Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Union Henchman Background (Nodwick Conversion)

Union Henchman
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Investigation
Languages: One of your choice
Tool Proficiencies: One of your choice
Starting Equipment: A backpack, three large sacks, 4 belt pouches, a crowbar, an outfit of commoner's clothes, 50 ft. of hemp rope, saddlebags, a pouch with 10 copper pieces, and a backache

Like the resurrectionist, you are a member of an often exploited and underrated but still highly valued profession of minions. You are the hapless pawn of an adventuring party, bound by the draconian contracts that make all of your kind highly expendable. Your duties include lugging around huge loads of treasure, acting as meat shield, and testing for traps and dangers the hard way. Although you belong to the Henchman’s Union, this is to your detriment, for the Union is merely a tool in the service of the Adventurer’s Guild.

Feature: Innocuous
Because of your lowly henchman nature, you are easily dismissed as entirely irrelevant by many people. People will often speak as if you’re not present and entirely ignore you, possibly allowing you to learn secrets you ought not to be privy to. On the other hand, your innocuous, disposable nature somehow makes you an attractive first target for many monsters, especially those of a hungry persuasion.

Suggested Characteristics
The primary trait necessary for a henchman’s survival is toughness, for they of all people will be exposed the most to the lethal dangers of adventuring. Having a high strength is also important for carrying all the useless trinkets adventurers force them to carry. Many henchmen are also surprisingly and ironically genre savvy, either learning through the school of hard knocks or falling into the henchman role through little fault of their own in the first place.  The henchman has a tendency for pragmatic common sense that his “superiors” often lack.

Personality Characteristics (1d8)
1.       I make snarky comments at the foolhardiness of my employers.
2.       I act in my employer’s best interest, even if it means twisting their orders a little bit.
3.       I constantly bemoan the futility of our existence.
4.       I treat my employers as children and try to steer them towards more rational plans of action.
5.       I don’t stick my nose into other people’s business unless it directly involves me.
6.       I never do anything I’m not asked to do.
7.       I admire one of my bosses but hate the rest.
8.       I always try to look on the sunny side of things. At least I’m not a bard.

Ideals (1d6)
1.       Service (Lawful): Although I may not like them, I am bound to serve the orders of my employers.
2.       Resignation (Neutral): My horrible situation can’t be helped. There’s no reason to get attached to escaping it.
3.       Mentorship (Good): On paper, I’m a mere tool. Still, I hope to steer my employers towards the path of wisdom and righteousness.
4.       Rationalization (Evil): I can justifiably get away with all sorts of horrible atrocities.
5.       Pragmatism (Any): Let’s go with what works.
6.       Self-Preservation (Chaotic):  Although I’ve got to follow orders, I’m still looking out for my own survival first.

Bond (1d6)
1.       I have some massive debts I have to pay off.
2.       Some of my old employers have been captured. I’m required to rescue them.
3.       I’m very religious as I’ve come to know my patron deity on a first name basis.
4.       Pain helps remind me I’m still alive.
5.       I’ve heard of a way to escape my contract. And I’ll be (more) damned if I won’t find it.
6.       I have a secret crush on one of my bosses. I feel horrible about it.

Flaws (1d6)
1.       I have a deathwish. That’s why I became a henchman.
2.       I always give in to my employer’s demands. What’s the use in resisting?
3.       I’m frequently tempted to betray my employers and turn to the path of the Darkhench.
4.       I can’t stand the stupidity of my employers!
5.       I fraternize with the enemy. They’re usually in the same boat as I am.
6.       I chuckle at my bosses’ misfortunes.

(This background takes heavy inspiration from the Nodwick comic and in particular the Henchman 3e character class in Nodwick #13. I highly recommend it. I may end up doing a full conversion of the class someday.)

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