A couple of my players are getting frustrated that their henchmen are at Bon-trivial risk of quitting with every injury or level-up. They’ve asked if they can improve henchmen morale by overpaying their henchmen. This seems reasonable to me, but I’d like some help figuring out magnitudes. My first instinct is to grant a +1 or +2 morale bonus for doubling their monthly salary. How does that sound to you guys?
I would add at least a +2 for double salary, possibly more. That’s a substantial increase in standard of living.
Personally, I only add a temporary bonus for such increases (e.g. hiring or a loyalty roll). Permanent increases come from the subsequent positive rolls for Loyalty or Level increases while in the PC’s employ. This limits the effectiveness of the PCs ability to pay for very potent Morale increases. Moreover, I find it’s a little closer to what actually happens in the real world: people become habituated to their new level of pay, with it becoming the new baseline. If Player’s take other concrete, in-game actions that benefit their Henchmen (e.g. giving choice Magic Items, paying for expensive services, lavishing gifts, etc.) these can provide longer-term Morale bonuses, as the Henchman becomes increasingly favourably disposed to the PC. Simple money can’t create this kind of loyalty.
Thanks for the suggestions, here’s what I decided to do:
PCs may overpay their henchmen by 50% to get a +1 morale bonus or 100% to get a +2 morale bonus. This bonus may not raise morale above +3 (no amount of money will buy fanatical loyalty). The morale bonus lasts so long as the henchman is overpaid.
I’m not too worry about henchmen getting used to their salary, since as they gain levels they’ll need a larger absolute bonus to maintain their morale.
Even if the morale bonus is permanent, I would include a provision that once the PC has overpaid a henchman for at least three months, she cannot subsequently lower his salary without incurring an immediate calamity roll (perhaps with a penalty).
People react poorly to having things taken away once they've been given, even if they didn't necessarily deserve them in the first place.
Yes, that makes sense. The time to remove the pay bonus would be when they level up, since then you can just raise their pay by less rather than actually cutting it.
It seems to me that you wouldn’t necessarily know your henchman leveled up. Your henchman comes to you and threatens to quit. This is the boss/employee “I need a raise” conversation. You either say “see ya” or you give them the raise (and possibly a bonus) to keep your dissatisfied employee.
I’ve found in face-to-face campaigns that keeping Henchmen entirely secret from players quickly becomes more hassle than it’s worth. I usually keep the Henchman’s profile hidden until they’re a solid member of the party, then provide all the basic stats to the player (no Attributes or Alignment or Loyalty/Morale, or other secrets the Henchman wants to keep) and let them keep track. If a Henchman stays long enough, I’ll give them everything but Alignment and Loyalty/Morale.