So what's the basic run down for what I can do with followers?

I just busted out a couple of captives from a raider camp and I was wondering how I can put these people to work for me, however the wiki doesn’t appear to have any information on what commands/options I have available.
What are some of the tasks I can give followers? Such as:

  • Can/will they man turrets?
  • Will they mount vehicles if sufficient seats are available?
  • Can I delegate tasks to them like crafting?
  • What are ways they will mutiny? I’m a walking nightmare of bionics and mutations so I’m not all that good at persuasion, does fear affect loyalty?
  • How do camps work?
  • How long will they guard an area? What does guarding entail?
  • Is this any way I can set them loose?

Seeing as you play the stable build I will list what NPC’s can do in it. In the experimental builds NPC’s have been vastly improved and can do different things.

  • Pulp corpses for you. This is one of the more useful things they do.
  • They can help you batch craft and build buildings if they have the required skills to do so.
  • They will not man turrets but will (usually) prefer to sit in seats when available.
  • NPC’s do not mutiny once you gained their trust AFAIK.
  • Fear makes recruiting NPC’s and interacting peacefully with them harder.
  • Camps allow you to order NPC’s to work without your supervision, recruit more NPC’s and more. See the ingame camp tutorial for more information.
  • Once set to guard mode NPC’s will guard the area until you tell them to stop.
  • NPC’s do not know what “retreat” means and will charge fearlessly into a horde armed with a butter knife (this is not true in the experimental).
  • You can use them as packmules.
  • NPC’s can teach you skills if they are more skilled than you in some area. They do so very efficiently.
  • If you want to get rid of them you can send them on suicide missions, tell them you no longer need them, strip their belongings and order them to guard a (uncleared) mall or just eat them for dinner in front of your other companions.

I see.I think I might have broke the tutorial because there only appear to be two floors. I get as far as the “fill with water stage” then get stuck because I have no containers
The second question then would be if experimental saves are compatible with stable saves?

You can try to copy your world from the ‘save’ folder into a fresh version of Cataclysm (experimental). It may be very messy (errors etc) but it is worth to try.
For me, NPCs are great in terms of immersion. Their AI is not perfect but developers have done an astonishing job and having companions is very beneficial. They will protect you when you are sleeping, they will warn you about various dangers, they will help you with crafting, constructing etc. They can learn different skills by observing your character at work. They may become your ‘friends’ after two-three months. I genuinely miss some NPCs… After a while they will have their own ‘soul, life story, background’ etc. They do not have to be seen as meat shields

The NPC camp tutorial is not the one from the games menu. That one has been broken for years.
To start the camp tutorial you need to talk to one of your NPCs and ask them about faction camps.