The CQ StoryHammer role-playing game system invites players to interact in a world of their own creation. The game is structured around a story. Players guide the protagonists through scenes and make decisions about how the characters will interact with the scene and react to the plot. To determine how well their decisions fare, players draw cards from a freshly shuffled deck of playing cards.
Players who guide protagonists through the story are known as Leads. A Lead typically assumes control over one protagonist and makes all decisions for that protagonist, including what actions they take, how they react to events, and how they interact with others.
Each story needs a player to serve as Narrator. The Narrator is the main storyteller—the judge and the jury for resolving scenes. Unlike the Lead(s), the Narrator already knows the story and how it is supposed to end. The Narrator controls the pace of the story and relays all information about the setting for every scene. The Narrator assumes control over all non-protagonist characters, including the antagonist(s) and deuteragonist(s).
The Narrator decides difficulties for actions, determines the results of character actions, and interprets card draws. The Narrator is responsible for introducing new characters, settings, and rules. The Narrator has a lot of powers at their disposal but also a lot of elements to keep track of.
While most games have winners and losers, players of StoryHammer should consider themselves all on the same team, including the Narrator who controls the actions of the antagonists. The goal is to navigate characters through a story. Even in failing the objectives within the story, the narrative continues. In StoryHammer, winning the game is achieved through storytelling synergy.