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TOPIC: Gear­ing up for Blade

Gear­ing up for Blade 8 years 7 months ago #1897

  • Over­drive
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Hello,

We have been prepar­ing a game for some time now, and I’d like to post some­thing to report that peo­ple are really play­ing the game :) and to get some feed­back.

I sold the game to the two play­ers as “what­ever dark fan­tasy we want to play”, and we had one ses­sion to draft the set­ting, loca­tion, and char­ac­ters. Things went pretty much on a demo­c­ra­tic basis, so that every­one would be inter­ested in the out­come.

Setting/​Location:
– An ancient city of Antibes, some­where on the coast of the Mediter­ranean (French Riv­iera maybe, heh).
– Moun­tain city ris­ing from the sea, high walls, nar­row cob­ble­stone streets, the higher you live the higher your sta­tus.
– Ruled by a Tri­umvi­rate, three noble fam­i­lies, all have a seri­ous weak­ness and are sus­pi­cious of each other (e.g. black­mailed by the under­world, owes money to the mer­chants, fam­ily head mor­tally ill etc.)
– Nobil­ity: wants to restore power to the fam­i­lies, cur­rently very deca­dent
– Under­world: wants to con­trol the nobil­ity in order to run busi­ness more eas­ily
– Mer­chants: wants a sta­bile soci­ety, cur­rently main­tain law and order because the nobles only pro­tect them­selves
– Exter­nal threats: bar­bar­ians and pirates (hurt tax col­lec­tion), cult wor­ship­pers ris­ing around a charis­matic leader

Some­how I see the city on the brink of destruc­tion. Every fac­tion looks after their own inter­ests short­sight­edly, trusts no one, thereby ruin­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of long term pros­per­ity. Every­thing will col­lapse, it could be some inter­nal power strug­gle or an exter­nal threat that can’t be dealt with. We didn’t dis­cuss what role the PCs want in all this, to try and save things or ride along the dis­as­ter. Play to find out?

We have drafts for the two PCs.

PC#1, noble­man born in a mar­riage of two noble fam­i­lies
– A charm­ing manip­u­la­tor, who wants to be in power
– Lets oth­ers do his dirty work
– May have at least this PA: To be the next Capo (“head of the fam­ily”)

PC#2, an assas­sin of Mid­dle East­ern ori­gin
– A degen­er­ate with phys­i­cal mal­for­ma­tions (snake skin, may not be entirely human)
– Hired to kill the Capo, promised a place as an “enlight­ened” within the assas­sin cult after this mis­sion
– Inter­nal strug­gles, is his reli­gion ok, are the enlight­ened ones ok, should he kill the Euro­pean bar­bar­ians?

I have more notes but this is roughly what we have right now. We ended up spec­c­ing the loca­tion much more than I had intended, but there’s a lot to draw from once the PCs have enough meat.

How do you see this? It would maybe seem that the two PCs have sep­a­rate sto­ries, unless we work to tie them together some­how. I’m not sure how to play a mys­tery or polit­i­cal intrigue game. My guess is that the play­ers want to have some action, but mostly focus on other stuff. How to keep the other stuff inter­est­ing? Or is this a moot point at this stage, that we should first fix the PAs, and the rest will follow?
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Gear­ing up for Blade 8 years 7 months ago #1898

  • Michael
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Nice one, Over­drive; thanks for shar­ing!

Two quick ques­tions:

Are you using the “Cul­ture” col­umn from the Pri­or­ity Pick table or do you have sub­sti­tuted some­thing like sta­tus or con­nec­tions instead? Men­tion­ing the sec­ond PC as being degen­er­ate seems to hint at the for­mer, but see­ing as if you intend to stay largely within the city loca­tion, both sub­sti­tutes seem good options.

Also, what is the “tech level” of the set­ting? Renais­sance to Baroque, I guess?

If you want the PCs to coop­er­ate group-​style I would say that your instincts that they are tied together to loosely is a cor­rect one. To con­nect the sto­ries you need to make sure that PC 1 can’t ride to power by sell­ing off PC 2 to the cur­rent capo. Maybe there is no way how PC 1 can pros­per under the cur­rent capo, but is actu­ally on good terms with the next per­son in line to step up to that posi­tion?

And to amp up on the mys­tery and intrigue the cul­tic angle comes to my mind. You men­tion the cult and a charis­matic leader. The lat­ter could offer a angle to involve the polit­i­cally schem­ing PC 1, and PC 2 already has both a reli­gious and occult (snake-​skin) angle that could tie well into a cult. For a healthy dose of dark­ness and fan­tasy as well as mys­tery, intrigue, and the poten­tial for action bring­ing this cult to the fore might be inter­est­ing. Maybe both PCs could have either a pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive PA towards either the cult or its leader?

You might want to speak about this angle to your play­ers and see whether it inter­ests them enough to war­rant PAs. Because, as you say cor­rectly, things will fall into place as the PAs take shape.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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Gear­ing up for Blade 8 years 7 months ago #1899

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We are using the nor­mal “Cul­ture” pri­or­ity picks. I did not con­sider sta­tus as a pri­or­ity, although that would have been pos­si­ble.

The tech level hmm… I believe we haven’t set up what year it is, for instance. There may be some won­drous tech­nol­ogy, which nobody quite under­stands how it works (prob­a­bly no guns though). We are delib­er­ately vague on this, con­sen­sus is that cur­rently only few are able to man­u­fac­ture what was nor­mal for pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions. Chain­mail and swords?

Good com­ments and sug­ges­tions. I’ll come back after we dis­cuss more.
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Gear­ing up for Blade 8 years 7 months ago #1900

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Hmm. I’d be work­ing hard with the group to deter­mine PAs across the group that mean there are sto­ries they’ll be a team for. Right now I’d say you aren’t there yet. You want PAs that at least run in par­al­lel — it is best of at least one and maybe more PAs for each PC is actively fired by aid­ing each other and work­ing to a com­mon goal in sce­nar­ios.

I think you already know this. So.. ideas..

Kill the Capo could be for a dif­fer­ent fam­ily than PC1. So he has a vested inter­est in that too.
alter­na­tively, seek with the player of PC2 to refine the mis­sion that gets them their sta­tus with the assas­sins . Per­haps they seek to aid the pro­mo­tion of PC1 to capo sta­tus, but only once they have some sort of hold over him — black­mail, or indebted-​ness or some such. So the PC2 PA is multi-​staged — get a ‘hold’ on PC1 then aid him in becom­ing capo . This is a slightly broader, more flex­i­ble (less ‘nar­row’?) PA but I think could work bet­ter.

Alter­na­tively, look at get­ting their other PAs to help. Per­haps PC2 comes to admire some­thing in PC1 because of a PA (hate thing x or admire thing y) and so has an inter­nal con­flict based on dif­fer­ent PAs pulling him in dif­fer­ent direc­tions — always fun!
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Gear­ing up for Blade 8 years 7 months ago #1901

  • IanP.
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Over­drive wrote:
I sold the game to the two play­ers as “what­ever dark fan­tasy we want to play”, and we had one ses­sion to draft the set­ting, loca­tion, and char­ac­ters. Things went pretty much on a demo­c­ra­tic basis, so that every­one would be inter­ested in the outcome.

I have become a devo­tee of the Shared Set­ting Cre­ation process espoused by Michael over on tros­fans. I think that if your play­ers are seri­ous about explor­ing themes other than com­bat and they see their char­ac­ters as the mech­a­nism through which a story is told then SSC makes a whole lot of sense. Tying the set­ting to the char­ac­ters and vice versa while defin­ing PAs pro­vides the group with the best oppor­tu­nity for pro­duc­ing play that looks like a rea­son­ably tightly edited story.

Over­drive wrote:
PC#1, noble­man born in a mar­riage of two noble fam­i­lies
– A charm­ing manip­u­la­tor, who wants to be in power
– Lets oth­ers do his dirty work
– May have at least this PA: To be the next Capo (“head of the family”)

I can see forces arrayed against him sim­ply because should he get to power he can con­ceiv­ably draw on the resources of two houses — quite a threat. So in his early days he might find obsta­cles in his path for no other rea­son than who he may become.

Over­drive wrote:
PC#2, an assas­sin of Mid­dle East­ern ori­gin
– A degen­er­ate with phys­i­cal mal­for­ma­tions (snake skin, may not be entirely human)
– Hired to kill the Capo, promised a place as an “enlight­ened” within the assas­sin cult after this mis­sion
– Inter­nal strug­gles, is his reli­gion ok, are the enlight­ened ones ok, should he kill the Euro­pean barbarians?

Hmmm. Fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter — but, for this char­ac­ter to work the other player will have to be inter­ested in the reli­gion angle. Oth­er­wise their paths are quite diver­gent (at this stage).

So per­haps our noble­man has a PA based around the (per­haps secret?) desire to become a dea­con or car­di­nal of the church. He is knowl­edge­able about the tenets of the faith. This PA would be easy for the ref­eree to set at odds with his other PA, and would then per­haps work well when the two PCs meet and there are scenes around the other character’s strug­gles with his faith.

It would also be quite cool if the noble­man had a fear of snakes.

I look for­ward to hear­ing more about these char­ac­ters as they are fleshed out…

Regards,
Ian P.
Fama nihil est celerius
– Noth­ing is swifter than rumour…
Last Edit: 8 years 7 months ago by IanP..
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