Calling in the Cavalry
Optional rule for the Victorious RPG
We all know that it always happens. It occurs in every sort of crisis, to the point where it’s a trope of the Superhero Genre. The Z-Men face off against the alien Bandersnatch as they attempt to take over the Earth. In comics, the heroes fight against overwhelming odds to prevail against evil.
Then there are RPG games, where any player with half a brain decides to start contacting every hero or heroine they know to help fight the aliens. So, instead of 6 Z-Men fighting the world conquerors you now have 26 heroes and heroines, of which 20 are NPCs. The planned adventure the Genteel Magistrate had on hand now is either a cakewalk for the heroes or s/he must modify the adventure quickly in order to provide a challenge to the now-huge group of SuperMankind. Not to mention, the GM has to handle the hit points and statistics for those 20 NPCs as well as the invaders. The shortcoming “Prior Engagement” can help with this, but even still it’s just too easy to gather the legion of SuperMankind to battle any world-beater you care to name! The following is submitted as a possible solution to the problem in the Victorious RPG, though it should work in any Siege Engine system.
First, you determine the most charismatic of the player characters in the group and have them give you their Charisma attribute bonus. For an example, let’s take the character Angel. Her Charisma attribute bonus is +2 (CHA 17). We then take her level and add it to the Charisma bonus, making that +6.
Angel’s player then chooses 6 NPCs that she wants to try and recruit. She makes a list of six heroes or heroines, and then rolls her Charisma check with the NPC’s level being the Challenge Level. If she succeeds then unless they have the Prior Engagement shortcoming then they are recruited to the cause of angelic goodness. If she fails her Charisma check, then the NPC is otherwise detained.
If the NPC in question does have the Prior Engagement shortcoming, then the Genteel Magistrate should roll for that effect as well. If the roll fails (even if the Charisma check succeeded) that NPC is too busy to assist Angel in her hour of need. If the roll succeeds, then that character is part of the “cavalry” Angel is calling in to defeat villainy. She can’t call in more than 6, so she goes down the list and if anyone is busy due to the Prior Engagement shortcoming she can choose another hero(ine) to contact. The failed attempts to bring allies into battle simply means they are off in the Land of Savages or the Dark Side of the Moon and can’t help.
For a Grim chronicle or for any GM wishing to limit the assistance of NPCs even more, the level could be left out and only the Charisma attribute bonus rank as the number of allies that can be drawn into the adventure. Another method is to require the player to choose the number of hero(ines) as noted above, but if a Prior Engagement roll is failed, it means that one of the SuperMankind is otherwise engaged then the player can’t choose another and simply now has one hero less to recruit. Conversely, the GM cannot require the Charisma check and allow recruiting automatically to the attribute bonus/skill level as desired. Note that the GM can allow the use of Victory Points to add any heroes to their list; using the VP to insure that the Prior Engagement roll automatically succeeds and the NPC is automatically available.
Please note that only one of the players at the table can use their character’s Charisma bonus to call on allies. Your author suggests that it be the most Charismatic of the PCs, but there is no requirement for this. Just so long as only one player character is allowed to make the call.