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Grade the Forged in the Dark System

How do you feel about the Forged in the Dark System?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 27 27.6%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 16 16.3%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 16 16.3%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 5 5.1%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 2 2.0%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 27 27.6%
  • I've never even heard of it.

    Votes: 5 5.1%

thefutilist

Adventurer
One of the things that I like about sharing clocks openly is that it makes it seem like the characters are living people with lives in the city and they hear about things or get hunches about things and so on. I find clocks to be a great way to kind of support the lived in feeling.

I wouldn't put it this way, I'd use the far colder sounding 'it gives situation legibility', but they amount to very similar things. So why don't I like the idea? I'm still trying to work through it.

A GM certainly could use secret clocks to keep track of how some offscreen process is proceeding, but they could also just declare things happen at any time, because reasons (which may include in response to some action by the PCs).

They could declare things can happen at any time but there's fairly good reasons as to why they shouldn't and secret binding decisions (such as off-screen clocks) are one technique to stop them from from having to do that.
 

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hawkeyefan

Legend
I wouldn't put it this way, I'd use the far colder sounding 'it gives situation legibility', but they amount to very similar things. So why don't I like the idea? I'm still trying to work through it.

I think you’re right about situation legibility. I think that ties into your second paragraph.

My comment was more about rationalizing the players being aware of things that are potentially off-screen. Not that one must do so, but I know some players who struggle with this kind of stuff. So, in the fiction, things like faction clocks are known because the characters hear things, or intuit things, about their city.

They could declare things can happen at any time but there's fairly good reasons as to why they shouldn't and secret binding decisions (such as off-screen clocks) are one technique to stop them from from having to do that.

I think @niklinna is focusing on them being player facing so that the situation legibility is not solely for the GM. They keep it all known to all participants so that there’s no temptation to change any of it or anything like that. Everyone in play is on the same page about it.
 

pemerton

Legend
I would argue that the bits I've bolded above make clocks player facing, albeit not in their particular numerical values.
Sure, no dissent.

It isn't wrong, if your playstyle involves the GM springing things on the players rather than the players driving the action. A GM certainly could use secret clocks to keep track of how some offscreen process is proceeding, but they could also just declare things happen at any time, because reasons (which may include in response to some action by the PCs).
Here, I think my thinking tracks closer to @thefutilist - clocks are binding prep (as the AW rulebook emphasises) and this is what differentiates them from "because reasons".

This also feeds into your point about the bolded bits - because clocks are binding prep that the GM draws on to make moves, they will be revealed in play in a way that is more than just "because reasons".

I think that the reason for not making threat clocks player-facing is the same as "make your move, but misdirect and never speak its name:
 

thefutilist

Adventurer
I think @niklinna is focusing on them being player facing so that the situation legibility is not solely for the GM. They keep it all known to all participants so that there’s no temptation to change any of it or anything like that. Everyone in play is on the same page about it.
Yes and it’s why it’s so darn frustrating to me. It seems like it should be an unmitigated good. Has it caused any problems in your games with theme? No matter how minor?

I really think I’m just going to have to experiment and see how it works out for me. Who knows, given how great it should be, I might become a full convert.

I think that the reason for not making threat clocks player-facing is the same as "make your move, but misdirect and never speak its name:
You might be onto something. At the moment though I’m just confused because my intuition (player clocks bad) and my reason (player clocks good) are so conflicted. I mean normally I go with my intuition because ‘creating art’ and all that but it’s not like my intuition hasn’t been totally wrong before.
 

MarkB

Legend
Yes and it’s why it’s so darn frustrating to me. It seems like it should be an unmitigated good. Has it caused any problems in your games with theme? No matter how minor?

I really think I’m just going to have to experiment and see how it works out for me. Who knows, given how great it should be, I might become a full convert.


You might be onto something. At the moment though I’m just confused because my intuition (player clocks bad) and my reason (player clocks good) are so conflicted. I mean normally I go with my intuition because ‘creating art’ and all that but it’s not like my intuition hasn’t been totally wrong before.
The reason why the players should be aware of clocks in FitD is because the players aren't just driving their own actions, they're driving the actions of the opposition and the world around them with their actions. They have various means of mitigating bad consequences (including ticking of oppositions' clocks) both proactive (pushing / helping to gain more dice, trading position for effect, etc.) and reactive (resisting the consequences of an outcome), and in order to employ these options, they need to have a reasonable idea of what the stakes are.

This doesn't tend to apply to faction clocks because, while the outcome of players' scores may affect some of those clocks, they tick in the background during downtime, and the players cannot directly influence or mitigate them, so the need to be making informed decisions doesn't really apply to these clocks.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Yes and it’s why it’s so darn frustrating to me. It seems like it should be an unmitigated good. Has it caused any problems in your games with theme? No matter how minor?

I really think I’m just going to have to experiment and see how it works out for me. Who knows, given how great it should be, I might become a full convert.

No issues that I can think of at all.
 

Just two quick comments for you guys in your Blades discussion (and then I'm going to try to catch a few more winks).

1) "Common knowledge" is misplaced as a mechanically consequential concept in Blades in the Dark. All "common knowledge" does is serve as the basic substrate for situation/scene/obstacle framing. That is it.

Consequential knowledge in Blades in the Dark yields (a) dice pool amplification (Major Advantages) for your Engagement Roll (which dictates opening obstacle/situation Position) earned during Info Gathering/Free Play (or possibly a LTP during Downtime) or (b) is used as a Setup move (via Study typically and often as a Flashback) during the Score to increase Position : Effect for a follow-on Action Roll.

2) The reason why Clocks need to be transparent in Blades is because the fullness of the resolution mechanics engages with them. If you're in a Score, you need to have your decision-tree informed by how you want to engage with various Clocks (which includes both offensively acting upon your own Clocks to tick them and also Resisting Consequences, both the attendant fiction and which of the Insight/Prowess/Resolve you're using, in the forms of ticks on one or more Clocks). If you're out of a Score, this includes (a) managing your own Longterm Projects and (b) thwarting Faction or Setting Clocks when you can. For that latter (b), an informed decision-tree includes the fullness of what that Faction/Setting problem is doing; what the fiction of it is, what the action resolution dynamics of it are (dice pool, clock type, clock value), and what the heck happens (both gamestate change and imagined space change) when it fills. And you also need to know if you can't actually thwart or delay them via DTAs (because its beyond your purview/capacity) and therefore thwarting a Faction/Setting Clock has to be handled via a Score.
 

MarkB

Legend
If you're out of a Score, this includes (a) managing your own Longterm Projects and (b) thwarting Faction or Setting Clocks when you can. For that latter (b), an informed decision-tree includes the fullness of what that Faction/Setting problem is doing; what the fiction of it is, what the action resolution dynamics of it are (dice pool, clock type, clock value), and what the heck happens (both gamestate change and imagined space change) when it fills. And you also need to know if you can't actually thwart or delay them via DTAs (because its beyond your purview/capacity) and therefore thwarting a Faction/Setting Clock has to be handled via a Score.
For faction clocks, I'm not so sure that the transparency is assumed. At least in Scum & Villainy there seems to be a very deliberate division between a player-facing set of basic faction descriptions and a more detailed, GM-facing set of descriptions that includes major faction NPCs, goals and clocks.

And since the players' rolls aren't driving factions' clocks except when they're deliberately trying to influence them, there isn't the need for universal transparency.

I'd consider knowledge of factions' deeper goals to be something the players need to find out on a case-by-case basis through gameplay, and even after having done so, they may not have visibility of their clocks without some means of actively maintaining intel on them.
 


Despite all this , I am a bit intrigued to check out the Scum and Villainy. What are its main differences to Blades, and does it have a setting, and if so, how integrated it is? Like could I use it to run some low level scoundrels in Warhammer 40K setting without having to houserule half the game?
I'll quote myself for attention, as there are several people familiar with S&V in this thread, so perhaps someone could answer my questions? And also tell me does it have similarly annoyingly overlapping and vague skills than Blades?
 

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