No flips for you!
Okay, I'm thinking on this, and I don't get it. I mean, I get it, it's pretty clearly cribbed straight from DW, but what I don't get is when it suddens says that the score will be like a Blades score. That's where I'm lost -- this is a pretty hard transition. We have a Perilous Journey, where things seem like they'll be at risk, and this happens before the score, but how do you map in the engagement roll for the score? This seems like it doesn't really click together, or I'm not seeing how it clicks together. I think we need to back up a tad and start with "what will the PCs be doing in this game?" If they will be plundering dungeons, the play loop needs to focus on this. If it's more, then we need to establish those broad boundaries of what, in general will be done. Then we can look to these kinds of mechanics to see if they fit what we're doing. As it is, I see a mechanic to handle travelling the wilds to a distant destination where some adventure will take place. That's dandy, but what's the adventure like?STRUCTURE
I'm envisioning Blades Structure but reskinned in a Torchbearer type way but with Dungeon World moves. Further, at the outset of play, you do just like Dungeon World. You make a map and you leave blanks. That map will have The Town which is the "home base of operations" for the Company at the beginning of the game. This might stay the home base throughout the game or the PCs might change their home base of operations (there will be incentive to stay there and incentive to move on). Creation of the Town will include layout/Wards and Factions (7-10 at the outset which includes infrastructure/government, essential trade guilds, rival Companies - which can include classic Thieves Guilds, Warlock Cabals, et al).
Beyond The Town, the only other thing that goes on the map at the initial session are the immediate topographical features directly outside of the town (perhaps its surrounded by Bleakwood Forest). The rest of the fleshing out of the map will happen through play (more on that below):
So here are my initial thoughts.
This is the analog for Blades' Free Play/Information Gathering phase. Here, the following happens:
* Companies look for Adventures (the Score analog) just like a Blades' Crew looks for Scores. This process will start filling out the map.
* If between Adventures, Company PCs get 2 * Downtime Activities (just like Blades except not a discrete phase).
* If an Adventure takes place in Town, the Entanglement that is rolled after the Adventure phase will be Town-related.
* Post-Adventure Payoff will take place here (all relevant accounting procedures).
* If the Adventure takes place outside of Town, a Perilous Journey is required to get there.
* The rules for Perilous Wilds will be used here. For each day of Journey, there will be a Scout > then Navigate > then Make Camp (in which a Manage Provisions and Take Watch move will be made). This sequence of moves will determine (a) if there are an Dangers or Discoveries that have to be dealt with along the way, (b) the resolution of any Dangers/Discoveries, (c) the attrition of resources for the coming Adventure. This phase will also further flesh out the map.
* Most Adventures will be 1 day from Town, but some might be 2, or even 3. Each day requires a sequence of Journey moves to be made, which means that Loadout for each character (which I'll work on later) will have progressive devotion to Journey supplies the further out the Adventure is from the Town. However, Payoff will scale appropriately. The further the Adventure from town, the more Danger, the bigger Payoff.
Make Camp Phase
* This will be a mini version of the Town Phase, but in the wild. When in the wild (whether its a Journey or at an Adventure site), your Make Camp Phase will feature (i) 1 * Downtime Activity and (ii) a Take Watch move.
* Take Watch will determine if any Dangers or Discoveries take place during the Make Camp phase.
* Making Camp is not free. It will be resource-intensive, Danger-intensive, Loadout allocation-intensive. As such, it will be naturally restricted and an outgrowth of decision-points (do I want to Loadout more/pay a Porter in order to enable Make Camp?...do I want to spend the Coin...do I want risk the Danger?). For instance, if you have 4 characters going out into the wild, you'll have (at least) 4 Loadout Boxes that have to tick for Make Camp. If you want to be able to Make Camp * 3 (2 * Journey and 1 * Adventure), then you'll have brought 3 * Make Camp boxes to tick. Again, Load-out intensive and resource-intensive (it costs to secure those boxes to tick). Without those boxes to tick, you can't take advantage of 1 * Downtime Activity (which will be all of the things one would imagine from Recover to Prepare Spells/Commune to Salvage to Fortify etc).
* This will either be in town or in the wild.
* It will be handled just like Blades' Scores. Each PC will have a Loadout, selected Hirelings/Cohorts will be present (eg Porter/Donkey, Minstrel, Man-at-arms, Guide, et al), and an Engagement Roll will be made to cut right to the action/first obstacle (whether you're in the wild or in town).
* Once the Adventure is completed (successfully or not), there will be Entanglements rolled for. If you're in the wild, Entanglements will be related to your return journey home. If you're already in town, entanglements will be town/faction related.
Loop back to Town phase.
I also think some thought needs to be put into how the perilous journey maps to the Actions set up above, and how Blades lets players decide which skill they use to approach a problem. The journey mechanic seems locked into a different set of checks from the Actions, and that's a tad jarring. If that's how it works, cool, but then I think it needs some other integration into the play loop, like having the Journey BE the engagement roll mechanic, to see how well the adventure is going when we join it, and establish that it's because of bad things on the trail. I'm not quite sure how that looks, but I'm also pretty sure it doesn't look quite like what you've laid out above.
I think some higher level consideration of what the focus of this game will be is needed to map the play loops onto that, rather than starting with the nifty ideas for mechanics and then figuring out how it maps. I'm starting to see a game where the players are dealing with a BBEG in each game, and adventure to seek the needed equipment, locations, intelligence, and skills to defeat it. But, then, I don't see how a faction setup like Blades works with this, but rather see things like Fronts being the primary way that PCs discover the big evil and also define it. I'm rather taken with the idea that removing the equivalent of Wanted means advancing the big bad in a concrete way, but this isn't my game.