Monday, February 25, 2013

Ever Make Your Adventuring Party a "Franchise"?

I'm not even sure where this came from, but the idea of an adventuring party being a "franchise" of a larger group / adventuring company / corporation just occurred to me.

There would be backing from the parent company, but the franchise would have to follow certain rules, especially dealing with image. A certain percentage of earnings would have to be kicked back to the parent company.

Hmmm, a "no torturing or indiscriminate burning of adversaries" clause would do wonders with my gaming group, but somehow I expect they would lose their franchise license fairly quickly with that clause alone ;)

Anyone ever use something similar to a "franchise license" with their adventuring parties in their campaign?


  1. My players do it every time. During Gothic Greyhawk, the group was called BK Inc (Buzzkill Incorporated). The current party calls themselves the Spitsberg Pirates (after the island of Spitsbergen). They make charters, contracts, and everything and make retainers sign on.

    They haven't even read The Black Company yet.

  2. The Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad game is already doing this. After their second adventure, the players founded the Sacred Order of the Purple Tentacle, an insane mercenary company devoted to profit and the pursuit of mind-altering substances.

  3. In Dragonquest there were Adventuring Guilds which player were encouraged to join. The Guilds followed various tenets and policies. I guess that is about as close as I came to seeing any sort of franchising in the game.

  4. The Trygalle Trade Guild in Steven Erickson's Malazan novels seems based on this idea. Although in the novels they seem to operate as more of a super FedEx.

  5. Hmm, isn't that supposed to be the in-game 'reason' for the Pathfinder Society in Pathfinder?

  6. I can not, for the life of me, remember the name, but there is a free dungeon crawl RPG that centers around the premise that the PCs are in the employ of a dungeon salvage company. I'm not sure if the players ever have a chance to own such a company though.

  7. Yes, have often used the 'adventuring company' trope. And use the book of jobs filled with adventures so the PC's can pick what they want to do.

    "And so they came, brave young souls lured by the desire for fame and fortune and perhaps something more. They came, directed by colorful invitations to join the “Delvers Guild”. They came with the clothes on their backs and just a few gold in their pockets, little more. Will these small flowers someday blossom? Will they succeed in a career more lucrative and more dangerous than any other? An ex-adventure named Turtle has opened a business catering to would-be dungeoneers; The Delvers Guild.


  8. We had a campaign a while back wherein 'Companies of Adventure' provided much of the framework for our expeditions. As I recall, a rich patron ran several groups under his banner. We got a certain amount of financial and material support, and we generally wound up with an NPC minder of some sort going along to keep an eye we didn't run off with the gear or risk out patron's investment foolishly. We had to give the patron a share of our loot... maybe 15%.

    I think it's a great way for the GM to minimize player's debating forever whether they should fork out for that extra donkey or how much lamp oil to pack, and get them on their way to the dungeon asap without a railroad. "The company will set you up with what you need, just sign here for the items..."

    Sounds like what you are describing, I think.

  9. To be fair, Erik:

    1. if we manage to capture our opponents and they will actually give up the information, we likely wouldn't torture them to try to get the information we want. Note that we've even let captured opponents leave after they give up what we want to know.

    2. lately, if we _don't_ burn our opponents' bodies _they come back_. Of course fire is becoming SOP.

  10. The highest level character in my sandbox campaign recently petitioned a rich group of prospectors (Shalefist Mining Company) to permanently sponsor all of the PCs in the campaign. He basically negotiated for a small caravan that would travel with the party to the different dungeons, and then wait outside. The caravan would have most adventuring supplies on hand, allowing the players to just take whatever they want into the dungeon, and expense it all when they get out. Further, the caravan would be allowed an adventurer's share of any loot found.

    One unforeseen benefit of this is that it will completely eliminate the dreaded hour-long pre-session shopping trip that my group always feels compelled to take.

  11. My group refers to themselves as the 'Company of Odd fellows' because the party contains 2 half orcs, a minotaur and a warforged (my BFRPG version). They even have their own stronghold called 'Odd Fellows Hall'. The minotaur is actually the adopted daughter of one of the Dukes of the Barony so they have his backing, and they helped free and finance a struggling lumber camp so they actually get s small stipend from them every month.

    But the Star Wars game I'm a part of has this elaborate hoax going where they say they work for a Mercenary called 'Davit Kraal' and have planted rumors throughout the galaxy to prop this story up. So now they have gas mines and space stations all held under his name. In out galaxy we are eventually just going to run the Empire out of business.

  12. Er, RuneQuest cults? HeroQuest hero bands?


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