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Besides D&D, what are you playing?

So some of my players have agreed to do a play by post game of Blades in the Dark through Discord. I’ve played a bit in PBP games and i think Blades is a good match for that format.

We decided to try out the playtest material to play Bluecoats. So instead of playing a crew of scoundrels, they’re playing a unit of cops.

So of course they’ve been assembled to take down a gang that’s recently risen to power in Nightmarket....the crew of PC scoundrels from our first Blades campaign.

I thought that might be a fun idea and the players were all into it. So we’ve made characters and set things up, and we’ll be starting soon.
 

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Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
So some of my players have agreed to do a play by post game of Blades in the Dark through Discord. I’ve played a bit in PBP games and i think Blades is a good match for that format.

We decided to try out the playtest material to play Bluecoats. So instead of playing a crew of scoundrels, they’re playing a unit of cops.

So of course they’ve been assembled to take down a gang that’s recently risen to power in Nightmarket....the crew of PC scoundrels from our first Blades campaign.

I thought that might be a fun idea and the players were all into it. So we’ve made characters and set things up, and we’ll be starting soon.
Oh, is this the Flame Without Shadow setting, with new technologies and all that?

Colour me interested in your exploits, especially since my Blades group is skipping this week due to the Eid holiday in Malaysia...
 

Oh, is this the Flame Without Shadow setting, with new technologies and all that?

Colour me interested in your exploits, especially since my Blades group is skipping this week due to the Eid holiday in Malaysia...
Yes, it’s the Flame Without Shadow playset that was recently released on the Blades in the Dark website. I think it may have already been available to the original Kickstarter backers in some format, but I could be wrong.

The playset does mention a few new technologies, and that when the actual book is released, they’ll likely advance the timeline a few years, and adjust Factions accordingly.

The playset isn’t entirely complete...there are a couple or items that aren’t described and a handful of Unit (crew) upgrades that aren’t described....but it’s manageable.

So far I’ve found the challenging element to be how to adapt the idea of the Score to an Operation. They’re similar, but there are also some meaningful differences. My players spent some time gathering info, for example, and they did so by monitoring a specific location and noting who comes and goes. But the game has “Stakeout” for an operation type. So one of the players asked “should we just expand on this a bit and turn it into an operation?”

We decided to leave it as gather info and then proceeded with an Arrest operation.

So there’s some adjustment from standard Blades. The PCs Actions are different as well, so that takes some getting used to. But I’m pretty comfortable with Blades, and so is my group, so when we run into an issue, we work it out.

All in all, it’s going pretty well so far. The Unit is investigating the murder of a low level street dealer in the hopes to move up the ladder for bigger targets. I think remembering that this is not about mystery, but more about how do you do this job in this city os important.

Blades is about a crew trying to fight the system. Flame Without Shadow is about a unit within that system trying to function.
 

Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
At the moment, D&D is pretty much it. But I have long history with VtM as well as the FFG’s 40k rpgs. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different games, and then there is an ongoing MERP campaign that is on a hiatus at the moment.
 



Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Yeah, I feel you on needing the occasional break from GMing. Have a blast with that game. I'm going to get myself a copy since the price point is so reasonable. Now I know what I'm reading tonight. (y)
We have since played one session - just introduction of characters, a series of scenes establishing how each get into The City, and letting them try to formulate... a plan, if you wanna call it that.

Tomorrow my wife and I are jumping in on a game of Ghost Planets, a Fate-based game in which you play a team of people desperately trying to discover what has been destroying sentient cultures in the galaxy... before it comes for the humans.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
We have since played one session - just introduction of characters, a series of scenes establishing how each get into The City, and letting them try to formulate... a plan, if you wanna call it that.

Tomorrow my wife and I are jumping in on a game of Ghost Planets, a Fate-based game in which you play a team of people desperately trying to discover what has been destroying sentient cultures in the galaxy... before it comes for the humans.
Cool. I've read through the whole rules set and I still think it's fantastic. Now I just need the right group to play it with. That FATE game sounds like fun too. Sadly I don't get to play a lot of FATE. I have really limited access to players currently (location, not COVID) and they just aren't a FATE crowd. I really need to start playing online.
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
It isn't quite as good at playing in person, but it is better than not playing.
Yeah, at this point I'd take not quite as good and run with it. I got the jones man, I just need a hit. Just one hit man, just one, I swear I'll bring the cash tomorrow....
 

Jer

Adventurer
My 13th Age group wrapped up a long-running campaign the other week (which likely would have taken us another year if COVID stay-at-home hadn't caused us all to have free time open up for weekly online instead of monthly in-person gaming), so we started an ICONS game this week. First session was random character creation and a short scene with some combat to introduce the rules and see how folks enjoy it. Plan is to play a few sessions of different game to see what we want to do next - either dive into another long-running campaign of some kind, or maybe just play a series of one-shots for a while.
 

Reynard

Legend
I finally get to try Dungeon World this weekend with someone very familiar with PbtA games. I have been loathe to try and run a PbtA game myself without having played one before because the concept of GM moves is a little weird to me. It will be interesting to experience.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I finally get to try Dungeon World this weekend with someone very familiar with PbtA games. I have been loathe to try and run a PbtA game myself without having played one before because the concept of GM moves is a little weird to me. It will be interesting to experience.
It's not as complicated as it seems. If you've DM'd D&D you already use GM moves in a lot of ways, you just don't realize that they're the same thing as the DW rules yet. PbtA is just more up front and codified about their use and provides specific examples and mechanics for the decision making. The equivalent in D&D is stuff DMs just kinda do sometimes, without the system support.
 

pemerton

Legend
I have been loathe to try and run a PbtA game myself without having played one before because the concept of GM moves is a little weird to me.
GM moves are all about establishing elements of the fiction that will place some sort of pressure on the players by virtue of the (fictional) circumstances in which their PCs find themselves.

The most obvious analogues in D&D refereeing are (i) telling the players about damage that their PCs suffer and (ii) telling the players about the consequences/effects of traps, spells etc that they fail saves against.

The difference in PbtA compared to D&D is that, as GM, you're not rolling to hit but rather making moves in response to player action declarations and resolution - often actions that have failed.

A less obvious but I think important analogue in D&D refereeing is (iii) telling the players what their PCs see behind a dungeon door they've just opened. In D&D this is the central example of announcing badness (AW) or revealing an unwelcome truth (DW).

I would say that the two most important differences between D&D and PbtA relate to (a) how, and (b) when.

(a) PbtA favours a very flexible and responsive approach to how. This is one manifestation of the idea of "following the fiction" and "playing to find out". So notes, dungeon keys etc - while not utterly absent (because they are there in a certain form in fronts) - don't play the same role as they do in fairly traditional D&D. Related to this: in D&D it's often the case that memoring a Find Traps spell, or playing a thief, is a way of getting around the traps you know the GM will haver put there; whereas in DW, playing a thief is a reason for the GM to give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities by narrating the presence, the threat, etc of traps either as framing or as consequence.

And also related: there's less codification of permissible responses and consequences in PbtA. If the situation requires you (as GM) to narrate the consequences of a blow from a troll, that could be harm/damage; or it could be knocking the character clear across the room (separate them); or it could be breaking the character's shield (take away their stuff / use up their resources); or, etc, etc.

(b) PbtA favours a very proactive answer to when. There shouldn't normally be a lot of time spent at the table "looking for the adventure" or wondering where the action might be. It's the GM's job to poke and provoke the PCs and thereby their players. It doesn't have to be all bad - AW includes the principle respond with . . . intermittent rewards - but if it's really got to the point where the GM has no moves to make then the story of the PCs is done. For them, the excitement is over.

For some GMs - especially those whose main experience is fairly traditional D&D - building up this feel for pacing, and modulating between softer and harder moves, may take a while. I'd say the main thing is to follow the fiction, using the list of moves as a reminder for the sorts of things you can do with fiction in an adventure-oriented RPG. Don't fetishise the moves in themselves.

EDIT: If you play AW or DW, you will be able to work out the GM moves only by inference. Because a central principle for the GM is never speak the name of your move. I think AW (pp 110-11) is especially good on this:

Of course the real reason why you choose a move exists in the real world. Somebody has her character go someplace new, somebody misses a roll, somebody hits a roll that calls for you to answer, everybody’s looking to you to say something, so you choose a move to make. Real-world reasons. However, misdirect: pretend that you’re making your move for reasons entirely within the game’s fiction instead. Maybe your move is to separate them, for instance; never say “you missed your roll, so you two get separated.” Instead, maybe say “you try to grab his gun” — this was the PC’s move — “but he kicks you down. While they’re stomping on you, they drag Damson away.” The effect’s the same, they’re separated, but you’ve cannily misrepresented the cause. Make like it’s the game’s fiction that chooses your move for you, and so correspondingly always choose a move that the game’s fiction makes possible.​

DW (p 163) is briefer: 'You know the reason the slavers dragged off Omar was because you made the “put someone in a spot” move, but you show it to the players as a straightforward outcome of their actions, since it is.'
 
Last edited:

Reynard

Legend
GM moves are all about establishing elements of the fiction that will place some sort of pressure on the players by virtue of the (fictional) circumstances in which their PCs find themselves.

The most obvious analogues in D&D refereeing are (i) telling the players about damage that their PCs suffer and (ii) telling the players about the consequences/effects of traps, spells etc that they fail saves against.

The difference in PbtA compared to D&D is that, as GM, you're not rolling to hit but rather making moves in response to player action declarations and resolution - often actions that have failed.

A less obvious but I think important analogue in D&D refereeing is (iii) telling the players what their PCs see behind a dungeon door they've just opened. In D&D this is the central example of announcing badness (AW) or revealing an unwelcome truth (DW).

I would say that the two most important differences between D&D and PbtA relate to (a) how, and (b) when.

(a) PbtA favours a very flexible and responsive approach to how. This is one manifestation of the idea of "following the fiction" and "playing to find out". So notes, dungeon keys etc - while not utterly absent (because they are there in a certain form in fronts) - don't play the same role as they do in fairly traditional D&D. Related to this: in D&D it's often the case that memoring a Find Traps spell, or playing a thief, is a way of getting around the traps you know the GM will haver put there; whereas in DW, playing a thief is a reason for the GM to give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities by narrating the presence, the threat, etc of traps either as framing or as consequence.

And also related: there's less codification of permissible responses and consequences in PbtA. If the situation requires you (as GM) to narrate the consequences of a blow from a troll, that could be harm/damage; or it could be knocking the character clear across the room (separate them); or it could be breaking the character's shield (take away their stuff / use up their resources); or, etc, etc.

(b) PbtA favours a very proactive answer to when. There shouldn't normally be a lot of time spent at the table "looking for the adventure" or wondering where the action might be. It's the GM's job to poke and provoke the PCs and thereby their players. It doesn't have to be all bad - AW includes the principle respond with . . . intermittent rewards - but if it's really got to the point where the GM has no moves to make then the story of the PCs is done. For them, the excitement is over.

For some GMs - especially those whose main experience is fairly traditional D&D - building up this feel for pacing, and modulating between softer and harder moves, may take a while. I'd say the main thing is to follow the fiction, using the list of moves as a reminder for the sorts of things you can do with fiction in an adventure-oriented RPG. Don't fetishise the moves in themselves.
Thank you for that explanation.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
GM moves are all about establishing elements of the fiction that will place some sort of pressure on the players by virtue of the (fictional) circumstances in which their PCs find themselves.

The most obvious analogues in D&D refereeing are (i) telling the players about damage that their PCs suffer and (ii) telling the players about the consequences/effects of traps, spells etc that they fail saves against.

The difference in PbtA compared to D&D is that, as GM, you're not rolling to hit but rather making moves in response to player action declarations and resolution - often actions that have failed.

A less obvious but I think important analogue in D&D refereeing is (iii) telling the players what their PCs see behind a dungeon door they've just opened. In D&D this is the central example of announcing badness (AW) or revealing an unwelcome truth (DW).

I would say that the two most important differences between D&D and PbtA relate to (a) how, and (b) when.

(a) PbtA favours a very flexible and responsive approach to how. This is one manifestation of the idea of "following the fiction" and "playing to find out". So notes, dungeon keys etc - while not utterly absent (because they are there in a certain form in fronts) - don't play the same role as they do in fairly traditional D&D. Related to this: in D&D it's often the case that memoring a Find Traps spell, or playing a thief, is a way of getting around the traps you know the GM will haver put there; whereas in DW, playing a thief is a reason for the GM to give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities by narrating the presence, the threat, etc of traps either as framing or as consequence.

And also related: there's less codification of permissible responses and consequences in PbtA. If the situation requires you (as GM) to narrate the consequences of a blow from a troll, that could be harm/damage; or it could be knocking the character clear across the room (separate them); or it could be breaking the character's shield (take away their stuff / use up their resources); or, etc, etc.

(b) PbtA favours a very proactive answer to when. There shouldn't normally be a lot of time spent at the table "looking for the adventure" or wondering where the action might be. It's the GM's job to poke and provoke the PCs and thereby their players. It doesn't have to be all bad - AW includes the principle respond with . . . intermittent rewards - but if it's really got to the point where the GM has no moves to make then the story of the PCs is done. For them, the excitement is over.

For some GMs - especially those whose main experience is fairly traditional D&D - building up this feel for pacing, and modulating between softer and harder moves, may take a while. I'd say the main thing is to follow the fiction, using the list of moves as a reminder for the sorts of things you can do with fiction in an adventure-oriented RPG. Don't fetishise the moves in themselves.

EDIT: If you play AW or DW, you will be able to work out the GM moves only by inference. Because a central principle for the GM is never speak the name of your move. I think AW (pp 110-11) is especially good on this:

Of course the real reason why you choose a move exists in the real world. Somebody has her character go someplace new, somebody misses a roll, somebody hits a roll that calls for you to answer, everybody’s looking to you to say something, so you choose a move to make. Real-world reasons. However, misdirect: pretend that you’re making your move for reasons entirely within the game’s fiction instead. Maybe your move is to separate them, for instance; never say “you missed your roll, so you two get separated.” Instead, maybe say “you try to grab his gun” — this was the PC’s move — “but he kicks you down. While they’re stomping on you, they drag Damson away.” The effect’s the same, they’re separated, but you’ve cannily misrepresented the cause. Make like it’s the game’s fiction that chooses your move for you, and so correspondingly always choose a move that the game’s fiction makes possible.​

DW (p 163) is briefer: 'You know the reason the slavers dragged off Omar was because you made the “put someone in a spot” move, but you show it to the players as a straightforward outcome of their actions, since it is.'
So good.
 


Nebulous

Legend
It's not as complicated as it seems. If you've DM'd D&D you already use GM moves in a lot of ways, you just don't realize that they're the same thing as the DW rules yet. PbtA is just more up front and codified about their use and provides specific examples and mechanics for the decision making. The equivalent in D&D is stuff DMs just kinda do sometimes, without the system support.
I've noticed that when running DW it is still too easy to get into the D&D mindset of static fights. You know how in DnD PCs and NPCs just stand there and bash and don't move because it's the best tactical option? Well, in DW, there's no reason for that to exist, and you can have combats flopping all over the place, and without any constraints of rounds or initiative. BUT, I still find fights being static because that's what I'm used to doing. :)
 


Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

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