No plan survives contact with the enemy... or in this case, no campaign survives contact with the players, at least in its initial form. I've been busy revising a lot of my campaign tools this week to increase utility for the table top; all those random tables of which I was so proud are getting turned into spreadsheets to generate content in advance for faster use at the table.
I've converted the ship generator, name generator, hex content stocker, and just put together a simple spreadsheet for rolling up NPC retainers. Here's a snapshot or so of 20 retainers appropriate for a Viking themed game.
On the island of Thule, retainers become available a number of ways. Some men hire onto larger ships as rowers, sailing to Thule to contract out as mercenaries. Sometimes there is a falling out with one's own crew. And lastly, they're survivors of a failed party seeking to catch on with a new group.