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[RollPlay: Blades Q&A] Episode 1: The Trial Run



Hey John, a question about timelines. Are characters and actions from Arcy/Cantor/Oskar's time in Duskwall present, or are all their effects on the setting an alternate reality? Like, since Anne/Rune has a problem with a certain Scurrlocke, is there any chance it is Oskarr and that we are in the past or the future for the red blades, or is it just Creepy Vampire Lord Scurrlocke? Thanks for running the show, looking forwards to the next one.

(OneSevenDesign) #22

Yep, you can stretch a mission over multiple sessions if you need to. The game structure of mission -> downtime - > mission is flexible. Sometimes missions are very fast and downtime is long. Other times missions are long and downtime is fast. The group can choose each time to spend their time on what they care about more.

(LuciusAnneas) #23

I cant answer for John Harper of course but I ld assume he was being generous, given it was the first trial run so to speak - that being said Blades seems to favor moving ahead/succeeding, and giving the opportunity to make up badass/devious ways of solving a problem rather than outright failing. In the end it very much depends on what the GM and the players feel are appropriate consequences and complications, since those are rather loosely defined in my (limited) experience

which can be a blessing or a curse

(OneSevenDesign) #24

Yes, this was a bit of a tutorial session to get everyone used to the game. Next time, they'll get the hit-list from Irimina and it will up to them to track the targets, discover their vulnerabilities, and execute the missions they want to do. If this group is like most Blades groups, their personal stories will really come to the forefront, as well.

(BearWalrus) #25

I can't honestly put into words how amazing and in love with this new show I am. The cast, @AnneMunition @iNcontroLTV @Ezekiel_III and @djWHEAT, make this game inspiring, to want to improve my own role playing abilities and to see how high that bar is set. @itmeJP I can see the hard work and dedication to these shows that you have and the time and effort that you pour into them really shines through with a jaw dropping performance like tonight. @OneSevenDesign having a great set of players is one thing but there is nothing without the creativity and love that a GM puts into a world and setting, without a doubt anybody that watched tonight can see this world and feel as if they were there. To all of you a part of this community i thank you for being there to share this with me I couldn't ask for better. :itmejpheart:

I have one question for you John, i was wondering where i could get inspiration for a setting like this? I want to absorb more knowledge about this world, lore, and setting.

(OneSevenDesign) #26

Blades is about to be completed (end of next month) and then go to print. The Early Access quickstart that's available now is not the full game, but it will be updated to the completed project once it's done.

All the mechanics are complete. I might still adjust a number here or there, but the playtesting phase is over.

(Floobthegreat) #27

What a great first episode ! Can't wait to see where it goes from here.

John, what are the chances we could get some more Blades inspired wallpapers (i.e.your version of ^Shipping on the Clyde is awesome)?

(OneSevenDesign) #28

You'll have to watch to find out! Can't give anything away. :slight_smile:

(OneSevenDesign) #29

Ah ha! Someone has an eye for fine art. :wink: Bravo.

I'll definitely be making more wallpapers. There's a google doc folder for them here:

(Twitch: casskayd) #30

I have to say, I wasn't sure about Blades, beforehand. There are a lot of places in the quickstart rules where I wanted more meat on the mechanics. But I really liked how when dice were rolled, the scene always progressed. Dice just said whether or not it went well or poorly for them, but it always went forward.

I agree, when I read the quickstart rules (especially early versions) my impression was always, "Well, it has a lot of potential."

Now that I've played and GM'd the system, I adore it. I feel like the mechanics do this amazing job of generating action and creating interesting moments, without feeling like they ever get in the way of things.

There are still some parts which feel too undefined, but the system has enough internal consistency that I feel comfortable as a GM making a judgment call and going from there.

(OneSevenDesign) #31

Judgment calls are there by design. Blades is meant to be a game that you hone into your group's preferred style. It's a bit unorthodox in RPG design, but it's something I'm passionate about.

(adamthecamper) #32

I have read the rules, so my reaction when everybody was like "TPK on first session", I am thinking to myself, nah, this game doesn't really work like that.

Then Jeff mentions to Anne "I will deliver Lord Scurrlock to you!"

Ok, this group might make that TPK happen :smile:

(Floobthegreat) #33

Thanks John! Super-Hype that you've joined the Rollplay crew.

(Twitch: casskayd) #34

Judgment calls are there by design. Blades is meant to be a game that you hone into your group's preferred style. It's a bit unorthodox in RPG design, but it's something I'm passionate about.

Yeah, now that I'm used to it (coming from years of Shadowrun where there is one right answer, even if it requires a flowchart to find it), I really love the Blades balance of direction + openness.

The flexibility to adapt to group styles is amazing. When i've run different groups, the tone, type/weight of consequences, different use of progress clocks, etc. seem to change naturally to match the group dynamics.

The groups are all playing Blades in the Dark, but the each have a very unique feel. At least on the GM side, it keeps me interested in running more games because each feels different.

(OneSevenDesign) #35

Ah, that's a great point! I'd never considered that. Cool.

(TheGameGuy415) #36

Thanks for the reply <3

(AdamKoebel) #37

time for a little #canterhaig2017 i think

(Orodereth_Prime) #38

Howdy, great first episode. Most enjoyable!
As it turns out, I have also just started a campaign of Blades in the Dark with some friends of mine.
Watching this episode gave us quite a few pointers for doing things in the future, and I am glad that me and my group also got a lot of things right.
One burning question that I had is that the characters, though awesome, had a lot more XP then my group does. About 2-4 dots worth more. Is there some variant rule that you used, or did you want to give the players a bit of a bump to get things rolling more smoothly. Not being able to raise a skill above 2 made for some very tense moments in my first sessions of Blades, and most of that cast had 3s to start. I would love to know if there are rules I am missing, or the rational behind the bump in stats.
Can't wait for the next episode!

(LuciusAnneas) #39

maybe you guys forgot to add the playbook specific stats? when I played blades, I made that mistake at first

you can see the 3 stat points marked on the playbook pages

(sythmaster) #40

The 3 dots were from the assasins crew ability "Deadly". Which gives you an option of Hunt, Prowl, or Skirmish as a free action dot. This bypasses the rule that starting characters only have 2 dots in any one action. So a number of the crew put this action dot into an ability they already had at 2.

At least that was my impression, but now thinking about it the Spider has 3 in Consort.... so I"m not 100% anymore. Maybe @OneSevenDesign can clear that up.

XP triggers in Blades can be either quite loose, or quite stringent, depending on the group. Most I've seen go fairly loose, so if for instance the player "addresses a tough challenge by []" is remotely addressed (or attempted) they could probably get 1 xp from that line. Did they mention something about their past?, go to a contact they'd known in their previous life? Explain why Akorosi people are weird to them? Boom, Background or Heritage Xp tick. Similarly, beliefs/drives are just things that the character wants to see done in play. If that happens, or is attempted. Generally some XP can be given there.

The Vice and Trauma stuff can be a bit tricky to get a handle on, especially in the beginning when they don't have trauma yet.

Hope you are enjoying the Blades group you've got going in any case, I know I've been enjoying playing in a game of it as well- and I'm thoroughly intrigued in watching more of this show in the future!