Hired Hands are AI-controlled friendly characters that follow the Spelunker around the level, attacking enemies and collecting treasure for the player. They are found in Hired Hand Shops for sale or Coffins in the level. They can also be found in the basement of Shops, or behind prison cells in the Tide Pool Level Feeling. They have largely the same abilities as a player character, with a key difference being that a hired hand's whip can deal damage to Spelunkers. Any spelunker that is found in a coffin in single-player will act as a hired hand for as long as they live. Hired Hands have a reputation for being clumsy and unreliable, although they have their uses.

Functionality

Hired Hands have a multitude of uses.

Hired Hands can simply be used as bodyguards or useful helpers. They will defeat enemies for you and carry items and pets for you, and are the only method a Spelunker can use to carry more than one item through a level exit.

Hired Hands teleport to the next level if the player reaches the exit, provided that they are still alive.

Hired Hands can also be sacrificed to a Kali Altar, rewarding 6 favor alive, and 3 favor when dead. This means that you would only have to sacrifice the equivalent of 2 or more favor to receive the next reward.

The name of a Hired Hand can only be seen while they are being sold at a Shop, and have one name for each letter of the alphabet: Atlas, Barca, Clovis, Dunder, Eirik, Fink, Grom, Ham, Ivan, Javi, Kevin, Lurch, Manfred, Nurdle, Onyx, Pork, Quincy, Raster, Steve, Thundar, Ug, Voxel, Wolf, Xorn, Yor, and Zorgoth.

AI

Hired Hand AI can be controlled to a degree, and understanding their AI can massively improve the relationship between one and their Hired Hands.

General

  • Hired Hands will always follow the player whenever possible. If not possible, they will simply wait around.
  • Picking up a Hired Hand and putting them down on the ground will cause them to run back and forth, then go to sleep. Hired Hands will sleep until a certain amount of time has passed, then their AI will function normally.
    • Note that Hired Hands will wake up if an enemy gets near and attempts to attack it. Once the threat is removed, they then go back to sleep.
  • Picking up a Hired Hand and either throwing them at a wall or waiting until they jump out of your hands will cause their AI to activate.
  • If a player is too close to a Hired Hand while they want to whip something, they will not use their whip in order to avoid accidentally hitting the player.
  • Hired Hands are smart enough to travel through the Sunken City by destroying Regenerating Blocks in their way, although they will only do this if the player is far away enough that they believe it is safe enough to whip.

Items/Treasure

  • Hired Hands will always pick up gold, which will add to the player's inventory. For this reason, it is HIGHLY discouraged to own a Hired Hand during Low Score runs.
    • Monkeys that take treasure from a Hired Hand will deduct from the player's inventory.
  • When picking up items, Hired Hands will prefer picking up cheaper items (e.g. they will pick up a Rock over a Shotgun). They will throw certain items, and may use carried weapons, with some regard to the spelunker's position.
    • Hired Hands will never ledge flip nor will they teeter on edges, meaning that they will not drop items without being stunned by an outside force.
  • Throwing a Hired Hand at a Golden Scarab will collect it for the player.
  • If the player enters a Shop, a Hired Hand will try to wait outside.

Hazards

  • Hired Hands will always try to jump on enemies whenever possible. This typically leads to them acting oddly around mantraps, and jumping on top of octopy and taking damage for it.
  • Hired Hands will actively try to avoid any projectiles such as bullets or arrows, even when fired by the player. This includes bombs about to explode.
  • Traps are disarmed by Hired Hands when possible, including Bear Traps.
  • Hired Hands will not attempt to fight large, powerful enemies that are stomp or whip immune, such as Pangxie or Mummies.
  • Hired Hands will aggro on the player if they are whipped enough, and will repeatedly whip them until the player is dead
    • Throwing items at a Hired Hand does not ever aggro them, meaning a player can farm blood for the Kapala by throwing rocks or other objects at them without fear of retaliation.
    • Hired Hands will make a grunt whenever whipped, and this grunt will have a gradually lower pitch with each whip until they finally aggro.
  • If a Hired Hand's corpse is resurrected by a Necromancer, the newly revived Hired Hand will be instantly aggroed on the player, as they now serve the Necromancer.

A Necromancer resurrecting a recently deceased Hired Hand to kill the player with.

Trust

The more levels you clear with a Hired Hand, the more trust they will put in you. When a hired hand trusts you, they will sleep for longer, will allow you to hold them for longer, and will need to be whipped more to aggro on the player. Cloning a Hired Hand with the Clone Gun will retain the level of trust that the original Hired Hand had. This can be used to create a a maximum of four fully trusting Hired Hands.

As the Eggplant Child acts identically to a Hired Hand, they will automatically come with full trust upon meeting the player.

Hired Hand Trust
Levels cleared with them Whips until aggro Time allowed to hold Time running around before sleeping Time Sleeping
0 (Fresh out of the coffin) 3 Whips ~3 seconds ~5 seconds ~5 seconds
1 6 Whips ~6 seconds ~5 seconds ~15 seconds
2 9 Whips ~12 seconds ~2.5 seconds ~38 seconds
3 99 Whips ~120 seconds ~0 seconds ~120 seconds

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Hired Hands are AI-controlled friendly characters that follow the Spelunker around the level, attacking enemies and collecting treasure for the player. They are found in Hired Hand Shops for sale or Coffins in the level.

They have all the same statistics and abilities as the player-controlled character but are clumsy and have sub-par intelligence, and as such, don't tend to survive for very long in dangerous environments. Any Spelunker found in a coffin will act as a Hired Hand as long as he/she lives.

Hired Hands are able to pick up gold, and because of this, it's not recommended to keep them alive if you're trying to unlock the 'Low Scorer' achievement. They will also pick up any weapon and other items they come across, and have a habit of killing the Spelunker by accident if they get a hold of a dangerous item like the shotgun. They will pick up and throw away bombs that are too close to them.

If a Hired Hand picks up an item, it will be added to the Journal if the player didn't have it already, and Tunnel Man won't take items from Hired Hands to unlock shortcuts. While not extremely useful, they are able to grab certain items that the Spelunker can't, like bomb bags, bomb boxes, and even the Udjat Eye. Additionally, Hired Hands can open the Big Chest if they walk over it with the Key in their hands.

Like other players, they won't take any damage from being hit with the whip, but will get stunned. They don't normally run during Adventure mode, but they are seen doing so very rarely.

Hired Hands holding Teleporters can teleport to evade incoming damage, similar to Crocmen.

When sacrificed on an Altar, They are worth 8 Favor Points stunned and 4 dead, thus making them a method of gaining extra favor.

They are the only way to carry more than one item between levels while playing solo, and are able to pick up certain items that the spelunker will collect on touch, making them somewhat useful. Also, if an area is too dangerous to go into, throw the hired hand in and wait for him to die/kill the monsters.

In the case the Spelunker is wanted by the Shopkeepers, they will automatically be 'free' and may attack the shopkeepers or leave the shop. This usually ends with them dying, but they sometimes can disarm shopkeepers and even kill them.

Hired Hands will regain back their health after going to the next level; it is unknown whether this is a bug or a feature.

Trivia

  • The unlockable Cyclops Spelunker is purchased from a Hired Hand shop located in the Black Market. He costs $10,000 and his name is Carl, with the action prompt reading "Bother Carl", instead of the usual "Buy (name)"; a reference to an interactive story book made by Spelunky's lead developer, Andy Hull, called What is bothering Carl?
  • There are 26 different Hired Hands names: Atlas, Barca, Clovis, Dunder, Eirik, Fink, Grom, Ham, Ivan, Jax, Karl, Lurch, Manfred, Nurdle, Onyx, Perseus, Quincy, Rastan, Steve, Thundar, Ulrik, Voxel, Wolf, Xom, Yor, Zorgoth.
    • Every letter of the English alphabet is used as the first letter of a hired hand's name.
    • The name Eirik is a reference to the composer of Spelunky's soundtrack, Eirik Suhrke.

Bugs

  • If the player dies and revives with the ankh while a Hired Hand is with them, the Hired Hand will be duplicated. The duplicated Hired Hand may be with the player after reviving or will be invisible until exiting the level.
    • During multiplayer, sometimes duplicated Hired Hands might disappear after one of the player's death or the other Hired Hand's death.
  • Throwing a Hired Hand with the Pitcher's Mitt against a Loose Platform, Pushable Block, Crush Trap or any other block that can move will cause the Hired Hand to bounce back at a slower speed with the straight-line trajectory of the Pitcher's Mitt. The Hired Hand will be affected by gravity again if it hits a wall, bbut can also be left floating in the air if it hits the corner of a block.
    • This bug is not exclusive to Hired Hands, and works with Spelunkers in multiplayer too.
  • Some Hired Hands participated in the Olympics and can jump about six blocks.
  • If a Hired Hand is swallowed by the Worm, the player will be taken into it too.

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