Dec 302013

How Does It Play?

So let’s get down to the heart of it. How does an ‘of Shot & Blade’ adventure play?

Firstly, every good story has a goal and so each adventure has a goal whether that be to hunt down an enemy, rescue a lost patrol, unveil a traitor, deliver an essential message, ambush bandits, and so on.

Then as with all stories there’s a beginning, a middle and an end – three scenes. Each scene will often take place in a different location and here’s the first ‘component’ in the game – Location Maps.

And on the Location Maps are placed the Obstacles – the threats, barriers or tasks that must be overcome or accomplished by the hero squads in order to progress in their mission. The hero squads are the first team of players in the game.

Let’s take an example.

The hero party has to track down raiders who have stolen some of the clan’s herd. The first Location is the woods on the edge of the clan’s territory. There are two Obstacles here that the heroes have to overcome – the first is the task to track the raiders and the second is the fact that their enemies laid traps in their wake.

How do the hero squads overcome the Obstacles? Well each Obstacle has an Action Sheet that details how the Obstacle can be bested – the skills that can be used to achieve the task or defeat the threat or move past the barrier.

So the hero team have a choice as to how to overcome the Obstacles. But, should they fail then the situation will escalate – traps may maim, kill or . . . trap, and failing to track the marauders will not only delay the heroes but nearby predators may pick up on their trail.

Time is always of the essence. In our example adventure, if the hero squads aren’t fast enough then the raiders will get clean away with their gains. So do the heroes charge head on at the Obstacles, or do they spend a little time or utilise a terrain feature or obtain an item to make it easier to progress? There are choices to be made here in how to approach and win out the scene.

And what if things start to go drastically wrong? What if the raiders are almost beyond reach with not much time to spare? Well a little bit of magic could save the day . . . but then again, if the magic goes awry, who knows what demonic evils lurking in the shadowy depths of the wilds will become aware of the magic users and decide to investigate?

Oh, and whilst the hero squads are pressing forward to accomplish their mission, there are always those that seek to slow, hinder and stop them – ‘they’ could be the fickle spirits of the wild, or barbaric natives, or blackhearted evil-doers, or traitors, or fearless predators, or worse. These are the hero team’s nemesis played by the second team of players in the game.

Just as the hero party has Action Sheets detailing how to overcome Obstacles, the nemesis team has Action Sheets detailing how they can get at the hero squads and prevent them from reaching their goal.


An ‘of Shot & Blade’ adventure is composed of three scenes – the beginning, middle and end of the mission.

Each scene has a location and two or more obstacles the hero squads must overcome.

Action Sheets detail how the hero team can overcome the obstacles as well as how the nemesis team can slow, injure and ultimately stop the heroes.

If the heroes overcome the obstacles in all three scenes in the required amount of time then they accomplish their mission, otherwise the nemesis wins.

That’s the core of it and gives you an overview of adventuring with ‘of Shot & Blade’.

Related Articles: