More after-action reports are starting to come in from the Minneapolis playtest group, among them some comments that got me to thinking.
I had a brainwave thanks to feedback from Bob Cook, who said, “I do wish that dulohan was a little less abstract, as the idea of having an entourage was cool, but the implementation was a little nebulous in the sense that the number for your dulohan represented a mix of number of followers and the skill of those followers rather than one or the other. It didn't hinder play, exactly, that this number was a little vague in what it represented, and once we understood how to spend the points, it was no big deal, but conceptually it would be simpler to comprehend if its definition was a little clearer.”
He’s right, this criticism has been made of other games before that used abstracted resource pools to represent followers or mooks. I wouldn’t want to go in a direction that makes you need to pull out a calculator for fight scenes, but benchmark numbers would be really nice too. So thanks Bob, now I have it! :-)
Your Dulohan consists of mature, proven Orang Dakila warriors – Bagani – plus their respective followings of freemen, youths, and possibly some fighting slaves (usually poor debtors who’d rather fight than toil for their manumission price). The proportion is roughly 1 Bagani per point of Dulohan, plus 3-10 or so followers of much lower quality per Bagani. Thus a typical Datu with a Dulohan of 10 will have about ~100 men in all, enough to crew a karakoa warship.
Dulohan strength scales with rank. Starting heroes get only a few men with each Bagni in their following, but ruling datus and higher-ranked royalty get more. So for example this PC, an impoverished lesser datu has 6 Dulohan; he has 6 Bagani in his train, and a total of about 18 spear carriers + 6 Bagani = 24 men.
So what does it mean when you lose 1 Dulohan? It means one of your Bagani was killed or seriously injured, distracting and disheartening his followers, who’ll concentrate on saving their skins and maybe getting the body of their master out of the fight. Or, you may have lost an equivalent number of lesser fighters, some of them killed or injured, the rest demoralized enough that their fighting ability is seriously impaired.
Think this’ll work?