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Spellcasters For Hire

by Scott Moore

In the D&D Rules Cyclopedia (page 133), the cost of hiring a magic-user/magist specialist is given at 3000+ gp per month of service. No costs are specified for hiring clerics, however. This makes sense when you consider that the motivation of clerical characters is to function as a medium of service between their patron immortal and his followers, not to serve as a spell-slinging mercenary for hire. That being said, there are plenty of situations where an adventuring party may wish to temporarily employ the services of a local cleric. Healing, curing disease, removing a curse, and raising the dead are all services that a party may seek out a local church for. Aside from the regular adventuring clerics found in most parties, there are always cloistered clerics to be found in local churches that will be willing to perform these services in exchange for a donation to their church. In their absence, avengers, druids, and/or paladins can also be hired by the party for their spell abilities. The following options are presented to give GMs some possible options when their players want to hire spellcasting characters, whether on a monthly basis (arcane spellcasters only) or on a "per spell" basis. In both cases, several suggestions are presented. In locations where there is a lot of competition (hiring a magic-user in Glantri, for example), competition will keep costs low. In other not-so-populated areas, costs are likely to be higher as the few spellcasters around can pretty much name their own price. The more expensive options can also be used as a way of liberating excess treasure from the hands of PCs when appropriate.

Magic-User Specialists

The standard rate of 3000gp per month should be for magic-users of name level. For hiring higher-level magic-users, there are two options.

The Cheaper Option: 3000gp for a 9th level magic-user equates to about 333.33gp per level of experience. Therefore, add 333.33gp per level of the magic-user above 9th level to the base 3000gp per month, rounding off all decimal figures. This gives a cost of 3333gp per month for service for a 10th level magic-user, 3667gp for 11th level, and 4000gp for 12th level.

The More Expensive Option: For hiring characters of higher levels, use the minimum XP for reaching their current level, divided by 100 as a monthly cost in gp. For example, a 17th level magic-user would cost 15,000gp per month to hire (1,500,000 XP required to reach 17th level). This matches up with a monthly cost of 3000gp (300,000 XP) for a 9th level character.

Per Spell (A La Carte)

Quite frequently, a party will need to have certain spells cast for them that are outside their own abilities. In cases where the party either doesn't have the need for a contracted long-term magic-user specialist, or needs divine (as opposed to arcane) spells performed, select one of the following options.

The Cheaper Option: Use 1000gp per level of the spell as a cost. Therefore, a 7th level spell would cost 7000gp.

The More Expensive Option: Use the minimum class level required to cast the spell times 1000gp as a cost. For example, 5th level clerical spells can first be cast by clerics of 10th level. The price for a 5th level clerical spell would then be 10,000gp. For spells where the character level is important to the effect or duration of the spell, you may use the actual character level, as opposed to the minimum character level for the spell, to calculate the cost. In this case, the same 5th level spell as performed by a 13th level character would cost 13,000gp rather than 10,000.

The Real Expensive Option: For higher-level characters weighed down by massive amounts of treasure, this option can be used to relieve them of such a burden. Use the minimum XP total required to cast the spell as the cost in gp. In this case, a 5th level cleric spell would cost 300,000gp, as it costs 300,000XP to reach 10th level in the cleric class, the first in which they may cast 5th level spells. For spells where the character level is important to the effect or duration of the spell, you can use the actual caster's XP total, or the minimum XP total required for their level, in gp. In this case, the same 5th level spell as performed by a 13th level character would cost at least 60,000gp.