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Friday, January 9, 2015

Some Random Thoughts on Moral and Loyalty in D&D

Last nite was my bureau's "After the Holiday Party." 80 bucks a head. Food sucked but at least the bar included a decent selection of bottled beers and even cider, but I digress. This is supposed to be random thoughts about moral and loyalty in D&D. I'm getting there.

One of our Inspectors, who has been out long term sicks due to slow recovery from a broken back, made an appearance. It was almost electrifying. Subordinates would do anything for this man and probably already have. I know I have in the past. He's fights for his people and they fight for him.

It's a classical high charisma score.

Then there is comment I heard in reference to another supervisor- "I'd walk through fire WITH this man." I heard this or a variation used multiple times with the same person. This seems less charisma and more leadership skill or ability. Someone who leads from within the group, instead of a long term loyalty factor that defies distance.

Yes, I'm simplifying things but it got me thinking, especially about hirelings and henchmen and going beyond charisma score for the moral bonus.

Ah well, not sure yet where this is going, but it's going somewhere...

9 comments:

  1. Morale should start based on the leader's charisma. However, it should be modified when the leader does for his men or treats them poorly.

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    1. +Scott Anderson
      I agree with you 100%. I start with a flat moral number for Hirelings and such then modify it based on what ever comes up in the game. eventually if things go badly the moral score becomes so bad that even a good hireling will bolt.

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  2. "This seems less charisma and more leadership skill or ability."

    I suppose that depends on how much of an abstraction you make Charisma.

    An old school game will just have Charisma. A new(er) school game will have Charisma, but perhaps with additional skill points/ranks in "Persuasion / Diplomacy / ".

    One could create a "reputation" mechanic that works along with Charisma. If you have treated subordinates well in the past, come to the rescue of your henchmen, etc... you might get some kind of morale bonus based upon your reputation rank.

    It does beg the question that if one runs a game heavy with hirelings, henchmen, vassals, etc there should be some kind of loyalty sub-system.

    Does ACKs do anything like that? I know Hackmaster has a Reputation score, but that's less about hirelings/henchmen and more about other NPC interactions.

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    1. My game runs thick with vassals and henchmen. The table you need is the morale table. It works wonders. For domain management, I've also adopted many of the modifiers to that throw from ACKs.

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  3. Yeah, in classic D&D Leadership skill & ability as you described it is part of Charisma. Just like how the game doesn't distinguish between education and IQ, or speed vs balance vs hand-eye-coordination.

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    1. I agree. The Old School Charisma score already includes leadership ability, so no additional rules for this are needed.

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    2. A Charisma score is great for tracking if somebody is a natural leader & commands respect wherever they go. It doesn't do much to handle the case where the loyalty of his subordinates is earned & not transferable (eg - a great general might be able to ask anything of his troops but can't get strangers to give him the time of day).

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  4. I'm pretty sure AD&D had adjustments for morale/loyalty based on how the leader treated them in prior situation.

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    1. It does. Pages 36-37 of the DMG cover exactly that.

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