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(TFT) Reaction Roll as Morale

In a continuing effort to use pre-existing rules to cover situations not explicitly outlined in The Fantasy Trip, it occurred to me that you could use a Reaction Roll to govern morale during a GM-less game (whether that be a programmed adventure or a competitive wargame). The passage that lead me to this idea is from Into the Labyrinth, page 34: "The GM plays all "hired" characters. He also determines their exact attributes and abilities, as well as their true attitude toward their employers. Their true attitude is determined by a reaction roll made when they are hired, and will not change except under exceptional circumstances. A hireling whose reaction is good will stay loyal in all but the most unfavorable circumstances. If an employee secretly dislikes you, he probably had some ulterior motive for signing on, and may desert, stab you, or steal all your treasure at the first opportunity. A loyal employee will probably tell his master all of his
 talents and abilities; a dishonest one may lie. Therefore, his "real" character record sheet should be a secret, kept by the GM." The following paragraph goes on to describe how the GM should determine an employee's true attitude by making a secret reaction roll.

The above sounds quite a bit like morale to me, but the question becomes --without a GM, how do you control the "secret" of the attitude?

After some thought I came up with the following idea...don't make the reaction roll until you need to. That way, the employee's true reaction will remain a secret until that employee reveals himself through play.

So when should you make that reaction roll? A lot of miniatures wargames and boardgames set out conditions for when figures or counters should check for morale during combat. Typical ones are when outnumbered, when suffering casualties, etc. But rolling over and over for each of these events would require several different reaction rolls, rather than just one. 

So here's the idea I came up with:

Players using hired help during combat must make a single reaction roll for each figure representing their hired help once during combat. That reaction roll must be made whenever the opponent calls for it.

When you call for your opponent's reaction roll, then, becomes a game in and of itself. If you call for it right at the beginning of combat, only those employees who have the worst attitude (untrustworthy or ulterior motive) will turn and run or switch over to your side. 

But if you call for it after you've inficted great casualties on your opponent even reliable employees might run away or surrender.

So here's a list of modifiers and a chart I've come up with to determine what effect a hired help's attitude has on a battle:

HOSTILE RACE: -2 if Hired Help is from a hostile race (ITL p. 37)
SEX APPEAL: +1 if successful, -1 if botched (ITL p. 37)
BRIBE (DOUBLE PAY): +1 (ITL p. 37)
CHARISMA: +1 (ITL p. 13)
NEW FOLLOWERS: New Followers never need to make a Reaction Roll.
MONSTER FOLLOWERS: Monster Followers never need to make a Reaction roll.

1.(UNTRUSTWORTHY)...Runs Away...Switches......Surrenders.....Switches
2.(ULTERIOR MOTIVE).Runs Away...Switches......Surrenders.....Runs Away
3.(MEDIOCRE)........No Effect...Runs Away.....Runs Away......Runs Away
4.(HONEST)..........No Effect...No Effect.....Runs Away......Runs Away
5.(RELIABLE)........No Effect...No Effect.....No Effect......Runs Away
6.(FANATIC).........No Effect...No Effect.....No Effect......No Effect


CONTACT: Before the first turn of combat; when the two sides see eachother and know that combat will be joined.

OUTNUMBERED: The allies have fewer combatants than the enemy. In this case each "hex" is counted as a combatant. So a 3-hex Giant is the equivelant of 3 combatants, a 4-hex dragon the equivelant of 4 combatants, a 2-hex mounted knight the equivelant of 2 combatants, and so forth.

WOUNDED: The figure in question has taken hits.

HALF: The allies have been reduced to half of their original number.


SWITCHES: The figure in question turns on his or her employer, fighting, instead, for the enemy. The opponent now controls that figure.

RUNS AWAY: The figure in question attempts first to disengage and then flees at greatest possible speed from the board. 

SURRENDERS: The figure yields to its opponent or plays dead. In either case it drops everything it's carrying and falls prone in its current hex.


SIGURD THE SOULLESS wishes to raid a Christian Abbey that he is sure is loaded with priceless trinkets left by thousands of visiting pilgrims. In order to raid the temple, he requires a warband. He hires fifteen fighting-ship crewman. The Abbey is defended by a motly but numerous collection militia and peasants so Sigurd forms his Vikings into a shield wall and marches forward. At this point we are at "first contact" and Sigurd's opponent could call for a reaction roll. But he decides against it. Instead he calls for a reaction roll several turns later. The peasants and militia have suffered a number of casualties, but they still outnumber Sigurd's Vikings, many of whom have been wounded but none of whom has been killed. So Sigurd makes 15 reaction rolls: 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2. The fives and sixes stand fast. One of the 4's has been wounded, so he runs away, taking his pay with him. All of the 3's also run away, since they're still
 outnumbered. The two's do worse than run away -- they treacherously switch sides when the Abbot promises them a bribe! Of Sigurd's 15 original Vikings, only 9 still fight for him and, to make matters worse, two are now fighting for the enemy.
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