How to Play Swordplay 2018 – Part 1

What is Swordplay 2018?

Swordplay 2018 is a free set of rules from Two Hour Wargames.  It is a type or role playing game, RPG, that is sometimes called an “immersive game” or “RPG-lite” game because it has a lesser focus on bookkeeping, the tracking of minute details that can slow a game down.  These games are truly designed to be played in two hours or less.  They take a little longer for me, because I like to set up terrain and take photos to go along with the game narrative.

“Swordplay 2018 is all about the Story; your Story.”  That’s the first sentence in the rules and it is true of all tabletop games, whether they be board games, card games, role playing games, or miniature wargames.  They all create and tell stories – often on several levels.

Time for some disclosure before going on, Swordplay 2018 is a very generic set of fantasy rules.  There’s no setting, no world building, no plot – all of that is up to you.  You could set your game in Middle Earth, Westeros, Hyborea or even Barsoom, the choice is yours.  If you would like a more robust setting, then I would heartily recommend Talomir Tales.  And I have to tell you that I’m partial to Talomir Tales since I write for them.

Defining Characters

The first task is to define the character that will represent you the, the player.  This character is a Star as opposed to a Grunt.  Stars have some benefits over grunts.  (If you’re a Trekkie, a grunt will most probably be wearing a red shirt.)  These benefits will allow your star to perform and last slightly longer than a NPC.  They’re not super powers.

For these How to Play posts, I’ve created a character named “Tio” (short for Antiope) as my Star.  Her Race is Human with a Reputation of 5.  Her Alignment is Neutral and her Class is Soldier.  Her Armor Class is AC2 preferring leather armor.  Attributes are: Duty, Resilient and Slippery.  Talomir Tales has more Races and many more Attributes allowing greater customization of Characters.

Being a Star with Rep 5 means Tio can recruit a band up to 4 additional characters.  The size of the band cannot exceed the Rep of the leader and includes the leader in the number.

Here are the Character Journals for the Band at the start of the campaign:

Tio, the Star Character

Circe, the Caster

Tara, the Thief

Rena, the Dwarf Soldier

Passing d6

One of the most often asked questions of any Two Hour Wargames’ rules is about Passing d6.  This mainly is due to players having played games where the target of most die rolls is to exceed a certain number, hence the gamer phrase “anything but a one.”

Passing d6 is actually quite simple.  On a table the player is asked to roll dice to determine the outcome of an action.  The goal is to roll the dice where the score on each die is equal to or less than the character’s Rep (a score of a “6” is always a failure).  If the score on each d6 is equal to or less than the character’s Rep, the character has “passed 2d6.”  If the score on only one of the d6 is equal to or less than a character’s Rep, the character has “passed 1d6.” And if the score on all of the d6s is greater than a character’s Rep, the character has “passed 0d6.”

Let’s use Mossflower as an example, she is an Elf with the Shooter and Slippery attributes.  She is being charged by a Death Mistress, a powerful Lich, and her skeletal minions.  Mossflower needs to bring down the Death Mistress, once the Death Mistress is Out of the Fight or Obviously Dead, the skeletal minions will all collapse into heaps of bones.Shooting consists of two parts, the first is firing the weapon and scoring a hit or miss and the second is determining the amount of damage done if a hit was scored. The Shooting Table on page 24 indicates that 2d6 are rolled versus the shooter’s Rep.

In our first example, Mossflower (who is a Rep 4 character) rolled a 4 and a 2.  Both of these results are equal to or less than her Rep of 4, so she has passed 2d6.  Looking on the table, having passed 2d6 means she has hit her target and can now proceed to the Shooting Damage Table to determine if any damage was done.

Now, let’s supposed Mossflower’s shooting toll resulted in the score of a 5 on one die and a 1 on the other die.  The 5 is higher than her Rep of 4, so Mossflower did not pass on that die.  However, the 1 is definitely lower than her Rep.  In this case, Mossflower has passed 1d6.  Examining the Shooting Table under the passed 1d6 section, we discover Mossflower has missed since the Death Mistress is charging her.  If the Death Mistress had not started her charge, it would have been a hit, but in this case it looks as though Mossflower’s shot may have been rushed and now she has to prepare for melee.

Our last example of course is where the score on both die are higher than Mossflower’s Rep.  In this case, she rolled a 6 and a 5.  Failing on both die in this case is called “passed 0d6,” because the character did not pass on any of the die.  A quick look on the Shooting Table shows that passed 0d6 means Mossflower has missed.  Unless she is exceptionally lucky in melee, she may soon be joining the ranks of the undead.

Next Time

In the next installment, we’ll jump right into the start of the game with an Explore Encounter.

All of the miniatures in this post are from Reaper Miniatures.  The dungeon tiles are some I made myself.  The Character Journals are from the back of the Swordplay 2018 rule book.  The photos were taken with my iPad.  Comments are always welcome.  If you have some questions about Swordplay 2018, put them in the comments and I’ll answer them as we play the game.

2 thoughts on “How to Play Swordplay 2018 – Part 1

  1. Does the Swordplay 2018 rules have listings of monsters or do you decide their reps armor and whether the are Stars or Grunts? Richard Nelson

    1. It has a very small list. Almost all basic rules are like that, for instance when you buy the core rulebook for Pathfinder there are only 7 races in a nearly 400 page book on how to play Pathfinder. You find statistics for races & monsters in adventure modules & maybe later a bestiary.

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