Hey folks. Apologies if this has already been discussed, but I’ve got a question concerning payoff.

Hey folks. Apologies if this has already been discussed, but I’ve got a question concerning payoff.

Hey folks. Apologies if this has already been discussed, but I’ve got a question concerning payoff.

The crew just ran a social/stealth score to locate an unknown, powerful figure that had been causing a lot of trouble for their contacts and turf. The score went super well. Lots of terrifying moments, chase scenes, and new mysteries introduced.

Here’s the thing.

When we finished the score, I couldn’t come up with a good reason to give them coin. Their past several scores yielded huge profits which led to this situation in the first place. Various factions seeking revenge. So it was more of a preventative score in the first place. Which is why we all agreed it didn’t make sense to acquire coin.

So I guess the question is – is it cool not to reward coin when it doesn’t make sense in the fiction? Should I substitute new contacts, gear, turf, etc instead? Just curious what you all would recommend in this situation.

16 thoughts on “Hey folks. Apologies if this has already been discussed, but I’ve got a question concerning payoff.”

  1. Sounds ok to me.

    All I would recommend is to discuss it with the players, but you did that as I understand.

    Would the players not have been ok with it, you could have given them the opportunity for a few flashbacks back into the score again, for example to acquire some blackmail material or steal family jewels or something like that (but it’s the responsibility of the players to get creative here).

  2. I understand coin to be pretty abstract measure of wealth gain rather than an actual, physical treasure of some sort. Would coin in this case not represent the increased wealth generated on the crew’s turf because the source of trouble (the powerful mystery figure) had been removed?

  3. If they wanted coin, they’d go after jobs that yielded coin. Everybody in your group agreed that this one didn’t, so I think you’re good.

    If it concerns you that much, establish whether the job will earn the PCs coin upfront so they know what they’re getting into. Other than that, I think you’re doing what you should be doing.

  4. I’m with Michael Marshal. Pretty sure we’re told very explicitly in the book to never deprive the Crew of Coin for a Score.

    I’ve never treated Coin like a direct representation of what was found/taken/gained on a Score. Instead, an abstract gain in wealth generated in a variety of ways from the Score.

  5. Marcus M I suppose you could do it that way too. Might even make more sense. But the book actually says the following:

    “GM, definitely don’t screw around with the players when it comes to the payoff. Don’t say that the client lied and there’s no reward. Or that the meeting for the payment is actually a trap, or whatever. These types of things are staples of crime fiction, but in Blades, the PCs have enough problems coming at them from every direction already. When it comes to getting paid, just give them what they earned.”

    Now, you could read that as “always pay out Coin for a score,” but I read it as “if the players succeed at a score, give them the thing they were hoping to get out of the score.” Coin is currency and fungible assets, and the PCs are not always after either.

    In the last Blades campaign I played, a PC’s wife and daughter were kidnapped, and our crew ran a score to get them back. We were all very clear with the GM that we wanted to get in and get out with no distractions, and we agreed during the payoff that we wouldn’t have earned any Coin for the job – there was no material gain possible in the time we had. We earned Rep out the wazoo, though, and we got the PC’s wife back. We weren’t cheated out of our reward because we didn’t earn Coin; we got what we wanted.

    The reason I point this out is not to suggest that anyone is “doing it wrong” – quite the opposite, in fact. It shows the strength of Blades’ design that both interpretations of the text work equally well.

  6. Wright Johnson thanks for providing the quote, very far from my books at the moment…

    Granted I haven’t come across many situations in play that wouldn’t warrant Coin legitimately – I haven’t been running it long, but as I see it they’re both at the core metacurrencies that fuel the game engine, and are important to gameplay for various options. And the game phases (Gather info, Score, Downtime, Freeplay) are also story/advancement markers.

    So even a Score (marker point) that wouldn’t logically earn them money in the moment, I’m gonna reward a base level of Coin (2? metacurrency to make the game engine go) to fuel that part of the engine.

    Maybe it represents the more mundane/day-to-day runnings of their “business” that is going on in the background, the tributes from their gang members (if they’re high enough Tier), and when appropriate physical loot taken, fenced, and retained.

  7. Wright Johnson has it. Getting paid isn’t always in coin. Sometimes getting what you wanted out of a score is coin, sometimes coin is a nice extra. Sometimes coin isn’t involved.

  8. I think if there’s an explicit agreement before the score that there was no coin as a reward then there’s no problem. The example of rescuing the kidnapped family seems to fit into this – although it also seems like a good candidate for an entanglement (a reprisal from an enemy for instance) that’s played out using the score planning mechanics.

    But I see coin representing the general increase in wealth as a result of a score. That could be directly because the crew stole a bucket of jewels on the job. But it could also be indirectly – for example, by assassinating the leader of a rival gang, the crew’s street level pushers are now unmolested and free to bring in more cash. The value of the coin may take several weeks to be realized, but for the sake of simplicity we just record it after the job.

    It’s this second example that I think would help solve Jesse W D James’s situation where his group was having trouble justifying coin directly from a score.

  9. Wright Johnson I think that’s the nucleus of the idea. Thank you for summarizing it so elegantly. Either way you take it, the system holds up. I’m so thankful for all the great discussion here, and I definitely see the merit in both approaches. Thanks everyone! I’m glad I now have a balanced perspective on both sides so that my group and I can swing the mechanic in the direction we feel is best for situations that require a judgment call like this.

  10. By the way, there is a game mechanic meant to represent abstract gain in wealth:

    “Every time the crew advances, each PC gets +1 stash (+2 per crew Tier) as a bonus payment, to represent profits generated by the crew as they’ve been operating.”

    That’s why I think that the payoff of a score is all about the hard earned money.

    But, of course, YMMV.

  11. Not disagreeing with Jörg, but I want to get out there something that has come up a lot lately in this community. The PDFs calculate Crew Advancement rewards incorrectly, and the plan is to revise them at some point, but until then it’s just a good thing to know. The actual Stash reward is Tier+2, as per the print book.

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