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H Wards – Play Example

This is a play example I just put into the H Wards document, a narrative heavy, light mechanics system. I think the system is actually shaping up that it's going to be quite a bit of fun. It's not designed for long term campaigns or for groups that like a lot of fiddly bits and multi page character sheets but is aimed at the game you go to when you're in between Pathfinder or 4E or GURPS level of mechanics games or when you're short too many players for a regular session.

I do think though that you'll need at least two players plus the Director to have a good game out of it. Otherwise some of the resource management decisions will probably be off by a bit.

And yes, obviously this example Scene is based on a recent action movie.


Bill Blaze has set up a Scene where he’s going to slide down a rope on the outside of the building as an associate blows the windows open on the room he wants to go into. The Scene Goal is to grab a set of engraving plates.

Bill’s personal goal is to get into the room without falling to the street below. A laudable goal really.

He has a partner, Ted, posing as a window washer across the street who has a personal goal of blowing open the window just before Bill reaches it and not after Bill slides past or smashes into the unbroken window.

The scene has several zones. The rooftop, the side of the building, the room, the street below and the other building across the street. Bill’s going to expend one Awesome die to move from the rooftop and slide down the building and another Awesome die to make the tuck and roll into the room. Awesome dice cover things like feats of dexterity and grace and coordination.

Ted on the far side of the street posing as a window washer has a Rocket Launcher as one of his Gear which by its nature allows him to impact other zones without having to expend any dice to do it.

Bill starts the narration, “I toss the coils of rope over the side and start falling down. As I get closer I use the braking mechanism to slow my fall. At the last instant I’m going to kick off the wall so I arc out and then back and go through the window that hopefully Ted’s going to have blown open for me. I’ll tuck and roll inside and toss a tear gas grenade into the room.”

Ted adds, “As he starts to fall I turn around and time it so that the grenade impacts the window about a second or two before he reaches it.”

The Director thinks this is a fine set of goals and plan of action and asks the players to proceed. He sets Bill’s obstacle as Timing and makes it a Difficult 4. For Ted he thinks that’s an easier goal to achieve and is also a timing based obstacle. He gives Ted an Average difficulty.

Their goals will be achieved somewhat simultaneously but as Ted’s needs to be achieved or it’s going to break the chain of events leading to Bill’s goal he has to go first.

Ted rolls 3 Hero dice, adds 1 Gear dice for the grenade launcher. He considers it for a bit and then adds his 2 Research dice since timing this is going to be a mental exercise and Research covers mental type activities.

Ted’s rolling a total of 6 dice versus the Obstacle of 3. He rolls a 2H,6H,2H,1R,5R,1G for 3 Successes. The Obstacle rolls 3,5,3 for 2 Successes.

Ted wins Narrative Control over the scene and can describe the results of his contest and goal any way he likes subject to the setup.

Comparing strings we find that the H or Hero dice dominate Ted’s Contest. This is a good thing. Ted, already down some Vitality from previous scenes uses the Hero Domination result to recover one Vitality.

Ted narrates - “The grenade launcher chuffs in my hands and trailing a thin contrail of smoke it arcs out as Bill falls down. It impacts the window dead center and explodes taking out the window and several around it. Inside the blast sends people staggering, knocking most of them prone as smoke and flame fill the room.”

Bill on the other hand, has a tougher row to hoe. He puts his Hero dice out, considers the 4 Obstacle and then grimaces and adds in 4 War dice which cover feats of athleticism and strength, applicable to this goal. He adds a Gear die for his Rappelling Harness.

Bill rolls all 8 dice and nets 5H,5H,4H,1W,4W,4W,3W,1G for a total of 3 Successes. The Obstacle rolls 2,3,5,4 for 2 Successes.

Again, luckily for the Heroes Bill’s Hero dice dominate the contest. Billy immediately uses that effect to recover one of his expended Awesome dice. He has a feeling he may need it before this Scene is over.

Bill narrates - “I come sliding down the rope as it makes a whirrrrring noise and then I lean down on the braking clamp as the window below me explodes in a spray of glass. I kick off the window above and let gravity arc me back in through the open window. The lights inside are blow out by the blast leaving it dark and the heat of the explosion kicks on the sprinklers. I look for the plates and toss a tear gas grenade into the room to help confuse the issue.”

The Director at this point reaches into his Bowl of Misfortune and takes out an Unfortunately coin and tosses it into the players’ Bowl of Fortune and says, “Unfortunately you’re pretty sure the plates are in the heavy case that’s handcuffed to one of the guys in the room who’s scrambling quickly for the door that just burst open as four goons come rushing in with pistols and sub-machine guns drawn....”

Bill and Ted look at each other and simultaneously go, “Well crap.”

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