60 Free Old-School Retainers & Hirelings

NPCs hired to accompany players on their adventures go by many names, including hirelings, flunkeys, henchmen, meat shields, hired hands and toadys. I like to call them retainers for simplicity.

The retainers below are 60 of the 200 included in Gig Economy. They are intended as "un-classed" humans and provided here for your convenience and enjoyment.

These 60 retainers are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. I hope you can put them to good use in your own games and projects.

-Colin Sproule, Hurtleberry


These peasants rarely fight, but make excellent porters, torchbearers, door openers, and animal tenders. Level 0.

  1. Fekla Cheeseweed

    What an absolute mess. Likely hungover. Will try to sneak a few naps.

  2. Rauf Broster

    An uncomfortable, clumsy, ungainly, blundering ham-handed butterfingers.

  3. Gary Ditchpig

    Generally off-putting. You probably found them passed out in the gutter.

  4. Brindle Milda

    Snot-drenched. Coughs non-stop. Ears so clogged they can barely hear.

  5. Herbert Louise

    Fired from every job they’ve ever had. Usually on the first day.

  6. Doozer

    “I’m 9 years old, my family was eaten by wolves and I like the colour green!”

  7. Guy Freeday

    Audible sighs are their speciality. “Are we still looking for treasure?”

  8. Cleder Lacroy

    Never prepared. “Can I have a sip of your water? Got an extra bedroll?”

  9. Finlay Uptop

    Energetic little bugger. Won’t shut up. Will answer rhetorical questions.

  10. Wenn Cotter

    “Did I not mention I was cursed? My bad!”

  11. Becca Bluetongue

    Mute and illiterate. Happy to join you. Expect lots of pointing and hand-waving.

  12. Mani Grell

    Will try to be friends with everyone. The more you resist, the harder theytry.

  13. Tegan Kraftensew

    Homemade clothing that walks a fine line between artistic and offensive.

  14. Zabul

    Undeserved confidence. “Nothing is impossible for the great Zabul!”

  15. Bean

    Confused about the nature of the work agreed upon. “What’s with the swords?"

  16. Gopaa

    By and large unphased by requests no matter how outrageous. “It’s a livin’.”

  17. Craig

    Fully content to do anything you ask of them regardless of the danger.

  18. Maurice Kitchener

    Makes a mean stew and a fine pie. Always volunteers to cook for the party.

  19. Pickles

    Well-spoken child. Calls party members “teacher” from time to time.

  20. Kali

    Confident. Brave. Scrawny. Wants to be an adventurer!

Townsfolk, Common

Not experienced, but willing to take some risk. Easy to find anywhere people have settled. Level 0.

  1. Just Ian

    “Why yes I am Ian! Oh… No, not that Ian. Yes, I’m sure. Sorry to disappoint.”

    • Clothing, boring
    • Unarmed
    • Bowl of oatmeal + spoon
  2. Sevi Capper

    Hat maker. Not all there but can follow simple instructions.

    • Clothing, rags
    • Unarmed
    • Fabric scissors
  3. Loren Ipson

    Speaks in a weird language no one understands. Total dummy.

    • Clothing, simple
    • Unarmed
    • Book of unreadable text
  4. Ernuf Malva

    Local builder. A few bricks shy of a load. Calloused hands and feet. Shoeless.

    • Clothing, simple
    • Unarmed
    • Well-worn trowel
  5. Daw Brewster

    If you had a particularly revolting ale recently it was probably brewed by Daw.

    • Clothing, simple
    • Unarmed
    • Pound of rolled oats
  6. Leon

    Can be heard muttering “I used to be an actor” during arduous tasks.

    • Clothing, stage costume
    • Unarmed
    • 3 different wigs
  7. William Penrose

    Bird watching fanatic. Doesn’t know their names but will point them out.

    • Clothing, simple
    • Unarmed
    • Shoddy spyglass
  8. May O’Gara

    Soup and stew enthusiast. Saving up to open “May’s Souper Bowl”.

    • Clothing, simple
    • Unarmed
    • Enough soup for all
  9. Hafren Grove

    Agrees to join you as long as they don’t have to hurt any animals.

    • Clothing, natural
    • Unarmed
    • 25’ leather cord
  10. Irmel Sauter

    Local gossip. Always putting their nose in other people’s business. Chatty.

    • Clothing, middle class
    • Unarmed
    • Perfume
  11. Brice Niblett

    Total suck-up. “Boy golly I never seen adventurers so brave as you!”

    • Clothing, middle class
    • Dagger
    • Bundle of torches
  12. Sandy Honeyman

    Local beekeeper struggling to keep their business afloat. Sharp wit.

    • Clothing, apiarist hood
    • Club
    • Pot of honey
  13. Gwennol Ratter

    Everyone in the area knows to call on Gwennol when you have a rat problem.

    • Clothing, rags
    • Hammer (bloody)
    • Satchel of smashed rats
  14. Angwen Koivista

    Angsty teenager looking for work to escape their “super lame” parents.

    • Clothing, middle class
    • Sling
    • Lantern
  15. Callum Rivers

    Artisanal candle maker and big time dreamer. Overly confident in others.

    • Clothing, leather apron
    • Dagger
    • 3 scented candles
  16. Lauretta Bester

    Lost their entire herd in a bet. Working to buy each animal back one by one.

    • Clothing, farming garb
    • Staff
    • Stockwhip
  17. Maren Henty

    A busybody who sees adventure as just another opportunity to tinker.

    • Clothing, work clothes
    • Javelin
    • Bag of tools
  18. Stormin' Norman

    Jolly, loud, and loves to laugh. Personal space is a foreign concept.

    • Clothing, simple + shield
    • Hand axe
    • So much garlic
  19. Kensa Pond

    Local stable person and messenger in training. Favours all with horses.

    • Clothing, riding gear
    • Shortbow
    • Grooming tools
  20. Ian the Admired

    Their name precedes them. Sought after. “Never fear, Ian is here!”

    • Armour, leather
    • Short sword
    • 50’ rope + grappling hook

Townsfolk, Uncommon

While not trained, they possess adventuring-adjacent experience and are willing to take higher risks. Level 0.

  1. Hutch Eggmen

    Very dirty. Smells of cabbage. Badly wants to join your party full-time.

    • Clothing, rags
    • Unarmed
    • Sack of potatoes
  2. Tad Malpass

    Lazy S.O.B. Requires creative motivational techniques.

    • Clothing, simple
    • Unarmed
    • Cup-and-ball toy
  3. Romana Mayberry

    Herb-peddler and fortune teller. Good at neither. Not good at much actually.

    • Clothing, linen tunic
    • Unarmed
    • Weird crystal rivière
  4. Nerth Burler

    Knows a lot about textiles. Doesn’t know a thing about fighting or exploring.

    • Clothing, middle class
    • Unarmed
    • 50’ of yarn
  5. Ada Thornley

    Recently de-programmed member of local cult. Mind wanders often.

    • Clothing, mouldy robes
    • Unarmed
    • Jar of leeches
  6. Pawly Woolman

    That hat… What an incredible hat! Best hat you’ve ever seen.

    • Clothing, fine (and hat!)
    • Dagger
    • Fancy walking stick
  7. Tudwal the Thick

    Unwashed, snaggletoothed, foul-mouthed, belligerent oaf.

    • Clothing, burlap tunic
    • Club
    • Flagon of horrible wine
  8. Richard the Peeler

    What's up with their skin? It’s not contagious but it sure ain’t pretty.

    • Clothing, rags
    • Dagger
    • Bottle of lotion
  9. Padarn Hullet

    Overly accommodating and annoying. "I can’t afford to lose this job!”

    • Clothing, simple
    • Staff
    • Key to the local tavern
  10. Sally Dougan

    Talks a big game about their adventures but has literally never left town.

    • Clothing, simple
    • Sling
    • Tin whistle (off-key)
  11. Davy Mustard

    Saving up money to travel home to the family farm for good this time.

    • Clothing, farming garb
    • Javelin
    • Old horseshoe
  12. Chort Wilding

    Willing to do pretty much anything. No one knows how they’re still alive.

    • Clothing, shredded rags
    • Staff
    • Lucky coin
  13. Jayaa Orgill

    Why are they already covered in blood? Where are their shoes?

    • Clothing, simple (bloody)
    • Club
    • Rusted steel mirror
  14. Derwa Cripps

    Pretty sure you’ve never seen thicker curls on a head in your life.

    • Clothing, farming garb
    • Sling
    • Jar of pickled carrots
  15. Eleri Swift

    Light on their feet, even lighter on cash. May or may not be wanted by officials.

    • Clothing, fine
    • Silver dagger
    • Big, bushy fake beard
  16. Zer Oyono

    Tired look on their face. Blistered hands. Boot soles worn through.

    • Clothing, military uniform
    • Damaged short sword
    • Horn trumpet
  17. Glen Farrow

    Respected by locals for their work ethic. Has a ridiculous farmer’s tan.

    • Clothing, buckskin jacket
    • Warhammer
    • Blacksmith gloves
  18. Blodwen Moggs

    Speaks in a whisper. Gruesome scar runs the length of their neck.

    • Clothing, hunting garb
    • Short sword
    • Whetstone
  19. Alan Gribel

    Just trying to provide for their family. Doesn’t want any trouble.

    • Clothing, simple
    • Spear
    • 50' nice rope
  20. Okara Camara

    Speedy. Will rush anything if given the chance. “Time is money!”

    • Armour, leather
    • Shortbow
    • Crowbar
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.