Hello Legionnaires and Cinder King survivors,
I’m in a somewhat unique situation that’ll require a smidge of explanation, but the TL: DR is that I need to figure out the best way to balance out having to play any mission taken (obviously not any 3rd missions, but perhaps not 2nd missions either if we say secondary missions aren’t a thing).
I’m a teacher in an alternative setting from mainstream school and, to help students practice social skills, I’ve been running various TTRPGs for about six months now. While it’s been super postive for those who’ve opted in, we’ve got an influx of new students who are having a hard time ‘opting in’ - possibly because the groups are somewhat set by now.
After consulting with colleagues, I’ve decided to run Band of Blades as a school-wide game. (Our school isn’t huge, though - about 60 students, maybe 40 of them regular attendees.)
I have a core group of volunteers who a) have time and b) have been playing BitD with me for the last few months. They’re going to take on the Core Roles. I have others who are keen but don’t have the time who will be ‘deputies’ and ‘advisers’.
We have six sessions a week when ‘regular’ classes run (usually 3 - 10 students in the room with 3 staff at any given time, 2.5hr blocks). Each of these sessions will either choose or be allocated a squad; I’ll run groups of 2 - 5 people depending on the work they’re doing, who is present, whether they played in another session recently, etc.
This squad will play a mission when the Marshal allocates them to one (Tuesday morning might be Grinning Ravens on an assault mission, then we might do Campaign Phase and the next mission might go to Monday afternoon’s Star Vipers, or whatever).
The Marshal will decide which squad is playing out the mission/s, +/- specialists, then it’ll go onto my desk until the appropriate session when the people who are there on the day will get to play the mission. They’ll then debrief with the Marshal/Commander/Quartermaster/Lorekeeper/Spymaster. Some back-at-camp fun will be had and then I’ll go back to my core team and we’ll roll up the next missions. (The core team will also have their own squad so they will get to play as well as plan.)
Progress will be tracked on a giant war-map style setup, with a Legion Notice Board being the job of the Lorekeeper to update.
So, my problem is this:
If I just roll an engagement roll secondary mission as usual, then I’m going to have students who are upset that people in their squad died without them having a say in it. (Note: I’m working with a lot of students with trauma background; losing autonomy is a big deal. Also, they’re teenagers!) I would rather risk unbalancing the game than having people walk away from it because it isn’t fair.
I’m going to begin GMing a game for funsies and practice in about a week so I’m hoping to get some additional insight, but I thought I’d throw this conundrum out for you veterans.
a) not run “secondary missions” and just always have them fail everything that isn’t primary?
b) let them play out both primary and secondary, but reduce the rewards on the secondary? (Fictionally how can I justify this?)
c) Reduce rewards on all missions (but by how much?)
d) always give them a third mission that they have to fail and make sure the consequences of this are high? (perhaps with deaths at camp, ie “Blighter poisons your water supply” or some such - which doesn’t really fix my problem)
e) something else clever that has just occurred to you.
At this point I’m leaning toward a), for simplicity and for flavour - but I’d probably keep an eye on their resources and nudge some dice here and there to make sure they don’t automatically just die horrible deaths.
Any input and/or wild speculation is appreciated!