Hirelings and Henchmen

As player characters advance in wealth and power, they are increasingly likely to require the semi-permanent services of various sorts of non-player character. In addition to less formal associations and patronages, a character may expect to have the opportunity to acquire and retain hirelings and henchmen. In general, but not in every case, the former are unclassed zero level characters incapable of conventional advancement by level, whilst the latter are classed characters, initially of low level, but capable of level advancement.

In almost all instances, hirelings and henchmen must be entirely equipped by those they serve, and contribute nothing but themselves. Should a player character seek to engage the services of an already equipped non-player character, the game master would be well advised to ensure that the value of any equipment be paid to the prospective retainer as a stipend prior to commencement of service.

It is typically assumed that hirelings are human; if non-human hirelings are sought, then the appropriate costs, terms of service, and availability must be decided in accordance with the dictates of a given milieu.

Standard Hirelings

The short term services of simple craftsmen and labourers are relatively easily procured in large settlements, but even small villages are usually able to supply something in the way of this sort of hireling. It is more difficult to find individuals willing to take service for longer than a few days, especially if considerable travel is involved. If a lengthy term of service is proposed, it is likely that only one in every six such hirelings will agree, though the offer of additional monies may increase the probability of acceptance. Under normal circumstances, a reasonable offer might be an additional two or three day’s pay, which could be expected to increase the probability of agreement to as much as one in every two.

Rates of payment do not take into account the cost of materials for the undertaking of construction or the creation of items. The figuring of such costs is mainly left up to each game master, but a reasonable guideline for an item would be about ten percent of the cost of the finished product. Furthermore, monthly rates of payment assume that the hireling is provided with lodgings and that his other day to day needs are attended to; if such is not the case, then the game master will have to account for the lack.

Hireling Daily Rate Monthly Rate
Carpenter 3 sp 40 sp
Cook 1 sp 20 sp
Groom 1 sp 20 sp
Labourer 1 sp 20 sp
Leatherer 2 sp 30 sp
Limner 10 sp 200 sp
Linkboy 1 sp 20 sp
Mason 4 sp 60 sp
Pack Handler 2 sp 30 sp
Servant 3 sp 50 sp
Tailor 2 sp 30 sp
Teamster 5 sp 100 sp

Carpenter: Skilled in the working of wood, a carpenter might be retained to construct anything from a table to a palisade. Their expertise is also invaluable for the manufacturing of shields and similar items.

Cook: Familiar with the preparation of various types of food, a good cook sometimes also knows a little of herb lore.

Groom: Proficient in the care of horses, an attentive groom can usually tell a good mount from a bad; also known as an ostler or stable hand.

Labourer: Essentially unskilled, labourers are suitable for only the most menial sorts of work; this category includes bearers and porters, each of which is able to carry up to fifty pounds or twice that if a pole or other contrivance is utilised.

Leatherer: Capable of producing a wide range of leather goods, such as packs, belts or riding gear; a leatherer is indispensible for the making of scabbards, sheathes, shields and the other leather components of arms and armour.

Limner: Adept in the painting of signs and the illumination of heraldic devices, amongst other similar tasks.

Linkboy: Usually hired to bear a lantern or torch, a linkboy is typically a youth, but older individuals are not unknown.

Mason: Expert in the working of stone or plaster, masons are essential for the construction of many significant buildings and fortifications.

Pack Handler: Practiced in the burdening, handling and unburdening of various pack animals.

Servant: Typically serving as valets, butlers, maids, messengers or simple lackeys, servants are expected to look to the needs of their master.

Tailor: Accomplished in the repair and making of clothes or other cloth items, such as surcoats, capes or hats; the services of a tailor are also required for the production of various types of textile based armour and coverings.

Teamster: Experienced drivers of carts and wagons, teamsters are usually experts at loading and unloading their vehicles, as well as handling the animals with which they are familiar.

Expert Hirelings

Obtaining the services of very skilled craftsmen and other professional servitors typically involves the expenditure of considerable time and resources. Whilst it is possible to retain such hirelings for short periods, few will agree to a term of less than a month and most expect to serve considerably longer. It is therefore usual for expert hirelings to only be retained by player characters who have already established a stronghold or the equivalent. The maintenance of a stronghold is assumed to include any common hirelings necessary, but expert hirelings must be accounted for separately.

Whilst some may certainly be found in small villages, the probability of finding expert hirelings willing to take service with a player character is considerably higher in larger settlements, such as towns and cities, where suitable candidates exist in greater numbers. Exactly where individual hirelings may be located varies, but craftsmen are typically found in or near their respective artisan quarters, whilst mercenaries may be sought at inns and taverns. Successful recruitment depends on the terms offered relative to the difficulties and risks involved in the proposal.

The below listed monthly costs encompass wages, clothing, lodgings and provisions, as well as any basic equipment, but not such expenses as the arms and armour due to a man at arms, which must be provided separately. Furthermore, as with standard hirelings, additional monies must be paid to cover the costs of materials and tools in order for craftsmen to produce items, or in the case of certain other special instances. The monthly costs assume that the hirelings in question are quartered in or near the stronghold of a player character and may not suffice in other circumstances. Moreover, a higher rate of pay or otherwise favourable treatment will be required to improve the morale and loyalty of a hireling.

Hireling Monthly Wage
Alchemist 6,000 sp
Armourer 2,000 sp
Blacksmith 600 sp
Engineer (Architect) 2,000 sp
Engineer (Artillerist) 3,000 sp
Engineer (Miner or Sapper) 3,000 sp
Jeweller (Gemcutter) 2,000 sp
Sage Special
Scribe 300 sp
Spy Special
Steward Special
Weaponer 2,000 sp
Men at Arms Monthly Wage Equipment Cost Movement Rate Armour Class Damage Range Increment
Artillerist 100 sp 25 gp 90 7 1d6 or 1d4 10
Bowman, Long 80 sp 79 gp 90 7 1d6 70
Bowman, Short 40 sp 34 gp 90 7 1d6 50
Bowman (Mounted) 120 sp 196 gp 240 or 90 7 1d6 50
Captain Special as type as type as type as type as type
Crossbowman 40 sp 31 gp 90 7 1d4+1 or 1d6 60
Crossbowman (Mounted) 80 sp 197 gp 240 or 90 7 1d4+1 or 1d6 60
Footman, Heavy 40 sp 62 gp 60 6 1d10 or 1d6 n/a
Footman, Heavy (Mounted) 60 sp 99 gp 240 or 60 6 1d10 or 1d6 n/a
Footman, Light 20 sp 32 gp 90 6 1d6 15
Footman, Light (Mounted) 40 sp 69 gp 240 or 90 6 1d6 15
Horseman, Heavy 120 sp 675 gp 150 or 90 4 2d4+1 or 1d8 n/a
Horseman, Medium 80 sp 465 gp 180 or 60 5 2d4+1 or 2d4 n/a
Horseman, Light 60 sp 294 gp 240 or 90 6 2d4+1 or 1d6 10
Lieutenant Special as type as type as type as type as type
Pikeman 60 sp 59 gp 60 6 1d6+1 or 1d6 n/a
Sapper 80 sp 25 gp 90 7 1d6 or 1d4 10
Sergeant Special as type as type as type as type as type
Slinger 60 sp 28 gp 90 6 1d4+1 or 1d6 35
Ship Crew Monthly Wage Equipment Cost Movement Rate Armour Class Damage Range Increment
Lieutenant Special as type as type as type as type as type
Marine 60 sp 70 gp 60 5 1d6 15 or 10
Master Special as type as type as type as type as type
Mate 600 sp as type as type as type as type as type
Oarsman 100 sp 35 gp 90 6 1d6 or 1d4 10
Sailor 40 sp 20 gp 120 9 1d6 or 1d4 10

Alchemist: Learned in the admixture and creation of the various powders, elixirs, unguents, salves, ointments, oils, essences, and other arcane ingredients. A level seven magic user requires the aid of an alchemist to create magical potions; by level eleven such assistance is no longer needed, but will reduce the cost and time involved by half if available. In general, alchemists must be sought in cities. It is very unlikely that they will take service with a player character unless retained for a year or more, provided with a well stock laboratory and an initial fiscal incentive of up to one hundred gold pieces.

Armourer: Required for the production and maintenance of armour and shields; for every sixty men at arms or barded warhorses present, there must be at least one armourer available. Each must be provided with a workroom and forge at an additional cost, but sufficient apprentices and assistants are assumed to be accounted for as part of his monthly wage. Whilst otherwise unoccupied, and given an initial week in which to prepare, an armourer of sufficient skill may produce items in accordance with the table below; the GM should determine the additional cost involved and what level of skill an individual armourer has reached.

Armour Type Days to Produce Skill Level Required Hirelings
Helmet, Small 2 days High Armourer
Helmet, Great 10 days High Armourer
Padded Armour 30 days Low Tailor
Leather Armour 10 days Low Armourer, Leatherer
Ring Armour 20 days Low Armourer, Leatherer, Tailor
Studded Armour 15 days Low Armourer, Leatherer, Tailor
Scale Armour 30 days Low Armourer, Leatherer, Tailor
Mail Armour 45 days Average Armourer
Splint Armour 20 days Low Armourer, Blacksmith, Leatherer
Banded Armour 30 days High Armourer
Plate Armour 90 days High Armourer
Shield, Large 2 days High Armourer, Carpenter
Shield, Small 1 day High Armourer, Carpenter

A dwarf armourer is more likely to have a higher level of skill and is twice as efficient, but also demands three times the standard wage; furthermore, a dwarf is unlikely to serve for more than a year at a time. A gnome armourer is slightly more likely to have a higher level of skill and increases efficiency by half, but requires twice the ordinary wage. The services of an elf armourer can only be obtained for five times the usual wage, but will produce mail of the highest quality and reduce the production time by half.

Blacksmith: Essential for the maintenance of a stronghold and any resident soldiery; for every blacksmith retained the needs of up to one hundred and twenty men or horses can be met, but there must be at least one in every stronghold and a workroom and forge must be provided for each. If sufficient time is available, a blacksmith can produce simple weaponry at the following rates and at a cost determined by the game master.

Weapon Type Days to Produce
Arrow Head 1
Quarrel Tip 1
Spear 2
Morning Star 2
Flail 5
Pole Arm 5

A dwarf blacksmith is three times as efficient as a human, but will demand ten times the ordinary pay. A gnome blacksmith is twice as efficient as a human, but will demand four times the usual wage.

Engineer (Architect): Necessary for the successful construction of any but the most simple of surface structures. An architect requires payment by the month, even for short projects, and expects to receive an additional sum equal to one tenth of the building costs. Unless the construction site was approved by an architect, there is a three in four chance that any structure will collapse within a month to a few years of completion.

Engineer (Artillerist): Mandatory for the construction and correct operation of siege weapons, such as the trebuchet or ballista. Any attempt to build or use such weapons correctly without the aid of such an engineer will surely fail. If retained for only a few months at a time, this specialist demands higher pay, perhaps as much as sixty percent above the standard wage.

Engineer (Miner and Sapper): Indispensable for the overseeing of any mining operations, underground construction, or siege and counter siege works that involve trenches, fortifications, assault towers and other similar siege devices. A dwarf engineer of this sort is required if dwarf miners are employed; he will demand twice the standard wage, but increase the productivity of any human miners by one fifth.

Jeweller and Gemcutter: Able to speedily and accurately appraise the value of most gems, jewellery and other precious objects, a jeweller is also capable of repairing, enhancing or newly creating ornamented items and jewellery. Simple tasks, such as setting a stone in the hilt of a sword or the forging of a plain ring, might take only a few days to a week, whilst more complex undertakings, such as producing a gem studded bracelet, could take up to a month; of course, truly opulent and intricate items might take a year or more.

Often a jeweller is also skilled at cutting gems; just as in their former capacity they may increase the value of an item through their craft, as a gemcutter they may increase the value of poorly cut stones, usually those worth less than five thousand gold pieces. However, the level of proficiency an individual possesses with regard to each skill varies and must be determined by the game master. A dwarf of this profession often possesses a greater degree of general ability than a human, but commands twice the pay. A gnome may be no better a jeweller than a human, but they are typically of even greater skill than a dwarf when it comes to gemcutting, and can also ask for twice the standard wage.

Mercenaries: The numbers, type and frequency of men at arms available in a given settlement are at the discretion of the game master, but a chart is provided below with suggested probability distributions. In general, when a group of six to ten mercenaries of the same type is encountered they will be led by a sergeant; larger groups will be led by a lieutenant or captain, as appropriate, and include sufficient sergeants to keep the regular soldiers in order. There must be an officer, such as a captain, for each body of mercenaries that a player character wishes to retain.

d% Type 1-40 41-70 71-90 91-100
01-04 Bowman, Long 1d6 2d6 3d6 4d6
05-10 Bowman, Short 2d6 3d6 4d6 5d6
11 Bowman, Short (Mounted) 1d3 1d6 2d6 3d6
12-17 Crossbowman 2d6 3d6 4d6 5d6
18-21 Crossbowman (Mounted) 1d6 2d6 3d6 4d6
22-24 Slingman 1d3 1d6 2d6 3d6
25-35 Footman, Heavy 1d6 3d6 5d6 10d6
36-38 Footman, Heavy (Mounted) 1d3 1d6 2d6 3d6
39-45 Footman, Light 1d6 2d6 3d6 4d6
46-49 Footman, Light (Mounted) 1d6 2d6 3d6 4d6
50-52 Pikeman 1d6 3d6 5d6 7d6
53-57 Horseman, Heavy 1d3 1d6 2d6 3d6
58-65 Horseman, Medium 1d3 1d6 2d6 3d6
66-77 Horseman, Light 1d6 2d6 3d6 5d6
78-79 Artillerist 1 2 3 4
80-81 Sapper 1d2 2d2 3d2 4d2
82 Captain 1 1 1 1
83 Lieutenant 1 1 1 1
84-88 Sergeant 1 1 1d2 1d3
89-90 Any Ranged as type as type as type as type
91-96 Any Foot as type as type as type as type
97-99 Any Horse as type as type as type as type
00 Any as type as type as type as type

The majority of regular men at arms are zero level characters with 1d4+3 hit points; if more experienced soldiers are desired, then the game master must decide with what frequency they are available and what payment they require in accordance with the campaign milieu. Similarly, the prospect of raising militias and levies is not addressed here, their quality depending on many factors, but in most cases being inferior to that of professional soldiery.

As with most standard hirelings, very few men at arms will agree to serve for periods of less than a month and sergeants, lieutenants and captains will never agree to serve for such a limited duration. Mercenaries retained on a short term basis will rarely agree to perform dangerous duties unless paid considerably more than the standard sum; indeed, thirty times the daily wage is typically demanded.

Optional Rule: At the discretion of the game master, a player character fighter of the appropriate level may serve as a sergeant, lieutenant or captain, as might an allied non-player character fighter or henchmen. A character of a related class, such as ranger or paladin, might also suffice if the circumstances warrant such an allowance.

Non-Human Mercenaries: The opportunity to retain the services of non-human mercenaries is something that depends on an individual campaign milieu; however, it is typically more difficult than enlisting standard men at arms. Individuals of mixed ancestry, such as half elves or half orcs may be found amongst the ranks of either parentage.

In general, demi-humans will only agree to take service with a champion of their race or in a cause that is directly in their interest, with the aid of elves being the most difficult to obtain. As an exception, dwarf mercenaries might, for double normal pay, be successfully recruited to fight in the causes of others.

Many humanoids, such as kobolds, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, bugbears or gnolls, may take service with evil aligned characters that are powerful enough to master them or insidious enough to manipulate them. They may even serve for less than half pay, but such soldiery are given to breaches of discipline, vile behaviour, despoliation of any territory they pass through and the intolerable abuse or murder of any unfortunate inhabitants.

Sage: The ultimate receptacle of knowledge and lore, a sage is a sort of mediæval research library contained in one being. The sage can be summed up as a person with a degree of knowledge on just about everything, a lot of knowledge in a few specific fields, and authoritative knowledge in his or her special fields of study.

In game terms, the sage would be able to converse intelligently on a wide variety of subjects but would give very good advice in his or her field of study, authoritative advice in his or her special areas of research, and reasonable advice in one or two other fields. Keep in mind, too, that all this is relative—advice from a sage should never be lightly ignored, no matter the subject under discussion or area of study of the sage. Obviously, portraying such an individual presents a challenge: how much does the sage know and in what areas does he or she know it? The tables presented here should help the GM to fully answer those questions.

First, the fields of specialty must be determined. As always, random generation scores are included but the GM should feel free to tailor a sage to campaign’s needs. Be careful of meta-game questions or information. This is to say, the players should not be able to ask things about which the characters should have no knowledge, nor should the sage divulge information which she should not possess. If laser guns do not exist in your milieu, for instance, then no question concerning them should be answered.

Sage Ability Table

d% Minor Fields Special Categories in Major Field
01-10 1 2
11-30 1 3
31-50 1 4
51-70 2 2
71-90 2 3
91-00 2 4

Sage Fields of Study (d%)

Humankind (01-30)
Art Law
Biology Politics
Demography Psychology
History Religion
Languages Sociology
Demi-Humankind (31-40)
Art Law
Biology Politics
Demography Psychology
History Religion
Languages Sociology
Humanoids (41-50)
Art Law
Biology Politics
Demography Psychology
History Religion
Languages Sociology
Natural Philosophy (51-65)
Alchemy Mathematics
Architecture Meteorology
Astronomy Metallurgy
Chemistry Oceanography
Geography Physics
Geology Topography
Fauna (66-75)
Amphibians Insects
Arachnids Mammals
Avians Marsupials
Crustaceans & Molluscs Reptiles
Flora (76-85)
Bushes & Shrubs Herbs
Flowers Mosses & Ferns
Fungi Trees
Grasses & Grains Weeds
Supernatural & Unusual (86-00)
Astrology & Numerology Magic
Cryptography Medicine
Divination Metaphysics
Heraldry, Signs, & Sigils Planes

Chance of Knowing the Answer to a Question: Roll the generated number or less to determine if the sage knows the answer to the query.

Question is: General Specific Exacting
Out of Fields 35% 10% 1%
In Minor Field 50% 35% 15%
In Major Field 70% 60% 35%
In Special Category 90% 75% 50%

Examples of the different types of questions:

General: Do humanoids inhabit the region north of the Great Mountains?

Specific: Do hobgoblins of the Three Skulls tribe live in the region north of the Great Mountains?

Exacting: Do the hobgoblins of the Three Skulls tribe living in the region north of the Great Mountain possess the dread artifact known as “The Great Spear of Kaliban”?

A sage does not carry all his or her knowledge within his or her head. Picture the modern attorney and the considerable size of the libraries in his offices. This may give one an idea of the sheer volume of stored information a sage will wish to be able to access on demand. Sages are scholarly, eccentric types and a PC offering to hire one will be expected to provide private living spaces far away from noise and the bustle of activity. The minimum quarters a sage would accept would consist of four separate rooms of no less than 200 sq ft each: living quarters, study, library, and workroom. Depending upon the field of speciality, the sage may also request various other areas, such as a zoo for housing living creatures for study, or a greenhouse for the study of plants. The average sage will see the player as the opportunity for acquisition of additional materials for study and categorisation and will, in all likelihood, demand far more for his or her work than he or she will actually need. At any rate, the busier the sage is kept and the more often his or her studies are interrupted, the more materials and money he or she will likely demand.

Sage Characteristics: If a sage is to be hired for a long period of time, his or her abilities and alignment should be determined as follows.

Strength: 1d8+6 Intelligence: 1d4+14
Dexterity: 3d6 Wisdom: 1d6+12
Constitution: 2d6+3 Charisma: 2d6+3
Alignment: see table below Hit Points: 4d6
d% Result d% Result
01-05 Chaotic Evil 41-60 Lawful Neutral
06-10 Chaotic Good 61-80 Neutral
11-20 Chaotic Neutral 81-90 Neutral Evil
21-30 Lawful Evil 91-00 Neutral Good
31-40 Lawful Good

Special Skills: Sages have limited ability in spell-casting granted to them by the sheer volume of knowledge they have accumulated and the type of spell is usually related to their field of speciality. The GM should determine whether the sage’s spell-casting ability is arcane, phantasmal, divine or druidic when the sage is created, based on a judgement call rather than a random roll. Expertise in the field of magic, for instance, would indicate arcane spell ability. On the other hand a sage with extensive knowledge of trees would have druidic spell ability. Phantasmal magic might be associated with psychology and divine ability with astronomy.

Roll 1d4+2 to determine the maximum level of the spells the sage knows and 1d4 to generate the maximum number of spells known for each level. Spells memorised by the sage will normally be of utility to a non-adventuring type person, for example: unseen servant, read magic, locate object, or tongues. The sage will cast the spell at the minimum level required for a member of that class to cast the spell. Tongues, to take an instance from the above list, would be cast by the sage as a 5th level magic user. A sage will regard his or her spell knowledge as a closely-kept secret and will not divulge this ability lightly.

Hiring A Sage: Only fighters, rangers, paladins, thieves, and assassins may hire a sage; though other classes may consult with sages as need dictates. Hiring a sage will require the PC have a stronghold outfitted with space for the sage as indicated above. Sages will only accept a permanent offer of lifetime service.

Location of a Sage: Sages are located in larger towns and in cities, particularly near universities, museums, libraries, and the like. Sages also have a somewhat informal brotherhood but there is nothing such as a guild house where one might inquire about hiring a sage. Any sage will have a general knowledge as to the whereabouts of most sages in the area. Likewise, the employment of any sage will quickly become common knowledge throughout the general area.

Short Term Employment—Consulting a Sage: Players do not need to hire a sage before asking questions of one. Consultations last no more than 1 week, after which the sage will not be available to the players for the period of 1 month. Consultation fees run to 100 gp per day plus the amount shown on the tables in Information Discovery section below.

Long Term Employment: As with most types of hirelings, sages agreeing to employment will show up with only the clothes on their backs and the shoes on their feet. Unlike other hirelings, however, the initial outlay of money and materials involved with employing a sage is considerable.

Support and salary, per month: 200 gp to 1,200 gp (2d6 × 100)
Research grants, per month: 200 gp to 1,200 gp (2d6 × 100)
Initial material expenditure: 20,000 gp minimum

This minimum initial material expenditure will allow the sage to operate at about 50% efficiency in performing research and providing information. Each extra 1,000 gp will increase efficiency by 1% until 90% is reached (60,000 gp). Thereafter, each 1% increase will cost the employer a further 4,000 gp. This is to simulate the increasingly difficult acquisition of rare books and equipment. The proper setting and materials for the sage to operate at 100% efficiency cost a total of 100,000 gp.

The employer can spend still more money to increase the sage ability in both general and specific fields of study. For 5,000 gp and 1 month of uninterrupted study, the sage can increase ability outside of his or her field 1%, up to a maximum gain of 5%. For 10,000 gp and 1 month uninterrupted study time the sage can increase expertise in his or her minor fields of study by 1% up to a maximum gain of 5%. A minor field can be added, up to three maximum, for 100,000 gp and 2 years of study. A major field of study requires 200,000 gp and also requires an uninterrupted 2 years of study time.

Payment for such additional studies must be made in advance and if the sage is asked a question during that time the money is lost and effort wasted.

Information Discovery

Use the table below for determining fees and time required for information discovery. This table assumes research under the optimal condition of the sage having a well-stocked workshop with library and being located near a large town or city.

Location is important because the sage may need additional equipment or materials for additional research which simply would not be available in more rural settings. A sage located far from large population centres will probably require double the regular fee schedule and allotted time for research. In such a situation, after rolling on the Chance of Knowing the Answer to a Question table, roll d% again. For all categories except Special, if the second roll is 20% or less of the first percentage generated the sage knows the answer without having to conduct the research at the more expensive double rate, since the information he or she already has at hand is sufficient to answer the query.

For example: a sage in a remote location is asked specific question in an Out of Fields category. The GM rolls a 10 on a 1d10 and the table yields a result of 20%. The GM rolls d% again and if the result is 1 (20% of 20) the sage will be able to provide an answer at the regular cost; otherwise research time and cost will be doubled. For questions in the sage’s special category of knowledge the spread increases to 80%. Fees for secondary questions based upon answers to a previous question are subject to the sage’s reaction to the players; the GM must decide whether the fee is charged again, or partial, or waived. Unknown information will take from 50%-100% of allotted time to determine whether sage can answer the question, but will cost only half the standard rate.

The abbreviation “r” means “rounds”, “h” means “hours”, and “d” means “days”.

Information Discovery Time and Cost Table

Question is: General Specific Exacting Cost (gp)
Out of Fields 1d6r 2d6d 100/d
In Minor Field 1d4r 2d10d 5d8d 1,000/d
In Major Field 1d3r 1d12d 3d10d 500/d
In Special Category 1d2r 1d10h 2d6d 200/d

Rest and Recuperation: For every day spent in research the sage must spend 3 days resting. Interruptions during this down-time will result in additional days of rest and maximum costs and research times for any questions he or she is compelled to answer.

Demi-Human or Half-Human Sages: Most sages are human but sometimes sages of other races will be encountered. Chances are they will not be interested in consulting with player-characters—especially human PCs. As always, this rule depends upon their reaction to the players and the circumstances of the encounter.

Scribe: Practiced in the art of writing, a typical scribe is expected to keep records, write letters and copy documents. Others may possess additional skills, such as cartography, counterfeiting, cryptography, illuminating or the ability to write, read or otherwise comprehend more than one language. Such accomplished individuals might command ten times the standard wage.

Ship Company: The availability of crews and ships in a given port willing to take service with a player character is at the discretion of the game master. A vessel must normally be suited to the waters into which it will venture and the crew recruited appropriate to the ship, as well as familiar with its handling; a mixed crew, for instance, is required for vessels that employ both sail and oar. A vessel and crew intended for river travel will be unsuitable for coastal voyages, just as a ship built for coastal trading will be of little use on the open sea. If any of these criteria are left unmet, there will be a significant chance of mishap.

Every ship, no matter the size, requires a master, at least one lieutenant and a mate. In all respects other than those outlined below, these officers correspond to the mercenary captain, lieutenant and sergeant, respectively. The master of the ship will expect to receive one half share of any treasure taken for every full share a player character receives; each lieutenant will similarly expect to receive one tenth share and each mate one fiftieth, whilst at least a further tenth share is to be distributed between the crewmen.

Spy: Recruited to secretly watch the actions of others and gather information, a spy could be anyone from an underpaid and unhappy chamber maid to a professional thief or assassin. A player character wishing to engage the services of a prospective informer must do his own convincing. Fees may vary wildly, from perhaps a mere hundred gold pieces to many thousands, depending on the individual and the difficulty of what is asked. The base probability of successfully completing a task ranges from ten to fifty percent, in accordance with its complexity, and modified as appropriate by taking into account the class and level of the spy. A character who is often involved in subterfuge may be treated as though a spy of a level equivalent to the number of successful assignments he has carried out, within reasonable limits. Of course, there is always a small chance that a spy will be discovered, especially during a lengthy and complex assignment, and failure may result in disappearance, death or betrayal.

Steward: Responsible for the administration of a stronghold in the absence or inability of a player character, a steward holds a position of great prestige and trust. Usually, such an individual is promoted from the position of mercenary captain and will not afterwards take kindly to being asked to reassume that role, even temporarily. Whilst serving within the stronghold, a steward is capable of leading forty men at arms and two lieutenants for every level of experience he possesses, as well as the necessary number of sergeants. Given that a fortress is well provisioned, garrisoned and supported at the time at which he is appointed, a steward will see to it that such remains the case. Of course, if a player character expects his dependents to vigorously resist any enemy action in his absence or incapacity, he must ensure that the loyalty of such men is strongly maintained. The monthly wage due to a steward is equal to his level multiplied by one hundred gold pieces.

Optional Rule: At the discretion of the game master, a henchman of the appropriate class and level might be appointed as steward, rather than a mercenary captain.

Weaponer: Required for the production of complex weaponry and the maintenance of the arms of any soldiery; there must be at least one weaponer available for every sixty men at arms retained. Each must be provided with a workroom and forge at an additional cost, but sufficient apprentices and assistants are assumed in his monthly wage. Whilst otherwise unoccupied and given an initial month in which to prepare, or a year in the case of long and composite bows, a weaponer may produce various arms at the below rates and at a cost determined by the game master. A leatherer is necessary for the creation of scabbards and sheaths.

Weapon Type Days to Produce
Bow, Long 6-15
Bow, Composite 6-15
Crossbow, Heavy 2
Scimitar 3
Sword, Bastard
Sword, Broad 2
Sword, Long
Sword, Short
Sword, Two Handed 6
Other 1

At the discretion of the game master, specialist weaponers may be required for the making of some weapons. For instance, a blade smith for the forging of swords and daggers or a bowyer and fletcher for the whittling of bows, construction of crossbows and manufacturing of arrows. In any case, procuring the full time services of a weaponer should always be somewhat difficult.

A good deal more could be said on the subject of hirelings. Many possible common professions are not represented here, rates of pay that take into account the relative skill of individual craftsmen are not provided, supply and demand is not accounted for, nor is the difficulty and prospective cost of persuading standard hirelings to undertake work in hazardous conditions discussed. This is partly because such things are too variable to systemise adequately, but it also allows for individual game masters to develop the level of complexity that they are comfortable with.


Henchmen are classed and levelled non-player character adventurers in the service of higher level player characters. A third level magic user, for instance, might take on a first level fighter henchman to act as his personal guard. However, the henchmen of a player character are more significant than mere hirelings; they become his companions, friends, and supporters, acting in his interests even in his absence. Indeed, a very loyal henchman may sacrifice his very life in defence of a player character or charge unbidden into the thick of the fray to rescue him. Consequently, henchmen are highly sought after by experienced players, and the number a character may have is limited by his charisma score.

Demographics: The number of henchmen available in a particular locale depends on the total population, and its predisposition towards attracting adventurer types. A prosperous trading city with 30,000 inhabitants might have 300 characters capable of level advancement, but only 1 in 10 of them are likely to be available and interested in serving as henchmen. The incidence of adventurers may be higher or lower, depending on the settlement, its circumstances, and the assumptions of the campaign milieu, perhaps varying by as much as a factor of five or more in either direction.

Recruiting: There are four basic ways in which a player character may attempt to locate a henchman, and each may be attempted only once a month, either individually or in combination. Hiring a public crier costs 10 gp, and will attract 1d10% of those available, whilst posting notices in prominent places costs 50 gp to draw 10d4% of the same. Using agents is costly at 300 gp, but will bring 5d10% of potential henchmen, and a minimum of 10%. A character willing to frequent the various inns and taverns available will induce 1d4% for every 10 gp spent ingratiating themselves with patrons and staff, to a maximum of 5d4%, but every such establishment visited, up to a maximum of ten, reduces the effectiveness of the others by 1%. Furthermore, each method used in combination beyond the first reduces the sum by 5%.

Response: The modified total resulting from recruitment efforts is the percentage of all available potential henchmen that respond. Following the first efforts at recruitment, applicants will appear over the course of 2d4 days. If the player character is not present at the agreed place when an individual seeks them out, then that recruiting opportunity is lost. Casting spells upon a prospective henchmen will result in an unfavourable response, though if they consent an exception might be made for know alignment or detect good/evil. Direct questions about alignment and other breaches of etiquette will also be poorly received.

Characteristics: Only relate to the interviewing player character what can be detected by normal observational means. Do not blurt out the character’s alignment, constitution score, or level. Instead, allow a general idea of these attributes only as a reward to careful questioning on the part of the interviewer.

Race: The race of each respondent depends on the locality, and should be in proportion to the established racial demographic. That is to say, if the above prosperous trading city has a human population of 24,000, then 80% of candidates should be of that race. If you wish to reflect a higher incidence of adventurers in the demi-human population, then consider doubling the number who respond.

Class: Use the table below to randomly determine class of applicants. Once characteristics are known, and given that the prospective character qualifies, there is a 1 in 10 chance that a fighter will actually be a ranger, and the same that he will be a paladin. There is similarly a 1 in 6 chance that a magic user will be an illusionist, that a cleric will be a druid, or that a thief will be an assassin, given that the candidate meets the requirements for such a class. Demi-humans may have two or three classes, if they have two scores greater than 13 in the relevant characteristics, and always assuming that they otherwise qualify.

d% Class
01-40 Fighter
41-60 Magic User
61-80 Cleric
91-00 Thief

Level: Newly recruited henchmen are generally first level characters. The exceptions to this are if the player character himself is higher than sixth level or higher than twelfth level. In the former case, his reputation is such that 1 in 10 henchmen are second level; whilst in the latter case he has achieved such renown that 1 in 4 are second level, and another 1 in 4 are third level.

Cost: Once a potential henchmen is selected, there are still costs to be paid and negotiations to be completed. The minimum offer a henchmen will consider is 100 gp per level; this yields a 30% chance of the offer being accepted, which increases by 1% for each additional 10 gp offered above the minimum, up to a maximum of 60%.

Equipment: Prospective henchmen arrive with nothing but the clothes they are wearing and perhaps a few coppers in their pockets. This apparent lack of success as an independent adventurer is the main reason he is seeking the position of henchman, and the offer must therefore include complete equipment in accordance with his class(es). Any magic items useful to the character will typically increase the chance of acceptance by 15%, magical ammunition counting only in groups of six.

Room and Board: The potential henchman always expects this. Not including an offer of free room and board decreases the chance of acceptance by 25%.

Treasure: The player character must explain to the prospective henchman his specific duties and what is more generally expected. The henchman will want to know what percentage of treasure will be apportioned, and what to expect with regards to magic items. In addition to living expenses, henchmen typically receive a half-share of the treasure gained on a given expedition; they will also expect healing and other restorative spells as needs dictate.

The Offer: If the player character tenders an offer the game master must tally up all the percentage modifiers listed above and add any charisma adjustment indicated. This is the offer acceptance chance; if the number rolled does not exceed this chance, then the non-player character accepts service as a henchmen.

Exceptional Henchmen: In certain circumstances, a player character may have a relatively high level non-player character in his power, which may then lead to an offer of henchman status. In general, if such a character is more than two levels higher than the player character he will accept only associate status for one or two adventures. No inducement will cause him to willingly accept a longer period of service. However, if the player character is more than two levels higher than the non-player character then an offer may be made normally in accordance with the above guidelines. In any other circumstances, the non-player character will agree to accept associate status for only 1d4 weeks or adventures. If an offer is accepted under threat, then the character will likely be of questionable loyalty.

Associates: Typically, an associate non-player character regards himself as being the equal of any player characters, or perhaps their better; he may have been coerced, hired, or joined the party of his own free will and for his own ends. Regardless such characters expect to be treated as a true member of the group, taking their fair share of the risks, and receiving a full share of any treasure or magic items gained. Associates rarely function in this capacity for any great length of time, usually one or two adventures.

Loyalty of Hirelings and Henchmen

Sooner or later the loyalty of a non-player character will be put to the test. Initial loyalty is 50%, and is adjusted according to the charisma modifier of the player character in whose service they are. The following are guidelines for adjusting hireling and henchmen loyalty to correspond with prevailing circumstances, but they may also be applied more widely to help determine the reaction of other non-player characters and monsters. An experienced game master is not expected to have to refer to these tables, as his own judgement will generally suffice.

Alignment of Player Character

Alignment Modifier
Chaotic –10%
Evil –5%
Neutral +0%
Good +5%
Lawful +10%

Alignment of Hireling or Henchmen

Alignment Player Character Allies Example
Similar +0% +0% Lawful Neutral to Neutral
Different -10% -5% Chaotic Neutral to Neutral Good
Opposed -20% -10% Neutral Good to Chaotic Evil
Irreconcilable -30% -15% Lawful Good to Chaotic Evil

Racial Preferences of Hireling or Henchman

Relationship Player Character Allies
Hated -20% -10%
Antipathy -10% -5%
Tolerated 0% 0%
Friendly +10% +5%
Preferred +20% +10%

Status of Hireling or Henchmen

Type Modifier
Slave -30%
Conscript -20%
Hireling -10%
Follower +0%
Henchman +10%

Length of Service

Length Modifier
0-1 month -5%
0-1 years +0%
1-2 years +5%
2-3 years +10%
3-4 years +15%
4-5 years +20%
5+ years +25%

Training of Hireling or Henchmen

Type Modifier
Untrained -30%
Semi-trained -20%
Trained, but untested -10%
Trained +0%
Veteran +10%
Elite +20%
Leader +30%

Payment of Hirelings or Henchmen

Status Modifier
Unpaid -20%
Late -15%
Very Poor -10%
Poor -5%
Standard +0%
Good +5%
Very Good +10%


Type Modifier
Vicious -20%
Cruel -10%
Normal +0%
Kind +10%
Beneficent +20%


Type Modifier
Brutal -10%
Indifferent +0%
Fair +10%

*As long as the hireling or henchmen fears the player character and believes its actions will likely be observed or reported to some consequence, treat negative modifiers as positive.

Other Considerations: Many other situations and circumstances are not accounted for or systemised above, and the game master should feel free to do so himself. Being outnumbered or outclassed by enemies in a combat situation is a good example, as is the death, capture or incapacitation of leaders. Acts of dishonour or evil may lower morale, just as acts of heroism and charity might raise it, depending on the alignment and disposition of the characters or monsters in question. Such factors could potentially swing immediate morale up to fifty percent or more in either direction.

Loyalty Test: A loyalty test may be called for in a variety of situations; most commonly it is taken when significant casualties are suffered during a combat encounter, but other moments of stress for a test to determine how a non-player character reacts. Typical examples include being persuaded to give up a magic item, having the opportunity to steal without being discovered, or offered an inducement to act against the interests of the player character. In such circumstances, a 1d100 is rolled and if the result is higher than the adjusted loyalty score of the character, then he gives into temptation.

Adjusted Loyalty Score Loyalty
< 01 None: Could desert or worse at any time.
01-25 Disloyal: Will seek personal gain at all times.
26-50 Somewhat Loyal: Will serve, but exploit any advantage to the full.
51-75 Fairly Loyal: Will perform routine tasks most of the time.
76-100 Loyal: Will attempt to serve, even in difficult situations.
> 100 Fanatical: Will serve unquestioningly and fight to the death

General Note: The acquisition of henchmen and hirelings is key to long term success for player characters in the ongoing campaign. They provide a support structure that can help to minimise the worst misfortunes of defeat and reinforce the achievements of victory. Henchmen may even become prominent themselves, perhaps even becoming independent upon the death or retirement of the player character. However, non-player characters should not be treated lightly nor taken for granted; they should react in believable ways and pursue their own ambitions and interests when such seems reasonable. It is the responsibility of the game master to ensure that they are portrayed in a manner that keeps the game challenging for the players.