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The players I'm GMing are looking to get a hireling who's a warrior. Looking at the description it states

If your attack results in consequences (like a counter attack) the man-at-arms takes the brunt of it.

It also states that a hirelings HP isn't important. How do I damage him, figure out if he's dead, if I don't know his HP?

also looking at burglar it states:

Most traps leave a burglar in need of immediate healing.

how can I heal him if I don't know his HP?

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You look at the fiction and you make a call.

If you are fighting some Goblins together with your man-at-arms and they take the brunt of their counter attack, they'll be bleeding from some stab-wounds, but they'll probably live. If you are fighting a Giant together with your man-at-arms and they take the brunt of their counter attack, your man-at-arms will be flat like a pancake.

Same with the burglar. If the trap is a poisoned pin-prick, he won't take any damage but without immediate healing he'll probably fall unconscious and/or die from the poison. If it's a fireball trap, he's likely on fire and needs to be doused in addition to having his burns bound up. If it's a blade trap, he's likely to lose a hand.

Remember that the game itself refers to hirelings as sorry fools on a foolhardy quest. They aren't adventurers, but wannabes. Their exact HP isn't important; what matters is that they give the GM a chance to show that the world is a dangerous place, and that most adventurers end up like corpses in dungeons. Use them for that purpose and don't sweat the details too much.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's all good. While I'd never actually assign hit points or roll damage for a Hireling or other friendly NPC, should it be necessary to convert them to "Monsters" the Folk Of The Realm chapter would generally give them 3 Hit Points. That can be used as a benchmark for their survivability. \$\endgroup\$ – Slow Dog May 9 '18 at 8:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ What kills me about the impact D&D 3.0+ had is that so many gamers now can’t imagine fictional consequences without a rule telling them the outcome. It’s like they’re all looking for what number to subtract from what die roll or attribute if their left arm is cut off. Instead, just imagine life without a left arm. Those are the consequences. No special rules needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Detective Chimp May 9 '18 at 21:44

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