Pretty seriously thinking about making this change for Stonetop. I’d love some more feedback.

Pretty seriously thinking about making this change for Stonetop. I’d love some more feedback.

Pretty seriously thinking about making this change for Stonetop. I’d love some more feedback.

Originally shared by Jeremy Strandberg

Continuing to tinker with Hack & Slash

Here’s what I’m thinking. Explanation in the blog post.


When you fight in melee, roll +STR. On a 7+, you attack your foe (deal damage!) and suffer the enemy’s attack; on a 10+, also pick 2; on a 7-9, also pick 1 (but not the first one).

● You evade/counter/prevent the enemy’s attack

● Your attack is powerful/fast/brutal: add +1d6 to your damage

● You hold the initiative or give it to an ally; say what you do next, or who gets to go next


(edit: slightly reworded; it used to say “By default” instead of “On a 7+;” changed because I want a miss to still be completely undefined. I know I’ve had H&S misses where I brought in something out of left field, like a grim portent, instead of the enemy attacking. I also rephrased it to say “you attack your foe (deal damage) and suffer…” because I intend to have “Deal Damage” be it’s own basic move when I’m done.

5 thoughts on “Pretty seriously thinking about making this change for Stonetop. I’d love some more feedback.”

  1. I think this is good. Nice complex tree of outcomes from a few easy-to-parse choices. I’m also a fan of the explicit initiative passing.

    A high-bonus character might be able to string together a series of hack and slash rolls without reprisal by choosing the first and last options on 10+, which is a fun edge case and probably rare enough that it’s exciting when it happens.

    Pick-one-but-not-the-first is nice presentation.

  2. I haven’t followed a lot of this, but my worry is that by gaining initiative, you put the spotlight rotating ability into player’s hands. This will go ok for those players-that-also-gm but there are a class of players that may use initiative gaining to steal spotlights and make the game unfun for some.

    I’m not sure if this is a real problem, but if it is, rewording that last bullet to something like “You control the conflict, and say who else gets to act next” to ensure the spotlight keeps moving

  3. I think it’s more powerful than the old H&S. I’d say just pick one on a 10+ and leave it at that to keep it in line with the current version.

    I would test that initiative mechanic thoroughly, to see how it alters the flow of the conversation. But it is an interesting idea.

  4. I like what you are trying to do. I would like a slightly less involved or more open-to-interpretation move for THE melee combat move, though, myself.

    I haven’t had a chance to use it in play yet, but in theory, I like the Stonetop version of Parley way more than the original move as written because, even though it has more “ifs,” (a) it just seems so intuitive and obvious that this is how it SHOULD work, and (b) it still leaves a lot of room for GM interpretation. Like, obviously sometimes talking won’t be enough to get what you want, but finding out what WILL get you what you want is also extremely valuable. How will that information come to you? That’s up to the GM, based on the characters and the context – rather than a list of options to pick from.

    I would love to see Hack and Slash inherit some of that elegance, and leave some room for creative thinking and interpretation at the table. I am not confident I could do it as adeptly myself as you have, but just to give a clearer sense of the direction I mean, I’d love to see something like “on a 10+, you can attempt a maneuver like dealing extra damage (d6), creating an immediate opening for an ally, or avoiding the enemy’s attack.” (I do worry a bit about it getting cumbersome to let people pick an option on every hit, plus an extra on a 10.)

    But I am impressed with your moves overall, so I may be talking crazy talk here.

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