Followers are special non-player characters who are awarded to players either through their initial background generation or through having achieved name level. While some character classes are never awarded followers (mages and druids), other may be awarded a hundred or more (clerics and fighters).
Followers begin their association with the players with standard morale. For the most part, they are run very similarly to henchmen, in that the player will decide upon their actions and ‘run’ these characters in accordance with the player’s specific interest. However, unlike henchmen, the DM is accorded a ‘veto’ against any situation where a follower is placed in a position of extreme danger or probable death. While henchmen are willing to sacrifice their lives for player characters, followers are not – unless no other course of action is possible.
Note that entering into battle or defending a stronghold would not qualify as “probable death,” since such an action is seen as the necessary protection of the sanctity of the home, while battle does offer a reasonable expectation of survival (particularly since morale failure is a possibility). Danger and death situations apply to where the character is pressed to take a considerable risk when no clear benefit exists (treasure that cannot be seen or proved, for example) or where the chance of success is less than 71%.
The distinction is a gray area and deliberately so, as the game offers far too many situations than what can be specified by any rule. It is probable, however, that if the DM has a record of allowing a follower to take multiple risks, it is probable the player will accept any veto on the character’s action that the DM invokes.
Followers differ from hirelings in that, while they will generally be paid, they will not abandon a player character if payment is not provided (though this behavior will weaken follower morale by 1 point per month skipped).
Note that characters that are followers cannot be ‘run’ independently of the main character, nor will they follow any henchmen of the main character during the campaign. Followers can be given orders to act independently, but their success in such ventures will be determined by the DM.
Experience Gained by Followers
When calculating experience following combat, remember that only leveled characters are entitled to a bonus share of the experience that is awarded.
Bonus x.p. awarded to direct followers of the player’s original character or henchman will be equal to a 12.5% share. Henchmen of followers will be awarded 6.25% of the bonus share of experience. Note that this applies only to bonus x.p. The usual amount of experience received for causing and taking damage is unchanged for followers.