On Retainers

I’ve never really used retainers. Everything I hear about them makes them sound like a fun (and wise) idea, but I never remember to look into it at the game table.

When I first started playing D&D it was with the red box. I ran through all the solo stuff in the book, and then I talked my cousin into playing with me. He ran a fighter, and I ran one of every other class. So right from the get-go I had multiple NPCs (or DMPCs) as well as all the creatures and enemies to run. When you have one of every class being run by the DM, you really don’t have a need for retainers.  This was likely the subconscious mentality I brought to the table when I started playing AD&D with people later on.

The group I played with for many years was made up of anywhere from 6-8 players. We had all the classes represented and then some.  There was always someone in the party who could carry the torch/lantern or had room on them to carry the extra loot you found in the dungeon. I didn’t think of retainers then, and surprisingly nobody else at the table did either.

There have been a couple games lately where I thought I would like to have a retainer. However, both of these games started out at first level, and I didn’t have enough money to buy all the dungeoneering supplies I wanted, let alone pay another person to come as my retainer. Now that I’m in a semi-regular game (Dwimmermount for 2 hours every other week on Google+), and I have a few extra coins, maybe I should look into hiring one.

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