Daggerheart box and standees at the table

Spotlight June 2024 | Daggerheart

This month, in celebration of telling stories together, we sat down to playtest the new Daggerheart system from Darrington Press. As a Guild Store, Twenty Sided™ got early access to the playtest materials and starter adventure*. It’s been a minute since we’ve had the chance to playtest a new game, so we were all pretty psyched!

*Note: We were playing V1.2 – Check out the Daggerheart updated rules.

Lauren, Alex, Sarah and Mickey around the table

Daggerheart is a new high fantasy roleplaying game that uses a hope and fear mechanic for taking actions, putting a flavor on succeeding or failing. Instead of the traditional d20, or even two 2d6, this system uses two d12 dice. The duality between Hope and Fear is what drives the narrative storytelling in the game. It allows for failed rolls that possibly open an opportunity and successful rolls that might introduce conflict.

“I really liked the Experience actions for characters. Especially in a one-shot - it gave me quick options to latch on to and round out a pre-made character.” -Morgan
Daggerheart Character Sheet and Cards

In the playtest adventure, there are character questions for each player to answer to establish their connections to the other characters at the table. They were interesting and evocative and felt like they gave us, as players, a chance to create the world together and our relationships to one another.

“I will only ever play frog people from now on. Ribbits forever!!!” - Sarah
Alex, Sarah and Mickey discuss character backgrounds

Daggerheart uses Subclass and Domain cards to utilize character abilities and Ancestry and Community cards to shape your character’s background. The cards made it really easy to jump into playing. It seems like a cool way to really customize your character, but at the same time felt a little limiting as far as actions go in combat. Which brings us to combat…

“It's been awhile since an RPG engaged my actor muscles in combat - rules as written.” -Alex
Lauren narrates combat as Alex investigates the scene

Combat is not round based and players can take any action at any time (although some actions require spending Hope tokens). Not having an initiative order* made it a bit difficult at our table. We're all very generous players and didn't really want to step on anyone else's toes. To not have any order for such a strategic combat seemed difficult to grasp for an initial one-shot adventure. The GM had a really cool Move where they could spend the players' Fear tokens to make Moves and how many tokens they spent would change the gravity of the Move they made. It felt like something like that was missing for the player characters– an action economy that lets even the most shy player at the table take the spotlight. We would love to play more and see how combat evolves!

*Darrington Press has since updated the rules to include an optional initiative order.

“There are interesting new mechanics, narrative tools and creative new twists on the genre. It’s really accessible and there's never a better time to get in on a game!” -Mickey
Mickey and Sarah at the table

If you like new ways to tell stories and are interested in mechanics and systems different from traditional D&D, give Daggerheart a try. It’s on to something really interesting – changing the way we think of traditional fantasy tabletop roleplaying, but still including some satisfying crunch to the rules in a way that frees you up to really try some crazy stuff. We can't wait to see where it goes from here! 

And give your feedback if you do play! It's a really exciting time to be a part of the Daggerheart community and have your voice heard – the game can change because of you!

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