20 Retainers

Grenadier Miniatures 2004 - Hirelings

Grenadier Miniatures 2004 – Hirelings

Following is a slightly expanded list of retainers which could be used for either starting retainers or something else. It makes some assumptions about rogue skills, but this is easily massaged into your system of choice.

Regarding loyalty, my current thoughts are that loyalty ranges from 1 to 6 (as described for Gravity Sinister), but that this number will actually be used as a bonus to PC charisma checks, given my current heavy use of roll-under ability checks.

Chance of skill success should use the thief’s chance to hear noise (which is 3 in 6 to begin with in Swords & Wizardry Complete).


  1. Apprentice sorcerer (wand, book, maleficence 1/adventure)
  2. Hired bodyguard (leather armor, dagger, spear)
  3. Dog (spiked collar, leash, loyalty begins at 4 in 6)
  4. Reformed bandit (leather armor, axe, short bow, arrows)
  5. Wandering performer (short sword, flute, untranslated maps)
  6. Escaped slave (ragged clothes, stolen melee weapon)
  7. Hired porter (dagger, backpack, 4 sacks)
  8. Family servant (dagger)
  9. Persecuted witch or warlock (dagger, trained herbalism1 skill)
  10. Shield bearer (leather, shield, dagger)
  11. Former circus acrobat (dagger, saving throws as rogue)
  12. Disinherited noble (heirloom sword, dagger, signet ring)
  13. Charlatan sorcerer (walking stick, fancy cloak, fireworks)
  14. Squire (dagger)
  15. Thief released from prison (dagger, trained locks skill)
  16. Torchbearer (dagger, 6 torches)
  17. Zealot (leather armor, cudgel, spiritual tract)
  18. Savage (flint knife, crude short bow, barbed arrows, poison)
  19. Bankrupt merchant (short sword, tattered finery)
  20. Political fugitive (dagger, connections & enemies)

  1. This skill is intentionally left undefined. Referees will need to decide what it can accomplish.

5 thoughts on “20 Retainers

  1. Gus L

    I do enjoy a good list of memorable retainers. This is certainly one of those – though it feels strangely devoid of a specific setting (beyond fantasy faux-oldentimes). This is a good thing I think, but interesting given that it’s usually more details that make memorable characters

    Reply
    1. Pearce Shea

      See, I like the lack of specifics. Tthe blank space that makes these kinds of lists so cool to me. Like, what is given and what is left out seems like an artform to me. What’s given, especially in the titles here seems really good and evocative. The only one I don’t get much out of is the poor old squire and his lonely dagger, but maybe that’s because my childhood reading skipped over Ivanhoe and the great deeds of Knights and Squires. I’d change it to Lawyer (Esquire), with Dagger and official writ.

      Reply

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