Each Entourage will consist of a Primary Character, and a Loyal Follower, further members of said Entourage will be standard hirelings, also known as Henchmen. The Primary Character’s Loyal Follower will not count towards the hireling total permitted by his CHA score. Furthermore, the hireling total will rise with experience for each Primary Character, reflecting his fame and influence as he gains notoriety throughout Solstice.
Upon the untimely death of a Primary Character, the Loyal Follower, by law, is able to claim all of the slain former leader’s possessions which are upon his character, and is able to claim, after paying a 10% tax to the state, that deceased individual’s estate, such as it is. At this point, short of a potential Raise Dead, the Loyal Follower becomes the Primary Character, and must then choose a new Loyal Follower from amongst his own Entourage.
At the beginning of each session, the player decides who from amongst his Entourage is going on this particular adventure. Typically, either the Primary Character, or the Loyal Follower must be present during an adventure. Some of the members of the Entourage might stay behind to tend to matters at home while their brethren assume the dangerous duties of adventuring. Later in the campaign, the players might decide to attempt an adventure which is surely beneath their Primary Character’s or even Loyal Follower’s level of expertise. In such a case, the player can opt to play an adventure using the Henchmen members of their Entourage. Temporary Primary Characters will have to be established during those adventures.
Experience is effected by the number of characters, obviously, so it is not always the best idea to tackle an adventure with three dozen members, but it IS possible. Primary Characters receive one full share of divided experience, Loyal Followers and Henchmen receive but one quarter. This might make for some complicated numbers crunching, but the referee will make the entire process fair and equitable.
A Primary Character gains an additional Loyal Follower at experience levels three and six. Again, these members of the Entourage do not count toward the Primary Characters maximum allowable number of hirelings. The player must still designate a pecking order amongst his Loyal Followers, in order that inheritance is clearly defined. There will be further rules for the Entourage when a particular Primary Character builds a stronghold, at the Lord, Wizard or Patriarch levels.
If a Loyal Follower or any other member of an Entourage attains an experience level higher than the Primary Character’s, he or she will leave the Entourage (and possibly establish his own and continue adventuring, at the player’s option).
Morale is an important game feature when using the Entourage Approach. Henchmen are fairly transient in Solstice, but eventually, each Entourage will consist of some very loyal members, even at the Henchmen level. Nevertheless, the OD&D rules shall be followed each time a new hireling is added.
First, the Reaction Table on p. 12 of M&M is used during the hiring process. There is a possibility that said hireling will end up with +3 Loyalty at this stage. Then, the referee secretly rolls 3d6 to determine the hirelings Loyalty, adjusting for CHA, amount of gold offered, and possibly by that +3 from the Reaction Table. A number is generated from 1 to 25 after adjustments for CHA and gold are made. This Loyalty number determines one of seven Morale factors, from deserts at first opportunity, to need never check morale, with adjustments of -2, -1, 0, +1 or +2 in between.
To make a Morale Check, the referee rolls 2d6, makes the Loyalty adjustment, and refers to the below table:
2: Hostile, will attack or endanger Primary Character.
3-5: Deserts Immediately, will attack if prevented from flight.
6-8: Hesitates, if situation does not improve, roll again at -1 in one turn.
9-11: No effect. If situation does not improve, roll again in one turn.
12: No effect, no more rolls required for this situation.
The referee will make on the fly adjustments for particularly perilous situations. Morale should also be checked at the conclusion of each adventure to see if the Henchmen remains in the Entourage. Fair treatment and fair pay will normally mean that no check is required. Henchmen who have witnessed their mates perish, or come to within a breath of their own demise, will normally have to check with a penalty. Gold and Gems can normally help to convince even the most reluctant Henchmen, though.
Players will maintain an index card for each member of their Entourage, and the referee will keep track of the Henchman’s Loyalty base. Loyalty scores for members of the Entourage are never seen by the players, but might become evident over the course of the campaign.
Under certain circumstances, a player with available space within his entourage can actually add intelligent Monsters to his Entourage on a temporary or even permanent basis, given that said Monster can be accepted by his Henchmen mates, and further by those members of society whom might have to accept said Monster!
The process of actually attracting and maintaining a successful Entourage will be a large part of campaign play in Of Fortunes and Fools. Most of all, this Entourage Approach will open up game play opportunities for all involved. A player with a cohesive Entourage could even elect to play solo, or have successful adventures with only one other player, should the need arise. A player is never required to bring members of his Entourage on adventures, but the benefits of maintaining a Loyal Follower, at the least, are clear.
In Solstice, the standard Henchmen fee is as follows: 5 GP retaining fee per level of Henchmen, and one quarter a share of all gold plundered on adventures. Thus, four members of an Entourage would be able to claim, rightfully, one share of the treasure. Magic Items are not included in such hand shake contracts, though. When an Entourage consists of more than four members, it is assumed that the Primary Character will simply award that same full share, and it will be equally divided amongst the Henchmen.
Bonuses to Loyalty base are normally afforded by exceeding this standard amount, while penalties are incurred when awarding less than this standard amount.
The Entourage Approach has been inspired from some notes by Mike Mornard, in regard to how Gary Gygax handled his campaign back in the early days, to quote:
“Gary ran a weekly game. His total player pool was about 12 to 15.With Solstice, I hope to bring back that end game that has virtually disappeared. We’ll see how it goes!
Usually, only about 2 to 5 of us could make it any given game day.
So, everybody acquired henchmen to "fill out the group" if somebody wasn't going to be there.
And it didn't take long for players to start arranging other times and playing alone or with henchmen.
Heck, it even reached the point where from time to time we'd just play our henchmen to level them up.
And yes, the original D&D assumed an endgame where you would build your stronghold, acquire vassals and tenants, and become A Major Player In The World's Politics.
That endgame seems to have virtually disappeared.”
~Sham, Quixotic Referee