EDIT: Darius laid out the contents of this post as a handy printable pdf.
I like tables. I also like hiring henchmen. Basic Dungeons and Dragons has next to no information on how to handle this. In the D&D tradition, I decided to make some stuff up.
Note: I use the term guy a lot but feel free to make any henchmen a henchwomen as the mood strikes you.
So you want to hire a henchman? Well first you have to see how many are looking for work at your tavern. Roll a D6
1 – Some other party just came through and hired everyone. Sucks to be you, no one is available.
2-3 – One guy is ready to die at your command.
4-5 – Two guys are free to explore whatever horrors you tend to explore.
6- Economy is rough. Three guys are looking to risk their lives for a small share of the treasure.
But what kind of person is available to work for such pathetic wages? Roll a D20
1 to 3 – Darwin’s Fodder. How this guy lived to adulthood in Dungeons and Dragons can only be answered by sages. He has average stats and 1-4 hit points. He offers no advice, couldn’t find his way home from the bar you hired him at and tends to look the Medusa right in the eye. On the up side, he won’t hesitate when given an order that is vaguely suicidal as long as you spin it well. Subtract 5 from the Wages Table
4-8 – Fighter Washout – This guy didn’t get into the fighter’s guild for failing the physical but he needs the money anyway. One hit die and no bonuses. Comes with a sword and a shield.
9-12 – Ex-Fighter Type – This guy was a bad ass in his prime but after twenty years of mercenary work, he should really retire. He has a problem with gambling though, and a problem with whores and maybe a problem with drinking. He needs money, even your money. This guy has two hit dice, a +1 to hit and do damage and a poor sense of when to quit when you are ahead. He wears chain mail, has a shield and two hand to hand weapons. Add +1 to the Wages Table.
13-14 – Heavy Lifter – This guy comes from the farmlands looking to make his fortune. Dumb as crap but strong as an ox. He has one hit dice, +2 to HP and +2 to his to hit and damage bonus. He has no equipment though and not much of a killer instinct. He just really expects to carry things.
15 – Outlaw Mage – Holy crap, this henchman knows magic! He might have stolen his spellbook from a better mage, or maybe he sacrificed his brother to dark powers to learn magic missile. Whatever his reason, he is now wandering the country side writing dark poetry to forbidden powers and needs the work. He is a first level mage, with a dagger and a goatee.
16 – Grim Dwarf – This Dwarf committed some sort of terrible crime in his homeland and must now roam the earth looking for something to kill him so he can die an honorable death. What kind of crime did he commit? Maybe he killed someone in a drunken brawl. Maybe he built a mine that caved in. Whatever happened, he shaved his beard and head in shame and now hires out to adventurers. He has one hit die, a nasty battle ax and no armor. He won’t step on a trap to die for your sake but he will charge the Owlbear that just ate your fighter. Just because he is suicidal doesn’t mean he is skimping on what he charges for his service. Add +3 to the wages table.
17 – Cool Thief – Look, he wears leather armor, has a short sword and a cloak, so obviously he is a thief. His gang got arrested recently and he needs a real job until the heat dies down. He swears he won’t rob you.
18 – Naïve Halfling – Dude should have never left the Shire but hey, he’s curious as a cat and twice as fragile. He has one hit die, leather armor and a dagger. He does have about four weeks of rations and wine to spare though.
19 – Smug Elf – This Elf is done with the tree hugging and the sky worshiping. Maybe his Elf parents didn’t love him enough. Whatever the reason, he has left the forest and will tag along with you short lived mortals for kicks. He has one hit die, one spell, leather armor and a sword. He offers no suggestions because you youngsters need to learn for yourself. Always smirking.
20 – Wild Card! Make the henchmen a doppelganger or maybe some Prince slumming with the locals. Go nuts.
What Do Meat Shields Go For these Days? Roll a D10 on the Wages Table
1 or less - 1 Shiny gold piece.
2-3 – 2 gold per day.
4-5 – 3 gold pieces a day.
6-7 – 5 Gold pieces a day and a half share of the treasure.
8-9 – 8 Gold Pieces a day and half share of the treasure.
10 or more– 10 gold Piece, a half share and medical expenses. Medical usually means his inn fee while he recovers and NEVER means a resurrection.
A half share means they take half a share of what a normal part member would take. Example, if there are 4 members in the party + one henchmen, it gets divided 5 ways and the henchmen gets half of that share for 10%. The other 10% gets split by the party. Complicated but hire a mage to figure it out.