Roll up one of these for as many hirelings as you can keep remembering this stuff for. Whenever an appropriate situation comes along, roll a morale check. If they fail, they do whatever treacherous, cowardly or inept thing you've rolled for them.
- Uncontrollable shakes: -4 to all rolls.
- Paralyzed with fear.
- Blind panic: attacks everything at random, friend or foe
- Won't stop screaming: roll for wandering monsters.
- Falls prone and drops whatever they're holding.
- Deserts if the party sleeps in the dungeon
- Tries to surrender
- Cracks under the pressure of slow exploration and runs wildly through the dungeon.
- Holes up in a room and refuses to keep going
You can roll d6 on this table to get a Panic result any time the henchmen see something that would send them screaming.
- Steals from party. If they think they're about to be discovered, they frame another henchman.
- Sells out the party to a dungeon faction for thirty silver pieces.
- Convinces other henchmen to mutiny and stab the party in the back when they find a good haul.
- Cheats other hirelings at cards when the party rests: fights break out.
- Thinks they know better than the party. Contests their decisions, rousing dissent.
- Bargains for better pay at the worst possible time.
- Snitches on the party if they do anything illegal
- Leaves in the night, stealing as much treasure as they can.
- Paranoid: Believes the party has betrayed them.
- Cuts and runs when the party needs them to get out of a jam.
- An important piece of equipment breaks mid-use due to their shoddy maintenance.
- Loses the things entrusted to them.
- Shaky hands: Drops what they're holding at a crucial moment.
- Bad cold: Sneezes when the party's trying to sneak.
- Cries all night. Can't sleep.
- Snores all night. The rest of the party can't sleep.
- Stress eater: Eats all of the party's rations at night.
- Has a terrible disease. Failed morale check means they won't reveal it, and the party will catch it if they rest together. (If you can't think of anything better, -2 max HP every day until they reach 1 HP).
- Highly superstitious: Abandons party if they see them perform magic.
- Conceals open wound - they didn't want to seem weak. Attracts wandering monsters.
- Too old for this shit: needs to rest every hour.
- Old soldier: has vivid flashbacks, believes they're in the middle of an old battle.
- Bitter hatred for another hireling: tries to slit their throat at night
- Madly in love with another hireling: They sneak off for the sick thrill of dungeon sex.
- Addicted to purple lotus. Horrible withdrawal: hallucinates monsters, +5 to critical fail chance.
- Refuses to back down from a fight, no matter how hopeless.
- Beserker rage: Attacks the nearest thing, friend or foe, until they or everyone else are dead.
- Fatalistically accepts death.
- Leave no man behind: Refuses to abandon a single fellow henchman
- Finishes off fallen PC's - "There was no hope for them, I just eased their pain."
Roll a d4 and a d10 to get the list and entry for your terrible hireling. It'd be better if they fit into a single list that you could roll one dice on, of course - anybody out there want to finish this off?
I've been on this hireling tangent because I'm planning to try all the bits of old-school dungeon crawling that I've previously ignored. Starting with DCC has crippled some aspects of my D&D education: I never understood hirelings, charisma, wandering monsters, light sources, player mapping. The slow and dangerous exploration of a megadungeon has been totally absent from my campaign. Maybe I'm not even old school.