2012-05-30 Demihumans

In your old school games, do demihuman hirelings exist? If so, are they level 0 or first level characters, i.e. can hireling elves cast a spell and do they own a spell book?

The context of my game is that I have set of tables based on Meatshields – and occasionally a demihuman will show up. And recently I wondered whether those pesky elves would be able to cast a spell.

Here is how we’re using hirelings at the moment:

We have 3–7 players but often up to 15 characters in the party. I’m a big fan of the Entourage Approach, so the rules are a bit quirkier: if a hireling gets promoted to first level, they are no longer content with a few gold pieces per day. They demand a third of a share for all treasure found. They can convert this treasure to XP and player characters can give them more than this in order to push their XP gained.

Since we have so many hirelings, however, I wanted to avoid the XP accounting for zero level characters and decided that they only gain their first level if they can gain 100 XP in a single session for defeating monsters. This only happened once: the party had defeated two manticores and that was enough to allow all the hirelings to gain their first level. This means that zero level hirelings are quite common and every now and then there is a zero level demihuman to be hired.

Years later I finally decided that demihumans are always first level when you hire them. Why the hell not? And you’re going to save yourself so much trouble.



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