Henchmen for Star Frontiers?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
October 31, 2017 - 9:14am
recently read Broadhurst's blog on Gygax On Henchmen:
http://www.creightonbroadhurst.com/gygax-on-henchmen-hirelings/

interesting ideas.

had me thinking about them for Star Frontiers
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
October 31, 2017 - 9:33am
As I pondered this question I was reminded of Deadwood the TV series

it portrays Henchmen well

Al Swearengen the local bar/brothel owner is more or less lawful evil if I had to give him a D&D alignment ends up working with Seth Bullock a local business owner and sheriff who would be Lawful Good perhaps to protect and preserve their town against more dangerous players.

Swearengen has hired henchmen in the form of Dan Dority and Johny who work for him and are loyal to his interests and willing to take up arms and even kill for him.

Swearengen has allies that cooporate with him but are not paid by him directly: the newpaper man, a hotel owner (who is more of a co-conspirator in illicit deeds and a sycophant) these people will help him and work with him but are not paid by him.
 Trixie is an interesting case: she evolves from being a hooker in his brothel and the one he sleeps with exclusively to being his agent outside the brothel bar. Even though she moves on to develope a relationship with someone in Seth Bullocks camp she still obviously cares for Swearengen and works with him much like a henchmen.

Seth Bullock
A bit of a righteous prig but you still root for him he evolves to see his opposite as an alley against a greater evil.
His business partner is not the classic henchmen but will grab a pistol to back up Seth.
His friend and compatriot Charlie Utter is a deputy sheriff but its not like he is a classic henchmen more a staunch alley who pursues his own business but more than willing to back up Seth.

There are interesting NPC who float between these camps like the doctor and Jane Cannery who will at times work for or against the interest of others although Jane is a perpetual melt down alcoholic who only manages to function well when she's caring for other but perpetually adopts a Go F yourself attitude.

So I dont think the classic Henchmen model is enough. perhaps it needs to be Hirelings, Henchmen, allies and companions?

Hirelings are paid employees loyalty can be questionable

Henchmen are piad employees but loyalty is not questionable

Allies not paid but loyal to you on some level

Companions- not paid, loyalty is to themselves first, if your in danger they are not likely to help if it puts them in danger but otherwise they seem to like you and support you
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
October 31, 2017 - 9:50am
I dont think it should be too complicated of a system but something that requires use of PER/LDR ability pair is obvious.

Companions should be easiest to come by
Hirelings as well- just hire someone

Allies are earned through actions

Henchmen ? earned through experiences together as employer/hired help

perhaps a Loyalty level treated much the same as a skill levels 0-6

NPCs will have a loyalty level of 0 toward an PC by default.

giving a bad or dangerous order to an NPC with no loyalty to the PC is the same as attempting a skill check without the skill: -20 modifier?

otherwise asking an ally to help arrest a dangerous NPC: 1/2 PER + 10%/level of loyalty?

Mechanism of building loyalty level?

i dont know- abstract award by referee? or player makes a PER or LDR check when referee determines there is a possibility of deepening relationship Pass and Loyalty level goes up?
keep a list of NPCs and groups the PC has helped:
Outpost on the Borderlands: PC saved the residents from the Hydra hatchlings so they are as a group Loyalty level 1.

No doubt modifiers apply: task is dangerous -X%, requires travel -Y%

hirelings and henchmen are easier to get to do things but hirelings must test during stressfull situations to not break and run or if offered money to flip etc.

need to consider the PC that rules through fear: hireling is more afraid of his boss then the NPC trying to sway him- this is not loyalty but fear. Perhaps a fear level instead of loyalty for those that want to go there.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
October 31, 2017 - 1:35pm
I would say Allies do not have a loyalty at all. Allies have a common interest/threat with you and as long as that interest/threat exists they will work with you.

Take the Allies of WWII. Most people forget they were Britain, China, France, USSR and US. Before the war Britain and France were Allies and did some work together. China had little help from the other four. The US was officially nuetral but did try to help China and Britain and France a little. Before the war started the USSR had a nonaggression pact with the Nazis and invaded Finland a country allied in a small way with Britain and France. Then the war got going and Pearl Harbor and the Nazi attack on the USSR and the BIG 5 got fully into things together. Through lend lease the US supplied the others (US gave the USSR 4107 Sherman tanks to help them out while they got their tank production ramped up) with all kinds of equipment.
Then the war ended and I think you know what happened.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
October 31, 2017 - 4:23pm
I think allies amongst people function a little different than allies amongst countries. Perhaps a different word should be used? 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
October 31, 2017 - 7:19pm
Not really. The show Dark Matter demonstrated this pretty well. The crew started off as allies of conveniance since they had no memories and had the common interest of discovering who they were. As the story progressed they settled into different roles of main characters,hirelings, henchmen, enemies and allies. 
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
November 1, 2017 - 11:49am
A D&D henchman, at least prior to D&D Third Edition, is an adventuring-type hireling. Unlike ordinary hirelings, who are ordinary professionals just doing their jobs, henchmen are adventuring sidekicks. You can have as many henchmen as your Charisma allows, provided you convince them to join you, either through pay or the promise of experience.

A henchman in Star Frontiers would use all the NPC rules on pages 59–60 of the Alpha Dawn Expanded Rules, and would mechanically differ from ordinary hirelings only by being able to accumulate experience points. They would most likely have a broader base of skills than ordinary hirelings, and the PC hiring them should probably get a bonus to any Leadership checks when loyalty needs to be checked. Henchmen are NEVER fanatically loyal.

For simplicity, I would rule that you can have a maximum number of henchmen equal to your Leadership divided by 10, rounded down. A henchmen should probably earn experience points slower than the employing PC, maybe half as fast.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 1, 2017 - 1:03pm
Stormcrow wrote:

For simplicity, I would rule that you can have a maximum number of henchmen equal to your Leadership divided by 10, rounded down. A henchmen should probably earn experience points slower than the employing PC, maybe half as fast.


Under AD rules where EXP is generally 1-3 I would say just 1 per encounter. in this way they progress by the PCs remain the heroes
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 1, 2017 - 6:36pm
I would also add the B/X "reputation rule" which basically states anyone with a history of repeated lost retainers/henchmen would take a corresponding PER/LDR hit each time they try recruiting more.

Han Solo from The Force Awakens would be a prime example of this, having already swindled every criminal organization for funding to hunt the rathtars he also admitted that he had a larger crew prior to the expedition...had Kylo Ren spared him he surely would have never been able to acquire more hired help on future outings.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
November 1, 2017 - 7:04pm
Han Solo had Chewie as a Henchman for sure. As for Hirelings based on reputation is a whole another thing. Using Han as an example, he flies the Galaxy with trillions and trillions of beings. Chance that everyone he wants to hire has heard of him are slim. But what have they heard? Hans smuggler with a fast ship. Hans cold blooded killer. Hans general of the rebellion one of its top leaders and best buddy of the Jedi. Hans father of the current terror of the galaxy. 

Reputation works in fantasy games because you are dealing with a small place, usually just a few countries. Also fantasy realms spend alot of time telling stories and legends as one of the few entertainments so reputation spreads. Sci Fi with a big big big place and lots of apps to distract you rep is harder to come by.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 2, 2017 - 7:01am
Like the neo-Manga criminals said, Han had run out of people to swindle so it's quite probable many have heard of him...at least many of those in the illegal trade business he ventured in anyways.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 2, 2017 - 8:29am
The idea henchmen: an astrogator, "You watch the ship and start the math on the next jump."

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 3, 2017 - 6:56am
jedion357 wrote:
The idea henchmen: an astrogator, "You watch the ship and start the math on the next jump."


Ah...but you can only do one. You're either astrogating or watching the ship, any interuptions to the astrogation sequence means you're not astrogating. ;)
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 3, 2017 - 7:38am
It just that for as little as a Star Frontier's space ship costs (and by real world standards they dont cost much) I hate leaving one unattended. Even if the astrogator has his head buried in his numbers hes still a presence on the ship.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 3, 2017 - 6:43pm
They cost even less in Star Wars. "10,000 credits?!? We could practically BUY our own ship for that!" ;)
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website