Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Hell is Wrong With this Guy?

I spend quite a bit of time trying to make hirelings in my game “memorable.”  The easiest way for me to do this, and therefore the one I rely on the most, is by making them awful people.  Inspired by this post over by Middenmurk, as well as my creating different classes of hireling for Uz, I decided to make a set of tables that would automate this process to allow me to churn out bug-eyed, fanatical weirdos for my Dark Country game.  This is untested, and if the results are too wonky I might just go back to personalizing each one between sessions.

These tables are intended for the sorts of hirelings that PCs take with them into the dungeon.   Alchemists, smiths, quartermasters, and the like need not be created using these rules.  If the need arises, I will create similar charts in order to make them deranged sickos too.  

The guidelines for recruiting hirelings are likewise only designed for hiring individual psychopaths.  The purchasing of mercenary companies, while a common practice in the Dark Country, requires a great deal more bickering over contracts and haggling over rights then I really want to deal with in this post.

A settlement will have a number of hirelings available at one time based on the chart below.  The number generated is the total number available until a fresh crop of young settlers arrives.  This could mean that the hirelings could be exhausted from a settlement for quite a long time in some of the more remote areas of the Dark Country.

Hirelings by Settlement
Settlement Level
Number of Hirelings

For each available hireling indicated, roll on the tables below to determine what’s wrong with the hireling and the type of hireling it is.

What’s Wrong With Your Hireling
Nothing. Subtract 2 from their base morale.
Suicidal.  Is willing to be paid at a daily rate (1/30th of the monthly one provided).
Hobbled. Moves as though wearing plate regardless of armor.
Branded.  Marked with the coward’s - or probably heretic’s - shame.
One Armed Man.  Cannot perform any activity involving two hands/arms.
Absent Minded. If asked to perform a task outside of the supervision of a PC - such as guarding the horses or securing a rope - must make a morale test to see if it gets completed.
Starts Shit.  Must make a morale test during any negotiations.  On a failure, will sabotage negotiations by “acting like a douche.”
Mute.  Doesn’t have a tongue.  Can at most muster a voiceless hacking as a feeble attempt to raise an alarm.
Mumbler.  PCs can’t understand a word he says, though strangely most NPCs can.
One Eyed.  Surprised on a 1-3 if left as a guard.
Hook Hand.  Can only use hand weapons, but can also make attacks with his hook.
Openly Heretical.  Likes to give strange sermons loudly and in public.
Obsequious.  Always sickeningly deferential, suspiciously so.
Penitent.  Scourges self for some unimaginable sin.  Permanent -1 to HP.
Filthy.  Smell may attract monsters.
Murderous.  Must make a morale check or kill any captives the PCs might attempt to take.
Clepto.  Tries to secret bits of treasure away from the PCs.
Hideous.  This fellow is especially ugly.  It is very unpleasant.
Scheming.  Really working for the “Bad Guys,” or a set of bandits that is conveniently laired nearby if you don’t have any Bad Guys that are applicable.  Plans to help them ambush and kill the PCs.
“Nothing.”  No effect.

Hireling Types
Listed below are the types of hirelings typically available in the Dark Country.  Wages listed are for a typical month, and use the new reckoning of Dark Contry currency.  Thus a guilder (abreviated k) is worth 20 groshes (g) and 240 pennies (d).  A grosh is a silver coin worth the equivalent of a silver piece in LotFP or a gold piece in most other forms of D&D.

Not all of the types of hirelings are available in every settlement.  The table is but an example, and larger settlements such as the Seven Cities will have considerably more types available.  The referee may also change these tables to represent changes in the population either through new settlement or player action.

Nightwick Hirelings
Hireling Type

Barbers are those “trained” in what qualify as the medical arts in the Dark Country.  They are typically runaways from mercenary companies, though they may have also been employed by a noble family or wealthy merchant house.  They can bind wounds on a 1-2 on a 1d6, restoring 1d6 hp.

Equipment: 1d6 bandages, jar of leeches, rusted scalpels

Wage: 14k

Brigands are either currently or formerly bandits.  They typically employed as light infantry by the Seven Cities if they are capable of being hired.

Equipment: Crossbow, 2d6 bolts, padded gambeson, hand weapon, helmet

Wage: 1k

Conjure-Men are backwoods wizards of poor skill.  They only know one spell - determined randomly - and my only cast it once per day.

Equipment: Dagger, filthy robes, bag of bones

Wage: 1k

Fanatics are religious loons who have come to the Dark Country in order to participate in the holy war against the pagans.  If following a cleric, they will gain a +2 bonus to their morale.

Equipment: Bladed scourge, silver cross, crazy eyes

Wage: 10g

Men-at-arms are comparatively heavily armed men of stout bearing.  They gain a +1 bonus to HP and a +2 bonus to morale if following a fighter of 4th level or higher.

Equipment: Polearm (70% chance of being a spear), shield, hand weapon, helmet, and a shirt of mail.

Wage: 5k

Peasants are common settlers from the West.  They typically have little to their name and little to lose.  

Equipment: Wooden hoe, an empty pouch meant for bread or coin, and misery.

Wages: 5g

Woodsmen are those members of Dark Country society who make their living gathering forest products - whether that means felling trees, burning charcoal, or trapping for furs.

Equipment: Felling axe, hand weapon, bow, 1d12 arrows

Wages: 10g


  1. "Nothing. Subtract 2 from their base morale."
    That is beautiful. Well done.

  2. Can I have this? To good to not use. Why is everyone better at this than me...


  3. Fantastic work here! Consider it "yoink"ed!

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  5. Aww yeah. I too liked the implications surrounding hirelings with "nothing" wrong about them.

  6. Excellent! Adding this to my DM's Notebook now!

  7. Awesome :) Neatly frames the reason why PCs never use Hirelings/Henchmen after their initial adventures.

  8. Inspired stuff, not to mention inspiring!

  9. This is really awesome.