|Grenadier Miniatures 2004 – Hirelings|
There are two types of adventuring hirelings, combatant and noncombatant. Useful animals can also be purchased. You may roll on the STARTING RETAINER table once during PC creation. Consider the retainer to be paid up for one delve. The retainer comes with the basic equipment noted, but you may want to purchase additional gear for them. Below are also prices if you want to continue their employment (derived from Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox, since OD&D does not give guidance).
- Bodyguard (leather, dagger, d4: 1 sword, 2 mace, 3 battle axe, 4 spear)
- Torchbearer (dagger, 6 torches)
- Porter (dagger, backpack, 3 small sacks, 1 large sack)
- Squire (dagger)
- Mercenary (leather, sword, dagger, light crossbow, case with 30 quarrels)
- Shieldbearer (leather, shield, dagger)
- Servant (dagger)
- Dog (spiked collar, leash)
- Combatant (5 GP): bodyguard or mercenary
- Noncombatant (2 GP): torchbearer, porter, squire, shieldbearer, servant
- Trained animal (20 GP): war dog or mule
Prices are per delve, other than the animals, which are owned outright. A delve is generally understood to be a single expedition, usually no longer than a few days, but occasionally as long as a week. Expeditions longer than a week require more payment. It is expected that the job ends (and wage must be renewed) once the party returns to town or civilization. Retainers expect that their meals will be provided.
Morale and loyalty will be handled as per Men & Magic. Animals have a loyalty rating just like hirelings (this is a house-rule), but their loyalty will increase after every expedition during which they are treated well. Unlike the monster-dogs of AD&D, war dogs here are 1 hit die creatures. Dogs don’t show up in OD&D, so I’ve just given them the same price as mules.
Bodyguards will attempt to defend their employer, while mercenaries will generally be more offensive. Torchbearers, porters, and servants will stay out of combat and in general will only fight if cornered (if threatened, they will run). Squires will stay near employers during combat and provide replacement weapons or reloading, though they may flee if the danger becomes too great. Note that squires may also be used by classes other than fighters (consider tome-holders and scroll-bearers). Shieldbearers usually carry a large shield that requires two hands to use, and will grant a small AC bonus to their employer where appropriate (just remember that a trusty shield on your own arm cannot fail a morale check or be slain).
It is also possible to find more specialized hirelings (such as: sage, bard, chronicler, alchemist, assassin, spy, standard-bearer, messenger), but they will be much more expensive and often will refuse to accompany adventurers into danger.
All hirelings are 0 level humans with one hit die. Do not bother rolling ability scores unless your PC dies and you need to promote the hireling to full player character status. If this happens, you may also choose an adventuring class when you return to civilization.
Thanks to all those on G+ that provided useful suggestions when I brought up this topic.