Henchmen, Climbing the Ladder to 1st Level

So, in the rules it says that a Henchman who earns 100xp will become a Fighter, level 1.

To me, this presents a potential problem and I’d like some insight into how others have solved it.

You’ve got a 1st level party of 4 who between them have hired 4 henchies. Each henchling gets a 1/2 share of the xp, and a 15% cut of the loot plus their monthly wages.

The party delves the dungeon, needing between 1250 and 2000xp to ascend to level 2.

After a few sessions and some tough fighting the come out with treasure and monster xp valued at 2400xp. Split 6 ways that’s 400xp each, with 200xp for the minions. The PCs are less than half way to L2. The hiremen are all at Level 1 Fighter.

Cue a Hireling Loyalty table roll… with a reasonable chance that at least 1 of them will quit.

So they have to hire more henchminions… Rinse and repeat until they hit level 2.

I feel that 100xp is too low a bar to reach Level 1. Not because I want to punish the poor hirelings for daring to gain xp, but because it puts 1st level PCs in a position where they can lose their whole group of dudes because they came out of the dungeon with a good haul of loot and were ‘out levelled’.

Is this deliberate design choice or an emergent behaviour? Have you house ruled it or run it as written?

I am interested in your thoughts!

… huh. That’s pretty interesting! We skipped first level (chargen for incoming players is at 4kXP for us), so we never ran into this. One solution I could see that my players have kind of done is “OK, you hit 100 XP, but we don’t want you to be a fighter because your high stat is $NOTSTRENGTH, so we’re sending you off to seminary/wizard school/thief training for 1d6 months, where having that 100 XP gives you a small bonus over sending a raw L0 man with no XP to your prime requisite roll to graduate.” And then hopefully the master survives and makes 2nd within those couple months…

Also - reasons bards are good - hitting 2nd level faster than anyone but thieves, so they go through fewer L0 henches :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s worth noting the chance is actually quite low. A henchman will only leave for good on a 5 or worse. while 6-8 is not great, it gives you the opportunity to retain the henchman by paying them more.

Here is someone else’s probability table:

2D6 Dice % of % Chance
Total Combos Result of this total or higher
2 1 2.8% 100.0%
3 2 5.6% 97.2%
4 3 8.3% 91.7%
5 4 11.1% 83.4%
6 5 13.9% 72.2%
7 6 16.7% 58.4%
8 5 13.9% 41.7%
9 4 11.1% 27.8%
10 3 8.3% 16.7%
11 2 5.6% 8.4%
12 1 2.8% 2.8%

so you have a 72% chance of keeping a henchman with no modifiers. If you have even a +1 from charisma or hiring on a 12 or paying them extra well, the chance of retention becomes 83%. Additionally, once you keep a henchman, there’s no need to roll again until they level up “for real”, at which point the henchman will be leveling up at roughly the same rate as the PCs.

28% chance to lose your henchman isn’t that low imo, and don’t forget if they’ve suffered a calamity (Rolled on the Mortal Wounds Table in my book) then they get penalties :slight_smile:

Two things: I don’t think the experience is split exactly the way you’re doing it. If treasure and monster xp together is 2400, that’s only 480 from monsters, and 1920 from treasure. So the 480 is divided by 6, with each hench getting 40. Each treasure share is 417, with each hench getting 62. So the henchmen are just barely getting 100 xp in your example. But check my math!

Second, the rule is that a henchman who knows he’s as strong as his master has to roll. That’s not necessarily going to happen right when he levels.

Asaris - I believe you’re wrong on the first point. See Page 114 of the rulebook, Allocating XP. The text is pretty explicit that henchmen get an equal (half) share of the xp from both monsters and treasure.

They’ll only receive 15% (or whatever their cut is) of the actual physical loot - (and imo that comes out of their employers cut, not the total), but they get the xp for the total.

As for the second point - yes you’re right, but they also roll each time they suffer a calamity.

It’s possible I’m assuming they make a roll before they would though, so thanks for pointing that out.

it’s been confirmed elsewhere that henchmen get a half-share of the TOTAL xp recovered in a given adventure, AKA 5 adventurers and 4 hencmen means divide the XP total by 7 and give half of that to a hench.

Similarly, it’s been confirmed the share henchmen negotiate for (typically 15%) is the percentage of a full share, so again if you have 5 adventurers and 4 henchmen who were each promised 15% of a share, you divide the total loot by 5.6, give that number to each PC and give 15% of that number to each hench, which they promptly blow on ale & wenches (ie: you can’t tell them to use their share to buy better equipment).

28% is low. It’s almost 1/4th.

However, barring a calamity or negative Cha, that guy just went up a level, so he gets a +1 to his loyalty roll. That means he only leaves on a 2-4 on 2d6 which is merely 16.7%. That’s not likely at all.

And really, why are those 0 level guys surviving at all? They should be dead! :wink:

If we’re talking level 1, your mortally wounded henchman is more likely to not survive the roll on the mortal wounds table than he is to decide to pick up and leave after miraculously making it back.

Obviously I didn’t make the game, but it seems like henchman are going to die and pack up and leave fairly regularly. That’s kind of their thing.

Also, I almost forgot that henchmen get a permanent +1 for leveling up under your control. so with absolutely no modifiers you have a 17% chance to lose a henchman, and with even a +1 you go down to 9%. At a certain point you have to accept that chance is part of the dice. If leaving henchmen is that problematic, then the DM should house rule that henchmen just stay, because the probability is already so low it seems kind of silly to attempt to tweak it further.

Oh, and I meant to say, hirelings don’t leave when they are the same level as you. “but if a henchman ever concludes he is more powerful than his
employer, it is cause for an immediate Henchman Loyalty roll
(see below).”

So they have to start lower, but only if they get over you do you have a problem.

Of note, while a henchman doesn’t have to make a loyalty check for being "as powerful as (rather than “more powerful than”) his employer, he still makes a loyalty roll just for leveling.

We left the dungeon after a calamity (three henchmen died from poisonous moss)… Of the two employers in the party, one is badly wounded and the other just exhibited shocking behaviour towards the fallen.
So we share the xp and treasure fewer ways, but loyalty rolls are definately on the cards anyway and not all modifiers are positive.

Will be interesting to see how the dice fall.

Oh? One has to roll just for leveling?
I somehow could not find that rule in the book. Do you know which page its on?

Page 51:

"Morale rolls are made each time the henchman suffers a calamity.
A calamity includes suffering an energy drain, a curse, a magical
disease, or being nearly killed (Judge’s discretion). In addition,
the Judge should make a morale roll for each henchman at the
end of each adventure whenever the henchman has leveled up,
to determine if the henchman strikes off on his own or remains
with the adventurer.

Thanks, missed that.