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[FEEDBACK] Blades

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(kh_l2k) #164

I said it before, but I really agree with you here so I'm gonna reply and agree again; in Bloodletters, the players know the system. Maybe not all 100%, but they all have a working knowledge of it. For people whose problem with Rollplay:Blades is the time it takes to choose/position/resolve/question everything and say "Well, it's clearly the system then, right?"... go watch the more recent Bloodletters games. When the game doesn't have to be explained/re-explained constantly, the flow is far more on point, and the rolling-forward action and drama follows right along nicely.

Rollplay:Blades really could use having at least one Stras. I mean, maybe not actually Stras, but somebody in the crew who has a level of system mastery where they can help the other players out from that side of the table. Think of the progress that Dan has made on CoS, where he's really bought into D&D, he put the time in and learned the system and the mechanics, including the ones that may not directly apply to his current character/class. They have him constantly there as the player who is engaged and informed on a mechanical level, and it helps them out drastically with keeping things moving.

A possible two-sided coin here as well is the player number. In my experience watching, playing, and running Blades, I really think that 3 players > 4 players. Passing spotlight time and letting each player stretch out and be awesome when their time to shine hits without stepping on other players' toes or having one or more players sidelined for long stretches seems to flow better with 3. That's just personal experience/observation, your mileage may vary etc. It's maybe a little less apparent on non-streamed/camera games where you don't have that sidelined player still there being watched as they wait/quip/browse Reddit/whatever, but on stream it is easily apparent.
Now, the other side of the coin however is also not to be discounted for this scenario specifically: each player, being a streamer in their own right, brings some of their own audience in with them from outside of Rollplay potentially. And fewer players does indeed mean a smaller pool of "extra" viewers coming in. So, that's not a concrete plus/minus.


(leovaeg2) #165

I gotta agree here - there is almost no real danger/threat to the PCs lives, which somewhat makes things a bit less personal and relatable
they feel like Managers directing minions sometimes, not Adventurers dealing with Monsters, as many RollPlay viewers are used to


(leovaeg2) #166

feels like a sandbox with too many "open quests" at a atime, and yeah I too think the players are "OP" as you say in the sense that theres rarely direct danger, you can auto-dodge any problems by "resisting" and just taking a pointless amount of stress, and the danger feels out-of-the-way as opposed to in-your-face with other game systems


(disusedgenius) #167

You say that, but I remember at least 3 times when a character has been in serious, mortal danger... and then rolled a 6 or two. It's like the inverse CoS.


(banned) #168

You dodge an amount of danger and or more stress, and if you get too much stress you get trauma. LIke we saw with Cariless.

As @disusedgenius mentioned, the players are just rolling very well.

In the bloodletters game I still think one of the characters is suffering from a hand wound from like the first or second session that they just haven't healed yet because of rolls.


(Eggowaffles) #169

I wasn't sold on the first show, gave it second chance and asleep during the 5th or 6, loved the 10.5 and I was uninterested with last night show. I'm trying to like it.

The setting and fiction are cool dapper steampunk shady crime lords ghosts demons and immortal colossus whales. John seems to passive with adding narration, the show has long pauses where both the player and dm twiddle their thumbs. Adam would fill this space with "the camera fades" or "let check in with how x players feels". The world doesn't feel alive out side of the PC. Lack of notable risk and rewards Devil's Bargain either don't get offered up enough or when they do are deflected by the PC's with flash backs. Maybe the PC's have been very good at avoiding negative effects stress?, strain? I think heat is one?

Also No Hit points. ( As a person not invested into all the rules of Blades)
Hit points are easy for me and new viewer to understand. If a player has 1 out of 24 I know they are in trouble. Blades has and uses a bunch of terms that only mean if your invested into the rule book. Making it a hard show for a new viewer to understand.


(sjr9) #170

Mmm, I'm wondering if it's really a time issue? How are views for yt/vods? Live numbers may not be up there because of time but if a show is a good and people desire, it should reflect on yt/vod views?

I think you gathered a great cast JP. There are just seriously some really really great RP moments on Blades. Like goosebumps on my arm, that was f'ing fantastic moments. But think about it, go back and even watch it all these great moments--they are between the players.

This is a bit too harsh on John but I think part of the reason is the DM's responsibility. John's style at the moment not very translatable to production/entertainment. Being a DM is not easy so I say this with a grain of salt: his interactions with the PCs and storytelling is very awkward and "okay that wasn't super disjointed" for the majority of the sessions I have watched. There is also the fact that the system seems to be very bogged down and create no tangible suspense.

Though when I speak about the system, I don't know it well enough to know if the system is bogging down the sessions or if the DM is just not great at facilitating things. I don't know if it's the system that doesn't create much suspense for the story or if the DM is not great at using the system's tools to create suspense to keep the viewer interested.

Also JP you have to factor in the fact that this isn't the Neal days. There are a growing amount of decent Roleplaying Shows. More and more great amateur/professional DMs with decent to superb production. The standards of storytelling is going up and it's not as simple as "Omg someone is streaming DnD, let's watch it cause there isn't much good production DnD shows out there so let's watch Rollplay." People are having more choices so the brand has to grow with that.


(kh_l2k) #171

This, I think, is an aspect of Blades In The Dark that just may not have been made nearly clear enough from the outset of the show. It's a game that lines up very nicely with an old Adam Koebel line which I'm paraphrasing here "Killing a character is about the least interesting thing I can do to them". Blades is very rarely going to kill a character, this is the anti-CoS. Once the first session gets rolling, the characters are more or less taking their first steps into what will be their inevitable downward spiral. What piles up, rather than "Ooops, bad luck on that death save, looks like I killed another PC, roll up your next", are fictional complications, traumas, and just overall ways that the characters become more beaten down, unstable, etc until they simply cannot handle the Scoundrel life and retire. Sometimes before they become too messed up to exist in the world sometimes... not so much.


(kh_l2k) #172

Yeah. As somebody who has been on the opposite end of this, and had over half of my Stress track filled on one astronomically bad Resistance roll, the threat is real.


(ESPERform) #173

Blades In The Dark is the reason why i choose to subscribe on twitch and support the rollplay shows on Patreon.

As a european i even challenge my sleeping schedule to catch the show live. But even if i'm hyped, catching live a show that start at 3:00 or 3:30 am is a difficult commitment.

I also think that as Blade in the dark is such a "players focus / players narative impulse" kind of game that it depends mostly on the wits of the crew. And this migth just be a too delicate balance for the expected result of a Twitch show.
Just as no tabletop rpg session can be state-of-the-art , RollPlay Blades might suffer from this unpredictable balance.


(InToTheWannaB) #174

Yep, I'm east coast and I have work at 6 am. I generally watch the first hour or so of blades then i go to sleep and catch the rest on vods.


(Appaomega) #175

Blades seems best when they cut to action and use downtime to explore character relations quickly. Extended exposition episodes are where Blades is the worst. An engaged wiki community would help new watchers get on board.


(Eggowaffles) #176

This is one of my issue with it as a show given the systems the game has you have to watching it all to get why and whats. If you miss a few shows or your a random new twitch viewer turning in on show 11 your lost. It's a slow burner .

It's also not a great visual game, everything happens in a fictional space. Swansong we had the gm turn changing the space (map). In CoS combat takes place within maps and grid making positioning matters. In blades it's all fluff. While its cool that they have a map of the whole city it plays a very little role in anything,

For example RollPlay: Blades - Week 9, Part 4 there is 36-39 min with the map screen it has a small red box.. why? If the maps sole purpose is to show location then location should have some impact but nothing in the game takes advantage or uses location (if it does its no expressed to the viewer very well) . So wouldn't it better to have screen space showing stress trauma or the progression clocks so the audience gets a better understanding of those systems.


(Rasheth) #177

Morning JP,

for me being in the Australian time zone i can't watch live due to work, so thus I watch the VOD at a later time where I can be involved but not compromising my work. Apart from that I am really enjoying it.


(chekovsgunman) #178

Echoing what many others have said- it's scheduled too late on a weeknight, and people have to work. Every time I try to catch it live I end up having to go to bed before it's finished. I do always catch the vods later though.


(wolf_brother7) #179

I think something important to note here is that in the Breakers one-shot, John employed his patented style of DMing there just as much as he Does in Blades. However, in Breakers you had Adam especially but to a lesser extent all the cast playing these energetic, over-the-top, very active and moving characters.


(wolf_brother7) #180

Thursday nights are basically a death sentence for a streaming rpg show right now. Blades doesn't have the legs to stand up against Critical Role. If viewership numbers are bad now, they would only get worse in a Thursday evening time slot.


(kh_l2k) #181

Yeah, I can 100% get your points. It's a very different show/game from CoS, for example, where the focus is so much more on tactical map combat. Much less visual. Which, personally, is a thing I like about it, but I completely understand that being more than one step removed from the D&D setup it was always running the risk of being a niche show. It's like, and this is just an off-the-cuff comparison and not a positive/negative value judgement in the slightest; many of the "standard" Rollplay etc shows are like, say, Cheers, and Rollplay:Blades is like Twin Peaks. There is that element where you're either going to be drawn to digging in below the surface, or you're not and you just may never be drawn in. I love that within even the current Rollplay lineup there is enough variety of shows that there should be something for everybody, I just really hope that the cool little quirky show I like finds its audience. :slight_smile:


(Grumpets) #182

Blades is by far my favorite show at the moment, but like many others the time just doesn't work for me. I always watch the VODs and the patreon aftershow, but it airs at a time when I have class in the evening so I won't ever really be able to catch it live.


(banned) #183

Oh well I just don't care about CR's existence so I had no clue.