Lackey feat / Henchman base class v0.9 - Can anyone tell me what PEACH stands for?


Homebrew and House Rules


Here's my mostly-finalized version of the feat and class. Take a look!

Feat: Lackey
Prerequisites: Character level 3rd
Benefits: You gain the services of an improbably loyal henchman. Whether they come from an agency, are directly recruited, or are simply enamored with their employer's heroic reputation, all lackeys are NPCs with levels in the Henchman class.

When this feat is first taken, a lackey is 2 levels lower than their employer, and may never advance to closer than that. When the employer advances in level, so does the lackey, maintaining the 2 level margin. If the lackey is killed, the employer may recruit a new one, but the new lackey's maximum level is reduced by 2 for each lackey that has come before - a poor boss' reputation spreads, so if they have the resources, most prefer to resurrect the old lackey before recruiting a new one.

A lackey counts as an animal companion for the purposes of computing their employer's leadership score.

Class: The Henchman
Behind every great hero, there is a long-suffering henchman. Well, perhaps not all great heroes, but Don Quixote had Sancho Panza, Dr. Frankenstein had Igor, and King Arthur had Patsy. Whether they're called a henchman, lackey, hireling, or goon, a henchman's job is the same: follow their employer and help with whatever tasks need doing. The hard, thankless work henchmen do leads to the ability to endure phenomenal hardships with little more than a resigned, overburdened shrug. Henchmen are doorstops, living shields, beasts of burden, and on rare occasion, the soul of common sense in an adventuring party.

Role: Henchmen do not excel in combat, cast spells, perform incredible physical feats, or bypass obstacles with skill and trickery. Henchmen do the jobs that nobody else wants to do.

Alignment: A henchman may be of any alignment, but typically shares that of his employers.

HD: d6
BAB: 1/2 level (poor)
Saves: Good Fortitude, Reflex, and Will

Class Skills:Diplomacy (Cha), Perception (Wis), Profession (Porter)(Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis)
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Level Progression:
Level Progression:
1 - Clumsy Helper, Handoff, Strong Back
2 - Henchman Duty, Resilience
3 - Quick Draw
4 - Henchman Duty, Stronger Back
5 - Beneath Notice
6 - Henchman Duty
7 - Endless Burden
8 - Henchman Duty
9 - Unlikely Survivor
10 - Advanced Duty
11 - Minion Empathy
12 - Advanced Duty
13 - Fast Healing
14 - Advanced Duty
15 - Insignificant
16 - Advanced Duty
17 - Desensitized
18 - Advanced Duty
19 - Henchman Vigor
20 - Advanced Duty, Talents Revealed

Class Features:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Henchmen are not proficient with any weapons. Henchmen are not proficient with any type of armor or shield.

Clumsy Helper (Ex): While the henchmen usually means to help his employers, his assistance can be more dangerous than it's worth. When the henchman uses the aid another action, he adds +4 to the roll instead of +2. However, if the action fails despite the henchman's help, the henchman and all allies contributing to the check take 1d6 damage from the resulting mishap (in addition to any other consequences of failure). If the die roll is a natural 1, all involved parties are knocked prone in addition to taking the damage.

Handoff (Ex): When called upon to produce an item, a henchman knows exactly how to hand it off. If a henchman is holding an item ready to be handed to someone else, a friendly character may take the item from the henchman as a swift action.

Strong Back (Ex): Henchmen are expected to carry equipment. A lot of equipment. A henchman's carrying capacity is double the value indicated on table 7-4 in the Core Rulebook for all stages of encumbrance (light, medium, and heavy).

Henchman Duty (Ex): At 2nd level and every even-numbered level thereafter, the henchman may be assigned to one duty. Once assigned, a duty may not be changed because it is The Henchman's Job. Duties can be chosen from the following list:

Henchman Duties:
Armor Polishing: The henchman is responsible for making sure you can see your face in that armor. The henchman may spend 1 hour of work to polish a suit of armor to a blinding sheen, granting the wearer a +2 circumstance bonus to charisma-related skill checks for 24 hours. This bonus increases by +1 for every 5 levels the henchman possesses.

Cooking: The henchman is in charge of preparing the food. Once per day, no matter what supplies are available, the henchman may spend 1 hour of work to replicate the effects of a Create Food and Water spell at CL equal to his class level. The henchman must be level 4 before being given this duty.

Decoy: The henchman is in charge of distracting others while the party does it's work. To do this, the henchman makes a spectacle of himself, and each creature within 60 feet that can see and hear the henchman must make a will save at DC 10 + 1/2 the henchman's level + the henchman's charisma modifier. Each creature which fails this check takes no hostile action against the henchman, instead peacefully (or confusedly) observing as long as he continues the performance, for up to 1d4 minutes. Creatures distracted in this manner take a -4 penalty to reactive skill checks (such as Perception to notice a character using Stealth). Hostile action by the henchman or any ally breaks the effect, and any particular creature cannot be distracted in this way more than once in a 24 hour period.

Equipment Repair: The henchman is responsible for fixing everything that gets broken. By spending 1 hour of work, the henchman may replicate the effects of the make whole spell at CL equal to his class level.

Errands: The henchman is responsible for doing all the shopping. After any visit to civilization, the henchman will have added to his inventory enough rations for 2 weeks for up to 10 members of the party (himself and mounts included), as well as any other adventuring gear appropriate for the environment that costs 10 gp or less (including tents, lanterns, cold weather clothing, blankets, rope, grappling hooks, pitons, shovel, crowbar, etc.). At employer request, he can also purchase any other items locally available, but will need to need to be given money to do so. The henchman always pays a maximum of list price, even if prices are otherwise inflated - somehow he finds the bargains.

Night Watch: The henchman is in charge of making sure nothing sneaks up on the party at night. The henchman only needs 2 hours of sleep to be fully rested, and takes no penalty to non-visual perception checks while sleeping.

Point Out the Obvious: The henchman is charged with attentively listening to the craziest theories of his employer, and contributing a commoner's viewpoint. 10 minutes of dialog with a henchman provides a friendly character a +2 bonus on any knowledge check. This bonus increases by +1 for every 5 levels the henchman possesses. [note: DMs are encouraged to impart insights on behalf of a henchman with this duty].

Poison Taster: The henchman is in charge of making sure the food isn't poisoned. He gains a +2 bonus to fortitude saves against poison. This bonus increases by +1 for every 5 levels he possesses.

Practice Dummy: The henchman is responsible for helping his employer practice and/or demonstrate his techniques. By spending an hour with an ally, the henchman can confer a +1 circumstance bonus to attack rolls that lasts for 24 hours. At level 11, this bonus increases to +2. Helping an ally practice in this way deals 1d6 nonlethal damage to the henchman for every 2 levels the ally possesses (minimum 1d6).

Research: The henchman is in charge of doing all the boring reading. He treats all knowledge skills as class skills, may use knowledge skills without training, and receives a +2 bonus to all knowledge checks. This bonus increases by +1 for every 5 levels he possesses.

Scapegoat: The henchman is in charge of taking the blame for his employer's misdeeds. Any time an ally uses the Bluff skill in a way which involves the henchman, they gain a +2 circumstance bonus to the check. This increases by +1 for every 5 levels the henchman possesses.

Stepping Block: The henchman is responsible for helping his employer reach difficult places. When using the Aid Another action for Acrobatics checks made to jump or Climb checks, the henchman confers a +8 bonus rather than +4, and does not cause a mishap except on a die roll of 1 (see the Clumsy Helper ability above).

Trap Tester: The henchman is in charge of springing traps for the good of the party. The henchman gains a +2 bonus to reflex saves vs. traps and to his AC against attacks made by traps. This bonus increases by +1 for every 5 levels he possesses.

Torch Bearer: The henchman is in charge of making sure everyone can see where they are going. Any light source the henchman carries doubles its effective lighting range (both for normal light and partial illumination). The henchman may carry a torch, lantern, or standard and still use both hands freely.

Weapon Sharpener: The henchmen is in charge of making sure all the weapons stay razor-sharp. The henchman may spend 1 hour honing a weapon to grant it the keen quality. This does not stack with similar effects, and wears off after one day. The henchman must be level 8 or higher to be given this duty.

Resilience (Ex): The henchman is accustomed to unnumbered hardships. Starting at 2nd level, whenever he is dealt hit point damage, he converts an amount of damage equal to half his level to nonlethal damage.

Quick Draw (Ex): At 3rd level, the henchman becomes more skilled at managing his enormous inventory. He gains Quick Draw as a bonus feat, and may retrieve any object carried on his person as a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Stronger Back (Ex): At level 4, the henchman's carrying capacity increases to quadruple the value indicated on table 7-4 in the Core Rulebook for all stages of encumbrance (light, medium, and heavy). The henchman may move at his full speed no matter how encumbered he is.

Beneath Notice (Ex): At level 5, a henchman learns how to keep a low profile in fights. As long as he has not participated in any hostile activity (either of his own volition, or his employer's), any enemy with an intelligence score of 3 or more and a different viable target to attack treats the henchman as though he were under the effects of a sanctuary spell. The save DC for this effect is 10 + ½ the henchman's level + the henchman's charisma modifier.

Endless Burden (Ex): At level 7, the henchman's carrying capacity increases to eight times the value indicated on table 7-4 in the core rulebook for all stages of encumbrance (light, medium, and heavy). He treats his load as one category lighter for the purposes of determining his maximum dexterity bonus to armor class and check penalty on skill checks.

Unlikely Survivor (Su): The henchman has a knack for not dying. Starting at 9th level, the first time each day the henchman is killed, he is immediately subject to a resurrection effect. If he was killed by by hit point damage, he is immediately subject to a Breath of Life spell at CL equal to his level. If he was killed by a death effect, he is subject to a Raise Dead spell at CL equal to his level. As there is no caster for these effects, they require no material components. Unlikely Survivor resets the henchman to 'nonhostile' for the purposes of his Beneath Notice ability. He may use this ability twice per day at level 13, and three times per day at level 17.

Advanced Duties (Ex): At 10th level and every 2 levels thereafter, the henchman may be given an advanced duty in place of a henchman duty.

Advanced Duties:
Chef: The henchman is in charge of producing exceptional food from nowhere. Once per day, no matter what supplies are available, the henchman may spend 1 hour of work to replicate the effects of a Heroes Feast spell at CL equal to his level. The henchman must already have the Cooking duty to select this duty.

Curse Tester: The henchman is in charge of making sure the party is not exposed to dangerous cursed items. Whenever a henchman tries to use an item, that item functions immediately as though it were being seriously used (such as in a fight with a dangerous foe). A henchman may struggle with a cursed item for 1 minute to replicate the effects of a Remove Curse spell cast at CL equal to his level.

Evidence Disposal: The henchman is in charge of cleaning up the mess from his employer's... accidents.  Barring exceptional circumstances, a henchman can dispose of any body he is capable of carrying in 1 minute by making a Stealth check against DC 15. Success means he is not seen, and the final result is the Perception DC to find the body during later inspection. For each round the henchman spends cleaning, he increases Perception and Survival DCs to glean information about any particular incident (crime) by 1, to a maximum increase equal to his level. The henchman may also cover a party's trail against being tracked while traveling at full speed.

Living Shield: The henchman is responsible for keeping his employers safe in a fight. Once per round per adjacent ally, when the ally would be struck by a melee attack, they may choose to redirect the attack to the henchman.

Living Target: The henchman is responsible for taking arrows for his employers. Once per round per adjacent ally, when the ally would be struck by a ranged attack, they may choose to redirect the attack to the henchman.

Shotput: The henchman must stand in when no other ranged weapon will do. As long as he is carrying a light load, the henchman can be thrown as a standard action by a friendly creature of his own size or larger with a minimum strength of 17 or more. A medium sized henchman has a range increment of 20 feet and deals 2d8 damage plus 1-1/2 times the thrower's strength modifier to both the target and the henchman (small henchmen deal 2d6 plus 1-1/2 times strength instead). If the thrower is one or more size categories larger than the henchman, they may quadruple the henchman's range increment. The henchman counts as a weapon of his own alignment for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

Spell Shield: The henchman is responsible for keeping his employer safe from spells. Whenever an adjacent ally is subject to a spell or effect that permits a reflex save for half damage, they may interpose the henchman between themselves and the effect. If they do so, they take no damage on a successful save, and only half damage on a failed save. Only one ally can use a henchman in this way per attack.  The henchman takes half damage from the effect with no opportunity to save (although if he were also subjected to the same attack as the ally, he takes no additional damage for shielding the ally - he simply saves and takes half damage, or fails and takes full damage).

Walking Arsenal: The henchman is in charge of being prepared for every possible eventuality. In addition to the supplies from the Errand duty, a henchman with his pack will be able to supply his employers with nearly any weapon from table 6-5, any armor from table 6-6, and any good from table 6-9 in the core rulebook. The henchman usually only has one item of each type (or ten, in the case of ammunition or other small items), and does not have items costing more than 200 gp or weighing more than 30 lbs. Selling these items can never net a long-term gain in profit, as the henchman has to spend money to acquire items lost or sold. The henchman must already have the Errands duty to be given this duty.

Minion Empathy (Ex): By level 11, the henchman has formed a bond with all creatures that labor thanklessly for powerful masters. As long as they are not approached in a hostile fashion, any creature with an intelligence score of 3 or higher and fewer than ½ the henchman's level in HD is initially indifferent towards the henchman. The henchman may improve this attitude with the Diplomacy skill as usual.

Fast Healing (Ex): Starting at 13th level, the henchman has spent so much time recovering from injuries that he has developed an extraordinary ability to do so. He gains fast healing 1. This increases to fast healing 2 at level 17, and fast healing 5 at level 20.

Insignificant (Ex): At level 15, the henchman is a master of remaining inconspicuous. His Beneath Notice ability applies even when he is the only viable target for a creature to attack.

Desensitized (Ex): At level 17, the henchman has already endured every possible fright he could experience. If he is affected by a fear spell or effect and fails his saving throw, he can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. He only gets this one extra chance to succeed at this saving throw.

Henchman Vigor (Ex): At 19th level, the henchman's repeated exposure to every possible ailment has left him with a gift for shaking off anything that doesn't kill him outright (and even some things that do). If the henchman fails his fortitude saving throw against any ongoing or permanent effect (including spells, spell-like abilities, and special conditions like blindness and petrification), he can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. He only gets this one extra chance to succeed at this saving throw. This ability has no effect on conditions that normally permit successive saving throws, such as poisons.

Talents Revealed: At level 20, the henchman can unleash hitherto unknown abilities. Once per day for one full round, the henchman may act as though he had access to all the class features of a level 20 member of any single other core class. This includes all class abilities that are automatically acquired (such as base attack bonus, spell-like abilities, sneak attack, channel energy, or flurry of blows) but not abilities that must be specifically chosen (such as weapon training, feats, favored enemies, or spells). Alternatively, the henchman may spontaneously cast a single arcane or divine spell of up to 9th level, as long as it's casting time is less than one full round and he has sufficient Intelligence or Charisma (for arcane spells) or Wisdom (for divine spells) to cast it. He must cast the spell normally, risking any spell failure chance and attacks of opportunity as normal, and must supply all material components required for the spell.


So, this project is getting to about where I want it. I'm currently looking for feedback about:

-balance. Does the Henchman seem too powerful, despite being conventionally useless? Are there glaring rules loopholes I've missed?

-clarity. Do the various abilities make sense? Could they be done better?

-amusement. Am I missing any really obvious duties? Are there other comic tropes I should be tapping into?

Once I've got some feedback, I'll be polishing it all up and packing it into a neato PDF to freely distribute, so talk to me and then keep an eye out for v1.0 :D


As far as I know, PEACH means "Please Examine And Critique Honestly"


Balance: Given the Henchman's incredible durability, I would make the Living Target, Living Shield, and Spell Shield require an action from someone. Also given that incredible durability, I think he needs something to prevent excessive magic item use.

Clarity: Errands and Walking Arsenal seem like they would be a lot clearer and less vulnerable to abuse if they used the same mechanics as the Deep Pockets ability of the Pathfinder Chronicler.

Amusement: As I mentioned in balance, give him an ability that causes him to go flying backwards when firing off a magic item. Another neat idea would be an advanced duty that allows him to hand someone an item at range as an immediate action, the "hand from off-screen" type effect.

This is an absolutely amazing idea and I love it. Now I really want to play a Henchman.


Initially, I was against this whole concept, as it repeats the functionality of the Leadership feat. But... the class looks fun, and fills an interesting niche and storytelling trope.

Scarab Sages

Telhuine is correct - it was originally created & used on the WOTC boards where it was needed as people there created classes & monsters that could be considered nothing more than a joke but here it really isnt needed as nearly all posts are serious attempts to make classes and monsters that are reasonable & just need a second or more opinion to fix or alter if required


Telhuine wrote:
As far as I know, PEACH means "Please Examine And Critique Honestly"
Ceefood wrote:
Telhuine is correct - it was originally created & used on the WOTC boards where it was needed as people there created classes & monsters that could be considered nothing more than a joke but here it really isnt needed as nearly all posts are serious attempts to make classes and monsters that are reasonable & just need a second or more opinion to fix or alter if required

Many thanks for the clarification. And it seems this class may want for the clarification a bit more than average here on the homebrew board, so it's good to know :)

far_wanderer wrote:

Balance: Given the Henchman's incredible durability, I would make the Living Target, Living Shield, and Spell Shield require an action from someone. Also given that incredible durability, I think he needs something to prevent excessive magic item use.

Clarity: Errands and Walking Arsenal seem like they would be a lot clearer and less vulnerable to abuse if they used the same mechanics as the Deep Pockets ability of the Pathfinder Chronicler.

Amusement: As I mentioned in balance, give him an ability that causes him to go flying backwards when firing off a magic item. Another neat idea would be an advanced duty that allows him to hand someone an item at range as an immediate action, the "hand from off-screen" type effect.

Thanks for the feedback! I'll definitely tack on at least an 'immediate action' rider to use the living target, living shield, and spell shield abilities. I suppose I should also specify that the henchman must be conscious for the abilities to function.

Heh. Maybe not.

I'm not sure what you're getting at with the magic item use bit, unless you mean the mishap part of Use Magic Device for activating blindly. It seems like an awfully small corner of the rules to have to work around - the class doesn't get UMD, so how many of them will really be trying to waggle wands around? Those mishaps are on for flavor, but awfully rare. If it was going to be part of a duty, we'd actually have to make UMD worse for the henchman with the duty than without, which seems a bit backwards, even for this class.

Good call on the pathfinder chronicler Deep Pockets ability - I'll definitely rework the shopping duties to follow that guideline.

Ranged Handoff - that's a core class ability if I've ever heard one. And I like it a lot!

So, here's adjustments so far:

Revisions:

Errands: The henchman is responsible for doing all the shopping. A henchman always has 50 gp per level in unspecified equipment stored in his pack – typically food, clothes, and other adventuring gear. When there is need, he may retrieve any nonmagical item from his pack weighing 20 lbs or less, and deduct it's value from his unspecified item value total. On any visit to civilized areas, the henchman must spend gold to bring his unspecified total back to it's maximum.

Living Shield: The henchman is responsible for keeping his employers safe in a fight. Once per round per adjacent ally, when the ally would be struck by a melee attack, they may spend an immediate action to redirect the attack to the henchman. This counts as a hostile action, and therefore deactivates the henchman's Beneath Notice ability.

Ditto for living target and spell shield.

Walking Arsenal: The henchman is in charge of being prepared for all manner of unlikely situations. The total amount of unspecified gear the henchman can carry from the Errands duty is increased to 250 gp per level, and in addition to nonmagical equipment, he can produce magical potions and scrolls from his pack. Using this ability, the henchman can produce items weighing up to 50 lbs. The henchman must have the Errands duty to select this duty.

Think I should put in a super advanced, level 16 version that allows up to 1000 gp/level and any magical item up to 2.5k gp? At that level, a +1 weapon of whatever sort is hardly glamorous...

Sword Toss (Ex): At level 10, the henchman is a master at getting his employers the items they need, no matter where they are. If the henchman takes no more than a single move and/or swift action on his turn and has an item ready to be handed off, he may throw it to an ally on their turn, allowing them to catch it as a swift action. The henchman can throw items up to 5 feet per level in this fashion.

"SWORD!" "Catch, sir!"


Glad I could help! As I said, I really enjoy this idea.

The reason I suggested something with magic items is that the Henchman is ridiculously hard to kill, a fact normally balanced by his complete lack of offensive capabilities. But that can be easily gotten around by outfitting him with magic items like wands, scrolls, a necklace of fireballs, etc. Making any magic items he uses comically misfire seemed like a good in-theme way to keep that from being abused.

EDIT: One more thing I thought of - the "carry more stuff" class features might need a little tweaking. A medium sized Henchman with a strength of 14 could drag three and a half tons with Endless Burden.


Sounds interesting. Maybe submit this to the Pathfinder Database?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Great work so far. Couple suggestions:

Unlikely Survivor: Raise dead cannot work on someone killed by a death effect. The whole ability could be simplified, anyway. It's already a Supernatural effect, so there's no reason to dick around with spell effects anyway. Plus, you're missing an opportunity to add a Mr. Burns-like trope to the mix. Like this, perhaps:

Unlikely Survivor (Su): The henchman has a knack for not dying. Once a day, if a henchman has been killed, his employer may exhort, berate, and cajole the henchman to return to his duty, in a process that takes one minute. At the end of this time, the Henchman may make a DC 20 Fortitude save. If successful, the henchman returns to life at 0hp. This process does not work unless the henchman's body is mostly intact (victims of disintigrate or implosion, for example, could not be returned to life in this manner).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

I don't like the way clumsy helper is handled. There are already ramifications for failing certain skill checks (setting off a trap, falling from a climb check), and it seems like this should increase the odds of one of those things happening, instead of a nebulous 'mishap' occurring. Something like this:

Clumsy Helper (Ex): While the henchmen usually means to help his employers, his assistance can be more dangerous than it's worth. When the henchman uses the aid another action, he adds +4 to the roll instead of +2. If the action fails, however, the henchman is treated as applying a -6 penalty to the roll, which may have ramifications, depending on the action taken.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Some reference should be made to a henchman's loyalty, perhaps a bonus on Will saves against anything that would turn his loyalties against his employer.

Loyalty(Ex): A Henchman is exceedingly hard to turn from his duty. He applies a bonus to his Will saves against any enchantment effect that would cause him to be disloyal to his employer, even for a moment. This bonus is equal to 2+1 per every 5 levels the henchman has.


far_wanderer wrote:
The reason I suggested something with magic items is that the Henchman is ridiculously hard to kill, a fact normally balanced by his complete lack of offensive capabilities. But that can be easily gotten around by outfitting him with magic items like wands, scrolls, a necklace of fireballs, etc. Making any magic items he uses comically misfire seemed like a good in-theme way to keep that from being abused.

Hm... since the henchman would be fishing outside of his class skills for Use Magic Device in order to use wands and scrolls anyhow, I'm not sure how big of a deal it'd be. Given that spell completion items are usually weaker than a proper spellcaster's magic, and he's going to be risking check failure as it is, it's at worst an expensive and underpowered abuse.

The issue I think you're getting at is how a henchman adds extra potential actions per turn to a party in combat, which I can't deny. It's the same problem that the Leadership feat produces, except that cohorts from that have legitimate combat abilities, whereas the henchman is going to be fairly miserable at just about everything. I think it's probably fine as is. Plus, in the event a player is a leveled henchman, I'd like to let them do *something* in combat from time to time.

far_wanderer wrote:
EDIT: One more thing I thought of - the "carry more stuff" class features might need a little tweaking. A medium sized Henchman with a strength of 14 could drag three and a half tons with Endless Burden.

And this is a problem why? ;)

Every class breaks laws of physics in their own special ways. I'm pretty comfortable with the henchman being able to pull or carry senseless amounts of goods. All it does is encourage the party to load up the henchman with ridiculous stuff, which is exactly the idea.

If the party finds a mountain of gold, you can count on them to find a way to transport all of it - multiple trips, bags of holding, etc.. The henchman's carrying limits just make that effort funny.

OamuTheMonk wrote:

Unlikely Survivor: Raise dead cannot work on someone killed by a death effect. The whole ability could be simplified, anyway. It's already a Supernatural effect, so there's no reason to dick around with spell effects anyway. Plus, you're missing an opportunity to add a Mr. Burns-like trope to the mix. Like this, perhaps:

Unlikely Survivor (Su): The henchman has a knack for not dying. Once a day, if a henchman has been killed, his employer may exhort, berate, and cajole the henchman to return to his duty, in a process that takes one minute. At the end of this time, the Henchman may make a DC 20 Fortitude save. If successful, the henchman returns to life at 0hp. This process does not work unless the henchman's body is mostly intact (victims of disintigrate or implosion, for example, could not be returned to life in this manner).

I'm pretty sure there's no reason raise dead wouldn't work on someone offed by a death effect. Disintegrate makes that moot, sure, but as long as there's a corpse, raise dead would do it.

That said, I do really like the idea of requiring employer effort to bring the henchman back. I think I'd do it like this:

No Rest for the Weary:
No Rest for the Weary (Su): Starting at 9th level, death is no longer excuse to stop working, and the henchman's employers are more than happy to remind him of it. Once per day, if the henchman has been killed, an ally can exhort, berate, and cajole the henchman to return to his duty. This takes one minute, and at the end of that time, as long as the henchman has been dead less than 10 minutes per level, he is restored to life as per the raise dead spell.

At level 13, the henchman can use this ability twice per day, and is raised as per resurrection.
At level 17, the henchman can use this ability three times per day, and is raised as per true resurrection.

OamuTheMonk wrote:

I don't like the way clumsy helper is handled. There are already ramifications for failing certain skill checks (setting off a trap, falling from a climb check), and it seems like this should increase the odds of one of those things happening, instead of a nebulous 'mishap' occurring. Something like this:

Clumsy Helper (Ex): While the henchmen usually means to help his employers, his assistance can be more dangerous than it's worth. When the henchman uses the aid another action, he adds +4 to the roll instead of +2. If the action fails, however, the henchman is treated as applying a -6 penalty to the roll, which may have ramifications, depending on the action taken.

Hmm... that could work. Originally, my intent with clumsy helper was to discourage the use of the henchman as a perpetual +2 or +4 to all skill rolls and attacks. Attacks in particular become too powerful, because the henchman can also grant flanking, and there's no repercussions for missed attacks. I suppose it would be simple enough to split it into two sections, though:

Clumsy Helper:
Clumsy Helper (Ex): Though he has the best intentions, a henchman's help is often more dangerous than it's worth. When aiding an ally on a skill check or attack roll, the henchman adds +4 to the roll instead of +2.

However, if a roll fails despite his help, the total result is treated as 10 lower for determining the consequences of failure. If the attack misses it's target, the henchman is struck instead. In either case, if a 1 is rolled, the henchman manages to knock every involved party prone in addition to any other consequences of failure.

OamuTheMonk wrote:
Some reference should be made to a henchman's loyalty, perhaps a bonus on Will saves against anything that would turn his loyalties against his employer.

I'd actually prefer to leave the henchman's specific loyalties as a narrative choice. I thought about giving them an animal companion-style Devotion ability, but they've already got good will saving throws. I figure that alone is enough to encompass notions of loyalty, world-weariness, desensitization, and stubborn conviction.


Maeloke wrote:
Resilience (Ex): The henchman is accustomed to unnumbered hardships. Starting at 2nd level, whenever he is dealt hit point damage, he converts an amount of damage equal to half his level to nonlethal damage.

Doesn't it make it likely that the henchman gets knocked unsconscious a lot? Or maybe that is expected? =P

Anyways, neat idea for a class.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

No, really, raise dead doesn't work on those killed by death effects. It says so right in the spell description:

In any case, you've kind of addressed the issue with the latest revision.


OamuTheMonk wrote:

No, really, raise dead doesn't work on those killed by death effects. It says so right in the spell description:

In any case, you've kind of addressed the issue with the latest revision.

Raise Dead is a last resort now anyway, 2 permanent negative levels is actually WORSE than 2 constitution drain. Unless you can receive a restoration or two.


LuZeke wrote:
Doesn't it make it likely that the henchman gets knocked unsconscious a lot? Or maybe that is expected? =P

He sure does. It's to mitigate the battering he takes, so he's less prone to getting insta-killed at lower levels - just k.o.'d, left and right.

At higher levels, it has the added benefit of effectively doubling his fast healing ability, since each regular hp also fixes a point of nonlethal.

OamuTheMonk wrote:
No, really, raise dead doesn't work on those killed by death effects. It says so right in the spell description

Oh, there it goes. Hah, I'd never noticed. Luckily, outright death effects are awfully rare. And yeah, the new version unintentionally removed the conflict, so that's cool :).

Xaaon of Korvosa wrote:
Raise Dead is a last resort now anyway, 2 permanent negative levels is actually WORSE than 2 constitution drain. Unless you can receive a restoration or two.

Better 2k gp in restoration spells than 5k for raise dead plus 2k in restoration, though. Henchman employers are notoriously cheap.

You're certainly right though, raise dead is a last resort kind of effect; A henchman really can't afford to get killed every day like the ability might suggest he can. Of course at 9th level, death *should* be an ordeal, and the average character gets no freebie second chances at all. So it's pretty balanced, no?

Considerate, economy-minded bosses with the right magic are better off rushing up with a Breath of Life spell, but sometimes the henchman just gets eaten and you gotta wait 'til the dragon's dead to get him back on his feet.

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