Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This, That, and the Other Thing: Odd Followers

In an ideal campaign world, the player characters would be heralded as great heroes wherever they went. Bards would sing their praises, maidens would scatter rose petals for them to walk upon and an army of servants would be at the party's beck and call. Sadly, most GMs are too sadistic to cater to the egos of their players. Besides, having a zombie follow the party around is much more fun to role-play.

     Odd Followers suggests some uncommon followers that might be attracted to the characters. Please note that the entries are designed to be more humorous than serious!

1) Zombie
     One character in the party has been cursed. The last creature he kills rises as a zombie and follows him like an obedient lap dog. The zombie will wait patiently outside inns and taverns, shambling along behind the PC as he travels. If the zombie is slain, another will rise to replace it. Of course, most folks will be alarmed at the presence of the walking dead. Has the cursed character offended a deity, or is a necromancer at work?
2) Widow and Orphan 
     The wife and child of an adversary the party has recently killed arrives at the party’s doorstep, angry and demanding support from the characters. The widow creates quite a scene. Imagine an episode of Cops or the Jerry Springer show to get a feel for the widow’s anger and desperation. The widow demands lodging and coin to make up for lost wages earned by her former spouse.
3) Campfire Rodents
     After an evening of sleeping in the wilderness, the characters find all sorts of furry critters stowed away in their gear. The party finds squirrels inside back packs, rabbits nestled within bed rolls and maybe a badger beneath a saddle.
4) Travelers
     The roads can be very dangerous for merchants, farmers, pilgrims and what not. The next time the party prepares to leave town, a few travelers decide to follow the party for protection. The PCs end up escorting a rag-tag caravan of wagons, goats, snot-nosed kids and stubborn livestock. The hangers-on are, of course, broke and cannot afford to pay the party for their services.
5) Ghouls
     It appears that the group has attracted a small pack of ghouls. The carrion eaters remain just out of sight, but their stench signifies their presence. Perhaps the ghouls travel at night, tracking the party instinctively. The ghouls follow the party, hoping to feed on slain foes. It’s not unlike remoras clinging to the belly of a shark. The ghouls will never attack the party, not wanting to ruin their steady stream of food.
6) Miserable Henchmen
     Instead of strapping warriors and loyal retainers, the party attracts a bewildering array of slovenly drunks and losers, who are hoping to be taken under the party's wing as henchmen. If turned away, the undesirables become resentful and may defame the PCs, spreading all sorts of horrible rumors to anyone who will listen.


  1. Years ago I wrote this table and submitted to KoDT. I was so happy when they published it!

  2. That's awesome! I want to write a table like this. It's a great idea, and my brain is already getting cluttered with them. :/

    1. Thanks! I wrote a few of these and will run them all out over the next few days. :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Christopher. I've used most of these in play - save the Zombie entry - and they worked really well. :)