Follower... the good, bad, filler?

For those not in the know, I'm refering to the follower talents from Clone Wars Campaign Guide.

Now, I remember there being a lot of broo ha ha when they first came out as being teh suxorz, but I'm curious now, years later, what are people's experiences?

I'd really love some annecdotal experience, but even your impressions of them, what was done well, what was not, what was so conceptually bad that you didn't even want to take one in the first place?

I'll start off:

As the perpetual Star Wars GM, I constructed an NPC with followers. It was what I called my "clan leader" NPC, and the character had the disgrace talent improving the flanking bonus. he had two followers, and then took the DWM feats along with rapid strike and the feat that lets you attack once after a Rapid strike... AFB, just a second, wicked strike. that's it ... and the cerean blades that allow you to rapid strike at no penalty.

So as the combat went, first off it looked liek there was a larger force than the encounter level actually provided. this gave the illusion that this was a harder encounter and/or that the clan leader wasn't as powerful as he was. Then with a single move action the leader moved into position, being flanked by two enemies, and his followers moved into position flanking those enemies. He accelerated strike'd dual wielding with the enhanced bonus for flanking and scored four hits in a single turn. needless to say the players were a tiny bit shocked.

It's nice that the followers gain defense bonuses as you gain levels too, meaning that that same leader is effective with those followers when leveled up.

So, what about other peeps?
My Blog, mostly about D&D.
57304548 wrote:
I imagine that Majestic Moose plays a more "A team" type game than most of us. By that I mean he allows his players to make tanks out of a backyard playground set since the players have more "fun" that way.
Actually I much prefer The Losers.
Show
When I and my friends sit down we want a game of heroic fantasy. Rare is the moment when I have cried out in a video game or RPG "that's unrealistic." (Unless there is no jump button. Seriously makes me mad, single handedly ruined the N64 zelda series for me, but that's a digression of a digression.) I mean, we play games with the force in galaxies far, far away, with supernatural horrors, dragons and demi-gods, alternate cosmologies, etc. Reality and it's effects hold little sway to what makes a Heroic fantasy game fun IMO. Just repeat after me: You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are not how much you've spent on WotC products. You are not whatever RPG you play. You are one of tens of thousands of people that spend money on a hobby. You will not always get what you want
I personally have never used followers.  If a hero expresses interest in followers, I recommend that he buys a droid instead of taking a talent.
These talents seem to try to "arcade" the game, by supplimenting something that could normally happen in the story and relegating it to a talent.
I personally have never used followers.  If a hero expresses interest in followers, I recommend that he buys a droid instead of taking a talent.
These talents seem to try to "arcade" the game, by supplimenting something that could normally happen in the story and relegating it to a talent.

do you feel the same way about the minion talents from the crime lord PrC?
My Blog, mostly about D&D.
57304548 wrote:
I imagine that Majestic Moose plays a more "A team" type game than most of us. By that I mean he allows his players to make tanks out of a backyard playground set since the players have more "fun" that way.
Actually I much prefer The Losers.
Show
When I and my friends sit down we want a game of heroic fantasy. Rare is the moment when I have cried out in a video game or RPG "that's unrealistic." (Unless there is no jump button. Seriously makes me mad, single handedly ruined the N64 zelda series for me, but that's a digression of a digression.) I mean, we play games with the force in galaxies far, far away, with supernatural horrors, dragons and demi-gods, alternate cosmologies, etc. Reality and it's effects hold little sway to what makes a Heroic fantasy game fun IMO. Just repeat after me: You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are not how much you've spent on WotC products. You are not whatever RPG you play. You are one of tens of thousands of people that spend money on a hobby. You will not always get what you want
Yeah, I think that followers shouldn't involve spending a talent or anything like that.  It makes it seem a little too much like a video game.
Yes, having to burn talents on followers is kinda sucky, especially when you consider that later on, they seemed to have abandoned that idea - eg. the protocol droid format, which still requires that you give up your own actions but doesn't cost you anything other than the credits needed to buy the droid. Even later, they seemed to have gone back to the old method of just letting followers be their own character with their own actions with the mounts/pets "rules" in The Unknown Regions.
"The Curse of Knowledge: When you know something, it's difficult to imagine what it's like not to know it."

~ Steven Pinker

 

D&D 5e Session Recaps:

Welcome to Icewind Dale (Legacy of the Crystal Shard)

DMing for My Wife (and Our Friends) (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

 

As part of my home game I split the party. To make things more balanced I gave them for this session a follower. The players didn't want to give up their actions for less capable guys to attack. They were used in one encounter to hold a strategic piece of the battle map while the others advanced. In another there was a Confederate ship docked on an island inside a volcano. Some of the group got themselves cut off inside the ship, dealing with an unconscious PC, a Geonosian diplomat and a dozen B1s. They quickly used move actions to try to bring the follower guys to the ship, especially the utility follower who was a healer. Unfortunately, they got eaten by the hydras outside the ship. The players were glad they had followers for that part, though.
Garrett
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I still cannot stand followers.  The system is terribly designed and so I do not have much experience with it.  Mechanically speaking, followers are pretty ineffectual.  They can perform a lot of different actions, but they do not do any of the well.  And compared to similar systems - minions and droids and padawans and protocol droids - they are terrible.  Each is either more powerful, more versitile, much cheaper, or some mixture of the three.  Worse, the mechanics as presented are inconsistent with the rest of the game.  Their quirky way of figuring Defenses or HP leaves problems in the rules and makes them work differently than other characters, for no reason. 

More importantly though, is that followers are very difficult to properly role-play.  No, the system actively hampers role-playing for no reason.  Followers are bizzar half-characters, who cannot take most actions at all, and many of the ones which they can take can only be taken in tandem with a Hero and other followers, and the few that they take alone are only taken when a Hero sacrifices his own actions.  How can a player or game master justify having four "characters" who each needs to take a different action, but who cannot because they somehow share one set of actions.  When certain characters on a battlefield follow such divergent rules, they do not seem like characters in the same game or universe that the rest exist in.  All they are is a mechanic, an element of a board game, not suitable for role-playing.

As far as personal experience, I know one player tried using a follower once, but we found that the rules were practically impossible to follow and thus tossed those rules out and just gave him a minion.

Now, I remember there being a lot of broo ha ha when they first came out as being teh suxorz, but I'm curious now, years later, what are people's experiences?

And, as I remember it, you thought followers were interesting and looked fun.  So, when I read this, all it looks like is the debating "technique" known as poisoning the well.  You start by framing your oppositions argument as being not but "broo ha ha" and as being as shallow as calling the system "teh suxorz".  It is no different than if I'd started by saying something like, "Only an idiot would disagreewith me saying..." 

So as the combat went, first off it looked liek there was a larger force than the encounter level actually provided. this gave the illusion that this was a harder encounter and/or that the clan leader wasn't as powerful as he was. Then with a single move action the leader moved into position, being flanked by two enemies, and his followers moved into position flanking those enemies. He accelerated strike'd dual wielding with the enhanced bonus for flanking and scored four hits in a single turn. needless to say the players were a tiny bit shocked.

Although I wouldn't be shocked since I'd figure out what was up the second all three characters moved together, I personally would be annoyed by this encounter.  This goes back to my role-playing point above.  You tricked, let's say, the players in two ways: you made the encounter seem more powerful than it was and you made the opponent seem weaker than he was.  The problem I have with these two is the same: you mix up confusing the players and confusing the character while metegaming.  See, the encounter looked like it was more difficult due to the strange way that followers work and so you draw the focus onto that by metegaming.  The characters could not have known, should not have ever known, that those followers were really any different than other characters.  You mess with, mix up, player and character knowledge in a way that is, of course, very fitting for a tactical board game.  For a role-playing game, it seems out of place to me.

I'm not trying to rip apart your encounter, and I'm not saying I'd argue if I were playing, but it would annoy me to have that type of mental contradiction in the game.

I personally have never used followers.  If a hero expresses interest in followers, I recommend that he buys a droid instead of taking a talent.
These talents seem to try to "arcade" the game, by supplimenting something that could normally happen in the story and relegating it to a talent.

While I understand your point, I believe that it comes down to the question of whether you accept that character resources like Talents and Feats can or should be spent to acquire in-universe possesstions.  Wealth and Connections are the same way, they could and arguably should be handled within the story or backstory of a character, but are chosen through Talents.  I find the idea of character resources being spent in such a way to be acceptable within the game, and so Minions don't bother me.  I can accept that some part of the story didn't happen on-screen that could justify a minion jumping into the game somewhere.   
"And the TL;DR award goes to Raul Torin!" - CorranHornIsAwesome Official SAGA Edition Errata Dawn of Defiance Other Articles Thanks to GreySword for compiling these
I still cannot stand followers.  The system is terribly designed and so I do not have much experience with it.  Mechanically speaking, followers are pretty ineffectual.  They can perform a lot of different actions, but they do not do any of the well.  And compared to similar systems - minions and droids and padawans and protocol droids - they are terrible.  Each is either more powerful, more versitile, much cheaper, or some mixture of the three.  Worse, the mechanics as presented are inconsistent with the rest of the game.  Their quirky way of figuring Defenses or HP leaves problems in the rules and makes them work differently than other characters, for no reason. 

More importantly though, is that followers are very difficult to properly role-play.  No, the system actively hampers role-playing for no reason.  Followers are bizzar half-characters, who cannot take most actions at all, and many of the ones which they can take can only be taken in tandem with a Hero and other followers, and the few that they take alone are only taken when a Hero sacrifices his own actions.  How can a player or game master justify having four "characters" who each needs to take a different action, but who cannot because they somehow share one set of actions.  When certain characters on a battlefield follow such divergent rules, they do not seem like characters in the same game or universe that the rest exist in.  All they are is a mechanic, an element of a board game, not suitable for role-playing.

As far as personal experience, I know one player tried using a follower once, but we found that the rules were practically impossible to follow and thus tossed those rules out and just gave him a minion.

Now, I remember there being a lot of broo ha ha when they first came out as being teh suxorz, but I'm curious now, years later, what are people's experiences?

And, as I remember it, you thought followers were interesting and looked fun.  So, when I read this, all it looks like is the debating "technique" known as poisoning the well.  You start by framing your oppositions argument as being not but "broo ha ha" and as being as shallow as calling the system "teh suxorz".  It is no different than if I'd started by saying something like, "Only an idiot would disagreewith me saying..." 

So as the combat went, first off it looked liek there was a larger force than the encounter level actually provided. this gave the illusion that this was a harder encounter and/or that the clan leader wasn't as powerful as he was. Then with a single move action the leader moved into position, being flanked by two enemies, and his followers moved into position flanking those enemies. He accelerated strike'd dual wielding with the enhanced bonus for flanking and scored four hits in a single turn. needless to say the players were a tiny bit shocked.

Although I wouldn't be shocked since I'd figure out what was up the second all three characters moved together, I personally would be annoyed by this encounter.  This goes back to my role-playing point above.  You tricked, let's say, the players in two ways: you made the encounter seem more powerful than it was and you made the opponent seem weaker than he was.  The problem I have with these two is the same: you mix up confusing the players and confusing the character while metegaming.  See, the encounter looked like it was more difficult due to the strange way that followers work and so you draw the focus onto that by metegaming.  The characters could not have known, should not have ever known, that those followers were really any different than other characters.  You mess with, mix up, player and character knowledge in a way that is, of course, very fitting for a tactical board game.  For a role-playing game, it seems out of place to me.

I'm not trying to rip apart your encounter, and I'm not saying I'd argue if I were playing, but it would annoy me to have that type of mental contradiction in the game.

I personally have never used followers.  If a hero expresses interest in followers, I recommend that he buys a droid instead of taking a talent.
These talents seem to try to "arcade" the game, by supplimenting something that could normally happen in the story and relegating it to a talent.

While I understand your point, I believe that it comes down to the question of whether you accept that character resources like Talents and Feats can or should be spent to acquire in-universe possesstions.  Wealth and Connections are the same way, they could and arguably should be handled within the story or backstory of a character, but are chosen through Talents.  I find the idea of character resources being spent in such a way to be acceptable within the game, and so Minions don't bother me.  I can accept that some part of the story didn't happen on-screen that could justify a minion jumping into the game somewhere.   



We had a disagreement about the effectiveness of followers when they first came out.  That much is true. 

I wasn't attempting to poinson the well, and I appreciate that you were not tryign to tear down the encounter.  In small response, all gaming is metagaming.  since the professional equivalent of gaming would be Stage acting (specifically improve) there is a certain level of meta-gaming that is always present.  We are constrained by the rules, which are a meta-game representation of the game worlds physics.

To be clear, I don't disagree with you Raul, I just find it inconsequential in the level of meta-gaming i can tolerate/accept/preserves my virisimulatude, where as (correct me if I'm wrong) you find the meta-gaming unacceptable (in regards to followers).

But you did have player who wanted to use one and did in play.  COuld you provide me a little more detail about that?  I know it may have been a while back, but I'd be interested to know where you found the rules break down in actual play, as it seems that few people (including my group) ever have a player take the follower options.
My Blog, mostly about D&D.
57304548 wrote:
I imagine that Majestic Moose plays a more "A team" type game than most of us. By that I mean he allows his players to make tanks out of a backyard playground set since the players have more "fun" that way.
Actually I much prefer The Losers.
Show
When I and my friends sit down we want a game of heroic fantasy. Rare is the moment when I have cried out in a video game or RPG "that's unrealistic." (Unless there is no jump button. Seriously makes me mad, single handedly ruined the N64 zelda series for me, but that's a digression of a digression.) I mean, we play games with the force in galaxies far, far away, with supernatural horrors, dragons and demi-gods, alternate cosmologies, etc. Reality and it's effects hold little sway to what makes a Heroic fantasy game fun IMO. Just repeat after me: You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are not how much you've spent on WotC products. You are not whatever RPG you play. You are one of tens of thousands of people that spend money on a hobby. You will not always get what you want
I personally have never used followers.  If a hero expresses interest in followers, I recommend that he buys a droid instead of taking a talent.
These talents seem to try to "arcade" the game, by supplementing something that could normally happen in the story and relegating it to a talent.

do you feel the same way about the minion talents from the crime lord PrC?

Yeah, I think that followers shouldn't involve spending a talent or anything like that.  It makes it seem a little too much like a video game.

I think that this boils down to game balance. If you buy a protocol droid or a R2-unit, you get access to some extra skills or actions, but you have to maintain them with repairs, make sure they don't get themselves stolen or reprogrammed and generally have to keep them out of trouble. If you get yourself a couple of combat droids to get more firepower, that could also be fine. They will often cost you a lot more, and you may run into a lot of trouble with the authorities... So droids cost credits and tend to get you into trouble.

Minions on the other hand cost you no credits and can generally be sent of on their own without getting stolen/kidnapped or reprogrammed/brainwashed. They need no upkeep and will mostly take care of themselves. Of course these things depend on the GM to some extent, but as you get your minion with a talent, it is a part of your character and it should not end up in trouble unless you send him on dangerous assignments. If you think that you may lose your minions, either from putting them in the danger zone, or from having them taken care of by the GM, you may want to look into the talent Wealth of Allies. This will let you replace any minion that get killed (but maybe this should come for free with the first minion). Of course there is nothing that prevent you from gaining a droid minion if you like. They are more versitile but at the cost of a talent or two, and you have to be at least level 8. Also you are normally allowed one to accompany you.

Followers can be gained from first level, but are somewhat weak and eat up your actions. They could be good to keep around as meat shields, and to send into their death, as they are faster to replace (8 h compared to 24 h for a minion). Other then that they are not that great...



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