Non-Lethal Nemesis

I’m a big fan of poetic irony and a curious combination of running some faction turns with Stars Without Number and watching the Blacklist has me thinking about how people who are really in power fall from grace only to rise from the ashes again. I’m mulling over what it must be like for the nemesis of a party to leverage their characters. A lot of times, player call the GM’s “bluff” and start shooting whenever it looks like someone’s manipulating them. I suppose that’s the genuine risk when you’ve got power and feel like you’re being cornered.

Is there a way for a nemesis to convincingly “leverage” power over player characters without stripping away player agency using the mechanics of the game as is, could this mechanism be hacked into a game, or should is the answer that you (the GM) can get away with anything if the players buy into it?

This may work only in my group, because we have a strong seperation between player and pcs: Just tell the players what is happening and let them play their pcs as suspicious/naive/ignorant/unware/paranoid as they want.
Blades is not about mysteries/detective stuff at our table so it’s totally fine to answer the “what’s really going on here” question truthfully and “with good detail” if the pcs gather information.

With that approach the players are still 100% in control of want they want and the players may want to see their pcs in trouble because that’s the cooler story.


This is always excellent advice, and I do sometimes catch flak from my normal crew for over sharing.

Yeah, I want to capture some of that “they’re everywhere I look” kind of vibe, but you’re right that maybe it comes down to the group.

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