Hamlet's Hit Points

No Longer Available

After a long partnership with us, GamePlayWright products are no longer available via Atlas Games. You can now find their offerings at gameplaywright.net

Hamlet's Hit Points at a Glance

A critical hit! Whether you approach Hamlet’s Hit Points as a writer, as a critic, as a film buff, or as a gamer, you’ll find that Robin Laws is there ahead of you, pointing the way. An unparalleled game designer and best-of-breed game master, Robin reminds us that narrative is worth it: worth creating, worth studying, and worth nurturing in any format, with or without dice.”

— Kenneth Hite, author of Tour de Lovecraft

The World of Hamlet's Hit Points

Hamlet’s Hit Points presents a toolkit that helps make storytelling in any RPG easier and more fun by classifying story beats and letting you track their ups and downs from hope to fear and back.

Armed with these tools, you’ll be equipped to lay compelling track for an emotional roller-coaster that will keep everyone at your game table involved, excited, riveted.

In these pages, you’ll find definitions of nine critical story beats. You’ll read about the relationships between those beats. You’ll also find complete analyses of three stories you know already—Hamlet, Casablanca, and Dr. No—to show you how the system works.

Written with roleplayers in mind, Hamlet’s Hit Points is an indispensable tool for understanding stories, in games and everywhere else.

Robin D. Laws’ new companion volume, Beating the Story, puts this book’s toolkit to work for fiction. Check it out!

The Story Beats Web App

Check out the Story Beats app online to quickly and easily create your own beat maps like those you see in Hamlet’s Hit Points. Share them or keep them private, as you prefer. Story Beats is a labor of love by a brilliant crew — free to use, with no ads, and they don’t sell your data. It works great in any modern browser on a desktop, laptop, or tablet. (Unfortunately, phone screens are too small to make editing or viewing beat maps practical.)

The Beat Icons

The beat icons and arrows illustrated by Craig S. Grant and used in Hamlet’s Hit Points are licensed for use under a Creative Commons license.


  • 2011 Origins Award Nominee, Best Gaming Publication
  • 2011 ENnie Nominee, Best RPG Related Product

Vital Stats

Author: Robin D. Laws
Publisher: GamePlayWright
MSRP: $20.00
Atlas Stock #: GPW003
Barcode: 978-0-9818840-2-8
Format: 6x9 inches • 196 pages • softcover