Dungeons and Dragons Expert Hirelings Cost Table
From Dragon Magazine, issue 184 is this awesome table giving costs to add a variety of hirelings to your Dungeon and Dragon Games. This was made for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, or Second Edition by today’s numbering. But it should still be fairly accurate for newer editions, or even other fantasy game systems.
NWPs, or “Non-Weapon Proficiencies,” were a way to add non-combat skill checks to AD&D. Just use a relevant skill from your preferred system.
And for explanation of the professions in the table they included this blurb below:
Many of these expert NPCs must possess nonweapon proficiencies to perform their duties. Suggested proficiencies are listed with each entry. Also, the Reading/Writing skill is common at many courts; assume that these hirelings have that skill if their duties require any sort of record keeping or any of the business of running a court.
Also, for any of the occupations here that involve apprentices, lackeys, etc., the masters relevant ability should be higher than those of his assistants to reflect his expertise (although prodigies are always possible).
Expert Hireling NPC Types
Accountant: An accountant is a specialist scribe who does calculations for business and bookkeeping purposes. Any business enterprise requires an accountant. Very large holdings or departments require a team of accountants under a chief accountant, who receives double pay. All accountants possess the Reading/Writing nonweapon proficiency (NWP) and also have some skill at mathematics (what we consider basic math no algebra, geometry, etc.).
Almoner: An almoner supervises the disbursement of gifts to charities and the poor. Almoners handle all the clerics, charity-collectors, beggars, mendicants, cranks, and reformers seeking money and favors who often approach wealthy characters. Almoners, like accountants, have skill at mathematics.
Artist: Artists are skilled in the production of fine statues, busts, murals, or paintings. A work of art takes from a few days to many weeks to create. A huge sculpture or decoration of a palace can take years to complete. A few artists are masters who can produce a masterpiece that will bring acclaim to the artist and his patron. Artists will possess the Artistic Ability NWP.
Astrologer/Soothsayer: Astrologers, soothsayers, diviners, and fortune tellers are common in many rulerscourts. In a magical universe, it is possible to make useful predictions on occasion. The accuracy of a prediction depends on the expertise of the astrologer; some may be charlatans. Fortunes are often given in cryptic forms, and are liable to be misinterpreted. These NPCs possess the Astrology NWP.
Attorney/lawyer: In urban areas, citizens may need legal advice about taxes, debts, rights, property, or inheritance. Rulers will need expert information on the cases brought before them. Lawyers can be kept on retainer and are also paid a daily fee while preparing or arguing a case in court. If a PC gains a sum of money from legal action, the lawyer will take 30-50%. Some lawyers are famous (5%), charging 5 to 10 times the normal fee, but can increase the chance of a favorable verdict at the DMs option. Attorneys all have knowledge of local laws and customs (treat as the Religion NWP, except the relevant ability is intelligence and it grants legal, rather than religious, information).
Bard/Storyteller/Minstrel: Every court needs a talented bard who can tell stories or sing and play music. History, legends, and poetry are passed down through the verses of bards, who are also the court composers. An NPC of this type may (if not a member of the bard adventuring class) exhibit the Artistic Ability, Musical Instrument, or Singing NWPs. Bards may also have some knowledge of history or languages.
Chamberlain: A chamberlain is the official in charge of a nobles household. The chief butler and master of the wardrobe report to him. Very large households require several chamberlains. Chamberlains will certainly make use of the Etiquette NWP and perhaps have the Heraldry skill as well.
Champion: A champion is a fighter who accepts challenges on behalf of kings or rulers who cannot fight themselves, or for mages and other characters who cannot engage in personal combat with fighters. Champions expect to be well rewarded after each victory. Create and equip an appropriate warrior NPC for this role.
Chaplain: Every estate or castle should have a chapel and chaplain for the religious needs of its inhabitants. Adventuring clerics usually dont have the time for such work, so an NPC cleric can be hired, as long as he gets the usual salary, upkeep, fees, tithes, assistants, and so on. Chaplains will possess the Religion NWP, and some may also have knowledge of history, languages, or areas of special interest to their deity.
Cook: A lords refinement is often judged by the excellence of his dinner table. A cook requires at least one lackey (apprentice) to assist him. Cooks have the Cooking NWP.
Court Announcer: The court announcer regulates daily business at a nobles court. He announces visitors, observes protocol, schedules appointments, supervises audiences, and keeps his eye on guests. Announcers will have both the Etiquette and Heraldry NWPs.
Dance Master: Dancing is a skill that is expected of every well-bred aristocrat. The dance master instructs the pages and damsels of the household in the rudiments of dancing and also teaches new dances to the court. Such instructors possess the Dancing NWP.
Doctor/Physician: Doctors are skilled in the treatment of wounds and disease. Although clerics in the AD&D game perform the functions of doctors, DMs could have healers who cure wounds and diseases with the Healing, and possibly the Herbalism, NWPs.
Entertainers: Entertainers include actors, mimes, jugglers, acrobats, wrestlers, puppeteers, dancers, knife-throwers, animal acts, etc. Entertainment is expected at important social gatherings. Performers can be hired individually or in teams of 2-16. When a company has six or more members, there is a 25% surcharge to pay for the impresario, drivers, and lackeys. Famous troupes of entertainers fetch 2-4 times normal prices. Most troupes should have members who exhibit many of the following skills: Dancing, Singing, Musical Instrument, Juggling, Jumping, Tightrope Walking, and Ventriloquism.
Equerry/Stable Master: An equerry is an official in charge of a stable. He oversees the horse trainers and grooms, buys and sells horses, buys fodder, and maintains the stable. An equerry is needed if a stable has 30 or more horses. Such an NPC will possess the Animal Training and Animal Handling NWPs for horses (or whatever mount is most common in the campaign).
Falconer: A falconer specializes in the care of falcons and hawks. One falconer can care for four birds. For every two additional birds, he requires a lackey. Falconers will have the Animal Handling and Animal Training NWPs appropriate to the type of birds used.
Gatekeeper/porter/doorwarden: The gatekeeper greets visitors, makes arrangements for their stay, and maintains the gates and drawbridges in good operating conditions. Such an NPC will have the Heraldry NWP and may possess some knowledge of drawbridges, gears, etc. (Engineering NWP).
Gentlemen- or lady-in-waiting: Gentlemen- and ladies-in-waiting are persons of noble birth who serve as assistants, companions, and bodyguards to a ruler. A minor noble might have 1-3 gentlemen-in-waiting; a king, up to 50. Such NPCs will possess a wide variety of NWPs, but Etiquette is mandatory.
Herald: Heralds are skilled in the usages of heraldry, diplomacy, and chivalry, and hence possess the Heraldry NWP. There is often a hierarchy of apprentices (pursuivants), heralds, and chief heralds at larger courts. Chief heralds receive five times normal pay and pursuivants earn one-half that of a herald.
Horse or Animal trainer: Animal trainers are skilled in the care, training, and breeding of animals. Normal training takes three months, with the trainer able to handle up to six animals. War training requires an additional three months, with three animals being the limit that can be trained at once. One horse trainer is needed to care for every 40 horses in a stable.
Hunting Master/Huntsmen/Houndsmen: A hunting master is necessary to make arrangements for and to lead a hunt. The hunting master supervises the huntsmen, all of whom have the Hunting NWP. Houndsmen exhibit Animal Training and Animal Handling skills for hunting dogs. Other common NWPs these NPCs could possess are Direction Sense, Fire-Building, Fishing, Riding Land-Based, Set Snares, Animal Lore, Survival, Tracking, or Weather Sense.
Jester: Jesters provide entertainment and keep themselves well informed of court gossip. They can give advice and defuse possibly hostile situations through humor. Jesters may also be skilled in magic-use and thieving. Jesters should have NWPs similar to those listed under Entertainers.
Librarian: A librarian is needed to organize and care for any large collection of books and scrolls. Librarians can maintain written records; read languages; identify authors, handwriting, dates and places of publication; and repair and restore damaged books. In addition to the Reading/ Writing NWP, librarians are often sagelike storehouses of information about history and languages.
Maid/Butler/Servants/Lackeys: Maids and butlers clean and care for buildings. A maid is needed for every eight apartments, and a butler for each large hall. The chief butler (major-domo) works with the chamberlain, head chef, steward, and master of the wardrobe to assure the smooth functioning of the household. These servants should have the Etiquette NWP.
Every castle requires a barber, who often doubles as a surgeon. Such an NPC may possess the Healing or Herbalism NWPs. Noblewomen may need a hair-dresser and seamstress, the latter of whom should possess the Seamstress/ Tailor NWP. Each carriage must have four coachmen, and a sedan chair requires four to eight footmen. Grooms are necessary to care for each one to four horses, and formal gardens require a gardener who may possess the Agriculture or Herbalism NWPs. The servant/lackey category also includes cupbearers, servers, chamber-valets, ushers, messengers, laundry women, etc. These types generally display few talents, though exceptions to the rule are always possible.
Master/Mistress of the Wardrobe: The master or mistress of the wardrobe is responsible for the care of a nobles clothing and private chambers. He or she also disburse the lords private funds for personal and miscellaneous expenses. Etiquette is an important skill for these NPCs, as is some skill at math.
Musicians: Musicians include flute players, lutists, drummers, horn-players, singers, bagpipers, harpers, fiddlers, etc. They are needed for balls, dances, masques, and the like. Musicians usually perform in groups of four to 12 members. If there are more than six musicians, they will be led by a music master who receives double pay. Five percent of musicians are virtuosos who perform alone and receive 10 times the normal pay. All musicians have the Musical Instrument NWP, possibly with multiple instruments (which would require multiple proficiency slots).
Nurse: Children of noble families are cared for by a nurse. Each nurse may look after up to four children.
Oratar/Rhetorician: Orators are professional speech makers. They may be hired to make speeches on a characters behalf, or may be hired on a monthly basis to teach oratorical skill. Each month a character takes oratory lessons (with several lessons a week), he receives a cumulative chance equal to his intelligence to receive Oratory skill, if he has a nonweapon proficiency slot available. Oratory skill gives a +20% reaction adjustment when making speeches in noncombat situations to those who can understand what the orator is saying.
Page/Squire: Leading noblemen or rulers often have dozens of pages and squires, as their vassals are eager to send their sons to be educated and learn chivalric skills. They serve as messengers, aides, and servants to lords and ladies, and they form a guard of honor. Pages are usually adolescents with little combat skill; squires are older and may be 1st-level warriors. Both pages and squires may also have some Riding, Heraldry, or Tailoring skill (for sewing torn tabards, etc.).
Poet Laureate/Court Chronicler/Writer: A poet composes verses for any subject or occasion, and a court chronicler records events and supervises the archives. They may be sent as envoys because of their knowledge of etiquette and diplomacy. All writers must possess the Modern Languages and the Reading/Writing NWPs; some may be members of the bard class.
Scholar/Professor/Philosopher: Scholars are specialized men or women of learning. They may answer questions as sages in one field with a -2 penalty that is cumulative with any other penalties, but they require only half the upkeep and pay of sages. Select appropriate fields of study for such NPCs, according to your campaigns background.
Scribe/Clerk: Scribes maintain records, copy documents, and take dictation. For every 100 soldiers in a fortress, one scribe will be required to assist the officers in making muster lists, payrolls, inventories, and in writing orders. Scribes might be needed to assist the seneschal, chamberlain, equerry, librarian, almoner, secretary, attorney, scholar, master of the wardrobe, etc. All scribes exhibit the Reading/Writing NWP.
Secretary: A secretary is a type of scribe who personally assists a ruler or noble in the day-to-day operations of his domain. The secretary is knowledgeable in administration, screens visitors, makes appointments, handles documents, channels communications, and supervises other clerks. The Reading/Writing NWP is important for this NPC, as is the Etiquette NWP and familiarity (knowledge) of the rulers interests, hobbies, etc.
Steward/Seneschal: A steward or seneschal is needed for every castle, business, estate, fief, or office belonging to a character that he does not personally supervise. Very large estates or fiefs will require several stewards, headed by a grand seneschal or chief steward. Stewards need a variety of skills, although a highly skilled staff is a great boon as well.
Teacher/Tutor: A teacher instructs children between the ages of six and 16. A teacher may have up to 12 students in a class. Teachers should have at least some of the following NWPs (though others are possible): Reading/Writing, Local History, Ancient History, Modern Languages, Ancient Languages, and Math.
Trumpeters/Drummers/Standard Bearers: Trumpeters and drummers are needed to play marches and fanfares at parades, tournaments, speeches, coronations, executions, and funerals. They also make signals in battles. Musical Instrument skill is essential.
A standard bearer is a soldier, usually a sergeant, who carries a lords insignia into battle to rally soldiers. Carrying a standard into battle requires no special skills, but an unusually large amount of bravery is helpful.
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Dickens, A. G., ed. The Courts of Europe. McGraw-Hill: New York; 1977.
Tuchman, Barbara W. A Distant Mirror. Ballantine Books: New York; 1978.