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Old Mar 21st, 2021, 01:17 PM
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Blades in the Dark

I was wondering if anybody was currently running a Blades in the Dark game on-site. A quick search on my part only revealed two instances where a game was started only to fold soon after, however, I thought that there is a chance of there being more games that just happen not to have the system in their game title. A slim one, maybe, but it never hurts to ask.

It seemed the most appropriate forum to post this in, even though it's not necessarily an urgent call to become a player in such a hypothetical game. I am planning on running the system around a live table and thought it might be nice to look at gameplay through all the phases, which I prefer to do in writing rather than watching youtube videos. I suppose I will read through the dead games too, but I'm not sure if they were all able to go through enough heists and downtime to cover all aspects of the game, like advancement of crew and characters.

Not to say that I would not entertain the idea of helping get a casual game of BitD get off the ground on here, should somebody desperate to play the game see this. I can't make any firm commitments though, but three people is enough, after all. Could even be a rotating gm thing, given the nature of the system itself.
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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 02:39 AM
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Hey Phettberg

I am also keen to get a game of BitD up and thought it would be a good narrative system suitable for play-by-post.

I purchased the rulebook and had planned to begin a game before I had an unexpected change of circumstance in real life. I had two players express interest (who are still active on the site) and said I'd be in touch in the future if time became available.

So I'm writing to express interest and to see if anything might come of a game which I'd be happy to collaborate on.
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for checking in on this.

Since writing this post I saw that over in the thread about the future of powered by the apocalypse games on rpxp they had a poll about which games people would want to play in.

It's an open poll, with the idea being that gms could go there and see who might want to play system x, and it has Blades in the dark too.

You might want to enter yourself there as well.
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 10:48 PM
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Ooh, thanks for linking this! I've heard good things about Blades but never actually tried it.
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Last edited by ElderOblex; Apr 8th, 2021 at 12:05 AM.
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 11:36 PM
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Thanks Phettberg. I've taken the poll and it's great to see there's a few crew keen to play
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 10:55 AM
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I'm enjoying my first Dungeon World game and interested in other PbtA games including Blades.
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 10:53 AM
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I found Blades in the Dark to be very intimidating. Pretty much anything that the characters do has a negative consequence, so I found myself not doing things, which seems like the opposite of what you want from a game. Like, I never used a flashback because it causes... stress or something like that. Between heat and stress and wanted levels and all that, the whole system seems to be stacked against the players. If you want something grim-dark, then this is the system for you.
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 11:20 AM
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Well actions have consequences, sometimes you have to give a little to get a little.
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 11:47 AM
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I think it runs on the assumption of finite use of single characters. You can definitely run a character into the ground little by little through no major fault of your own, and I get that this can be very off-putting as a design philosophy.

Trying to find the positives of it though, it might encourage living a bit more in the "moment" instead of plotting out the next bazillion levels ahead of the character, at the end of which awaits whatever awaits epic-level heroes.

And it's true, being permanently overwhelmed by negative consequences leaves as much stress on the players as the characters. That's a problem that's actually commonly talked about when people discuss the game online, and there are a few ways of dealing with that. On the one hand it often turns out that Gms in the system get really creative with those negative side-effects while forgetting to tackle the positives of a successful roll with the same gusto. That's on top of the fact that a partial success (4/5) can just come with reduced effect, no consequence actually necessary, so it's up to the gm to sometimes just opt for that route. If they love consequences and apply them to every roll from 5-1 as brutally as they can, of course it's going to be a massive downward spiral then, going way faster than the game intends.

That coupled with position and effect level gives the Gm a lot of wiggle room to make a game that is suited to the players. If you talk about it a lot beforehand (and the game encourages this in the book) you might decide that you want high intensity desperate rolls to be much fewer in number so you have a more relaxed game where the players are more in control, and that's perfectly valid.

Flashbacks are similar. They don't have to always cost a lot of stress or any at all. In fact it's only when you want to flashback to something unlikely or complex should they start to stress the characters out. That's RAW, but you can always adjust. Maybe have easier action rolls but normal level flashback costs, or have more desperate action rolls but cheap flashbacks. Or do cheap/easy everything, or maybe hard/expensive if you want to just play a very dangerous one-shot.

So anyway, I can see where you're coming from absolutely. I guess it boils down to GM personality being more "unshackled" here, given they are much less constrained in how miserable they can make the lives of the players/characters with the looser framework of a forged in the dark games. It definitely needs that "conversation" the system talks about to use during play, but at a session 0.

Last edited by Phettberg; Apr 14th, 2021 at 02:09 PM.
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girlplay View Post
I found Blades in the Dark to be very intimidating. Pretty much anything that the characters do has a negative consequence, so I found myself not doing things, which seems like the opposite of what you want from a game. Like, I never used a flashback because it causes... stress or something like that. Between heat and stress and wanted levels and all that, the whole system seems to be stacked against the players. If you want something grim-dark, then this is the system for you.
There is definitely a push and pull in terms of metagame currency in Blades. Stress is invaluable but there is only so many dots on your sheet and you will have a hard time shedding stress on a job. Harm can put you out of a fight and healing is a labor of its own, but the system is designed to push the characters at every opportunity and combat is not something to enter lightly. Heat and Rep work against each other really, where you only gain Rep if people know you did a thing but having that known means Heat can also rise as the wrong people know it.

Phett made great points about this. You are not wrong at all GP, in the sense that consequences arise from any roll that is less than 6 on the dice. It is important for the GM to understand the difference between consequences that arise from a Controlled situation and those that might arise from a Desperate situation. Things like stress and harm aren't likely to result from actions in a Controlled situation, where the character is working on even footing or has an advantage. Even in Risky position harm should usually only result from a failed roll, not a partial success.

Consequences on partial successes or 4 or 5 on the dice should be a narrative impetus to keep the story moving. The genre Blades mimics (heist crime) is all about the little things that go wrong during a job. Nothing ever goes smooth because, honestly, that is boring and not what makes those stories engaging. So a consequence shouldn't kill the action (or the character) unless the fiction has already established that things are in a bad place for them. Players should be aware that their next action could result in injury or death because the narrative has already established it. Consequences like broken tools, a tick on a 'guards become aware' clock, or someone barring a door and preventing you from using that access are the kind of things you should see more often for those types of rolls. If it doesn't further the story or make the scene more interesting, it's probably a bad consequence.

Position is so significant to the running of the game (hell, you get XP just for attempting a roll in a desperate position) that I find it to be my biggest hangup when considering running it in PbP. Having that back and forth about what the position and effect is on a roll is a two-second conversation at a table but would require frequent check-ins from player and GM on here and unless you're the 'check every day' type it feels like that might get daunting. Blades runs incredibly well and it is the best game to create a heist story that I've ever seen, but the fiddly bits do concern me from a PbP standpoint.
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Last edited by PopCultureBard; Apr 14th, 2021 at 01:13 PM.
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