‘Henchmen’ Campaign – System: Fate Accelerated by Evil Hat Productions
In a fantasy world with strange races, magical powers and a hierarchy of heroes and villains, we are Henchmen – soldiers for hire and underlings to an evil Lord.
Alliances are called into question, bars are lowered and villains are victimised.
In the end of Gameplay Session 1, our henchmen were forced to flee from the army of the Golden Shield, who had smashed their way into the Toadlord’s stronghold. When the characters emerged from their escape route, a subterranean stream, they found that the Toadlord was not with them, having been lost in the escape.
Elon, man-at-arms and Sergeant to the Toadlord was dejected at the loss of his master. Despite a search of the riverbank they found no sign of the old wizard. Elon was also in shock at the swiftness and brutality of the Golden Shield’s attack. He decided to follow a nearby road to the Capital, intending to look for help at a bar where henchmen are known to seek employment.
As our group followed Elon along the dusty road, they began to grumble amongst themselves, unhappy their their new job had been lost so quickly, and angry that they hadn’t been paid. The Knife demanded that Elon pay them for their service, knowing full well that he had stolen Elon’s coin-pouch only a few hours ago. Elon could offer nothing but the hope of further employment they may find at the henchmen bar.
This did not sit well with some of the characters. While the group was passing through some farmland, they suddenly attacked Elon, intending to kill him and hide his body in the countryside. After being wounded in the surprise attack, a lucky break for Elon meant he could escape into a nearby cornfield. Tim prepared his eldritch magics to burn the field to the ground, but the rest of the party talked him out of it and the group continued towards the Capital without Elon, who escaped.
Soon after, the players found themselves entering Dirt Town, the rough collection of lean-tos and cluttered buildings where the common folk of the Capital live, outside the towering city walls. Their destination: The Low Bar, a rickety, 3-storey establishment where henchmen gather to find work. The atmosphere inside was quiet, and several other groups of strangely-uniformed henchmen dotted the establishment. Finally one of them, a shirtless, muscular man with a shock of red hair and a kilt approached the players asking if they were villains looking to hire henchmen.
In a heavily accented conversation, the Scotsman revealed that all of the henchmen at the bar had recently been put out of work when their masters were killed by the Golden Shield. “The way I hear it,” the Scot told the players, “Our bosses are all being hunted and killed. In fact, to my knowledge, there’s only one villain still out there: Brutalicus.”
Brutalicus – the very name strikes fear into the hearts of every henchman because of his reputation for bloodlust. The Scot had heard rumours that Brutalicus was in the High City, inside the walls, and that he had plans to fight back against the Golden Shield. But even as these words were spoken, a recognisable horn was sounded from outside the Low Bar, and a proclamation was announced:
“In the name of Prince Martin, prepare to receive judgement for your crimes. Working as the henchman of an evil lord is punishable by death.”
For some reason, some of the players hated my main NPC. All the plans I had for this character were thrown into disarray as they tried to surprise and kill him, and only a few lucky rolls allowed him to escape. This was incredibly lucky for me, and as you’ll see in Gameplay Session 3, it resulted in the funniest moment of the campaign, so it was all worth it in the end.
I definitely has to railroad the players somewhat in the start of this session. As I’ve mentioned, I wanted to tell a specific story, and I needed them to meet the other henchmen who’s lords had been killed. So I got them to the Henchman bar, and revealed the information, and threw some trouble their way, as you will see in Gameplay Session 2 – Part 2.
I also did a little extra work coming up with the names of other Lords and uniforms for their henchmen. I’m not sure the players asked, but in the tavern they could see the bearskin-clad henchmen of Baron von Bruin, the silk pyjama-wearing warriors of the Dark Dreamer, and of course, the Scottish kilt-clad soldiers of the Mad Piper.