I recently had cause to include hirelings in a 5e adventure. This is a simple class to represent them, with a feature where if a player character dies, the player can pick up a hireling and continue as a full-fledged character. Until then they are simple to play, competent but with limited options, and largely defined by their background.
Most of my games use the standard array for ability scores, so for hirelings I just replaced the 15 with another 10. I also use feats, so one human hireling started as an initiate until picking up his second level as a 1st level wizard, and the hunter hireling had crossbow expertise.
Class FeaturesAs a hireling, you gain the following class features.
Hit PointsHit Dice: 1d8 per hireling level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per hireling level after 1st
ProficienciesArmor: Light armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons
Saving Throws: None
Skills: None (Background and racial skills still apply).
EquipmentYou start with a simple weapon and 3 days of rations in addition to the equipment granted by your background. Your skill proficiencies grant additional starting equipment - suggestions follow.
- Acrobatics: 50 feet of rope and a 10 foot pole
- Animal Handling: A pack animal or trained dog
- Arcana: A staff or component pouch
- Athletics: A shield or climber’s kit
- Deception: A forgery kit or dagger
- History: Ink and pen and a few sheets of parchment
- Insight: A tobacco pipe
- Intimidation: A whetstone and manacles or studded leather and an eye patch (complete with damaged eye) or an hourglass
- Investigation: A monocle or a magnifying glass
- Medicine: A healer's kit or antitoxin
- Nature: An herbalism kit or a hunting trap
- Perception: A signal whistle and a steel mirror
- Performance: A disguise kit or a musical instrument
- Persuasion: Fine clothes or a bottle of fine wine
- Religion: Holy water or holy symbol
- Sleight of Hand: A gaming set
- Stealth: A light crossbow and quiver of bolts or caltrops and ball bearings
- Survival: 50 feet of hempen rope or fishing tackle and a tent
Ability Score Improvement
Ability Score Improvement
AspirantEvery other character level, you must take a level of another class. This follows normal multiclassing rules, so hirelings don't receive saving throw proficiencies. For example, a 5th level hireling would have 3 levels of the hireling class and 2 levels of any other class.
ExaltationIf your employer perishes, you can take up one of their ideals as an action. If you do so, convert levels of hireling into levels of another, existing class. Your hit dice change to match your class, but not maximum hit points. You gain all the proficiencies a character who started in that class would gain.
You may no longer advance as a hireling.