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I just started playing D&D 5th edition at college with friends after playing ad&d for years with my family in a homebrew campaign. I just noticed that fighters don't get any followers after getting to level 9 in 5th edition. Are there any mechanics for having followers in 5th edition? I'm playing a noble dwarf so I was hoping to have a small army after level 9.

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Yes there is, you hire them. Maybe you hire a group of NPCs to go on a side quest for you, or to research this or that spell, or go find these items that we need for our main adventure.

You can even hire someone to build you a castle if you have the money, and you can fill it with servants.

Nothing has really changed other than it's not automatic. If you have money, then hire followers.

Page 159 of the PHB mentions the use of hiring services, and describe very generally hiring mercenaries or spellcasters, but not so much about how to handle them. Since they are NPCs that's more the domain of the DM.

In the DMG between pages 89 and 97 are some bits about NPCs both friendly and villians, and it has a section on NPC Party Members beginning on page 92, here it goes into more detail about managing NPC Followers, but the material is more for the DM than it is for the players. Things like how loyal is the NPC to the players.

Your DM will tell you what he or she wants you to do, whether to build your own NPCs or let her do it.

So mention to your DM that you are interested in taking on an apprentice, or acolyte or squire.

One of the things that's changed also is character level versus class level, so different sorts of followers are attracted to different classes aren't they, but what now with the new character and class level mechanic? At level 9, I presume you are just as famous whether you are a level 9 paladin, or level 5/4 fighter/wizard.

So anyway. Talk to your DM, and see if you can hire an apprentice or a team of NPCs to help you on your main or side quests, or to build and make stuff on your behalf while you are away.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe there was a difference between followers and hirelings in AD&D that isn't addressed here. \$\endgroup\$ – Ceribia Apr 7 '16 at 20:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is really, that's what's in the DMG, and I think that mostly refers to loyalty. We don't have ad&d henchmen anymore. And we don't attract followers due to fame any longer, now we hire them and we have to be good to them for their loyalty to remain decent. Really it's up to the players and DM to talk about it, it's not an automatic, at 9th level you begin to attract 4-6 1-3 level fighters any longer. I made that example up, I don't have my ad&d books any more. \$\endgroup\$ – Escoce Apr 7 '16 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Escoce if you care, the 1e DMG had it as a prevalence of possible henchmen, not so much a number that you'd get. That is, in a rural area 1% of the population would be looking to "get off the farm," so to say. Percentages for the incidence of 2nd or 3rd level are given indexed off of the PC's level, and such henchmen as exist are broken out proportionately by class. It's all on DMG1e pp.34-37, if you care to reference it. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 8 '16 at 0:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Escoce I wonder if you're thinking more of 2e's followers: Table 16 of PHB2e ("Fighter's Followers") has you roll for a warband starting at level 9. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 8 '16 at 0:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 I honestly couldn't say, I don't have the books to refer to any longer. \$\endgroup\$ – Escoce Apr 8 '16 at 0:20
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To complement the answers above, the variant noble background gives the variant feature of retainers:

(PHB 136), three "attendents or messangers, and one might be a majordomo."

Is this an army? No. But they are followers who would be useful in maintaining one.

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