My second time through on the Road to Skydagger Keep - lessons learned

So, thanks to the pandemic keeping everybody indoors, I have two weekly gaming groups at the moment. One of them finished the first campaign of Blades a couple of months ago, and I then started the other one on it. The first time through was a lot of fun - but I made some mistakes. The second time through has been great so far - we’re at Sunstrider Camp, because I learnt from the errors of the first time.

a) I seriously underpowered Infamous with Group A, because I hadn’t seen the errata and thought (per the rulebook) that they pretty much had to kill off all the Infamous and at least half the Lieutenants to have a chance at the end, which meant the Infamous needed to be killable from the get-go. This time round, they’ve run away from the Doctor and Wailer - and then ambushed and killed Wailer thanks to a bonus Heavy mission and some Intel questions, but the fight still nearly ended several characters. Their first Lieutenant encounter may be Lugos, and I hope to make it terrifying.

b) I chose Render and Breaker the first time round, and I struggled to make Render frightening as an opponent - the Knights, in particular. The second time round I went with Blighter instead, and it’s been much more effective, in part because of the classic zombie tropes and in part because the Crows are truly disturbing even as mooks.

c) Group A is relatively rules-averse, which made their engagement with the fiction generated by the Commander roles pretty lacking. Group B has embraced that much more, and I’ve played up Back at Camp scenes far more heavily, including consequences generated through the missions, etc. That’s meant much more of a sense of the human terrain the Legion travels through, and more engagement with NPCs.

d) First Chosen, Shrevya, was fun, but mostly because one of the Specialists was madly in love with her. Second Chosen, the Horned One, played up the Panyar elements and the cultural dissonance within the Legion from the start, and everyone has been more invested in characters as a result.

e) I’ve been using emotional Harm much more this time round, and the players have really leant into it, often suggesting things like ‘Shamed’ or ‘Embarassed’ as voluntary harm for characters.

f) Group A found the ending roll not that satisfying - even though we’ll go back to the campaign later, and pick it up with the siege. With Group B, I think I’m going to use the roll to establish position and tone for the Broken storming the walls - and then play it out.

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I’ve been through six campaigns now (start to finish) and they’re all fairly different. But hearing about what folks learn and how stuff develops is very interesting.

Really cool post. Thanks @BeijingCat!