When/How Does the Heist End?

I’ve never played and I might be running a session soon (probably a one off).
90% of what I know is from the Glass Cannon campaign.
Jared Logan is harsh GM (not a criticism) so I’m not sure how to calibrate the difficulty.
Like VtM, BitD sort of punishes players for making rolls. Each roll is a gamble.
How do you know if the PCs have earned the reward? Or when it’s time to let them escape?
Is it strictly narrative?
It shouldn’t be some arbitrary number of Stress spent, wounds taken, etc.

Nah, strictly narrative. Did they get the thing? Then maybe that’s enough. Does playing their exit seem like it would be fun or interesting? If not, just skip it. Summarize how they get out and cut to the next scene.

Setting a mechanical condition could maybe be useful when you’re just starting out, but ultimately you’ll want to transition to basing the decision on narrative grounds. Otherwise, you wind up running through the motions trying to hit some arbitrary number when everyone’s interest is racing ahead to the next scene.

2 Likes

Hey!

Blades absolutely does not punish players for making rolls. It’s almost the opposite. As long as you have at least 1 die in a thing, you’re guaranteed a success 50% of the time.

You can get extra dice with pushes, or by accepting a consequence as part of a devil’s bargain and that pushes up your odds of success, so that even with just 2 dice your odds of failure drops to 25%. Okay, so anyone who’s played the game - especially on Roll20 may feel like those numbers are widely off, statistically, those are the odds.

Add in armour, special armour, and resistance rolls, and you’ve got a whole bunch of tools that let the player say “absolutely not” when the GM piles up the danger and consequences.

Don’t take my word for it though, this is a very early (so early this starts with a slightly different version of the game, I think the 1.7 rules? but they switch to the published rules set mid-game I think - it’s been a while since I watched this) actual play run by John Harper on the now defunct RollPlay channel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNzpg-qdZ0g&list=PL-oTJHKXHicTtCC4rgmFSfZSSQsZmENAz

For a more recent actual play run by Jammi on the Actual Play channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRtoTO6VIxE&list=PLNuXiEYyM4isaw4FOnb8jkm-c9apMr8l2

1 Like

Added both of those to my saved playlists.

Like I said, most of what I know of BitD is from Jared Logan.
Every roll is a Russian roulette spin.
Even their success with consequence (which to me isn’t really a success) results were brutal.
He had them roll so often they were on the brink most of the time.

If you’re a beginner, an easy way to run a mission is to divide it into 2 or 3 clocks, and once they complete those clocks you can have a narrative, no rolls, everything succeeds cut scene to end the heist.

e.g. the last clock could be a 4 clock ‘escape museum with artefact’ or ‘slip past patrol’ or ‘defeat boss’

I generally improvise as I go, which generally means the missions are too easy. :sweat_smile:

You can usually break a job down into three parts:

  1. Set up the job
  2. Do the job
  3. Get home
  4. Profit

These points depend on what the crew is up to, but for a cliche bank heist you might have to:

  1. Sneak into the bank
  2. Break into the vault
  3. Escape

I almost never plan beyond “well a bank is secure right?”, unless I have something particular in mind, and things usually turn out alright.
I’ll front-load the challenges. Consequences will provide problem-fodder for the later steps. If things have gone well, “get home” can be a narrated formality.

Blades absolutely does not punish players for making rolls. It’s almost the opposite. As long as you have at least 1 die in a thing, you’re guaranteed a success 50% of the time.

This is kind of irrelevant :slight_smile:
In Blades, each roll has a “cost” because it has the potential to cause consequences, to force resistance, to encourage pushing yourselt, etc.
The OP is right in saying each roll is a gamble.

The more rolls get made, the more “expensive” will it be for PCs in terms of Stress, Coin, etc.
In fact, the main tool that a BitD gamemaster has to make the game more or less “difficult” (harsh, challenging, heroic, call it as you want) is by managing the number of rolls that get made at the table (ie, by creating more or less obstacles, by defining each roll to be able to accomplish more or less, etc)

How do you know if the PCs have earned the reward? Or when it’s time to let them escape?
Is it strictly narrative?.

It is mostly narrative, yes. That said the easiest way to check how “spent” are PCs is by looking at how much Stress they have left (as a group).
Sure, character can take Trauma and get new stress, but only to a certain extent (not only because you can only take 4 Trauma before retiring your character, but mostly because when you take Trauma you are “out” for a while, so if all or most characters take Trauma at the same time, they are likely to “fail” the Score).

1 Like