Rules Aren't Important

But it has rules about who's in charge of what, who decides what and when, and so on.

At the beginning of the game, you follow some prompts, and maybe the group makes up an NPC who is a squirrel person named Lakshmi who is a bee keeper. At some point later in the game any player can remember that the group made up this bee keeper and introduce them to the party and play them. Or maybe some of the other players don't want that to happen, or don't want that to happen quite yet. There is no rule/mechanic to resolve that disagreement. Since you are playing without a GM, there isn't even a GM who can decide what happens. The game just expects the participants to talk it out and figure it out as a group. There are the tokens, which feel somewhat extraneous, and there are safety tools I suppose, but for the most part play proceeds by collective agreement. You just have to trust everyone to maintain the vibe, which is peaceful and cooperative. I don't think this is unintentional; far from it, the lack of rules about who decides what and when and how matches the optimistic and communal tone of the game.
 

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hawkeyefan

Legend
At the beginning of the game, you follow some prompts, and maybe the group makes up an NPC who is a squirrel person named Lakshmi who is a bee keeper. At some point later in the game any player can remember that the group made up this bee keeper and introduce them to the party and play them. Or maybe some of the other players don't want that to happen, or don't want that to happen quite yet. There is no rule/mechanic to resolve that disagreement. Since you are playing without a GM, there isn't even a GM who can decide what happens. The game just expects the participants to talk it out and figure it out as a group. There are the tokens, which feel somewhat extraneous, and there are safety tools I suppose, but for the most part play proceeds by collective agreement. You just have to trust everyone to maintain the vibe, which is peaceful and cooperative. I don't think this is unintentional; far from it, the lack of rules about who decides what and when and how matches the optimistic and communal tone of the game.

Right, this is my point. How that all happens is intentional. It was chosen that way so that the game would work the way the designers were hoping. You’re describing a lack of rules, but I don’t really see it that way.

“The group decides” is just as much a rule as “the GM decides” or “the player whose turn it is decodes” or anything else. Those are the rules of play.
 


RivetGeekWil

Lead developer Tribes in the Dark
They're focusing on the finger pointing to the moon instead of focusing on the moon itself. Which is kinda the point of the thread, the rules don't matter. The rules are, at best, a clunky and abstract representation of the fiction, setting, and world. The rules get in the way of the fiction, setting, and world. The fiction, setting, and world are the important thing that we should be focusing on. The rules are not.

The rules are to an RPG's fiction, setting, and world as the game of telephone is to reliably conveying information.
I don't play games that are an abstraction of the world or the reality or whatever, the rules are just there to provide uncertainty and a framework. I don't think twice about the rules, since the games I enjoy playing are fiction first and the fiction is what dictatea when the rules are engaged and not the other way around.

So, yeah, the rules totally matter
 

Aldarc

Legend
No, they aren’t. Look at the rules to hockey. They tell you that to score a goal you have to get the puck across the goal line and they tell you a few ways getting the puck across the goal line don’t count as goals. But there’s nothing about how to get the puck across the goal line. You have a stick and can’t touch the puck, so you can figure it out. Slap shot, wrister, behind the net, doesn’t matter. The game is the play.
The game is the play when played in conjunction with the rules (and the meta-game).

You’re wrong. And clearly we’re just going to go in circles on this so I’m not engaging with you further.
He's not. It's fine if you prefer free play, FKR, or Calvin Ball, but games are played with rules, whether visible or not. Rules are, in part, what define games as being games (i.e., a form of structured play) rather than just play.
 

Our Blades in the Dark game ended early Tuesday night because of real life stuff. We were only able to cover Info Gathering/Free Play where the players talk amongst themselves and with me about Score(s) they would like to do this session > they make moves > the fiction and the relevant gameplay components for the upcoming Score(s) materialize (including interaction with established/persistent elements of play like a Ghost Calamity setting element that is an outgrowth of a recent Score that saw a crazy level of hell get wrought).

I'm going to attach The Ghost Apocalypse in Brightstone + my two Discord file notes with the players to ensure that we're all on the same page for our coming session where we play out the 2 x Scores that the players + their action resolution + my GMing devised. Every part of this works in concert to make meaningful, consequential decision-trees for players about both fiction and gamestate elements. If "Rules Don't Matter", then it wouldn't matter if any of this stuff was actually encoded in the below or if it was replaced by a complete vacuum of gamestate information + tons of color + GM Force:




GHOST APOCALYPSE IN BRIGHTSTONE SPREADS

* Fortune Roll for The Brigade (Tier 2) vs Magnitude 5 (Large Building) Fire. The Brigade has multiple disadvantages here so it would be Worst[2d6]. 1-3 and major disadvantage, 4/5 even, 6 major advantage for Spirit Wardens' Fortune Roll vs Scale 4 (huge gang - 40ish bodies).

Worst[2d6] = 3. Major Disadvantage -1d6 for Spirit Wardens.

* Fortune Roll Spirit Wardens' (Tier 4) Fortune Roll vs Scale 4 (huge gang - 40ish bodies) - 1d6 Major Disadvantage = Worst[2d6]. 1-3 = Calamity as listed upthread. 4/5 = Standard Effect (there will be a crisis, an influx of ghosts into Brightstone and surrounding, but it will recover). 6 = Great Effect (somehow the Spirit Wardens muster the means, skill, and grit to resolve the crisis).

Worst[2d6] = 2. Calamity as listed upthread.

@dead Meat , while this persists the following will be in play:

* Every Score will have a Fortune Roll 1d6 at the beginning of it. 1-3 and the Score will face an extra "Scale 2, Quality 1 Thug Rioters" obstacle. 4/5 and the Score will face an extra "Scale 1, Magnitude 3 Ghost obstacle." 6 and the Score will face "Estraven Ankhayat, Magnitude 4, Master Threat Fire Demon" obstacle.

* Tier 5 (Magnitude) Weak Ghost Apocalypse Threat will infest all of Brightstone, Northern Charterhall, Northern Six Towers, Eastern The Docks. The Ministry of Preservation will pay 8 Coin to have Scale 1 (6 total) worth of (Magnitude 3) Ghosts wrangled and bottled. The Sparkwrights will provide "Ghost Busting Kit" which must be returned intact after Score or payment will be fully witheld and WARRANT FOR ARREST 0/6 Clock will commence.

GHOST BUSTING KIT: 6 x Russian Doll Spirit Bottle Set. Electroplasmic Shotgun (IV). Tier 4 Fortune Roll w/ small Gang Scale (area tag basically) when used w/ Volatile (Controlled Complication). 15 ft range and nothing beyond it. Electroplasmic Shells (* 2 Box) have Potency against spirits, but less effective against physical targets. The electrical charge is enough to stun a person, but does very little real harm. Several hits might incapacitate a human target. This ammunition is especially reactive in the ghost field—make a 4-clock called “Attention from Ghost Field Entity” and tick it for every operation in which this ammo was used. [4 load]

Every one of these Scores completed = Lost Hold for 5W Ghost Apocalypse Threat.

SPIRIT WARDENS RESOLVE GHOST APOCALYPSE - 8 (REPEATING)

4d6 + 1d6 Potency + 1d6 Sparkwright Assist = 6

:3_8:

Abandoning The Lost District and putting minimal staff on Bellweather Crematorium duties, The Spirit Wardens, equipped with cutting edge Sparkwright tech, bring most of their forces to bear against the supernatural threat.

* Each of these completed = Lost Hold for 5W Ghost Apocalypse Threat.




Ok, let me see if I've got everything right @dead Meat :

TAL RAJAN & BEAKER

SCORE TYPE & DETAIL: Deception using Severosi horses and false uni's (possibly Acquiring Asset to increase Effect) to infiltrate The Mustang Inn in the geographically elevated NE of Six Towers which overlooks The Lost District. In the back on the grounds is the large stable and what appears to be a safehouse or lair in the attic-space above. There will be a side of Occult here w/ the reinforced and melted glass window shard from the Lockwood Estate Score that will be used on The Silver Nails leadership to implant a memory of the Score and plant the evidence on site for the Duskvol Governor's seer to divine, initiating the Inspector investigating the situation.

1d6 Fortune for Supernatural Apocalypse = 3. Rioters.

RESOLUTION: If successful, I'll start an Inspector Clock (Quality 4) at :3_8: and give the Inspector +1d Major Advantage (so 5d for pool) to resolve the case, the indictment, and the framed Silver Nails' leadership. If that resolves, that means (a) Wanted Level goes down 1 and (b) The Silver Nails loses 1 Hold. This will likely mean that The Silver Nails will have to "put on pause" their efforts in The Lost District to defend themselves against this investigation/indictment. If I do that, I'll be Tug of Warring against The Inspector's Clock with them. If that happens, you guys can spend a DTA to Tug of War against The Silver Nail's Tug of War efforts (nullifying it to whatever degree based on result).

If that is all correct, pick your Loadout and if you're going to Acquire an Asset for + Effect Unis, go ahead and do that.

ENGAGEMENT ROLL: +1d default + No real difference in Tier + 1d Friend/Ally involvement -1d Major Disadvantage for bonded horses. If you end up Acquiring an Asset that is Tier 4 or better (TSN are Tier 3), then take an extra +1d for Engagement Roll for Major Advantage.




SKEWTH AND TAKEO

SCORE TYPE & DETAIL: Occult using the Tier 4 Fire Brazier to adjure The Blood Moon, Brood of Khayat [Quality 4, Fire, Harbringer, Proud, Daring] from the burning brazier at the top of the lighthouse tower off the coast of Whitecrown Isle. After that is done, we will have a conflict to bind the powerful demon to the brazier in order to navigate 1 Transport obstacle back the Veil. There is a powerful arcane adept that tends the isle and maintains the supernatural brazier for the Leviathan Hunter ships navigating the Void Sea as the come into port in Duskvol. Further, this is on The Void Sea/at the entrance to the bay. You will have to arrange (very illegal and dangerous) transport to the isle.

Given that you guys are outside of Duskvol Proper and dealing with the loose Fire Demon, I will not be deploying the extra obstacle from The Supernatural Apocalypse event.

RESOLUTION: If successful, Roland Volaris is paying you guys 10 Coin (Envoy applies for +2 Coin) for the Demon to serve as a perpetual heating source for the chamber that he occupies to sleep (his "suana"). Further, The Fire Demon will come off of the Fortune Roll 6 result for The Supernatural Apocalypse for each Score, transitioning the 4-6 result to being "Ghosts."

SETUP: Sway move with Radu if you're going to try to convince his Unreliableness to transport you on this extremely dangerous and illegal. If convinced, we'll roll his 3d6 for Fortune Roll to see if that impacts either Position or Effect post Engagement Roll. Alternatively, steal a vessel and pilot yourselves.

If that is all correct, pick your Loadout.

ENGAGEMENT ROLL: +1d default + No real difference in Quality (due to Skewth's Arcane Implements) + 1d Friend/Ally involvement +1d Major Advantage for brazier = 3d6.
 

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