After some feedback, discussion, and reflection, I’ve tweaked the original draft of Labyrinth Minions a bit. Here’s the final product:
I changed the roll for the number of potential hirelings found per recruiting effort to a d6 and added a couple of simple modifiers for city size. GMs can further modify this roll quite easily to take campaign conditions, regional attitudes, and party reputation into account. The result of a massive recruiting effort which canvases all the taverns and inns in a city will result in a roll of a handful of d6s. Which is always a lot of fun.
I also modified the weapons an armor table a bit. Swords & Wizardry players may want to tweak the armor chart a bit more, perhaps substituting ring mail for one of the scale mail results. A little more variety was added to the weapon/shield column.
A quick note regarding hit points: I stuck with 3-6 hit points for men-at-arms as I feel that the weaker types simply will not attempt that line of work. Another possibility is that a 1hp weakling wants to be a man-at-arms but is not regarded as such by PCs and gets lumped in with the non-combatants anyway. Who wants employ someone lacking in even the most basic toughness as hired muscle? I upped the non-combatant hit points to 1d4+1 for similar reasons. The most fragile just won’t choose this line of work, or won’t be seriously considered by adventurers as labyrinth material.
I also added a quick note about wages, reaction checks, and loyalty. This quick system is not meant to replace any of that. It’s simply a quick way to see who’s looking for work, how tough they are, and what sort of gear the fighting men have.
Finally, I must point out the nifty card-sized Labyrinth Lord Hirelings Generator and Record Sheet at Dungeons and Digressions. Very cool, and I particularly like how he incorporated the attack tables and saving throws for 0-level hirelings into the card. That’s something I always have to glance at during play, and it always sort of drives me nuts.
Jeff Rients commented that he’d probably hand the thing out to his players and “let them roll their own dang hirelings.” That, as they say, is brilliant. I like this record concept and the idea of letting players roll up the red shirts. I will probably have to do something similar for my own game.
Also, I just noticed that he included a note that his card was “inspired by a Lord Kilgore creation.” That’s very classy and very appreciated.
I will also be adding this to the Kilgore Kreations page. The collection of free stuff is slowly growing.