Retainers are NPCs that you can create that can be summoned at a summoning bell. They allow you to sell things on the Market Board and provide storage for items, and can be sent on ventures.
How to Unlock Retainers
To unlock retainers, complete the level 17 Main Scenario Quest The Scions of the Seventh Dawn.
How to Hire Retainers
To hire a retainer, you can speak to a Retainer Vocate in the marketplace areas of Ul'dah, Limsa Lominsa, Gridania, Ishgard, Kugane, The Crystarium, and Old Sharlayan.
Your Retainer's Appearance
When hiring a retainer, you are sent to the character creation screen. You can load previously saved appearance data or create a character from scratch.
Your Retainer's Personality
Your retainer's personality only affects the dialogue that they say when you summon them, dismiss them, send them on ventures, and when they come back from ventures.
Nickname Your Retainer
You must choose a nickname for your retainer. It has to be unique, so if another player on the same home world has hired a retainer with the same nickname, you will be required to pick a different one. Once you have chosen a nickname that is not in use, your retainer will be hired.
Players may hire up to two retainers, but more can be added by paying a monthly fee via the Retainer Service. If the fee is not renewed, additional retainers will become unavailable, but all items stored with them will still be there, and can be accessed again upon renewing the fee.
How to Summon Retainers
Retainers can be summoned by interacting with a Summoning Bell, which can be found in the marketplace areas of big cities, as well as in inn rooms, in front of apartment buildings in residential areas, and near Market Boards in residential areas. Players who own an apartment or a house can also obtain a Summoning Bell to place in their home, which can be used by the house owner and their shared estate members (or Free Company members if in a Free Company house), to summon retainers. The Summoning Bell can be crafted, or purchased from the Market Board.
Storing Items with Retainers
Each retainer can hold up to 175 items, as well as elemental shards, crystals, and clusters, and gil.
How to Sell Items on the Market Board
You can sell items from your inventory, Armoury Chest, and retainer's inventory. When putting up an item for sale, you can click the Compare Prices button to see how much other players are charging for it, then set a price and the quantity that you want to sell.
How to Unlock Retainer Ventures
After you unlock retainers via the level 17 Main Scenario Quest The Scions of the Seventh Dawn, you can undertake the blue quest "An Ill-Conceived Venture" in Gridania, or Ul'dah, or Limsa Lominsa, by speaking to the Troubled Adventurer in the Aetheryte Plaza. Completing this quest will unlock Retainer Ventures.
Assign Retainer Class
After you unlock retainer ventures (see above), you can choose a class for your retainer if your character has unlocked that class. Your retainer can level up, but won't be able to reach a higher level than your character has currently reached in that class.
Equip a Main Arm
After you unlock retainer ventures and assign a class to your retainer (see above), you need to equip a main arm to them before you can send them out on ventures (see below). You can do this via the "View retainer attributes and gear" option when you summon a retainer.
Overview of Retainer Ventures
Retainer ventures provide a way for you to obtain items and gil. Your retainers will earn experience from ventures, allowing them to go on higher level ventures, where they can bring back rarer, higher level items.
After you assign your retainer a class and equip them with a main arm, if you have enough Venture coins (see below), you can assign your retainer a venture. If you send your retainer on an Exploration Venture or a Quick Venture, they will bring back a random item. The rarity of the item that they bring back is influenced by the gear that you have equipped them with. If you send them on a Hunting, Fishing, Mining, or Botany Venture (dependent on the job that you assigned to them) you can select a specific item that you want them to bring back. Hunting Ventures include things like animal skins, scales, feathers, and so on; Fishing Ventures include the types of fish that your character has caught so far; Mining Ventures and Botany Ventures include the things that your character has recorded in the Gathering Log so far.
To improve the rarity of the items that your retainers bring back, equip better gear to your retainers to increase the Gathering stat of your gathering retainers, and increase the item level of your combat class retainers.
To send your retainers on ventures, you need to pay them with venture coins. The earliest that you can acquire venture coins (aside from the ones that you are given when you unlock Retainer Ventures) is after you complete the level 20 Main Scenario Quest "The Company You Keep". You can then obtain Ventures from the Quartermaster at your Grand Company Headquarters in exchange for Company Seals, which you can earn by doing FATEs, as well as certain duties and other activities.
You can later unlock Tribal Quests at level 43, and The Hunt at level 50. Each of these provides an additional source of currency that can be exchanged for ventures by talking to tribal vendors, hunt billmasters, and hunt vendors.