Retainers

From OSE SRD

Retainers are NPCs hired to accompany a character on adventures.

Limit per PC: A character’s Charisma score defines the maximum number of retainers that will work for them at any one time (see Ability Scores).

Duties: Retainers are expected to share the risks of adventuring with the party, but will not continue working for a PC if treated poorly. A disgruntled retainer may spread word to others in the area, making it more difficult for the PC to hire other retainers.

Class and Level

Retainers can be of any class (including normal humans—effectively of level 0), but must be of equal or lower level to the hiring PC.

Recruitment

Potential retainers may be located by frequenting drinking establishments or by paying to post notices of help wanted.

Applicants are recruited through negotiation, with the referee playing the roles of the NPCs a character attempts to hire. The PC should explain what the job entails and the wages paid.

Wages and Upkeep

The referee should determine the rate of pay desired by potential retainers, taking the following factors into account:

  • Skill level: More experienced retainers will want a higher rate of pay, whereas those employed for unskilled tasks will have lower demands.
  • Competition: Retainers may accept lower rates of pay if there are many applicants, but may demand higher rates if there is little competition for the job.

Standard Rate

Retainers will usually want a guaranteed fee (per day or per adventure) and a share of treasure recovered (at very least a half share). For example: a fee of 1gp per day plus a half share of treasure.

Upkeep

The hiring PC must also pay for the retainer’s daily upkeep (food and lodgings) and for any new adventuring gear, weapons, or mounts the retainer requires.

Shares of Treasure

Fractional shares of treasure are calculated by dividing the treasure by the total number of shares. For example, a party consisting of 5 PCs (who receive full shares) plus one retainer (who is paid a half share) discover 2,750gp of treasure. The total is divided by 5.5 (five full shares plus one half share): 500gp. Thus, each PC gains 500gp and the retainer gains 250gp.

Applicant Reactions

Once an offer is made, the referee determines the potential retainer’s reaction by rolling 2d6 on the table below, modified as follows:

  • Charisma: The roll is modified by the hiring character’s NPC reactions modifier due to CHA (see Ability Scores).
  • Generosity: The referee may apply a bonus or penalty, depending on the attractiveness of the deal (+1 or +2 for generous offers, -1 or -2 for poor offers).
  • Reputation: A penalty of -1 or -2 may be applied, if the hiring PC has a bad reputation.
Retainer Hiring Reactions
2d6 Result
2 or less Ill will
3–5 Offer refused
6–8 Roll again
9–11 Offer accepted
12 or more Offer accepted, +1 loyalty

Ill will: The applicant’s ill will incurs a –1 penalty to further hiring reaction rolls made in the same settlement or area.

Experience

Retainers gain experience and advance in level in the same way as PCs.

XP penalty: Because retainers are generally not directly involved in decision making, instead following instructions from PCs, XP they receive is penalised by –50%.

Normal humans: When a normal human (i.e. a retainer of level 0 with no character class) gains XP, they must choose an adventuring character class.

Loyalty

A retainer’s loyalty rating reflects their willingness to stick by PCs in the face of danger. Loyalty is determined by the hiring character’s CHA (see Ability Scores), but may be adjusted as follows:

  • Bonuses: Saving a retainer from danger or granting generous treasure rewards may increase loyalty.
  • Penalties: Ill-treatment of a retainer or lack of treasure may decrease loyalty.

Loyalty Checks

To make a loyalty check, the referee should roll 2d6 against the retainer’s loyalty. If the roll is lower than or equal to the retainer’s loyalty, the check succeeds.

When to Check Loyalty

Loyalty checks are made in two circumstances:

  • Peril: In situations of unexpectedly great danger. If the roll fails, the retainer will likely flee.
  • After an adventure: If the roll fails, the retainer will not work for the PC again.