I’ve been thinking about expanding a character’s retinue of followers — bodyguards, henchmen, minions, and the like — and how to make it, you know, a daily struggle, like adventuring and everything else. I figured I’d start with the Intimidate rules for forcing a surrender from a foe, and work from there. Perhaps incorporating rules like the curses/diseases for representing “loyalty.”

Consider that, to force the surrender of an enemy, you must first expose your self to some danger by whittling them down to half of their health (“bloody” them), and then you have to succeed at an Intimidate check with a difficulty of ten plus their Willpower (If they’re hostile toward you … which they will be, if you were fighting them before). That means your typical 1st-level enemy has a difficulty 24 to cow into submission.

Now, imagine for a moment that once you’ve forced an enemy to surrender, you choose not to simply abandon them, or force them to flee. You get the same experience and gold pieces for beating them, but rather, you choose to take them under your wing. I figure this can lead to one of those “complex skill checks.”

I figure, you can use Bluff or Diplomacy instead of Intimidate, if you accept a higher difficulty for the roll (29 instead of 24). If you use Diplomacy, you can start at Stage 1 instead of Stage 0, owing to the fact that kind words work better than threats. The difficulty for all checks after the first one are the same.

Spending one point of “stamina” (you get ten per week, and you can use them to either enter a dungeon, move about the map, or various other things), you can continue to use Intimidate to convince the defeated enemy to “join your team.” I imagine it would work pretty much like fighting a Fourth Edition “disease.”

Get an average result and their disposition toward you doesn’t really improve … but it doesn’t get worse, either. Do poorly enough, and they’ll just attack you again. Do well, and their disposition toward you improves by one step. Once you’ve improved their disposition toward you to a certain stage, they become an actual follower.

Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check for 1st-level “Frenemy”
19 or more: Disposition improves by one step
14 to 18: Disposition doesn’t change
13 or less: Disposition worsens by one step

Stage 0: You’ve recently forced this enemy to surrender, or their disposition toward you has worsened by your ill treatment of them. This is the point at which all such friendships begin. Falling below this stage means they immediately attack you.
Stage 1: You’ve laid the foundation for an eventual friendship, or you used Diplomacy instead of Intimidate when you defeated them, and they started at this stage. A little kindness goes a long way, especially in the beginning.
Stage 2: You’ve made yourself appear more favorable in their eyes, but you still have a ways to go before they’ll accept you as a friend, much less a leader.
Stage 3: You’ve convinced them to follow you, from this point forward. They’ve become a loyal, if unskilled, follower in your retinue. From here, you can mold them to become just about anything, from a cohort, to a minion, to just about anything.