Borrowing from Blades

Possibly could have been in the blades category, but I am thinking about other RPGs, and what bits of blades you have borrowed to make them better?

A couple of examples from my own play is adding flashbacks and group actions to lasers and feelings - as a John Harper RPG it seems a good fit, and having extra mechanics in your back pocket to keep things moving is the kind of flexible GMing that micro RPGs need in my opinion.

A more general thing is the use of clocks. I’ve added these when running Dungeon World, but then that has soft moves that lend itself to clocks as BitD and DW are blood relations.

I’m interested if anyone has made use of other mechanisms, perhaps moving them further afield to D&D or other systems :slight_smile:

1 Like

The biggest takeaways from Blades that I’ve used in other games

  • Use of clocks - I’m in a Tiny d6 Space Opera campaign whose DM (Danger Master???) uses clocks for some functions such as spaceship battles or chases. It works pretty well.
  • Faction Clocks/Charts - This is something I want to play with when I’m running a hack of Blades down the road that casts the players as henchmen of a supervillain/mad scientist. It seems like a great way to keep track of the machinations of evil peoples.
  • Stress and trauma - In the Tiny d6 game we’ve talked about transitioning in a future game to more of a stress and trauma economy rather than straight hit points. Perhaps this is not a Blades creation (I’ve never played it’s forebear, Apocalypse World) but it opens up more options than the traditional hit point method.
  • The flexibility - The biggest thing that I want to incorporate going forward is moving away from GM-centered stories and cast the players in more of an equal footing in the story telling. D&D still seems to have an adversarial relationship between DM and players baked into it. Or at the very least, the DM being opaque and mysterious about their plans until they are revealed. Having played Blades and seen how things can go differently, I see a different future for the games I GM.

Clocks, having several threads running and grabbing the one that sticks out at the time. Using random tables a lot :smile:


Everything listed here :smiley: Clocks most heavily, but all of this goes into my running other rpgs now too!


This is big, so maybe it’s not what you mean, but, BitD has the best downtime cycle of any RPG I’ve seen so far. Ars Magica may be the only other game I know of that has a similar downtime character cycle. For a long time, this has been a big issue for me, because while other games have downtime rules, they’re tacked on, and boring to both players and the DM. D&D is a perfect example of that. Most people don’t use D&D’s downtime rules, and for good reason: they’re not fun.

There’s something about downtime that’s a bit intrinsically tedious. It’s always a bunch of bookkeeping. The problem with ignoring it is that you have these weirdly short character arcs, in which PCs go from being nobody to being heros in an oddly short timespan. Weren’t you that random guy in tavern I saw two weeks ago? No you’re the savior of the realm? What? And that’s the other problem with ignoring downtime: PCs become murderhobos, because that’s the good part of the game! Figuring out where all the characters live, sleep, eat, and so on is dumb and boring.

So, BitD does two very smart things. First, it moves some of the excitement to the payoff and downtime cycle. Shopping, entanglements, incarceration, all happen during downtime. Second, it gives characters mechanical advantages that come into play during downtime. You’re good at these downtime actions, so you’re more inclined to do them. Those two things make the bookkeeping part of the game much less bad.

Not only does downtime bring in a bunch of realism to the game, but also a lot of potential complications. Murderhobos don’t have lovers, mothers, kids, hobbies, jobs, and so on. Characters that have downtime lives, might. That’s a huge advantage. Also, as I mentioned, it makes the change player characters go through a bit more believable by stretching it out over a longer in-game time period.

So, yeah. a real, good, downtime cycle should be ported to other RPGs.