Gygax wants you to use Hirelings & Followers! Period.
I made a post yesterday about the fact that my players aren't raving fans of using hired muscle in their adventures. I made a statement that "Many pages are devoted to this topic in the old school rulebooks. So it MUST have been an important part of the game to Gygax, et al."
I deemed this topic worthy of further scolarly study. So without further ado, I'm embarking upon a comparison of how several old school editions of D&D handle Henchmen, Hirelings & Followers. This will be a three-part study. This first post is about OD&D.
The topic is first introduced in the Charisma section of Men & Magic. It states that CHA "affects how many hirelings of unusual nature a character can attract." It also states that CHA affects maximum number of hirelings and the loyalty of any hirelings or followers. The range of CHA modifiers is anywhere from -2 all the way up to +4 (CHA 18).
Folks, this is significant! OD&D basically never gives bonuses higher than +1 for any ability scores, yet you can get all the way up to +4 on your CHA bonus. Dump stat, my ASS! :)
Hell Yes - Gygax meant for Charisma to mean something.
Under the section on NPC's, Gygax goes on to make the following statement: "However, it is likely that players will be desirous of acquiring a regular entourage of various character types, monsters, and an army of some kind." Pretty heady stuff!
The NPC section then goes on to explain about advertising costs, where to find hirelings, etc. It states that it will take at least 100 GP to lure a man into service, much more for a dwarf, and the lure of magic items to attract a mage.
Monsters can be "lured into service" if they are of the same basic alignment as the character (using a 2d6 reaction check modified by PC Charisma). Even if the monster is lured into service, the PC still must make it a generous treasure offer to keep its loyalty. Men & Magic also states that monsters can be captured or subdued and thus cajoled into service (although they still must be rewarded with treasure to keep them happy).
Each hireling (including monsters) that the PC employs is given a secret Loyalty roll (3-18). The PC will never know this score, but it will have a strong influence on the morale of the hireling. It can be increased with fair and generous treatment from the PC or decreased with poor treatment.
In short, followers and hirelings appear to have been a major part of the OD&D game, with many tangible bonuses arising from a high Charisma score. GEG actually anticipated that characters would strive to build armies of monsters and followers! I need to figure out how to get this back into my game.
Next post: Holmes analysis of hirelings & followers.