Author Topic: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.  (Read 4376 times)

Doktor Howl

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Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« on: July 10, 2015, 01:55:51 am »
You know you want to fuck the players over with NPC treachery and cowardice.  Admit it.  It's half the fun of being a DM.  Nothing warms my heart like when Dave the Torch-bearer loses his shit and runs off in the middle of the big fight carrying the only light source.  Or when the porters steal all the PC's shit and wee in their rations.

Best part is, if it's done right, it's the players' fault, with many players using pack bearers as meat shields & trap-springers, etc.

So here's some rules to help you justify this sort of assbaggery.  These rules are still under play test conditions, and comments are welcome.

Loyalty & Morale Checks for NPCs:

NPCs are not robots that fight to the death, or put up with any amount of abuse from PCs.  Periodically, and when the situation calls for it, a loyalty check must be made to ensure the loyalty of the NPC.  Additionally, in dangerous situations, the NPC must make a morale check, which is a modified loyalty check.  PCs and cohorts are always assumed to have passed these checks, unless magically compelled.

Base Check:  The basic loyalty check involves the NPC making a will save against the Charisma of the party leader (or the PC who hired him, if they're not the same person), or the person who wronged the NPC.  The base DC of the check is the Charisma score (not modifier) of the PC in question plus the morale score of the NPC in question, with modifiers listed below included.  If the PC has leadership, he uses his leadership versus followers score instead, if it is higher than his Charisma. 

If the NPC makes the save, he becomes disloyal.  For good NPCs, this may mean anything from sulking to quitting.  For Neutral  or evil NPCs, it means sulking, quitting, or treachery.  Sulking means the NPC is considered shaken until morale has been reestablished, and will attempt to sap the honor of the person who offended him.  Quitting means exactly that.  As soon as the party is in a safe place, the NPC resigns and leaves.  Treachery means the NPC will try to take revenge on those he feels has wronged him.

The base morale check is the same, except the DC of the encounter (or the worst encounter so far in a given session, if there is no immediate combat) is subtracted from the target PC's charisma.  If the NPC makes his save, he stands frozen in panic.  If he is struck, he flees.  If he is not struck, he must make an immediate loyalty check after the battle or situation.

When to make a check:  A loyalty or morale check is made when the negative modifiers totaled up exceed the NPC's morale score.  Also, an NPC placed in a position of temptation may have to check, at the discretion of the DM
Modifiers  All of these modifiers stack. 

Temporary modifiers are based on the current (and possibly past) situation.
 
Pay            Modifier to DC
Less than one half book         -2
Less than book                    -1
Book                                0
More than book                        +1
Double book                   +2
Triple book                           +3
Pay is in arrears                    -3, pay modifiers are not used.

Each offer to raise pay forces a re-reroll on a failed save, provided the new pay scale is higher than the last one and at least book.  A new check can be forced for each offered raise, though if the raise goes up more than one bracket on the first attempt, it gives a +1 for every bracket jumped.  Pay in arrears must be made up before any chance of recovering loyalty, unless a better offer is made and a DC20 diplomacy check is made to convince the NPC to defer his pay.

Treatment:  An  NPC who is well treated (DM's discretion) gets a +1 to +5 modifier to the DC.  If an NPC is raised, he and all other NPCs take a permanent +1 to the DC, in addition to the bonus gained from the increase in leadership score, if appropriate.  Poor treatment has the exact opposite range of modifiers, and if an NPC is left to his death, the other NPCs take a permanent -1 to the DC.  If a PC kills an NPC, the other NPCs immediately gain a -5 modifier to the DC and make an immediate check.  EXCEPTION:  If an outright mutiny is in progress and a PC harms a disloyal NPC, an immediate loyalty retest is made, with a success meaning the mutiny spreads or gets more daring, and a failure meaning all surviving mutineers sulk.  They are disloyal at this point, but at least they aren't in mutiny. 

Morale check modifiers are as per loyalty checks, but have additional modifiers to the DC.  A morale check is made when the value of all modifiers (loyalty and morale) exceed the NPC's morale.

Encounter CR = +5 or more the PC APL:  -5 (does not stack with +3 APL)
Encounter CR = +3 or more the PC APL:  -2 (does not stack with +5 APL)
Encounter CR = below PC APL:  +2
Per PC fallen or fled:  +2
PC who hired PCs fallen or fled:   +4
Per NPC fallen or fled:  +1
NPC is wounded:  -1 (Remains for duration of combat, even if healed.  Stacks)
PCs cure NPCs:  +2 (Remains for duration of combat.  Stacks.)

NPC Morale Score:  An NPC's morale score is based on his personality and his alignment.  Law and Good each grant a +1.  Evil and Chaos each grant a -1. NPC  traits and goals from Game Mastery Guide, pages 94-96, may add or subtract to the score as determined by the DM, ranging from -2 to 2. 

NOTES:  The same rules can be applied to monsters, with the master of the monster taking the place of the PC, or if there is no master, the check is equal to 10 plus the CR of the encounter.


« Last Edit: July 16, 2015, 09:54:38 pm by Doktor Howl »

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2015, 10:20:10 pm »
Looks good. You may want to add in the "also applies to monsters" section a note about the good/evil modifiers being reversed (unless you think a good monster is more likely to follow an evil master than an evil one?) and I believe the last "monster" was supposed to be "master."
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Doktor Howl

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2015, 10:27:55 pm »
Looks good. You may want to add in the "also applies to monsters" section a note about the good/evil modifiers being reversed (unless you think a good monster is more likely to follow an evil master than an evil one?) and I believe the last "monster" was supposed to be "master."

I thought of that, but lawful is still lawful.

And bad guys tend to turn on each other.

Instead, perhaps an additional modifier for perceived alignment differences?

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2015, 10:32:35 pm »
Looks good. You may want to add in the "also applies to monsters" section a note about the good/evil modifiers being reversed (unless you think a good monster is more likely to follow an evil master than an evil one?) and I believe the last "monster" was supposed to be "master."

I thought of that, but lawful is still lawful.

And bad guys tend to turn on each other.

Instead, perhaps an additional modifier for perceived alignment differences?

Lawful is lawful, but maybe swap to evil and lawful +1 and good and chaotic -1? I mean, the odds of a good monster are pretty low to begin with, but I think that guy would be likely to abandon a crap job.
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Doktor Howl

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2015, 09:55:17 pm »
Fixed the typo, thanks.

I'm working on some spells that affect morale/loyalty, as well as some feats.

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 01:50:46 am »
I think I got most of that. I've been out of GM work for a while, and pathfinder is a "read but never played", except for 1 demo encounter with a friend.

It might be adding undue complexity, but have you considered the cumulative effects of multiple NPCs in sulk mode and a ladder towards outright mutiny? You know, like how dangerous a persistent complainer can get on board ship for example.

Also any sort of coercion rules for evil NPC morale? Orcs come to mind. Orc Sargent has multiple sulkers on a long, dangerous mission until he crushes the loudest one's skull in and puts meat "back on the menu boys".
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Doktor Howl

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2015, 04:02:13 am »
I think I got most of that. I've been out of GM work for a while, and pathfinder is a "read but never played", except for 1 demo encounter with a friend.

It might be adding undue complexity, but have you considered the cumulative effects of multiple NPCs in sulk mode and a ladder towards outright mutiny? You know, like how dangerous a persistent complainer can get on board ship for example.

Also any sort of coercion rules for evil NPC morale? Orcs come to mind. Orc Sargent has multiple sulkers on a long, dangerous mission until he crushes the loudest one's skull in and puts meat "back on the menu boys".

I treat all of that as situational, to avoid bogging down.  2nd example would be an intimidate check with a hefty bonus, with the sulkers coming out of sulk for a day plus one day for every 5 points by which the sergeant exceeded the DC.

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2015, 04:43:08 am »
I think I got most of that. I've been out of GM work for a while, and pathfinder is a "read but never played", except for 1 demo encounter with a friend.

It might be adding undue complexity, but have you considered the cumulative effects of multiple NPCs in sulk mode and a ladder towards outright mutiny? You know, like how dangerous a persistent complainer can get on board ship for example.

Also any sort of coercion rules for evil NPC morale? Orcs come to mind. Orc Sargent has multiple sulkers on a long, dangerous mission until he crushes the loudest one's skull in and puts meat "back on the menu boys".

I treat all of that as situational, to avoid bogging down.  2nd example would be an intimidate check with a hefty bonus, with the sulkers coming out of sulk for a day plus one day for every 5 points by which the sergeant exceeded the DC.

Makes sense. Given situation gets x mod by fiat. I like how you figured on the orc scenario. I had forgotten that intimidate might be a separate skill check and more appropriate.

The idea of "leadership feats" kind of intrigues me. Not got anything particular in mind, but perhaps they could effect tolerance for abusive NPC uses.
Maybe something like:

"Of course I will happily die for the master should it be needed. For now it is my humble honor to carry the supplies and pitch camp" Kind of like the mentality of feudal Japan. Like any such rule bending ability it should have restrictions or requirements, like a minimum period of service or oath to repay family handsomely, stat min, etc.

There's a lot of room in the sulking mechanic also. I'll chew on it and see if anything strikes me. Very cool stuff!
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2015, 06:59:24 am »
The idea of "leadership feats" kind of intrigues me. Not got anything particular in mind, but perhaps they could effect tolerance for abusive NPC uses.

No, there's a specific feat called Leadership, and it's broken as hell. It basically lets you play an additional party member, though at most it can be up to 2 levels lower than your own, and whether you or the GM actually controls it is a matter of houseruling. I'm guessing Roger prefers to treat them as semi-independent NPCs, though.
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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2015, 02:33:36 pm »
The idea of "leadership feats" kind of intrigues me. Not got anything particular in mind, but perhaps they could effect tolerance for abusive NPC uses.

No, there's a specific feat called Leadership, and it's broken as hell. It basically lets you play an additional party member, though at most it can be up to 2 levels lower than your own, and whether you or the GM actually controls it is a matter of houseruling. I'm guessing Roger prefers to treat them as semi-independent NPCs, though.

Considering pre-WotC D&D allowed you to gain henchmen as defacto lower level PCs plus however many hirelings you could afford plus what ever your class' name level followers, if any, were, the feat is less broken since you have choose it to gain followers and a cohort.

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2015, 02:53:55 pm »
The idea of "leadership feats" kind of intrigues me. Not got anything particular in mind, but perhaps they could effect tolerance for abusive NPC uses.

No, there's a specific feat called Leadership, and it's broken as hell. It basically lets you play an additional party member, though at most it can be up to 2 levels lower than your own, and whether you or the GM actually controls it is a matter of houseruling. I'm guessing Roger prefers to treat them as semi-independent NPCs, though.

Considering pre-WotC D&D allowed you to gain henchmen as defacto lower level PCs plus however many hirelings you could afford plus what ever your class' name level followers, if any, were, the feat is less broken since you have choose it to gain followers and a cohort.

You have a point, but a disposable PF wizard is nothing to sneeze at.
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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2015, 03:34:31 pm »
The idea of "leadership feats" kind of intrigues me. Not got anything particular in mind, but perhaps they could effect tolerance for abusive NPC uses.

No, there's a specific feat called Leadership, and it's broken as hell. It basically lets you play an additional party member, though at most it can be up to 2 levels lower than your own, and whether you or the GM actually controls it is a matter of houseruling. I'm guessing Roger prefers to treat them as semi-independent NPCs, though.

I think I remember that now. If I recall correctly the feats in Pathfinder and later editions of DhD tended to be on a tree. Could it simply be done that way?

Perhaps leadership IS broken, but so is a maximized, delay burst fireball used cleverly. I recall seeing one writeup in an undead supplement for a dread wraith that I think had levels of monk stacked on top and spring attack. This allowed it to pounce through a wall or floor and sap a level or two, then be beyond reach again. It was pretty wicked.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Doktor Howl

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 08:28:58 pm »
The idea of "leadership feats" kind of intrigues me. Not got anything particular in mind, but perhaps they could effect tolerance for abusive NPC uses.

No, there's a specific feat called Leadership, and it's broken as hell. It basically lets you play an additional party member, though at most it can be up to 2 levels lower than your own, and whether you or the GM actually controls it is a matter of houseruling. I'm guessing Roger prefers to treat them as semi-independent NPCs, though.

You'll notice in the rule above that PCs and cohorts always succeed at morale checks, unless magically compelled.  I treat cohorts as PCs entirely, except for their level cap.  I also allow only cohort per party to be in play at any time, though all gain experience at the same rate (in parties of 6, I allow no cohorts to be active).  Cohorts are usually "insurance" against the primary character dying.

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2015, 08:32:14 pm »
I think I remember that now. If I recall correctly the feats in Pathfinder and later editions of DhD tended to be on a tree. Could it simply be done that way?


No.  Cohorts are followers, not leaders.  While they are a cohort, they may not benefit from the leadership feat.

Also, the "leadership feats" I was discussing are supplemental.  "Commanding Voice" is one, for example, that raises the DC of loyalty and morale checks by 2.  Requires Cha 13+ and BAB1.  There's a tree of feats that comes off of this.

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Re: Pathfinder NPC Morale/Loyalty Rules.
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2015, 09:45:04 pm »
I think I remember that now. If I recall correctly the feats in Pathfinder and later editions of DhD tended to be on a tree. Could it simply be done that way?


No.  Cohorts are followers, not leaders.  While they are a cohort, they may not benefit from the leadership feat.

Also, the "leadership feats" I was discussing are supplemental.  "Commanding Voice" is one, for example, that raises the DC of loyalty and morale checks by 2.  Requires Cha 13+ and BAB1.  There's a tree of feats that comes off of this.

Oh, ok. I was misreading Joseph's reference to "leadership feats." My bad.
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