Heroes are able to get the service of hirelings; these can be mercenaries, laborers, skilled artisans, etc... A mercenary or bodyguard will work 18 to 24 hours for the player during adventurers. But what about a local smith? If you pay a hireling to do some artisan work for you, will they work 16 hours per day or only 8 hours?

After all, most D&D games are happening in a medieval setting of time. People didn't work only 8 hours per day. It's interesting to know since a player skilled in smithery can make a progress of 5 GP per day (during a downtime of 8 hours).

If hirelings were to work 16 hours per day, then we could calculate their daily progress in crafting as 10 GP per day (or 7.5 GP; should they work 12 hours). From my understanding, a PC could have a downtime of 16 hours.

It's nice to know, since equipment could be made faster and the daily cost of a hireling would go down by half.

Edit: I would also like to add the thought that an adventurer could be a patron of a smithery with a skilled hireling. Would this person work for the player with a 5 GP or 7.5/10 GP daily progress? 16 hours of work with 8 hours left to rest seems harsh, but was it that uncommon in the medieval time?


1 Answer 1


I would argue that pressing the smithy for a "rush job" would leave him inclined to demand more money than usual for the speed. Strictly from a game mechanics perspective, as DM, I would up the asking the price in proportion to the speed gain. So the item would get crafted twice as fast, but it would still cost the same amount of money (or maybe a bit more.)

It may be true that people in medieval times didn't punch a clock 9 to 5, like today, but it's also true that they didn't generally stay out after sunset (because it was DARK without street lights.) The existence of magic, of course, is an X-factor that could swing things in pretty much any direction you like.

Hirelings aren't mindless automatons who will just bend over backwards because a PC threw a carefully calculated amount of gold in their face. Expect the local smithy to react accordingly when a heavily armed wanderer breezes through town and asks him to work overtime to get this macguffin done ASAP.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! This is a good answer. It would be a great answer if you could add something from the rules that backs it up. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 24, 2016 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ The thing is, this is also an interesting fact for a patron. If you as an adventure own a smithery and a skilled hireling, will they make a 5 GP progress per day from only working 8 hours or a 7.5/15 GP progress per day? :3 \$\endgroup\$ Oct 24, 2016 at 17:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CédricAntunes If you treat your employees like crap, they either walk, or you get to roleplay some labor unrest/pushback. As a DM, I always tried to put myself in the NPC's shoes and see "how would I feel if someone acted this way with me IRL?" Not a perfect tool, but helpful for role playing moments. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 24, 2016 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I understand your point and I can relate to it, but what I'm wondering is if it shouldn't be 'normal' to work 12 hours the day, 8 hours being a really genereous act and 16 being a thing an evil patron would do. I don't imagine that a commoner of a medieval time setting needs 8 hours of break for "fun"... I don't know if I should go as far as to say they didn't even have free days during the weeks, maybe only on special/festival days. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 24, 2016 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CédricAntunes it'd be interesting if you could site historical accuracy about working only 8 hours and having/no rest days. That'd make a great non-rules-centric answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Oct 24, 2016 at 22:23

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