Use backstory scores to explore character history

One player could not attend a game session on short notice and we didn’t want to go on with the campaign without her. We still wanted to play Blades and came up with the idea to do a backstory flashback score for each of the remaining two player characters. They decided what part of their backstory they wanted to explore and the other player supported with a important NPC (which we created in minutes with the playbooks).

It was a blast! Not only did the characters gain even more depth, but also we created memorable NPC who could play a role in the future and already are connected to the player. You can do this with the dangerous friends on the playbook, but we were more happy with new NPC.

For me as the GM it was a lesson in improvising, because I could not prepare anything. This was really „Let’s play to find out“ and I learned to trust myself (with big help from the players) to go there.

Big recommendation! Here is a short description of the backstory scores:

Ankya’s clash with arcane powers

PC: Ankya, Cutter of the Veil (Shadow crew)

Question: How did I become afraid of the arcane?

NPC: Iruvian Vizier, alchemist and black market trader

Score (Stealth): 10 years ago at the docks. The crows were dominant then and Roric was freshly appointet Boss. Our Cutter did some work in and around the docks for some factions. The alchemist needed help: A ship arrived with a special demon in the hold. It has to be killed and the blood must be taken when it is just clotting.

Outcome: It was a close call. Just in time before the cage with the demon was unloaded they slipped into the cage and were able to kill the demon. But the crew of the ship was on alert and they had to hide INSIDE of the dying demon for not being caught. Quite a reason to be afraid of the arcane!

Mdm. Goat lost a friend and gained new insights

PC: Mdm. Goat, Spider of the Veil, who was cut at the neck by her former boss Mr. August and dumped in the canal, believed to be dead

Question: How did I get my code name “Mdm. Goat” and realized the way of the spider is MY way?

NPC: Sailor and hunter of a leviathan ship who saved and nurtured the young woman

Score (Deception): Months ago. at the multilevel store build and owned by mr. August (architect and shop owner). The almost recovered Mdm Goat is aiming to get leverage against Mr. August.

Outcome: Sailor and Spider went into the building and tried to get some documents out of a safe. But security was already aware of a breach and „accidently“ they killed a clerk. When constables entered the crime scene the Spider was able to bluff and manipulate their way out rather than giving a fight. But for the perimeter search it was not enough. Mdm. Goat escaped throught the upper levels where the building is still under consctruction but the sailor was caught while ensuring her escape. She learned that the word is stronger than the blade. Will Sailor and Spider meet again? Perhaps one day in Ironhook…