A couple questions came up in last night’s session:

A couple questions came up in last night’s session:

A couple questions came up in last night’s session:

1) How much should hirelings cost?  The rules mention a hireling’s “number”, and mention that costs could include half a dozen things other than money, but I’m surprised to find no rule of thumb or starting point in the rules (x coins per week per point of skill, or whatever).  Is it there and I can’t find it?  It seems a strange thing to say “you should should just make it up”, when the rules are happy to include prices for all kinds of other adventuring stuff.

2) How do you handle allied NPCs in combat?  I have a couple tagging along with the party who aren’t hirelings, and can’t really be ordered around or plausibly treated as an extension of any particular character.  Strictly speaking, I think, the only time the DM gets a move is when a character fails a roll, but this seems a strange time to describe how the ally is helping.  But I don’t really want to get into playing the ally as an additional PC in the fight, either.  I’m splitting the difference, more or less, by rolling some dice and narrating her actions every once in a while — less often than the PCs so as not to steal the spotlight, but sometimes.  Does anyone have any tricks or rules of thumb for making this play well?

23 thoughts on “A couple questions came up in last night’s session:”

  1. “Strictly speaking, I think, the only time the DM gets a move is when a character fails a roll”

    That’s at least part of your problem there. The DM only gets to make a HARD move when a player fails their roll. They get to make a move any time it’s their turn to speak. 

    Any time the players look at you wondering “What the hell is Bob doing?” it’s your turn to speak, so make a move for Bob.

    This move could be “Deal Damage” as Bob kills a goblin, or “Put Them in a Spot” as Bob gets overwhelmed and cut off by goblin reinforcements, or anything else you can think of.

  2. 2) They’re hirelings – they just aren’t doing it for money. Maybe fame. Maybe experience. Maybe some other reason. What does the fiction say?

    Which ties back to (1). What did the fiction say the hieling wanted in exchange for doing something as hideously dangerous as adventuring. Adventuring isn’t a job, it’s an act of desperation and/or heroism.

  3. Easy way to figure out what a hireling will take as pay: choose something from the equipment chapter the hireling wants. Multiply by 1.5. That’s what they’ll accept: enough to get the thing they want, plus some extra because they’re risking their life to do it.

  4. And yet, I agree that there should be some sort of base line, food and shelter costs for a week or something, that the GM can then crank down based on their other needs or crank up if all they are interested in is the gold.

  5. The hireling wants money because he desperately needs to feed his wife and baby.  How much money does he need for that?  I can make something up, it’s not the end of the world, but “the fiction” doesn’t include enough detail to define our whole fantasy economy.  It’d be nice to have a guideline, the same way that the equipment chapter provides guidelines for swords and healing herbs and castles.

  6. Josh Mannon that’s in the equipment chapter. Say they’re supporting a family: 3 coin a day for meals for their family, plus two coin a day to cover the hireling’s own needs, times 1.5 = around 8 coin a day.

    That’s a pretty good deal! But it’s a cheap hireling, they’re just scraping by. Let’s say the hireling wants to buy a hovel for their family. That raises their price to maybe 11 coin a day.

  7. Yup, colin roald, there are prices for common services in the equipment chapter. They’re based on the same logic I’m giving here: support a family, work towards something bigger, and cover the equipment you need to do this.

  8. “The hireling wants money because he desperately needs to feed his wife and baby.  How much money does he need for that?”

    3 coin a day just for poor meals. That’s just scraping by, a bare minimum, directly from the equipment chapter.

    I’d guess only someone not very skilled would take that though.

  9. Yeah. If you’re paying your hireling 3 coins a day, they’re going to swap teams the first time they see an Evil Overlord with reasonably paid henchmen.

  10. Pff, I just ask what they player’s think is reasonable. If what they say sounds generous, they get that +1. If they offer less than it costs to stay a night at the local inn, I laugh and ask them what kind of persona they think would work for that. Then I’ve got context for their recruit roll. I know what they’re looking for and how much they’re paying, but I let them define the numbers.

    As for the second one, yeah, it’s all just GM moves 😉 

  11. If you want hirelings to cost things other than money and you feel out of ideas, you can always use the NPC generator at the end. Or you could prepare some tables with approximate cost in coins by skill per week using the suggestions above, or something like that.

    As for the second question, I personally don’t like taking the spotlight out of the characters, so if they don’t tell me what do they want the hireling to do, he is just idling or helping passively, if able (using the standard rules for hireling skills).

  12. I like Aaron Friesen’s answer, but I’d change one bit. Instead of laughing and asking what kind of person they think would work for that, I’d laugh and give them the kind of person who would work for that.

    You know, the kind of person who is desperate, mad, incompetent, treacherous or some combination of those things.

  13. To be fair, I did mean to ask honestly who they thought would work for that kind of pay. But yeah, just plain giving them what they’re willing to pay for works for me 😀

    “Really? You’re honestly looking for someone who’s willing to accept a coin a day? Ooooookay. Roll ’em. An 8? Well shucks, if it ain’t that cousin of yours, Dorla, and my, has she even swung that before? She looks kinda starving but she seems desperate enough to take the pay. From what she’s saying, really, she sounds like she just wants to do good, y’know? Really make the world a better place. Are you gonna take her with you or turn her away?”

  14. Come on, you can’t just ditch her. She’ll tell her mom! And then her mom will tell YOUR mom!

    Then the next time your home for Hogswatch Eve dinner your mom won’t let you hear the end of it!

Comments are closed.