Only the penniless and foolhardy undertake an expedition without proper support in the form of porters, hunters, guides, and guards, not to mention specialists who can bring their skills to bear in any number of ways. Followers are those individuals (people, beasts, or monsters) who offer such assistance, accompanying the party on their exploits about the world. In general, the players can tell the GM what they want their followers to do and expect that they will do it. A group is a follower like any other, but with the Group tag.
Like monsters, followers have HP, armor, damage, and instincts. They usually have moves and/or tags that indicate what they’re good at and how they act. Unlike monsters, they have three additional statistics: Quality, Loyalty, and Cost.
- Quality represents how effective the follower is, particularly in the areas defined by their tags and moves. A followers’s Quality can range from -1 (rubbish) to +3 (masterful). A follower of average competence has a Quality of 0.
- Loyalty tracks how committed the follower is to you and your cause. It usually starts at +1 but changes often, ranging from -2 to +3. When a follower’s Loyalty drops to -3, they betray or abandon you. Note that Loyalty is a resource to be used up by the GM like any other.
- Cost describes what motivates the follower to follow. Although a strong leader or worthy cause can be motivating factors, all but the most selfless followers do the dirty work in exchange for coin or other material reward. A follower’s Loyalty is increased when you pay their Cost. Costs aren’t always tangible things.
Note that followers can deal and take damage. They do so like a monster does. When they would deal damage, you roll their damage die. When they take damage, they lose HP. When they are reduced to 0 HP, they are out of the action and probably dead or dying— their fate is in the GM’s hands.
When you go looking to hire help, tell the GM what you’re offering and whom you’re looking for, phrased in one of the following ways:
- A group of ______ (porters, guards, minstrels, angry farmers, etc.)
- A skilled ______ (guide, sage, burglar, bodyguard, etc.)
If the GM says you can’t find that kind of help in a place like this, start over or move on. Otherwise, roll +nothing and:
- take +1 if you have a good reputation in these parts:
- 10+ They’re yours for the hiring.
- 7-9 GM chooses 1 from the list below.
- They demand greater compensation, in coin or some other form
- No one here fits the bill, but you hear of someone elsewhere who does
- They have a need that must be met first (permission from someone else, a favor, etc.)
- You can tell at a glance they are less than ideal (ask the GM how)
- 6- No one shows, but mark XP.
The GM will choose or roll their specifics (Quality, Loyalty, Instinct, Cost, tags, etc.) as needed, to be discovered through play. Which might involve you grilling them, right now.
Followers can make the Encumbrance , Make Camp , and Recover moves, and can make the Last Breath move at the GM’s discretion. Unless otherwise noted, they don’t make any of the basic moves. Instead they have:
When you order or expect a follower to do something dangerous, degrading, or contrary to their Instinct, roll +Loyalty:
- 10+ They do it, now.
- 7-9 They do it, but GM picks one from the list below.
- Decrease the follower’s Loyalty by 1
- They complain loudly, now or later, and demand something in return
- Caution, laziness, or fear makes them take a long time to get it done
- 6- Mark XP, and GM makes a move.
Do Their Thing
When a follower does something chancy within the scope of their tags or moves, roll +Quality:
- 10+ They do it, as well as one could reasonably hope
- 7-9 They do it, but there’s an unforeseen cost, consequence, or limitation (ask the GM what).
- 6- Mark XP, and GM makes a move.
When a follower does something chancy that falls beyond the scope of their tags or moves, or does anything on their own, the GM will tell you what happens.
Call for Assistance
When a follower helps you make a move that calls for a roll, take +1 to that roll but know that they will be exposed to any potential consequences. When a follower helps you Hack and Slash or Volley , roll their damage die alongside your own, use the highest one, and add any damage bonuses you get on top of that. When a follower helps you Defend, you can spend 1 hold to redirect an attack to them instead of yourself.
When you pay a follower’s cost, increase their Loyalty by 1 (to a maximum of +3). You can’t trigger this move again until both you and your follower have Made Camp.
Watch Them Go
When a follower has -3 Loyalty, they betray or abandon you at the next opportunity.
- see Making Followers