Streamlining Cavalier Minions

Last Updated: 180815, 200616

The cavalier acquires followers and henchmen early and often. All told, there are 17 (!) different types of minions, with differing weapons, armor, armor class, hit points, and THAC0, making management a bit of a nightmare. At the same time, there’s a lot of flavor there, in particular in types of troop; it’s good to maintain at least the distinction between cavalry, infantry, and archers. Time to streamline that a bit.


The cavalier must go to a locale where such men-at-arms are located in order to attract these followers. Those followers lost are not replaced except by troops gained at higher levels. A cavalier’s followers will not demand wages or salary, but must be fed, cared for, and rewarded as suitable for the conditions. The number is not limited by Charisma.

By the Book Followers

01-50 Light cavalry in ring mail and shield, each with 3 javelins, long sword, and hand axe; or, Heavy infantry in scale mail, with pole arm of choice and club.

51-75 Heavy infantry in splint mail with morning star and hand axe; or, Heavy infantry in leather armor with pike and short sword.

76-90 Crossbowmen in chain mail with heavy crossbow and short sword; or, Crossbowmen in chain mail with light crossbow and military fork.

91-00 Cavalry in banded mail and shield with lance and horseman’s mace; or, Cavalry in studded leather with long sword and horseman’s flail. Either type will be mounted on medium warhorses.

Streamlined Followers

The streamlined minions have a higher than average THAC0, AC, damage, and hit points, to reflect their being a bit better than average.  For simplicity almost all of the damage dice and weapon speeds are the same.

  AC Average
50% 6 3
12.50% 4 0.5
12.50% 8 1
15% 5 0.75
5% 3 0.15
5% 7 0.35


Average follower AC: 5.75, with bonus AC: 5

Cost: 10 gp / month each.

50% Heavy infantry in chain mail (AC: 5), with pole arm (d8, Weapon Speed: 8) and club (d8, Weapon speed 3). THAC0 19. 8 hp.
15% Crossbowmen in chain mail (AC: 5) with heavy crossbow (3d4, Weapon Speed: 8, Range 8/16/24), and short sword (d8, WS 3). THAC0 19. 8 hp.
35% Cavalry in scale mail and shield (AC: 5), with lance (d8, Weapon Speed 8), 3 javelins (d8, Range 2/4/6), and horseman’s mace (d8, Weapon Speed: 8), mounted on light warhorses. THAC019. 8 hp.

By The Book Leaders

For every group of 20 troops which serve a cavalier, there will be a fighter follower/leader of 5th level, dressed in plate mail and shield with a battle axe +2. For every 60 troops there will be a 6th-level fighter leader (with plate mail + 1 and shield, longsword + 2), and a 3rd-level fighter lieutenant (plate mail, battle axe).

Streamlined Leaders

For every 20 troops, there will be:

  • 5th level leader: AC 1 (Plate mail and shield), 35 HP, Weapon: d8 damage, weapon speed 6. +2 to hit, +2 damage, THAC0 15 Cost: 500 gp / month

For every 60 troops there will be:

  • A 6th-level leader: AC 1 (Plate mail and shield), 35 HP, Weapon: d8 damage, weapon speed 6. +2 to hit, +2 damage, THAC0 15. Cost: 600 gp / month
  • A 3rd level leader (similar to Esquire), for 300 gp / month.

Retainers (Henchmen)

Total number limited by Charisma +3

By the Book Retainers

As soon as a cavalier of good alignment reaches 4th level (Knight Errant), the cavalier must acquire at least one retainer. These retainers can be either Armigers (level l), or Scutifers (level 2), or both. Upon becoming a Knight (6th level), an Esquire (level 3) must be added to the staff. Upon becoming a Grand Knight (7th level), a Horseman (Level  0, d4+1 hp) to act as a herald and a Lancer (Level0, 2d4 +1 hP) to act as a guard must be added. At 8th level, the Banneret must bring at least an additional mounted man-at arms to his staff of retainers. All cavalier retainers will serve for nothing more than care, upkeep, and training, as applicable.

Streamlined Retainers

Retainers cost 100 gp / level / month

  • Level 1: (Horsemen, Lancer , Men-at-arms). Identical to Cavalry.
  • Level 2: (Armigers, Scutifers). Identical to Cavalry, except +1 to hit, +2 when mounted. 16 hp.
  • Level 3: (Esquire). Identical to Cavalry, except +1 to hit, +2 when mounted. 24 hp and THAC0 17.

Author: Rick

A DM for *mumble* years, I've been playing AD&D since junior high. I've currently got two separate campaigns running, both in Mystara. I've been told when they handed out hobbies, I stood in the short lines. I actively cycle tour, kayak, play board games, read, develop home automation software, play Stars!, volunteer with the International and National American Red Cross, and work on a never-ending stream of home repairs. In my wake I've left paintball, medieval full-contact combat (SCA), computer gaming, Heroclix, and kite construction.

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