Equipment availability specifically says “per month”. Hireling availability doesn’t so much. Are hirelings meant to “refresh” each month? It seems reasonable with henchmen (I guess), but what if I’m in a village and I manage to roll 5% to find an alchemist. Does that alchemist move out of town for the next 20 months (on average)? Is the tiny village just keeping him really busy somehow? Or is it, failing the roll,sorry, this town doesn’t have an alchemist and probably never will?
How is this supposed to work between henchmen, mercenaries and specialists?
I run it as monthly refresh, with a variety of explanations. Sometimes it’s that the high level cleric who can cast Restore Life and Limb is on a circuit between several local towns. Sometimes it’s that, not finding any work, the roving Engineer decided to keep moving. The local sage has a bad habit of being held hostage by various guilds of thieves. I guess my default is “yeah, that guy who you hired last month? Well, he died of dysentery. Life in the ages before sanitation sure sucks don’t it? Complain too much and you get to save vs death from dehydration out of your posterior.”
That said, rolling once and having specialists become permanent fixtures can make each settlement more unique and motivate wilderness travel (rather than “we’re going to sit here for a couple months and wait for an engineer to materialize so we can start building a castle”)… You know, maybe I’ll try that. It would save a lot of rolling on each month’s rollover.
seems like if they want to keep someone around they should hire them on retainer. you pay a guy for one month and then give him the boot, don’t be surprised when, next month, he’s taken up some long-term contract for some other adventuring party.
The availability is intended to be per month, yes.
All of these rules are meant to be guidelines to assist the Judge in creating a world that makes economic sense. But the specifics of how you associate the rule with the game world are up to you.
Take the case of a 5% chance of an Alchemist being available This might be:
1) The Alchemist is a traveling peddler moving between 20 different villages, selling potions and lotions before moving on. So he very well might not be in the same village the next time.
2) The Alchemist lives in the village, but he's the only alchemist within the area. He's constantly busy. There's only a 5% chance the PCs can hire him each month - the other months, he's already working for someone else.