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Old 06-17-2019, 05:44 PM   #21
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Why adventuring parties?

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
I'm less confident about other editions, which may have worked to make the low-level followers more useful.
There's no edition where the first level followers won't die like flies. The situation for 62 point minions in GURPS is rather more favorable, mostly because they won't die as collateral damage to AoEs, though you'll pay a lot if you want to give them good gear.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:23 PM   #22
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Default Re: Why adventuring parties?

Some approaches to mix and match:

* Embrace the military! Assume that armies, mercenary bands, mundane men-at-arms, etc. do get mixed up with dungeons and monsters – where it makes some sense. That generally means above-ground encampments of goblin-kin armies, or monster infestations (band of ogres, etc.) treatable with pikes and crossbows - mundane physical battles that aren't typical adventure material for PCs anyway.

* Soldiers do not have the training, specialized skills, magical protections, or slightest desire to deal with the weird stuff. Possessing spirits, exploding demons, plague carriers. . . these things just terrify grunts. They're willing to face honest death on a battlefield, but not disappearing down the maw of some pit worm. (Soldiers don't even like fighting at night; pitch-dark caverns are out of the question).

* Many soldiers are horribly superstitious about crypts and old temples and what not. They don't want to come within a mile of a lich's tomb, and eagerly swap tales and rumors of grunts who stumble out of dungeons possessed and cursed, who limp back home only to drop dead of some ghastly plague, or who die in a tomb and then shamble back home. The superstitions carry over to their view of delvers: awesome monster-killers, but also demon-touched weirdos who probably carry and spread soul-corrupting curses like normal people spread colds. (Soldiers know that messing with undead and cursed ruins means they'll be seen as delvers, earning that superstitious stink-eye from people back in the home village.)

* Delvers aren't too fond of soldiers, either. Grunts are loud, ill-equipped for delves, and apt to bolt at the sight of a simple flaming skull. They spring traps (sometimes a help, admittedly) and alert monsters. They know nothing of tunnel-fighting tactics or fae etiquette. Soldiers do not gracefully take orders from druids and bards and the like, and army commanders too often spring their own surprises. ("We're going to collapse this mine so whatever's inside never gets out. We have orders.")

* Sending soldiers on delves isn't just expensive; it's complicated. Soldiers belong to some unit, commander, fiefdom, etc. with its own agenda; they can never truly be under the command of the PCs. Nobody commits men to a weird quest just for a bit of silver; they task the spear carriers with secret side missions, or with reporting back on whatever interests the soldiers' superiors – information on delvers, on outside quest-givers, on big treasures, etc. Survivors of quests are not happy to collect their handful of silver and watch delvers cart off a chest of gold, original agreement be damned. Non-survivors don't get brushed off; commanders demand explanations and compensation. (Any such disputes quickly escalate from "delvers vs a few disgruntled grunts" to "delvers vs an angry army".)

* Soldiers appreciate coin as much as anyone, but don't do well with other treasures. They don't have the eye or the contacts to evaluate luxury goods, monster parts, tomes, and the like. They couldn't tell a Fire Resistance Potion from a vial of mud, and are terrified by obviously magical artifacts. Treasures that aren't easily divided, like a big gem, are a pain to deal with. When it comes to creepy underground crawls, soldiers just don't see the rewards as worth it. That's why PC delvers exist!
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:29 PM   #23
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Default Re: Why adventuring parties?

"Why adventuring parties?"
Because adventuring office work isn't as much fun.

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
In Dungeons and Dragons, PCs usually don't need to be persuaded not to take all of their 1st-level warrior followers into the dungeon with them.
We have vastly different experiences with D&D... granted most of time in D&D was pre-3.0.



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First, if you want an army, you have to pay an army!
And pay them some portion (usually half) in advance!

Where as those 4-6 seedy looking types will just hie off on yonder quest for a promise of reward.



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The number seven is magnificent for this, though a dozen is perhaps dirty. On the upper end, 300 seems apt.
And you skip the canonical 14* and 11. For shame.

* Occasionally 15 due to an inconsistent Angel Wizard.



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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
There's no edition where the first level followers won't die like flies. The situation for 62 point minions in GURPS is rather more favorable, mostly because they won't die as collateral damage to AoEs, though you'll pay a lot if you want to give them good gear.
Not that much more favorable if my and Mr. Dell'Orto's experiences are mirrored by others.

62 point speed bumps don't last long against things a 250 point Knight is meant to find challenging. But that's why you only pay them once you've returned from the mission...
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:35 PM   #24
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62 point speed bumps don't last long against things a 250 point Knight is meant to find challenging.
Oh, they can be killed plenty fast, but you don't run into 'I was fireballing the fighter and I got a dozen mooks for free'.
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Old 06-18-2019, 04:06 AM   #25
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Oh, they can be killed plenty fast, but you don't run into 'I was fireballing the fighter and I got a dozen mooks for free'.
I've seen it. Though it was "I set the whole room on fire* to kill all the dinomen... and got all our hirelings and half our loot as well...". I mean functionally equivalent.




* Replace with Stench and Steam (which I've also seen) for identical effects (ie death) of hirelings without damaging equipment.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:00 AM   #26
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Default Re: Why adventuring parties?

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
Some approaches to mix and match:

* Embrace the military! Assume that armies, mercenary bands, mundane men-at-arms, etc. do get mixed up with dungeons and monsters – where it makes some sense. That generally means above-ground encampments of goblin-kin armies, or monster infestations (band of ogres, etc.) treatable with pikes and crossbows - mundane physical battles that aren't typical adventure material for PCs anyway.
I wouldn't be so sure about this. Mirror of the Fire Demon, for example, contains very little that would cause much trouble for regular soldiers. The adventure is written in a way that implies that implies the area is anarchic, without the kind of strong central government that could mount an organized response to the threat. Just look at the numerous rival adventuring parties the PCs have to deal with: evidently there's no one with the authority to say, "goddammit, you're all going to work together, I don't care if it means you'll get a smaller share of the treasure". Which is a nice excuse for adventuring parties, but some GMs like having a King who's strong enough to prevent the PCs from causing too much chaos in Town.

Quote:
* Soldiers do not have the training, specialized skills, magical protections, or slightest desire to deal with the weird stuff. Possessing spirits, exploding demons, plague carriers. . . these things just terrify grunts. They're willing to face honest death on a battlefield, but not disappearing down the maw of some pit worm. (Soldiers don't even like fighting at night; pitch-dark caverns are out of the question).
The extent to which you need specialized training and magic to deal with "weird stuff" is surprisingly limited. Monster identification can be handled by assigning a 125-point monster identification specialist at something like the platoon level. Magical protections can be decisive if you need Resist Fire to pass through The Hallway Which is Permanently on Fire... but does every dungeon have that? Really?

Quote:
* Many soldiers are horribly superstitious about crypts and old temples and what not. They don't want to come within a mile of a lich's tomb, and eagerly swap tales and rumors of grunts who stumble out of dungeons possessed and cursed, who limp back home only to drop dead of some ghastly plague, or who die in a tomb and then shamble back home. The superstitions carry over to their view of delvers: awesome monster-killers, but also demon-touched weirdos who probably carry and spread soul-corrupting curses like normal people spread colds. (Soldiers know that messing with undead and cursed ruins means they'll be seen as delvers, earning that superstitious stink-eye from people back in the home village.)

* Delvers aren't too fond of soldiers, either. Grunts are loud, ill-equipped for delves, and apt to bolt at the sight of a simple flaming skull. They spring traps (sometimes a help, admittedly) and alert monsters. They know nothing of tunnel-fighting tactics or fae etiquette. Soldiers do not gracefully take orders from druids and bards and the like, and army commanders too often spring their own surprises. ("We're going to collapse this mine so whatever's inside never gets out. We have orders.")
These sorts of cultural issues seem mostly unlikely to persist if supernatural threats are commonplace. Though one point here is interesting: what if collapsing the mine is the best thing for the nearby villagers' safety, but the PCs are greedy rogues who don't care and want the treasure in the mine? They either have to get in and out quick with as much treasure as possible before the scheduled tunnel collapse, or find their own way out after the collapse...

Quote:
* Sending soldiers on delves isn't just expensive; it's complicated. Soldiers belong to some unit, commander, fiefdom, etc. with its own agenda; they can never truly be under the command of the PCs. Nobody commits men to a weird quest just for a bit of silver; they task the spear carriers with secret side missions, or with reporting back on whatever interests the soldiers' superiors – information on delvers, on outside quest-givers, on big treasures, etc. Survivors of quests are not happy to collect their handful of silver and watch delvers cart off a chest of gold, original agreement be damned. Non-survivors don't get brushed off; commanders demand explanations and compensation. (Any such disputes quickly escalate from "delvers vs a few disgruntled grunts" to "delvers vs an angry army".)
This is true if you're trying to get soldiers to go AWOL to things their commander doesn't care about, but a lot of quests are things that will obviously be of concern to the local governor or baron or whatever. Why doesn't he send his soldiers when that happens?

Quote:
* Soldiers appreciate coin as much as anyone, but don't do well with other treasures. They don't have the eye or the contacts to evaluate luxury goods, monster parts, tomes, and the like. They couldn't tell a Fire Resistance Potion from a vial of mud, and are terrified by obviously magical artifacts. Treasures that aren't easily divided, like a big gem, are a pain to deal with. When it comes to creepy underground crawls, soldiers just don't see the rewards as worth it. That's why PC delvers exist!
Meh. You don't need 250-point PCs to appraise treasure. Or even have the treasure appraisers in-dungeon. "Just box this stuff up, the boss has a deal with the Wizards' guild to figure out what's valuable, and we'll all get a bonus" works for the most part.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:01 AM   #27
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Default Re: Why adventuring parties?

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Assuming the PCs are nobodies who've never adventured before, sure, but you don't really reach the competency level of DF PCs without developing a reputation.
Assuming you stay in one area and people can verify your deeds, sure. A group of scruffy murderhobos who vanish periodically and come back with gold and giant centipede glands aren't in that situation. They're going to have a reputation, all right, but not as someone you'd want to hire. More as "probable bandits and compulsive killers."

In GURPS (rather than the DFRPG, which doesn't have the Reputation mechanic), it boils down to "Did anybody bother to pay points for Reputation?" My experience is that delvers generally prefer to use those points for more attributes, combat skills, spells, and power-ups.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:13 AM   #28
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Default Re: Why adventuring parties?

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I wouldn't be so sure about this. . .
Well, what I meant by "approaches to mix and match" is that they're only ideas (as the OP requests) for explaining why delvers and the armies/soldiers might keep to pretty separate paths. As in, they might hold for some times and places, in some campaigns, if the GM likes.

I don't suggest that the ideas necessarily represent soldiers (or delvers) acting with full rationality. : )
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:19 AM   #29
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Default Re: Why adventuring parties?

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
"Why adventuring parties?"
Because adventuring office work isn't as much fun.
"I need you to deliver these documents to my Human Resources rep."
"...you need adventurers for this?"
"Here's the address."
"1201 Mount Doom Cresc-- okay, yeah, you need adventurers for this."
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:30 AM   #30
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Default Re: Why adventuring parties?

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
In GURPS (rather than the DFRPG, which doesn't have the Reputation mechanic), it boils down to "Did anybody bother to pay points for Reputation?" My experience is that delvers generally prefer to use those points for more attributes, combat skills, spells, and power-ups.
That's something of a metagame answer, though, and this wasn't a metagame question. Realistically, you don't hire the noname adventurers to go clear a dungeon unless either (a) you have some reason to believe they're sufficiently competent to do so, (b) sending people to die is neither an ethical nor a political problem, or (c) you have no idea of the threat level.
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