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Author Topic: Making hirelings go into the dungeon  (Read 468 times)

mAcular Chaotic

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Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« on: April 06, 2021, 11:58:18 PM »
I'm running a 5e game that I've pretty much converted in many ways to be like OD&D/AD&D. I've implemented morale rules, reaction rules, wandering monsters, lighting, encumbrance, etc.

One thing I want to do is hirelings and henchmen. But I'm not sure how it's supposed to work with the dungeon.

A lot of the hirelings seem useful ONLY in the dungeon, like a man-at-arms, or a torchbearer, or a porter to haul your treasure -- but they're all supposed to not go into the dungeon because it's too dangerous.

Did anyone ever have them go in? Is there an amount you can pay them to make them go? Or is it always just no go?

For example, let's say I'm a fighter, and I want a torchbearer to come with me into the dungeon so I can fight with a sword and shield. And a porter to help carry my extra shield and gear. Does that just never happen?
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2021, 12:17:13 AM »
I'm running a 5e game that I've pretty much converted in many ways to be like OD&D/AD&D. I've implemented morale rules, reaction rules, wandering monsters, lighting, encumbrance, etc.

One thing I want to do is hirelings and henchmen. But I'm not sure how it's supposed to work with the dungeon.

A lot of the hirelings seem useful ONLY in the dungeon, like a man-at-arms, or a torchbearer, or a porter to haul your treasure -- but they're all supposed to not go into the dungeon because it's too dangerous.

Did anyone ever have them go in? Is there an amount you can pay them to make them go? Or is it always just no go?

For example, let's say I'm a fighter, and I want a torchbearer to come with me into the dungeon so I can fight with a sword and shield. And a porter to help carry my extra shield and gear. Does that just never happen?

I guess it depends on the CHA of your PC and therefore the loyalty of the hirelings plus the ammount you're willing to pay them.

But I've never played 5e so I don't know if they have those rules there.

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Shasarak

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2021, 12:26:51 AM »
Why would you have a hireling and not bring them into the dungeon?

How are they going to earn their GPs by sitting outside?
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VisionStorm

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2021, 12:38:05 AM »
Why would you have a hireling and not bring them into the dungeon?

How are they going to earn their GPs by sitting outside?

They could guard the horses, wagons, camping gear and non-dungeon delving tools white the PCs go in, if you brought a bunch of stuff expecting a big haul. They could also serve as look outs, but that would require them to go in to alert the group if someone’ coming.

But, yeah this is the first I’ve heard of hirelings not being able to enter the dungeon. I thought mercs that serve as extra fighting hands was part of the point of hirelings (not that I’ve used them often).

ScytheSong

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2021, 12:47:26 AM »
Yeah. The hirelings can go into the dungeon -- but in the old red box D&D I used to play, they needed a morale check to go in. And a morale check at the beginning of each encounter. And morale checks at various other times with modifiers based on whether they were in danger, whether they had been injured, and whether loot or magical healing had been given them.

mAcular Chaotic

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 01:16:37 AM »
From what I've read, there's two categories: hirelings, who are non-adventurer types, 0-level, who can help out outside the dungeon or in town; they don't want to go into the dungeon because it's suicide for them. And then there's henchmen/retainers, who are essentially leveled adventurer NPCs who'd get a cut of the gold/XP. But there's multiple terms and it can get very confusing.

I'm running a 5e game that I've pretty much converted in many ways to be like OD&D/AD&D. I've implemented morale rules, reaction rules, wandering monsters, lighting, encumbrance, etc.

One thing I want to do is hirelings and henchmen. But I'm not sure how it's supposed to work with the dungeon.

A lot of the hirelings seem useful ONLY in the dungeon, like a man-at-arms, or a torchbearer, or a porter to haul your treasure -- but they're all supposed to not go into the dungeon because it's too dangerous.

Did anyone ever have them go in? Is there an amount you can pay them to make them go? Or is it always just no go?

For example, let's say I'm a fighter, and I want a torchbearer to come with me into the dungeon so I can fight with a sword and shield. And a porter to help carry my extra shield and gear. Does that just never happen?

I guess it depends on the CHA of your PC and therefore the loyalty of the hirelings plus the ammount you're willing to pay them.

But I've never played 5e so I don't know if they have those rules there.
5e has only loose rules for it, and nobody really uses it. So I need to consult the wisdom of the past to really get this down.


Why would you have a hireling and not bring them into the dungeon?

How are they going to earn their GPs by sitting outside?
Well, most hireling types are going to just stand outside guarding your wagon or whatever. And there's supposed to be retainers/henchmen that go in as leveled NPCs or tougher NPCs who essentially act as NPC adventurers if you want dungeon delvers. But roleplaying wise, you just know that someone's going to want their guard to tag along at some point, or the torchbearer, and I am wondering what was done in those situations.
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 01:20:10 AM »
I'm running a 5e game that I've pretty much converted in many ways to be like OD&D/AD&D. I've implemented morale rules, reaction rules, wandering monsters, lighting, encumbrance, etc.

One thing I want to do is hirelings and henchmen. But I'm not sure how it's supposed to work with the dungeon.

A lot of the hirelings seem useful ONLY in the dungeon, like a man-at-arms, or a torchbearer, or a porter to haul your treasure -- but they're all supposed to not go into the dungeon because it's too dangerous.

Did anyone ever have them go in? Is there an amount you can pay them to make them go? Or is it always just no go?

For example, let's say I'm a fighter, and I want a torchbearer to come with me into the dungeon so I can fight with a sword and shield. And a porter to help carry my extra shield and gear. Does that just never happen?

I guess it depends on the CHA of your PC and therefore the loyalty of the hirelings plus the ammount you're willing to pay them.

But I've never played 5e so I don't know if they have those rules there.
5e has only loose rules for it, and nobody really uses it. So I need to consult the wisdom of the past to really get this down.


Why would you have a hireling and not bring them into the dungeon?

How are they going to earn their GPs by sitting outside?
Well, most hireling types are going to just stand outside guarding your wagon or whatever. And there's supposed to be retainers/henchmen that go in as leveled NPCs or tougher NPCs who essentially act as NPC adventurers if you want dungeon delvers. But roleplaying wise, you just know that someone's going to want their guard to tag along at some point, or the torchbearer, and I am wondering what was done in those situations.

Roll for their morale, aplying the loyalty modifier table I gave you and negotiate the pay. Remind them staying outside mean they're alone without healers, and the security in numbers.

Of course the negotiation is made between the PCs and their Hirelings (YOU the DM).
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mAcular Chaotic

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 01:32:45 AM »
How much is an expected normal amount to pay them to go in with you? I've seen some numbers like "100 GP as a starting point" and that seems like it's so expensive it wouldn't be worth it (for someone that's probably going to cut and run or die in one hit anyway) unless you're literally rolling in gold. Maybe you get way more gold in earlier editions though...
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 01:41:22 AM »
How much is an expected normal amount to pay them to go in with you? I've seen some numbers like "100 GP as a starting point" and that seems like it's so expensive it wouldn't be worth it (for someone that's probably going to cut and run or die in one hit anyway) unless you're literally rolling in gold. Maybe you get way more gold in earlier editions though...

Offer them a cut, not a fixed price, it's fair for them and they get more if there's more gold, which might work as an incentive to work/fight harder.
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S'mon

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2021, 03:19:08 AM »
IMC (5e) hirelings like men at arms are common but mostly used for guarding the home base. Getting them to go in the dungeon would require a CHA check for the PC, and I'd be making morale checks (on 2d6) if they took losses. But I'd assume someone specifically hired as a 'torchbearer' is up for going down the dungeon. I'd probably use the 2gp/day pay rate for 'danger time', rather than the 2 sp/day 'unskilled hireling' rate, and of course they would not fight and would stay behind the front rank PCs.
If the PCs lost non-combatant hirelings in a dungeon it would be extremely hard to replace them.

Generally in 5e the 'light' cantrip is ubiquitous enough that IME torchbearers are not needed, and/or PCs carry their own torches.

Edit: NPCs who fight or provide specialist skills like trap detection & lockpicking will normally expect a loot share. Junior PC-class types will take a half share each, these are usually henchmen of the PCs. A squad of men at arms might take one or more shares between them all, depending on numbers and experience. NPCs of similar power to the PCs will want a full share. One group of PCs IMC kicked off the campaign being hired by a higher level adventuring NPC, she initially offered them half the treasure, the other half for herself, but settled on a slightly smaller amount - the point became moot when the eldritch abomination killed her. :)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 03:24:53 AM by S'mon »
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Omega

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2021, 06:20:10 AM »
Why would you have a hireling and not bring them into the dungeon?

How are they going to earn their GPs by sitting outside?

Actually thats exactly what some are supposed to do. Sit outside and guard the camp, or wait for the all clear and then come in and help haul stuff out.

D&D has had various types of hirelings from edition to edition.

Some are just to guard your stronghold. Or camp.
Some will come along into a dungeon. Others will flat out refuse as that is not their job.
And some are just NPC adventurers who are not hirelings.

BX and AD&D I think did the best job of defining who will and who will not go delving.
B had Retainers, these were a cut above men-at-arms and soldiers and could and would go along into the dungeon.
X added Specialists and Mercenaries. Neither of these go along into the dungeon.
And Keep on the Borderlands has quick rules for hiring men-at-arms at the tavern to go along.

HappyDaze

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2021, 06:27:01 AM »
My last 5e group regularly hired guards (the Guard NPC from the MM) and took them along on dungeons. Some were left to protect camp, while a few were brought into the dungeon. Remarkably, only a few died even when the PCs were Lvl 5 or so because the group focused on effects/spells that enhanced all allies. The more allies, the more the effect/spell offers. Also, with bounded accuracy, even the humble guard adds to your group's damage output in a meaningful way.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2021, 08:15:03 AM »
My rule of thumb has usually been 'if you expend resources on X, it's available'. Hirelings are no different.

Now, you probably can't demand a hireling coat himself in BBQ sauce and throw himself into the dragon's maw as a distraction (and if your GM allows that, wtf). But it depends a lot on pay and morale. A fanatical cohort might be more inclined to slather on the sauce than some rando you hired as a valet.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2021, 08:29:32 AM »
This is where the GM adjudication comes in.  The party has a bunch of "hirelings" that are paid to guard the camp, take care of the horses, and haul the stuff back to town when the party gets it out of the dungeon.  The party decides that it would be a good idea if some or all of the hirelings would go into the dungeon.  OK, why is that?

A. The party wants some extra help.  That is, they want the "hirelings" to act more like "henchman".  You adjudication is all about what's in it for the hirelings.  This is a potential promotion--more pay, but also more risk.  Some might be inclined to take it.  Others say no way.  Even the ones that are inclined to take it (reaction roll) will have somewhat different ideas of what it means.  One guy is planning to risk it one time, and if he makes it out, take his share of the gold and open a general store back in the village.  Another guy sees this as his gateway to fame, his big chance.  He'll expect to be a henchman from now on. 

B. The party is being pursued in the wilderness.  They've been to this dungeon before.  They think the best chance of survival is to hole up in the dungeon in a spot they know to fight off the pursuit.  Or maybe they know a second exit that they can use to lose the pursuit.  Of course they want the "hirelings" to go into the "dungeon".  They might need to do a little fast talking, but it is in the hirelings best interest to go.  Assuming that all works, when they get back to home base again, some extra pay for the hirelings is probably in order to keep morale up.  Not so much because they explicitly went into the dungeon but because of what it represents:  The jaunt got risky enough that going into the dungeon was the best option.  On the other hand, assuming it works, the thrill might be enough for some of the hirelings.  Adjudicate it based on how you see them.

The henchman and hireling rules are put into place to give you a starting place to handle some of the most common adjudication needs for having retainers.  They are not meant to replace your adjudication.

hedgehobbit

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Re: Making hirelings go into the dungeon
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2021, 09:01:41 AM »
How much is an expected normal amount to pay them to go in with you? I've seen some numbers like "100 GP as a starting point" and that seems like it's so expensive it wouldn't be worth it (for someone that's probably going to cut and run or die in one hit anyway) unless you're literally rolling in gold. Maybe you get way more gold in earlier editions though...

In earlier editions, hireling wages were in silver pieces per day or gold pieces per month, ranging in value from 1 for a laborer to 10 for a man-at-arms. In OD&D, hirelings were split into regular hirelings and "hirelings of unusual nature" which included leveled NPCs as well as monsters that you either convinced or coerced into traveling with you. As the game evolved, the idea of getting monsters to follow you around was pretty much dropped (sadly) and the term "hirelings of unusual nature" was replaced with either henchmen and retainers. So, back then hirelings were most certainly going into the dungeon.

Despite being a joke game, the original Hackmaster has the best rules for hirelings and henchmen around. Well worth a look if you can find a copy.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 09:05:04 AM by hedgehobbit »