Hirelings present a number of difficulties in Old School Hack. Experience works very differently; NPCs traveling with the party are not built into the awesome point economy, which is built around the DM spending for barriers and the PCs spending to overcome them. Still, I like the idea of henchmen, and the idea gets even more interesting with the "minion" and "guard" notions. So here is my effort to work it in to the system in an appropriate way. What do you think?
A .pdf is here:
on this page:
Old School Hack Hirelings
Why? Because somebody needs to guard the horses. You get paid a lot more when you can carry more of
the treasure out. It’s good to have someone holding the torch in a dark place while you’re busy slashing
down the monsters. They may not be front liners, but it’s good to have a rearguard too.
A character can command a number of minions equal to the character’s Charm rating. The
character can command more, because the minions can only handle pretty simple requests, and generally
they operate in groups or are at the character’s elbow.
A character can command a number of “guard” level employees (henchmen) equal to the
character’s Charm bonus, or the bonus of a relevant attribute.
• Brawn. Warriors.
• Cunning. Thieves, rogues.
• Daring. Bandits, pirates, machismo types.
• Commitment. Acolytes.
• Charm. Anyone.
• Awareness. Scholars, wizards.
In a mixed group, only the Charm bonus determines the maximum number of henchmen.
Leaving Employment. If mistreated, the hirelings test Commitment against the character’s Charm or
appropriate attribute; if they succeed, they leave employment. (And that’s only if the character wants
them to stay employed anyway.)
Pay Rates. Recommended pay is 3 silver a day for non-combatant minions (torch carriers, porters) and 1
gold a day for minion men-at-arms.
Henchmen (guard level) should be paid 3 gold a day. Those with a talent should be paid 10 gold a day.
If the character picks up a bad reputation, rates may double. Or, if the expedition is going to very
The employer is expected to provide any gear the employee needs for the expedition, like armor,
weapons, rations, and so on.
Porters. Those hired on as porters are +1 on Brawn, so they can carry 1 heavy load; more than that, and
they fail all tests, so they must be in a safe place. (For handling treasure, assume 500 coins is 1 heavy
Field Promotions. If a DM and a player like a particular hireling, the player can offer to pay 3 Awesome
Points to promote the hireling one level. That is, from minion to guard, or from guard to beginning
character. Those promoted to beginning characters should be taken over by players, or set out to begin
their own career.
Supporting cast are a very important part of the adventuring story. I think these rules are very good for that!
To be more specific, I like how diferent levels of henchmen have their different wages. It all makes good sense, and having a couple of good henchmen along that can, in a pinch, be promoted to PC could be pretty handy, and makes for a logical way to proceed the story after a character death.
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