In preparing to GM my first-ever game of BitD with a group of all-new-to-the-game players, I was reviewing the crew creation process. I was thinking about my newbie players choosing a district for their hunting grounds (which will almost certainly be at random, with very little input from me, I would think) and wondered how they will choose to deal with the crew runs that particular district (increase their status with them, or let it decrease for the sake of keeping their starting coin?).
…then I thought, “How the hell am I going to know who runs that district? More to the point, how do I know who runs ANY district?!”
So, I began scouring the rule book for “The List.” You know, The List? The List which outlines who runs each district? The very same List which surely details the status of each faction as they relate to every other faction? The List that explains who is scrapping over each corner of The Dusk? The List that will answer all of my questions as I start this fledgling crew down their criminal journey?
At first, when I realized that such a list doesn’t really exist (at least, not in the pared down, synthesized form I was expecting to find) I was a bit shocked. This fictional world is so rich, so well thought-out, that I just assumed these details must have been orchestrated and chronicled somewhere in the rules, easy to reference as needed.
But as I re-read over the factions section, and picked up little threads of clues from the playbooks and the beginning scenario, I realized that, like all other aspects of this game, I guess we’re just going to play to find out!
Still, I’m the kind of GM (I think — I guess we’ll see!) who likes having a few decisions made ahead of time; “the plan is nothing, but planning is everything,” and all that. Perhaps I’ll pick all the ward bosses before hand. Or perhaps I’ll pick a district (and ward boss) for my new players to start in, on their behalf? Or perhaps I’ll just roll some dice and let the pieces fall where they may…
How have other GMs out there decided which factions run which districts? How did you and your players decide which factions helped, and which factions were hindered by, their new crew as they chose their hunting grounds, starting upgrades, and contacts? Would you have preferred a more concrete list of faction relations and ward bosses, or did you enjoy making Doskvol unique and unpredictable?