“I’ve seen too many die. Linkgirls sent into green devil mouths, torchbearers crushed under falling rocks, young and eager porters having their brains sucked out by unspeakable horrors. So many young bright faces forced through a crucible of death and dismemberment. And for what? The promise of a few silver coins, a meal, and a chance at ‘adventure’? No more, I say. No more” -Iridia Pasquette, former magician hireling/creator of Pawns.
“They ain’t like you and me. They strange-like. They don’t breathe proper. Prolly don’t think proper neither. Used to hate ‘em, I did, ‘til one of em pushed me out of the way of a godsbedamned shoggoth. Saved me life. Now I’m a right believer. They be absolutely worth the 50 queenbills” -Local Greenbarrow adventurer.
|"I should have gone to DeVry..."|
Henchwomen in Remlia
Hirelings and henchwomen have long been a topic of debate in Remlia. The influx of foreign adventurers hundreds of years ago saw a rise in young folk wanting to sell themselves out as hired help. It was seen as a trendy and brave practice: The chance to be an understudy and helping hand to a true hero.
Unfortunately, it resulted in thousands of deaths. Young men and women earnestly pledging themselves to disastrously unsafe work with no combat or spelunking experience; killed by monsters or traps or worse. Almost an entire generation was lost to the allure of adventuring life. What the depths didn’t kill, the transition back to ordinary life surely did. The few who returned with riches tended to spend the them too quickly. Drink, vices, and pleasurable company became all these broken people would concern themselves with. They had witnessed the horrors of the deep places of the world. Returning to agriculture or clerical duties did little to sooth their jangled nerves.
Like adventuring, the practice of henchmanhood was outlawed. As a direct response to this, a magical solution was created...or rather, stumbled upon.
|Examples of Pawns.|
The Pawn System
Pawns are humanoid creatures without obvious personalities or backgrounds. They appear human, or elven, or halfling, but have none of the internal racial traits of them. While they are considered alive, they are said to be “without souls”; they lack the essential spark of personhood. Essentially a blank slate of a creature, they operate according to the following information:
- Pawns are not of this world. While humanoid, they are considered ‘aberrations’ in terms of stats.
- Pawns can speak, read, and write common. They are capable of retaining facts and gossip, and can follow simple instructions.
- While Pawns are limited by feelings of self-preservation, they are also self sacrificing for the needs of the group. They do not require moral checks to encourage their following, or to be send on dangerous tasks.
- Pawns cannot harm their bonded master of their own volition. They are, however, susceptible to curses and spells. It’s a very “3 laws of robotics” kind of deal.
- Once summoned and bonded, a pawn will follow its master until killed or dismissed. A pawn does not require food, drink, or payment (outside of upgrades).
- A PC can only be bonded to 1 Pawn at a time.
|No one is quite sure where Pawns come from, but it is not from here.|
Cost of Pawns and their Stats
Pawns are instantly upgradable servants. They require wealth and money to be able to advance. They do not advance or level up from experience. Pawns do not start out with a proficiency bonus or racial traits. Upon summoning, the only free option is the pawn’s gender.
Standard Pawn: 50gp
- Human (same speed and sizes)
- Base Abilities = all 10s.
- Starting Hit Points = 1d6 + 4
- Vision = normal
- Able to use simple weapons and medium armour.
- Comes equipped with a chain shirt (AC 13 + max dex mod of 2).
Small Pawn: 65gp
- Halfling (same speed and sizes)
- Base Abilities = Dex 12, all others 9s.
- Starting Hit Points = 1d6 + 2
- Vision = normal
- Able to use simple weapons and light armour.
- Comes equipped with leather armour (AC 11 + dex mod).
Magical Pawn: 75gp
- Elf (same speed and sizes).
- Base Abilities = Int 14, all others 8’s.
- Starting Hit Points = 1d4 + 2
- Vision = darkvision
- Able to use simple weapons and light armour.
- Comes equipped with cloth armour (AC 10 +dex mod).
|"I aspire to fight the strongest monsters around. Does this please you, master?"|
Pawns can be upgraded at any time. They require coinage or treasure to do so. Money is presented to them with the instruction of what they need to be better at. The pawn takes the money, ingests it (either via eating or osmosis), and is instantly upgraded.
A Pawn cannot upgrade itself, even if ordered to. It must have the wealth presented and given to them. It cannot take it of its own volition. Also, not all types of treasure are accepted. A Pawn will gladly accept coins, jewels, treasured items, and other easily frangible items, but is pickier about art objects, trade materials, and livestock. A Pawn cannot be paid in weapons or armour. It must be directly equivalent to currency.
Upgrading a Pawn takes an action. Once the action is complete, the pawn is instantly upgraded.
- Ability Score Increase = 50gp per point, capping out at 15
- 1d6 Extra Hit Points = 50gp, capping out at 6d6
- +2 Skill bonus = 20gp
- +5 Skill bonus = 35gp (all skills cap out at +7)
- Attack Bonus +2 = 200gp (can only be purchased once)
- Better armour proficiency = 100gp
- Better weapon proficiency = 100gp
- 1 new language (read, speak, write) = 35gp (Max of 3 languages)
- 1 new trade skill = 60gp (Max of 3)
- 1 magical cantrip (any class) = 150gp
- 1 new spell (any class) = 300gp x spell level. Can be cast once per day.
- Damage Resistance (from weapons) = 250gp
- Damage Resistance (choice of 1 element) = 300gp
- 1 Extra Death Saving Throw = 500gp (Max of 3)
- 1d6 Hit Die (5e healing mechanic) = 200gp (Max of 5)
Pawn Healing and Death
A Pawn can be healed by normal means such as resting (long rest) and healing magic. Pawns start play with no hit dice and only 1 death saving throw.
If a Pawn is brought to 0 hit points and does not die outright from extra damage, the Pawn can make a single death save. The same death saving throw rules apply, except the Pawn must have 3 successes to stabilize, but only 1 failure to die permanently.
Pawns cannot be resurrected or reincarnated. If a PC bonded to a Pawn dies, her consciousness is instantly transferred to her Pawn, including all memories, personality traits, and backgrounds. The PC now uses the Pawn as if he/she were a player character. The only stat change is that the Pawn can now withstand 3 death saving throw failures before dying.
If the PC is resurrected, the PC’s consciousness returns to the original body. However, this process kills the Pawn’s body.
If the PC continues to play in the Pawn’s body, the Pawn can now earn experience and level up like an ordinary PC. XP Values are increased, however. A PC controlled pawn reaches 1st level at 300xp, and 2nd level at 900xp, and so on (As per 5e experience rules).