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.
What an absolute mess. Likely hungover. Will try to sneak a few naps.
An uncomfortable, clumsy, ungainly, blundering ham-handed butterfingers.
Generally off-putting. You probably found them passed out in the gutter.
Snot-drenched. Coughs non-stop. Ears so clogged they can barely hear.
Fired from every job they’ve ever had. Usually on the first day.
“I’m 9 years old, my family was eaten by wolves and I like the colour green!”
Audible sighs are their speciality. “Are we still looking for treasure?”
Never prepared. “Can I have a sip of your water? Got an extra bedroll?”
Energetic little bugger. Won’t shut up. Will answer rhetorical questions.
“Did I not mention I was cursed? My bad!”
Mute and illiterate. Happy to join you. Expect lots of pointing and hand-waving.
Will try to be friends with everyone. The more you resist, the harder theytry.
Homemade clothing that walks a fine line between artistic and offensive.
Undeserved confidence. “Nothing is impossible for the great Zabul!”
Confused about the nature of the work agreed upon. “What’s with the swords?"
By and large unphased by requests no matter how outrageous. “It’s a livin’.”
Fully content to do anything you ask of them regardless of the danger.
Makes a mean stew and a fine pie. Always volunteers to cook for the party.
Well-spoken child. Calls party members “teacher” from time to time.
Confident. Brave. Scrawny. Wants to be an adventurer!
Not experienced, but willing to take some risk. Easy to find anywhere people have settled. Level 0.
“Why yes I am Ian! Oh… No, not that Ian. Yes, I’m sure. Sorry to disappoint.”
Hat maker. Not all there but can follow simple instructions.
Speaks in a weird language no one understands. Total dummy.
Local builder. A few bricks shy of a load. Calloused hands and feet. Shoeless.
If you had a particularly revolting ale recently it was probably brewed by Daw.
Can be heard muttering “I used to be an actor” during arduous tasks.
Bird watching fanatic. Doesn’t know their names but will point them out.
Soup and stew enthusiast. Saving up to open “May’s Souper Bowl”.
Agrees to join you as long as they don’t have to hurt any animals.
Local gossip. Always putting their nose in other people’s business. Chatty.
Total suck-up. “Boy golly I never seen adventurers so brave as you!”
Local beekeeper struggling to keep their business afloat. Sharp wit.
Everyone in the area knows to call on Gwennol when you have a rat problem.
Angsty teenager looking for work to escape their “super lame” parents.
Artisanal candle maker and big time dreamer. Overly confident in others.
Lost their entire herd in a bet. Working to buy each animal back one by one.
A busybody who sees adventure as just another opportunity to tinker.
Jolly, loud, and loves to laugh. Personal space is a foreign concept.
Local stable person and messenger in training. Favours all with horses.
Ian the Admired
Their name precedes them. Sought after. “Never fear, Ian is here!”
While not trained, they possess adventuring-adjacent experience and are willing to take higher risks. Level 0.
Very dirty. Smells of cabbage. Badly wants to join your party full-time.
Lazy S.O.B. Requires creative motivational techniques.
Herb-peddler and fortune teller. Good at neither. Not good at much actually.
Knows a lot about textiles. Doesn’t know a thing about fighting or exploring.
Recently de-programmed member of local cult. Mind wanders often.
That hat… What an incredible hat! Best hat you’ve ever seen.
Tudwal the Thick
Unwashed, snaggletoothed, foul-mouthed, belligerent oaf.
Richard the Peeler
What's up with their skin? It’s not contagious but it sure ain’t pretty.
Overly accommodating and annoying. "I can’t afford to lose this job!”
Talks a big game about their adventures but has literally never left town.
Saving up money to travel home to the family farm for good this time.
Willing to do pretty much anything. No one knows how they’re still alive.
Why are they already covered in blood? Where are their shoes?
Pretty sure you’ve never seen thicker curls on a head in your life.
Light on their feet, even lighter on cash. May or may not be wanted by officials.
Tired look on their face. Blistered hands. Boot soles worn through.
Respected by locals for their work ethic. Has a ridiculous farmer’s tan.
Speaks in a whisper. Gruesome scar runs the length of their neck.
Just trying to provide for their family. Doesn’t want any trouble.
Speedy. Will rush anything if given the chance. “Time is money!”