D&D Miniatures01/22/2004

City Guards and Mercenaries

Many D&D campaigns have a need for combats that are larger than just the player characters squaring off against a few foes. PCs may be allied with the town guard or perhaps they enlist the aid of a local mercenary guild in cleaning out a nearby dungeon. Your D&D Miniatures and this article provide a quick method to design a unit of town guards or mercenaries to help or hinder your players.

You can use these tables by either rolling randomly or by drawing D&D Miniature cards from your collection. The D&D Miniatures have set alignments, but a DM can reassign them to fit the campaign. For example, if you are building an encounter with an evil mercenary unit, you could change the normally Lawful Good alignment of the Man-at-Arms to Neutral Evil.

Guard and Mercenary Units

For simplicity, these instructions are designed to create small groups of figures called a unit. The most common members of a unit are Warriors, Fighters, Barbarians, and some Rangers. A standard unit is made up of 1 Leader, 1d3 Sergeants, and 1d6+4 Recruits (7-14 figures). This results in a unit with an Encounter Level between 7 and 10.

To determine the number of units available, you need to know the city's population. The number of City Guard units is equal to the population divided by 1,000 and rounded down. The number of available mercenary units is half of that.

1 Leader (CR 4-5)

The leader usually is the most experienced member of the unit.

d% Set and Number Name Price/day
01-20 HAR 3 Dwarf Axefighter 5 gp
21-40 HAR 6 Halfling Veteran 7 gp
41-60 HAR 16 Axe Sister 7 gp
61-80 HAR 46 Human Executioner 5 gp
81-00 DRA 16 Daring Rogue 7 gp

1d3 Sergeants (each CR 2-3)

Sergeants help the Leader with day-to-day operations of the unit. They are more experienced fighters than the common recruits.

d% Set and Number Name Price/day
01-10 HAR 23 Elf Ranger 1 gp
11-20 HAR 25 Human Wanderer 3 gp
21-30 HAR 26 Krusk, Half-Orc Barbarian 3 gp
31-40 HAR 30 Wild Elf Barbarian 1 gp
41-50 HAR 31 Wood Elf Skirmisher 3 gp
51-60 HAR 43 Half-Orc Fighter 1 gp
61-80 DRA 3 Gnome Fighter 1 gp
81-90 DRA 18 Dwarf Barbarian 1 gp
91-00 DRA 22 Kerwyn, Human Rogue 3 gp

1d6+4 Recruits (each CR 1 or less)

The majority of the unit is made up of recruits. They could represent militia members, inexperienced town guards, or new members trying to prove themselves.

d% Set and Number Name Price/day
01-05 HAR 8 Human Commoner 2 sp
06-15 HAR 10 Man-at-Arms 2 sp
16-20 HAR 13 Tordek, Dwarf Fighter 5 sp
21-30 HAR 21 Elf Archer 5 sp
31-40 HAR 24 Gnome Recruit 2 sp
41-45 HAR 27 Lidda, Halfling Rogue 5 sp
46-55 HAR 47 Human Thug 5 sp
56-65 HAR 66 Human Bandit 2 sp
66-75 DRA 5 Human Crossbowman 2 sp
76-80 DRA 12 Regdar, Human Fighter 5 sp
81-90 DRA 19 Elf Spearguard 5 sp
91-00 DRA 25 Barbarian Mercenary 5 sp

Alternative Members

All units generated off the first three tables focus entirely on physical combat. To add variety, roll once on the following table. These unusual figures give a unit a unique twist. The resulting figure replaces a Leader, Sergeant, or Recruit chosen randomly.

d% Special
01-10 Animal Trainer
11-30 Arcane Spellcaster
31-35 Exotic Member: Drow
36-40 Exotic Member: Goblinoid
41-45 Exotic Member: Orc
46-50 Exotic Member: Other
51-55 Imposing Champion
56-90 Spiritual Member
91-00 Roll Twice

Animal Trainer

One of the figures in the unit (chosen randomly), in addition to his normal abilities and duties, is also an animal trainer. He has reared one or more creatures from birth and trained them to fight. He charges 7 gp/day as part of a mercenary unit, or 9 gp/day if he is the leader. The animal trainer has the Exotic Creature Trainer feat from the Arms and Equipment Guide (p.73) in place of one other feat and the Handle Animal skill in place of one other skill. Other appropriate skills include Intimidate, Knowledge (nature), Ride, and Use Rope. If the trainer falls in battle, then the creatures guard his body ferociously against anyone who would approach it.

d% Set and Number Name Price/day
01-10 HAR 19 1d3+2 Crested Felldrakes Dragon
11-20 HAR 34 Dire Boar Animal
21-35 HAR 37 1d3+2 Wolves Animal
36-40 HAR 41 Displacer Beast Magical Beast
41-45 HAR 44 1d2 Hell Hounds Outsider
46-50 HAR 54 Owlbear Magical Beast
51-65 HAR 67 1d3+2 Hyenas Animal
66-75 HAR 80 1d2+1 Worgs Magical Beast
76-85 DRA 11 Dire Lion Animal
86-95 DRA 26 Dire Ape Animal
96-00 DRA 54 1d2+1 Large Monstrous Spiders Vermin

Arcane Spellcaster

An arcane spellcaster lends his services to the unit. The spellcaster avoids direct combat but is a great support unit, especially those with protection spells.

d% Set and Number Name Price/day Rank
01-20 HAR 5 Evoker's Apprentice 5 sp Recruit
21-40 HAR 20 Devis, Half-Elf Bard 3 gp Sergeant
41-60 HAR 22 Elf Pyromancer 9 gp Leader
61-80 HAR 28 Nebin, Gnome Illusionist 5 gp Sergeant
81-00 DRA 20 Half-Elf Sorcerer 1 gp Recruit

Exotic Members

A member of the unit is from a race not normally seen in civilized society. Several of these are from races that are typically considered evil. That isn't a problem for evil towns or mercenary groups, but it might be if the intended unit alignment is good. In that case, either select a different exotic member or change the figure's alignment to one that is more suitable. This may result in good roleplaying potential. The exotic group member replaces a randomly chosen figure.

Exotic Member: Drow

d% Set and Number Name Price/day Rank
01-25 HAR 60 Drow Archer 3 gp Sergeant
26-50 HAR 62 Drow Fighter 5 gp Leader
51-75 DRA 49 Drow Warrior 5 sp Recruit
76-00 DRA 50 Drow Wizard 5 gp Leader

Exotic Member: Goblinoid

d% Set and Number Name Price/day Rank
01-20 HAR 42 Goblin Sneak 5 sp Recruit
21-40 DRA 31 Goblin Skirmisher 1 sp Recruit
41-60 DRA 32 Goblin Warrior 1 sp Recruit
61-80 DRA 33 Hobgoblin Member 2 sp Recruit
81-00 DRA 46 Bugbear 1 gp Sergeant

Exotic Member: Orc

d% Set and Number Name Price/day Rank
01-15 HAR 59 Cleric of Gruumsh 5 gp Leader
16-30 HAR 72 Orc Archer 5 sp Recruit
31-45 HAR 73 Orc Beserker 5 sp Recruit
46-60 HAR 74 Orc Spearfighter 1 gp Sergeant
61-85 HAR 75 Orc Warrior 2 sp Recruit
86-00 DRA 57 Orc Druid 7 gp Leader

Exotic Member: Other

d% Set and Number Name Price/day Rank
01-05 HAR 7 Hound Archon 5 gp Leader
06-10 HAR 32 Azer Raider 1 gp Sergeant
11-20 HAR 35 Lizardfolk 5 sp Recruit
21-25 HAR 38 Thri-Kreen Ranger 3 gp Sergeant
26-35 HAR 48 Kobold Warrior 1 sp Recruit
36-45 HAR 64 Gnoll 5 sp Recruit
46-55 HAR 68 Kuo-Toa 1 gp Sergeant
56-65 HAR 76 Tiefling Captain 3 gp Sergeant
66-70 HAR 79 Werewolf 3 gp Sergeant
71-75 DRA 9 Stonechild 3 gp Sergeant
76-80 DRA 10 Dwarven Werebear 5 gp Leader
81-85 DRA 35 Kobold Skirmisher 1 sp Recruit
86-95 DRA 40 Wererat 1 gp Sergeant
96-00 DRA 60 Troglodyte 5 sp Recruit

Imposing Champion

A creature from an imposing race replaces one of the unit's sergeants, chosen randomly. The creature is completely loyal to the Leader. It may act as an enforcer to maintain order. Because of the imposing champion, this unit may wind up with an EL higher than 10.

d% Set and Number Name Price/day
01-20 HAR 17 Centaur 3 gp
21-35 HAR 70 Minotaur 5 gp
36-55 HAR 71 Ogre 3 gp
56-65 HAR 77 Troll 7 gp
66-85 DRA 52 Gargoyle 5 gp
86-00 DRA 53 Harpy 5 gp

Spiritual Member

A cleric, druid, monk, or paladin belongs to this unit. A religious member will heavily influence a mercenary unit's outlook and will only join if they share a common goal.

d% Set and Number Name Price/day Rank
01-05 HAR 1 Cleric of Order 5 gp Leader
06-15 HAR 2 Cleric of Yondalla 1 gp Sergeant
16-25 HAR 11 Sun Soul Initiate 3 gp Sergeant
26-30 HAR 12 Sword of Heironeous 7 gp Leader
31-40 HAR 33 Half-Orc Monk 5 gp Leader
41-50 HAR 14 Jozan, Cleric of Pelor 5 sp Recruit
51-55 HAR 18 Cleric of Corellon Larethian 5 gp Leader
56-65 HAR 29 Vadania, Half-Elf Druid 3 gp Sergeant
66-75 DRA 1 Cleric of Moradin 1 gp Sergeant
76-85 DRA 8 Stalwart Paladin 1 gp Sergeant
86-95 DRA 27 Druid of Obad-Hai 3 gp Sergeant
96-00 DRA 30 Cleric of Nerull 5 gp Leader

Mercenary Prices

The prices listed are for long-term appointments. If the mercenaries are hired for only a few days, they may ask double or triple the listed price. A mercenary unit expects a share of treasure and loot in addition to its pay. A standard rate is 20% of the treasure from the trip, but this really depends on the relative experience levels of the mercenaries and PCs. A successful Diplomacy roll may affect the final price. If the mercenaries are of a chaotic or evil alignment and they feel sufficiently strong (or the PCs are badly injured), they might decide to take everything!

The prices assigned are based on the figure's challenge rating:

CR Price/Day
Below 1/2 1 sp
1/2 2 sp
1 5 sp
2 1 gp
3 3 gp
4 5 gp
5 7 gp
etc. etc.

Unit Name Generator

Unless its members were hired ad hoc by the PCs, every mercenary unit should have a name. If you can't, don't have time, or simply don't want to make up your own name on the spot, you can quickly generate one with the following table.

Roll 1d6. On 1-2, use only columns A and C. On 3-4, use only columns B and C. On 5-6, use all three columns. Roll 1d12 on each column and string the resulting words together to create the unit's name. For those entries with more than one option, choose your favorite. The resulting names can also be rearranged. The Copper Blade Alliance, for example, could instead be The Alliance of the Copper Blade.

d12 Column A Column B Column C
1 White/Grey/Black Dragon/Drake/Wyrm Alliance
2 Red/Blue/Yellow Gryphon/Chimera/Wyvern Brotherhood/Sisterhood
3 Orange/Purple/Green Fox/Wolf/Lion/Bear Company
4 Gold/Silver/Bronze River/Sea/Ocean Fighters/Warriors
5 Copper/Iron/Brass Hill(s)/Forest/Mountain(s) Guards/Guardians
6 Emerald/Diamond/Ruby Chalice/Heart/Fist Heroes
7 Jade/Opal/Sapphire Tower/Castle/Gate/Wall Horde
8 Royal/Imperial Sword/Staff/Axe Hunters
9 Blessed/Accursed Blade/Edge/Knife Knights
10 Courageous/Brave City/Town/Village Protectors
11 Holy/Unholy (Religious Symbol) Raiders
12 (Person's Name) (Geographic Name) Regulars


A randomly-constructed unit can also be used as

  • a rival adventuring party
  • caravan guards
  • guards at a noble's residence
  • a themed mercenary group of a single exotic race, such as Drow or Orcs
  • a small army (containing several units) led by a Purple Dragon Knight or other high level figure
  • a more experienced mercenary band consisting of 1d3 Leaders and 1d6+4 Sergeants

About the Author

Peter Lee lives in Madison, WI and works as a computer programmer. He has been using miniatures in his D&D games for 12 years and has enough unpainted pewter to last for the rest of his life.

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