Jul 11

Reading Around: Hamlet’s Hit Points


MMD-2016-Reading-ChallengeI am making very good progress with the 2016 Reading Challenge. Anne launched this project at her Modern Mrs Darcy blog.





I completed my seventh challenge over lunch today. This qualified under number five: a book you should have read in school.


The book was Hamlet’s Hit Points, by Robin D. Laws. Firstly, I should have read it in school to improve my skill as a GM, and perhaps set me on the road to being a narrative GM so much sooner. Furthermore, my English essays would have benefited greatly from the structural analysis of story found in this book. I know it is aimed at Gamers, but the principles apply to all manner of storytelling.


Note: I accept that strictly speaking I could not have read Hamlet’s Hit Points as it was not published when I was at school. However, it matches the spirit of the challenge, and I simply wanted an excuse to read it again.


Hamlet’s Hit Points is available via DriveThruRPG. The product page describes it as follows:


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.


Find out more at the Hamlet’s Hit Points page on DriveThruRPG [affiliate link]



Hamlets Hit PointsOnce again, I enjoyed reading about the structure of Hamlet, Dr No and Casablanca. Every time I read this book I hope to absorb more of the basic principles. The ability to visualize the structure of the story is an important part of being an improv GM, and this is one of my core texts. Hamlet Hit Points both classifies scenes and presents a method of understanding the ebb and flow of a story. These ideas are clearly expressed in the design of HeroQuest, and thus very important to my style of gaming.


Read more about my core improv tools



Where next?

This now completes seven books for the Reading Challenge. Categories 9 and 11 are likely to be troublesome, and take a long time to complete. Thus, I must keep pushing to leave enough time to complete the challenge in 2016. Numbers one to five, seven and eight, have been read, so my choices moving forward are:


6. A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF

9. A book you previously abandoned

10. A book you own but have never read

11. A book that intimidates you


I will hold back on the tricky options, and choose a short book to match option 6. This will also streamline my list of remaining options.


The previous 2016 Reading Challenge book was Bandamanna Saga.


Happy Reading



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