45 thoughts on “Color me intrigued. Can you elaborate on the mechanics at all?”

  1. I’d be happy to. I’ll post some more teasers regarding mechanics this week, too.

    The core action mechanic uses pools of d6s, based on your character’s rating in the action you’re performing (So if you’re prowling across the rooftops to sneak into the museum, you’d roll 1d for each dot you have in Prowl).

    You can get bonus dice from various sources, too (a teammate who’s helping you, your character’s background knowledge, etc.).

    The outcome of the roll depends on the character’s position. If you’re in a controlled position for your action, most of the dice results are good (or at least not harmful). If you’re in a risky position for your action, some of the outcomes are good, some are bad. If you’re in a desperate position for your action, most of the outcomes are bad.

    I’ll write a brief example in my next comment.

  2. Quick aside: In Blades the player picks the action they’re using (by saying what their character does). The GM doesn’t call for a particular action roll, like they do in a lot of games. The player says “I’m gonna prowl my way in there,” instead of the GM saying, “Make a prowl roll.”

    The player also chooses which effect they want to achieve (Force, Finesse, Influence, Insight, Maneuver, or Will) . This combination helps the GM determine the position for the roll.

    “So you’re going to finesse the situation with mayhem, eh? Okay. Sounds like a desperate move to me.”

  3. Thank you for the info John. This game continues to sound like something my regular group would enjoy. Looking forward to the kickstarter getting underway.

  4. An Example from our last session:

    Pier is stalking through Charhollow, looking for a good point of attack for an assault on the ritual site for the Forgotten Gods cult. He wants to follow one of the cultists to the site (thus, the Stalk action). Pier’s player, Ryan, says he’s going for insight effect.

    The GM says this is a risky move, since Pier’s crew has a -2 status with the Forgotten Gods so they’re definitely on the lookout for trouble and infiltration.

    The GM offers a devil’s bargain for a bonus die: wait until the night of a ritual and Pier will have more targets to follow and can better scope out the security. Ryan takes the bargain.

    Ryan rolls his dice for Stalk (plus bonus dice) and his highest result is a 3. A bad result!

    First, Pier suffers an effect from the danger at hand. In this case, the GM ticks the mission countdown clock. Only 3 segments left to get this job done before the Forgotten Gods escalate to whatever they’re doing next.

    Second, because of the 1-3 outcome on a risky roll, Ryan gets a choice: either abandon this course of action (the crew will have to find another way to scope out the site, or just go in blind) – or- take a bigger risk and roll again, as a desperate move.

    Ryan decides to take a bigger risk (he always does). He says that Pier will come down from the rooftops and try to blend in with the passers-by in Charhollow, looking like a laborer on his way home — but now he risks being directly spotted by the cultists.

    This also switches Pier’s action type from Stalk to Deceive. Pier isn’t as good at deception, but he is Daring — a special ability that gives him +1d on desperate rolls. He goes for it!

    Ryan rolls and gets a 6! A full success. On a desperate roll, this means that Pier succeeds but the danger still manifests somehow, so the GM ticks down the mission clock again. Only 2 ticks left!

    Ryan rolls Pier’s insight effect dice and gets another 6: complete effect. The GM tells Ryan all about how the cultists enter the ritual site below the abandoned factory, the way they avoid certain wards and tripwires, and the signs and counter-signs members use to identify themselves.

    Now the crew has the info they need to choose the point of attack for their assault plan.

  5. And here’s how you handle planning:

    GM: Okay, what’s the plan?

    Players choose from the list: Assault. We’re gonna go hit them hard and crack some skulls.

    GM: Okay [consults plan type for detail needed] What’s your point of attack?

    Players: Uh. Hmmm.

    – Pier does his stalking –

    Players: We’re gonna wait until the ritual is underway, then slip in past the wards and tripwires and lay into them full force.

    GM: Okay, who’s on point?

    Cut to: the start of the assault action.

  6. In the simplest version, the active party rolls their action and those resisting roll effect (PCs always roll effect to resist things happening to them, like a saving throw).

    That takes care of most cases.

    Like, in our last session, the crew couldn’t agree on which job to do, so Brandon’s Cutter rolled Command to order everyone to do what he said. The other players rolled their Wills to see how much stress it would cost them to resist, or they could just go along.

  7. Yes. Each action move has a “push your luck” outcome on the 1-3 result. And the teamwork moves gamble with the stress levels of the team members.

  8. I’m curious about this bit:

    “In Blades the player picks the action they’re using (by saying what their character does). The GM doesn’t call for a particular action roll, like they do in a lot of games. The player says “I’m gonna prowl my way in there,” instead of the GM saying, “Make a prowl roll.””

    In my experience as the GM I have to say, “Make a prowl roll” not because I’m determining which action is appropriate but because I’m saying that thing you just said you wanted to achieve is going to require a roll. Otherwise, players will just keep talking, “I sneak across the roof and when I’m behind him and then I strangle him and when he’s out cold I take his purse and jump down onto the balcony.”  If dice rolls are going to happen I have to interrupt and say, “WAIT!  WAIT!  Too much, back up.  So you want to sneak over to him?  Okay, you’re going to have to roll.”

    In other words players won’t call for a roll unless the GM stops them and requires it of them.

    How does that generally play out here?

  9. Yeah, as the GM, you interrupt and you say, “Wait, that bit when you’re sneaking up on him sounds risky to me. Let’s roll for it. How are you doing that?”

    But in our group, they don’t usually chain stuff together like your example. The trigger for dice is “when you overcome an obstacle or face danger” and the players have gotten good at identifying those points on their own.

  10. John Harper Cool.  There’s a subset of my players who, for whatever reason, have never been able to identify those points and just yatter me until I stop them and break their action down for them.  Doesn’t really matter the system.  They just kind of have the attitude of, “I’ll tell Jesse the plan and he’ll tell me what I have to roll.”

  11. Yeah, that approach is fine, too. Not really what the game asks for (some aspects of the game are training wheels to teach players traditional GM skills), but it won’t hurt anything if you handle it.

  12. I’m literally jumping up and down with excitement John! This sounds so sweet!

    What about fictional investment by the players? Is there a mechanic to introduce fictional details (via a roll or otherwise?)

    Is the player side all action + position + effect?

  13. Nathan Roberts There’s no fiction-adding mechanic, like Universalis style “add 1 fact for each success.” I don’t favor those kind of narration mandating mechanics anymore.

    But there are lots of cues and techniques that facilitate fictional input from the players.

    I just ran a demo game via Hangouts which we recorded. I’ll have the video available on YouTube soon.

  14. Definitely excited for this Kickstarter now. Honestly John, your artwork and design teasers alone piqued my interest.

    These mechanics sound great though, and I look forward to trying them out!

  15. How suited is the game to long term/ongoing games in regards to character advancement? Also, is there a point mechanicaly where a group might get too large for the game to support? (I suspect the answer is very followed by no, but figured it couldn’t hurt to ask)

  16. By default, the game is set up for long term play. Advancement is fairly slow and measured. You can tune it for faster advancement, though, if you want to play a short series.

    The core rules support crews up to Tier 3 (you have multiple 40-person teams). The game play is still fun and challenging at that tier though (hanging on to what you have is tough). It’s pretty easy to accommodate Tier 4 play and beyond if you want to get crazy with it, but that’s not what the game is about. Once your Smugglers have a 40-person boat crew, a 40-person gang of thugs, etc. you don’t really need to expand in scale to start trying to dominate in the city.

  17. One detail: The resolution mechanics can handle groups of any size, using the scale differential to modify the effects they have. So, you could resolve a huge battle between two armies if you wanted to. There’s no hard limit to scale in that sense.

  18. So obviously stress and trauma are resource tracks, and Vices are a conditional limiter of sorts (and a fictional flag), but are there ‘traits’ in the classic sense of Fate or BW? Tags that one can invoke for benefit / complication?

  19. Not exactly, no. Vice sort of works that way, in that you use it to clear stress, but it can also cause trouble for you when you overindulge.

    And your character’s Background is a way to get a bonus die, and also a way for the GM to hook you into other people’s problems.

    But there are no exact personality trait mechanics. The way you do goals and beliefs is through the project system when you work on long-term goals and which devil’s bargain dice you decide to take, revealing your character’s true nature — loyal, selfish, reckless, cautious, or whatever.

  20. How easily could this be re-skinned?  Like for a black ops group working for someone who is for all intents and purposes a multi-dimensional god. They would travel to lots of different places, find people, and do lots of bad stuff to them. 

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