A large number of semi-active adventurers have become permanent fixtures in and around Castle Vyzor. Most of the time, these individuals are happy to sponge off the generosity of the Sorcerer of the Blue Mask. Occasionally--often due to gambling debts or unpaid bar tabs--they get desperate enough to actually venture into the dungeons for a small fee and possibly a share of the loot. This is where your PC comes in. For just a few gold pieces, you can hire one of these poor fools and probably lead them to their doom.
Since these are unique (hopefully-)recurring characters, you can only recruit and control one hireling at a time. These folks generally work on a per-session basis. If they survive an adventure, they go back into the hiring pool. If a single session of game play involves more than one expedition (i.e. you exit the dungeon and go back in) then you must make a morale role (modified by the DM if the previous expedition was particularly harrowing or enriching) to cajole your hireling back into the Vaults.
To recruit one of these folks, spend 10gp, 25gp, or 100gp. Consult the Charisma chart to find out what die you may roll on the roster below. If you don’t like the result, you can choose not to hire anyone but you’re out the gold and don’t get to try again; whoever you rolled is your best prospect given the time and money available.
you get Willy
Note that one of the reasons why you want the largest die possible is because the chart is basically ordered by competence. Hireling #10 and #18 may both be first level Fighters, but #10 will require more oversight than #18. Not that #18 is without his own issues. That guy thinks he’s the hero in a sword-and-sorcery novel.
Ability scores are generally irrelevant for these people. For simplicity’s sake, they all range from 9 to 12. You can assume fighters have a 12 Str and an 9 Int, for instance.
Hit points are rolled anew for each expedition. Fighters and dwarves get d8. Clerics, elves, and halflings get d6. Everyone else gets d4.
Most characters start with no equipment save the weapon and armor listed below, with the following exceptions: Thieves generally have a crummy lockpick or two. Clerics possess a shoddy wooden holy symbol. And magic-users own a poorly organized spellbook incomprehensible to anyone else. Other specialists probably have the basics to practice their profession. Any equipment purchased for hirelings stay with them after the expedition is over, though these folks have a tendency to misplace, break, or otherwise lose equipment.
Spellcasters get random BX spells. Reroll between expeditions. These characters are generally too incompetent to learn or teach new spells.
Anyone with a standard class (not a zero level weenie) earns half experience and is entitled to a half a share of moneys earned. All hirelings will automatically carouse if they can afford to do so, earning half XP.
Should something unfortunate happen to one of these poor wretches, a replacement will appear on the chart that may or may not be of the same class. Should a hireling experience a windfall, they may retire at the DM’s discretion.
These rules generally replace normal henchmen and hireling rules, but you can bring in henchmen from other FLAILSNAILS campaigns. Also, if there is a shortage of PCs, the DM may still fill out the party with some of boring spearmen.
no left eye; nasty gaping hole
0-Level (Likely Lad)
eager to please
Little Liam Linkboy
torchbearer, won't fight
shortbow, empty quiver
shifty little mofo
had a club, but lost it
needs constant supervision
bad burn on side of face
calls himself Sly, actually a fool
Adam o' the Dung Heap
oh God, the stench
Poor Brother Rupert
sold his holy symbol to feed the poorer
kid sister of Fromage and Escargot
Balphazad the Befuddled
would forget his beard if it wasn't glued on
not from around here, speaks very little Common
0-Level (Likely Lass)
sling, 2d6 stones
an innocent; if she gets killed you might actually cry
Walter the Physick
physician (quack?), non-combatant
Slightly Creepy Kerra
the way she smiles when she draws her dagger...
Hugo the Slayer
sword & dagger
can't actually dual wield, alternates attacks
shortbow, d8 arrows
middle brother of Baguette and Escargot
leather & shield
hated by other dwarves, no one knows why
0-Level (Likely Lad)
something about that boy ain't quite right
smites evil with joy
Alice Talks to Crows
certain all animals speak Common but choose not to
Ralf the Pathetic
woe-is-me disgraced knight
armor costs 150% for size adjustments
Gilbert the Heretic
won't shut up about angels
Morwena the Hedgewitch
you can't stop staring at the wart on her nose
eldest brother of Baguette and Fromage
composes songs, not bad at it but his singing is terrible
Mellifor of the Brazen Hand
right hand made of brass (semi-functional)
Mercenaries are capable of holding their own with human-like foes such as orcs and goblins. They are less stalwart against weird monsters and undead.
Losers are generally incompetent. They are nonetheless useful because once per expedition they can be used as cannon fodder to absorb some doom that would otherwise befall their employer. E.g. that orc axe that would have split you in twain actually kills Willy instead.
Likely Lads and Lasses are the most competent and daring of zero-level characters. At the end of each expedition, there is a 1 in 6 chance they ‘graduate’ to an actual adventuring class. Their new class will be identical to that of their recent employer, if possible. (E.g. a Likely Lass who worked for a Dwarf will probably become a Fighter.)