Band of Blades AMA

(Stras) #21

@Duan rad :slight_smile: If you want to post about your game at some point, I’d love to hear about it.

(Duan Bailey) #22

It sure does! I can’t wait to see what you do with them. That does raise another question, though: in subsequent campaigns, do you add additional Chosen (and/or Broken) to the existing Legion, or do you only ever have one Chosen / 2 Broken at a time?

Right, I must have heard it on the actual play you did last time. As is becoming a running theme, I’m always up for more lore/options so I’ll keep my eye out for Alice’s work.

Thanks for this answer, but especially for this. I really like learning how people design and how they put some of themselves into their designs. I didn’t get all the references but I appreciate that they helped to make the game feel more full, even though you really just get a brief sketch of the world - at least in the quickstart.

Was studying these things what caused the last Emperor to be killed by a Chosen? Does it have to do with granting immortality in general, or undeath in specific, or is it more encompassing than that?

Thanks again for all the answers :slight_smile:

(David EK Hollins) #23

Hi Stras! I have really enjoyed reading Band of Blades and I cannot wait to see the final version.

One thing I’ve noticed about both Scum & Villainy and Band of Blades is that you like giving playbooks equipment where the use isn’t immediately obvious or isn’t spelled out in the description. Sometimes these are obviously just for character development such as the Mystic or Speaker’s Mementos where they take up 0 load and just represent something from their past. Sometimes they are fine items that aren’t immediately useful such as the Scoundrel’s Fine Coat but you could guess at a situation where they might come in handy. Sometimes they are incredibly useful 0 point Fine techniques such as the Stitch’s Fine Bedside Manner or the Muscle’s Fine Martial Arts Style.

And sometimes they are 100% inscrutable! You have given all Rookies in Band of Blades a “Naive Sense of Hope”. I love this! But I have no idea how I would treat it mechanically. Could it be used as armor like a Ghostbane Charm in Blades in the Dark? Should I destroy it as the GM when I think a Rookie has had a particularly harrowing experience? What do you see these types of equipment as being used for mechanically?

Similarly, what is the point of putting something abstract and ephemeral like a Fine Bedside Manner or Fine Martial Arts as equipment? Is this just a way of getting an extra “power” into a character through the equipment sheet? Could you “lose” a Fine Martial Art? One common consequence I like to inflict in Forged in the Dark games is equipment loss, which doesn’t seem really appropriate here.

(Justin (He/Him)) #24

Not an official answer to your question, I know, but I personally love those choices of gear. They make for really interesting arguments/discussions at the table.

“I really feel my ‘naive sense of hope’ should give me extra effect here!”


I’ll be interested in hearing the official answer, too! On first thought, I’d consider letting the Rookie use it like Armor and allow them to resist an appropriate consequence. I haven’t thought yet if it would be a one-time use or if they could use it again in future missions. :wink:

(Stras) #26

@Duan those hot questions :slight_smile: Let’s do this.

Q1. In the second campaign maybe not, but if we ever make it to the eastern kingdoms there are fronts and theaters of war. Your Chosen leaves you and you fight under whomever runs that particular area, and against whomever is there on the Cinder King’s side. That’s the short answer ^_~ But I hope it whets your appetite.

Q4. Yes. The first and the second are somewhat related. It’s more encompassing, but at this point you might have to wait to find out pieces you’re missing to put the whole picture together ^_~ (But I dunno, you guess pretty well).

(Stras) #27

@Udanchik We do!

Let’s talk about gear! Sometimes, gear is a thing you need in order to function. Like a Heavy probably needs a serious shield and armor right? You give people those things so they can do their jobs, or so they can be better than the common person at their job. You’re not going to hire a Mechanic in SaV to hack on a job, when they don’t have a decent hacking rig. So you give most characters functional gear.

Some character classes are really gear dependent. You can’t be a good muscle without some weapons. So we often have more ideas for their gear than we have room for (we had to cut a couple).

But sometimes you have classes like the Mystic, who don’t depend on their gear. You can MANUFACTURE gear (like focus crystals or some nonsense) but that’s adding gear where it’s neither genre appropriate (yes, clearly Pa’u Zolta Zhann can’t function with 30 griblies that give +10 to some skill or another >_>) nor necessary. However playbook design has these spaces that you don’t want to feel are empty. So let’s talk about the OTHER thing gear does.

We have to communicate setting and character to players in an INCREDIBLY short amount of space. Things like Forgotten Realms bypass this by having 30 novels, and tomes full of world detail that are the size of encyclopedias. We have some genre constraints and references. How do you paint a world in 7 lines with roughly 54 characters per line? A bunch of our decisions are incredibly space constrained (and let me tell you often that’s a challenge).

So what does a typical scoundrel LOOK like? What makes a Rookie a Rookie? Gear is INCREDIBLY flexible. It can be a concept, it can be a skill. It’s painting a world, and what an individual in that world looks and acts like. Mystics have offerings, and simple robes frequently. It says what they look like (they’re not nobles, they’re not dressed in finery) and what they value (not usually the physical) which is a way we can communicate tropes, even if the gear doesn’t actively do much in say a fight.

Finally, you have to realize that designers are not these deep introspective people who change one letter and nod because it speaks to the deep meaning of society. We’re goofballs who love games. We make jokes and have fun. I think our first pass on the Muscle had a weapon in every gear slot, and a weapon in every friend slot. We laughed so very hard, but it was enough for a first playtest. We throw out stuff and polish stuff as we go, but sometimes touches of these jokes remain (see the handgun which is in the friends column).

Sometimes it’s not there for a specific mechanical reason. Sometimes “naive hope” is there because it tells you who a rookie is. And because when they let their friend die in order to survive themselves, all our hearts break when the GM tells them to cross out that line permanently on their sheet. And that’s a powerful moment, without it being special armor, or adding quality to a roll. And we don’t think that removing it for another gun (or worse nothing) is worth it.

Maybe you agree :slight_smile: And if not … … well I often say I design games for me and my table. If others happen to like them GREAT!

I will say though, hearing people rise to the challenge, and use gear that wasn’t obvious is usually a great story though.

@Dissonance We have done this in Pc v Pc arguments, where a rookie tells a commander they LITERALLY refuse to give up hope, and abandon people.

@andurion That’s a cool house-rule.

NOTE: Thanks to everyone chattin’ it up and giving likes to the good questions above :slight_smile: This whole thread’s been super fun.

(Scott) #28

Naive sence of hope is a great set up for a devils bargain or action consequence.

(Duan Bailey) #29

Okay, some questions on Mythology!

  1. Will we ever get more information on the Bartan pantheon? What’s the deal with the blue-skinned goddess?

  2. Will we ever see more information on the Living God? To be clear, it is one entity that happens to Choose multiples at any one time?

  3. Are the Orite gods of civilization all responsible for alchemy, or does that “belong” to only one of them? Will destroying Blighter cleanse alchemy or is it more complicated than that?

  4. Where do the supernatural threats come from? What do the citizens of the world think?

  5. A single God Choosing multiples is rare (which is why it’s noted as unusual that the Living God does it). Is this a hard limit, or just usually not a good idea. Does this speak to the Living God’s power, or overconfidence, or something else altogether?

(Stras) #30

What’s up Duan!

  1. Yes. Third campaign. Assuming you survive you’ll descend into Barta. One of the goals of the game is to get the players to detail what their versions of the kingdoms and their cultures are like … but we’ll do broad strokes kind of like we did with Aldermark in the core book and leave the rest to the tables. So there won’t be a 300-page world-book, but there will be some maps and helpful info to let your game detail more of those lands. That particular goddess has a Chosen ^_~ She was one of the nine that rode out, and unsurprisingly survived.

  2. Yes. It is one entity that Chose a multiple set, once. Though I’ll cheekily ask what you think the Broken are. It’s not dissimilar ^_~

  3. They all have “access” to it, though it’s source is tied to Blighter. One of them has closer ties to clockwork components. One refuses to Choose (don’t tell the Orites this, but I think they might be hiding ^_~).

  4. GOOD QUESTION. People just assume bad shit happens. Giant dragon? Who knows. Hopefully a Chosen will show up. Who can know how such things happen? There are no wizards to study magic. For us the players though—if you look long enough, and hard enough, every supernatural problem in the world can somehow be traced to the gods. Giant dragon? Probably a Chosen corpse rotting in a swamp that some alligator ate. Horrible curse? Eh, probably some earthquake shook it loose from some ancient god war.

  5. Something else. I will say nature. :slight_smile: There are some clues in the book, but this is a big spoiler, so I’m being a little cagey.

(sythmaster) #31

This amuses me in the sense that the gods are merely tech-support and mainly go “uhhhh, oops.” and then start a ticket to resolve said issue. lol. Which… I guess is kind of how most pantheons work, but an amusing change of pace with it.

(Stras) #32

The Legion fights for the Users. (That might be a deep cut sci-fi movie reference >_>)

(sythmaster) #33

CK might have CLU’d into that. :wink: