Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rough Sketch: The Assistant Hireling

A rough sketch of rules involving Assistants, Specialized Hirelings for the Party to manage their affairs.

To the Order of the Blessed Weasel, Wherever This May Find You:

Above: Working Hard So You Don't Have To.
Your Guild Memberships have been paid through for the year, as per your requests.  We have sent several of your servants to recruit men to take over the Keep you have earned from rescuing Lord Sila’s daughter from the Dragon.  Due to the incident with the Demons at Hightower we are currently running in the red for wages… Please prevent mass destruction of property in the future.  In personal news I have invested in a decanter of endless hippocras to help the ulcers the cleric of the Healing Hands has diagnosed me with due to my work for your Order.  If you wish to see expenses please reply via a missive to our offices in Watercress for full accounting.

Your Loyal and Humble Servant,
Alosius Martel.

Sometimes players do not want to have to deal with the stresses of managing all of their stuff.  From handling the sale of the golden doors found in a hidden temple complex to paying all of the necessary costs to adventuring guilds, kingdom taxes, and other requirements, the life of a celebrated adventurer can become hectic and stressed at the best of times.

But in a world where sorcerers and sellswords gather to battle and test their mettle there are men willing to fight with pen rather than sword and spell.  This article discusses the few, the proud, and underpaid; the Assistant Hireling. 

The Assistant Hireling is part manager, part handler, and all stress.  Men and women who can provide the players with information, assistance, and wealth management, the hireling provides a DMPC to use for players who do not want to take over the charge of a party’s assets, personnel management, and general needs.  The oil on the waters and hand that rules the coin, an Assistant provides an asset to the party.

So How Does It Work?

Bow before  Darlene: Goddess of Adventure Management
The Assistant Hireling is paid just like any other Hireling, but gains additional skills through gold expenditure.  In a world of commerce and investments the players can hire an Assistant and gain benefits over time through the investments they have earned.  An Assistant’s Upkeep is based on an Adventurer of their Assistant Level (30 GP/mo/level + optional Upkeep), and they earn XP based on GP invested into the Assistant.

At 1st Level the Assistant has 8 skills available to him.  The Party may choose the skills that the Assistant has access to, but Use Magic Device and Spellcraft are not normally available to an Assistant.  They gain skill points just like any other character, but every 3 levels the Assistant gains a special form of Skill Focus that provides a +3 bonus to one skill.  This form of Focus may stack.  The Assistant may also be used to manage investments for the party; an Assistant may reliably manage investments that’s total value is 2x the Average Wealth of a PC of their level, providing a profit that can be reinvested to the leveling of the Assistant or given over to the PCs.

An Assistant gains Feats just like any character of his level, but these feats are spent strictly in feats to benefit his work.  From Skill Focus to Favored of House/Special Dispensation, Extra Contacts, and similar effects, the Assistant can apply these effects to the Party through their presence within 10 miles of the party’s current location per Assistant level.

Why Do I Need an Assistant?

A party needs information on a wilderness location.  The Bard in the group wishes to play for nobles to gain favor.  A fighter is seeking out a Smith to create a new set of bitching plate mail, or the Wizard is looking for someone to get ahold of questionable material components with no questions asked.  In effect, the Assistant does the stuff the Party does not want to have to waste their time doing, and is an invaluable service provider to a party who spends any time in a city or within the Assistants Sphere of Influence.  An Assistant takes one week to establish his Sphere of Influence in a new location, and charges the Party for lodgings in a new location one step above his normal Upkeep while away from ‘home’.

The Assistant may be called upon a number of times a month equal to his Level to make a check within his Sphere of Influence.

Example: The Assistant has reached 6th level and the Party wishes to look into gaining favor in the City of Greymeadow.  The Assistant, a skilled sage who was once the party’s patron, is currently located 300 miles away.   The Party pays for the Assistant to travel to Greymeadow, and is charged for the travel and a temporary abode in a nice little office in the Clerk’s District (45 GP/mo). 

The Assistant has Knowledge (Nobility/Royalty) and Gather Information, and due to their lack of a social character the Assistant spent his specialized Focuses in GI.  Once he has settled into his new office the Assistant is a useful servant, providing information. 

In theory the Assistant serves as a way to provide useful little tidbits to the players for information and let the players sneak out of the bookkeeping of a complex economic campaign while reaping some rewards.  These are some basic notes on the concept; I hope to work on this, playtest it a bit, and present a nice writeup once that has been completed over the next month.  Stay tuned and watch this space. 

As Always,

Good  Gaming.