Thursday, January 20, 2011

Henchman Cards For OD&D

For the Blackmoor Dungeons session on Monday I wanted to make the henchman hiring process more quick, fun, and efficient while retaining some of the randomness befitting the spirit of early D&D. Before the game I made up a deck of henchman cards from which I drew randomly when the players were recruiting at the Blackmoor Castle elf fair. After I determined the number of potential recruits attracted to a specific PC, I spread out the appropriate number of drawn cards (i.e. the line up of foolhardy and desperate souls) and played a little hiring bidding game. Keeping high and low recruitment offers in mind, I then used the OD&D Loyalty table to determine morale for the hirelings who ended up tagging along with the party. One torch-bearer who was low-balled during hiring ended up with a morale of 3 (unbeknownst to the players) and ditched the party at the beginning of the first combat!

I think the cards worked out quite well and I'll definitely use them again (a new batch, though). The players were able to get together a nice entourage fairly quickly, and each hireling had enough personality to make the group colorful. I should mention that the wonderful Meatshields henchman generator was a big influence on this micro-project, and that I borrowed a couple traits from Meatshield-generated characters.

(News Flash: CLICK HERE to check out fillable PDF documents I made of these cards.)

Here is a sample sheet of the cards (CLICK TO ENLARGE):

The Fates of Some Henchmen in Monday's Blackmoor (as far as I can remember):
Yanus: Ran away screaming
Janis: Poor little hobbit got both her legs cut off by goblins
Filby: Rejected by the party for being too wimpy
Garwin: Carried off by a giant spider 
Terrin: Died after getting his arm cut off by a goblin
Freckles: Made a brave last stand against the goblins, but to no avail