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Dungeon World Meets Blades in the Dark


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I'm going to have to break this up into multiple posts. I'm just going to convey the opening build stage of play with this post.

MAKE A MAP AND LEAVE BLANKS

City of Tremulous

  • Power: Magocracy ruled by 4 spellcasters (1 from each of the primary Factions) - Tier 4
  • Disposition: On the cusp of warfare between rival gangs (many spellcasters).
  • Law Enforcement: For the powerful? Spellcasters and hired security. Otherwise...none. Crime is rampant. The authority is disinterested in policing within its walls.
  • Faction: The Horde (cabal of Necromancers) - Tier 2
  • Faction: Grik's (syndicate of) Moneylenders - Tier 1
  • Faction: The Twain (Hag coven ruled by split-personality leader) - Tier 2
  • Faction: The Cattle (from the underclass to the labor class...if they're lucky, they're useful artisans and craftsfolk and willing to sprint through the dark wood to gather items for the sorcerers...otherwise, they're all fodder for the spellcaster eugenics/experiments when their number is called) - Tier 0
  • Faction: The Unispell (the 95 % Fighter/5 % Mage Watch who mans the magically trembling wall around Tremulous) - Tier 2
  • Faction: The Endless (the unnatural menace from the wild...a sickness infects both plant and animals, turning them mad so they throw themselves at the wall or travelers) - Tier 3
  • Faction: Have Fist Will Travel (part time traveling pit-fighting troupe, part time enforcers) - Tier 1
  • Faction: Six Martyrs (a group of Holy Warriors recently christened to die for a cause) - Tier 1
  • Faction: Wheels for the Weal (Caravan company who brings food into Tremulous from the very far outlying farm communities) - Tier 2

Tremulous is high elevation city with a massive waterfall on its eastern flank, occupying half its circumference dumping, terminating in a reservoir that surrounds half the city. The water trickles downward and finds its way to far outlying communities where it irrigates crops. Caves behind the waterfalls house some thing(s) awful that constantly watch the city. The sorcerers know what it is, but they aren't telling the people. The west side is occupied by a dense, dark, alpine forest filled with denizens of all manner of horrible machination (from dark fey, to restless spirits, to hateful druids, to highwaymen that have made a foul offering to all the former for their trespass).

The way to the far West is through the Forest. The South requires a terrifying and dangerous caravan ride down a precipitous mountain onto an open plain and the farms beneath the city's high altitude.

TIER 1 ENEMY - Twisted sorcery




CREW - AVENGERS

COHORT (EXPERT SKULK/TOUGH)
- Wai Fei (Scout/Guide/Warrior that still sometimes works for Wheels for Weal). Independent/Unreliable.
HUNTING GROUNDS - The underclass shanty town
FAVORED ADVENTURE TYPE - Bring corruption to light
SPECIAL ABILITY - Outside the Law: Each PC may add +1 action rating to Hunt, Prowl, or Command (up to a max rating of 3).
UPGRADES - Avengers Rigging: You get 2 free load worth of weapon or gear items. Dedicated: Experts are also Toughs.
CONTACT - Creed: Retired pit-fighter turned trainer.
FACTIONS -

+1 Wheels for Weal
+1 The Cattle
-1 Have Fist Will Travel
-1 Six Martyrs




PCS

The Arcane Duelist went with:

Name: Vanirye
Heritage: Feywild Elf lost to this world long ago.
Bonds:

  • I will find the lost portal to my people.
  • Auril (the Fighter) and I are regular training partners.
  • Naile (the Wizard) interfered with a duel as I was about to deliver the killing blow. I have not forgotten that slight.

Alignment: Neutral - Discover something about a magical mystery.
Vice: Stupor - Training to utter collapse.
Friend: Shiao Taom - Phantom fortune teller...murdered by a duelist for an unfavorable reading
Enemy: "Sixnote Severen" - Elven Bladesinger, military deserter, blade for hire

Acuity Resist - 2

Discern * 1
Hunt * 1

Body Resist - 3

Swashbuckle * 2
Skirmish * 1
Prowl * 1

Spirit Resist - 2

Command - 1
Attune * 1


The Fighter went with:

Name: Auril
Heritage: Hobgoblin...only 2 remain of her unit...of her ruined city.
Bonds:

  • I will inter the ashes of my unit in the sacred place.
  • I like watching Vanirye (the Arcane Duelist) forever silence those who underestimate him.
  • Naile's (the Wizard) magic is not like my peoples'. I find it difficult to trust.

Alignment: Good - Endanger yourself to protect someone weaker than you.
Vice: Obligation - To any who are displaced...forsaken...lost.
Friend: Four-finger Jack - Physicker from the war
Enemy: Glakrolla - Hobgoblin queen and tip of the spear

Acuity Resist - 2

Discern * 1
Tinker * 1

Body Resist - 3

Skirmish * 2
Prowl * 1
Savage * 1

Spirit Resist - 1

Command * 2



The Wizard went with:

Name: Naile
Heritage: Human, arcane stigmata runs in the family...those blessed with the mark are given the ancient books.
Bonds:

  • Wai Fei will be brought to heel, even if it takes a spell to do so.
  • Vanirye's (the Arcane Duelist) body is his temple...a gifted arcanist is a fool to not fully embrace the mind's power.
  • Auril (the Fighter) is is woefully misinformed about the world of magic; I will teach her what I can.

Alignment: Good - Use magic to directly aid another.
Vice: Gambling - Games of skill only look like game's of chance from the outside.
Friend: Marquisa - "Witch" of the wood
Enemy: "Zombie Jane" - Half-elf who was resurrected after heart torn from her breast by a beast

Acuity Resist - 2

Discern * 1
Illuminate * 2

Body Resist - 1

Prowl * 1

Spirit Resist - 2

Consort * 2
Attune * 2

Cantrips:

Beguile (Q-1; Near): Your ensorcelling words always at least give someone pause if not something to consider.
Silent Image (Q-1; Far): Illusion with no sound...basically a ranged distraction for Setup.

Spell (Crew Coin spent to upgrade):

Thunderwave (Q+2; Near, Forceful): Everything in a frontal cone is thrown back; stuff is wrecked, ears bleed, bodies hemorrhage.

Ritual:

Contact Other Plane: Powers beyond this world answer my questions.




We did an Info Gathering/Free Play for an Adventure and then did a small Adventure. I'll excerpt it tomorrow.
 
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Alright, the excerpt. Now the initial Adventure is always going to be within the walls of the town or within earshot (no Journey) because the Company doesn't have the Coin to support a Journey. So that is (of course) what happened here. Its basically a session of Blades with beefier scoundrels and more magic.

INFO GATHERING/FREE PLAY

* Creed trains a lot of the underclass kids at his gym in the slums. A few have been coming in recently with terrifying, hushed tales of being forced out into the forest beyond the wall to hunt for rare mushrooms or plagued beasts > sack them > drop them off at the door of a scary house. Some kids also just stopped showing up abruptly with no word.

* The Wizard Consorts with the kids during a training session but gets only a 3 on the 2d6 so limited info. The kids that stopped showing up were sent into the forest. Not good enough to start an Adventure.

* They didn't want to score the kids with Command or magic (Beguile) and this is taking place in the shanty town so each of the Crew have a Downtime Activity they can spend for this Adventure:

- Wizard uses Contact Other Plane Ritual and the Arcane Duelist spends their DTA to help the Wizard with another Attune roll to tick the 4 tick clock to full. Its a Magnitude 1 Ritual so 1 Stress spent. 3 questions * 3 Fortune Rolls w/ Standard Info (4/5) as minimum result.

Where is the house? (4/5) Its a magical fallout shelter under a condemned property in the shantytown.

Who owns it? (4/5) A Human Necromancer named from The Horde. He does his experiments in secret here so his IP isn't stolen by his brothers/sisters.

Are there any alternative entrances? (6) Yes, there is a vent system and chimney for the toxic stuff. The chimney is hidden among the wreckage of the abandoned house.

- Knowing that the Adventure was going to feature a Necromancer, the Fighter decided to spend their Downtime Activity on Fortify - Spirit:

Fortify: Whatever your discipline (whether its praying to your deity, attuning to the natural world, meditating through ritualized exercise, etc), bolster your mind, body, or spirit for the coming day. Make your Action Roll to gain 1 Special Armor (to resist a Complication your Action Roll is under).

6 = 1 box against any Complication, regardless of Position.
4-5 = 1 box against a Risky/Controlled Complication under your Action Roll.
1-3 = 1 box against a Controlled Complication under your Action Roll.

Command * 2 (basically self-talk + training; going through the mental imagery of the fight with the Necro and talking yourself into a position of belief). Got a 4 so 1 Special Armor Box against Risky/Controlled Complication vs Spirit.


FORTUNE ROLL TO SEE IF WAI FEI (COHORT) IS AVAILABLE OR OUT ON A JOB (UNRELIABLE): 1-3 = on a job and unavailable. Will be available for next 2 Adventures.

ADVENTURE - ASSAULT THE NECRO IN ITS LAIR. THE POINT OF ATTACK - THE CHIMNEY

ENGAGEMENT ROLL
: 1d6 base + 1d6 (bold) + 1d6 (the detail exposes vulnerability) + 1d6 (contact helped with insight) - 1d6 (punching well above weight) = 3d6.

Got a 6. So Controlled Position to start.

I'll detail the initial framing after the chimney/vent navigation and the gist of the Adventure later.
 

Alright, so this was a good, straight-up combat against a beefy uptiered foe. Good test of the combat differences, the primary of those being:

* Resisting a Complication is beefier than standard Blades (basically the action/adventure form of it) w/ Resist equaling the equivalent of 2 ticks rather than 1 (so 2 Harm goes to 0, 3 Clock Ticks goes to 1, or a Risky Position Complication w/ a 4/5 result can be outright resisted).

* Load Limits are increased + less Stealth and more action so folks are going to be loading out a bit more toward the Medium spectrum where Blades loads out more Light.

* Characters are going to be fundamentally beefier because they start w/ 3 Abilities rather than just 1.




Alright, I'm going to break this down in Gamestates (eg #1/#2 etc) as that is easier to explain the changing fiction and mechanical implications.

GAMESTATE 1

* 40 * 30 hewn stone bunker/laboratory (the size of a very large studio basement) except with very large ceilings; 15 feet. Why? Because the Necromancer has a big, scary, stitched-up abomination that looks like The Butcher from Diablo (12 ft tall, 800 lbs, chain and sickle w/ near reach, massive bone "stick"; Near, Reach, Forceful, Messy). Here is a nice picture. Its hulking in the center of the room over a massive vat of disgusting goop. The Necromancer has a huge paddle and he's stirring it while adding stuff from various sacks. The Necro himself is your run-of-the mill trope. But he's like American Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy (inspired Buffalo Bill in TSotL) wearing all manner of stitched skins as a full set of gnarly "leather" armor, replete with a face-mask.

Butcher - 8 Tick - Skilled Threat (so I'm going to be taking the initiative)
Necro - 6 Tick - Master Threat (so I'm just going to be delivering Consequences)

The PCs enter via the chimney/vent system on the far side of the room. The large amount of caustic materials are all burned in a large burn pit here. This is where the PCs spill out.

Right next to them are 5 tanks lining the wall w/ smaller Golems basically "recharging" in viscous green liquid baths, each with a cable/pump system hooking them to big table w/ alchemical equipment and various machinist equipment, surgeon tools, and dehydrated scraps of...."real bad stuff."

There are piles of bones randomly throughout the room.

Flesh Golems (5) - 4 Tick - Normal Threat
Skeletons (5) - 1 hit Mooks w/ Forceful melee...innert, waiting to be animated by Necro.


Alright, so they're Controlled Position and most Effects are going to be Limited because this is a Tier 2 Threat (while they're a Tier 0 Company...even when deploying Fine equipment, they're Tier 1).

Except for the Wizard and Thunderwave (at Quality +2) + Fine Implement = 3. Remember, this isn't straight D&D where you fire off the spell and lose it. That may be the Volatile complication, but it may not be. I'm immediately sensing that Quality +2 AoE spells (Scale of a small gang, so up to 6 targets) w/ Fine implements may be a problem....even with Volatile Complication embedded in them. @hawkeyefan had a similar situation where he nearly took out 4 guys a Tier above him (would have with a 6). But he had to expend a lot of resources to get that done (a bandolier of bombs and some Stress). Some of you guys thought that the Wizard would be too weak so they needed reliable Cantrips...not_so_sure. We'll see. Anyway, this puts the Wizard's Thunderwave default Effect at Great.

So the Wizard wants to Thunderwave these 5 tanks and the Flesh Golems in them. Even though its a short area Cone (basially a Close Blast 3 in 4e terms), its going to have a problem with Scale (5 targets and a lot of space to cover), so I'm going to reduce Effect 1 because of that. So Controlled/Standard.

So they want Great Effect to hopefully wipe all 5 of the Golems out with a single Thunderwave. To accomplish that, the Fighter goes to Wreck the table that all the cables are up to, destroying the apparatus that empowers the tanks; Setup to get +Effect. The Fighter Pushes (2 Stress) for an extra 1d.

The ArcDuel (I'm shortening Arcane Duelist to this) helps the Wizard cast his Thunderwave by augmenting it with his own Arcana. The Wizard is leading the Group Action so best result sticks and any 1-3 and the Wizard eats 1 Stress. ArcDuel is also spending 2 Stress to Push for an extra Attune die.

Order of Operations:

Fighter Setup - Controlled/Limited w/ Wreck 2d6 = 4. Success (Wizard Thunderwave Great Effect) w/ Controlled Complication. The Fighter doesn't manage to destroy the table (its still going to be a hazard/something the Necro can use later), but she doesn't enough damage that the hoses are disconnected from the tanks, no longer empowering their restoring liquid.

The Butcher reacts enormously fast while his master is paddling the gook in the vat. He unchains his chain and sickle from his huge arm and flings it at the Fighter. The Fighter gets out of the way, but in order to do so, he has to throw his entire body backwards (Matrix-like) and fall on his back. This is the Forceful Tag. The Butcher will inevitably be charging right behind this initial attack.

She's got a few options here. She loaded out Heavy Armor (5 Load) so she's basically a tank. She could spend 1/3 Special Armor (Armor + Heavy Armor + Shield) boxes to shut down the Complication or Resist w/ 3d6 (because her Body Resist is 3). She goes with the latter and gets a 6. So no stress.

The sickle glances futilely off the hauberk and clangs on the ground, Auril ready to meet the beast's charge with her halberd (they both have Reach).

Wiz + Arc/Duel Group Action. Arc/Duel = 6. Wiz = 3. 1 Stress to Wizard. Result is 6 w/ Great Effect.

The Golems and the tanks they were in are obliterated by Thunderwave.

However, Controlled Complication from Thunderwave's Volatile drawback. The Necro perceives the magic the moment it is cast, drops his paddle, and uses the latent arcana from the Wizard's magic to animate 1 Skeleton at the Wizard's feet. It grabs the Wizard (Forceful) as it animates, locks it up in a grapple. The Wizard isn't terribly concerned about this, because the ArcDuel is right there and should be able to put the skeleton away quickly. However, the problem is that (a) at least one of the two characters is going to have to spend time dealing with this thread and (b) if the ArcDuel fails at their action (or gets another complication), things might spiral in terms of complications to be dealt with and action economy. And The Butcher and The Necro are both extremely dangerous even by themselves.

So the Wizard Resists (w/ +1 because this is Volatile complication - so Implement applies) for 3d6 Spirit Resist to basically "Counterspell" The Necro's magic. Rolled a 4 so 2 Stress. Wizard already has 2 Stress from the Ritual + Group Action so 4/9 Stress.




That is where I'm going to end it. Quality 3 AoE (Scale of a small gang) Spell w/ Forceful is absolutely deadly w/ 6 roll and Great Effect, even against beefy 4 Tick Flesh Golems. Volatile was a big nothingburger because Controlled Positioning. Yes, this was everything cued up and going right (mostly), but this is the apex sort of power for this thing. I'm not going to nerf it yet (eg - tie Spells to Special Armor to make it limited use), but too be monitored.

The Action Economy disparity comes up big shortly (Master Threats just deliver Complications outright and get to "act" more than PCs and Skilled Threats are a step down from that).

I'm going to end it there for the night. This was a lot of typing.

  • Tier 2 Flesh Golems * 5 obliterated.
  • The Necro about to unleash a horrific AoE Necro spell which also starts a Clock 4 to "revive" the Flesh Golems.
  • The Butcher barreling toward the Fighter w/ a big smashey + chemicals on the table about to happen.
  • The Lair coming alive.
  • Wizard 4/9 Stress.
  • ArcDuel and Fighter 2/9 Stress.
 
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GAMESTATE 2

Alright, Necro acting.

The situation is still enormously dangerous. Tier 2 Threats (a Master and a Skilled to boot) vs Tier 0 Company is very bad for Position = Desperate Position.

The Scale advantage helps the PCs for Effect generally, but not against the Necro's move here (which has Scale). Potency + Scale = Limited Effect for PC actions against it.

The Necro calls forth a necromantic miasma that steals the life of the PCs and revitalizes the fallen Flesh Golems.

Again, Master Threat so the Miasma Spell is an action with the 4 Tick "Revive Flesh Golems (turning them into mooks" w/ 3 Ticks already filled being an auto complication (which a Master NPC gets). The effect of the Miasma is 3 Harm individually and 1 Doom for the group every moment you're in it. Its sequestered to that 1/4 of the room where the PCs and the (now destroyed) Flesh Golems are, so they can get out.

So the question to the PCs is:

1) Does anyone want to resist the Flesh Golem 3 Ticks (so the "Revive Flesh Golems" Clock is at 0/4). The Wizard can't resist it because he's already in a bad spot with Stress. The Fighter can spend Special Armor to do so, but declines. ArcDuel also declines. Their thought is that the Wizard can just obliterate them with Thunderwave again should they be reanimated, so they leave that be.

2) How are each of you guys dealing with this Miasma? This isn't an auto Complication from Master so they can try to avoid this.

a) The Fighter shouts "move your asses" and uses her Battle Captain ability to Lead a Group Skirmish check out of the Miasma and right into the onrushing Butcher to try to get out of the AoE and prevent the Butcher from getting in the Miasma (maybe it will heal the Butcher?).

Fighter takes +1d for 3d6. ArcDuel has 1d6. Wizard has no dots in Skirmish so worst of 2d6.

Desperate/Limited - Fighter gets a 6, ArcDuel gets a 4, Wizard gets a 3. 1 Stress to Fighter. Its Limited Effect though, so something has to happen. 1 Harm for each character as the Miasma grazed them and drew their life from them (Exhausted Legs - so any sort of running/mobility move with the legs will have reduced effect) + 1 Doom for the group. The Fighter and the Wizard rush out of the Miasma with its wisps licking at their forms, drawing their life. The Wizard moves along the wall to stay the hell away from the Butcher.

The Arc/Duel is the only one that wants to resist because mobility loss is particularly bad for this PC. 2d6 Spirit = 5 total so resisted and 1 Stress. The Arc/Duel sprints to the table and uses it to catapult himself out of the Miasma, into a forward flip, and a full rush toward the Necro (like a proper obnoxious gish elf).

3) Now its the Butcher's turn. No Wizard, you don't get to stay away. Now that you're out of the Miasma, your squishiness is right in the line of fire. The behemoth pivots from its rush at the Fighter and swings his massive bony spiked club at the Wizard. Again, Desperate/Limited to deal with this. This is a potentially lethal blow for the Wizard. Unsurprisingly, the Fighter intercedes with Protect.

The other thing I forgot to mention in this hack is that you can (as a default) Resist a Complication with both a Resistance Roll and a Special Armor if you have Overlap. Thereby allowing you to take Harm 4 to 0 if you have the overlapped Special Armor on the Complication.

The Fighter does. Special Armor for Armor ticked (1 left for Heavy Armor and 1 for Shield if it comes out) and Resists Body w/ +1D for Protect. 4d6 Body = 6 so no Stress. However, Forceful Tag and Messy are both still there. So the Fighter intercedes but is smashed against the wall and knocked off of her feet. The blow of the weapon tears through her armor and eats the other Special Armor box for Heavy (Messy tag). The Miasma is spreading slowly and she's right on the precipice and briefly taken out of the fight.

4) The ArcDuel needs to get to the Necro fast. He shouts to the Wizard (X-Men mid combat style) "how is the necromancer producing the miasma?" Leads an Illuminate between he and the Wizard for the answer. 1d6 ArcDuel and 2d6 Wizard. 4 ArcDuel and 5 Wizard. No Stress. Something interesting and its on you to make it useful (on a 6, I would have given him useful as well and increased Position on the attack given the insight).

It has no weapons. It has no rod/staff/wand/orb/tome to channel with. All it has is its "skin-suit" and the tiara with the embedded obsidian stone that its wearing over its flesh mask.

ArcDuel sprints to the vat, leaps atop it and attacks. Says he wants to get the tiara off its head with a bladespell, but he needs help getting Great Effect for Arcane Bladework. The situation is just as dangerous with the Butcher lurking right nearby, but the actual exchange in melee with the Necro shouldn't provide it its Tier benefit because it is entirely out of its depth, unarmed against a world class swordsman. So Desperate/Standard.

However...what if the Wizard acts first and blasts The Butcher out of range of the ArcDuel w/ Thunderwave? So this is a touchy situation, because the Fighter is right there so it should be in the AoE (yes, friendly fire is going to be a thing with all AoE...its already dumb powerful). So we go with this:

* Fortune Roll to see if Fighter is in it. 1-3 and in it and full effect, 4/5 and in it but half effect (which could be good w/ Forceful), 6 and the Fighter is out of it. 5. Fighter is in it, but half effect (only 2 Harm) and Forceful tag (which will push her away from the Miasma and toward the Necro).

* Fighter spends that Spirit Special Armor from Fortify to shut down the Spell Effect damage so its just Forceful tag.

* Desperate/Great for Thunderwave. The Wizard needs a 6 here so decides to Push, putting the Wizard close to Stressing out; 6/9. The Wizard gets a 6. 4/8 to the Butcher's Clock as he's blasted backwards by the thunderclap, well out of range of the Wizard and out of range of the ArcDuel. So the ArcDuel's Position is now Risky and Effect is Standard.

* However, Desperate Volatile Complication from Thunderwave before we can resolve the ArcDuel's action. The explosive power of Thunderwave smashes two support beams and the ceiling begins to cave in. 2 complications. (a) I start a "Ceiling Caved In" 4 Clock and tick it 2 (2/4) and (b) stone slabs from the ceiling falls right into the Wizard causing Harm 1 (ribs bruised) + Forceful tag, pinning them to the wall. The Wizard is stuck and will have to extricate themselves (or someone else will). The Golems are being revitalized and the Miasma is creeping ever closer to the Wizard. The Wizard can't risk trying to Resist here and Stressing Out.

* ArcDuel is now at Risky/Standard. The ArcDuel trades Position for Effect and just goes full bore, abandoning all defenses. So Desperate/Great + Arcane Bladework + Push (5/9 Stress now) + using Telekinetic Hand's Forceful to get the tiara off the head of the Necro.

Gets a 5. Complication is Reduced Effect so 2 less Clock Ticks + large stone to the body from cave-in for Harm 1 (Battered) because we're now at Desperate. Resists the Reduced Effect Complication with 3d6 for Body. Gets a 5 so 1 Stress. 4 Ticks + 1 for Telekinetic Hand = 5/6 on Necro and the tiara comes off.

The dehydrated skin suit shreds as the saber tears into the Necro. The tiara goes flying off the head of the Necro. The miasma dissipates entirely and the reanimating golems fall to the ground and remain there (Clock stopped unless the Necro can get the tiara back and reactivate it).

  • Butcher 4/8 in the corner with the Fighter who is on the ground.
  • Necro at 5/6 w/ tiara off head and flung wide. Miasma and Reanimate Golems stopped.
  • Wizard trapped by stone, Harm 1 * 2. 6/9 Stress.
  • Fighter Harm 1, no Special Armor for Armor (except shield...which isn't out), Spirit Special Armor gone, 3/9 Stress.
  • Arc/Duel Harm 1, 6/9 Stress.
  • 1 Doom
  • 2/4 "CAVE IN" Clock
  • Several xp for Desperate Action Rolls.
 
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Sounds pretty awesome.

I'm interested in hearing your assessment of how it all worked in addition to the detailed play by play.

Cool. I must say, this is really a pretty heavy application of FitD 'combat' mechanics. It almost makes me hanker for DW style resolution, lol.

Alright, not going to write out the rest of it (there are still 2 gamestateto go).

Effectively, the rest of it is:

* Fighter uses a special maneuver from class ability to switch out her Polearm for her Greatsword (Forceful) and kick up to her feet in the process. She knocks the Butcher into the support beam and prone as she hauls for the chimney.

* Cave-in ensues with last tick of Clock. Fighter leads the Wizard out of the room with a Battle Captain Group Action again (up through chimney/vent). Wizard performs Setup with Unseen Servant (sort of holding up a section of the collapsing ceiling momentarily) to give the Fighter improved Position so she can trade Position for Effect and make it to the chimney. Wizard gets a 1-3 so Fighter eats 1 Stress. Fighter gets a 5, Resists the Harm 3 to Harm 1 for 1 more Stress.

* Butcher smooshed. Unseen Servant destroyed (so Wizard will make a new one). ArcDuel chases Necro up the ladder and out of the room into the ruined house above as the ceiling collapses.

* Necro grabs his sword-staff. Duel commenced with auto Necro complications. Arc/Duel slays him in the duel (only 1 tick left) w/ The Riddle of Steel and a move, despite dealing with Evard’s Tentacles (resisted 4 Harm to 0 via Armor’s Special Armor and a Body Resist 3d6 for 1 Stress).





It was fun and it worked.

Like I said above, action/adventure heroic Blades with a lot more magic and Resistance Rolls.

I think less of Thunderwave (and the Wizard) than I did at the opening of the combat (I was basically talking you through my thoughts as they occurred during the session).

I thought all the characters performed well and about as they should given the Threat.

And yeah, Blades combat has a lot more moving parts than DW, amplified when Resistance Rolls are more prominent. But honestly, the overhead isn’t too much at all. It’s just a lot to write out so it likely looks worse on paper.

Its south of the cognitive workload of 4e and north of DW.


I’ll get into Payoff > Entanglement > Downtime in another post tomorrow.
 

Cool. I must say, this is really a pretty heavy application of FitD 'combat' mechanics. It almost makes me hanker for DW style resolution, lol.

That was kind of my concern from reading the transcript of events. But I've played with @Manbearcat so I had a feeling it may be more a case of him being thorough and explicit in his written description.

And yeah, Blades combat has a lot more moving parts than DW, amplified when Resistance Rolls are more prominent. But honestly, the overhead isn’t too much at all. It’s just a lot to write out so it likely looks worse on paper.

Its south of the cognitive workload of 4e and north of DW.

Glad to hear that!

Are you at all worried about the amount of resistance rolls that may come up in a given encounter/scenario and the toll that may take on stress? It doesn't sound like it....and it seems like all the PCs finished the encounter having spent a comparable amount of stress to that of a crew in Blades after a score, so that's probably a good sign.
 

That was kind of my concern from reading the transcript of events. But I've played with @Manbearcat so I had a feeling it may be more a case of him being thorough and explicit in his written description.



Glad to hear that!

Are you at all worried about the amount of resistance rolls that may come up in a given encounter/scenario and the toll that may take on stress? It doesn't sound like it....and it seems like all the PCs finished the encounter having spent a comparable amount of stress to that of a crew in Blades after a score, so that's probably a good sign.

A little bit, yeah.

The Game Theory changes when Resistance Rolls basically double in effectiveness from classic Blades. Players are going to take on harder stuff and Resist more (that is just going to be the psychology...but that is what we want to incentivize).

But I’m going to pause that concern for now because my expectations of “punching above your weight” will be much more of the +1 Tier variety vs +2.

Also, as characters get more powerful, the resources they’ll be able to martial (+1d to Resistance, Special Armor boxes, better ability to dictate Position) will increase with them.

Next Score is likely to be a much less dangerous Social Score against a Tier 1 enemy or something so the difficulty curve should reduce. And DTAs let them recover a fair bit.

But yeah...monitoring that because that is a concern.
 


@Manbearcat have you manged to do any more testing?

I have.

One session's Adventure was Social to persuade the city's laborers to strike and rise up against their oppressors (a mix of corrupt union leaders, wicked foremen, gangs, and the city's indifferent hierarchical structure). If you look at the Claim Map on post 115, the immediate north claim from their Hall (Of the People) was what was at stake here. They were wresting control of it from the Union Leadership (a Faction, so this earned them negative Faction with that group and positive Faction with The Under/Labor Class). It was framed right into a big Union meeting with the labor leadership (uncovered during Gather Info phase).

Their opposition was the collective fear, destitution, and powerlessness of the under/labor class and the political moxie of the labor leadership. It was a Tug of War Clock 10, starting at 4 (if they get to 10, they achieve the Win Con...0 and they fail). After several appeals to reason, appeals to emotion, taking the measure of the room's temperature, and intimidation/force against the leadership, Resist Complication, they won and they got the Claim (+2 Rep on Escorts).




The next session's Adventure was the actual Escort through the town with strike/picket and exhortations of corruption et al. We made a map and a key of the route in the city w/ a couple possible detours and potential obstacles, starting at the beginning of the route and finishing at the destination (the town square). As it should be on an Escort, its a mix of surveillance, recon/scouting, navigation of decision-points related to potential route obstacles, ensuring exposure, and shows of force where necessary (there were a brief skirmish with a Gang and posturing against a Watch blockade that eventually let them through).

Like the first one, this was also a successful Adventure (with +2 Legend gain due to Of the People Claim). This one was a Doom removal Adventure (as written above somewhere its 2:1 exchange rate). This Adventure started a 6 Tick Faction Clock to increase the Under/Labor Class Tier (repeating until stopped by a Faction...the PCs can interact with this via their own Downtime Activities).




Wizard has spent Downtime on Spell Longterm Projects, there has been an instance of Downtime Training, some management of Longterm Projects for opposition Faction Clocks that emerged as a result of Adventures, Acquiring Assets (Lookouts) for the Escort Adventure, the Bladesinger visiited their phantom fortune teller friend for Gambits for the Company, and the typical Stress management.
 
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So, I'm curious, is it just that balance exists 'on the back of FitD' or is there an inherent kind of self-balancing that helps there in that design? You had wondered about the Wizard a while back. I was curious if just getting things in the right ballpark might be good enough in a game of this type. I mean, DW for instance doesn't seem to care THAT much about it. I guess perhaps if one playbook had a HUGE range of options compared to others, or their effects were fictionally really disproportionate, that might create SOME issues, but technically it wouldn't wreck the game. It would more just make the GM's work a bit harder.
 


@Manbearcat

So any pain points or areas where there were any issues with how game flows? Or mechanical imbalances or deficiencies across playbooks? Anything like that?

It sounds from your summaries above like the game is going well overall, so that's good to hear.

1) I’m not convinced the way the Legend <> Doom meter is integrated is good. I like the idea of fill up Legend from left ad Doom from right (so Doom complicates your progression/life), but I dot love how you get rid of it and I think I want ore consequences I play of Doom being filled up. Yes, it impacts Entanglements, but I really think I want some kind of either significant effect that drives play (doesn’t have to be Wanted Level...but something consequential and thematically provocative).

2) We/I don’t love the Wizard so I’m going to tweak the Wizard with a reskin of the Leech’s Alchemy/Bandolier mechanics (rather than just using it as inspiration) as it’s anchoring point. I’ll have the new iteration up in the coming days. I’m thinking less potential effects (there are 14 base...probably looking at 6 base) but being more robust to filling up the 3 boxes (eg you only fill up one of your 3 boxes and “lose the spell” if you voluntarily remove Volatile in the moment of casting...if you accept Volatile or Resist Volatile, you don’t tick one of your 3 boxes).


@AbdulAlhazred , I’ll answer your post separately. I don’t have the time at the moment.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I think that some version of Enemies/Rivals appear is thematically appropriate for Doom/Legend. It's not a wanted level, but it does reflect the kind of complications that would naturally accrue from both being famous and/or pissing the gods' ears. I'd probably tie it back to playbooks, with each one having some hooks for Doom, which would get fleshed out and integrated with background during char gen. Nothing specific, just some ideas about how PC type X tends to have their life complicated by fame and fortune. This would be a separate thing from entanglement issues. The picture I have in my head is either a dramatic uptick in the problem level of an existing enemy, or the appearance of a new rival. Exactly what that looks like would be based on the characters, their backgrounds, and the events of the game so far as well.

That's my spitball take anyway. I know it sounds like an entanglement, and in some ways it is, I'd just base it way more on the characters.
 

That is broadly how I want it to work.

The question is how to design it and integrate it with the primary loop of play (again, think Wanted Level here) that (a) is structured and predictable (eg, as your Wanted Level creeps up, Entanglements become progressively more punishing) and (b) creates a consequential decision-point (eg does someone voluntarily become Incarcerated to resolve Wanted Level, therefore being removed from primary play and entering that minigame paradigm and providing access to Prison Claims).
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I think I'd avoid incarceration. I love it in Blades, but I'm not sure I love it here. So lets assume for a moment that it scales like Entanglements, but is indexed differently. I say that because I recall entanglements being something you were going to use on the homeward leg of a job, so that a different part of the play loop.

I'm just going to run wild here for a second. What if at character at char gen each player picked a rival and enemy type off of a list related to their playbook, similarly to what happens in Blades with the friend and rival. Call it an extension on the rival side. Maybe they can even make it up at char gen, in coop with the GM. Essentially they get to pick who (or what kind of person) hates them and is likely going to show up to pee in their cornflakes when the poop hits the hippos tail.

That leaves the GM with a list of possibilities for Doom related whatnot. So they could pick based on diegetic fit, they could randomize, or, here's an idea, maybe even let PCs volunteer for their problem to be the one that comes up. There's a piquant mix of spotlight and possible reward at work there. Once a PC has her past come back to bite her, she writes a new one that goes back into the communal pot. There could be some sort of reward on the PC end for tying up an arc for their character.

Anyway, I like the idea of tying it directly to the PCs.
 

I’m thinking about it in terms of Incarceration because of the qualities of (a) and (b) that I expressed above.

But I also am thinking about it like that because I don’t want this to be a “flex opportunity.” I want this to be thematically a “jump on the grenade” moment:

This sucks > your allies will be better for it > you will be changed > you have south of a fighting chance (but a chance) to come out of this not made worse for it but its going to fundamentally impact you regardless.

I'm thinking something similar to how Dogs in the Vineyards backstory conflict at character creation has the odds set against you. Its likely you'll lose the conflict, but win or lose it will be foundational.

So, in Blades (or this game's) tech, I'm thinking:

1) Frame thematic conflict with losing prospects.
2) Resolve conflict.
3) Odds are very good that PC will sustain a Trauma (because they lost the conflict).
4) Wanted Level (in this case Doom Level) resolved and PC is reset to how they were before the conflict started (though with Trauma if they lost).
 


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