You may not realize it, but your NPC minions are stone cold badasses. Bear with me on this one.

So you know how we talked way back in Watch the Horses about assigning your hirelings to guard duty? Well we hand’t checked in with Warrior in a while, so I thought it might be a good idea to make sure Fighter hadn’t finished beating him to death. And sure enough, there he is at his post, guarding his masters’ campsite like a good mook should. How long has he been there, do you suppose? How many random encounters has he faced? And most importantly, how has he managed to survived?

You begin to see where this line of reasoning goes. I got to thinking about all the times my NPC buddies loyally stood sentinel, waiting and hoping for me and my merry band of murderhobos to return from our latest adventure. Maybe I happen to have nice GMs, but I can’t think of a single time that we wandered back to base, weeks or months later, to find our supposedly underleveled schwag haulers dead. Because let me tell ya folks: I’ve stood watch. I’ve been attacked by giant boars and leucrotta and chimeras (chimerae? chimersen?). You don’t run across those kinds of beasties every night of the week, but when they do decide to drop by for an after hours visit, I’ve been happy to have the rest of the party in shouting distance. If you happen to be a single man-at-arms however, then even the mildest form of wilderness encounter table begins to look intimidating. So again I ask: How is Warrior still alive?

I have a theory here. Call me crazy, but I think that all those guard-the-camp NPCs are secretly uber-competent. I mean, they’ve got to be scary powerful if they constantly report “nothing interesting happened” in a dangerous campaign world. Maybe there’s some kind of secret order… Some kind of “Mook’s Watch” set up to escort adventurers through dangerous places. Maybe… Maybe I’ve been the escort quest all along?

Or maybe they’re just so inconsequential to the plot that random encounters ignore them. Either or.

What do the rest of you guys think? Have you ever seen your NPC hirelings put to the test? Did they emerge victorious from their off-screen combats, or did you stumble back into camp only to find a bloodbath? Let’s hear all about the daring exploits of your loyal retainers down in the comments!


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