Role-Playing Henchmen

The player is responsible for deciding a henchman's actions, provided they are in character for the NPC. This is one of the advantages of the henchman over the hireling. The DM should only step in when the player is abusing or ignoring the personality of the NPC.

For example, Fenris, a henchman known for his sarcastic and somewhat self-centered view, has been captured along with his master, Drelb the Halfling, by a band of twisted trolls.

DM (playing the trolls): "Ha! My brothers and I are going to roast one of you and let the other one go! So, who's going to hang from the spit?"

Player: "Well, uh...Fenris remembers how many times Drelb has saved his life. He volunteers."

DM: "Is Drelb telling the trolls this? Fenris is going to be real upset if he is."

Player: "No, no! It's just what Fenris would do."

DM: "Sure. He thinks about it and, you know, it doesn't seem like a real viable solution to the problem. He leans over to Drelb and says, "You always wanted to sweat off a few pounds, Drelb."

Clearly, there are times when the DM can step in and overrule a player decision regarding henchmen. There are things a henchman simply will not do. The relationship is supposed to be that of friendship. Therefore, anything that damages a friendship sours a henchman. The DM should think about those things he would never ask of a friend or have a so-called friend ask of him. If it would ruin one of his own friendships, it will do the same in the game.

For example, henchmen don't give useful magical items to player characters, don't stand by quietly while others take all the credit, don't take the blame for things they didn't do, and don't let themselves be cheated. Anyone who tries to do this sort of thing is clearly not a friend.

Henchmen don't, as a rule, go on adventures without their player character friend unless the purpose of the adventure is to rescue the PC from danger. They don't appreciate being given orders by strangers (or even other player characters), unless their PC friend is also taking orders.

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