Every hero needs someone they can rely upon.
If using the Ally system, each player character will begin play with an Ally.
In a more low-key campaign, Ally acquisition can be delayed until level 2 at the GM's decision.
An Ally is a close friend that will adventure with you and generally try to help you out.
Allies are NOT Henchmen or Hirelings and are not created as fully fledged characters.
(This chapter references Skill Checks, this is an ability score check taken on 3D6 instead of the customary D20)
Each Ally is associated with a particular ability score and will have a single Ally skill.
When the Ally is present and able to assist, they will lend their skill to the player character they are associated with.
Whenever the character must attempt a Skill Check, they may add a +1 bonus if the Skill check is using the ability score the Ally is associated with.
My thief friend is a Dexterity character.
If I try to make any Dexterity based Skill Check with her around, I can increase my effective Dexterity score by 1 points.
Sample Ally skills
Combat +1 attack bonus in hand to hand combat.
Sixth sense +1 bonus to saving throws.
Alertness - +1 to Detection rolls.
Survival - When hitting 0 HP, death clock starts one higher.
Archery - +2 hit bonus when making ranged attacks.
Mobility - Increase combat movement by 10%.
Scouting - +1 to Search rolls.
Wilderness - Reduce travel times by 10%.
Crafting - Reduce crafting times by 20%.
A character may add a second Ally at experience levels 4 and 8.
Allies of the same character cannot have the same skill but may be associated with the same Ability Score if desired.
Allies in play
Allies are considered to be part of the scene.
If the party is in combat or subject to a threat, Allies are assumed to be engaged as well but no dice are rolled.
Their fate is generally dependent on the player character.
Allies are not affected by attacks, magical effects or traps that target the player characters:
Assume that the Ally is wounded, roughed up or exhausted but is able to keep up with the player characters as needed.
A threat, trap or hazard may specifically target an Ally, causing them to be incapacitated until the group can rest at a safe location with ample food and drink.
If the entire group is affected by a trap or hazard, one Ally will be incapacitated in any appropriate manner.
Allies do not take independent actions that require any dice roll.
If making a skill check using the Ally bonus, the player may narrate that the Ally is performing the action in their place, but they cannot perform further actions that result from the Skill Check.
I make a Dexterity Skill Check using my Thief.
I explain that she sneaks forward to spy on the band of orcs.
If she is spotted, the GM may narrate her slipping away under the cover of night.
Alternatively, if the failure would have resulted in the player character being injured (for example by an ambush from orc archers), the thief could be captured or they might be injured and incapacitated, stumbling back into our camp with an arrow in her arm.
Non dice actions
Allies can perform general actions that don't require significant rolls as and when needed.
For example, an Ally could stand guard at a location, travel to deliver a message or fetch help, help carry loot and other straight-forward actions.
Allies are generally the province of the player in question.
Some players will enjoy a significant amount of roleplaying, devising complex personalities while others will prefer to keep the Ally in the background much of the time.
For less experienced groups, playing 2 (or more) characters can be confusing and complicated.
If so, delay the use of the Ally rule or omit it from a particular campaign altogether.
The ultimate sacrifice
With the GM's approval, an Ally may sacrifice themselves to help a character.
This allows a player character to avoid a grim fate, fatal combat blow, trap or similar but results in the death of the Ally.
This will raise the Burden of the player character by 1.
A slain or absent Ally is replaced upon reaching the next level of experience (or concluding the next adventure if at level 9)
When achieving a new level of experience (or concluding an adventure at level 9), one Ally may be exchanged if the GM permits.