I am new here, and have run three sessions of Blades. This has been my first hands-on experience with FitD games.
In the third and most recent session, the players (a Cult) increased their crew’s tier (moving from 0 to I) and also unlocked a special ability (Glory Incarnate). I have a question about each of these upgrades.
TIER: When increasing REP and COIN during the payoff after a score, are these events simultaneous or sequential? I ask because the crew earned enough REP to increase their Tier, and their Tier influences how much they tithe to the local crime boss after a score. If they went from Tier 0 to I, how much do they pay as a tithe?
SPECIAL ABILITY: As for Glory Incarnate, they were warned, may the consequences be on their heads, but I am still not sure how to introduce an earthly avatar of a forgotten god into the game in a way that is balanced, advantageous, but still dangerous. Any advice would be welcome.
I’d go with the Tier 0, the tier they started the job as.
What is the cult about? What would their god be about? What has already been established that can be built on?
Well they’d get the coin and rep as part of payoff, and pay the tithe also as part of payoff. Rising in tier is something they do sorta whenever during downtime, so that would happen after the payoff.
Short answer: use the lower tier for the tithe.
So the forgotten god thing… do you know what the god is or any of it’s… properties?.. A lot of different things could be happening when it manifests depending on what it is
GO NUTS is my advice.
I’m not sure I can speak too much to your first question about Tier. I’ve always handled payoff and rep as occurring simultaneously, but I can see that being something that occurs on a GM-byGM basis. When in doubt, ask the players too!
Glory Incarnate is great! One way you might introduce some sort of godly avatar is create an expert that manifest from time to time (maybe scaled up a bit to be tier+2 instead of tier+1 depending on how grounded your version of the Dusk is, or maybe you increase the scale/potency/quality of said Avatar in various ways so that the effect it has on the world reflects the deity’s power). The success of the avatar or effect could then be represented with a fortune roll, but thats just one way of doing it. In terms of RP, you could customize the avatar’s tags & flaws with stuff from the book or things pertaining to the cult (perhaps a keyword or two from the “God Features” in the Cult crew sheet? For example, a God of Slaughter’s Avatar could have Tags & Flaws like: Ferocious, Fearsome, Sinister, Wild). For another spin on it, maybe the God sends a flock of minions or a supernatural entity or effect that could be designed according to the magnitude table (p. 221 I think).
That being said, it also depends on how established magic is in your conception of the setting and how overt/not overt it is. To me, players taking Glory Incarnate has always spoke of things seriously ramping up in the real & spirit world, but theres no reason it couldnt be say, a creepy insidious manifestation that sneaks up on players as a consequence rather than something more overt (which is not to say it couldnt be both mind you).
I’d say ask lots of questions, then build on the answers with manifestations that reflect on what the players establish in the fiction. For example, you could ask the PCs: what do their characters fear most about this newly manifested Glory Incarnate? What they respect about it? How do the former two questions apply to the PCs contacts and enemies? What are other factions with hands/tendrils in the occult pies saying about these manifestations? Why do the PCs think the God has chosen now to manifest? Are they right? How do these manifestations relate to the Ghost Field? Do they relate to it? You can take what the players say and incorporate those answers in a way that the whole table can use them as great RP moments if thats the sort of thing your playgroup is interested in
Anyways, I hope that helps some! Sorry if anything was confusing or hard to understand, feel free to ask if theres anything that needs clarifying.
You pay the Tithe as part of Pay Off, and then later go up in Tier during Downtime. This means they will be treated as Tier 0 for the Pay Off, then be Tier 1 after.
Also, note by default you are meant to do XP at the very end of the session. This means that when they gain Glory Incarnate (or any other Crew Advance) they are Tier 1 and every scoundrel should get 3 Stash in Profits.
Thanks, everyone, for your helpful replies.
With regard to the established fiction, the cult’s god is The Cleansing Flame and its traits are Furious, Radiant. The crew’s primary means of worship so far, as you might imagine, has been to cast “unclean” (very broadly interpreted) sacrifices into a sacred bonfire.
With Glory Incarnate, my preferred approach is to keep things as simple as possible by adapting already extant rules in sensible ways. (Because why re-invent the wheel?) The recommendation to make the god an Expert is really good, because it makes use of a pre-existing mechanic in this preferred way. (Thank you!)
Along those lines, I have also been thinking about ways to adapt the psychic attacks from the Forgotten Gods special abilities (because it makes sense that a deity would be able to do something its adepts can do) as well as the mechanics for Summoned Horrors (because that’s what it is!)
To complement the psychic attack, I think it would befit the fiction for the incarnation to have at its disposal a physical attack in which it lashes out with flames (which would function like the above, except it would be resisted with Prowess instead of Resolve).
Anyway, that’s where my mind is at. I am going to discuss this with the players, of course, but I wanted to have ideas ready anyway.
Well there you go: throwing people into a flame to cleanse them! The last guy they threw in actually DOES get “cleansed” (ie his personality is burned away and replace by a part of the god), and he floats up above the fire like a cinder before holding a little speech. Now they think they’re the boss of the crew and tries to get them to burn down the city or something.