Are there any hacks or playsets out there or in the works that tackles a dungeon crawl?

Are there any hacks or playsets out there or in the works that tackles a dungeon crawl?

Are there any hacks or playsets out there or in the works that tackles a dungeon crawl? Does anyone have any thoughts towards how a system like Blades would handle such a scenario?

19 thoughts on “Are there any hacks or playsets out there or in the works that tackles a dungeon crawl?”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I admit I only had the chance to skim it, but I didn’t see anything detailing how you use the Engagement roll. Aside from the Extraction system, are you more or less lifting Engagement from BitD as is?

  2. Short answer: Engagement is mechanically the same. Access to each dungeon is controlled by various factions and you engage with a factions defenses to get into the zone. All this is discussed on page 10.

    Slightly Longer Answer: Something that isn’t discussed really well is what exactly are you engaging with when you roll engagement? It’s the troops, traps, watchtowers, protective spirits, etc. that the faction you are going through to get into the dungeon. In the next iteration of the beta each zone will have the controlling faction’s defenses listed and players choose a specific one to engage with, then they pick a plan, and proceed as normal.

  3. Thanks for the pointing out the page number, Dylan! Zooming in on my phone screen, I probably missed a lot on my first pass. I really like the way the factions interact with the

    One last question (no promises): How heavily do you focus on combat while running this, and how does that gel with the gameplay loop? I ask because it seems like Blades was designed to cut out the excessive combat that tends to slow down a lot of RPGs (by skipping the boring stuff and cutting to the exciting parts), but I feel like there should be a way to effectively focus on combat. Is it possible to make chewing through mobs fun and interesting?

    I really want to do something heavily influenced by the punishing combat of the Dark Souls games, but I’m hesitant to try and force the system into something it seems like it was designed to avoid.

  4. Well, I don’t really have players chew through a lot of mobs. Harm and stress stack up fast and I run the game in a world where being outnumbered/out manuvered is pretty bad (First you take harm, then they kick you to the ground and knock your weapon aside. Do you want to resist any of those? Then, what do you you?)

    So players have to be pretty tactical about how they aproach combat. Running in an hacking away at a group will probably get you killed (or at least trauma).

    With that in mind, combat becomes a series of moves to take tactical advantages. Last time my Widowmaker used their shield to drive a fire elemental back to the edge of a cliff. This was a skirmish move that destroyed their shield and they took level 2 harm before the rolll.

    This is important because it wasn’t a hit to deal HP damage, it was a move for tactical positionng. The player wanted something specific and they payed the price and then made the roll. It went well and they drove the fire elemental back. They resisted the harm and sacrificed their shield.

    Then they did a teamwork move to hit the thing with frostfire oil and solidify it. Then a move to throw it over the cliff. That “fight” took about 5-6 rolls between setups, flashbacks, and action rolls. This means combat is more about HOW you leverage the fiction to win the fight rather than just grinding away on your foes.

    If your players just turned a corner and ended up in a mass of 5 goblins or whatever they would be very rapidly out numbered and suffer severe harm and compromises….

    Then again… There’s Resistence… so they could resist that and have one cool moment of badassery. But they better make good on it because they are going to be surrounded again on the next concequence.

    Does that answer your question?

  5. Yes, that’s very helpful. It’s actually closer to Souls combat than what I was envisioning, because in those games it’s always easier to take on enemies one at a time and taking on multiple enemies often leads to failure. Then again, while failure and death in a Souls game can mean a loss of progress, you always revive at the bonfire so it’s not like taking severe harm in Blades…

    I think that’s enough for me to chew on for now! Thanks for indulging me!

  6. Sure. Real quick, I would add that this isn’t a Souls game. There are real concequenes for failure. You don’t just lose your Souls and then make another go…

    Except… there’s resistance. And Trauma.

    It can be a game about “does your character survive” but it’s more a game about “How long will your character stick with this life and will they find something greater than taking any dirty job for coin.”

    So the conequences the fact that there are real costs to your actions (not just the loss of XP) is a feature in my mind. It’s why I play RPG’s. I like the fact that I can lose or win something. I like having skin in the game.

    So the fact your character can really lose makes it very satisfying for me.

    That being said, you can adjust these things pretty easy. Make softer harm moves (Let resistance cancel harm entirely, instead of just move it down a notch. Deal lower level harm.). Still the cost of tomb robbing on the tomb robbers will remain, it will just be slower and easier to stave off.

  7. I get it, but I may have been unclear that I’m asking from the standpoint of wanting to hack Blades in to something resembles a Souls game. I wasn’t sure if something combat focused was viable with this system, but it looks like you’ve done a pretty good job with it. Actually, looking at my original post I definitely did not make that clear. I guess I was just testing the waters.

    But the more I’ve thought about it the better a fit it seems. Stress is easily interchangeable with Stamina. Trauma can be refit into levels of hollowing. I’ll have to retool how harm works but it shouldn’t be too complicated. The gameplay loop established in BitD will probably have to drastically change to reflect the different consequences of death and failure, so that’s my biggest focus at the moment.

    I was thinking that rather than a Crew, there could be a variety of Hub areas to choose from that might change the flavour of the world and offer different upgrades in the form of NPCs and vendors that show up after clearing districts and defeating bosses. The districts and hub upgrades will be represented by an interconnected tech tree reminiscent of the intricate level design of Souls game.

    I’ve got a few pages of notes on the go in a Google doc, maybe I’ll share it when it starts to come together a little more.

  8. So you should look at the way dungeons work in BAD. Each of the game’s dungeons is a “zone” in the larger world and you enter through a faction. After that its a crawl to the job site where you actually need to do the thing.

    Now, that being said, I think borrowing elements from the core game’s “claims grid” is an interesting idea. Permanently clearing out a hex of troubles, and having that provide strategic rewards in the campaign… that’s interesting. You could also make it so you don’t have to crawl through those hexes again…

    Now the easiest way to do that would just be put a clock on a hex. Let the players fill that clock by taking actions and when it’s full, then it’s cleared (in reality this would probably need to be a series of linked clocks each with specific effects).

  9. Regarding Dark Souls specifically, the Widowmaker is kinda supposed to be a DS character. The next iteration plays more heavily on this, but I’m curious about your thoughts on Hollowing. I’ve never really understood the pros/cons or fiction. I’ve played Bloodborne lots, but not the souls games specifically.

  10. Mechanically speaking, hollowing means lower HP and the inability to summon or be invaded (excluding DS3, where it’s way different). In the fiction hollows are described as undead who have lost their minds, memories, and will to retain their humanity. An undead can stave off or reverse hollowing by burning humanity, which is a consumable item in game but also obtained through defeating bosses, invaders, or offering up your own summon sign to help out in another player’s world. Some clever folks have equated hollowing in the narrative to players in the real world who have given up on the game due to its difficulty.

    Hacking Trauma into Hollowing isn’t going to be a 1:1 conversion. The variety and RP significance won’t be there, and to fit the setting there should be a way of reducing levels of Hollowing. It should be more difficult than simply burning through a consumable item, I’m thinking it’ll have to relate to pursuing one’s humanity rather than just “eating” it. Maybe each level of Hollowing has a clock tied to it, and defeating bosses and helping NPCs contributes to the clock and once it’s filled you unhollow just a little. And new PCs will definitely start out with a level or two of hollowing already.

    I wasn’t really thinking of “clearing” hexes, but more along the lines of learning the enemies and the lay of the land to the extent that areas are no longer challenging. But yeah mechanically it’s the same thing. XP triggers are going to be things like “Overcame a challenge that was previously overwhelming”, “Approached a challenge with a new technique”, “Learned through failure” and stuff like that.

    Man, I really like the idea of adding clocks to hexes. That really conveys the attrition of Dark Souls. I don’t think the districts will be quite as large as BAD, but some of the larger areas could have 2-3 hexes, each with their own progress clock. I think the most important thing will be the web of interconnectivity between them. For the dungeon crawl aspect I’m considering some Score types like in Blades, but as “Runs” instead. You could commit to a Boss Run if you just want to tackle the boss of the area and skip the mobs, or Explore to uncover shortcuts or Farm if you’re just looking for loot and souls.

    Souls are separate from XP. They’ll replace Coin and you can send them to your Stash to increase Soul Level rather than lifestyle. In the Dark Souls narrative, powerful beings are drawn to consume Souls because they increase in power the more they consume. The reason many enemies and bosses are giants compared to the PC is because they are literally engorged with Souls. Soul Level is going to have a larger mechanical role than Lifestyle, like maybe the number of dots you can assign to each action rating is dictated by Soul Level. That seems somewhat difficult to make work though, I wouldn’t want players to find that they can’t use their XP because their Soul Level is too low, or they max out their Soul Level too easily and have nowhere to go. It’ll take some balancing.

    I only just got a PS4 so I’ve only a few bosses deep in Bloodborne, but I really like its variations on the Souls formula so far. I’m gonna build this hack using all the concepts and vocabulary from DS to keep it focused but at some point I’ll probably go through it and create a whole new setting and change up the nouns and everything. It’ll be Dark Souls and Bloodborne in spirit only.

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