimidate check. Half your result in hirelings who have taken bond damage since their last short rest may immediately roll Morale + Bond. If they beat 10, they gain +1/2 bond. If they beat 15, they get +1 bond. There is no penalty for failure.

Combat Action: Plead. Make a Persuasion check, and agree to a bribe. Half of your result in hirelings who have taken bond damage since their last short rest may immediately roll Loyalty + Bond. If they beat 10, they gain +1/2 bond. If they beat 15, they get +1 bond. There is no penalty for failure.

Advertisements

About lackhand

I was born in 1984 and am still playing games, programming computers, and living in New York City. View all posts by lackhand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s