Saturday, June 26, 2010


Greg Gillespie over at Discourse and Dragons has created an awesome new online resource for old school referees. Called Meatshields!, it's a random hireling generator for use with your favorite old school fantasy RPG. The generator produces a list of potential hirelings, providing name, race, hit points, gender, and alignment, along with a brief background (like "street thug" or "aspires to knighthood"), notable features, and possessions/knowledge -- just enough detail for the referee to turn spear-carrier #23 into a unique individual rather than just a collection of game stats.

I absolutely love Meatshields! and wish I'd have had access to it when I started the Dwimmermount campaign. Now that the characters are all between 4th and 6th level, hirelings are becoming less common (though henchmen are still kicking about), so I doubt I'll get as much use out of this as I would have a year ago. Still, it's great to have it available should the need for quickly generating a bunch of hirelings arise again.

Great stuff.


  1. I belive some of the credit for Meatshields! is due to Crom/Chris from Red Box should see the Planet Algol NPC generator he came up with!

  2. Thanks for the plug James! We drew inspiration from the use of hirelings in your campaign.

    The generator was co-created with Chris G. from Red Box Vancouver, without whom this wouldn't have been possible.

    We hope, as Chris said, these are men "you'd be proud to take underground!" :) We hope people enjoy it!

  3. Once you get to name level there may be more use for it again.

  4. I wish I understood more the difference between hirelings, henchmen, and retainers. I've been running a game using Labyrinth Lord and B2, Keep on the Borderlands. LL uses henchmen who serve out of personal loyalty, with no rules for hiring torchbearers for adventures. B2 provides rules for hiring torchbearers---and they seem reasonable calibrated to the B2 economy.

    But outside B2, what do you do? Are these rates of about a GP a day for a man-at-arms reasonable throughout first level? When does that become ridiculously cheap?

  5. Get a copy of the AD&D DMG, Brian, it'll help you with the distinctions between various types of NPCS, really.

    Sounds cool, and I love the titles... So wrong, but so true.

  6. Dude, this is great! The only thing missing is a thumbnail gallery to randomly stick pictures on them!

  7. I did something similar with a set of random charts. The charts included the various human types from the Monster Manual (brigands, berserkers, nomads, tribesmen, etc), as well a small chance for a few ringers.

    I like this program a lot. Not only is it good for redshirts, it can also be used to create a groupd of outlaws or tavern bullies, too.