Whilst making my way into Proudspire Manor and, for the umpteenth time, getting irritated by Jordis' highly obstructive greeting, blocking the entrance way, in a display of idle rudeness unbecoming for a lass with such a soft-spoken manor, I got to thinking it would be really cool if you were able to release the default housecarls from their duties and hire someone who you were perhaps more fond of or more confident of their fighting skills to be your new bodyguard and house-sitter.
I thought that, with so many characters in the game sharing the same voice files, it wouldn't be a problem for someone with the know-how and patience to work with the game's scripts to make it so that certain NPCs had the dialogue available to be recruited as a housecarl, adopting the AI pattern of the previous housecarls upon being hired for the task and speaking housecarl-specific lines of dialogue recorded by the shared voice-actors, and to make it so that the current housecarls could be 'fired' either re-adopting the AI patterns of the housecarls who idle in their respective Jarl's hall while the dragonborn does not own property in that hold or simply returning to the AI patterns they held as non-housecarl NPCs.
For example, Lydia and Annekke Crag-Jumper share the same voice-actress, so, in theory, you could fire Lydia and hire Annekke. Or Jordis and Brelyna Maryon also share the same voice so they could potentially be swapped out without issue.
I would suggest only making certain NPCs who have already proven their ability in combat (ie. NPCs that can already be followers) potential candidates for being hired as a housecarl. After all, a housecarl is like a personal, live-in bodyguard, so you want to know that they can cover you and/or your spouse and children in dangerous situations.
It'd be nifty if a similar type of script editing were used to increase the number of potential stewards in the game. Selecting notable NPCs who share voice-actors with currently available stewards.
I think adding this 'pick and choose' style housecarl recruitment feature to the game would be a great way to increase character customisability and roleplay immersion and I could see it becoming really popular. I know I'd sure as hell use a mod like that!
I'd be more than happy helping someone in composing dialogue for the recruitment and dismissal scripting and drawing up a selection of potential NPCs if anyone would be interested in taking on such a project.
Thanks for reading!