A character does not adventure alone. Even when traveling with his adventuring party, there are often skills and roles that would best be delegated down. In such situations, followers are indispensable.
A player character may not have more active followers, in total, than his Charisma modifier. Beyond this number, the strains of leadership and delegation simply become too high, and group cohesion inevitably begins to break down. While a player character may certainly keep more hirelings on his payroll than this number, additional hirelings will not be useful to him on adventures, and will not follow him into battle or other dangerous situations in a coordinated manner.
Of a player character's followers, all but one of them must be minions. These followers do not actually have a single hit point; rather, they immediately rout or otherwise become useless the moment they take damage. The DM may choose to track actual damage to determine the amount of healing necessary to get them back into the game; even so, they are likely to require a good deal of coaxing and haggling to motivate them to face death again, once they've tasted blood. Likewise, minion followers may actually have per-encounter or daily feats that they may use; they simply will not use them on the player character's behalf while they are operating as minions. This may not be due to disloyalty - instead, they may simply not be certain that they can safely perform their abilities.
If the player character invests the time and energy in them, a single follower may become a [i]companion[/i]. A companion operates as a standard monster with full hit points and per-encounter feats; they have established a sufficient bond with the player character that they are willing to give their all to the PC's cause, assuming their loyalty is not abused. Forming a bond with a companion takes exactly as much resources as purchasing or making a magic item of that companion's level.
A player character may have multiple companions "in reserve", but only one of them can be effectively commanded during battle. The remainder will effectively operate as NPCs; while still loyal to the player character, and likely to follow direct commands, they are not prepared to operate tactically with him in the way that he and his 'active' companion have recently practiced.
If a player character does not have an active companion, a single hireling may be promoted to 'combat duty' for the next fight during a short rest. The methods for doing this vary, but generally require resources equal to one tenth of the amount necessary to gain them as a companion. This process allows the chosen hireling to effectively operate as the player character's companion during the next adventure.
All followers have a 'morale' rating, which determines their current attitude towards their job, their employer, and the current situation. This is a rating from 1-20, as follows:
- 21+: Companion - a loyal Companion does not gain a Morale bonus, but their morale may never drop below 21 unless they are deliberately abused.
- 16-20: Pleased - a Pleased follower gains a +2 Morale bonus to all rolls and defenses; apply this bonus to your own rolls instead when rolling Bluff or Diplomacy against the follower. A Pleased follower may be promoted to a Companion with a sufficient investment in effort or resources.
- 12-15: Satisfied - a Satisfied follower gains a +1 Morale bonus to all rolls and defenses; apply this bonus to your own rolls instead when rolling Bluff or Diplomacy against the follower.
- 5-11: Normal - a follower with Normal morale gains no benefits or penalties.
- 1-4: Unsatisfied - an Unsatisfied follower always operates as a minion, and suffers a -1 Morale penalty to all rolls; apply this penalty to your own rolls instead when rolling Bluff or Diplomacy against the follower.
- 0: Angered - You must succeed at a Bluff or Diplomacy roll vs. an Angered minion's Will in order to get it to obey your orders at all, and all Bluff or Diplomacy rolls that you make against an Angered minion are at a -2 Morale penalty. An Angered minion will abandon or betray you at the next opportunity.
Morale operates in a similar manner to Concordance for sentient artifacts; it determines how likely the creature is to perform its duties, or even 'go the extra mile' for its employer.
The following actions always cause a follower to gain or lose Morale:
- being injured in the line of duty: -1d4 Morale.
- being bloodied in the line of duty: -1d6 Morale (in addition to above).
- being reduced to 0 hit points in the line of duty: -1d8 Morale (in addition to above).
- ordered to perform an action against their alignment or code: -1d8 Morale.
- ordered to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the party: -3d4 Morale.
- gaining treasure/bonus pay: +1d4 Morale per week's pay equivalent
- accomplishing a personal goal during the course of the adventure: +1d4 Morale.
- receiving personal attention or help from their employer: +1 to +2 Morale.
A follower may never gain more Morale in one roll than their employer's Charisma modifier. When a follower loses Morale, their employer may attempt a standard action Bluff or Diplomacy roll vs. (the follower's Will + the amount of Morale lost) before the end of the next short rest to attempt to mitigate it; if the employer succeeds, the amount of Morale lost is halved.
Morale and RoleplayingEdit
Different creatures will manifest their pleasure or displeasure differently. Always keep a creature's temperament, intelligence and personality in mind when describing how it is behaving.
Acquiring followers is a varied process; different classes go about this process in different ways. Here are several examples:
You must be in an area of wilderness where the desired kind of animal or spirit might reside. You must either expend 1 healing reserve, or 1% of the desired spirit or animal's cost in an appropriate food offering; you may spend an additional +1% per +1 to this roll.
By performing an exhausting chant to the primal spirits of an area, you may call a single animal or primal spirit to you to act as a follower until the next full, half, or new moon. The animal enters your service with a starting Morale of 10, +1 per 5 points that your Nature check exceeds the DC. Non-sapient small or tiny animals may be summoned in "batches" of 4; each batch counts as a single creature against your follower limit, and always operate with a combined Morale score.