Hirelings and Henchmen is a supplement by Cawood Publishing.
This supplement is a 117 page collection of stat blocks for hirelings and henchmen.
The supplement is divided in four parts. The first three contain stat blocks.
In the first part we get the hirelings. There are 72 stat blocks for them and are divided by class. There are six hirelings per class going from level 1 to level 6. Each one comes fully fleshed out as a character so it can be used like that as well. They have a background, a trait, an ideal, a bond, a flaw and an entry for their appearance. Also they come with an inventory that also includes magic items for higher levels.
In the second part we get the henchmen. They are as many as the hirelings and are presented the same way. The difference between the two comes in their alignment. Henchmen are evil while hirelings are good or neutral. If you don’t use alignments this isn’t important for you.
The races used for the NPCs are the ones from the Player’s Handbook. There’s a good variety of them but I noticed that each class has at least two Humans.
The third part contains monsters as henchmen. These are Drow, Lycanthropes, Ogres, Rakshasas, Vampire spawn, and Vampires. The Drow are included in this category because their Monster Manual stat block is used. That means the monster henchmen are more difficult to be used as pre-generated characters. They do, however, come with their own characteristics, background and equipment.
Finally, in the fourth and last part we get a set of NPC tables. These can be used to generate more NPCs. There are five tables that allow you to roll for characteristics, race, class, background, and appearance.
Apart from the cover there are also a few full page art pieces in the supplement.
A few notes
There are a few editing errors but they aren’t found in the stat blocks and most don’t affect the usefulness of the supplement. The only ones that may affect it a bit is that some NPCs are missing their equipment entries.
Another note I want to make is more of a personal request. I’d like to see a printer friendly version of this supplement because I believe it could be really useful. I can easily see myself printing a few of these NPCs to have them with me when I’m running a session.
Finally, you may say “Chris, this is a collection of NPCs. I can make my own. Why should I get this supplement?”. Here’s the thing. Yes, this supplement is a collection of NPCs and, yes, you can make your own. The value lies in the amount of NPCs and the time you’ll be saving. There are a lot of them and, apart of the monster henchmen, can also be used as pre-generated characters with almost no changes. The amount of time you’ll be saving is enormous.
Overall, Hirelings and Henchmen is a nice collection that provides a good variety of NPCs that can be used in different ways. If you have a lot of extra time to prepare additional NPCs for your games, then this supplement may not be for you. However, if you are short on time and want to spend as little as possible preparing your sessions, then you should give it a look. It will probably take you a lot of time to go through all these NPCs and you still can roll more if you need to.
Update: The supplement now has a printer friendly version.