Bit of a necro since the last post. (apoligies, but I had a few ideas to flesh this out more)
I like the concept of this kind of thing however I think the blacksmith is just way to powerful (by 9+ levels the blacksmith can essentially give +3 bonus to attack, damage and AC or the maximum bonus).
That siad i have a few idea that could make this work quite well.
I'll call them retainers. This is mostly to have a different title so they dont get confused with henchman, mercenaries or specialists (the other types of hirelings). They are essentially personal specialists to aid the character as required granting them various boons in reliation to their speciality.
Availibility: as any other hireling
Recruitment: as any other hireling, but retainers can be found at levels higher than 4th, but as population density allows.
Non-Adventurer: retainers dont go on adventures with the characters
Pay: As Henchman however with a minimum monthly pay equal to a specialist of the same role (Eg. an Armourer expects 75g per month minimum).
Morale: Now the morale concept and rules offered by jard are quite sound;
- Starting Morale as any other Henchman
- Morale test on hiring another retainer of the same speciality (causes a crisis)
- Each retainer counts as having a henchman for henchman limits (eg two henchman and one retainer count as three henchman)
- Retainers are treated the same in every other manner as henchman
Experience: Retainers gain one fifth (20%) of a share of XP from adventures, as they dont put themselves in direct harm (but are usually regailed with the adventurers exploits in detail or from their own work).
Bonuses: Retainers expect a bonus as their employer gains wealth; while hencman tend to expect 15% of an employers income, a retainer expects only a 5% bonus (from the employers income) if their boons are provided (whether used or not).
Services: retainers provide the services to thier employer in the form of boons (see below). A retainer provides one boon at level 1, 2 boons at level 6 and 3 boons at level 12.
Many retainers dont have classes in performing their roles like Henchman do, they however use a seperate Specialist class for gaining XP for being a retainer (note this can be used to build specalists with levels, that have been retainers previously), unless they have an adventuring class like a henchman.
On gaining levels as a retainer as opposed to some other adventuring class, the zero level character doesnt lose any of their starting proficiences, these are kept, however they can never take the adventuring profiency. Specialits progress in experience, attack throws and saving throws as a thief. They gain 1d4 hp per level untill 9th level and gain +2 hp per level from levels 10 to 14.
- Specialists are proficient in any tools, weapons and armour specific to their speciality and have all proficencies (accept Adventuring) as part of their class list.
- Specialists gain an additional proficency at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 (typically these are used to complement or become more proficient in their speciality) and gain general proficencies at levels 5, 9 and 13 (which they tend to spend on anything).
- At level 7 a specialist increases their effectivness as that specific specalist by 50% (their value to a project or income they can make for their employer)
- At 13th level a specialist increases their effectiveness by 100%.
Boons: Retainers while they dont go on adventures offer their employers boons. Boons vary from retainer to retainer, and usualy are specific to thier speciality. Some example boons are given below. Boons typically last's just the one adventure, or up to one month (at judges discression).
Custom/Fitted Armour: Custom armour is designed and modified to fit the character (unable to be used by anyone else), this can grant either a +1 bonus to armour class (able to recieve this boon up to 3 times), or reduce the effective weight of the armour by one stone (can be taken only once). This takes a skilled armour 2 days of fitting (per boon) and one week per boon to initially modify the armour or one month per boon to create a new set of armour. While it takes 2 days of work and 2d4 hours of fitting to maintain each boon after each adventure (to make sure its fix any damage to the armour)
Balanced Weapon: A weapon itself is balanced specifically for the owner (unable to be used by others), granting them a +1 bonus to hit (can recieve this boon up to 3 times). This takes a skilled weaponsmith 2 days of the characters time (per boon) over a week per boon to modify a weapon or one month per boon to create a new weapon. While it takes 2 days of work (per boon) and 2d4 hours of the characters time (per boon) to maintain the boon.
Enhanced Damage: A weapon is sharpened, weighted or otherwise modified for greater damage in the hands of the character (unable to be used by others), granting them a +1 bonus to Damage (can recieve this boon up to 3 times). This takes a skilled weaponsmith 2 days of the characters time (per boon) over a week per boon to modify a weapon or one month per boon to create a new weapon. While it takes 2 days of work (per boon) and 2d4 hours of the characters time (per boon) to maintain the boon.
Create Consumable: Once per month (per boon) the specialist can create a healing tincture (as a heaing potion) for the character to take on their adventure. Alternativly the specialist can create a single use consumable (per boon) on behalf of the character, even if they cant do so themselves. The creation time is dependant on the consumable created and the character must fund the items creation value. This is typically done by alchemist or spell casting retainers.
Training: A retainer is able to train the character in one of their own proficencies or class abilities (once per boon). This training initially takes one week (per boon) to learn a general proficency or one month (per boon) for a class proficency (or ability) for the character to learn it initially and two days of training to maintain. The proficency can then be used by the character as if they had known it themselves. Any retainer can train a character in a proficency they know even if it isnt a class proficency for the character themselves.
Quatermaster/Merchant: The retainer can source or sell gear the character is wanting to buy or sell rather than the character doing the task themselves. The time taken by the quatermaster is equal to the time the character would have taken themselves. Each boon spent increases the effective size of the market by one step for the quatermasters effort (eg, 2 boons would make a rank IV market considered rank II to source/sell things).
Assistant: The retainer takes over many of the day to day tasks dealing with your retainers and specialists on your behalf. For each boon the assistant will look after an additional retainer even if it is above the number of henchman you could normally have. Should your assistant ever resign, any retainers that are assigned to the assistant are lost. (EG. Leora has a charisma of 11, thus can only have the base 4 henchman, however she gets a 6th level assistant and uses both the assistant's boons to hire two additional retainers letting her have 3 henchman, the assistant and two additional retainers, for a total of 6 effective henchman. However if the assistant should resign from Leora's service leora would also lose the retainers the Assistant looks after for her).
Information: The retainer takes its time out doing whatever they do to gather some point of information be it scouting out dungeons in the regoin, spying on opposing armies or lords, or even doing some research on the characters behalf. Each month (or the research time in the case of magic) gives the character one lot of pertinent information per boon from the retainer for that month. Depending on the information desired various specalists each have their own field they give information for (a scout wound gather regional information like dungeon location, a mage would undergo research, while a spy would gather secrets).
Blessings or Pacts: The character makes deals with retainers and their governing patrons (or directly with a patron) for various boons within the patrons field of influence. These can vary widely from one off spells to bonuses for certain tasks (jugde's discresion). Some patrons may even ask for favours from the character for providing the boons instead of taking monetary payment.
Spells: Spell casting retainers can cast spells on behalf of the the character that they know. Rarely are these offensive in nature as the retainer doesnt go on adventures with the character. Each week a one spell can be cast per boon. Higher level spells can often use up multiple boons for the retainer to cast them (typically speaking level 1-2 spells cost one boon, level 3-4 cost two boons and level 5-6 or rituals cost three boons). If the retainer has a very good relationship with the character they may cast multiple spells per boon or higher level spells for fewer boons (Judge's discresion).
Feel free to either add boons or feedback.