Runaway Hirelings Playtest Documents!

A couple days ago I released for all to see the current playtest documents for the new edition of Runaway Hirelings. I have gotten some good comments so far and words are still being added to each of the two documents, I am hoping to start doing some playtesting over the next couple weeks to try out a bunch of the new rules and mechanics.

If you would like to take a look at the new rules, go check out the playtest folder over here.

I am still adding text to each document as I make changes to things along the way, I will use this blog post as the updates/changelog for this current revision as I go about things.



  • Having just finished playing a 1-on-1 game of Runaway Hirelings. I have decided that the final text will have a section on accommodating 1-on-1 style play.
  • Rewrote some rules in the Hireling’s Handguide (specifically the one involving refusal to answer a question posed by the rules).
  • Also added “Creating Characters” text to the Hireling’s Handguide document.
  • In the Dunarch’s Manual the “Starting the Game” section has been expanded so that the questions before the game are better explained and what their purpose is, is more clearly defined.
  • Also the “Dungeon Template” section at the end of the Dunarch’s Manual has been filled out a little more. Enough to supplement the information that was explained earlier in the Dunarch’s Manual.
  • Added the Needlelands Dungeon Template to the playtest packet.
  • Added a PDF called the “Cheater Sheet” which helps with quick referencing the basic player rules during play.


  • Made this blog post
  • Writing more in the Dunarchs Manual to finish up the blank areas

Pulp Writers v0.1

Below is my original notes for the scenario “Pulp Writers” which I am still working on rewriting and revising, as well as finishing off the branching off scenes and ways the scenario can be played. This is literally everything I had when I went to run the game for the first time.

A lot of stuff has changed as I boiled down the parts that I loved and for the point I was trying to get across by running the game.

Read the following aloud before Character creation (or before the session starts):

The city has been a hustle and bustle as of late, with the restructured education system put in place and in effect. There are tons of young readers looking for something more appropriate to gawk at besides technical manuals concerning the disarming of spear traps in faraway lands. And so, little rags of fiction have become increasingly popular!

Stories of epic heroes in loin clothes and wielding swords larger than their bodies are filling the streets and pouring off the presses. Everyone loves them! And everyone has a favorite author!

Of course, with heroics being popularized in print, villains have become more and more apparent off the page. For example, Mickey the Thumb (a local thug who terrorizes shopkeeps with his smart dressed gang) is looked at it in a new light, he isn’t providing protection! He is abusing them like Doctor Lockfingers in “Detective Barroways Vengeance: the Doc Hungers for More than your soul!”. Mickey is a villain!

So who will be the heroes who can thwart this no good doer!?

Probably not anyone in a cape, but some citizens pumped from last week’s read ready to act.

Character Creation

While any character concept is allowed, please keep in mind that you are interested in cleaning up the streets, and that going home and hiding will not fix the problem. This interest does not have to be because you are the good hero, it could be for any number of other reasons.

Also, have each Player roll a d6. If they roll a 5 or a 6, then they have dabbled in writing pulp stories.

Finally, if you have written pulp stories before, what was your most popular story and why? If you have not written any, what do you think of one of your comrades stories? Or what story do you like the most that is currently in circulation?

Scene 1:

The streets are muddy and being late morning, passersby have to keep an eye to the sky for apartment tenants, erh hrm “waste products”.

Shops dot both sides of the streets, one the left a couple spaces down is “Dimmert’s Breads” which has a large cloth hung over what is most obviously a shattered front window. The shop across from it, “Rats and Things” the owner has just turned over his sign and pinned the door open for business.

Qualities for Shop Street: the streets smell, the walks in front of stores are a mesh of stones cobbled together, windows on the higher floors to the bottom are more grime than glass.

For this first scene: there are multiple directions that could be travelled, but any direction will suffice. Anything that gives me them a location to go to to find Mickey.

  • Dimmert’s Breads: Mr.Dimmerts is a nearing elderly man, slightly frail but mans his storefront. He is sweeping up the floor and putting various breads into baskets. He is kind but the sort that is frightened easily. His shop has been busted up a bit, so he may also act as if he has been violated in a way.
    • Mr. Dimmerts does not deal with the bad lot that Mickey is a part of. So when pressed for locations he will say that he does not know. That two large men and a very pale sickly young man come to his shop to collect the dues.
    • Mr. Dimmerts is fearful for his safety and that of his shop (and customers too).
    • Mr.Dimmerts will ask why they are curious, hoping that they can fix it. He has hope in good still.
    • Sometime during the conversation, (if he has not appeared elsewhere), a small boy will walk his bike to the backroom. This is Lanks (young, around 14, reddish hair and grubby clothes, bike is busted up a bit), he works for Mr.Dimmert with handing out the deliveries in the morning. See Talking with Lanks.Rats and Things: this little storefront sells “meats” on the cheap. The owner, Matter
  • Rats and Things: this little storefront sells “meats” on the cheap. The owner, Matter Odlump, has dark greasy hair of medium length and is slightly muscular. He is a bit more worldly than Mr. Dimmerts. In that he knows that Mickey is bad news but knows that it is just a fact of life that someone will be bad, just like how there always will be some bad meat on his shelf.
    • If the Player’s head over to Rats and Things first while he is opening the door. The Lanks will appear mid way through conversation outside of the storefront where Matter will talk with them. See Talking with Lanks.Matter will note any weapons or odd apparel and if threatened mentions that he keeps a metal bar under the counter for other company. If asked how he can tell they are not with Mickey he will mention the silver thumb emblem, and how the thugs in his group each have a chain with a silver thumb at the end of it. If he thinks they look scary he will warn them that he keeps a shotgun underneath the counter for “the likes of you”.
    • Matter will note any weapons or odd apparel and if threatened mentions that he keeps a metal bar under the counter for other company. If asked how he can tell they are not with Mickey he will mention the silver thumb emblem, and how the thugs in his group each have a chain with a silver thumb at the end of it. If he thinks they look scary he will warn them that he keeps a shotgun underneath the counter for “the likes of you”.
    • Matter Odlump will say that Mr.Dimmerts store was messed around with last night because he didn’t pay up yesterday when’s dues were due. He overheard it from inside his shop, the yelling then that Dimmerts delivery boy ran out of the shop crying. Surprised none of the apartments heard it, but I guess none of us want to acknowledge the problem.
  • Talking with Lanks: lanks is good at heart. But there are two different ways that he can talk in this scenario.
    • If Mr. Dimmerts is approached first.
      • Lanks does deliveries for Mr. Dimmerts. The shop owner thinks the streets are getting more and more dangerous, almost so bad he doesn’t want to send Lanks to do deliveries in Alley Lows.Lanks will say it isn’t that bad, but Mr. Dimmerts will mention that people have gone missing there! And those that were found had no hands, you know it is a bad place to be and Mickey is not the right kind of people.
      • Lanks will also have a magazine rolled up in his hand, it is a copy of this weeks “Officers of the Night: Wrestling Darkness”. If asked about it he will say it is awesome and about this police officer who is corrupt but has to be because that is the only way to keep people safe from what is the real problem in the world, also it was written by J. H. Florice (a younger writer popular for his dark tones).
      • Mr. Dimmerts will also say that he is running out of some sweet spice for his breads. So gives Lanks a little bit of money to go past Alley Lows to the spice shop. Lanks will sigh and ask why he didn’t tell him yesterday, than take his bike out of the back room and ride away. Before he leaves though after he has exited the store, Matter Odlump will talk at him “Be careful.” If Matter is asked about this, he’ll say that Lanks brother is a street thug.
    • If Matter Odlump is approached first.
      • Lanks will show up with his busted up bike. Matter will ask about it and Lanks will just shrug, Matter will ask if the guys down in Alley Lows did it. Lanks shrugs it off and Matter says he’ll take a look at it later. Also something along the lines of where the hell was your brother during that? He is supposed to take care of you.
      • Since Lanks doesn’t seem too happy, Matter will hand him the latest issue of Officers of the Night: Wrestling Darkness by J. H. Florice. Lanks will remark that this hasn’t even been released yet!
      • How did you get it? A reply on the sorts of “I know a guy” is enough to end it there and shove him off to Mr.Dimmerts.
      • If the conversation continues with Matter after Lanks leaves to the shop, then Lanks will be seen walking into the shop then directly out of it to go get some sugar. Matter will not talk to him but just wave since he is off on his way.
      • If asked about Lanks, Matter will say he has a rough upbringing, his brothers and sisters weren’t all that great. His brother is pretty good though.
  • Tennants: roll a d6, if you get a 1, then OLD MADAM WENNERBY is the first door knocked on. If you roll any other number, then you probably won’t talk to her (unless a Random Scene Quirk involves her).
    • The section with Tenants is meant to be very brief exchanges of conversation. Depending on which tenant you want to use or how many doors they knock on is up to the GM and the Players. Always use the religious types though.

Random Scene Quirk: roll a d6 at the beginning of this scene.

  • Mr. Dimmerts is blind and so was unable to see who breaks in. But Lanks said it was two skinny guys (Lanks is lying to Mr. Dimmerts to hide that his older brother is one of the thugs). This is revealed by asking anyone else what the goons look like, they all say what Mr. Dimmerts would originally describe them as.
  • Old Madam Wennerby recently passed away. Flowers have been placed outside her door. Lanks will be upset if this is mentioned around him, seeing as Old Madam Wennerby used to be his recently deceased mothers friend and give him candy. But someone else was upset too, the tenants are talking about it, and Odlump definitely noticed Mickey’s uncle dropping flowers off at the doorstep.

NPC Rundown

Mr. Dimmerts;

Lanks; young. 14 years old. Reddish hair and grubby clothes. His bike is busted up a bit. Filled with wonder and amazement, fueled by the stories of tragic heroes and awesome ones too. He is the biggest fan. Literally the person who would win a game show about pulp authors.

Matter Odlump;

Tenants (Susi and Mark, Old Madam Wennerby, Cherish Family);

  • SUSI and MARK: couple, adults, if door is knocked on they were just going at it in bed,. Mark will open the door with a blanket over him. They are fine to remark on things.
  • CHERISH FAMILTY: a bit up tight on what is going on. They see it as a problem with the shops. Very modestly dressed, will complain about Susi and Mark on the flat across the street. Will speak of what happened since they heard and say it all. But they will riddle it with words about demons and stuff, they are crazy religious nuts. One of the boys may comment that it reminds them of Edgars “Tales of Incredulousness” at which point the father will say: “WHY DO YOU READ THAT TRASH! IT WILL DOOM YOUR SOUL LIKE GERLOT THE DEVOURER IN THE FOURTH VERSE OF…” and just go on into reciting religious mumbo jumbo verse until the PC’s leave.
  • OLD MADAM WENNERBY: she might as well be deaf, she is hard to speak to but very sweet. Misunderstands almost anything. She is of little to no help. She will mention a young boy and his metal whatcha callit who delivers bread and his nice brother who comes along with him though.

Mickey’s Uncle; he is a part of the family business. He oversees Mickey’s operation on the more “financial side”. Most likely is wherever Mickey’s base of operations is.

Scene 2: “Alley Lows”

Some PC’s may suggest going along with Lanks to Alley Lows for the deliveries. If so, Lanks will try to lose them on his bike or may lose notice that they are following him. Other reasons to come down here is because they want to follow Lanks because of his brother.

Alley Lows is a whole bunch of warehouses, where things are assembled, packed into boxes then assembled in a different warehouse. Or shipped somewhere, I don’t know. The air tastes different, tastes a bit like dirt and it has a slight burn to its aftertaste.

If you followed Lanks, and were unsuccessful at staying hidden. Some thugs will jump you in the street asking where you’re going and to back down. Just some low level young guys, might as well be new trainees.

If you follow Lanks and were successful at staying hidden you’ll see him delivery, he will stop and turn to one of the many similar looking warehouses and ride right in through the sliding doors. He’ll see his brother inside then leave to get the spice and head back.

If you go inside you’ll see just some regular guys, such as Lanks brother outfront standing guard to the back room where product is taken care of. The brother is fine if Lanks vouches for them, he will vouch if the PC’s were generally kind to him, otherwise he’ll warn his brother. And both will fight (brother and other young thug). Otherwise young thug will run out back to warn the guys.

In back there is 1 large guy and a thinner sickly guy, the large guy is filling wet sacks with things, if checked they are body parts. And the thinner guy has 2 lunch boxes with sets of hands in them. If the brother sees this he will vomit because he didn’t know, he normally works at the other location. If the brother is dead but someone else lives, they can be convinced to give up the location of their boss Mickey, who has station at the other warehouse.

If the skinny one is specifically asked about the gruesome and terribleness of these things, he will say he had no choice. That Mickey had no choice. The money was too good to turn down. But that is all besides the other warehouses location.

NPC Rundown

Thug: str 14, dex 12, wil 9, hp 6, d6 damage, club, dagger, shortsword.

Brother: str 12, dex 13, wil 8, hp 6, d4 damage unarmed unless can find a club to hit with.

Recruit: str 10, dex 8, wil 7, hp 4, d4 damage unarmed attacks. D6 if can get to knife.

Skinny Guy: str 9, dex 13, wil 10, hp 6, pistol d6 damage,

Scene 3: Warehouse

large building full of crates and a freezer room hidden behind a larger stack. There are about 8 bad guys in here. 6 Goons and 1 mercenery and 1 Leader. The leader is Mickey.

The freezer has bodies hanging up, head removed and hands removed a little before the wrist. If they are checked for ID they will notice they are very well dressed, and have…

  • …a couple pages of notes for a story.
  • …a check payable to pulp author XXX. (Leonard Polum)
  • …a high quality ink pen.

If Mickey is asked or interrogated he will not crack but throw Matter Odlump, the publishers cousin under the bridge. Saying he was the disguised payer. If threatened, Mickey will only crack when his life is fading.

Otherwise, a goon will talk if he sees Mickey dead and he is threatened. He will say it is the publisher, but he usually comes here and us not to him. But he does own the publishing house “Little Rags” over on Court Street.

NPC Rundown

Goons: str 11, dex 10, wil 9, hp 3, d4 unarmed dmg, d6 for dagger/club/sword.

Merc: str 10, dex 10, wil 10, d8 musket, strapped a bit. Heavy clothes. 1 armor.

Mickey: his thumb is blackened and swollen. But he doesn’t care cause he has a hound (str 10, d6 bite) and a long ornate dagger. (d6)

Scene 4: The publishing house OR back to Matter either will direct or take force to acquire where the publishing house owner is located.

Find the editor who is paranoid and mentally scared, he is manipulated telepathically.

Layout: main floor where the presses are, big and dangerous don’t get caught in one. Two sets of staircases go up to the editors office. If he is alerted he will fire a gun from the top most stair down to those trying to reach him. There is a fire escape outside the office window though if he wiggles free from a grip position.

Editor: speaks in the third person once he is found out. Makes mention of authors and such.

NPC Rundown

Editor Umpton: str 11, dex 14, wil 6, hp 3. Needs to keep the secret safe. And be as pulp action as possible. Spits out quotes like he is being written in a pulp story. Rifle (d10).

Matter: str 8, dex 14, wil 12, hp 4. Will run into shop to grab d8 musket to defend himself, if blocked he will down the street or over to Dimmert’s shop if lanks is not with the party.

The Finale: At the publisher’s flat.

3rd floor of an abandoned building.

There is a big one room. With a balcony up a spiral steel staircase, the publisher is up there reading by the light of the sky light. On the main floor there is the dinner table which has the typewriters with severed hands setup. And then on the wall nearest to it is the severed heads, eyes rolling and mouths mouthing the words of pulp novels as the typewriters click click click click. It is completely silent besides these noises. If the Players are authors, they may notice this or have been taken to this fate if separated.

NPC Rundown

The Publisher: Willis Desonne: str 12, dex 16, wil 15, hp 16. When enticed he begins to glow a light orange in his veins and his eyes roll back to black. He will recite everything as if it is an action pulp story. Where he is the hero of english and literature, or sophistication. That he is a god of culture. He is DRIVEN TO CREATE OR BE A PART OF PULP ACTION. He can yell out the words of a story to a target, if the target fails the wil save they must either do what was commanded in some sense or take 1d4 wil damage.

Willis Desonne has a very nice moustache and a clean coat and vest. Hair is well kept unless enraged. His regular attacks are with his black gun “Culture”, which shoots for d8 damage. He will not give up, but will try to push people to the heads so that they may have the hazard affect them.

The Heads Preach: on a failed wil save when caught between the authors heads and the typewriter hands you will feel the greatest sadness on a 4-5 on a d6. On a 1-3 you will feel invincible, but that is about it. No beneficial effects except for having the mental attitude of a pulp hero. On a 6. You enter the mind of a pulp author for a moment and see that they were happy once, but now there ideas are stale, there mind has become malnourished, they are dead inside. And the dead will act against their master if he is put into the trap by the Players, but the heads could never succeed so need some rallying in their stupor.

Notes of Pulp Stories

People may be heard discussing the latest stories from the older authors and say some just feel, lackluster or strained in writing. But these new guys are still great! This new guy is going the way X did after his eighth story, too morbid and depressing this guy. The earliest writer is just not worth reading anymore except for the undertones in his spiral of despair.

This is to show that the heads are still alive before you reach the finale.

Dark, Rotten and Terribly Odd

Back earlier this year I wrote up what would be the initial seed for Uldridge City moving over into The Flames Will Die.

It was originally a simple setting for use with Into the Odd, it was all setting with no mechanical alterations. But I never put it out for people to see as I moved away from that spot and went to start working more on having it integrated into the new game system.

So, here is a link to a prettied-up version of the original text. Here is a link to the original map that would match the original text, and here is a link to the new and prettier map.

By the way, I am pretty sure it had no editing done to it and is meant to leave tons of blanks. But it still is really cool.


Coming Up! Runaway Hirelings Playtest for the Swampworks set

Awesome day today, here is the list: Video that I made today, an Event that you can come join and then nothing else.

I posted a video on youtube where I ran through and introduced parts of the new edition of my RPG called Runaway Hirelings, here is the general intro text for what it is about:

“Here you are, your bosses are dead on the floor, blood pooling under their cloaks and mighty swords. A shattered wand is spread like used toothpicks all around the big bad guy. They led you in, they defeated great monsters and solved complex puzzles to reach this, the treasure room. THE RUMORED FORTUNE!

Gold, jewels and the most magnificent fabrics; and also gold. But, they could not have been prepared for what would wait here, protecting such delicious riches. They fought valiantly, you cowered behind a rock, they were hit with mighty fists, and you hid behind a rock, and they had to suffer the blasts of explosive magicks! And they died just as the boss monster did, but you survived, hidden behind a rock.

But what now? You have gold in your packs and have buried your heroes, tears have been shed (maybe), and now you must flee back from whence you came. You must run away as fast as you can back to the entrance.

Hopefully the path out is easier when you blindly flail your way forward!”

I went through parts of it and also described the flail point bits as I edited the numbers for them. At the end I ran through what a Character in the game has for information, next video will be about me writing up a couple character type as I chat about them.

Playtest on Mon, Sep 19th!

On Monday September 19th (Mon, Sep 19, 7:30 PM EDT – 10:00 PM EDT) I will be running a playtest for the new edition of Runaway Hirelings, I will be running it via Google Hangouts for audio and Roll20 for the map grid. Sign up if you want! First come first serve and I need 4 Players.

If you are interested in signing up, here is a link to the event page on G+ (link). Here is the complete event text:

Time: Oneshot (up to 2 to 3 hours total)
Game: Runaway Hirelings: Ultimate Peasant Edition
Players: 4 + Me
Specifics: this is a playtest. The doc will be shared before Saturday 10th.

Going to Playtest the new version of Runaway Hirelings! I’ll drop you guys a link to the hireling’s guide later this week.

I expect it’ll be a 2 hour or 2.5 hour game, but that it might take upwards of 30 minutes to start playing (explaining rules quick, making ideas and getting into it).

If you are unsure if this will be good for you, I recommend checking out the previous version of the game (which is cool but a lot has changed in the text and mechanically, but still hecka fun).

“The Swampworks lie beneath the forgotten city. Its pipes burst around corners as the water pours down into the sewers far below. Mutants. Aligator men. Muck monsters and moss traps are all everywhere.”

It’s a very improv ish game, in that we will be working together to make theswampworks an awesome dungeon.

We will be using Roll20s tabletop for this, but only because it is an easy grid. Audio will be done through Hangouts. And I do plan on recording the game session to possibly post online, so sign up if you are good with that 🙂

That’s right, I will be recording this game to potentially post online, so sign up if you are okay with that!

As a reminder, I am going to be running games each Monday night yall at the same time.

From My Phone: Zines I will publish soon

I have caught the fever once more! Specifically with zines and tiny books with tiny subjects. As such here is a list of things I need to finish and print:


8.5×5.5 half letter zines

  • Pulp Writers RPG Scenario w/ art pages; a weird fantasy rpg scenario. Comes with a quick play ruleset.
  • Some Stories vol.1 (a collection of short short fiction); a bunch of weird descriptions of fantastic places

4.5×5.5 quarter letter zines

  • Runaway Hirelings Ultimate Peasant Edition (4 copies of the Player book, and 1 GM book); this is the new version of Runaway Hirelings!
  • Weirdly Dungeon Utility Zine; has various tools and instructions on fun ways of using maps from the weirdly dungeon packs. Also has a couple pages of small dungeons in the back.
  • Arms and Armour; a 2 zine set. One of fantasy arms with illustrations and another with armor with illustrations.
  • ElectroPunk RPG; a two zine set that makes up the entirety of the electropunk tiny rpg. One os rules, the other is setting and genre primer.

This is a post made from my stupid phone. I will update it later yo.

EDIT: here are some more zine ideas!

  • Hobo Ruckus; a murderhobo adventure. With murderhobo pregens. Think pounds of blood raining down murder hoboisms. (Also has murderhoboisms).
  • Weirdly Dungeon: Wicked Towns. A second weirdly dungeon zine this time about town maps. More illustrated type maps thisbtime around.
  • Weirdly Wicked: symbolic and landmark-icked. This is just map symbols and making landmarks.
  • My Backpocket Fantasy. A fantasy rpg in the half half letter size, essentially me making a fantasy rpg for my backpocket so if i go to conventions ever, I can pull out a game and play for lunch.
  • My Pocket Oneshot. Just the pocket booklet that has everything you need to prep a oneshot. Like, roll dice and then fill in the specific blanks, then go play. Essentially a pocket oneshot generator.
  • Barbarians Guide to being Especially Uncivilized. Illustrated silly pocket zine. Like a for dummies book but for people who are more educated barbarians who want to be more uncivilized in play. Its like a silly fiction how to booklet.
  • A Bunch of Tree People. An illustrated pocket zine of just a bunch of treeants or tree people to use in play.