I never managed to finish my Hamlet’s Hit Points inspired entry in time for Game Chef this year, but late’s better than never.
This game is inspired by Robin Laws’ Hamlet’s Hit Points. If you haven’t read it, you should – it’s about beat analysis with special reference to roleplaying games. The book traces the development of the plot and the associated emotional arc in three famous works – Hamlet, Casablanca and Dr No, and discusses how to identify and use beats in roleplaying games.
This is an attempt to explicitly use beats to create story.
Beats can be upbeats or downbeats. An upbeat is one where the characters win and the players feel good – they win a fight, accomplish a goal, convince someone to help them, learn something important, have a laugh, have sex, get cool stuff. Downbeats are defeats or threats; the characters lose a fight, get hurt, fail to do something, get into arguments, lose stuff and other bad things.
In this game, by default, almost all the beat are downbeats. The world hates your character and wants him to lose.