[RPG] How much does it cost to hire a Hireling


In Dungeon World, you can hire NPCs to accompany the party and provide assistance. These NPCs vary in loyalty and skill. However, I don't see any chart or table detailing how much the NPCs are expected to charge per-session for their services. What is a fair/reasonable/balanced price? Does it scale off the skill of the NPC?

Best Answer

This is up to the fiction: your Dungeon World won't have a standard that matches my Dungeon World's standard, and besides, not every hireling is going to expect the exact same number of coins in pay. So how does the fiction determine this?

The move gives you some guidance:

  • Is it generous? If you don't do this, your offered pay could be paltry and you still might get recruits.
  • Are you offering a share of loot ("whatever you find")? If you're not, you still might get recruits.

Basically, you can put it out there that you're paying a broken brass penny a day and they have to keep their filthy commoner paws off the treasure, and you can still roll a 10+ and get your choice of recruits on those terms. Lucky for your coin purse!

But what's "generous"? If you're throwing a number out there and everyone is like "really? That's a lot," you're being generous. If you're trying to find the lowest amount you can offer and still get the "generous" bonus to the roll? Not generous.

But still, you need a basic sense of what money is worth before anyone at the table can detect the difference between stinginess and generosity. This will mainly develop just by finding a few treasures and incurring a few expenses – broken weapons, armour upgrades, new rations, etc. There's nothing like the business of adventuring to teach you the value of coin. Even before then, though, you can get a vague sense of a coin's value by looking over the costs in the Equipment chapter. For example:


Long Sword … 15 coins
Ragged Bow … 15 coins
Fine Bow … 60 coins
Bundle of Arrows … 1 coin


Scale Mail … 50 coins
Plate … 350 coins


A week's stay at a civilized inn … 12-27 coins
A month's pay for enlistment in an army … 30 coins
Escort for a day along a monster-infested road … 54 coins

So you can see that the pay for a dangerous job can vary by an order of magnitude, between 30 coins for a month of soldiering (with its "long stretches of boredom punctuated by brief terror") and 50-odd coins for a single day's escort through monster territory. Still, 20 coins is worth a lot to a commoner: it's equivalent to a week's stay at a hotel to us. That puts a sword's value at the cost of living for a well-off person for a week to a month (and longer for a peasant), and a sword only costs 15 coins.

Even if the price lists don't give you a clear idea of what "generous" should mean when Recruiting, it's not going to be a problem: if you Recruit in the first few sessions, sure, maybe you'll be underpaying them and still have gotten that +1 for being "generous", but after a few sessions your group will have a very clear idea of what coin is worth, and for the rest of your Dungeon World career, you'll all know quite well what it takes to be "generous" and how much Recruit might cost you.