Saturday, November 1, 2014


In Sertorius characters can have followers who are awed by their powers. After time this worshipful body of disciples grows and gains complexity. What started out as a mere ten to twenty people becomes hundreds, then thousands and even hundreds of thousands. But this is usually far from a monolithic movement and often divides into competing sects. Managing such followings can dominate play as campaigns mature. There is a sub-system for dealing with the details and it works very well, but it can be difficult for some GMs to handle multiple followings under several different player characters. Here is a simple method for handling followers if you find the default approach in the rulebook overwhelming or just not suited to the kind of game you want to run. 

Followers are an important part of the game because as player character's gain followers their Divinity increases, giving them more spells and access to greater abilities. So finding a method that works for you is crucial. We state in the book we don't want GMs to feel chained to the Follower system. It is a tool and meant to help play, not hinder it. A key concern for some is that all the players have their own individual followings and these then splinter into multiple followings. Not only can that be tough to track, it can be difficult to juggle all movements and sects in your head. One way we found works for folks who simply don't enjoy the weight of the standard system is to streamline everything into a single Following. This is not only easier to manage, it makes a certain amount of sense when dealing with a party of characters. 

Because Player Characters form a Party, there is no reason why a following couldn't grow around the party itself. Rather than worry about each character, simply have Followers worship the whole party, almost like a pantheon. This has the added advantage of allowing the PCs to advance their Divinity in unison. Using the simplified Follower system you can still roll each month on the Follower Table from page 179 of the Rulebook to determine developments within the movement if you like (including the emergence of new sects). 

Here is an example of how a group of Sertori might gain followers together using this simpler method. Let's assume your party is in Sardona, helping the Emir of Ardiah fend off hordes of giants spilling into his land from the nearby mountain range. This is no easy task and a grave threat, but as Emir's soldiers advance towards the range, the party reigns fire upon the giants and causes the earth to collapse beneath the advancing behemoths, devastating their forces and leading the Sardonans to victory. This impressive display of magic at such a crucial juncture clearly warrants a Follower Check, a roll to determine if they gain followers and increase Divinity. 

Normally each player would roll and have a chance of succeeding. This often results in some characters gaining Followers and Divinity but others remaining where they are. With the Simplified method you would make a single roll for everyone. In this case you make the roll and it is a success, meaning they increase from 0 Divinity to 1 Divinity. Normally going from 0 to 1, means you gain up to ten followers. However that is using the individual method. Because this is collective, simply take the base amount and multiply it by the number of characters in the party. You have 5 Sertori in the party so instead of 10 followers, they gain 50. 

You consider what this means because Sardonans are strict adherents of the Cult of Sarda. They worship a trinity of Gods, headed by Ramos. Therefore any Divinity they sense from the party needs to be understood in that context. 

After the battle, murmurs spread through the war camp and the players notice occasional groups of soldiers passing by and showing signs of devotion. Within hours this takes a specific form of bowing before the party and holding forth a weapon in a gesture of obeisance. Curious the players inquire about this activity, talking to the Emir. He sighs and explains that some of his tribesmen believe the party was sent by Ramos to burn their enemies with his light and have taken to calling them Alu-Harasu, or the protectors in the Khubsi language. 

The simplified method allows you to tighten the focus of worship and adoration around the party, which can be helpful if you are trying to manage a campaign. So rather than have five different groups of followers worshipping five different Sertori, you have one large group of people who worship the party. Here the development is interesting because it will raise a lot of issues within the Cult of Sarda that can help you explain some of the results on the Follower Roll should you use the table from page 179. For instance over time, as the following grows, some of the member might splinter off, seeing the players as new gods, not lowly servants of Ramos. This could lead to conflict and war within the movement. 

Hopefully this is helpful to those who had any difficulty with the Follower system. I will be posting additional thoughts and options on the subject in the coming months. 

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