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NPC Companions rules

Hi!

I’m trying to find the rules for how NPC companions work. I tink I read somewhere that the number of companions you can have depends on how many points you have in command fucus or command exepertis. 1 point in command expertise equals 1 companion that can be part of your squad for example.

Anyone who knows how the rules work?

You can have as many allied NPCs as “companions” as you like. There is no limit.

If you decide to forego your ability to perform a Reaction, you can form a Squad, a special type of “group character”. In this Squad could be one, two, three or a maximum of four allied NPCs plus your PC. The NPCs use the Assist mechanic, rolling only 1d20 and adding their successes to the skill test the leading character makes. In case of a Squad with the maximum of four assisting NPCs, the PC would roll 2d20 (plus up to three bonus d20 from Momentum or Doom), and the four (identical) squad members would roll 1d20 each, and add their successes to the successes the PC generated (provided the PC had at least one success - if the PC did not roll any success, all the Assist actions will not add any successes at all.)

That is how Squads as a special case of “group character” are handled.

But you don’t need to form a Squad and lose the ability to make Reactions. You can simply have a bunch of allied NPCs around you. They can perform their own actions, they can support each other or use an Assist action to assist your PC’s actions without forming a Squad.
If you are, for example, on a sailing ship in the Vilayet sea, a storm is brewing and your captain orders you to perform a Sailing action, then you can make the Skill test by yourself, or get support by a few NPC sailors using their own stats and making an Assist action. That works without forming a Squad with them.

Rules for Squads are in the core book at page 306.

There is another option available, too.
If your PC has Skill ranks in Expertise and Focus in Warfare, you can buy Warfare Talents like “General”. Core book page 91.
This is a very special case, as the General Talent, which you could take up to three times, allows you to form a “retinue” of experienced soldiers as your personal elite group of followers.
They are not Minions as it would be the case with a Squad, but are Toughened. (In older PDFs of the Conan rules they are called “Elites” which is the term Infinity RPG uses for the type of NPC that is called “Toughened” in Conan - there are a few places where terms from older 2d20 games have not been corrected in the Conan books, so watch out for those).

The latter option is the rarest one, as your PC must have invested in the Warfare Skill, bought a handful of Warfare Talents, and have access to military type allied NPCs to form into a “retinue”.

A Squad could be formed with any allied NPC. A dog companion forms a Squad with its handler. A horse companion forms a Squad with its rider. etc.

I have never seen that at all.
Where did you encounter this?

Thanks for the help!

Do you have any tips on how a player gets companions? For example, can a player gain a companion by using his command skill to command a weak enemy to obey them, for example?

How does it work in combat if a companion is not tied to the player’s squad? Do you let the player control what the companion does and do you let the player roll the companion’s dice, or does the player have to do a command test to get the companion to do things in an action scene?

Must have misunderstood how followers work, I think that it must have been the part about “retinue” I was thinking of.

Just as in real life: make friends, get them assigned to you as part of the job, hire them yourself, or, if you’re feeling lucky, blackmail or intimidate them into helping you (and probably backstabbing you or deserting at the very first opportunity).

Social Skills are NOT “mind control”. If they want an enemy to actually obey them, they need to convince them really, really good or threaten them into submission (see above, deserting or backstabbing inclusive).
You can try using Persuade or Command to make a deal with some former enemies. It depends on how strong their dislike for you is. If they were hired help, simply offering them a better deal, more Gold, etc. might do the trick - which would be a Society test. If they are religious fanatics, death cultists, etc. any attempt of swaying their mind might be futile. It depends.

An allied NPC could be anything from a Minion (animal or human), a Toughened up to a Nemesis type NPC.
Usually, the more competent, the more self-willed those NPCs will act.
That means, you can try to make a suggestion on how to act to an allied Nemesis NPC, but the NPC will have own motivations and goals that have higher priority, so they might only consider your suggestion, but do something else entirely, while still being your ally.
This is - as always for NPCs - the GM’s call.

If you have, for example, hired two men-at-arms to accompany your PC through a bad part of Shadizar, they might simply use their Assist action and give your PC’s actions additional successes. Or, if you hired them and paid them well enough, they might take independent actions. That means, they act on their own turn in the initiative and roll their own die (Minions) or dice (Toughened and Nemesis).

In practical terms, when nothing speaks against it, I let the players make the rolls for allied NPCs. They do that for their riding animals, their animal companions and for - mostly Minion NPCs - hired help with little risk and clear objectives.
If the NPCs have their own agenda, I will make the decision about their actions and make their rolls, though they are still allied NPCs.

Allied NPCs are not “puppets” of the PCs who hired or convinced them into joining their cause.
So I tend to play them as any other character.

If the players try to use allied NPCs as “cannon fodder”, send them into traps, etc. they will revolt, they have a sense of self-preservation, and they will stop being allies quite soon (deserting or backstabbing while deserting).

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Thanks for the help, your answers made it easy to understand how it works!

Mitras blessings be upon you!