This power covers NPC’s that work with the other players rather than against, an important level of storytelling in RPG’s giving more advantages and responsibilities.
Allies (Follower, etc.): This ability is not considered a true power by some all too frequently, it is considered one here because it covers many useful and genre conventions such as Flunkies, Mooks, sidekicks, pets, Servants, compatriots, and other beings. While the Allies usually are capable of independent thought, for one reason or another they are not the main characters on stage being merely part of the supporting cast, It should be noted that not every character with a supporting cast has the Allies power either, those who have the Allies power have assistants who frequently risk life and limb for the character. A friendly secretary likely isn’t an Ally, a fighting Robot probably is.
These Allied Characters, though not Player Characters should play noticeable roles, sometimes as small as aiding in waking up rolls, guarding various important places at times and generally making for a second pair of hands, eyes, what have you up to Standing beside the true heroes on any battlefield. The Allies chosen should have origins, suitable abilities and represent the theme this power comes from in part to give the GM and players handles for making them more lively than Mook #3 with a gun. The power in many cases can possibly provide a skill with influence over his general type of Ally the character has (like a robotics master who builds robots to do his bidding probably has skills related to Robotics, while a Crime lord may have manipulation and bribery skills). Device based Allies represent the accidental or intentional creations of Super Science such as Id Beings, Robots, Synthetic Creations, Bionic Altered Pets, and Computerized Vehicles, etc. Magical or Psionic Allies could be Ancient Gods, Homunculus, Psionic Constructs, Golems, or other enchanted, summoned, bribed or even mind controlled people or creatures. While skilled allies could be various highly trained people or animals such as Pets, Sidekicks, Servants, Hirelings, loyal supporters, etc. Any experience gained by the allies for whatever reason belongs to the main character.
All allies should be determined before play begins as to whether they are summoned or called (mustered) allies even though the differences in short sessions are often nonexistent. Summoned allies to a certain extent don’t exist outside of performing actions for the player Called allies exist outside of their performing actions for their player. Thus a Called Ally needs to get to the location or be purposefully involved in the situation by some sort of contact or communication, summoned allies are less likely to have these restrictions and may in fact just be called out of thin air, re-hydrated from pills or whatever means are needed. Summoned allies generally show up whole and hearty while called allies may have still existent wounds or missing equipment from previous mission events. The Balance is summoned allies frequently aren’t able to draw on their background (if any) to involve characters in missions, by stumbling upon things, possess previously discovered items of interest, etc.
All the allies need a good description of what they are and what is expected by the player and the GM, this description for some allies will be as little as a line or two while others will have pages of writeups, notes and character sheets. For some mostly faceless characters they may only need a stat line and a few notes. For stat lines there is a difference between Npc’s and Animals (and Vehicles, covered later). Animals generally need a stat line with; their name Wt: weight, Agi: Agility, Fer: Ferocity, Hits: hit points, Acc: accuracy, Dam: damage, Pow: power, MR: movement rates. An Animal should look like this: Velociraptor Mongoliensis Wt: 33, Agi: 16, Fer: 20, Hits: (12) Acc: +2, Dam: 1d4+2, Pow: 54, MR: 100. NPC’ combat lines need some variation because they can be a little different from animals (most commonly fighting at the 4th level so they don’t need a level descriptor) especially because of equipment. Level: level, Agi: agility, Hits: hit points Acc: Accuracy Modifiers, Dam Mod: damage modifiers, HTH: HTH damage die or dice, Pow: power points, MR: movement, notes: weapon possessed or other special details. For example: Andy ‘Animal’ Moshowitz Level: 1, Agi: 12, Hits: 12, Acc: +1, Dam Mod: +1, HTH: 1d6, Pow: 54, MR: 41″, Notes: Chain as a weapon +3/+1d3 in HTH.
A: The character has a single Ally that can fight at the fourth level of ability. The person/creature has whatever abilities the Gm feels are appropriate to his campaign power level, and the players concept but reflecting that the character should eventually surpass the ally, while letting the ally still be useful further on in a campaign.
B: The main character has a small group or unit of additional low grade (well lower than the PC’s) of fighters to draw from. These characters have ½ or less the experience (to calculate the experience volume take the main characters’ actual experience divide that by the number of characters in the pool of combatants plus one then reference on the experience chart) of the main character. Though possibly possessing their own powers, equipment, and abilities they should only be similar to the main character and typically not as powerful (use the x. p. guidelines above to suggest relative power). All of these characters begin play as 0th level characters if the player character is 1st level.
C: The character has direct contact(s) or the ability to gain contacts that instead of providing combat support provide some sort of useful advice, information, skill access or equipment of some kind. Ranging from prophecies, training, financial backing, healing, transport, psychological counseling, legal defense, scientific analysis, more mundane forms of advice, or access to legal or illegal weaponry, equipment, upgrades or repairs this version of the ally ability provides depth without necessarily increasing combat ability of the character. Some could even have the ability to spy upon or cultivate spies from an opponent’s allies thus gaining insight into a chosen opponent’s moves and plans.
D: The Ally controls/maintains a base for the player character whether as a mystical guardian, AI in charge of the day to day operations or a skilled manservant or butler, the NPC can usually be found in the base or nearby and may have many skills or abilities relating to the building or repair of the characters base or his equipment, but is not well suited for adventuring for whatever reason though she may participate indirectly by providing a distraction, wearing a disguise, giving advice, insight, or other similar situations.
Examples of Allies as a Power (1d12)
-Call the Beast: by completing a magical ritual (with requirements and statistics agreed to by both the player and the Gm before play begins with this power) a character can use this power to summon forth a creature that doesn’t really exist except to fight or serve the summoner in whatever manner suitable to the characters’ desires within the campaigns’ needs. In some cases, how the character views and treats these allies may one day have a great impact upon the story, as the caster shall reap what they sow.
-CARO: This portable super-computer is quite capable of reading virtually any other computer’s data and built by its inventor by the name of Rosenburg. It uses electromagnetic waves to access information stored upon or to control other computers. Caro likes complaining about performing work that it considers unnecessary, enjoys lecturing upon gathered information and has delusions of grandeur.
-Find Yourself a Toy: the character uses toy items in order to provide him or herself with mechanized allies. Ranging from cameras attached to various RC technologies all the way down (or up) to Clockwork (or computerized) automatons
-Flash Mob Powers: the character can summon (or takes advantage of groups of people summoned or not) in order to use the crowd for a variety of effects.
-Flying monkey Gun: this gun fires flying monkeys that then proceed to attack the characters enemies. Variants on this power are can be found in the example of Instant-grow living organisms (Just Add Water), or even using a “Dehydrating weapon” to store allies and possibly some kinds of equipment temporarily (until needed) then when exposed to water they spring forth fully prepared to aid their master(s) or mistress(es).
-Gremlins: Though perhaps not the most reliable of allies the character can use these as area of effect distractions for certain kinds of characters who can think fast enough on their feet to turn chaos into their advantage.
-Hired Hand: The character has an ally to perform the rather dull parts of intelligence gathering, surveillance, research, etc. Depending upon campaign needs the character(s) performing the dull/mundane parts may range from combat competent to a helpless yet valued hostage by both sides.
-Megan Cartos: The chauffer for a fabulously wealthy entrepreneur with a life stretched quite thin between being a superhero and wealthy magnate she is relied upon filling the duties her father Maximillian Cartos before his demise did before her: to maintain, operate, and upgrade a stupendous base and expansive underground retreat from which any hero would be well equipped go forth to solve as many of the world’s problems as possible.
-Robot Inventor: Assuming a dedicated high tech character he or she has the ability to build allies from relatively dedicated robot parts. The character may build allies in any robotics lab with sufficient resources. Other versions of this power exist (such as a Summoner or a Psion who creates mental projections that have animating force). Note the character cannot create PC class characters this way or superbeings, but this power may be an excuse for an accident or a change in powers. The Gm and player may use the repair costs in the book for androids or come up with a different resource management game to play in order to keep some semblance of power or it can be eyeballed and handwaived.
-Spymaster: The Five rings of Miaymoto describes how one should keep information away from the individuals in the army except for a need to know basis, as well as including the possibility of spreading false information along troops likely to be captured. The Spymaster not only does this but can on occasion turn others into servants of his own creating double agents or at least weakening his opponents as well as strengthening himself. A Spymaster after capturing his targeted opponent can then spend a dramatic length of time (somewhere between an hour or two and weeks of time) to mentally influences his target into becoming his ally. It doesn’t matter whether the techniques are powerful drugs, brainwashing, magical spells, mind control devices, etc… both characters must roll a d20 Charisma Competition against each other. If both fail the target hates the ‘Spymaster’ as well as switches alignment, and must follow all rules as if they independently decided to become the new alignment. If the Spymaster fails and the target succeed the character neither changes alignment nor Allies with the Spymaster because he has successfully resisted. If the Spymaster wins the competition then he gains the target as an ally, if they tie another dramatic length of time must pass before they can re-roll. As a game balancing feature it does require a successful Charisma % Roll to avoid losing a point of Charisma each time this power is used.
-The Disciples: are a group of reformed young street toughs who seek to help ‘The Monk’ a former golden gloves instructor who now uses magic, street smarts and his old boxing skills to take back the streets from the gangs who would deal drugs and violence to become kings of squalor. By calling upon his allies they can provide additional muscle as well as other support for the now aged fighter in his quest to make the world a better place for all people.
-Top Secret Club: Unlike other versions of this power the character is an equal part of a reasonably sized group of diverse individuals. Each are worthy of being adventurers in their own right of a suitable power level to the campaign needs, this is also assumed to be outside of all of the Player Characters area of operation. Members of The Club may be called upon to assist the character in various adventures but never complete missions by themselves (they have their own missions and motivations) and the other club members expect the player character to repay the favors in a similar fashion to the characters who provided aid (giving the GM some opportunities to drag the character and possibly his fellows into adventures) This also may be a source for introducing new characters for other players to the group (or a rationale for the Pc’s possibly having some experiences of their own) and a source of other aids to the Gm’s storytelling needs. Another option is for the player to have a stable of characters from which then the player randomly determines which character the player plays during a session, but they all should have this power.
These particular pieces of art covers part of the 4,000+ range of Monkies I was doing for quite a while for a fictional character who supposedly has 10,000 monkies….