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blades in the dark (take 2)

 
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:31 pm    Post subject: blades in the dark (take 2) Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The last Blades in the Dark thread got crapped on, so I'd like to bring it up again to see if anyone else has picked it up found anything useful in the rules, never mind the setting.

Now, this might be nothing new to Fate users. I'm not educated about Fate specifically. I just got a copy of BitD and one aspect of the rules that struck mean as particularly interesting was how attributes are derived.

There are three: Insight, Prowess and Resolve. From a D&D perspective, this would be: [INT], [STR,DEX,CON],[WIS]. CHA might fall into Insight or Resolve.

Instead of Attributes feeding a bonus to related skills, the depth of skills the character possesses determines the magnitude of their Attributes.

Looking at Prowess, there are four skills: Finesse, Prowl, Skirmish and Wreck. A character with 4 dots in Skirmish is an excellent combatant, but has a Prowess rating of 1, indicating he's a one-trick pony. Having a single dot in all four skills means the character has a Prowess of 4 and while effectively average in all skills, has a superior Attribute.

This method of deriving Attributes relies on equal numbers of skills being assigned to each one. Not all games can do that well, I suppose. All the WOD games have skill symmetry as well as After Sundown. Skill symmetry seems like a good thing to promote Attribute equality.

Reversing the relationship between Attributes and Skills takes away Attributes as a speed bump for skill improvements. Doesn't Shadowrun treat your Attribute as a cap on skill dots? On the surface, this doesn't seem like a bad thing. You can very easily create a Kaylee Frye type idiot-savant. Not that's she's specifically an idiot, but rather average intellectually, yet gifted when it comes to engineering.

I think that it works for Blades in the Dark because skills are just activities within the Fiction, meaning that the skill to be used is based on the desired result and not the specific activity. If you're trying to smash a door down, you use Wreck. If you're trying to ring the bell at the carnival to impress a girl, you would use Sway. If the character has a full investment in the Prowess skill set and no pips in Resolve, his ability to Sway the girl is not going to be as easy as a Face type character. This can stretch believably to breaking points for me, but I admit I'm trying to find an example where my initial reaction to the way the game works is negative.

Another aspect of Attributes is that they're only used for Saving Throws. All actions in the game are covered by skills. You wouldn't use Prowess to bend bars/lift gates. You'd probably use the Wreck skill because you're wrecking the gate's ability to deter passage.

Are there any games that never fall back to Attributes for task resolution? Is this only possible in games where skills are less discreet competencies in tangible activities and more the desired outcome of character intentions?
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Antariuk
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Why are you talking about Fate? Blades is an Apocalypse World offshoot.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Antariuk wrote:
Why are you talking about Fate? Blades is an Apocalypse World offshoot.


I dunno. I thought it was more Fate based because it is published by Evil Hat? It reminded me more of Torchbearer as far as play structure. It also uses dice pools, instead of 2d6. Classes referred to as Playbooks should have been a warning I suppose. Your reply makes me feel like I just found a vein in my hotdog.
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:37 pm    Post subject: Re: blades in the dark (take 2) Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Harshax wrote:
All the WOD games have skill symmetry as well as After Sundown.


One thing...

This is factually wrong. World of Darkness is infamous for skill creep in it's expansions. I don't remember if NWOD had skill creep or not, because I couldn't be bothered to plop 50 bucks down for any expansion books, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could find new skills in nWOD splats.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:53 pm    Post subject: Re: blades in the dark (take 2) Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

TheFlatline wrote:
Harshax wrote:
All the WOD games have skill symmetry as well as After Sundown.


One thing...

This is factually wrong. World of Darkness is infamous for skill creep in it's expansions. I don't remember if NWOD had skill creep or not, because I couldn't be bothered to plop 50 bucks down for any expansion books, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could find new skills in nWOD splats.


Fuck. Too much coffee? Too little whiskey? This thread is going to get crapped on, deservedly, because I am not getting any of my facts straight this morning.
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mostly unrelated, but Twilight 2000 also had an inverse relationship between attributes (which were randomly rolled) and skill points. I thought it was kind of a neat idea at the time.
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amethal
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Harshax wrote:
Antariuk wrote:
Why are you talking about Fate? Blades is an Apocalypse World offshoot.


I dunno. I thought it was more Fate based because it is published by Evil Hat?
If I'm remembering correctly, the Kickstarter was originally an independent project, but when it started hitting serious delays the author brought in Evil Hat to get things back on track.

(Which is all too rare with Kickstarters, so I definitely want it to be true.)

Anyway I have no idea how close it is to Apocalypse World, but it ain't a Fate game.
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:37 am    Post subject: Re: blades in the dark (take 2) Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Harshax wrote:
Are there any games that never fall back to Attributes for task resolution?

Define "attribute". In a previous thread, I said: "an attribute is a value you use for resolving skill checks when no other more specific skill applies". So using that definition, every game that has "attributes" will use them for task resolution; it's a tautology.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I phrased that poorly. It was clear I was having a tough day.

The games I'm most familiar will almost invariably come out and say that the skill list won't cover every conceivable action a character can make and/or that it isn't suitable for activities that 'should' default to natural talent (Attribute). Most games like this default to the Attribute if the player doesn't possess the required Skill.

Strength is a perfect example of this. In D&D, you can't improve raw muscle through training. You can't take a packbearer skill to increase your load limit or attend a safety-in-the-dungeon seminar and learn to lift gates with your knees. Despite this, you can learn to better climb, jump and swim.

Blades in the Dark doesn't make any of these declarations. All activities are covered by Skills. If you don't possess the Skill, you're SOL unless you take on various Stresses or other Deals with the Devil to temporarily add to your dice pool.* Attributes aren't actively tested as far as I can tell, ever. They're only used for Saving Throws to avoid trauma.

Being Strong in BitD only matters if that's how you see your character resolving tasks. If you want to get past a gate, you could Wreck it with Strength, Demolitions, Acid and presumably Demons. Regardless the Fiction, you're using the Wreck Skill. There is no discreet measurement of Strength as the capacity for lifting, throwing, hitting or Wrecking. In fact BitD explicitly states that the MC does not dictate the Skill to be used to resolve the conflict in the game. The MC is supposed to use the Player's own description of a character's action to determine which skill to use.

With that, you don't have any discreet Attributes in BitD, so you can't fall back on them for task resolution.

EDIT: All actions default to 2d6 take lowest value if you don't possess a Skill. You can still invoke Deals with the Devil to improve your Dice pool. As soon as you add +1d the dice rolls becomes a standard roll and you are no longer required to take the lowest die.

amethal wrote:

Anyway I have no idea how close it is to Apocalypse World, but it ain't a Fate game.


I took the comparison to AW at face value. After some searches and being previously aware of Bear World, I would say comparing BitD to AW is False.

From what I gather, this game uses Clocks, which appears to be a AW concept. It also uses the Succeed; Success, but ...; and Fail Dice Interpretation Method, so that seems like 2 similarities with AW. Unlike the flat 2d6, BitD uses Dice Pools. So, without wasting time and money on AW, I can't do further comparison.


Last edited by Harshax on Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:34 pm; edited 3 times in total
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JigokuBosatsu
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I like the Clocks. Send me a barrelfull!
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Antariuk
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Harshax wrote:

I took the comparison to AW at face value. After some searches and being previously aware of Bear World, I would say comparing BitD to AW is False.


Harshax wrote:

So, without wasting time and money on AW, I can't do further comparison.



Well, I didn't 'compare' BitD to AW, I said it was an offshoot. If and how much it still resembles its ancestor is a different question. This link here, if you haven't seen it already, might be useful. It's a pretty comprehensive overview of the system.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I like the clocks too.

One of the conceits of this game is that all rolls are done by the players, which had me struggling with how to handle villains or minor bosses. A player's roll handles both the result of their efforts and the response of their adversary.

I just wrapped my head around using clocks as a method for cornering and finally defeating reoccurring villains. Just set a 'Defeat Calmitous Clerd' as a clock to track when a villain's defenses and backup escape plans are finally defeated. Minor bosses could be 4 ticks and major ones could be 8 or 12 ticks.

Using clocks like this gives The MC a tool to grant the equivalent of Hit Points to important antagonists, so that a success or critical doesn't completely run out important NPCs directly encountered during Scores.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Antariuk wrote:

Well, I didn't 'compare' BitD to AW, I said it was an offshoot. If and how much it still resembles its ancestor is a different question. This link here, if you haven't seen it already, might be useful. It's a pretty comprehensive overview of the system.


Your initial reply likened BitD to AW and that's a comparison. I don't see it. The mechanics of AW that has always bothered me is hilariously lampooned in Bear World. From my initial reading I don't think BitD has this problem but I admit that I don't know AW directly.

This blog reads like they are comparing their favorite thing to BitD and trying to draw a universal constant for all the things they like. I don't care. BitD has some legitimately good things despite its similarities to Talislanta's narrative mechanic.

EDIT: Watching some Rollplay and the designer compares BitD dice evaluation superficially to AW. So there's that.


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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

How do they do arms and armor, does it matter if you have a rapier vs an axe
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hogarth
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Harshax wrote:

Your initial reply likened BitD to AW and that's a comparison. I don't see it. The mechanics of AW that has always bothered me is hilariously lampooned in Bear World. From my initial reading I don't think BitD has this problem but I admit that I don't know AW directly.

I think the comparison between "success with complications" to "success with Bears" is pretty obvious.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
How do they do arms and armor, does it matter if you have a rapier vs an axe


This is a bit of a ramble, because I'm still reading the rules.

At the start of each Score, each character determines their load. Load is light, medium or heavy. Load determines the number of items that a character might have in their possession during a score. I say might, because you declare items only when you need them.

BitD is all about the retcon. Every character is a professional scoundrel. If you're faced with a safe to crack, your character would have known ahead of time about the obstacle and brought thieves tools with them. If you need forgeries to get past a checkpoint, this would have been part of your plan in the first place. If you don't have the proper equipment, you'll have to figure out a different action to use or have your action suffer a reduced effect.

Effect can be Great, Standard or Limited and this is where having a rapier or an axe matters. If you're fighting a lightly armed opponent, neither will be particularly more effective. Against an armored opponent, a rapier might only have a limited effect. If you have neither and are trying to fight bare-knuckled, then your effect might be reduced against an armored opponent. If you're using a better quality weapon, then you might have Great effect. If you're trying to make it look like someone died in a duel, then axe wounds might look suspicious - it will be effective in killing your opponent, but the consequence might be additional Heat taken during the Score.

I'm not quite sure how armor works. In fact, the answers above only made sense after I asked elsewhere how equipment actually works. Armor comes in three varieties: standard, heavy or special. Armor works like one-use NOPES to resist a complication resulting from your actions. If you get a partial success or fail a skirmish, the complication could be a wound and armor could be used to resist it. Heavy armor is just two nopes during the Score. Special armor are class-specific kung-fu moves to avoid non-injury-related consequences. Like, the Face class can spend special armor to resist Suspicion or Persuasion or get a bonus die toward subterfuge actions. If you have the Special Armor ability for your class, you always have one Nope with you for that purpose.

Load can be 3, 5 or 6 and armor takes up a lot of slots (2 or 3). The Cutter doesn't have a Special Armor ability, but they can take a one that increases their load limit by two, which allows them to have armor and access to other items during the score. All classes have the ability to take a Special Ability from a different class, which is effectively multiclassing. This can be done right out of the gate, so if you're playing a Fighter/Mage, you can take the Whisper's Special Armor ability to resist supernatural consequences.

Resists nullify consequences. Resists normally cause stress. Stress is Hit Points and while Stress can be reduced during downtime, cumulative stress causes permanent trauma that eventually leads to your character developing crippling PTSD and retiring from the life of a Scoundrel. So Armor is a very useful.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hogarth wrote:
Harshax wrote:

Your initial reply likened BitD to AW and that's a comparison. I don't see it. The mechanics of AW that has always bothered me is hilariously lampooned in Bear World. From my initial reading I don't think BitD has this problem but I admit that I don't know AW directly.

I think the comparison between "success with complications" to "success with Bears" is pretty obvious.


Yeah, it sort of looks that way. The only difference being that there seems to be good structure around determining the complication. BitD has these results, based on the highest result from your pool.

6,6 (at least two sixes) - Critical success. What you tried to do and some. (No bears)
6 - success (No bears)
5 or 4 - partial success, but consequence (Bear?)
1 - 3 - Fail (consequence) (Definitely Bears)

Consequences shouldn't nullify the success and the book (and Rollplay examples) illustrate that consequences can be Reduced Effect, Stress, Injury, Increased Heat from a Score, the creation or advancement of a progress clock or a new obstacle. I've been on the look out for an example similar to the excerpt from AW where someone tried to kill a guy and succeeded, but his complication retconned the guy escaping.
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Guts
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hi there. Playing/Gming an ongoing game of Blades. It's a hella fun game. Will try to answer some questions based on my play experience.

OgreBattle wrote:
How do they do arms and armor, does it matter if you have a rapier vs an axe

It depends. As Harshax explained, combat is a matter of Effect and Position. And those are dependant on some factors like Weapon Quality, the situation at hand, etc. Usually facing an equal opponent means Default Position and Effect. An Standard Effect is enough to take out a mook. But if you're against a more skilled opponent, the GM may draw a clock of 4 segments (or more). In this case a Standard Effect ticks 2 segments, while a Limited ticks 1, and a Great Effect ticks 4.

The skill to use is dependant on Position. A Rapier may call for a Finesse roll while an Axe for a Skirmish roll. If you're against half dozen opponents you may start at Desperate Position. If you have a long Estoc and your opponent has a knife, you may start at Controlled Position. Position affects your chance of succeeding and severity of complications.

Armor works by reducing the Harm from an enemy by one level for each tick. Usually the GM defines the Harm level (Severe, Normal, Light), and you can "spend" the armor pts in you sheet to reduce it. Different classes may have special armor that works against other types of threats (Eg: The Lurk armor works against being spotted/identified while on a mission). One important thing to note is there are no default "Damage Codes" for weapons here, so an enemy with a Dagger may pose a Severe Harm on a situation (stabbing you in the back), and a Light Harm on another (scratching you in the arm).

Antariuk wrote:
Why are you talking about Fate? Blades is an Apocalypse World offshoot.

Yes it's pretty much a descendant of Powered by the Apocalypse games. Player-driven, GM never rolls dice for NPCs, success with complications, considerable amount of improvisation, etc. I find Blades more structured than most PbtA games though, which may be a good or bad thing depending on where you fall on the line.


Last edited by Guts on Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:05 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

My reading of the rules disagrees with Guts answer:

Position doesn't have any effect on your chance of success. You always succeed on a 6. Position seems to determine the severity of a failure. A Controlled Position indicates that your failure is minor, Risky Position might cause an injury and advance a clock, Desperate Position has the worst outcome for any failed attempt.

The relationship between skill and position is the opposite what Guts described. The skill to use is precisely what the Player's stated intent is. If you say you're Skirmishing with a guard then you make a Skirmish check, whether you're doing so with a rock or estoc or axe. There might be a better skill to use, but that skill will be determined by how the player describes their action and what they're trying to accomplish.

Trying to Sway an Elite Bodyguard who caught you walking out of the treasury with a bag of the king's gold to ignore you and let you move along might be a Desperate position, depending on what's transpired already. If you flashback to when you stole a uniform, then maybe it's only a Risky position, if you have a forgery of an official seal in your equipment, then the position may even be Controlled.
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Guts
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You're right about Position, Harshax. I stand corrected. Though a failed Controlled Position roll allows for a new roll on a Risky one, so Position may influence on your chances, in this very specific case.

And about the usage of skills, in practice we found out the GM ended up being the final adjudicator, because everytime a player states an action using a skill that the GM consider innapropriate (and thus, a Desperate Position) the player give in and ask what's the most appropriate skill anyway. Maybe it works differently for you.

One point we didn't love was the fiddliness of some downtime actions and how the clock-ticking for them are so disparate in some cases. We wanted it to be more unified and simple, as the rest of the rules. But well, nothing is perfect and the game rocks anyway.


*Edit: Edited for clarification.


Last edited by Guts on Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:25 am; edited 12 times in total
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Guts
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Coming back from another session, one thing I like in the game is how it maps (in a easy manner) a relatioship web between your crew and the city's factions, and assures with each score you step over somebody's toes, generating a snowball of complications and entanglements. This would work wonders for urban campaigns like Shadowrun, Vampire, Planescape, etc.

edit: By the way, there is this Powered by the Apocalypse game by Blades's author called The Regiment (link), which is basically the precursor to Blades. I never played it but it's possible to see where ideas like Stress, Engagement Rolls, etc. came from.


Last edited by Guts on Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:57 pm; edited 7 times in total
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