Based on last week’s notes, this week it’s a playbook (similar to PC playbooks in provided stats and skills) that allows allies to transition from null-stat hirelings to fully fleshed out characters that could serve as replacement PCs if the existing PCs die. Apply these stat improvements when it’s appropriate to answer the questions (i.e., one per adventure completion with the party).
What are your native talents?
Pick two ability scores to start at 10, the rest start at 8.
What happened the first adventure after you became an ally?
- You had to flee and/or get help. +2 Str, +1 Dex, +1 Con, Skill: Athletics or Riding
- You had to help scout/stay on guard duty. +2 Dex, +1 Con, +1 Wis, Skill: Alertness or Stealth
- You were deep in hostile wilderness. +2 Int, +1 Wis, +1 Con, Skill: Animal Lore or Survival
- You mostly got to stay out of danger and help with the food. +2 Cha, +1 Wis, +1 Con, Skill: Cooking or Hunting
- You had to help with the injured or sick. +2 Con, +1 Wis, +1 Str, Skill: Healing or Herbalism
- You helped with terrifying ancient mysteries. +2 Int, +1 Str, +1 Cha, Skill: Ancient History or Forbidden Lore
- You got deeply embroiled with the fae or other strange creatures. +2 Cha, +1 Dex, +1 Int, Skill: Faerie Lore or Folklore
- You were involved in mystical or philosophical weirdness. +2 Wis, +1 Str, +1 Dex, Skill: Magic Lore or Religious Lore
- You had to be on your best behavior among polite society. +2 Wis, +1 Int, +1 Cha, Skill: Etiquette or Politics
After your second adventure as an ally, what’s your favorite part of adventuring so far?
- The fights! +2 Str, +1 Wis
- Games and riddles. +2 Dex, +1 Int
- Proving your toughness. +2 Con, +1 Cha
- Learning lore and secrets. +2 Int, +1 Dex
- Learning about strange new folks. +2 Wis, +1 Con
- Making new friends. +2 Cha, +1 Str
- Being generally helpful and needed. +1 Str, +1 Con, +1 Cha
- Learning a little from everyone. +1 Dex, +1 Int, +1 Wis
Now that you’ve been on three adventures as an ally, which of the party members do you look up to the most?
- The strongest warrior in the party. +2 Str, +1 Cha
- The most nimble scout in the party. +2 Dex, +1 Wis
- The most stalwart protector in the party. +2 Con, +1 Int
- The smartest and cleverest person in the party. +2 Int, +1 Dex
- The most patient and considerate person in the party. +2 Wis, +1 Str
- The one that you have a crush on. +2 Cha, +1 Con
- The one that’s lost without your help. +1 Str, +1 Int, +1 Cha
- The one that doesn’t need you, but lets you help anyway. +1 Dex, +1 Con, +1 Wis
After four adventures as an ally, the party is clearly starting to expect you to fill a role. What do you see your purpose in the party as?
- The muscle, standing firm on the front lines. +2 Str, +1 Con, Skill: Athletics or Intimidation
- The scout, hanging back and looking for opportunities. +2 Dex, +1 Wis, Skill: Alertness or Stealth
- The protector, taking hits so the weaker ones don’t have to. +2 Con, +1 Cha, Skill: Riding or Survival
- The brains, knowing details and secrets. +2 Int, +1 Dex, Skill: [Any Lore]
- The heart, keeping track of and coordinating the party. +2 Wis, +1 Str, Skill: Healing or Socialize
- The soul, keeping everyone happy and helping with outsiders. +2 Cha, +1 Int, Skill: [Any Social]
After five adventures as an ally, some of your negative tendencies are starting to become apparent. What’s your biggest problem?
- I’m lazy, and don’t like to do my fair share. -1 Str, +2 Dex, +1 Int
- My clumsiness tends to get us all in trouble. -1 Dex, +2 Con, +1 Cha
- I keep getting sick and injured. -1 Con, +2 Cha, +1 Dex
- I can’t remember all the things I should have learned. -1 Int, +2 Wis, +1 Str
- I just don’t pay much attention and break things. -1 Wis, +2 Str, +1 Con
- I’m secretive and distrustful. -1 Cha, +2 Int, +1 Wis
After six adventures as an ally, you’re starting to seamlessly blend with the hero that serves as your leader, learning from her example and shoring up her weaknesses.
Add +2 to the ability that your leader has lowest, and add either +1 to the ability your leader has highest or add the skill your leader uses the most.
After seven adventures as an ally, you’ve learned almost as much as you can in a subordinate role and are getting ready to strike out on your own.
Add +1 to your highest ability and +1 to your lowest ability.
The following were the blurbs I presented to my players as their starting local options for hirelings.
- The Ostra-Goth (Witch): A weird guy in his late twenties that likes to wear all black and who doesn’t have many friends. He badgered the Witch for some training a few years ago, but she quickly got tired of him. He has the Hexing cantrip, the Call the Swarm spell, and no rituals.
- The Chamber Maid (Order): A teen serving girl at the manor who was around the room a lot when the Apprentice Court Sorcerer was being taught by the Court Sorcerer, and seems to have picked up a few things. She has the Second Sight cantrip, the Abjuration spell, and the Sorcerer’s Steed ritual.
- The Fae-Struck Boy (Fae): A touched young man in his late teens that barely responds to stimuli but is mostly biddable, he’s been like this ever since he wandered out of town as a child. Many think he was bewitched by the fae, as he has strange powers. He has the Glamour Weaving cantrip, the Obscurement spell, and no rituals.
- The Imperial Novice (New Sun): An overly-cheerful young Imperial girl who came to town with the imperial priest and serves as his altar girl and gofer. She doesn’t seem to have any understanding of why people are so distrustful of her. She has the Blessing cantrip, the Inspiration and Word of Courage spells, and no rituals.
- Horse Girl (Witch): This girl LOVES HORSES. She is really, really annoying about it. The innkeepers started paying her a small wage because they couldn’t stop her from helping out in the inn’s stables. She’s picked up some things from doggedly following the Assistant Beast Keeper on her rounds with the Witch’s menagerie. She has the Beast Ken cantrip, the Wild Call spell, and no rituals.
- Mr. Helpful (Pagan): This guy is possibly in his forties. He has a polite smile for people, helps them get to their homes at night, and is just on the good side of being creepy about it. Most suspect he worships some weird old god of hospitality. He has the Mage Light cantrip, the Phantom Skill spell, and the Goodberry ritual.
- The Huntress: A woman in her thirties, she’s remained happily unmarried and spends her time out with the other hunters. The villagers joke that she’s married to her bow. She’s specialized in longbow and has the Great Strike knack.
- Sword Guy: He’s slender, getting older, he’s not nearly as sexy as he thinks, and, yes, he does a weird dance where he balances his sword on various body parts to try to impress people. He’s specialized in longsword and has the Defensive Fighter knack.
- The Ol’ Battleaxe: She probably shouldn’t have gotten married to a guy that thinks he’s as funny as her husband does, because the kind of woman that works as a woodcutter has a particular nickname that’s appropriate. She’s specialized in greataxe and has the Resilience knack.
- Big Mouth: Big guy, big mouth, won’t shut up about how much he’s going to kick your ass, never really does, has about the reputation you’d expect because of it. Nice enough guy, when he’s not drinking. He’s specialized in battle axe and has the Great Strike knack.
- That Weird Flippy Kicky Girl: She’s your age, just kind of washed up in Heimbach with traders a few years ago, barely seems to speak the local language or any other anyone knows, and wakes up every morning at dawn to practice her martial arts forms. She’s specialized in unarmed combat (and seems to have the Unarmed Combat trait) and has the Fleet knack.
- Infantry!: He’s been in the wars, man. He won’t stop telling people about it. And they’re like, yeah, man, a lot of people have seen war, what makes you so special? And he’s all, I was part of an elite polearm fighting team, man, you wouldn’t understand the camaraderie of the training. He’s specialized in halberd and has the Defensive Fighter knack.
- Comrade Stinky: This guy has an imperial accent, lives like a hermit out in the woods, and doesn’t bathe, but seems to know what he’s about. He has the Animal Lore and Survival skills.
- The Gumshoe: This young teen is an extremely middle child, and Nancy Drews her way around the village solving “mysteries” and would love to go solve a real one. She has the Alertness and Investigation skills.
- The Freerun Artist: Heimbach has just enough architecture that some kid was going to invent Parkour, to the great chagrin of business owners across town. He has the Athletics and Stealth skills.
- The Oldest Professional: Sliding gracefully into middle age, but cognizant that her future employment prospects are waning, she might be amenable to some adventuring to try to lay in a nest egg for her retirement. She has the Pickpocketing and Seduction skills.
- Major Bored-o: One of the heralds at the manor is pushing thirty and has heard about a lot of great people, but seems to wonder if there’s something more than this provincial life. He has the Ancient History and Etiquette skills.
- Ms. Science!: One of the town’s schoolteachers is a whip-smart young woman in her early twenties that has learned some surprising things about machinery through unknown methods of experimentation. She has the Engineering and Trapping skills.