I always loved the Grenadier hirelings figures.

It’s just so optimistic — you’ll need to hire some dudes to carry out all the loot. There’s a “potion tester” too (above, in red, far right). I love the idea that adventurers are callous enough to hire some guy to test if the potion they pulled out of the dungeon is poison, or some other cursed item. How much did potion-testers make? Could they identify potions with a small swig like a wine tester? The list of objects useful for the manufacture of potions in the 1st edition of the Dungeon Masters Guide make potions sound pretty foul.

“Sir, I’m sorry, that ‘potion’ was just wee wee.”

You also might notice one of the hirelings is carrying away a dead body. Was that your buddy? Is he just really sleepy, or sick, or lazy? I used to think the position of the body’s hands made it look like he might actually be trying to pick the hireling’s pocket, but what kind of a thief is so desperate he plays dead to try to pick a pocket, especially that of a menial laborer who probably couldn’t cut it as a potion taster. Or maybe he’s carrying the first potion tester.

The guys with all the treasure chests make you think it must be worthwhile in those dungeons, if you literally carry out treasure by the chestful.

The photography is bad as usual but these two are a torch & lantern bearer, and of course dungeons are dark places, so they do make sense. The lantern bearer’s bent spear and facial expression make me think he’s pretty scared. The chick with the torch is one of the relatively few female figures for D&D that aren’t dressed like slave girls.

Good luck!

Wait a minute…

That’s a frikkin ape!

Kenzer & Co., who publish Hackmaster, put out some awesome figures (I don’t know if they still do). This guy is a pack ape. I don’t play Hackmaster but someone in the Hackmaster stall at Origins some years ago sold me a bunch of Hackmaster figures rather cheaply and gave me (& my brother who probably bought a Hackmaster DMG) a free Player’s Handbook, which mentions that although pack apes are obviously a lot stronger than humans and able to cross difficult terrain, climb, etc., they are also prone to going “ape shit.”

He came in a set with a pixie carrying a lantern, which is another nifty idea.

I don’t know if there would be much reason to bring hirelings in a 4th edition D&D game, though, since the gritty details of adventuring are not really the focus of that game, which is much more focused on combat.

I finally painted most of these guys a few years back when my gaming group had shrunk a bit and were mostly playing a home-brew version of Advanced Heroquest (a miniatures dungeon-crawl game). I never used henchmen & hirelings much in D&D, partly because we usually had plenty of players, partly habit. In the Castles & Crusades game I’m playing in now, I anticipate lots of hirelings and henchmen being hired, because we are down to three players and will need the cannon fodder.

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 5:31 am  Comments (4)  
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my Caverns of Doom figures

Sadly, most of the figures that came with Caverns of Doom were lost or broken over the years. So, when I recreated the CoD map and began playtesting it, I gathered the few that remained and chose some other figures that were from the same early 1980s vintage. Here are the my stalwart adventurers:


The thief is original. The knight is a Heritage paladin, the wizard and cleric are Grenadier AD&D figures, the barbarian is a TSR figure, and the elf is cast from a Prince August mold. I still have the original knight, wizard, and cleric, they just need a paint job, and the barbarian woman needs her legs & sword reconstructed. I’ll try to get to them some day.

The monsters similarly are a mixed bag. I don’t think my set (actually my brother’s — I got the Crypt, he got the Caverns that fateful Xmas) ever had the Hobgoblin figure, but it had two demon figures, one of which I converted to a Gollum figure by filing off the wings, tail, and horns, but that is now long gone.
The spider didn’t last long, with skinny legs and being made of soft lead.

monsters1The demon and skeleton with bow are original; the slime monster, vampire, and skeleton with axe are Grenadier figures from the Tomb of Spells set; the rats are plastic accessories from the Heroquest game (a fairly decent dungeon crawl game in its own right); the spider is a plastic toy from a bag of Halloween decorations.

monsters2The hobgoblin is a “Mon-ogre” from a manufacturer I forget — maybe Broadsword or Asgard? The dragon is another Grenadier, from an “Action Art” set.

I still have part of the original dragon — just the body. I tried making a new tail, head, and wings a while back but the head and tail really need to be redone before I’d be willing to let anyone see it!

Minifigs.com has a number of the Dungeon Dweller figures back in production and maybe some day I’ll try to replace more of the original set with their recasts (which are also in a sturdier tin, I believe.

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm  Comments (12)  
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