Blades Against Darkness

(Kris Green) #41

No questions, just enthusiasm. I love the cut down action dice, and I love what you’ve done with resistance. I’m looking forward to trying out the quickstart as soon as I can put a group together.


Okey, I had a short one-shot session with my group because one of my regular players couldn’t make it for tonights game.
Short introduction: I started this group with BitD but we went on to other gaming systems because it didn’t click. Huge part of that was me struggling to GM BitD with no real prior GMing experience and no real feeling for how the game should work either. We tested some other things and settled on Into the Odd and stuch with that the last couple of months.

Nevertheless I was eager to see if out experience with a FitD game would be different now.
My players were up for it and I tried my best to create a scenario on short notice. I used some dungeon creation tables from the Freebooters on the Frontier playtest coupled with the guidlines on scenario creation in Blades against Darkness and sent my players to explore the Floating Archives.

Character creation was fast, they loved the flavor of the playbooks, the Chimera especially.
I had brewed up a little conflict inspired by quickstart. The Silver Flame needed some notes on divination from a secret library in the Archive. The Strychnine Syndicate was trying to get as much loot out of the newly discovered site as possible and was ready to defend their right to plunder. Finally some plants in the Archive’s herbatorium had mutated and had turned the whole Archive into a semi-organic structure with some non-euclidean spaces for good measure. The plants had also developed the ability to see into the future (because of strange divination experiments) and were trying to avert an apocalypse they had seen in their vision.

As we started playing I noticed that I had some real difficulties switching from my more prep focused playstayle to the more collaborative nature of FitD. I tried my best to adapt and in the end it worked out okey. We had some good fun, but I handwaved much of the mechanics so sadly I can’t comment much on them. They had to deal with a sniper from the Syndicate and an labyrinthine wood as well as an half lion half plant monster which the chimera swiftly consumed. They got their notes and hurried out of there, happy to tell the tale.

I liked the different format of the action roll, which catered to the playstyle I was familiar with from the OSR inspired game I’ve been running. And I really appreaciate the concrete advise for prepping a game in the GM section. There was one minor confusion about how the inventory for armor works for the chimera with the skin as armor variant of the Twisted special ability.

I’m excited to see how Dylan will go forward with BAD and the players voiced support for hacking some of the more abstract Downtime mechanics into our maingame so I’m grateful that I got some new ideas I can think about.

Hope this helps a little :sweat_smile:

(Dylan Green) #43

There’ve been some minor changes to both the GM packet and the Quick Start Kit including the addition of the art!

A couple of questions for you:

How low did people’s resistance values go? In my tests people rarely get below 3d, and I’m considering shortening the ladder by one unit.

How did declaring gear and the slots work for you? Was there any confusion about what the time requirements for the different slots were? Did people feel that they had tactical choices about where to store stuff and leaving some slots unfilled? If you had confusion where was it?

How did Action Rolls work for you guys? Were the positions clear? Did people do much trading position for effect and if so was it clear how to do so?

Did you feel comfortable developing a job? Was there any advice for how to set up that you wish you had?


Hey I played this a couple of weeks ago in two one-shot sessions with two separate groups. We had a lot of fun playing in the setting and both the squads had more trouble dealing with the stress and trauma than actually getting hurt by any demons.

The action rolls, declaring gear and armor worked great and caused tension with having enough space to escape with the treasure.

My players had trouble remembering what their special armor protected them from and when to declare it.

Resistance values never got below 3d and one session I had a player burn all their Stress and go out from Trauma. Is it your intention to have the resistance rolls approach 0 near the same rate as stress? In our experience the stress racked up far quicker from resisting, assisting and harm.

We had a lot of fun. Playbooks are great. I would love more direction on how to make jobs. It’s been a while since I read the GM packet, but I remember it almost clicking but I just couldn’t get there.

(Dylan Green) #45

@C_Santee Hey thanks for the feedback and welcome to the forums.

The whole resistance/stress thing is something I’m working with right now and that’s why I’m looking for some feedback. My experience is similar to yours. Resistance values never get very low, but Stress is still topping out. Personally, this isn’t a problem flavor wise. Getting out by the skin of your teeth is the goal. But it doesn’t seem that Resistance is driving that.

Regarding GM advice, what specifically did you struggle with?


The never went further than 3d. But I wasn’t perticulary harsh with consequences (most of them were combat related and they all had heavy armor)

Declaring gear worked great. The players were familiar with the procedure from BitD and took to the time requirements easily. The only question that came up was how declaring armor works for a chimera with the Twisted special ability and the power stored in her skin. The text says that her hide now counts as armor. I ruled that she could additionally declare heavy armor on a Slung slot without normal armor in Packed.

After talking things through with you on Discord it was intuitive and fluid. I think it caters nicely to my more OSR shaped sensibilites.

I tried combining the procedures for job development with some random tables from other products to give myself some interesting creative input to play with. Which led to interesting developments. One thing I struggled with was travel between the nodes. i’m normally running a dungeon crawl focused game with my group and wasn’t comfortable with switching from an explicit representation of space to a more abstract one.

(Dylan Green) #47


I’m going to test a change to resistance on my end. I’m going to experiment with just giving a pool of dice and just letting people roll however many they want. Probably something like 8-10 dice. That should be enough to do a couple resistance rolls, but still have resources run out OR do more rolls at fewer dice and lean on stress.

I’m considering changing Resistance a little:

6 you avoid the concequence entirely
4/5 you reduce the concequence
1-3 you take the full concequence.

With this you could actually get rid of Stress and just have resistance dice. Things that cost stress now would either cost resistance dice or have a concequence. This streamlines the mechanics further, but it also means the game is no longer really compatible with the core game. So I have mixed thoughts…

Twisted and Armor:

Based on your feedback I added an armor symbol to the playbook near Twisted. It was intended as armor that didn’t require a slot.

Navigation Rolls:

Yeah, I might need to explain that more. It’s not intended that every movement through the dungeon should require a roll. Sometimes it’s perfectly fine to explore part of the dungeon in old school room by room style. You can use it when the players want to get somewhere specific and but the path there isn’t perfectly understood.

We know we need to get to the old library in the East wing of the manor to get the book. We are here in the East wing, but we don’t know exactly where the library is…

Rather than going brute Force room by room until you find the library, you can roll to find the thing you want. On a 6 you get there and probably get know what’s in store before it knows you’re there. On a 4/5 you get there, but you’re in the thick of it. On a 1-3 you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is to avoid a lot of fumbling around through corridors and rooms until you find the thing you want. It saves the GM from having to build dozens of rooms or figuring out when is the right time to have them get where they should.

Once your in the library, you can zoom in and do more detailed exploration. Here things get more old-school. You can have hidden doors and multiple rooms. Like a small dungeon of 3-5 rooms. Then when you want to go to the clock tower or whatever it’s another navigation roll to another micro- dungeon.

Does that make sense?

That being said, if you’re comfortable with a more old school approach and enjoy it, use that! This was a tool I developed because I find the prep required for that daunting and sometimes I find the moment to moment play exhausting.

Also! I have set up a Discord for the game:

Not a lot of action there yet, but since I’ve had a couple of people contact me there I figured I’d make it public.

PS: also probably going to get rid of Thews, Wits, and Charm and return to dots or points. Figuring out how many dice to roll is cumbersome.