o Players can FORM "individual" type followers on the fly, much as
they can now. They can name them, train them, and command them
just as they can now. These units will have a loyalty and a
minimal maintenance cost (I think all units, including PCs, should
have maintenance costs representing food and lodging costs...).
These units CANNOT have men added to them, however. They would
represent the trusty friends of the PC -- single individuals with
a gender. The RECRUIT command takes on a new function (see below).
o Larger units are not FORMed. They can be gotten one of three ways.
1) They can be RECRUITed. The "new" form of the recruit command
would not add men to a unit but would instead create a unit
of a specified number of men (up to, say, 20). The command
'recruit "Workforce" 20 7' would recruit for 7 days or 20 men
(whichever comes first) and stack the untrained unit "Workforce"
underneath the recruiting unit. A fee would be charged per
2) They can exist independently throughout the game. Such units
can be HIREd by an individual at a cost. Such units were once
employed but are now "free agents". Such units can be skilled
3) They can be tossed in randomly by the game or game administrator.
o Where the larger recruited groups would differ from the old model
is this. THEY CANNOT ISSUE THEIR OWN COMMANDS. They are in a
constant state of "assist [unit who hired me]" and will only assist
if the hiring unit is actually USEing a skill. If the unit that
hired them leaves the stack they are in or unstacks them, they will
leave any stack they may still be in and be available for hire.
Alternately, the unit who hired them may issue the revised command
"transfer [hired unit] [new boss]" for a few gold which would
make the "new boss" the unit that the hired unit will be assisting.
The "boss unit" will be responsible for all maintenance costs. The
hired unit will not "work" to offset these costs. They are hired
to help, not labor away (Oleg's objection). Additionally, these units
WILL gain experience in any skills they assist in. As they get better,
they should demand more money. They could also be set to have, say,
a 10% chance of simply leaving at the end of any month, anyway,
modified by loyalty, leadership, pay rate, and what they are
assisting with to simulate "labor disputes" and even boredom. And
additional check could be made upon transfer to see if they "like it".
Units with high loyalties will work for less than units with low
loyalties but not for free. Loyalty will be based on victories, deaths,
"time off" (i.e. time when they aren't actually assisting in anything),
and pay (via "persuade") bonuses. Players should probably not be able
to easily add new men to these units. Perhaps a "merge" command could
allow two existing work units to be "merged" into one.
o The skills of unhired units will deteriorate rather rapidly -- say
1 level every month or two. An unskilled unit will vanish all together
after, say, 3 months. This will avoid a constant upward ratchet of
skilled units across the countryside.
The idea here is to allow people to create the flavored single
companions at will while limiting but not eliminating the larger
forces. Players COULD maintain larger forces if they have the
resources but generally it makes sense to hire larger units only when
you need them. The model here is "privitization", "consulting",
or "mercenaries". The command the players have over the helpers
would be limited. I think it is important to allow a person to
maintain a standing army or work force but it should not be easy or
cheap. You CAN have that elite fighting force but it will be rare
and expensive. In addition, players will not be sharing inventories
with the larger units -- at least as far as gold is concerned. Perhaps
once you "give" a sword to a hireling, they keep it. I think the above
contains some ideas that may be a solution to the problems people have
with larger units. I have given some thought to the idea of making
grunts into amorphous helpers or inventory items and while I like the
simplicity, I hate the feel. There ARE instances where I think people
should be able to carry around a specific skilled minstrel band or an
elite fighting unit.
As an aside, I dislike the idea of fixing "races" in the game. It
limits the creativity of the players. If I want to create a force of
Nerandi warriors, I should be able to in my opinion.
John Morrow - Varian