Sherwood: A review and custom character sheet for a Robin Hood RPG

I’ve been going through Sherwood, the new RPG from Richard Ruane. It’s based around the various tales of Robin Hood.

The most interesting thing about Sherwood, is that it’s a OSR-style game that’s not based on D&D. It’s pretty clearly based on Traveller, the venerable sci-fi game, first published in 1977. I’ve posted before about how I’d like to see more OSR games based on 2d6 systems, and it’s nice to see that happening.

Basic Rules

The basic mechanic is similar to Traveller. It’s called a Skill Check. Players roll a 2d6 and add their skill number (usually 1-3) to a roll. If they roll a 8 or above, they succeed.

Players can roll with Advantage by roll 3d6 and keeping the two highest numbers, or Disadvantage by keeping the two lowest numbers.

When a PC is in danger, they can roll a Saving Throw. It’s a 2d6 roll based on one of the players attributes. Rolling equal to or below their stat succeeds.

Most rolls seem to be player-facing. When i ran it, I didn’t roll the dice very much.

Character Creation

There are four attributes: Endurance, Luck, Willpower, and Wits. These are randomly generated. The attributes each serve several purposes. Endurance serves as hit points. Wits can be spent to use a skill you don’t have. Luck can be spent to change the result of non-Skill Check rolls. There are several others.

In practice, I found keeping track of all of the different rules for each attribute a little difficult. I’m assuming with more experience, it gets easier.

Sherwood uses a simple life path system. Characters start by selecting two background abilities (Aristocrat, Jack-of-all-trades, Dabbler, Heroic Ability, Background Skills). The backgrounds provide initial skills, special abilities, and some attribute changes.

Next, a career is chosen. Each character starts out at 18 years of age, and then chooses a career – Young Outlaw, Hermit of St. Eustace, Guild Trader, Wandering Performer, Cavalier, Free Laborer, Notorious Criminal. For most careers, you roll a 2d6 to join, then gain a few free skills. You then roll d6s on a career-specific table to gain other skills. You can usually repeat this multiple times, aging d6 years each time.

You also gain a specific Trouble – the thing that makes you an outlaw. There’s a d6 table to randomly generate a Trouble. The higher the number, the worse the Trouble. Older characters are given bonuses on this roll, making their troubles worse. Presumably this is to prevent them from rolling too many times during their careers.

Other Stuff

Rules for creating outlaw bands. I really liked this bit. Bands are given points to spread between Resources and Legend. Resources can be spent whenever the party needs disguises, hiding places, etc. Legend can be spent to get favors from the common people in and around Sherwood Forest. I’m definitely stealing this mechanic for other games.

There are downtime rules for what your party does between adventures. Skills can be gained or taught. Robberies can gain Resources. Good deeds can gain Legend.

This version of Sherwood Forest is a little more fantastic than the original tales, and there are rules for Arcane Talents and Sorcery. Characters can gain these powers during character creation. Most of the powers are fairly low fantasy – divination, true seeing, speaking to the dead etc. The two-page bestiary includes a few appropriate fantastic creatures: Green Folk, Shades, Silver Deer.

There are two one-page adventure starters


I had fun running this. It’s very focused on one little kind of campaign – plucky rebels vs. the Sheriff of Nottingham. The 2d6 rolls are lot less swingy than a D20 system, which I like. I’d say Sherwood is worth picking up.

It also gives you a EPUB version, which is nice.

I think my players found it slightly more dangerous then they had been expecting – once you start losing Endurance, things can go south real quick, but they did have a good time. As I only ran a one-shot, I didn’t get a chance to use the Outlaw Band & Downtime rules, but they look well thought out.

I made my own adventure for my one-shot, and I’ll probably post my notes for it in an usable form in a later post.

Minor Nitpicks

  • The skills are never specifically defined. They’re mostly clear from context (Silver Tongue, Black Powder, Carousing), and any experienced GM shouldn’t have a problem.
  • Sherwood and the stories that inspired it aren’t really strict fact-based historical fiction, but it still would have been nice to get a few gamable historical bits – How does a Sheriff work exactly?
  • There are a lot of different options for using each attribute, which can be a challenge for the players to keep track of. A cheat sheet would’ve helped.
  • A character sheet would’ve been nice, but I’ve taken care of that (see below)

Character Sheets

There’s no official character sheet, so I’ve designed my own version. It’s fillable and you can import an image to the left of the bow image, by clicking on it. It’s in both A4 and US Letter size. I’ve added it to my unwieldy, disorganized list of character sheets.

2 thoughts on “Sherwood: A review and custom character sheet for a Robin Hood RPG

  1. Thanks for the sheet! I liked this too, but I can’t imagine how the combat system could be fun? For how to use the attributes, would it be possible to put hints on the character sheet? Thanks again!


    1. I ran Sherwood once, and I found the combat to be fine. Nothing exceptional, Skill Rolls to attack, Saving Rolls to defend.

      I’m wondering if houseruling out the Saving Rolls for combat, and just making it traditional Traveller-style combat where the GM makes skill rolls for the NPCs might make it more interesting,

      I considered adding the attribute info to the character sheet, but I thought it’d look a little cluttered. I’m considering making a cheat sheet to hand out to players.


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