Runaway Hirelings digital and print cover.

Where to Buy

Game Stats

  • Preparation Required: The GM needs to read the rulebook, players don’t need to read the rules as long as the handouts are available.
  • Time to play: Somewhere between 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on the size of the group and the amount of time you have to play.
  • Players: 1 Game-Master, and 1-5 player characters (hirelings).
  • Digital Contents: Rules book PDF, Handouts PDF, lowres Rules book PDF.

About RH!

Runaway Hirelings is a tabletop role-playing game about hirelings escaping a dungeon, where the dungeon is created as they are escaping it by all the players and the dungeon architect (aka Dunarch, but gamemaster works as well). These hirelings have specific skills which are useful in specific instances, but fighting isn’t even an option they are so bad at it. So the trap-poker may just have to set off some traps as they go rolling down the staircase if they want to stop an ogre from pursuing them into the next room. 

This is a zero prep game, the dunarch needs to read the rulebook before play, and while it is preferred that the players taking on the roles of the hirelings read the rules text before play, they don’t need to because of how the character sheets are setup. Just print out a bunch of the hireling types, and a couple copies of the rules sheet (in the Handouts pdf).Q

Additional Materials

  • Player Handouts; this includes rules reference pages and character sheets for use in play. They do not go over the entirety of the games rules (which are required to play). And may be purchased via the links at the beginning of this post. Handouts can be downloaded for free from here.
  • Extra Sauce #1; Extra Sauce is some additional rules and mechanics or content for RH that I am releasing in little pdfs as I come up with stuff that I think is cool. This first one contains my final thoughts on Dungeon Templates and includes an updated version of the playtest 0.5 dungeon “The Needlelands”. You can get the PDF for free from here.
  • Extra Sauce #2; this extra sauce contains the weirdometer, some rules to help with adding cosmic strangeness and alien old ones to your game. Also contains a new dungeon template “The Temple of Al-Guratt” and a new hireling called the Candlekeeper. You can get the PDF for free from here.

Development History

This development history is written so that people who were not around when I talked about this game back on Google Plus can look through earlier iterations of the game before publication. I think, personally of course, that most earlier versions of the game were barely playable. But each version and draft was crucial to forming what would become the end product. My little silly fantasy game about trap pokers in caves.

  • Original Micro Game; Runaway Hirelings was originally written as a micro game for a fantasy game design challenge that involved making a fantasy rpg that didn’t use warriors, swords, or the traditional fare you would find in D&D inspired games. The original micro game can be downloaded here.
  • Playtest Version 0.2; this is the original playable version of the expanded game that was used for the first couple games of play-testing. The quality may be bad, but it is because it is a scanned version of my personal printout that I used. It can be downloaded here.
  • Playtest Version 0.5; this is a publicly released playtest version of the game that was put out as the first post on my Patreon to patrons. It pretty cleaned up, and much better, but still noticeably different from the final version of the game. It can be downloaded here.
  • Unrelated Development Videos; early on in development I started working on notes videos where I talked about some of the early ideas. While I didn’t continue the series throughout all of development, it still might be interesting to watch. You can watch them here.

The micro game was released in early 2016, early writing for an expanded version started a few months afterwards. All of the art in the final game was done in October 2017, the original art style that was going to be used was traded in for an art style that I was using while doing Inktober making use of a Pentel brush pen. Final notes were made and the game was released January 2018.

Media Links

  • The One Shot Podcast AP; The cool cool folks over at the one shot podcast played the game and recorded it. Its hilarious and a perfect example of the final release version of the game and how it is intended to be played. Part One is here, and you can listen to Part Two here.
  • The Bleakest Pyramind AP; I ran the game for a one on one session with my friend Tony Obert for a playtest of the game and how it would function in a one on one environment. I did record it so you can listen to it here if you want! That episode can be found here.


Runaway Hirelings was inspired by two games at first: Apocalypse World for writing style and rules presentation. And the tone of the character funnel from Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Sales Data

Observations that I can make based on some stuff that has gone on and how it impacts my sales:

  • Release month: 30 total copies sold
  • One Shot Podcast Actual Play: 22 total copies sold
  • The month that I changed the price to Pay-What-You-Want: 52 total copies (average: $1.70 ea.)

I haven’t played with a banner on RPGNow, or an ad on Facebook or anything like that. But I will update this post if I do that and get anymore information.[

This is my current spreadsheet breaking down some basic sales numbers for the game since publication.

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