A downloadable game

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Hireling is a dungeon exploration game about desperate everyday people in a semi-historical weird fantasy setting. Players are Hirelings hired by a big Hero to help explore a dungeon rumoured to contain both riches and ruin. Just when the game starts the Hero dies ingloriously. The Hirelings have a once-in-a-lifetime golden opportunity to ease their worries, and their only choice is to grit their teeth and delve into the dark. 

Hireling is a hack of Cairn (by Yochai Gal, https://cairnrpg.com), Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland (both by Chris McDowall, www.bastionland.com). 

Hireling is designed specifically for one-shot dungeoncrawl adventures:

  • As a motivation to explore, the amount of treasure recovered affects the prospects of each Hireling's epilogue. The more treasure, the higher chance of permanently improving one's situation in life. To find treasure players must push their luck with how they spend their limited time exploring.
  • The game starts in medias res at the dungeon entrance with a limited amount of equipment, making resource management matter in a single session. The game uses a simple slot-based inventory system, making keeping track of equipment and loot easy. 
  • Darkness is scary and there is a real risk of light running out. Without light the Hirelings will eventually flee from the dungeon as their willpower is reduced. To track the passage of time and consumption of torches, 10 min exploration turns and an overloaded encounter die are utilized.
  • The dungeon should ideally have 20-30 rooms, for exploration to matter and wandering monsters to make sense. There should be an encounter table with wandering monsters, and the monster stats should be compatible with Into the Odd and Cairn.
CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(6 total ratings)
GenreRole Playing
Tagscairn, Dungeon Crawler, intotheodd, markoftheodd, Tabletop role-playing game


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Hireling.pdf 5 MB
Hireling_spreads.pdf 5 MB
Hireling_booklet.pdf 5 MB
Hireling_contract_sheets.pdf 109 kB
Hireling_contract_sheets_demo.pdf 163 kB


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Thanks for going the extra step and making print friendly files! I made a copy for myself: https://imgur.com/a/6f1AsPl