Casualty of the Jungle
February 10, 2011
The Fire in the Jungle RPG Supplement includes a “Casualty of the Jungle” mechanic wherein hirelings, instead of PCs, are usually chosen as victims of particularly dangerous events generated via the Jungle Event System. Best not to travel alone in the jungle. You don’t need to outrun the Bald Gorilla. You just need to outrun your hirelings.
The Jungle of Lost Souls adventure has a similar mechanic. I also saw it used in this Flash game at History.com: http://www.history.com/interactives/expedition-game
Expedition The Game is a challenging and addictive game based on the Expedition Africa show on History, which recreates the route that Henry Stanley took on his expedition to find Dr. David Livingstone.
It plays more like Yahtzee than D&D, but the best way to rack up points is still to get as much money/treasure as possible. GP = XP, I presume?
Addendum 2-16-2011: Jeff Rients proposes a similar house rule here, and commenters there link to additional discussion of disposable hirelings. Great stuff. Another way that my jungle campaign encourages the use of hirelings is to give some of them a minor special ability. For example:
Trained Herbalist: Can identify and prepare most Famous Flowers, Rare Roots, and Miracle Medicines.
Will the PCs choose to use the Trained Herbalist as a Casualty of the Jungle, and no longer enjoy the benefits of his knowledge?