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Old 04-11-2021, 05:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2021
Default [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too much

Under Loyalty Checks on page B519, it says that hirelings get a +1 to loyalty for every 10% by which their pay exceeds what's normal. This presents a problem, since if you pay your hireling double the normal pay for their job, their loyalty will increase by +10. If their loyalty was, say, Neutral, that means it will now be Excellent and the NPC will be willing to die for their employer. The same problematic rule is reiterated on page 39 of Social Engineering. I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this issue and how people go about fixing it (or ignoring it).

Last edited by FezzedOne; 04-11-2021 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 04-11-2021, 06:47 PM   #2
Donny Brook
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

I haven't noticed it, but if you don't like the result, just cap the benefits at whatever you think is appropriate.
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Old 04-11-2021, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

For stuff like this I usually riff off of the speed/range table.

+1 +30%
+2 +50%
+3 +70%
+4 +100%
+5 +150%
+6 +200%

Sure, it's a bit klunky at the beginning (since the base measurement of the table is 2, not 1), but not enough for me to want to keep track of a special rule.
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Old 04-11-2021, 08:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

Doubling an underling's pay is roughly paying them one wealth level higher. Also, people today seem to be quite happy when they get pay rises of a couple of thousand dollars a year, when that's maybe a 5% pay increase.

Therefore a +100% pay increase/bonus should give a big boost, though possibly not +10. It's possibly helpful to think of it in terms of how many steps up the reaction table the bonus will move the hireling's loyalty, and +10 is certainly a huge shift. On the other hand, +3 is only one step, which seems to me to probably be too little. That suggests to me that a bonus half as big as the rulles suggest might be more appropriate.

I do think it a little odd that offering +100% normal pay for a job only gives a +3 to the roll to find a hireling when it's giving +10 to their loyalty once employed.
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

I figure that if you're going about offering to pay double the normal rate, a lot of people are going to smell something fishy. They'll reckon the job is way worse than advertised, or that it's a swindle and you'll end up shorting them, or that they'll get in serious legal trouble or etc. Someone who actually has the job and has been paid the promised rate knows what the risks are, what the job is like, and that they're going to get paid well for doing it.
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Old 04-12-2021, 07:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

With some frequency I've seen "double wages" used as a rule-of-thumb for "hazard pay," for when hirelings actually experience combat or are similarly endangered (rather than the real-world definition for hazard pay, which is more just working in a potentially-dangerous environment). I don't think I've actually seen this suggested in GURPS, but if going off of said rule of thumb, "double pay" to convince someone working for you to actually fight on your behalf may well call for a +10 bonus, to get someone with a Poor Reaction to agree. Looking at the numbers, however, that much isn't really necessary - once you've got the target's Reaction to Good, they're typically willing to fight alongside you ("accepts any reasonable hazard that the PCs accept"), and at best that calls for only a +6 for someone with Poor Reaction (to go from 7 to 13). To get them to fight on your behalf (that is, in place of you), you typically need Very Good or better Reaction, which may well call for a +10 for someone with a Poor Reaction.

Part of me would be tempted to have double pay work to generally increase Reaction by 1 step - Very Bad->Bad->Poor->Neutral->Good->Very Good->Excellent. As each of those (except for Excellent, which is open-ended) spans 3 values, that indicates +100% would be good for +3, and thus +33% is good for each +1. If you want to round to the nearest 5%, I'd be inclined to go with +35%, +70%, +100%, +135%, and so forth.
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Old 04-12-2021, 10:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

Mm, yeah checks out, double pay for a hired goon gets them really committed to the job.

It's definitely not an inaccuracy because the later on in the Dungeon Fantasy splats it's referenced again at that same scale and explicitly indicating +100% loyalty for double pay. Omitted in the standalone DF books because it's probably too finicky for the rock-n-roll style gameplay to fuss about with payroll.

I would note that these interactions don't take place in a vacuum, inasmuch that the GM cares to actualize the hirelings or just let the background chat in the office, justifications, and soothing of suspicions all get tucked in behind the PC statement of 'double the pay'. The blocks in the books for these rules also call out that the hirelings AREN'T robots, and do think about what's being asked of them, and that abuse of that trust goes sour fast. Per the book itself "Remember that reaction rolls are meant to flesh out a situation, NOT to control it!"
Also, though 'Excellent loyalty' mentions that they're willing to potentially die, the word 'potentially' does a LOT of work here. They won't sell their lives cheaply, make poor choices, or become immune to fear and retreat in the heat of the moment. Ok, you could maybe order them to jump into the volcano but that's the sort of thing you get to do ONCE and good luck hiring so much as a dog walker after that.

Would double-pay without justification make a hireling suspicious? Sure! So the GM informs the player "The offer of double-pay has clearly made the hireling worried about why and gives them concern for their safety considering your activities. They respectfully decline the offer and tender their resignation" Fun roleplay. On the other hand, we're dealing with people who are willing to hire on in the first place, know the risks, and are perfectly willing to accept double pay because they're that kind of person.

I'm arguing from the storytelling standpoint that the hurdle of who's going to take money from the PCs to do dangerous stuff for them has already been passed. We're not talking about paying off a shopkeeper to be quiet, or hiring a housekeeper to keep the hideout tidy (though I'll talk about those in a moment). They're motivated by money, and thus at least a passive agreement with the PC's activities, so are already assumed to be operating within the assumptions of the ruleset that more money = more loyalty.

In a modern setting they're the goons with one-bedroom apartments and an distressingly large gun collection. They're the loners that call home on the holidays at best. If they've got a girl/boyfriend it's casual. Young, maybe a little nihilistic, definitely hedonistic, and totally living in the moment. They'll join in something dangerous for the thrill of it and being paid DOUBLE just means they'll have a fat roll to celebrate with if they make it out alive and the thought that they might not never really hits front and center.
In a fantasy setting, it's not that far different. Hardened fighters and toughs, people who know nothing BUT fighting so fighting harder for more money just makes sense. Everyone dies, but if I don't then I'll be two steps closer to retiring than one. Or maybe they fully intend to die with a spear in their hands so double pay means they can party harder before their exit.
That's the kind of person you're hiring for something dangerous, that's the sort of person who answers the call for that job, that's the sort of person who would agree to take any amount of money for this in the first place.

Let's revisit the paid-off shopkeep and house-cleaner. Neither are combatants, neither expect nor are expected to engage in risks beyond their station. A neutral-level shopkeep might cower behind the counter if a fight breaks out in their shop between PCs and bad guys. An excellent-level shopkeep would grab the shotgun under the counter and pop back up to take shots at the bad guys. Will he die? Maybe. But the PCs have paid him enough so that his kid can get braces and tuck some away for college so DAMN if he's not going to something useful. In a non-combat situation the shopkeeper is essentially unbribe-able. For double-pay, you've essentially eliminated all but the most ludicrous counter-bribes and probably still bought a phone call saying "I got paid 3 million to give you guys up. Sorry, it's not personal, here's what I know about who's coming for you. I'm getting on a flight to Costa Rica tonight."
Similarly a neutral-level housekeeper will do their job and keep their mouth shut for most shady things that might be going on. An excellent-level housekeeper will definitely not say anything for even the most egregiously illegal stuff going down and definitely won't succumb to bribes to leave the door unlocked or anything like that.

A final note too about PC's reactions to bad things happening to their hirelings and how that affects loyalty and not only justifies the reaction modifier for double-pay but is called out for a loyalty bonus in its own right. Say the housekeeper gets killed because they didn't give up information to the bad guys. The PC's exact terrible revenge. The next person they hire for the housekeeper may know that it's a little risky, but consider. "I heard what happened to Hector. I also heard what happened to the bastards that killed him. I'll take the job. Even if something bad happens to me I'll rest knowing they'll pay, and my nephew gets to go to college."

All this builds out the tapestry of actions and consequences within the game world. Bad guys will think twice before messing with hirelings, and good help isn't that hard to find if you're willing to pay for it and take care of it.
And all of that can be abstracted behind double-pay = double-loyalty so you can get on with the adventure.
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Old 04-12-2021, 10:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

A lot of this depends on what you mean by 'loyalty'. Giving someone double pay strongly motivates them to not lose their job, and significantly increases the amount of money it would take to make them decide to steal from you or sell you out, but it doesn't make them love you (it probably makes them like you more), it just changes the economic calculation.
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Old 04-12-2021, 12:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
A lot of this depends on what you mean by 'loyalty'. Giving someone double pay strongly motivates them to not lose their job, and significantly increases the amount of money it would take to make them decide to steal from you or sell you out, but it doesn't make them love you
The rules have a specific meaning, and the FezzedOne has correctly described the situation. Loyalty 20 is described on page B561 as "The NPC worships the PCs or their cause, works incredibly hard, puts the PCs' interests ahead of his own at all times, and would even die for them." Page B519 even says that if Loyalty is 20 or more, all loyalty checks are passed automatically.

So, by the book, a hireling with Loyalty 20 would die for you if it came to that, and they will not betray you unless their Loyalty score can be reduced at least two levels.
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Old 04-12-2021, 04:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Social Engineering / Basic Set] Doubling hireling pay increases loyalty by too m

For one pay isn't the only factor in loyalty. If you treat an employee poorly it doesn't much matter how much you pay them, they'll eventually break.

But as far as pay goes. Think about how you'd feel if a fairly neutral party asked you to do the job you did now but at double the actual pay. Your take-home for the year, doubled. No hidden catches that would impact your loyalty, they're just going to take the reasonable market rate and slap a times-two on that... Knowing that recognition of your value to the organization would ALSO bear a double on your wage increases... Now throwing down your life for your employer is hard to imagine, but would you be willing to take some risks to keep getting that paycheck? Would you be willing to compromise your ethics a bit? Can you see how that kind of loyalty becomes more palatable?

I've broken State labor laws for employers who paid me a buck over minimum wage. I can't even fathom the I would have dug if someone would have paid me $10.20/hr when I was a kid..
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