External Containment Bureau?

I am considering running a one-shot based off of the Control video game (which is heavily influenced by SCP) and it was recommended that I look at this system. I’m already familiar with Blades; could someone sum up how ECB is different mechanically?


I’m one of the designers behind ECB. Happy to answer your question.

There are several ways that ECB and Blades differ. It’s probably best to look at the game’s store page and check out the free quickstart keeper. That will give you some idea.

But as for a brief overview:

  • There are no attributes or actions. Action rolls are performed by asking a series of questions where the PC can get 0-4 dice. The results of the action roll and consequences are similar to Blades (1-3 is a failure, 4/5 is a mixed success, etc.)
  • Stress is replaced with resonance. You get resonance by resisting and using powers. When your resonance track fills, that gives you more paranormal abilities.
  • No playbooks, no crew. Characters are a combination of their background (what they did before they joined the Bureau) and department (what they do currently at the Bureau)
  • Downtime is similar but different. You can recover to get rid of resonance, do long-term projects, acquire assets, or invoke conspiracies to flesh out the fiction of your world.
  • GM’s are expected to do a bit more short-term preparation for each mission. There’s guidance and examples in the book about how you can make good mysteries without knowing the solution, starting complications so the PCs hit the ground running, etc.

Hope that helps!