On Cities, Part IV

When I started this series, I didn't realize exactly how many procedures I'd come up with for characters interacting with cities. Apparently, upon reviewing my notes, it's more than a few.

I guess I don't run my cities as "urbancrawls". I don't run them as "pointcrawls".

When you enter a city in my game, you're entering a menucrawl. It's because I like Wizardry. A lot. I've beaten more than a few of them.

More Procedures.


Sometimes, you want to get rumors.
Spend 1d4*10 gold, and make a reaction roll, modified by Charisma (+/- 1). In 5e, this would be an Intelligence (Investigation) skill check. This takes 1 full day per attempt. 

Check Result Effect 5e
2 Failure, lose another 10-60 gold tracking down a lead <5
3-5 Spend another 10-40 gold to hear 1 rumor 10+
6-8 Hear 1 rumor 15+
9-11 Pay another 2-20 gold to hear an extra rumor 20+
12+ Hear two rumors 25+
Rumors, of course, have to be designed around the local area.
Sometimes you want to insure against an untimely demise.
You can spend gold, up to your experience point level, to create an experience point pool that uncreated player characters can draw from after your unfortunate but inevitable demise. This is gold spent in town by creating training centers, giving speeches at local fairs, buying equipment for local teachers, and other civic works, which inspire the local population and contribute to creating a higher level replacement for when your character dies.
Note that although you can roll up a second character, while the first is busy training for example, the experience available from these funds can only be used in the event of a permanent death of the character who spent these funds. The current character receives no experience for spending the funds in this way, it is the replacement character that benefits. 
Retainers, Hirelings, Henchmen, Mercenaries, Sidekicks, Pets, and Followers.
It looks confusing, but this is a wonderful gold and experience sink for the players and simplifies things greatly on your end. Endless debate and confusion exists around these divisions because there is a great deal of conflicting usage in original Dungeons and Dragons materials. Charisma as a statistic was added later and people were using it in different ways.
A great deal of my methods and procedures for handling these come from my long experience running 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons and Hackmaster 4th edition. I've found that it works very well with Basic/Expert versions of Dungeons & Dragons due to their natural deadliness.
All of the following are generally considered to be human, with a 5% chance of being of an unusual race. This may vary depending on the area (if you are recruiting in a swamp, you are likely to get some lizard men). Henchmen may have a higher percentage of non-humans because of their adventurous nature (15%)
Retainers: These are men-at-arms, thugs, villains, and rambunctious youths, They have little intelligence and skills beyond a basic heartbeat and the ability to carry a sword and shield.
  • They assist you in combat, using the weak henchmen force. This means each retainer "assisting" you increases your AC and Damage by 1 point. 
  • They come with their own short sword or spear, are unarmored, and will take no action beyond assisting you in combat. 
  • You may purchase armor and shields for them, but any armor you purchase will be destroyed if they are killed.
  • You may have up to your charisma value in retainers, but only 4 may assist you during any combat.
  • They are undisciplined and are incapable of acting independently. 
  • They are 0 level, have 1d4 hit points each, and take 1% of your experience share per retainer, even the ones that don't help you in combat.
  • If one survives and accumulates 500 experience, she may become a 1st level character. 
  • If your loyalty is high enough (Fanatical!), then any time a blow that would strike you that would reduce you to 0 hit points or less, you can have a retainer sacrifice himself to the blow. 
  • Monsters will attack (and generally kill) retainers first.
Up to 10% of a population center can be recruited as retainers. It takes a full day to recruit as many of them as you wish. They expect to be paid one gold piece a month, paid in advance. 
Hirelings: These are people with either basic or expert skills. 
  • Basic hirelings include porters, torch and shield bearers, laborers (carpenters, masons, leather workers, general grunts), lackeys, et. al. 
  • Expert hirelings include skilled people, such as alchemists, engineers, spies, teachers, jewel-cutters, et. al. 
  • Hirelings of all sorts will accompany player characters to a base camp.
  • Only basic hirelings will follow players underground or into dangerous areas.
  • None of the hirelings will take dangerous actions such as going first, checking for traps, or anything beyond being nearby and serving their purpose. 
  • You can not employ more hirelings of both types than your Charisma score. 
Prices for hirelings vary wildly, from 1 gp/month for torchbearers, porters, and lackeys, to much higher wages for specialists, like hundreds of gold a month for an alchemist or engineer.
Recruiting Basic Hirelings: Up to 10% of a population can be recruited as basic hirelings. It takes a full day to recruit as many of them as you wish. They expect to be paid one gold piece a month, paid in advance.
Recruiting Expert Hirelings: An expert hireling, if one exists in town, can be hired on a successful difficult reaction roll (9+ or 20+ Charisma (Persuasion) if using 5e). Offering extra goods, bonus money, or other options can increase the bonus on this roll.
Henchmen are leveled characters (wizards, fighters, thieves, etc.) that accompany adventurers. 99% of hired henchmen in town will be level 1 characters. It is possible to find characters during adventures and take them along as henchmen, on a successful hiring procedure below. No more than .1% of a population will be available as henchmen (modified by area, for example in a frontier town, this might climb as exceptionally high as .5% or even 1%!!)
To hire a henchmen, you must first advertise.
You may spend up to 50 gold pieces a day by going around and spreading the word in bars and taverns that you are looking for them. This takes a full day. You can also hire an agent to seek out henchmen prospects for a 1 time cost of 300 gold pieces; this takes 1 full week (7 days). You can also hire a crier for 10 gold pieces a day. For every 10 gold pieces you spend, you manage to get in contact with 1%-4% of the henchmen available for hire. 

  • Henchmen act as individual player characters.
  • Each henchmen will only adventure with the character that hired them. 
  • Henchmen demand a full 1/2 share of treasure and experience.
  • If at any time a henchmen becomes higher level then the character that hired them, they move on to new prospects.
  • You can have a maximum number of henchmen at any given time equal to 1/3 your charisma. 
In order to convince a henchmen to hire on with a player character, an offer (at a base consisting of 1/2 a share of treasure and experience) must be made. Then a reaction check must be made, modified by Charisma, the value the henchman places on the offer, and penalized by 1 for ever henchman who died in the players employment. Any result of 9+ (or 20+ in 5e) results in a successful employment.
Mercenaries: These are military units available for hire. They will not under any circumstances follow characters into dungeons. These are archers, cavalry, crossbowmen, infantry, et. al. They will however engage with various overland tasks, such as protecting caravans, routing bandit and bullywug camps, exploring and clearing hexes, engaging in military engagements, and staffing forts and castles. They require leaders such as sergeants, lieutenants and captains; one sergeant per 10 men, one lieutenant per 30 men, and one captain per 100 men.  It should be noted that recruiting large amounts of mercenaries will be of great concern to the local population. 
Sidekicks: After a character reaches second level (4th level in 5th edition D&D) they may activate their sidekick. This basically turns a single player character into two—the character and his sidekick. The sidekick always begins at level 1, and may never level to the same level as the main character. (A 5th level character has a sidekick capped at 4th level.)
You may only have 1 sidekick during the life of your character. You and your sidekick get a single share of treasure and experience, that is split, 60/40 between you and the sidekick. Their loyalty is considered fanatical and you are under full control of both characters.

Pets: Players can purchase pets. Unless the player character has the appropriate skill (nature lore, or proficiency in animal handling) then the pets are considered wild animals, even if they are trained. On any stressful situation such as combat, the pets must make a loyalty/morale check at a penalty equal to the number of animals there are, and on a failure they attack the party, or maybe sometimes flee. But they usually attack the party.
This is why buying packs of dogs is a bad idea.
If you do have proficiency in animal handling, or nature lore, then you may treat pets as henchmen, having full control over their actions. They work identically to the way henchmen do, taking a 1/2 share of experience (though not treasure) and counting against that total. A character with Nature lore and a Charisma of 12 may have up to 4 henchmen or pets in any combination. Animals that gain 500 experience should gain a hit die, and as they level gain access to better attacks and abilities using a chart of the Dungeon Master's own devising. Here's an example for a War Dog
Followers: These are spared or weak monsters, fans, weird creatures, or other things that just follow the party around. The characters can not get rid of them. These include both the people that show up when characters reach name level, and that annoying goblin that the cleric convinced you to interrogate and heal. Followers are not replaceable. Some show up near your camp attempting to steal some of your fame. Others are genuinely helpful. Killing or berating followers causes permanent penalties on all future Charisma checks as the word gets out that the heroic characters are secretly racist jerks. 
Note that for ease of use, I let the player characters control everyone that is attached to them, pets, henchmen, followers, sidekicks, et. al. But under no circumstances does the player have final say over anything other than the actions his character takes. All other creatures, including sidekicks, are in the final analysis, Non-player Characters, and under control of the Dungeon Master.

Hack & Slash 
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