Are henchmen, hirelings, or companions used in your campaign? How are they treated by the player characters? Whose voice do they use?
There are certain efforts that I make with the companions In My Campaign:
- They reflect something back on the PCs that will either raise or lower the interest in the PCs
- Per above, the henchfolk are ‘sticky’ and keep the spotlight on the PCs
- henchfolk deliver dramatic tension to move the story along
- henchfolk come from the GM’s voice and balanced participation in the creation of the campaign
Treatment by the PCs then is quite serious and sincere. I’ve never had a case of NPC abuse by PCs.
While it is human nature to have a bit of fun with the “bit players”, I think the immersive style of this GM would preclude a lot of NPC abuse.
I have taken this to great lengths as a Player as well. In Strange Bedfellows, the companion to Bhangbadea has begun to post separate turns and have his own threads.