The people have spoken. Tasked with deciding whose party Gunslinger would attempt to join this month, our Quest Givers on Patreon voted for the bad guys. Better luck next time to Alchemist, Summoner, and Pugilist! I’m sure Handbook-World’s loneliest marksman will get around to you eventually.

Poor Gunslinger though… Dude goes through evil army basic training (not to mention some of those notoriously malodorous goblin hazing rituals), just to find himself on the wrong side of the top brass. If I know anything about BBEG and Ms. Gestalt, it’s that they aren’t exactly easy on fresh goblin recruits. Still, it looks like they’ve earned a little loyalty in this case. I think it’s worth examining why that might be.

When it comes to loyal henchmen, the usual strategy is something I think of as the “Darth Vader approach.” Nothing inspires fear quite like force-choking your most incompetent officers, and offing you own side is villain shorthand for “I’m a ruthless badass.” Those poor peons are going to be more scared of you than any meddling heroes, so it stands to reason that they’ll show undying loyalty to the cause.

Of course, that’s just one option. Patriotism is always a handy motivation for enemy soldiers. If you’ve got a religious organization rather than an evil military, then your can go with the “true believer” shtick. There’s no reasoning with a fanatic after all. Then there’s literal brain washing, magical compulsions, and robotic minions. There are the foes who will follow orders thanks to their programming. Same deal with demons and devils, who tend to fight to the death just for the chance at a little mayhem. And if you’re just looking to run a straight-up brawl, these are all great choices.

If you’re looking to mix a bit more RP with your “fights until death” combat encounters though, more nuanced motivations work a little better. This is the realm of “will run from combat if ____.” And choosing how to fill in the blanks for that “if” can be a lot of fun.

Therefore, for today’s discussion, what do you say we come up with some more morale options? What will cause an otherwise loyal minion to turn on its boss? And if you do like to run with “fights to the death” dudes, what is it that keeps the little buggers in line? Tell us all about your own take on team spirit down in the comments!


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