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Hamlet's Hit Points

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See Your Stories Like Never Before

Hamlet's Hit Points presents a toolkit that helps make storytelling in any RPG easier and more fun by classifying story beats and letting you track their ups and downs from hope to fear and back.

Armed with these tools, you'll be equipped to lay compelling track for an emotional roller-coaster that will keep everyone at your game table involved, excited, riveted.

In these pages, you'll find definitions of nine critical story beats. You'll read about the relationships between those beats. You'll also find complete analyses of three stories you know already—Hamlet, Casablanca, and Dr. No—to show you how the system works.

Written with roleplayers in mind, Hamlet's Hit Points is an indispensable tool for understanding stories, in games and everywhere else.

The Hamlet's Hit Points PDF is actually five files. The first is a PDF version of the full book adapted to be beautiful and functional when viewed one page at a time, as it's likely to be displayed on an iPad or other portrait-oriented eReader. It's fully bookmarked and hyperlinked. The second is a PDF version of the full book that's 100% identical to the print version, output in spreads as you'd see the physical book while you hold it open in your hands. The third file is a series of large, 11x17 pages that present the beat maps for Hamlet, Dr. No, and Casablanca in PDF format. These large-scale maps give a great at-a-glance overview of the stories. Finally, you also receive .epub and .mobi versions of the book, so you can read on your preferred device anywhere, anytime. 

For the purchase price of the PDF, you get all five files in a single archive.

Author Robin D. Laws wrote Robin's Laws Of Good Game Mastering; designed Feng Shui, The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game, HeroQuest, The Esoterrorists, and Skulduggery; and contributed to both the third and fourth editions of the Dungeon Master's Guide 2.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (6)
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March 24th, 2021
A classic in RPG design and running a game. DMs and game designers should have a dog-earred copy of this on their shelves. [...]
June 10th, 2019
Vital for anyone who wants to tell a story. Also, has great stats for Shakespeare characters. [...]
December 20th, 2012
At times a bit stodgy and academian, but an entertaining read. It's definitely helpful for games like HeroQuest, and the forthcoming Hillfolk (both written by Laws, natch). Well worth any GMs time to read. [...]
Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
June 21st, 2012
In Hamlet’s Hit Points, venerable game designer Robin Laws describes a method of breaking down narratives into a series of “beats” falling into nine different categories. Laws uses square and arrow-shaped icons to chart at-a-glance the progress [...]
September 5th, 2011
An outstanding work that should change the way you think about your game, as well as fiction and movies. This book provides a perspective on "social combat" that is rife for exploration, and a framework for evaluating stories (in and out of [...]
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42.99 MB
Original electronic Click for more information
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
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File Last Updated:
February 12, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on August 27, 2010.