First, of course, in the section on creating characters, Holmes points out that the number of followers is limited by a character's charisma:
A character of charisma below 13 can not hire more than 5 followers, and their loyalty will be luke-warm at best -- that is, if the fighting gets hot there is a good probability they will run away. On the other had, someone with a charisma of 18 can win over a large number of followers (men or monsters) who will probably stand by him to the death.Next, in the section on nonplayer characters, Holmes mentions letting characters hire "a band of mercenaries" to take part in (and share the loot from) an adventure. He also acknowledges that players may want "a regular entourage of various character types, monsters, or an army of some form." The author then goes on to discuss luring "monsters" (including higher-level men) into service via charisma or charm spell. He adds that surrender may result in service according to the results of the Hostile/Friendly Reaction Table and subdual means an opponent will serve without need of the reaction table.
But what about followers of characters past third level? The monster entries can help.
Take, for example, the bandit. One fourth-level fighting man for every 30 bandits; one fifth- or sixth-level for every 50. Over 200, a one-quarter chance of a tenth- or eleventh-level magic user and the same probability of an eighth-level cleric. If there are 300 bandits, there is a M-U and a 50% chance of a cleric.
And the dwarf: a second- to seventh-level leader for every 40 dwarves.
As well as the elf: one leader (fighter/magic-user, 2-4/2-7 level) for every 50 elves.
Back to bandits: Holmes doesn't explicitly define bandits as fighters, but he gives regular bandit troops shields and possibly chain mail. Since thieves can't use either of those protective devices, we can say bandits are fighters. Further support for this argument can be found in the description of the bandit camp in one of the modules included with the Holmes basic rules, B2 The Keep on the Borderlands. In that adventure, Gary Gygax lists the bandits as fighters or zero-level normal men.
So you've got scores of fighters hanging around with some higher-level type. Why? Charisma. Those upper-level folks must have pretty good charismas scores, and they're therefore able to amass large numbers of followers.
So based on the above, here's one way to go about determining followers when playing with the Blue Book rules:
In addition to hiring non-player characters through advertising, characters with a charisma score of 13 or more can attract followers as they gain levels, since stories of their adventures will draw others to their service. A character that gains such followers cannot add any more to the ranks until reaching the next level, and any followers lost cannot be replaced until the next level.
Beginning at fourth level, fighting men roll percentile dice each month to determine if they attract 30 first-level fighters into service. A roll of 10 or less succeeds, and the character may not roll again for troops until gaining a new level. At fifth level, a fighting man has the same chance of gaining 50 troops. At sixth level and above, the fighter can obtain up to another 50 soldiers (so a total of 130 troops at sixth level, 180 troops at seventh level, and so on).
Starting at tenth level, magic-users have a 5 percent chance per month of gaining 200 troops, increasing by another 100 troops for each level thereafter on a successful percentile roll.
Clerics have the same chance of attracting followers as magic-users, but can start rolling at eighth level.
At second level and higher, dwarves have a 5 percent chance per month of having 10 dwarves (as described in the Monster List) join their cause, increasing by 10 dwarves per level after that.
Well, that's what I came up with as far as mass followers for the old basic game. It hasn't been playtested, as none of the characters in my short-lived Holmes campaign from last year ever made it past first level (and I didn't come up with it till just now). Also, I didn't include any followers for thieves, since I couldn't find anything in the blue book to draw upon for that class. Any suggestions?Likewise, elves who have reached both the second level of fighting ability and the second level of magic-use have a 5 percent chance to gain 10 elves (from the Monster List). This number increases by 5 elves each time the character gains a level as either a fighter or a magic-user.