Donsy of Gnomes
Modified from B/X Class: The Extras:, plus The Gnomes of Levnec
DCC Class: Donsy of Gnomes
You aren’t one person at all: instead, you are playing an indeterminate gaggle of nameless gnomes who follow the other PCs around. Two facts remain constant: there are a lot of you (although exactly how many seems to vary from scene to scene) and, despite your numbers, collectively you only manage to achieve about as much as each of the main characters does individually. At best.
The essence of playing as a Donsy of Gnomes is that you aren’t playing as a specific group with clearly-defined numbers and capabilities (e.g. ‘the six archers Alice hired in the city’): use the regular henchmen and followers rules for those. Instead, you’re playing as that bunch of gnomes who are milling around in the background in every scene. Every time you get in a dangerous situation, one or more of you probably dies just in order to show that things are serious; but, mysteriously, these deaths never seem to affect your overall numbers. If, for any reason, it ever becomes necessary to determine exactly how many of you there at a given moment, then roll 1d12+6; but the number rolled has no effect on how many of you there are in the next scene, or indeed in the next combat round.
Game rules for playing the Donsy are as follows:
Hit Dice: 1d12. the Donsy aren’t individually very tough, but there are a lot of them.
To-hit, Hit Dice, Weapons and Armour, Saves, Crit Tables: As per Cleric.
Safety In Numbers: Apart from named characters (see below), the Donsy always goes around in a single big mob. If you use a battle grid or similar, assume that this mob of extras takes up an area 20’ square whenever possible. (In a 5’ wide tunnel, they’d form a single line 5’ wide and 80’ long.) They always move as a single mass, and can attack or be attacked by anything within 5’ of the mob.
Inverse Ninja Rule: Even though there are so many of them, the Donsy only get a single action per round: so a whole mob of Extras attacking a monster is resolved with a single attack roll, and so on. (The exception is Named Characters – see below.)
Many Hands Make Light Work: Whenever they’re performing some kind of unskilled labour – e.g. standing watches, digging ditches, carrying treasure, rowing oars, etc – the Donsy can accomplish the work of ten men. Even though there are more of them than that. Probably. Most of the time.
Share the Pain: The Donsy has a single HP total. Any healing or damage done to any of them affects them all. Weirdly, area-of-effect damage only damages them once rather than many times, almost as if they really were just a single creature…
Arm the Troops: For the Donsy to gain mechanical benefits from new equipment, they must obtain at least ten copies of the equipment in question: so once they have ten swords they can make sword attacks, and so on. If they have less than ten, then some of them can be described as carrying the equipment in question, but they gain no mechanical benefit from it. (Oddly enough, this does not extend to consumables like rations and ammunition, which the Donsy consumes as though there was only one of them present.)
Magic For the Masses: The Donsy can collectively have any number of magic items ‘equipped’ at once, but they can only gain the mechanical benefit from each item once per scene. (The guy with the magic sword steps up to take a swing, or the guy with a magic shield steps up to block a blow, and then they just fade back into the mob.) If the item in question is assigned to a Named Character (see below), then its benefits also apply to any independent actions they may take.
Named Characters: At level 1, give one of the gnomes a name and a personality, just as you would for a normal PC. This character (whom the other Extras will usually call ‘Poomba’) acts as the ‘face’ of the mob, and is the character who you will play during social interactions and similar roleplay-focused scenes. (Naturally, the rest of the gnomes never get any lines.)
Once per scene, you may have this character take an action independently of the Donsy: so the Donsy could attack an orc while Poomba ran off to warn the other PCs, or whatever. This is the only exception to the rule that the Donsy must always act as a single unit, and it effectively gives you two actions for that round only. Next round, Poomba is assumed to have been absorbed back into the general group, and will spend the rest of the scene acting as part of the mob.
Each time you level up, you may create one more Named Character, by giving one of the Donsy a name and a single distinguishing characteristic. (E.g. ‘Satan Toof, always drunk’.) Just like Poomba, each of these named characters may also take one independent action per scene, but only one named character may take such an action per Poomba.
Example: Pipleaf’s Tumblebumbles (level 3) have three named members: Pipleaf herself (the Poomba), No-Ears Jake (their musician), and Silver Fork Sarah (who claims, and may actually believe, that she is secretly a princess). When they get into a fight with some goblins, the Tumblebumbles may act twice on up to three rounds of the ensuing combat: the Tumblebumbles take one collective action per round, in one round Pipleaf can take an action, in one round Jake can take one, and in round Sarah can take one. Once all three Named Characters have taken one action each, the Tumblebumbles revert to their normal single collective action per round.
Die All, Die Merrily: If the Donsy are ever reduced to 0 HP, describe them all dying in some suitably tragi-comic fashion. The only survivors of this massacre will be the Named Characters. The person playing the Donsy can immediately continue play as Poomba, who can be assumed to be a Gnome of one level lower than the Donsy; the other Named Characters will be fighters of half the level of the Donsy, rounded down, who will instantly become Poomba’s henchmen (or someone else’s, if this would take Poomba above their limit.) Each of these characters emerges from the general massacre with only (1d6x10)% of their maximum HP.
Example: Pipleaf’s Tumblebumbles (in the example above) are reduced to 0 HP by the goblins. The only survivors are Pipleaf (who becomes a level 2 fighter, and a new PC), and Jake and Sarah (who become level 1 fighters, and Pipleaf’s henchmen).
If all the named characters survive the adventure and make it back to town, they may recruit a new band of faceless followers and regain their status as the Donsy. If this happens, then the Named Characters merge happily back into the new mob. If, on the other hand, Poomba or any of the other Named Character goes on to die before a new band of Extras can be recruited, then the remaining ones decide sorrowfully that It Would Never Be The Same Without Them and remain as ordinary PCs and henchmen forever.
I Want to be Inside of You: Gnomes are always happy to help others in need, and ultimately are into being eaten. Other PCs may do 1d4 damage to the Donsy and gain the benefits from the Gnome Organ Meat result from the “Effects of Eating a Gnome” in The Gnomes of Levnec.