Respect Your Faithful Servant Or Else…

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on September 4, 2009

Although your faithful servant isn’t invisible he might as well be. He’s overlooked and often forgotten. Whenever you stop for an extended rest, the faithful servant is the one who sets up camp. He tends to your armor, weapons and other equipment. He sees that your horse is fed and groomed. He makes dinner and cleans up afterwards. Without the faithful servant you’d be lost. Yet you barely acknowledge him or even address him.

PCs only want to focus on the exciting parts of D&D. But what about all that behind the scenes stuff? Just because you don’t want to play the boring parts doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening in between fighting and sleeping. Most PCs don’t even realize that they have a faithful servant who’s been handing all of the less glamorous parts of your adventuring career for years. Well today the faithful servants speak up and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll listen.

It’s been so long since you’ve had a direct, one-on-one conversation with your faithful servant that you may not even remember hiring him. You probably don’t even remember seeing him as recently as this morning when he made you your breakfast. You’ve become so consumed by your everyday adventuring that you don’t even see the faithful servant any more.

Sure, go ahead and try to deny his very existence. But ask yourself, when was the last time you did any of the chores the faithful servant handles every day? Last night you said “I take an extended rest” and the next thing you know it’s morning and you’re off again. You made no mention of doing any of the mundane and boring tasks that life throws at you when you’re not killing monsters or talking your way past a check point. If it wasn’t for the faithful servant you would have perished long ago.

It’s about time that you and all of your adventuring friends took notice of your faithful servants. They do all the tasks that you don’t want to do. They do all the “real-life” stuff that you don’t want to bother with. But just because you don’t want to do them doesn’t mean they aren’t getting done. The faithful servant fills a necessary role in your adventuring career and if you don’t recognize that fact soon you’ll be in big trouble.

You can begin making amends by thanking the faithful servant for all the hard work he’s already done (without so much as a word of praise). Next you can start to help him with the mundane chores. I’m not suggesting that you waste a lot of time with the little things, but once and a while try to make an effort. Even a small acknowledgement of the little details goes a long way. You’d do well to keep that in mind the next time you decide to take and extended rest.

1 Wyatt September 4, 2009 at 9:47 am

If my PCs don’t talk about eating, or setting camp, I assume they’re lying in the cold, vulnerable and hungry, and when they next awaken, they lose a healing surge and there’s a monster laughing at them for their misfortune. Not fighting them, mind you. Just laughing at them.
.-= Wyatt´s last blog ..Wyatt Does Defense Math (Oh Lawd) =-.

2 Craig Willcutt September 4, 2009 at 9:48 am

This is an interesting post.

I have found in my new world of Play by Post (PbP) gaming that the faithful servant sometimes get a break. Unfortunately, at the tabletop, the servant just has their role to play. Unless the servant is lucky enough to have a “True Roleplayer” player then the life of the faithful servant is going to be a tough one to bear.

I also wanted to add that this letter could be written by any of those people who are otherwise known as “celebrity assistants”.

3 Ameron September 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

It certainly made me laugh. I may have to adopt this rule.

@Craig Willcutt
When I ran the article “Your coin is No Good Here” last week someone commented that all the mundane activities are assumed to be done behind the scenes. That got me thinking about just how many activities are deemed mundane in D&D. It seemed pretty unlikely to me that PCs do all of this for themselves (even if they never say they’re doing it). However, if all adventurers had a faithful servant who did all of the chores for them that would explain a lot. It turns out this is exactly how it happens and the faithful servants are only now asking for a little respect.

4 BruntFCA September 10, 2009 at 9:13 am

I don’t really like the idea tbh.

Most heroic characters are supposed to be self sufficient. Did Aragon and the Hobbits have “Faithful Servants” on their fellowship. Can you imagine a ranger or druid with such a servant?

What happens during an encounter? If they’re L0 chars then surely the monsters must target “the baggage train”; an often used tactic in medieval war. Unless running some sort of large war campaing or the PC were hanging out in a castle….I’d just ditch the idea….also makes the dungeoneering and nature skills kinda pointless if you got Baldric following you around all day…….argh!

5 Ameron September 10, 2009 at 12:46 pm

I’m not actually suggesting that PCs go out and hire servants, I’m merely poking fun at the fact that very few PCs spend any in-game time doing all the boring, day-to-day, non-combat tasks that are obviously getting done in the background. Who wants to spend time role-playing setting up camp, cooking dinner, sharpening weapons, washing blood out of armor, etc. If you “believe” that all PCs have a faithful servant working behind the scenes and remaining out of the spotlight (as if invisible) then there’s no need to role-play the mundane tasks. This is just a humorous observation on my part. If you would rather role-play the realism, then that’s cool. Each DM will handle the situation as they see fit.

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