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Dungeon World Meets Blades in the Dark


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So @Manbearcat is the setting for the game meant to be one that is built by the participants as they go, like Dungeon World, or is their intended to be a specific setting like Doskvol for Blades?

I only ask because maybe there could be some setting specific elements that could perhaps be brought to bear on the Doom/Wanted element.

Otherwise, perhaps a “Personal Quest” type element as has been suggested. Although such a character specific thing would seem odd not to be a focus of actual play but instead abstracted as incarceration is in Blades. But maybe something can be crafted that’d have the mechanical heft but also be a meaningful bit of play.
 

So @Manbearcat is the setting for the game meant to be one that is built by the participants as they go, like Dungeon World, or is their intended to be a specific setting like Doskvol for Blades?

I only ask because maybe there could be some setting specific elements that could perhaps be brought to bear on the Doom/Wanted element.

Otherwise, perhaps a “Personal Quest” type element as has been suggested. Although such a character specific thing would seem odd not to be a focus of actual play but instead abstracted as incarceration is in Blades. But maybe something can be crafted that’d have the mechanical heft but also be a meaningful bit of play.

Built as you go a la Dungeon World.

My sense of how to operationalize it would just like Dogs in the Vineyard. It wouldn't be a full-blown Score. It would be a singular thematic conflict that the GM and the player sort out how to frame the conflict; is this an exorcism, a training session to purge one's own demons, etc? Whatever it is, it would be Desperate to start the conflict (as if you'd rolled a 1-3 on Engagement) and Limited Effect/standard (because you're outclassed). We'd make a Clock to represent the conflict with the GM playing the opposition/obstacle. We'd play it out just like normal and player brings to bear all their means against the opposition (to increase Position/Effect and their dice pool per Action Roll). Player loses the conflict, they get a Trauma.

Regardless, Doom is gone and they begin the next loop of play in the same disposition as they were prior (eg same Stress, Harm, et al).
 

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.

The game isn't balanced in the same way that 4e is balanced (eg math by level, tightly tuned encounter budgeting), but its tuned in such a way that both the GM and the players can easily infer when they're in over their heads (and therefore need to muster all of the resources at their disposal to achieve a Score) and when they can reasonably expect to manage a Score without going "all in." If you take on a complex Score against a Tier+2 opponent, you know you're in for trouble and better make consistently good moves. If you take on a less volatile Score against a Tier +1 opponent, the danger is inferably decreased (every playbook's particular shtick has them functioning as a +1 Operative due to Fine gear...but they'll be at Tier for things outside of it).

However, there is so much dynamism inherent to the action resolution process that things can go pear-shaped no matter what. Its tightly tuned but capable of dynamic swings that can snowball if you're not on top of the game of "Spinning Plates" that the game engenders. That may sound odd, but its true.

Further, there are feedback loops on different scales (of difficulty and breadth of impact) and timescales that have to be monitored and managed. For instance:

1) You have to stay on top of multiple rolling resources (you need Stress to manage your capability on each Score, you need to keep your Heat down so post-Score Entanglements don't overwhelm you, you have to keep your Harm in check or you'll die, you have to stay on top of your Trauma so you don't accrue 4 and are taken out entirely, you need to manage your Coin budget to (a) increase level + (b) amplify Downtime Moves + (c) exchange Coin for Assets/better position and to mitigate fallout + (d) create your Stash + (e) spend for extra Downtime Activities + (f) not simply lose it because you can only have so much on hand and in the Crew's Vault + other things) or things will spiral on you.

2) You have to manage your Downtime Activities (another resource not mentioned above) so you have enough to interact with Faction/Setting Clocks that are particularly punishing to your Crew via Longterm Projects.



There are many vectors for Skilled Play in Blades in the Dark (and this game I'm working on). If you don't continuously play skillfully and continuously manage all of this, those "Spinning Plates" will come crashing to the ground and your Crew will enter a death spiral (but again, this is as intended...its tuned extremely well, even with that dynamic swinginess).
 

The game isn't balanced in the same way that 4e is balanced (eg math by level, tightly tuned encounter budgeting), but its tuned in such a way that both the GM and the players can easily infer when they're in over their heads (and therefore need to muster all of the resources at their disposal to achieve a Score) and when they can reasonably expect to manage a Score without going "all in." If you take on a complex Score against a Tier+2 opponent, you know you're in for trouble and better make consistently good moves. If you take on a less volatile Score against a Tier +1 opponent, the danger is inferably decreased (every playbook's particular shtick has them functioning as a +1 Operative due to Fine gear...but they'll be at Tier for things outside of it).

However, there is so much dynamism inherent to the action resolution process that things can go pear-shaped no matter what. Its tightly tuned but capable of dynamic swings that can snowball if you're not on top of the game of "Spinning Plates" that the game engenders. That may sound odd, but its true.

Further, there are feedback loops on different scales (of difficulty and breadth of impact) and timescales that have to be monitored and managed. For instance:

1) You have to stay on top of multiple rolling resources (you need Stress to manage your capability on each Score, you need to keep your Heat down so post-Score Entanglements don't overwhelm you, you have to keep your Harm in check or you'll die, you have to stay on top of your Trauma so you don't accrue 4 and are taken out entirely, you need to manage your Coin budget to (a) increase level + (b) amplify Downtime Moves + (c) exchange Coin for Assets/better position and to mitigate fallout + (d) create your Stash + (e) spend for extra Downtime Activities + (f) not simply lose it because you can only have so much on hand and in the Crew's Vault + other things) or things will spiral on you.

2) You have to manage your Downtime Activities (another resource not mentioned above) so you have enough to interact with Faction/Setting Clocks that are particularly punishing to your Crew via Longterm Projects.



There are many vectors for Skilled Play in Blades in the Dark (and this game I'm working on). If you don't continuously play skillfully and continuously manage all of this, those "Spinning Plates" will come crashing to the ground and your Crew will enter a death spiral (but again, this is as intended...its tuned extremely well, even with that dynamic swinginess).
Right, I was kind of thinking in terms of players. I mean, with 4e you have the 'balance thing' where you pretty much need each class to have equal ability to move the mechanical -> fictional levers of the game. A character which cannot hit often enough, or get enough successes in SCs, or put forward sufficient 'plot resources' to offer fiction-altering effect is going to languish. They will not have spotlight time, effectively. In the 4e design this is pretty tweaky, if you have a 15 in your Prime Requisite, you've pretty much gimped yourself for life.

DW is much less extreme. Sure, if you get some wonky playbook online that gives you the kitchen sink, or your 5 levels ahead of the rest of the party, then there will be a tendency to hog the narrative and push it what way you want, but the GM has ample ways, and so do the other players, to simply allow more moves from others, or at least insure that everyone gets consequential move opportunities thrown at them, etc. And certainly the GM can always chew harder on the guy who sticks out. If he's always the tough guy, the dragon always bites him! There are few strictures in the game in terms of how that falls out, unlike 4e where if you aren't where the dragon can take a bite at you, you're not going to get whacked on, and at worst the rules tend to even out the consequences.

I'm guessing that even if, say, the Wizard in this game of yours is more capable than the other PCs, that he can only have so much impact, and he'll rapidly burn these various resources and end up stuck hiding in a corner half the time. Like maybe your playbook has an impact on how often you act overtly and how big an impact each action ends up having, but nobody will really push the story around to higher degree, except by good management of all those spinning plates.
 

Right, I was kind of thinking in terms of players. I mean, with 4e you have the 'balance thing' where you pretty much need each class to have equal ability to move the mechanical -> fictional levers of the game. A character which cannot hit often enough, or get enough successes in SCs, or put forward sufficient 'plot resources' to offer fiction-altering effect is going to languish. They will not have spotlight time, effectively. In the 4e design this is pretty tweaky, if you have a 15 in your Prime Requisite, you've pretty much gimped yourself for life.

DW is much less extreme. Sure, if you get some wonky playbook online that gives you the kitchen sink, or your 5 levels ahead of the rest of the party, then there will be a tendency to hog the narrative and push it what way you want, but the GM has ample ways, and so do the other players, to simply allow more moves from others, or at least insure that everyone gets consequential move opportunities thrown at them, etc. And certainly the GM can always chew harder on the guy who sticks out. If he's always the tough guy, the dragon always bites him! There are few strictures in the game in terms of how that falls out, unlike 4e where if you aren't where the dragon can take a bite at you, you're not going to get whacked on, and at worst the rules tend to even out the consequences.

I'm guessing that even if, say, the Wizard in this game of yours is more capable than the other PCs, that he can only have so much impact, and he'll rapidly burn these various resources and end up stuck hiding in a corner half the time. Like maybe your playbook has an impact on how often you act overtly and how big an impact each action ends up having, but nobody will really push the story around to higher degree, except by good management of all those spinning plates.

So a couple thoughts:

1) My issue with the Wizard construction is multifaceted. Part of it is actually a concern of them being underpowered (lack of broad enough competency in their spellcasting…hence why I’m going to rework off the Leech’s Alchemist model…which is really just reskinned Wizard) or too locked into the potency of a particular spell button. I just don’t like the way that iteration of spellcasting looks/plays (it’s like a metamagicked 3.x Sorc).

2) Blades competency is overwhelmingly built across the basic resolution system/currency. Theme and niche accounts for maybe 20 % of effectiveness/Team PC amplification.

3) I know this is bleeding over from the other thread, but I don’t agree that Dungeon World is lacking in melee control.

Paladin’s have I Am the Law and Impervious Defender (and the ability to take Cleric Spells where you can get control effects or custom moves to bring in 4e Paladin Mark at range).

Barbarians have What Are You Waiting For and War Cry.

Clerics have Divine Intervention/Invincibility.

Rangers have Companions that can protect allies or the ranger.

Arcane Duelist has Throw Down the Guantlet and several Techniques (Bladespells basically) that give them Defender control.

Druids can do the same thing with things like Shapeshifter Bear/Rhino > spend Hold for Charge > spend Hold for a move that effectively does something like the above.

Fighters have Interrogator, Seeing Red, Evil Eye, and multi class moves (which allow them to siphon any aforementioned control).


There is a lot of Defender control (and very thematic Defender control) to be deployed (and/or opened up to be deployed via skillful play) in DW.
 

There is a lot of Defender control (and very thematic Defender control) to be deployed (and/or opened up to be deployed via skillful play) in DW.
Oh, sure, but OTOH, there are plenty of ways to insure that 'stuff happens'. I mean, obviously we are not wanting to introduce 'ear seekers' into DW, but if the paladin is running rampant and hogging the spotlight, I'm not going to have a problem dealing everyone else some time either. 3.x always had that problem and no easy solutions that don't have a certain gorgonzola fragrance. 4e's solutions are still a little brittle, but worked fairly well.
 

Oh, sure, but OTOH, there are plenty of ways to insure that 'stuff happens'. I mean, obviously we are not wanting to introduce 'ear seekers' into DW, but if the paladin is running rampant and hogging the spotlight, I'm not going to have a problem dealing everyone else some time either. 3.x always had that problem and no easy solutions that don't have a certain gorgonzola fragrance. 4e's solutions are still a little brittle, but worked fairly well.

Its settled. I need to run a game of Dungeon World for you to adjure you of these wicked spirits that have corrupted your mind! The power of Manbearcat compels you!
 

Built as you go a la Dungeon World.

My sense of how to operationalize it would just like Dogs in the Vineyard. It wouldn't be a full-blown Score. It would be a singular thematic conflict that the GM and the player sort out how to frame the conflict; is this an exorcism, a training session to purge one's own demons, etc? Whatever it is, it would be Desperate to start the conflict (as if you'd rolled a 1-3 on Engagement) and Limited Effect/standard (because you're outclassed). We'd make a Clock to represent the conflict with the GM playing the opposition/obstacle. We'd play it out just like normal and player brings to bear all their means against the opposition (to increase Position/Effect and their dice pool per Action Roll). Player loses the conflict, they get a Trauma.

Regardless, Doom is gone and they begin the next loop of play in the same disposition as they were prior (eg same Stress, Harm, et al).

FYI (for anyone that cares), I'm 100 % enacting this now (and removing the present way to exchange Legend for Doom at a 2:1 exchange rate) for the following reasons.

1) The other way was clunky and didn't create exactly what I was looking for.

2) THIS way (a) puts a sort of Doom Clock/Sword of Damocles hanging over play whereby (b) PCs are thematically unraveling/eroding/changing at a continuous, and fairly fixed, rate (very likely 1 PC is gaining a Trauma's probably 3-4 Adventures). That (a) and (b) is EXACTLY what I wanted. Basically:

Deal with your Threats before the Company becomes completely undone.
 

Its settled. I need to run a game of Dungeon World for you to adjure you of these wicked spirits that have corrupted your mind! The power of Manbearcat compels you!
Who needs to run what for whom? ROFLMAO! :devilish: I'm in exile here on the West Coast, which means I am rather in need of actual games to play. You'd think being 2 miles from WotC would be some sort of RPG heaven, but it is more like a wasteland (I guess if you are interested in nothing but 5e you'd be in luck). So, GAME ON! ;)
 


I have 4 weekly games (and a 5th monthly) I’m running presently, but that will inevitably contract at some point. When it does, I’ll let you know!
 

Alright, been awhile since I got back in this thread to update.

First, the Make Camp Downtime Activity:

Spell Recovery: Roll Attune to recover Spell Slots:

6: 3
4/5: 2
1-3: 1




Change here is Arcanist for Book of Spells and Cantrips. Its basically a combo of:

* Leech's Alchemist except sub Formulae for Spells.

* Leech's Bandolier except sub Spells for Alchemical Agents or Spark-Craft Bombs.

THE WIZARD

Starting Actions
: Attune * 2, Illuminate * 1


Dangerous Friends/Allies:

Mubome - Academic headmaster and secret sorcerer
Marquisa - "Witch" of the wood
Forstadt - Down on his luck, 4th generation of the pioneer who founded the Town
"Zombie Jane" - Half-elf who was resurrected after heart torn from her breast by a beast
Apothecary Gertrude - Annis Hag beyond the wall that "accepts" arcanists into her home
Zurpa - Kobold Priest constantly trying to enlist others into the service of Hestekyth "The Cinderlord."


Starting Abilities:

Unseen Servant: You have an invisible, non-expert Cohort Rover made of Force with the Loyal Edge. Name it. It can't do much, but what it can do is useful enough (carry Load 2 for you in invisible pockets, fetch something from across the room...slowly...but invisibly). If its destroyed, you have to fulfill a Downtime Project 4 to restore it.

Ritualist: You know the arcane methods to perform ritual sorcery. You can Study an arcane ritual (or create a new one) to summon a supernatural effect or being. You begin with 1 ritual already learned.

Arcanist: When you research or invent a Spell, you get +1 result level to your roll (a 1-3 becomes a 4/5, etc.).

Your mind is an arcane reservoir for 3 spells. When you cast a spell, choose one from your Spellbook and mark one of your 3 boxes. During downtime at your Hall, you automatically recover your arcane reservoir.

Starting Spells:

Shadow Shield (II, Volatile) - You gather darkness and fling it at an ally in need. The shadows give the ally +2d to resist a complication.

Mage Hand (I) - You gesture toward an object nearby, and a spectral floating hand lifts the object into the air and moves it where you wish.

Light (II) - With a wave of your hand, you cause a bright light to appear on the tip of your staff, upon some other object, or in a nearby space. Lasts a couple of hours.

Suggestion (I) - You weave arcane power through your words, infusing each phrase with persuasive magic.

Shield (II) - You throw up your hand, and a shield of arcane energy springs into existence, giving you a box of special armor against a physical attack.

Arcane Senses (II, Volatile) - You can see the invisible and sense danger before it happens. Lasts a few hours.

Thunderwave (II, Volatile) - You lash your nearby foes with a wave of thunderous power, flinging them far and wide and breaking stuff just like creatures.

Icy Tomb (I) - You target a distant enemy with a freezing ray that briefly traps them in an icy sarcophagus.

Advancement Abilities:

Warded:
You get 2 special armor to resist a supernatural consequence, or to push yourself when you contend with or employ arcane forces.

Counterspell: Stake a Spell and roll Attune to counter a supernatural effect on you or an ally. When you use it to Protect a teammate, take +1d to your resistance roll. You can Protect multiple teammates, but Stake a different Spell and roll Attune for each one.

Arcane Portent: Two times per Adventure you can assist a teammate without paying stress. Describe the vision you get and how it helps them (did you tell them beforehand/now?).

When You Stare Into the Abyss...You Don't Blink: You are immune to supernatural terror. When you make a resistance roll with Spirit, take +1d.

Witches and Warlocks: During downtime, you may consult spirits and entities not of this world to Acquire an Asset or Reduce Doom. When you do, you get +1 result level.

Golemlord: When you invent or craft a creation with arcane features, get +1 result level to your roll (a 1-3 becomes a 4/5, etc.). You begin with one arcane design already known.

Loremaster: Take +1d when you Gather Information about arcane forces or mysteries. You and your allies gain Potency when acting on the answer.

Necromancer: When you Attune with the corpse of the slain, Acquire an Asset. You gain an Elite Cohort for the rest of the Adventure with the Loyal Edge and Savage Flaw and with the Conspicuous Drawback and Volatile Drawback every time you use it.

Prodigy: During downtime, you get two ticks to distribute among any long term project clocks that involve investigation or learning a new formula, design, ritual, or spell.

Alchemist: When you invent or craft a creation with alchemical features, you get +1 result level to your roll (a 1-3 becomes a 4/5, etc.). You begin with one special formula already known.


Unique Equipment:

Fine Wand, Orb, Rod, or Staff (when you use it to channel a spell and resist the Volatile complication, take +1 to resistance rolls) - 1 Load
Veil, Spectacles or Goggles of Magic Detection - 1 Load
Hand Weapon (Close, Hand) - 1 Load
Crossbow (Far, Near, Precise, Reload) and Ammo - 2 Load - * * * * (Ammo)
Potion Belt - 1 Load - * * * (Uses/Slots)
Pointy hat with your arcane mark (because of course) - 0 Load
Arcane Kit (2) (satchel w/ rolled parchment/pen, stoppered bottles for samples to bring back to the workshop, tongs, charms, sanitizer) - 1 Load
(1 Coin) Adventuring Gear (crowbar, ropes/pitons/chalk/harness/clips, torches, winter cloak) - 2 Load * * (Uses)
(1 Coin) Camp Supplies - 2 Load * * * (Uses)




I'll post excerpts of the last 3 sessions when I have time.
 

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