Thursday, September 26, 2013

ACKS: Handling Henchman Signing Bonuses

One thing that caused me trouble when I last ran ACKS was handling signing bonuses.  My PCs, clever fellows that they are, noted early that a signing bonus, being paid once, was generally a cheaper way to get a bonus to their hiring rolls than offering an increased pay rate.  A problem of adjudication ensued - what sort of signing bonus is worth what bonus to hiring?

Upon recent consideration, Bribery provides an interesting precedent of three teirs, but the values it uses for each are far too low for this case.  When you're interviewing for a job, a signing bonus of one day's pay really isn't going to significantly influence your decision unless you're very desperate.  A week's pay seems unlikely to either.  The ratio between steps in bribery seems reasonable, though; a +2 bonus costs seven times as much as a +1 bonus, and a +3 bonus fourish times what a +2 bonus costs.  So I suppose, at a wag, a +1 bonus to hiring might be procured with an offer of one month's wages up front, a +2 bonus for six month's wages up front, and a +3 bonus for two years' wages up front.

The follow-up question, of course, is 'what sort of percentage increase do you need to offer a henchman for what degree of hiring roll bonus'.  I do not yet have a reasonable solution to this.  There is definitely some room for characterization in this process; smart or forward-thinking henchmen are liable to favor a percentage increase over a signing bonus, while treacherous or rash henchmen will likely favor the bonus.  Perhaps "henchman personality" should influence the effectiveness of these modifiers...

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