The crew i’m GM’ing for a blades game built a backstory as wronged sailors, now turned assassins. This led to a conspiracy around a noble house and a series of events unfolding around the players as they investigated the established blood shortage aspect of the starting blades setup. As time went on it seemed an interesting idea to go back in time and build up a “one shot” to play through as some of the noble conspirators that were key to the conspiracy and “play to find out” what happend to ruin so many people’s lives in this journey.
To do this is hacked together several FitD games over a few days and built up a fairly simplistic hack for hunting leviathans. Nothing here is well tested (we’ve had one session so far) and likewise its not something i’m planning on expanding on further beyond a few more sessions of the current campaign to complete the story. That said i thought it would be interesting to put up here and see how others felt, maybe lift some of my ideas and play through your own hack if ever it came up.
Given the source material i decided to set the campaign in a “lost corner” of the world well away from established hunting grounds. The map i built was based on several “islands” many of which are actually sleeping leviathans; some populated with interesting peoples or lost civilizations. I pooled concepts from S&V (such as gambits), and tried out ideas such a crew being realised characters as they are in band of blades (the later proved too much work without some macros to handle adding and removing stress so dropped that). The core blades mechanics are there (as i’m not a paid sub of roll20 to build my own sheets) but expanded some aspects such as finesse for “helm” related activities etc. Below is what i’ve come up with and am using at the moment.
You have a number of resources at your disposal for using, some are burned up in the actions of the day others are used for missions to barter or trade.
- Ingots : acquired sparingly from plunder missions or special missions these are very rare to come by representing a huge value of wealth beyond a “coin”
- Supply : One supply a day and one per operation supply. Supply is often rewarded automatically upon completing a mission. They are specifically found on plunder and diplomacy missions though if running low
- Ship Hull : The hulls of ships are continuously being damaged and repaired. Each ship and the main vessel have hull points that need monitoring in a delicate balance
Blood : used to power vessels (when refined) or traded with villages in diplomacy missions for supply or coin these units are useful but remember over 200 units of blood are required for a successful haul!
Fuel : Bought and sold (or refined on factory ships) this is the only way to get around and is extremely rare to sell given the risk that poses.
- People : Flesh doesn’t grow on trees but is the most expendable resource of them all, if you are privileged enough to not face the chopping block yourself.
The game has a few extra layers with a Fleet consisting of a main vessel. Some types of “main vessel” or “base” were talked about such as “ice breakers” or “factory ships” (which i stole from @John_Harper & @stras one shot on hunting). In addition to a base ship akin to an aircraft carrier i built up a series of different ship types;
- Scout Ship - A small and low staffed crew of scouts and sailors to research a location
- Mining Ship - A heavily manned vessel for mining leviathan blood
- Support Ship - A ship with labourers and workers to load and transport blood to the main vessel
- Combat Ship - A ship solely focussed on killing, whether against villagers or the strange
Ships have different amounts of Hull, Blood Capacity, Fuel Capacity, & Crew Capacity to fit the role they are given. These allow for specific utilities and have a tier to themselves, which became important as they each could perform “Operations” (similar to missions in blades) each day on their own or as a group.
A ship’s complement has different types of crew for very specific jobs;
- Scouts- Used to survey and assess locations, and handy at range but weak to most up close combat
- Warriors - The brute force and muscle of the organisations
- Ghosts - Whispers trained to handle the occult and the protectors of ships form occult incursions
- Miners - Used to mine the blood from leviathans whilst sleeping and manage the “processing” of Leviathan parts of more active ones captured on the hunt
- Labourers - The units used to repair and transport cargo from mining operations and the only reason anyone survives the journey on a long enough timeline
- Sailors - The crew compliments of any ship and needed to steer their way into and out of danger
Note: These all had their own sheets tailored to their own skills rather than use tier (mostly because ships have tier and that didn’t work when moving crew around to suddenly drop two tiers). Likewise crew do not earn XP or take stress in this version as the time sink of managing that for a one shot was too high and really felt i would have to code macros to do that enmass if i did adopt the Band of Blades approach to crew. The crew are listed (including the dead) on a crew sheet for each ship as a number at present.
In lieu of the normal operations there are new operation types: These operations require a number of types of ship to be viable, typically one ship type but some special missions require more than one. Ships can perform one operation per day at the cost of one fuel tick and one supply. The types of operation include;
- Scout - scout out a point of interest to learn more and gain an advantage on future missions here
- Mining – a mission to drain blood from the a leviathan island.
- Assault – Clear Leviathan Followers from a Leviathan island or mindlessly murder villages
- Diplomacy – A mission to meet with village elders and arrange a trade or favour.
- Transport - Move blood from a mining location ship or village to the main vessel (one additional fuel cost)
- Repair - Repair a ship (self) or Repair another ship (requires labourers)
- Recruitment – a mission to press gang recruits for the reserves (requires a ship for transport and attack) and escape without losing all forces
- Plunder - Gather supply from an area, whether a hunting ground or location (requires a ship for transport and attack) and escape without losing all forces
When a ship or group of ships enter into an operation you roll the sum of the tiers of the ships plus any bonuses given by taking these ships with you as defined on the fleet sheet (based on the type of ship each one had some form of bonus for their preferred operation)
In addition to the level of position you enter into the situation it also identifies the structural cost of the operation on your ships
- 1-3 = 1d3+1 Damage to you ship[s]
- 4/5 = 2 Damage to you ship[s]
- 6 = 1d2-1 Damage to you ship[s]
This damage was to simulate the wear and tear of the use of ships on a job and given some operation have no PC’s i wanted to capture the same feel as band of blades when sending off units to fight without being there, and ultimately having some cost to battle. Also note the fuel and supply cost as taken at the point of engagement, regardless of how the operation pans out
If a ship is damaged to the point it completely loses all hull points it cannot sail, and is marooned on the location it was brought to zero hull . You have upto three days to heal a point of hull before the ship sinks . Another ship will have to spend a day repairing it as it cannot repair itself . A four tick clock is provided on the ship stats panel to denote healing ticks using the standard blades healing ticks. A ship with labourers rolls one die for 5 labourers on a ship that is healing itself or another ship .
Remaining crew must be transported to another ship or be lost with the ship if it is not repaired in time.
Rewards vary from the type of operation, and honestly are still the least thought out part of the game given the lack of playtesting but came up with some basic ideas. The idea that a mission ALWAYS pays out one supply if successful was something i factored in to allow progression in this game but isn’t necessary i don’t think.
Note: Populated areas exist on the map and have a population, and a security. Also i added a special aspect to each city (like districts in the blades core rules) such as “-3d for recruitment roles here” to give each location on the map flavour and help me narrate the differences.
3 supply per 100 adults in village
10 people per 100 adults in village ( max 60 people )
Bartering for things can be achieved during a diplomacy mission with the following base rates;
1 ingot for 1 blood
5 supply per ingot
Dice equal to the number of miners + 1 (up to the max capacity of the ship) in ticks of the blood clock, each full 4 tick clock = 1 unit of blood.
Note: a ship full of blood cannot carry more blood and needs to either spend a day transporting blood or have another ship do it (you can mine two days in a row to full capacity with another ship transporting blood)
This area of game i felt least happy with but in short the idea is that the entanglements would ALWAYS cost people; whether it was crew or labourers etc was still in flow but it seemed fair to lose crew regardless of the mission, obviously based on the entanglements roll in the open. I also came up with a few extras for missions like plunder where pirates could surface
PC’s characters get the usual amount of downtime PER DAY but need to scope their downtime action accordingly (as blades it usually considered a week of activity). There is no concept of coin to buy extra downtime actions for PC characters given their frequency.
Ships get downtime equal to the tier of their ship to perform actions;
Additional Repairs : Can attempt to fill a repair clock (once) in a downtime action
Recrew : Refill the ship from the units of personnel on the main vessel (must be nearby)
Move : Can travel a short distance as a downtime action
Remaining downtime actions can be used on the main vessel
Train : A four tick clock can be started to train reserves (press ganged or otherwise)
Repair : The main vessel can be repaired by itself using the labourers on board the vessel (1d per 5 people)
Refine : Turn 6 stacks of blood (1 tick) into three ticks of fuel (distribute as needed across fleet)
As a final note i didn’t make factions for this game as it was supposed to be a one shot now turned a mini campaign for the end of the season of this blades campaign but i would suggest considering building up a faction sheet of villages and pirates perhaps. This is something i might do if we keep playing plast week two.
Having built all of this the game board looked like below with leviathan mining sites marked in red, and villages/cities marked in black. Others exist hiden to players who could find them using diplomacy missions.