The material below is Open Game Content
Call them mooks, call them thugs, extras or whathave- you; faceless hordes are large groups of opponents for the heroes to bowl quickly through, in true action movie style – Player Character’s are meant to slice through faceless hordes like butter and probably will not get hurt doing so. Although they exist largely to show how buff the Player Characters are, they can be dangerous to those who fail to keep an eye on them. They can also provide a tactical challenge to the Player Characters, making it harder for Player Characters to get to the truly challenging opponents they really want to smite. They can ring themselves around a magician so Player Characters cannot interfere with his spellcasting.
Faceless hordes can carry off the princess they are out to rescue, while the primary villains pound on them. Any type of opponent can make up a faceless horde. You can even have a faceless horde of nonhumanoid creatures, from giant toads to floating eyeballs, if that suits your fancy. If you want to make them members of other creature classes, you can give them additional abilities: A faceless horde of zombies might share the usual perks and drawbacks of the undead, for example.
Usually though, a faceless horde is composed of humans or their close kin. What faceless hordes have in common is a bizarrely unswerving loyalty to their bosses. They’ll wade in, one after another, to fight the heroes, even though dozens of their comrades have already been easily squelched and now lie bleeding or groaning in the dirt. Roll once for each faceless horde’s initiative. Roll separately for each member’s attacks.
Faceless Horde Medium Humanoid CR 1/6; HD 1d8 (special), Init +0; Spd 30 ft; AC 14, flat-footed 12, touch 12); Atk special short sword (1d6) or special short bow (1d6); Vision: Normal; AL: any (usually E); SV: Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +0; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10.
Special Attacks and Qualities: Faceless hordes follow these modifications to the d20 rules:
4 hp Only: Every member of a faceless horde goes down after suffering 4 hit points of damage, no matter what. On the other hand, they ignore all damage under 4 hit points. They are either up or down. This allows the GM to only keep track of the number of currently active horde members, instead of monitoring individual hit points for each.
Special Attack Rules: Members of a faceless horde only hit on a natural roll 19 or 20. Even so, their victims may avoid damage by making an Armour check – that is, a roll modified by their total bonus to their Armour Class –– against a DC of 25. Characters may not be eligible for this save when helpless, or if they just stand there and allow the hordes to attack them, without fighting back. Attacking a non-horde enemy does not disqualify them from making these saves.
Lucky Shot: Whenever a horde member rolls the maximum result on a damage die (for example, a 6 when rolling a d6), he gets to roll the die again and add the new result to the original total. If the extra die roll is also a lucky shot, he adds it to his total and rolls again and so on.
Feat Vulnerability: Characters with certain combat feats gain extra benefits when facing off against faceless hordes.
- Deflect Arrows: Your DC for deflecting arrows fired from a faceless horde is reduced to 15. You can use this after trying the standard armour check that all characters get against a faceless horde.
- Dodge: You can designate an entire horde as the opponent you’re dodging, gaining a +2 bonus to your armour checks when hit by any of them.
- Cleave: Against faceless hordes, you can act as if you have the Great Cleave feat, even when you do not.
- Great Cleave: When you fell an opponent in a faceless horde, you may get to move on to another, even when he is not in the immediate vicinity. Make a Reflex check against a DC of 20; if you succeed, you can move on to any enemy within 15 feet of you. Once you’ve started to bounce from location to location, you must make a successful Reflex check (DC 20) for each new horde member you wish to engage.
- Power Attack: Against faceless hordes, you can act as if you also have the Cleave feat, even when you do not.
Extra Attack Vulnerability: When attacking only members of a faceless horde, ignore the general rules for extra attacks. Instead, you get one extra attack for every four points of base attack bonus and all attacks are made at your full attack bonuses. This only applies when making a full attack.
Rongir’s base attack bonus is +9. 4 goes into 9 twice so Rongir gets 2 attacks versus the faceless horde, both at +9.
Loyalty and Morale
The core rules offer basic systems to determine NPC attitudes towards Player Characters and to determine how many NPCs a Player Character with the Leadership feat can attract, but they are not as detailed as they could be. This section offers a more comprehensive look at NPC loyalty.
Each NPC has two new saves that should be tracked: Fear and Respect. Each of these represents how well the NPC resists orders based on whether the order-giver is attempting to appeal to intimidation or to loyalty. These are noted just as all saves are, such as Fear +3, Respect +1.
Fear is used when someone attempts to intimidate, frighten, bully or coerce a hireling or stranger into obeying them. It is generally easier to get someone to obey via these methods in the short term but in the long term, the NPC will probably abandon the Player Character at the first decent opportunity and will be very willing to betray them to their enemies if given half a chance.
Respect is used when someone attempts to appeal to loyalty, honour, duty or past debts, or to remind someone of their chosen obligation. It is often harder to win loyalty via respect, but those who make the effort will find they have loyal allies, not merely cowed toadies who will happily serve the next bully to come along.
There are two sorts of checks that can be made: Obedience and Loyalty.
Obedience checks are made to determine if the NPC obeys the Player Characters orders. A failed check can result in simple refusal to an all-out attack, depending on the degree of failure. This is further discussed below.
Loyalty checks are made to resist blandishments to betray the Player Character. It is these checks that are most hurt by a high Fear score, as loyalty won by fear is easily shattered.
Using the System
These rules should be used primarily for hired NPCs, not for those gained via the Leadership feat. Optionally, they can be used for non-cohorts gained via that feat. Cohorts should be strongly loyal, only refusing to help or turning traitor in Games Master defined circumstances.
Determining Base Saves
Both Respect and Fear start at +10. They are then altered according to the rules below. Note that these are a form of saving throw, so things which make a character less respectful or frightened raise the score, while those which make them more so lower it.
Charisma: Invert the Charisma bonus of the Player Character, so that a +1 becomes a -1 to Respect, etc.
Same Race: -1
Hostile Race: (i.e., dwarves and kobolds): +1 to +4, depending on hostility
Same Alignment: -2 if good, -1 if neutral, +2 if evil
Same social class: -1
Good pay (50% above normal) -1
Excellent pay (100% above normal) -2
Extraordinary pay (200% above normal) -3
Poor Pay (75% of normal) +2
Wretched Pay (50% of normal) +4
Each pay period missed +1 (Resets when payment is made)
Pay includes rare or exceptional items, such as magic items -1 to -4, depending on the quality of the item
Player Character occupies a position of respect:
- A cleric of a god the NPC worships, the son of a beloved leader, etc: -1 to -4
Player Character is of a lower social class: +1 to +3
Player Character Class (if different from NPC):
- Barbarian +3
- Bard -1
- Cleric: -2 for a god the NPC worships, +0 for a god the NPC does not worship but does not hate, +2 to +4 for a god the NPC despises.
- Druid: -1 for NPCs who dwell in thorpes or hamlets, 0 for NPCs who come from villages or town; +1 for NPCs who come from cities and +2 for NPCs who come from a metropolis
- Fighter +0
- Monk: +1
- Paladin: -2 for Lawful Good NPCs, -1for Good NPCs, +1 for evil NPCs, +3 for Chaotic Evil NPCs.
- Ranger: +1
- Rogue: +2
- Sorcerer: +2
- Wizard: +1
Generally good treatment: -1 to -3
Player Character saved NPCs life: -4
Player Character regularly shares scarce party resources (healing spells, etc) with NPC: -2
Poor treatment: +1 to +4
Player Character regularly places NPCs life at risk: +2 to +6
NPC is denied access to needed spells or resources: +2 to +4
Player Character is lower level than NPC: +1 per level difference
Player Character allows other NPCs to die or be injured unnecessarily: +1 to +4
Player Character is weaker than the NPC in the area the NPC considers most important – for example, a scholar would look down on a ferociously strong, but dumb-as-rocks fighter, while a warrior would not think much of a non-combatant wizard. +1 to +6, depending on the degree of relative weakness.
Please note many of these are subjective. A band of mercenaries hired to besiege a castle would not consider being ordered into battle against decent odds to be poor treatment, but a collection of sages or craftsmen being told to go fight to the death certainly would! Likewise, even swords-for-hire would not consider battles with 2-to-1 or worse odds to be what they signed up for.
Earning Respect: A Player Character can also attempt to earn an NPC’s respect. This is done by a Diplomacy check that sets the DC for a Respect save. If the save fails normally, respect is unchanged. If the save fails by more than 5, Respect drops by 1. If the save succeeds, Respect is increased by 1. This can be done once per week at no penalty. For each additional time per week this is attempted, the NPC gets a +2 circumstance bonus to his Respect save.
Example: Barnog has hired a sage to help him investigate a lost temple. Barnog has a total Diplomacy modifier of +5, while the NPC has a Respect save of +7. Barnog attempts to make the sage feel more welcome on the quest by appealing to his ego, asking him many questions about the temple and otherwise trying to earn his trust. Barnog rolls a 3 on his Diplomacy check, for a total of 8. The sage rolls a 4 on his Respect save, for a total of 11.
He is mildly annoyed at Barnog’s incessant prattling – not so much as to increase his Respect save, but neither does it decrease. Barnog decides to try again the next day, risking the +2 modifier. This time, he rolls a 10, for a total of 15. The sage, however, rolls an 18, for total of 27 (including the modifier for repeated attempts). The sage grows furious with Barnog for constantly interrupting his chain of thought with inane questions and his Respect save increases to +8. Barnog gives up.
Fear is generally easy to inculcate. Just break some fingers, or glare at someone balefully and they’ll probably back down, especially if you’re a 10th level barbarian and they are a halfling torchbearer.
Charisma: The Player Character can optionally use his charisma to induce fear. If this is done, invert the Charisma bonus of the Player Character, so that a +1 becomes a -1 to Fear, etc.
Player Character is of chaotic alignment: -1
Player Character is of evil alignment: -2
Player Character is of good alignment: +1
Player Character is of higher social standing: -1 to -4, depending on how high and how much authority such standing conveys.
Player Character is of same race or closely allied race: +1
Player Character is of different level: -1 for each level higher, +1 for each level lower.
Player Character’s base attack bonus is 5 or more greater than the NPC’s: -1
Player Character has been seen torturing other NPCs (including enemy prisoner): -1 to -4
Player Character kills helpless captives: -1 to -4
Player Character is a member of a prestige class known for its secrecy or evil (assassin, for example): -1 to -3
Player Character treats the NPC kindly: +1 to +3
*8Player Character acts ethically even to prisoners or enemies:** +1 to +4
Generating Fear: It is much simpler to generate fear than respect. An opposed roll of an Intimidation check with a +5 bonus against the NPC’s Fear save results in a -1 to the Fear save. This can be done daily with no penalty, though it cannot be used to reduce the Fear save to less than 0 (it may be less than 0 due to other modifiers, however.) If the Intimidation check fails by more than 10, then the Fear save is increased by 2 and the Respect save is increased by 1. A natural ‘1’ is always a failure.
Reducing Fear: It is also possible to reduce Fear (increasing the Fear save, in other words). This may be done because the Player Character does not like the thought of his hirelings fearing him or it might be done to reduce the chances of fear being exploited. This is done via an opposed check of Diplomacy against the Fear save. If the check succeeds, the Fear save is increased by 1. If it fails, the save remains unmodified. This can only be attempted once per week; additional attempts simply fail. Changing how the NPC is treated will also reduce the Fear save, as noted above.
Obedience saves are made whenever the NPC is asked or ordered to do something that they might refuse to do. This is up to the Games Master.
Generally, anyone with a Respect or Fear save of less than +10 will do reasonable tasks within their job descriptions as ordered. Exceptional tasks will require a save. Those with very high saves, however, have a great deal of contempt for their employers and may slack off on even the simplest of jobs.
If the Games Master determines that the NPC is balking at orders, the Player Character must decide whether to use threats or persuasion to try to get him to act. This determines if the save will be based on Fear or Respect and whether Intimidation or Diplomacy will be the skill used. This is done as an opposed check, with the save modified as follows:
Trivial Task: -5
A trivial task for a warrior would be to scout a ruin that is almost certainly abandoned or to participate in an attack where his side has an overwhelming advantage. A trivial task for a porter would be to bring over some light items. A trivial task for a sage would be to answer very basic questions.
Easy Task: +0
An easy task for a warrior would be to take a scouting party into a likely-abandoned farmhouse or participate in an attack where his side has a strong advantage. A trivial task for a porter would be to carry a medium load for a few hours. A trivial task for a sage would be to identify some common items relating to his field.
Average Task +2
An average task for a warrior would be to scout an area known to have goblins in it or attack against even odds. An average task for a porter would be to carry a medium load for a full day. An average task for a sage would be to quickly sift through some relics and identify those of likely value.
Difficult Task: +5
A difficult task for a warrior would be to enter a known goblin lair or to attack a slightly superior force. A difficult task for a porter would be to carry a heavy load for a day over rough terrain. A difficult task for a sage would be to translate an ancient document that has some pieces missing.
Hard Task: +8
A hard task for a warrior would be to take on several goblins single-handed or attack a clearly superior force. A hard task for a porter would be to carry a heavy load for more than a normal day’s travel without rest. A hard task for a sage would be to work with artefacts that are likely to be cursed or otherwise dangerous.
Very Hard Task: +10
A very hard task for a warrior would be to fight a band of goblins or attack a vastly superior force. A very hard task for a porter would be to haul a heavy load for a full day and night without sleep. A very hard task for a sage would be to attempt to decode ancient writings while standing in the middle of a hail of arrows.
Task is risky: Additional +3
Risky is relative. Risky for a trained warrior is not the same as risky for a torchbearer. To count as ‘risky’, the task must be unusually dangerous for the NPC and out of line with what is expected.
Task is life threatening: Additional +5 (does not stack with ‘Risky’)
For this modifier to come into play, the task must have a greater than 75% chance of causing the NPC to die. Examples might include sending a porter into a collapsing mine to retrieve the party’s goods, telling a warrior to hold the bridge against an onrushing ogre or ordering a sage to try to communicate with clearly hostile and angry natives, in a language he barely knows.
Task is strongly contrary to NPCs alignment or personality: +3 to +10
Examples include ordering a good character to torture or murder innocents, ordering a lawful character to defy rightful authority and ignore tradition or ordering a chaotic character to obey petty and foolish regulations.
If the check fails, the NPC refuses to obey the order. If the check fails by 1-5, the refusal is simple but polite. If the check fails by 6-10, the refusal is curt and impolite and the NPC gains a +1 to the save (Respect or Fear) used. If the check fails by 11 or more, the NPC has become hostile to the Player Character. The save used increases by 2 and the other save increases by 1. Furthermore, the NPC may attack or flee, if either seems appropriate. If one attempt to cajole fails, the Player Character may try again, against the other save, but the NPC gets an additional +3 circumstance modifier on his roll.
A loyalty save is made whenever the opportunity to flee service or to betray the employer comes up. For example, a warrior may have a chance to flee before an upcoming battle, or a servant may be offered a bribe to tell of the location of any magical wards. Whether or not they give in is based on their saves and the inducement offered.
Disloyalty can come from an external source, or it can come from the NPCs own volition. A mercenary on the eve of a major battle might decide the silver he is being paid each day is not worth his life, or a sage confronting a trip into a ruined temple may feel the dangers that lie within are not worth the possible knowledge to be gained.
In order to convince an NPC to betray their master, the character (or other NPC) must make a Diplomacy or Intimidate check. If the Fear save is lower than the Loyalty save, a new Fear save is determined, based on the person attempting the intimidation and this save, with a -5 modifier, must be made to resist the command to betray.
If the Loyalty save is lower then a Diplomacy check, at a DC of 20 minus the Loyalty save, must be made. Remember that subtracting negative numbers is the same as adding positive numbers, so if a hireling has a Loyalty save of -10 (extraordinarily loyal!), the DC for the Diplomacy check to betray is 30.
For self-inflicted loyalty checks, perform as an Obedience check, but with a +5 bonus to the Fear save if the character making the check feels certain they can escape easily. Otherwise, there is a -5 modifier to the Fear save.
Identifying NPCs Saves
It can often be useful to know exactly how respectful or fearful an NPC is. Spending 10 minutes talking with an NPC allows a Sense Motive check (DC 15) to determine this. Only one save can be checked for at a time. If the NPC has a reason to wish to disguise their true feelings, the check becomes an opposed check of Sense Motive vs. the NPCs Bluff. If the check succeeds, the Games Master should provide the saves with an accuracy of plus or minus 2.