It takes a certain kind of bravery, or foolishness, to venture out into the Ninth World in search of Numenera, knowledge, and other tools to better a community. Player characters are, of course, exactly that brand of fool, but Numenera 2 introduces another group of helpful fools: followers.
All player characters in Numenera 2 have the option to gain followers as they advance in tier. Followers do not need to be paid or housed, though a character who gains followers can certainly make such arrangements if they wish. A follower is inspired by a character to work for them for an extended period, aiding the character in a variety of endeavors. A follower puts the character’s interests ahead of or at least on par with their own.
Not all followers are the same. Each has a specific skill or area of expertise they can share, providing an asset to the character’s actions. For instance, an entertainer follower grants an asset to the character attempting to engage in positive interactions with the social lubrication they can add to a situation. A scholar follower could grant a character an asset to knowledge tasks if the scholar is given some time to research.
As PCs gain tiers, they gain the opportunity to gain higher-level followers, if they wish. A higher-level follower usually provides specific benefits to the community that the character is fostering. A builder increases a community’s infrastructure value. A healer increases a community’s health value. A character could choose to gain a follower known as a porter, whose chief function is to carry things for the PC (including one unused cypher that doesn’t count against the PC’s cypher limit).
At the highest tier, a PC can gain a very competent follower that is both higher level than other followers and who can also directly affect a community’s base power level, known as the community’s rank, in specific instances. For example, a commander modifies a community’s effective rank by +1 for any task involving attacks or defense, while a scout modifies a community’s or horde’s effective rank by +1 for any task involving sensing danger or avoiding sneak attacks from stealthy hordes. These same followers could serve as deputies for characters who spend significant times away from the community, and represent the character’s interest during those periods.
When a character gains a follower, there’s a small chance that the follower will be exceptional in some way–a cut above the other followers of their kind. The GM determines when an exceptional follower is found, possibly as an additional reward for smart or engaging roleplaying where the PCs impress or otherwise positively interact with one or more NPCs, some of whom may later go on to become followers of the PC.