BitD Hack - Military Campaign Progress

MarkB

Legend
Does seem like an issue with any scheme where you move up the ranks. I'd avoid that paradigm. Instead have progression in terms of mission type, sort of ala Mech Commander. Starting out with basic scouting for your platoon/company and on up into successively more elite missions.
Or you could really hack up the game, and make playbooks represent not just an individual but an officer and the soldiers under their command. Early in the game, each player only controls a tiny squad and the engagements are suitably small, but as the group increases in tier (which is linked to rank) the number of soldiers under their command increases accordingly, perhaps even exponentially, and their special abilities are all about directing those forces as a whole.

So scores become battles - first small skirmishes or infiltrations, later on major engagements - but they're still governed by FitD narrative-style rules instead of wargame-style mass combat rules.
 

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Or you could really hack up the game, and make playbooks represent not just an individual but an officer and the soldiers under their command. Early in the game, each player only controls a tiny squad and the engagements are suitably small, but as the group increases in tier (which is linked to rank) the number of soldiers under their command increases accordingly, perhaps even exponentially, and their special abilities are all about directing those forces as a whole.

So scores become battles - first small skirmishes or infiltrations, later on major engagements - but they're still governed by FitD narrative-style rules instead of wargame-style mass combat rules.
Yeah, the limits there IMHO is higher level dudes get further and further from the direct action. I mean, you can subvert that by how the milieu is constructed. But still, general officers are not in direct combat even in a pre-gunpowder type of warfare unless something goes horribly wrong!

So, 'unit as character' is certainly another option, but it may pull the game away from a traditional player/PC model more than say BitD does (where the crew has some of that). BitD does have the cohort structure as well, and that might be a starting point for a design.
 


hawkeyefan

Legend
Does seem like an issue with any scheme where you move up the ranks. I'd avoid that paradigm. Instead have progression in terms of mission type, sort of ala Mech Commander. Starting out with basic scouting for your platoon/company and on up into successively more elite missions.

The way Band of Blades does it, is there is a visual map with possible routes from the Front back to Skydagger Keep. There are multiple locations along each route, and some branching paths along the way. At each location, there's a list of possible missions. Each has a difficulty and a commensurate reward.

You could do something very similar with the kind of dynamic that @Starfox is talking about. If you add in the idea of supply lines, that could always be the potential risk of a failed mission... the supply lines are disrupted. Then that could open up a "Retake Position" or "Restore Supply Lines" mission thereafter.

The important thing is to present meaningful choices with the missions. And depending on how close you want to hew to classic Blades, make it a case of having 4 things to do, but resources for only 3. Difficult choices like that play into the war genre.
 

The way Band of Blades does it, is there is a visual map with possible routes from the Front back to Skydagger Keep. There are multiple locations along each route, and some branching paths along the way. At each location, there's a list of possible missions. Each has a difficulty and a commensurate reward.

You could do something very similar with the kind of dynamic that @Starfox is talking about. If you add in the idea of supply lines, that could always be the potential risk of a failed mission... the supply lines are disrupted. Then that could open up a "Retake Position" or "Restore Supply Lines" mission thereafter.

The important thing is to present meaningful choices with the missions. And depending on how close you want to hew to classic Blades, make it a case of having 4 things to do, but resources for only 3. Difficult choices like that play into the war genre.
Yeah, I was kind of thinking along those sorts of lines. Like, maybe when you have successful missions you move on to ones that are more strategically significant/dangerous. Going deep behind enemy lines, infiltrating enemy facilities, attacking their command structure, etc. Choices of mission paths could be a bit like turf in BitD, but maybe somewhat more like BoB, sending you down different paths with different choices, though it could be more freeform than that, with the players coming up with missions, and/or the GM inventing things.

As you say, losing forces you into situations where you need to resupply, protect your command, etc. in order to regain some position/supplies/etc. Maybe the 'power ups' can be styled like promotions.
 

Starfox

Adventurer
I'll be playing un the World of Greyhawk and likely with hexes, so the PCs would thread a path. I hope to set things up so that the PCs can take the quick and hard path or the longer and easier path.

Band of Blades seems to be a must-have once (if?) I become serious about a campaign like this, but I being me, I am likely to use a lot of my own rules.

I am playing Princess Kingdoms now. It is a BitD hack that changes a lot of things. It has its own skill list and important changes to the campaign rules. And while it is very thematic, I find I long for a "pure" BitD game, and that the original skill list is better than the one in Princess Kingdoms. Hacking BitD seems very easy at first, but the rules are quite subtle, making them dangerous to change on a whim. This makes me realize I must grok BitD a lot more before I make my own hack.
 


Yes, indeed! Brilliant game, and the pieces are so tightly interwoven. It took me half a dozen, ten sessions to really understand how that is so.
I agree, it is a tight design. OTOH I always feel like even if don't get everything perfect, hacking a game like this can work, especially if the players are really on board. I mean, I don't think I'd try to PUBLISH a BitD hack, but I think I'd gladly run one at my table.
 

darkbard

Legend
I agree, it is a tight design. OTOH I always feel like even if don't get everything perfect, hacking a game like this can work, especially if the players are really on board. I mean, I don't think I'd try to PUBLISH a BitD hack, but I think I'd gladly run one at my table.
Oh, sure! I mean, so long as everyone is having fun, it's easy enough to adjust on the fly to address any unintended perturbation. Perfection doesn't need to be the goal. I'm just noting that even after a pretty thorough read through and several sessions, I still wasn't grasping how all of the pieces fit together. (Fair warning: I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so perhaps @Starfox will have an easier time than I.) If that holds true, there likely will be necessary adjustments, so just get everyone on board with that first.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I think understanding of Blades comes in stages. You understand each part on its own first… the action rolls, the phases of play, flashbacks, etc… and then once you get all that, you start to see how they all connect. How each part of the game leads to the next, and how the game generates momentum and pressure.

It’s easy to swap out action rolls to reflavor the game for another setting. It’s something else to mess with how downtime and score interact.

But, having said that, the game won’t implode if you make a change and it’s not perfect. When that happens, you just adjust and move on.
 

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