Crew Abilities

I’m currently working on a dark fantasy FITD with a strong emphasis on spellcasting and magic. As a result each of the character Playbooks has ended up with tons of special abilities, all of which can be levelled up to an increased Tier.

I don’t want to lose the ‘crew as character’ aspect of BITD, but I’m wondering whether it would be overkill for the crew to also have tons of special abilities. Maybe having ‘perks’ for each crew type and then focusing on access to equipment, transport and/or lair upgrades would be better.

Interested to know what anyone else has done in their FITD projects.

1 Like

In Wicked Ones, the PCs are united by their lair. It has a theme, which serves also as the closest thing to Crew Sheet, which grants a perk or a resource and several special rooms you can add to your lair in addition to basic ones, each offering a protection in a case of invason, management benefit or special resource.

The authors offer a free verison on DriveThruRPG, if you wish to dig deeper (Wicked Ones also has a spellcasting system).

Would you like to share more details on the story and the mechanics and narrative of the spellcasting system?


Sorry for the delayed reply and thanks for this - the whole thing is a real work in progress right now so any ideas are useful. The setting is a world where the boundary between the mortal world and Faerie is thin. All of the PCs are of Fae ancestry and have capabilities beyond what normal humans can do, although they may not realise they are doing magic or have particularly strong powers. I want to give players the option of using loads of spells, only a few that they specialise in or none based on their preferred play style.

Mechanically, they spend the equivalent of stress equal to the Tier of the ability or spell (each ability has three Tiers and can be upgraded like Actions in the base game) and roll the Action associated with the ability to see how successful they are in achieving the desired effect.

They’re adventuring across a perilous kingdom where various different factions are trying to claim the throne or pursue their own goals, so they don’t spend all their time in one place as in BITD. I’m toying with the idea of having some sort of base they return to or a mobile ‘camp’ where they keep their crew upgrades.

ICON by Abbadon has a mobile camp mechanic and is currently playtested (you can download it on As Lancer, the mech TTRPG which Abbadon is a co-creator of, it uses tactical combat while everything else is story-driven. I don’t recall how the camp mechanic works (I read the playtest in its early stages) but it might be tied to recovering from combats.

Sounds really cool.

I would go with crew perks rather than additional crew special powers if the PCs are already powerful. I did that with my own FITD game, Blades of Gothica, where PCs have supernatural/ magical abilities; crew upgrades only give them perks. Have you worked out yet what crew types you want to have? What I did is that every crew type is specialized in certain kinds of scores/ missions where they can take advantage of those perks.
I would also go with a mobile camp mechanic if your game is not solely set in one place/ city, but a kingdom; crew upgrades could also result in better defences etc. for that camp. Try out different mechanics. An upgrade could be a guide or a map that allows the crew to camp in well-hidden and safe places; or upgrades could allow them to garner support from local peasants who have their back or supply them or trade with them; or wagons that can be arranged into a wagon fort; or wagons, animals that allow for faster travel or to ford rivers and so on.

I found adding Crew anything was overkill for Deathwish. You just build characters.
The one thing I do use a sort of “Crew” sheet for is tracking progression. As you advance your Crew, it gains more action dice and Special Abilities, and that is how many you get for your character. Very useful if characters are frequently dying/retiring, or people are rotating in and out of your campaign.

Thanks all, this is super helpful! Where I am at with crew types is that they are more ‘shared goals’ that the PCs have. For example, they may be trying to protect the ordinary people affected by conflicts between nobles or looking to unearth magical artefacts and secrets. On that basis I gave each crew type a starting perk which is informed by that goal and then there were generic upgrades to do with camp security and so forth which all types had access to. I am now erring towards keeping things simpler and ‘levelling up’ the existing perks, maybe adding a few new ones.