Hijinks and Game Balance

Duskreign’s Minion here.
In looking at the rules for hijinks and how money and XP are earned, both for the PC and the hireling, it strikes me that low level hijinks could potentially be over powerful.
Let us take a 3rd level PC Thief with 2 henchmen (of his possible 5). One is a 1st level thief and the other a 1st level elven nightblade.
Under v26 rules the hijink would earn Xgp with the PC receiving a portion and the hireling receiving the rest (success fee). Every GP earned in a hijink is also an XP, and this and where we can run into issues.
Being an Elf, the nightblade can carouse - hear noise - on a 14+ and earn 3d6x10gp (3d12x5gp in v27), nothing outrageous, just a nice bump in money and XP - the hireling receiving 85% of the roll.
The thief, on the other hand, likes to spy and can do so (with proficiencies) on a 16+. On a success he earns (v27) 2d12x100gp, a maximum of 2400gp and experience to be split between the PC and the henchman (in some way to be determined soon, I hope). This far outstrips what any other class can earn without finding and selling a magic item, and could create a large level gap very quickly.
Is this what was intended? I fully appreciate that the level difference would disappear as the party ground their way through the lower levels, but it could cause some tension in the mean time. This is the reason I had Alex clarify that low level Thieves (Assassins, Nightblades) can in fact send their hirelings out on hijinks, but I wonder if the potential income and XP from these hijinks is too great at low levels.

Under the v27 rules, one no longer pays a success fee for hijinks. Instead one has to pay a salary to the ruffians. I need to re-calculate the XP system on that basis.
That said, a character is responsible for bailing out his ruffians if they get caught.
For a 1st level thief:

  1. Chance of success at spying is 10%
  2. Chance of getting caught is 25%
  3. Expected fee is 1,300gp
  4. Expected winnings are therefore 130gp
  5. Expected losses from getting caught, trialed, etc are 434gp*
  6. Expected return is therefore -331gp
    If you assume the thief has Skulk, then:
  7. Chance of success is 20%
  8. Chance of getting caught is 15%
  9. Expected fee is 1,300gp
  10. Expected winnings are therefore 260gp
  11. Expected losses from getting caught are 260gp*
  12. Expected return is therefore 0gp
    *Expected losses from getting caught are calculated by assigning a percentage chance to each of the three possible crimes, and then for each of those crimes calculating the average costs of attorneys, bribes, and criminal punishments using an optimal scenario (i.e. spending the exactly correct amount to give the best result).
    So, while its true one can get a lucky break from low-level thieves being deployed as ruffians, the most likely result is that either (a) the employer goes broke or (b) the employer destroys his reputation in the criminal world by letting his people rot in jail.

Hmm. This is only a general observation as I have yet to really digest the Hijinks rules. They seem to be growing very specific to a certain social organization and legal system of a high medieval sort. The central concept and existence of “bail” for example, or even that there appears to be a seperate judiciary. I’ll take a closer look, as I have a chance, but I’d be concerned that someone who, for example, wanted to set thier campaign in a fantasy polynesian chiefdom landscape or play pirate king in a medieval indonesian-like setting would have to chuck the whole system and start from scratch. Am I mistaken?

The implicit legal code behind the hijinks definitely fits into the Western legal tradition. I was equally inspired by Roman law as High Medieval law, but of course in terms of societal sophistication Rome was at a similar or higher level.
I think you’d have to change a lot of things about ACKS to run a polynesian chiefdom landscape, etc. But, honestly, I don’t see that as a criticism or a flaw. D&D has a long history of needing supplement to be able to play in Japanese society (Oriental Adventures), Arabian Nights (Al-Quadim), Charlemagne’s France/Rome/Vikings (all the 2e Historical Supplements) and so on.
Anyway, the hijinks system would just require you to change the criminal chart - substitute in the desired crimes and punishments and change the modifiers. I might imagine that some societies might have modifiers for bloodline, auspicious days, random results of augers, etc.

Duskreign’s Minion here.
Thanks for the clarification. I have total faith that the rules you come up with for XP to the hireling will be in line with the rest of the game. I am curious if there is room in the rules to offer more money to a hireling for a successful job. A success fee, one might call it. :slight_smile:
For example: a PC boss sends his boy out on a spying mission. The spy comes back with a secret worth 1000gp. The boss is feeling generous and gives his boy half the take, 500gp. Would the boy then get some XP for the job and a further 500XP for the bonus? If so, would the Boss then receive 500XP for the job rather than 1000XP?

Okey doke.
I think that most of the game, domain rules, etc. are fairly flexible right out of the box. Change a few names, tweak the social obligations and so forth here and there and it can be made to fit any chief or state level society, pretty much.
So for the tinkerers, (which will probably most of the buyers) would it be worth it to include a small sidebar expanding on:
Alex wrote: Anyway, the hijinks system would just require you to change the criminal chart - substitute in the desired crimes and punishments and change the modifiers. I might imagine that some societies might have modifiers for bloodline, auspicious days, random results of augers, etc.

UPDATE for next version:
A syndicate boss may earn XP from his monthly hijink income. Monthly hijink income is the total gp value earned from hijinks by the boss, less the cost of wages, attorneys, bribes, fines, and magical healing for his members. (Income can be rolled and calculated manually, or the Monthly Hijink Income table in the Managing Criminal Guilds section can be used for faster calculation.) If monthly hijink income exceeds the character’s gp threshold, he earns XP equal to the difference.
Syndicate members earn XP equal to 50% of the gp value of hijinks they perpetrate successfully. On average, 1st level followers will earn 50XP per month from hijinks. Assuming that their leader manages to bail them out of trouble everytime they get caught, followers will reach 2nd level in about 25 months (two years). Most ruffians do not, in practice, live that long.
Hijinks: A 0th level character may earn XP from perpetrating hijinks. In most cases, the only hijink available to 0th level characters is carousing (Hear Noises 18+). When the 0th level character earns 100xp from carousing, he may become a 1st level assassin, nightblade, or thief. Which class will depend on his race (only elves may be nightblades) and the sort of company the character is keeping. On average, it takes 0th level characters 6 months of consorting with unsavory sorts in dimly-lit taverns to advance.

Duskreign’s Minion here.
Very elegant. I like it. Thanks Alex!