Simplifying Hijinks

Hello, everyone!
As you know if you’ve been following the forums, I expanded the game mechanics for Hijinks because they were so popular with the fanbase. That said, some recent playtests on my part have indicated that the hijinks may have become overly complex in several areas. Some of the complexity has also introduced some wierd side effects.

  1. Having to worry about a success fee for each hijink, each with a different percentage, is very time consuming and math heavy
  2. Using success fees, rather than mercenary-style wages, for hijinks means the guild boss is incentivized to just have as many ruffians as possible on endless hijinks
  3. Having the penalties for various crimes change based on the market value of goods stolen or level of characters adds an additional step of math (and also begs the question as to how the authorities know this information)
    Here’s the new rules…

when an adventurer has established a hideout, he will become the boss of a syndicate of 2d6 1st level followers of his own class. Each time the adventurer gains a level thereafter, he will attract an additional 1d6 1st level followers to his syndicate. All followers must be paid standard rates for ruffians. In addition, the syndicate boss may hire ruffians to increase the size of his syndicate (similar to how a fighter hires mercenaries to increase the size of his garrison). See the Hirelings, Henchmen, Mercenaries, and Specialists rules in Chapter 6 for details on ruffians.
Ruffian (carousers, 6gp/month; footpads, 25gp/month; reciters, 25gp/month; spy 125gp/month; thug 25gp/month): Ruffians are specialists in petty crime. Carousers are 0th level brawlers and hoodlums that populate inns and taverns. Reciters are 1st level bards. Footpads are 1st level thieves. Spies are 4th level thieves. Thugs are 1st level assassins. Ruffians are hired on a monthly basis. They can be used as enforcers or muscle, or sent on various hijinks, such as assassinating, carousing, spying, stealing, or treasure-hunting. Ruffians hired for hijinks receive a success fee in addition to a monthly wage, and will expect their employer to bail them out of trouble should they be caught. Ruffians will not go on adventures unless recruited as henchmen, but may gain XP from hijinks. Ruffians who advance in level from successful hijinks will earn higher wages; use the Henchmen Monthly Fee table for high level ruffians.

Assassinating: Victim dies; bounty of 1,000gp per level of victim to boss
Carousing: Learn one rumor worth 3d12x5gp per level of perpetrator to boss
Smuggling: Smuggle 10 loads per level of perpetrator, payout of 12% of value of goods to boss
Spying: Learn one secret worth 2d12x100gp per level of perpetrator to boss
Stealing: Steal 2 loads per level of perpetrator, payout of 60% of value of goods to boss
Treasure Hunting: Find treasure map to hoard worth 1d6x1,000gp per level of perpetrator to boss

The syndicate boss is expected to pay for the attorneys, bribes, fines, and healing of members who get caught while assigned hijinks. If the boss regularly abandons his members to their fate, the Judge may roll on the Henchmen Loyalty table to see if the remaining syndicate members attack or betray their boss.

For example, here are the Punitive Penalties for several crimes:
Theft, Contraband: Hand amputated (cannot dual wield or use two-handed weapons) and fined 450gp value of goods stolen
Assault, Vandalism: Tortured (save v. Death or suffer permanent wound from row 11-15 of Mortal Wounds table) and fined 450gp
Burglary, Smuggling: Both hands amputated (cannot climb, use weapons or items, open locks, remove traps, or any other similar actions) and fined 900gp
Robbery, Racketeering: Execution (beheaded or hung) and fined 1,200gp

Previously, the chance to get caught was based on a thief’s chance to climb walls. However, this created a very high chance of getting caught, particularly on hijinks that shouldn’t be risky (like carousing). In v26 I toyed with being caught only on a natural 1, but this made getting caught too unlikely for risky hijinks like spying.
The new rule is: Whenever the proficiency throw fails by 14 or more or is a natural 1, the perpetrator has been caught.
This yields the following chance of getting caught.
Assassination/Spying: 25% at level 1, 20% at level 2, 15% at level 3, 10% at level 4, 5% at level 5+
Carousing: 5% at level 1+
Smuggling/Stealing: 15% at level 1, 10% at level 2, 5% at level 3+
Treasure Hunting: 20% at level 1, 15% at level 2, 10% at level 3, 15% at level 4+
It can instantly be seen that the riskiest hijinks are both harder to succeed in and easier to get caught in, while simpler tasks such as carousing are easy to succeed and hard to get caught. Also, by 5th level, all thieves avoid getting caught in all hijinks 95% of the time.

I like the rewrite for the first two parts, I preferred a variable punishment table because I could see more stories being generated from it, though as I’ve commented previously I dislike that it was always punishment by the legal authorities (perhaps you could include it as an optional rule in a web-supplement, or a pay for supplement for people who want more randomness in their lives?).
On the chance to get caught - I think the change works for the most part, however the dramatic ‘success but gets caught’ is still missing which I feel is a shame.
On the whole though, good simplification.

Echoing James, I really liked the punishment table. I know it occupies a good chunk of space, but I’d at least like to see it persist as an optional rule!

Duskreign’s Minion here.
Simple is good, I like the changes. I would suggest the following to make the text reflect all the recent changes.
1- Remove the reference to success fees “Ruffians hired for hijinks receive a success fee in addition to a monthly wage…”
2- Remove reciters as a ruffian option as Bards are now totally legit (potential rulers rather than thieves)
3- Remove “value of goods stolen” from the Theft punishment text. (I assume the penalty is a flat 450gp)
On a slightly different note, could an enterprising young PC hire ruffians and send them on hijinks before 9th level?

The punishment table is staying in, it’s just not going to require you to determine what got stolen in order to calculate the penalties. The penalty is based strictly on the crime (robbery,etc). It just removes a step of math.
Enterprising young PCs can absolutely hire ruffians!