First, an apology, I realized I’ve been putting posts like this on the wrong forums. Oops.
Second, I’m having fun thinking up weapon and ammo types with different effects. I’d love people’s suggestions for improvement on the below homemade ammo types, and I’d love to see what others have made.
Given that the Blades world places additional drawbacks to wanton murder, we’ve been hacking up some non-lethal options…
Banshee ammo: A bandolier (or quiver) of ammo that is more firecracker than weapon. They cause little harm but are potent at intimidating foes unused to the piercing scream of its passage and thunderous bangs of its collision.
Blunt bolts: Crossbow bolts with flattened heads that do not pierce the enemy. Instead they cause blunt force trauma and violently shove and unbalance the target.
Power bolts: These are modified Blunt Bolts fitted with a glass cylinder head one can fill with a small dose of a powdered substance (usually a poison). Upon impact, the glass head shatters and disperses its contents 2 ft in all directions.
This last one my players like to fill with Drown powder so that enemies are incapacitated by the sensation of drowning, but are otherwise unharmed.
And when it comes to weapons, well, the game is deliberately very different than what I am used to from D&D and similar games! Basically there is a very crude damage metric (effect) and no indication of which weapons are easier or harder to use. Given the fiction-first element of the game, this makes sense. It makes me wonder if even TRYING to give weapons some differentiating stats is a good fit for the game?
For our campaign, I created a list of weapons. Their major differences amounted to quicker reload time and longer range as tier went up. This seemed to fit with the game’s bias towards gun tech that is lagging behind a lot of other tech. But that made me wonder about modern-design repeating crossbows - which the tech was certainly available for. Or perhaps an adaptation of the Instant Legolas (essentially a pump-action repeating bow & arrow)?
How do y’all deal with this? What are some best practices you recommend?
My personal philosophy with Blades is that rather than trying to determine specific stats think about general ideas: a sword isn’t an item that gives you +3 ft. of range and attacks for standard effect, a sword is a sharp thing that kills people when it’s stabbed into them. Similarly, you don’t shoot someone at 15 ft. or 120 ft. you shoot them from pretty close or pretty far; and Tier is mostly to determine if your enemy is generally better than or worse than you. To this end I would say that when using or creating weapons the main thing to ask yourself is “What’s the general idea of this thing and how is it different from the other weapons?”
As for specifics, I would be wary of quicker reload times and longer ranges as features, simply because there’s the Sharpshooter ability which is specifically about both of those already. The different ammos are fun though, perhaps you could have an item like a “Trick Bolt Quiver” which would give players a set number of special bolts to be determined as needed.
In my opinion: no, it doesn’t.
Especially because the game already includes several different weapons with differentiating stats: across the playbooks you’ll find Large Weapons, Scary Weapons, Unusual Weapons; and also Pistols, Rifles, the Hound’s Fine Guns that shoot twice, etc.
On top of that you have the Creation system that players can use to create new gadgets.
Honestly, it’s almost too detailed already Anything more than that, and it would be easier to just play a “wargamey” RPG rather than Blades.
In a game I run, the crew was recently asked to kill Lord Scurlock, and one of the players pitched that he wanted to get his friends at the Iruvian consulate to lend him a “magic sword” to make this more feasible. We decided that this blade was forged from meteoric iron, from the very meteor that punched a hole in the center of Iruvia. It’s possible, we decided (but didn’t wholly answer) that the meteor was some kind of remnant of the shattered sun itself, and that as such it might have great power against ghosts and vampires and such. We figured it might grant potency against Scurlock in some way, but left it at that.
The player rolled to aquire an asset, and we played through the scene where the character went to the Iruvians and was granted the use of this sacred relic.
The fun in all this was the creativity of the idea, the fleshing out of the story around the weapon, the setup of seeing it in its cultural home, and then the realization of the potential for creativity in the battle later (“I want to use the power of my demon blood tattoos alongside the sword as I fight Scurlock. As his escaping spirit cowers in the radiance of the blade, I grab it and hold it with the Ghost Fighter power of the tattoos, and I slash the ghost to ribbons with the sword! Maybe it could push my effect even higher, but there’s a risk that some evil aspect of the ghost ends up residing in the energy of my tattoos?”).
It was all about the story, and not the mechanics. I love the way Blades allows everyone at the table to make up solutions to problems, and how equipment is basically a bunch of narrative keys that let you open possibilities. (It’s kinda like Star Trek problem solving – if you know you have a deflector dish, and how it generally works, you can think of a dozen other uses for it when the pressure’s on.) Laying out very specific mechanical properties seems to limit those possibilities by saying, "this is what this item does, " which implies that it isn’t good for anything else.