I know.there is a guideline of about 1 silver per day per lvl.of character but this is a little different. I'm thinking more along the lines of a company or two of anywhere between 500 - 2000 sellswords; lvl 8 fighters.
This would be for a big battle against a larger force of monsters/creatures. I was thinking a flat rate for the contract and additional amount per day of service but I don't know how much.
|Deaths Adorable Apprentice|
there would need to be a price for the actual battle as well. sellswords a generally all about profit. so a flat price to use the whole group for how ever many days or weeks. added prices to feed and house them all, more added prices for any special abilities the sellswords have maybe, then the bartered price over the danger of the battle itself. like how likely it will be that x number of sell swords are likely to die. what is the big battle? that last number could be a percent of the loot.
|Petty Alchemy RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16|
Depending on the world, I'd say finding that many level 8 fighters would be difficult all on its own. That would be a very elite company in most settings.
Basic NPC wealth for lvl8 is 6k (PCs get 33k) and advances to 7.8k at lvl9. Assuming they like their odds and take the contract, they'd probably want 200-300gp a day, with some spoils of battle as well.
Set in Golarion you are unlikely to be able to gather than many high level anything, in one place. Setting aside, as it seems unlikely you're using it, I would simply tell your players that the mercenaries are willing to work for you for 15% of "spoils of victory" and just give your players whatever you want them to have from it, telling them they due has been given to the mercenaries.
More than likely you won't find any mercenary group willing to sign if there is not a decent possibility of plunder afterwards. That's the thing with mercenaries... they really don't give a steel nickel about your "cause". They expect to get paid, and if the battle is really risky, they're expecting a plunder bonus on top of that.
The PC's are lvl 12 now and will probably be lvl 13 when this happens. After thinking a bit more on it, there will probably be one cavalry company of 500 lvl 6 fightersal and another company of around 1500-2k infantry lvl 4 fighters. Campaign not set in Golarion and it makes sense in this world to have large skilled free companies. There is a chance of plunder though not that great but the PC's do have the coin to pay. It will be against a larger force if Orcs, Trolls, Ogres and some magical creatures with one adult or old red dragon. This will be the event right before they face the BBEG as they will need to get past all his minions protecting his resurrecting body.
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Here's my take on this (more from a historical view of medieval european conquest than pathfinder per se):
1 sp per level per day per head (base)
1 sp per head per wk (baggage and supply)
1 sp per warhorse (Calvary cost a bit more)
3 gp per ten heads (sergeants fee)
5 gp per 100 heads (captains fee)
10 gp per 500 heads (commanders fee)
1 sp per day per 25 heads (cooks,grooms,paiges)
1-3 gp per head per encounter (hazard pay)
Right of plunder (take 1 item from any foe personally slain, or prisoners as slaves if slave market)
2% profit sharing (of net gp looted)
All payments are meted over days (not paid up front!) to reduce desertion.
You may also wish to hire a campaign warleader to act as sub commander for the lot.
Also, consider that ypur forces are likely to be comprised of multiple mercenary forces of warbands of 100 or less men, because as you can see, having 500-1000 soldiers hanging around is not economically viable without lands, fiefs amd incomes.
Also, because of economics, having 500 level 1 archers and 500 commoner warriors (conscripts) was common because they harry the enemy, cost less and, nobility thinking... you don't have to pay men who are not likely to survive.