Don't Forget Your Boots

Meandering aimlessly around the GURPS landscape

Tag: hirelings

Other Adventurers Around Town

The players were so pleased with my list of available hirelings, I decided to throw together a list of some of the other adventurers around town. These guys aren’t the normal hireling material; they’re fledgling adventurers in their own right, worth at least 250 points and demanding a full share of the loot if they’re to join a party.

Arnau: Human thief. Word on the street is, Arnau’s a little abrasive, but his skills make him worth putting up with. While coming from common stock, he tries to affect the dress and airs of nobility. Since the thief-brand on his left hand would spoil his image, he tries to always wear gloves. Still, his criminal record is an open secret. He makes a point of carrying no obvious weapons and only the lightest, most well-tailored armor. If asked, he will style himself an “assassin”, though the only jobs he’s taken around Tembladera have been pretty standard dungeon-delving, “treasure-recovery”, thief work.

Cormac the Spearman: Human barbarian. Big, strong, blunt, and impulsive, this hot-headed young man comes from the plains, hundreds of miles south of Tembladera. His people are known for their horsemanship. While a competent horseman by the standards of most, Cormac’s skills aren’t up to the standards of his tribe. Furthermore, his great size worked against him, when it came to finding a mount. Therefore, he has left his homeland to seek his fortune among the so-called civilized people. Even so, he’s prone to long monologues, alternating between pining for the clean life of a plains barbarian and complaining about the soft comforts of civilization.

He fights with a spear and shield, switching to a boomerang when a ranged weapon is called for. His culture considers the spear to be strictly a melee weapon, not one to be thrown. They strongly prefer to use the spear one-handed alongside a shield, only using both hands when under-equipped or dispatching a helpless foe.

Eduard del Mar: Human swashbuckler. Once a pirate, he was thrown off his last ship over some murky disagreement involving strong drink, unwise gambling, and at least two impromptu duels. Depending on his mood when telling the story, sometimes there’s a duck involved.

While Eduard is a drunken lout, he’s also a charming, daredevil rogue with a master’s skill with the saber. He is also surprisingly skillful with the blowpipe, claiming to have had to rely upon it to feed himself while stranded on many a deserted isle.

Hermione: Ogre barbarian. Being a huge monster, Hermione lives in the same sewer system that FuBar calls home. Even for an ogre, she’s no beacon of mental prowess. She’s known for repeatedly getting into trouble after believing some tale tale or being talked into mischief by a companion.

Where she shines, though, is in sheer strength. She carries an oversized maul and bills herself as an “all-purpose door opener”. She’ll fight if she must, and she’ll lift and carry if that’s the job that needs doing (especially if it’s treasure being hauled home), but she displays a frightening zeal when the time comes to knock a dungeon door off its hinges.

Tara Annataz: Human wizard. Tara is one of the new breed of adventuring wizards who passed up the traditional robes and staff in favor of more practical gear. She wears leather armor, carries a shield, and fights (when she must) with a sword.

Despite appearances, Tara is a skilled arcane practitioner with tremendous potential. She made a special study of the spells of the College of Air, during her apprenticeship, and has been adding utility spells to her spellbook as quickly as she can pick them up.

As far as her abilities as a delver, the word around town is that she’s still green, but shows promise. Her first time in the dungeon, she poked around where she shouldn’t have, and brought down unexpected, overwhelming trouble on her party. They were left with several wounded, and others brought up the idea of abandoning those who couldn’t walk, to improve the chances of those who could. Tara refused to consider the plan, forcing the party to work together. At one point during the adventure, she gravely embarrassed the party’s cleric, which has made her less than popular with The Church, but the whole party made it back alive, which has given her a reputation as a team player.

“Teapot”, real name unavailable: Coleopteran brute. The creature known as “Teapot” has been hanging around Tembladera for years. It claims that it has a name, but it can’t be pronounced correctly by humans. It got its nickname from its habit of whistling to itself when doing anything that doesn’t require silence. It claims that the bizarre noises it makes are songs from its home nest, but they sound like a boiling kettle, half-clogged with oatmeal.

They say that when Teapot first wandered into town, it was armed only with a crude metal knife and a shield woven from grass, both fashioned by itself. Since then, it has slowly come up in the world. These days, it is much better armed. It slings four custom-build chakram on a belt around its middle, and carries a dwarf-made halberd in its top pair of arms. It replaced its grass shield with a normal, wooden version, but refuses to replace its old knife, so long as it’ll still hold an edge. When going into battle, it’ll keep knife and shield at the ready in its lower pair of arms. According to stories told by those it has adventured with in the past, anyone thinking to get inside the reach of the bug’s halberd will get a rude surprise, as it is quite practiced at coordinating its various weapons, even at close range.

 

Hirelings About Town

I find that my players are often paralyzed by choice.

“What kind of character can I make?”

“Anything!  Anything at all!”

Deer-in-headlights look.

The same kind of thing happens when they try to get organized for the dungeon. It’s somewhat unusual when they come up with a plan and stick to it. Usually, they kinda meander in the general direction of some objective until they’ve gathered up enough treasure and wounds to make it worthwhile hiking home.

… and I suspect the paralysis is taking hold again. They seem to like the idea of hirelings, but I don’t feel like they’re taking advantage of the idea as much as they might like. I wonder if the reluctance might be a combination of choice-paralysis (“What kind of hirelings are there?” “Any kind you like!” sigh…) and not wanting to bog things down with a last-minute request for some strange combination of required traits.

When it comes to named hirelings, though, they’re all enthusiastic. Höss is very popular, for instance. (I can only assume that he’s good company on the hike, or knows a great chili recipe, or something.) So, I’m thinking, maybe the guys just need a list of folks who are out there, looking for work in the dungeon. Names for the faces, as it were.

So, here’s some folks who are known to be hanging around Tembladera, cadging drinks and looking for get-rich-quick schemes…

Alphonse the Dark didn’t get his nickname from his complexion, which comes in somewhere between “scholarly” and “fishbelly”. He’s a 125-point human demonologist. He’s been excommunicated for his interest in things that right-thinking folk shun, but he’s not really a bad guy. Something of a geek, and no athlete, he’s got a reputation for being a pain for his fellow party-members when it comes to hiking, climbing ropes, and the like. When it comes to his field of interest, though, he’s known to be quite competent.

Bermuda is an up-and-coming young thug, though she would style herself an “assassin”. She’s a 125-point human killer who fights using two-weapons, with a small axe and a long knife. She’s got a reputation for being a quick, vicious fighter with a real killer instinct, and for being a hard drinker when the action’s over. Her left hand bears a branded “T”, for “thief”, as a testimonial to her willingness to accept risk for the chance of wealth.

Brother Daryl the Other just arrived in town a few weeks ago to discover that he was the second cleric in town of his name. The original Brother Daryl is well-established in the church and well-known around town. Therefore, the new Brother Daryl gets the nickname. Brother Daryl is a 125-point initiate. He’s more of a preaching cleric, than a healing cleric. He always has a bit of religious scripture for every problem or topic of conversation. Having taken a vow to spill no blood in his holy work, he carries a small mace and shield.

Isryn Oldash is a 125-point human agent. She has a burning curiosity about the past, and a passionate dedication to getting rich off her research. She makes ends meet by organizing the sale of delvers’ loot, but what she really wants to do is to go into the dungeons themselves. If given the slightest chance, she will explain that most delvers are meat-heads who break their backs bringing out shiny rocks while using priceless artifacts as firewood. Her thinking is, if she were on the scene, she would be able to point out the really interesting treasures.

John, son of Jack, is a 65-point human laborer. He’s a big, good-natured fellow with a glorious mane of blond hair. They say he’s originally from The North, and has some barbarian blood, but his family have been settled, village-dwelling fishermen for generations. He’s never short for paying work, but nobody has ever accused him of being overly intelligent.

Nisa Iyuteyoyu is a young warrior from Asia, and a 62-point human guard. Her chosen weapon is the naginata. She has been trained to fight as part of a unit, standing in the second rank and using her weapon’s reach to harass the enemy. Though she’s still a bit green, she takes her duties as a soldier quite seriously.

 

This Party Only Hires Targets

This post over here got me thinking about something I’ve noticed about my PCs: they don’t like hiring folks. I pitched the idea of hirelings at the last session, but nobody bit.

Rather than hire a torchbearer, they got two torches enchanted with Continual Light by the Church. Alric carries one, and I think TKotBO carries the other in the shield hand. When battle starts, Alric needs both hands to grasp his ax, so the plan is that he should drop the torch. Since they’re enchanted, there’s no worry about the torch going out in the muck. I don’t know if the players have thought through a plan for when the fight moves away from the dropped torch, or what happens when they bump into a no-mana zone.

While discussing the plan for disposing of loot, the idea of hiring an agent for such work came up. Considering the mistrust among the party members, I didn’t think anybody would be too keen on handing all the loot over to Mississippi Jed. With Rho gone, I figured they would be happier splitting up the loot pre-sale, then handling their own arrangements for sale. Silly me!  Everybody’s happy with Jed taking away the loot and coming back with five sacks of coins, despite having no firm agreement about handling fees and the like. None that I’m aware of, anyway.

They didn’t know that they would find themselves in the situation when they left town, of course, but at this point, they’ve got to be asking themselves if a few men-at-arms wouldn’t come in handy right now, as they find themselves facing “a couple dozen orcs” in a congested hallway.  They’ve mentioned, more than once, how they’re weak on ranged attacks, but they’ve never considering hiring a local with a bow.

They really could have used a couple of bearers, when they were packing out the stolen fabric. They barely managed to drag it all back to the mounts. They’re really lucky the wandering monster rolls didn’t have them meet the ogre on that trip.

Speaking of the mounts, they bring to mind one place where the party does have a follower. Alric paid points for Dobby, to make him trustworthy, and now they use him to keep watch over the animals. That’s good, honest work, I’m sure – and it keeps me from wiping out all the mounts as soon as the first wandering monster check comes up – but it’s not like Dobby’s on the fast track to management.

The inspiring post brought up a use for hirelings that sounds like it might be really useful for this party: as a source for replacement PCs. Remember, the first replacement PC was Jim Kadabra, who ended up mis-identified as a necromancer, mugged, stripped, and nearly sold as a slave. (There’s even been some idle jokes about every player owing the group their first replacement characters as a sacrifice.) If it had been a case of “Jim Kadabra, who hired on as a scribe and drawer of maps, but now rises to the occasion after the death of his employer, Rho”, I think Kadabra might have survived long enough to introduce himself.

Personally, I’ve always thought the best use of hirelings was filling out the odds when the GM rolls to see who the cave fisher targets, but that’s probably just me…

 

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