GTM #211 - Hood: Swashbuckling Adventures in Sherwood
by Bryce Whitacre

Hood: Swashbuckling Adventures in Sherwood is a larger than life game about the legendary outlaws of Sherwood and Barnsdale. Players use a descriptive and collaborative system to build stories instead of the normal “I attack” task resolution. This system will appeal to anyone that wants to recreate old theatrical sword fights, moments of tension, and perform incredible larger than life maneuvers.

How does the game play?

In Swashbuckling Adventures in Sherwood the players create a story pool to visually show how they’re performing actions. On their turn, instead of the standard “I attack” rote of RPGs, players build a story. First they select a skill. Then they pick a physical or personal trait that’s helping them accomplish the task. Next they choose a virtue or vice that is compelling them to action. Then there’s stunts, the heart of the game, which is a visual description (remember it’s swashbuckling!) of the action you’re attempting. Finally, the player adds a piece of equipment to aid them.

Example: Cyril the Black of Barnsdale wants to attack his enemies from the forest canopy from above. The player explains that he’s doing this with his Climbing Skill (D10), given the fact that his is ‘thin and energetic’, a D8 physical trait. He’s also doing this because he’s compassionate for all the people that have suffered under the sheriff’s hand (he has the Virtue ‘Compassionate’ at D12). This attack is a brand-new stunt he’s created called ‘Death From Above’, so he writes that into his stunts, and adds 2d4 to the pool (this is the beginner dice for new stunts). Finally, he’s using the rope he stashed in the tree earlier at a ‘good’ quality, which adds another d6 to the pool. He then collects them all and rolls! 1,2, and 3 are failures, all other numbers are successes!

Then what happens?

Although Hood is a completely new design, the one thing we wanted to include from our Baker Street design was the Icon Die. So, you add special D6 to the roll that features, 1,2,3, Lady Marian, Robin, and the Evil Sherriff.  Each result has a unique impact on the die roll that can change the player’s story.

What’s your favorite part of the game?

It’s when the PCs and their rivals get the same number of successes. It triggers a ‘clash of blades’. It’s that moment on film when the hero’s sword crosses the enemy’s blade and they engage in a battle of witty barbs and showy swordsmanship. We have a very simple, 30-second dueling system in our Clash of Blades system that lets the player grab the limelight for just a moment and then return the action to all the players.

What’s in the Product Line?

Currently, the core book features all the rules you need to play the game, plus three adventures to get your started. We also offer the specialty die (like the Sherlock Die from Baker Street) and a Deck of Cards called the Sherwood Deck. This deck, while not mandatory to play the Hood, organizes the elements of the game like conditions, adds Merry Men you can recruit to the cause after every session, and special combat and non-combat artifacts to make for a more memorable play experience.

And the Adventure Included with this Article?

The following scenario is an Introductory adventure for new players trying Hood: Swashbuckling Adventures in Sherwood for the first time.  It features Allan-A-Dale, a wondering minstrel that Robin and the Merry Men help to rescue his lady love from an unscrupulous knight! [Click Here to download the exclusive Hood scenario "The Wedding of Allan-A-Dale" in PDF form.]

Bryce Whitacre is a game designer living in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Among his credits are the French and Indian War and the Defeated Dead for Rogue Games and Baker Street: Roleplaying in the World of Sherlock Holmes.