Die By the Sword- Game-Play Example 4


Since the last blog, I have cooked up some draft record sheets for GMs. One is attached below, showing the state of Challenges before Phase 4 of the Scene begins. It should hopefully show how easy it is to keep track of Challenges, Challenge Totals, Obstacles, Opportunity and Opposition. I have also given the Choice Totals and Target Numbers in Phase 4 in order to show how easy those are to record.

This blog ends the Bar Fight with two more Phases.

Bar Fight Example

Phase 4

One of the Mercanaries is still conscious, but there is a mass of punters in between them and the Band of Mercenaries, so they are an Additional Challenge.

Bar Fight and Bar Furniture are Vital Challenges as Ter-Saa and Hoo-Len are surrounded by people surging around them and through them to get at Nesker. The Target Number for both is 3, so both Challenges can be successfully Engaged by getting a Choice Total of 4 and above.

Ter-Saa stands and fights, immediately Triggering the Stay Put Opportunity once again to begin with a Choice of 1. They spend their second and third Berserker Bonus Point of 3 (only boxes 1, 3 and 5 have Limit Adjustments, so they have one Limit Adjustment increase their Exhaustion by 1 to 4) to match the Target Number.

They spend a Focus Point and then their Asset Point for “precision” as they describe concentrating on breaking weapons with their fists. They describe cutting their hands and Adjust Injury by +1.

They Resolve a Choice Total of 5 vs 3, so 2 Success Points. They reduce Bar Furniture from 3 to 1. Due to Opposition, this is 2 lower than Bar Fight 3, so now may give the other players a +2 Bonus on their Choice against the bar fight, as their weapons are getting broken.

Hoo-Len spends a Point of Sneaky and a Point of Focus to dash under the legs of the attackers and under some tables. She Fuels 1 Asset Point for “cowardice.” (Decision: 2.) The GM describes several people turning to go around the tables after her. She spends a Point of Calculating and a Point of Sleight of Hand to trip them up by rapidly snaking out her feet. She increases her Corruption by 2 for employing her own dirty fighting. Now she is fighting back, the GM Triggers the +2 Opposition Bonus. (Decision: 6.)

Hoo-Len Resolves with 3 Success Points. She wants to use them to remove the Bar Fight Challenge (at Total 3, 3 SP will reduce it to 0). Since only their weapons have been broken or they have been tripped, the GM decides that this is inappropriate, so Triggers a Consequence, allowing them to spend the Success Point.

Instead, the GM gives Hoo-Len a temporary Trope of Getting Away with 3 Bonus Points (which they can use later in the Chapter, as well as this Scene). They also get a Victory Point for having a Consequence thrown at them to spend Success Points.

Nesker Burns 2 Points of Look What I Found! to produce some foul smelling chemicals. They Burn a Curse Point for “improve item’s capabilities”. They increase their Corruption from 2 to 4. They them Burn a Point of Eureka to mix it with something slightly explosive (and increase Corruption to the Threshold of 5). They then throw it behind the bulk of the crowd. The player Triggers the Opposition, as Nesker is still behind his shield so the crowd can hardly stop him with their improvised weapons. (Decision: 6)

Nesker’s player describes a spreading cloud of noxious gas, causing the punters to either stop to throw up or to flee and wants to spend 3 Success Points to defeat it. The GM allows it this time.

Every player earns a Victory Point for aiding in the defeat of the Challenge.

Phase 5

The drunken Mercenary is not deterred by the smell. With Hoo-Len the closest, the GM describes pursuing her. He is the only Vital Challenge.

Hoo-Len decides to crawl a chaotic route, leading the drunken merc around the bar (free +1 Bonus from the Drunk Opportunity) to make him trip and fall.

The GM decides to Burn all 3 of her Dangerous Ego Penalty Points. She counters with all 3 Getting Away Points. The Choice Total for this Decision is at 1. This is clearly “cowardice”, so she Fuels 4 Asset Points (and has 5, and can Fuel them no further, and only Burn 1 this Phase).

The GM describes the Mercenary tripping, landing and trying to grab her leg whilst she is under the table.

She spends an Asset Point for “create escape” with her Cursed Belt of Escape and with a thought, the table drops on the merc’s head and increases her Corruption to the Threshold of 4 for employing trickery.

She Resolves there with a Choice Total of 2 and defeats the Challenge with 1 Success Point, using the other to Fuel her Focus by 1, from 7 to 8. With only Bar Furniture as an Additional Challenge, the other Scoundrels are now able to make the Second Wind Choice before the Scene ends there.

Nesker has spent most of their Trope Points so Fuels them all with Second Wind, describing examining the effects of their gas. Ter-Saa describes collapsing and resting. The GM does not approve of them reducing their 2 Injury this way, but allows them to drop Exhaustion from to 3.

Each Scoundrel receives 2 Victory Points for another defeated Challenge and a successfully defeated Scene.

The Scene ends with 4-6 Victory Points earned each and 1-2 Defeat Points for 2 of the 3 Scoundrels. 10 Victory Points and 5 Defeat Points can be each traded for a Character Point in between Chapters to advance your characters statistics.



Die By the Sword Game-Play Example 3


As before, please read the first two example blogs before reading this one.

Since posting up the other examples, I have created some alternative character sheets that get remove a lot of the wording on the main sheet and allow for putting narrative info (background etc) on the main page, so I’ll be using these for this example.

Phase 3

With one of the Mercenaries in a tussle, this Challenge remains Vital. As Nesker has created a shield to hide from the Bar Fight and flying Furniture, these Challenges are Additional; players do not have to deal with them if they do not wish to and will not have negative effects.

Ter-Saa is still pinned, even with the aid of one Mercenary. They Burn a Curse Point to “remove weight” to hurl both mercs through the air. This only Triggers the Drunk Opportunity, not Temporary Ally, putting the Choice Total at 1. They Burn a Point of Berserker for a Decision of 2 vs 4, as they roar out.


For their Limit Adjustments, they reduce Corruption from the starting value of 3 to 1.

Corruption is the only Limit you can reduce when Adjusting from Burning Points; in this case, this is throwing the mercs away from Ter-Saa and perhaps giving them an out from further fighting, so the GM approves to reduce Corruption. Ter-Saa only has a Corruption Threshold of 5, but starts with 3 (lower than normal; 5 is the standard starting value).

Increasing their Corruption rather than reducing it would have taken them beyond the Threshold, which would result in the Scoundrel embracing Corruption at the end of the story arc, which would not fit current events. Hitting Corruption 0 causes eventual retirement in a different fashion; these rules are in place to encourage the players to play anti-heroes, capable of both moral and immoral acts as situations require.

Hoo-Len goes to try and pick up her Mercenary ‘friend’, to make use of the Temporary Ally Opportunity she created (in Part 2), asking if he is okay. Adding to Ter-Saa’s Choice for a Collective Choice increases the Total to 3. However, this merc is under the other… the GM Triggers all three Penalty Points for Hoo-Len’s Weakling Trope, dropping the Choice Total to 0.


The GM describes her ally passing out as she tries and fails to tug him out from the other Mercenary. For this Decision, she gets two Status Adjustments, so decreases Corruption from 3 to 1 for at least trying to help.

The GM describes that the other Mercenary then tries to grab her. The GM Triggers the Hidden Obstacle of Mercenaries, Trained Fighter for an additional -1.

This drops the Collective Choice between the two Scoundrels to -1; only one beneficial Point has been spent from two characters, they are not yet defeated.

Hoo-Len lets out a high pitched scream in the face of the Mercenary who has her. She Burns all 4 Curse Points from her Curse of Voice for “project voice.” She describes screaming so loud that she intends him to pass out. This Decision increases the Choice Total to 3.

The Bar Fight dramatically stops (narratively, the challenge is still present).

The great cost of Advantage Points (Curse or Asset) is that they always Adjust Limits when you Burn them, which is a significant cost when spending 4 at once.

For Hoo-Len’s 4 Limit Adjustments, the player increases Exhaustion from 0 to 4.

The GM describes the Mercenary’s grip going limp. The Challenge represents two more Mercenaries; its fine to describe doing damage as you make Decisions, not just as a result of Success Points, though only Success Points will allow defeat of the Challenge.

The other two mercs draw their weapons.

Ter-Saa gathers the bottles they had prepared (scattered on the floor now but still available) and Burns both Points of Improvised Ammo, Fuelling an Asset Point for “dirty fighting” as their Limit Adjustment. They then Burn 1 their previously Fuelled Asset Point for “increase precision” and increase Corruption to 6. They cannot Burn both Asset Points as one was used Fuelled this Phase.

This increases the Collective Choice Total from to 6.

The GM describes the one of the Mercenaries drunkenly grabbing a shield but taking a blow to the temple and staggering into the other.

The Bar Fight erupts again, but remains an Additional Challenge.

Nesker decides to contribute to the Collective Choice Total, for more Success Points to bring down the Mercenaries. He takes a half-built crossbow out of his pack and hastily puts it together, and Burns a Point of Eureka and 1 Curse Point for “grant impossible capabilities to item.”


He describes firing a bolt that hits the one Mercenary’s shield with a shock-wave and tosses both against a wall. He reduces Corruption by 1 for avoiding murder as his Limit Adjustment.

However, the GM Triggers the Obstacle (-1) for Bar Fight, Breaking the Rules: nobody has been killed, but a proper weapon has been used. Now all eyes are on the Scoundrels again. Nesker has to duck again as another hail of objects is thrown.

The Choice Total is at 7. The players decide to Resolve with 3 Success Points, reducing the Challenge Total of Mercenaries from 4 to 1. Hoo-Len gets 1 Victory Point for inducing Exhaustion to achieve Success Points.

The last description by Nesker makes Bar Fight a Vital Challenge, but with all Choices made, it is also an Unresolved Challenge. The GM can Resolve against the existing Collective Choice Total, or 0 (if they feel no Choice deal with what they describe) as they wish, and they can also Trigger and Burn further Penalties they feel apply. The players cannot Burn any Points against an Unresolved Challenge, but they still must describe how they react to it (which can allow the GM to Trigger Penalties).

The players all created a Choice of 7 together to battle the Mercenaries, so it is appropriate to battle the Bar Fight as well.

As Nesker exposed himself to potential attack, the GM Burns his one Delightfully Mad Penalty Point, but as he describes ducking back behind the shield, the GM Triggers Stay Put and Take Cover Opportunities (+1 each) to increase the Total to 9.

Hoo-len is not a fighter and now horribly exposed as the bar crowd surges towards their corner, weapon in hand. The GM Burns all 3 of her Sneaky Penalty Points as it will be difficult for her to hide, reducing the Choice Total to 6. Hoo-len’s player decides Adjusting Corruption is not appropriate so increases Exhaustion by +2, as they grabbed, kicked and punched by approaching punters. Her Exhaustion Threshold is a very high 8 (she only has Injury at 3 and Corruption at 4 as a consequence), so she can risk this.

Ter-Saa describes roaring in challenge and dives in front of their boss. The GM Burns their 2 Sword Master Penalty Points and both remaining Berserker Penalty Points (as they have no sword out and their blood is up) to drop the Choice Total to 2 vs 3. They describe taking repeated punches and kicks and strikes with improvised weapons, and increase their Exhaustion from 1 to 3.

The GM Resolves with a Failure Point and gives Ter-Saa 1 additional point of Injury as they receive a barrage of hits and are likely to take more than just bruises.

They receive a Defeat Point for suffering Failure from an Unresolved Challenge, and another for Exhausting themselves against the Challenge by having Penalties Burned, as does Hoo-Len; sometimes, failure has a long term positive effect.

Nesker doesn’t suffer from the Challenge, so doesn’t receive a Defeat Point.