Starting a campaign and starting the group

(Peter Cobcroft) #1

Just curious - when starting a new campaign, in medias res or at the beginning (or even before) a job - do you have your player characters new to working together? Is this their first job as a group? Or do you have them with a history of working together in the past (probably just a mention and not fleshed out until needed later in the campaign)

(Stras) #2

Nope. This is definitely not the pilot of the tv show in my head (though it may the pilot of season 2).

The crew creation rules say to ask questions about this sort of stuff during crew creation, so I usually get at least enough info to know who was on the ship first, who’s the newest member, who someone trusts the most, and who the least, to set up some good hooks to play on during the ep.

(Peter Cobcroft) #3

Another question - is seven players too many for a crew?

(Evan Buchholz) #4

6 players was to much for me running Blades. 5 is not great either. 4 is good but I think 3 might be the sweet spot for me.
Spilting the groups up into a shared world could be a good solution if they are up for it. I have had a ton of success with that in Blades in the Dark.
If want to play with 7 I would try the following so that everyone feels engaged-

  • Try to evaluate position and effect quickly.
    Go with your gut.
  • Really go hard on getting the group to give Devils Bargins and maybe relay on the players for that. This is so when other players are not in the scene they can still engage as audience members.
  • Have people play minor NPCs when thier character is off screen or different parts of environment using fortune rolls.
  • If your good a pacing have your scores split into two different arenas. Sort of like star wars has Luke fighting Vader and we have Lando blowing up the death star at the end of Return of the Jedi. Just try to switch from group to group on cliff hangers so that there is some suspense and desire to cut back and forth.

At the end of the day you got 7 cool creative people to help you. Use them. Its not all on your shoulders.
Hope this helps

(Peter Cobcroft) #5

We’ll see if we can emulate Blake’s 7 or Firefly…


I think if you can do 4-5 hour sessions then seven players is okay. I have six players in my group but can usually only play 3 hours tops. The only issue I have is making sure each PC gets enough spotlight time.

The only other thing I can say is that with 7 players there is a greater chance that two PCs will be from the same playbook. This happened in my bounty hunter game, where two people wanted to play a Scoundrel. It’s worked out fine for us so far though - both Scoundrels have Imperial Heritage, but one is a fighty/lucky type with a Military Background while the other is a sneaky/talky type with a Noble Background, so they have a different feel in the group.

However, during chargen we forgot that the contacts for the default Scoundrels were the same. There’s nothing wrong with the Scoundrel’s having the same contacts I guess, but we felt that given the PCs’ different histories it didn’t make sense for them to know the same five people. I made up a set for the Military Scoundrel using some Stardancer crew contacts and a few custom ones. In retrospect, I wish I had made the custom ones just be various NPCs listed in the Sector gazetteer.

(Peter Cobcroft) #7

Unlike other (more/closer to) PbtA games, I think Blades and Scum both don’t mind multiples in their rules. But yeah - I see going with not choosing the fast-character creation name suggestions for contacts and things would be a good idea. Thank you! I’ve been cobbling together various play-aids, I’ll put the NPCs from the Sector in a list.

I’ve also been thinking that it might be good to encourage a Xeno for the multiple, so they don’t have the same starting move.

Recently listening to Merely Roleplayers podcast for Impulse Drive (PbtA and not FitD, but shares similar themes with S&V) - where they had two Mystics, made me think the two choices of background (and respective Move associated) that a playbook starts with were another way of having variations for multiples (in their case a master and an acolyte)


Yeah, the game works fine with more than one playbook in play. The primary concern for me was just that I want players to feel like they can have the spotlight all to themselves sometimes. The secondary issue for me was the duplicated contacts list, which wouldn’t be a problem for me now having had experience with the game. :smiley:

Xeno for one of them is a good idea. Another option if they don’t want to be a xeno could be to let one of them pick a different ability as their starter. I think the starting abilities are thematic of the playbook but they’re not overpowered compared to others in my opinion.

(Peter Cobcroft) #9

They’ve all gone with unique Playbooks. First session is this Monday and I’ll be starting them off with the Stardancer intro scenario. Plan is to have them in two or three groups for it. Some on ship, some in the city, some in the bar. I’ll be having the players whose characters aren’t in the spotlight help come up with world building for those that are, e.g describing obstacles. I’m thinking possibly 6 credits to give them an option of buying a crew quality they didn’t in the season 0.