Hireling Creator and Guide!


Hirelings here use the new Hireling rules, which allow them to deal damage, use custom moves  and take Injuries. In general, players use order Hireling (roll +Loyalty) to make their Hirelings act.


  • Hireling Creation Form

  • Guide to Creating a Hireling

  • Example Hirelings

  • Pirate World Races

  • Get Included in the Pirate World Book

To get your Hireling included in the Pirate World book (only 4 days remain in the kickstarter!), submit it to me by Christmas Eve, 2013! See the final point for details.

Hireling Creation Form:

Name (descriptor, race, occupation)

damagecreature tags

Loyalty RangeInjury Boxes

Monster description: the fiction! 20-35 words



Any Custom Move

Any monster moves

Hireling Creation Guide

Hi! It should hopefully be a fairly quick process to create a Hireling; just describe it, and hopefully the stats should be fairly self-evident. The most important stats are the damage and injury boxes, for fighting/ surviving, and the loyalty range, which tells you the boundaries of how loyal a Hireling can be.
When you recruit a Hireling, the GM will choose from within the loyalty range and injury boxes and tell you their how much Loyalty and Injuries hireling starts with, based on the fiction. In general, beating a creature to gain their submission will start them off with much lower stats than hiring them on an equal ground, or giving them advance payment or aid.

To create a unique hireling, begin by describing it. What race is it? What is their name? What do they do? Write this down as their description (20-35 words max to be included in the PW book), then use the Dungeon World monster overview (here) to decide on their damage and creature tags

The rest of the tags should be fairly easy to work out, based on the examples, but here’s an exhaustive guide similar to what will be given in the book:

Injury Boxes are generally given at a rate of 1 per 5 HP, beginning at 5HP. i.e. 0-5 HP does not grant an Injury Box; creatures with less than 5HP (e.g. goblins) don’t have any room to take a significant injury, and will die or be seriously maimed immediately. Injury boxes signify how much damage the creature can take from a common enemy. If a Hireling is seriously heavily armour ed, skilled at avoiding damage or well-prepared to receive damage, add an injury box. Likewise, if it’s weak, vulnerable or fears pain, remove an injury box from the total.

When a Hireling takes a serious blow, mark an injury box. When all injury boxes are full, the next injury will cause the Hireling to die or be too hurt to continue. It’s not uncommon for Hirelings that survive their final injury to crawl or run away. Injury boxes also affect Loyalty; at half or more injured, a Hireling will have -1 Loyalty ongoing until healed, if you are to blame for the injury. When all of a Hireling’s injury boxes are marked, they will permanently lose 1 Loyalty as well.

Loyalty Range

Note: this is not a Hireling’s starting Loyalty. That will be decided during the game, and based on the fiction surrounding the Hireling’s recruitment. A Hireling’s Loyalty range are how much respect/ disrespect they can hold for a character; once a Hireling goes beyond their minimum Loyalty, they will leave, stay but refuse to follow orders or attack the character.

Hireling Loyalty Range is decided by the creature type and their description. The max range I’d use is -3 to +3; any more and the dice statistics for Order Hireling start giving very predictable results. Most standard humanoids will have -2 to +2, while something like a Goblin might have -1 to +1, or even 0, meaning they’ll run off at the first provocation and very rarely gain respect for the characters. The Loyalty Range can be modified during the game, but it’s not a common event at all.

Costs: What your Hireling demands in return for their services. Generate these based on their description; some may want simple costs, like food, while others might demand the ideal of justice. Hirelings can have several costs, but be sure to keep one or two relatively simple; the Hireling will need to be paid at least once an adventure, and often significantly more if you are ordering them a lot. When you fulfill a long-term Hireling cost as part of an adventure, you gain a bond with the Hireling (write on the character sheet) and +1 loyalty.

Instinct: What your Hireling will do without orders, or against orders if they are defiant.

Custom Move: Most Hirelings have a custom move, and these are always keyed off +Loyalty. These express the unique thing that your Hireling can do. Keep them relatively simple! Success on a 10+ should be focused and key to the Hireling’s abilities. The 7-9 drawbacks should be immediate. If a Hireling can succeed at this task easily and the drawbacks are the uncomplicated Loyalty or Injury effects, consider making it a monster move instead.

Monster Move: Just as DW monsters, Hirelings have base moves they can perform. These are to give suggestions for the player to use with order hireling, and the common drawbacks will be Injury, lost Loyalty or placing the ordering character in a spot. You can include suggestive drawbacks for the GM to choose in brackets.

Example Hirelings

See: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz0lilU7GQ4ccU9iWEVvZjNfR1E/edit?usp=sharing for more.

Shibboleth, Amphib Poisoner

d4 damage: intelligent, inquisitive, dangerous

Loyalty (-3 to +3) Injured: 1 box

Like most amphibs, Shibboleth is only vaguely man-shaped and brightly coloured. His wet skin is mottled in black-and-yellow spots amongst the red, and looks horribly poisonous.

The frog-man doesn’t talk about what forced him from the universities into a life of dungeon-delving and poison making.

costs: new chemicals, forbidden secrets, solid gold coins

Instinct: hoard and devour arcane knowledge

Synthesise (custom move)

When you order Shibboleth to exude a new poison through his amphibious skin, roll +Loyalty. On a 10+ he creates three doses of a touch poison; describe the effects.

On a 7-9, he either creates one dose, or the poison is applied.

Monster Moves:

* impart poison through skin (become vulnerable)

* drink knowledge (spend time, lose bearings, gain wrong knowledge)

Zog, Bridge Troll

d8 damage: lone, reach, messy, stupid, instinctive

Zog spends most of her time jumping out at travellers who cross her bridge. She demands a toll and, whether paid or not, throws her visitors into the river below. It’s just easier to separate out the gold that way; coins give Zog nasty indigestion.

Costs: gold coins, silver coins, goats, sheep

Instinct: feed on the weak

Throw (custom move)

When you order Zog to grab someone and throw them, roll +Loyalty. 

On a 10+, the troll throws them where it wants.

On a 7-9, Zog spends a long time before following your orders. Either complaining about being hungry, munching down on her victim or just plain ignoring you.

Monster Moves:
* grab victim and haul somewhere quiet to eat

* crush victim in her arms

* shake victim down for coins

Pirate World Races

Pirate World will include a section of (un)common-race Hirelings to slot into any DW game, along with themed PW monsters to use in the PW setting. Both will be accepted!

Amphibs: The most common and diverse race of the Calderan Sea. Covers serpentine monsters to the poisonous frogmen.

Arachs: The giant, eight-limbed crustaceans who control most of criminal underworld. Their shells provide heavy protection, along with places to hide and smuggle goods and weapons.

The Cray: Fairly solitary creatures, with human torsos grafted to lobster-like lower limbs and tail. They spend most of their time in underwater cities buried near the ocean’s surface, and rarely leave to trade.

Ghulfish: these parasitic, devouring mouths attach onto unsuspecting victims and drain them dry. They sail and raid in dead leviathan hulks they’ve eaten hollow.

Merfolk: They lure people into the water, then drag them to the depths and fill them with their eggs.

Men: the men of the Calderan Sea are easily corrupted by power, and follow dark magicians in an industrial empire fuelled by demonic sacrifice.

Goblins: Goblins feed on gunpowder. Their ships and floating towns often vanish, in fiery conflagrations.

Get included in the Pirate World Book:


4 days remain in the kickstarter!

To enter your content to be part of the book, copy the Hireling form into a google doc and share it with the Pirate World google+ group or Dungeon World tavern and tag me (James Hawthorne on Google+). If you don’t use google+, email me (pirateworlddw@gmail.com) or link me to where you’ve posted it. I’d love to see people discussing the odd and unique monsters they come up with! (cont…)

My favourite entries will be included in the Pirate World book, with full credit. Submissions open until 8pm GMT, 24th December, 2013. 

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