21 thoughts on “Long term projects in flashbacks”

  1. Mechanically, I’d be resistant to inserting a downtime action in a flashback.

    If you want to do something in a flashback which you later follow up on to turn into a project, that makes sense though.

  2. A bit of a tricky one. Firstly, according to the rules (pg 132) you can perform downtime actions in flashback. So this aught to apply to any downtime action, including starting clocks, so in theory yes. However I do not see much point except in rather specific scenarios, which I would only allow if it the players pulled if off stylishly.

    Two of the best example scenarios I could think up:

    A: The spider or crew’s chessmaster is asked a question and needs to fill up on his spider cred. “‘The Hoard, who are they?’ ‘I’ve been researching the topic but they are quite tricky to pin down, I should have results in a week or so’ (Insert studying flashback) [This one helps keep continuity as well]


    Contact: They have been rather well supplied and their gear is top notch. Are you sure you can handle it?

    Slide: Of course, I’ve been working with some local smiths to upgrade our gear

    (Flashback to start clock)

    Lurk: Naturally I managed to supply them with some quality steel from a…helpful bluecoat delivery

    (Flashback to add to clock)

    Leech: And the specialty liquid tempering solution I devised should ensure the blades withstand even the most rigorous battled.

    (Flashback to finish clock)

    At which point the rule of cool takes over and I would allow it even if the book didn’t

  3. We had downtime action in flashbacks as long as you can pay for them in stress (because it’s a flashback) and in REP and/or COIN (because it’s additional downtime action). We had some cool stories from that as well (mostly aquire the right assets). I would allow LTPs as well, but it may be really hard to complete the clock in one go to make them useful during the score. Maybe having a partial result is already helpful…?

  4. When you pay Coin or Rep to flashback to an additional downtime activity, you’re not really performing a flashback action; you’re flashing back to downtime and purchasing an additional activity. I wouldn’t worry about having them make a lot of sense since the PC is just saying, ‘I did an extra thing during downtime.’ Remember that downtime activities are not “action rolls” and by definition take place in a period where the PC has leisure to do whatever.

    Any one of the activities could be useful if you’re close to a benefit: imagine a PC going back to recover from Harm or a PC doing some extra Training if they’re close to upping an action rating or getting a new ability.

  5. Nathan Pollard, the situation of my friend Mattia Davolio was akin to the one you described in your example A.

    Stefan Struck, I was going to write you the same thing Aron wrote.

    Thanks to everybody, but I think there is another question to discuss: how should we handle partial clock slices?

    I mean: if I requested a flashback in which to start a long term project to gain, let’s say, a vital information, even on a 6 I cannot gain that information, because my clock will be at least partially empty.

    Am I missing something?

  6. Daniele Di Rubbo​ Nope, I don’t think you’re missing anything. Seems you can finish an already-in-progress project though. Or tell someone that you’re working on it and request help/show them the progress, etc. Or purchase another downtime activity to actually finish it.

  7. Daniele Di Rubbo Alternatively as the GM you could simply grant some additional or partial information that reflects the research they are doing. It doesn’t make sense that partial clocks provide nothing when it comes to information (as opposed to say upgrading gear or getting an artifact which partial clocks won’t bring much benefit)

    For example, The crew learns that the horde is going to be attacking a high-profile target in the city. A clock of “Discover where the horde will be ambushing the Target” at 4/8 will at least provide some helpful information such as.

    The horde is a large mass of hollows and likely to gather in large numbers

    The bluecoats caught wind of this attack and have increased watch on the bridges in and out of each district

    The Gondaliers have been acting suspicious ever since this information got out.

    This information can be helpful for planning but not give everything away. Players might suspect the horde will be traveling by waterway and may be in league with the Gondaliers, meanwhile the actual plan is to use corrupt bluecoats to gather the hollows by wagon and the Gondaliers are trying to find any Horde spies or traitors in their ranks. While players might jump to the correct conclusions though deduction or by utilizing their own Gondalier or Bluecoat contact. “Yeah, Griggs been checking up on everyone for shady deals, heard that Aldo got the boot fer smuggling some lotus around” or “I don’t like it, They got Kobb and Grine watching the bridge from nightmarket, nothing good could come of that. Those two are are slimier than river eels.”

  8. You are right, and that approach surely is a good one when your long term project is about getting information. However, if we had another type of project, let’s say to craft something, it’s more all or nothing.

  9. Daniele Di Rubbo Once again, there is alot of wiggle room, which is why this kind of stuff is up to the GM. If the leech had managed to spend his time building a new type of electroplasm bomb, and is able to get up to 7/8 segments, then there is an argument for then being able to utilize it in a mission, albeit with penalties or problems. “Good new, the bomb can detonate, bad news, the timer only goes up to 10 seconds and it likely to take out the entire mansion” or “Yes its complete….mostly. I still haven’t worked out the bug where it pulls the ghosts out of any living thing within 300 meters of the device” Or a simple ‘The device is rather unstable, this will be a desperate action’

  10. I’d love to hear how you would abuse that rule, Rob Donoghue​. The rule is essentially the same as buying an extra downtime activity, which isn’t abusive, afaik.

  11. Mostly with Just In Time assets. And, honestly, it might not end up being abuse, but I’ve steered clear of a number of Spider moves because the timing of asset creation tends to be backwards for me, but if I could create really excellent assets mid-score? Potent

  12. Rob Donoghue That’s the way a spider is supposed to do things, isn’t it :). Honestly, acquiring an asset is the one downtime activity that makes more sense as a flashback than during downtime, especially considering the way Blades handles planning.

  13. I tend to find the problem is less that flashbacks can become Terrifying and more that many players don’t use flashbacks to their full potential (me included) So often correctly using flashbacks gives this illusion of “Nigh abuse” and superb potency.

    I find that the sticking point is usually people forgetting that they can flashback to any point so long as it is sensible and does not contradict existing information. This includes 20 seconds ago when the lurk laid a lasso on the ground and hid in the rafters to batman the guard onto the nearby chandler. Or when the Slide payed off his contact a week ago to infiltrate the mansion’s guards and take over the rout that was passing by your entrance point. Things like that which can fully neutralize a situation with ease and the character’s best skill if your willing to eat the stress.

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