Hamlet’s Hit Points

I’m not quite sure what to do with this offering from a site called Game Playwright, which in itself seems highly cool to me:

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.

I’ve often brainstormed on the ideas of using Shakespeare’s characters as fodder for computer games of various sorts, so this fascinates me.  In my version, computer AI has developed to a high enough degree that you could essentially “seed” your Hamlets and Ophelias and watch the play (the plot, at least) run through on its own sort of auto pilot.  Then insert the player character and watch to see how he can disrupt the proceedings. This book looks like it’s geared toward game designers, but it seems like the sort of thing any random Shakespeare geek might be fascinated by.   [ Spotted via Steve’s Gamer Blog ]

One thought on “Hamlet’s Hit Points

  1. Roleplaying games drawing from literature is nothing new; only drawing attention to it is. The obvious pull of game mechanics from Tolkien's work for the Game D&D is a good place to start. But the fact that there is a type of weapon enhancement for a blade called Vorpal which increases the changes your character has of taking off an opponent's head may not be easily recognizable as an allusion to Lewis Carroll.

    Using game mechanics to explain a literary figure also happens. When I read Beowulf in Undergrad, I realized that Beowulf was such an awesome character that he his Damage Reduction (how much of a successful attach he simply ignores) was DR broken by Magic. Because the only monsters that can even land a hit on him are creatures who remain unphased by standard weapons.

    The idea of doing the reverse is also cool: explaining the game mechanics by using literary characters as examples. It's a neat idea.

    The thing I am waiting for is a Shakespeare Table Top RPG. I considered for about the span of a week the possibility of altering the game mechanics of another game, such as D&D, to fit my purposes. Ultimately, I decided that would be too much effort for a game I was only interested in as a passing triviality. Perhaps eventually some one else will make it and then I can just buy it.

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