Thoughts on Blades in the Dark?

Thoughts on Blades in the Dark?

  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It's a fun but very limited system

  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It's incredible how it tries to both be peak storyshit and yet also try a false edgy "le character is a stolen car" devil may care attitude encouraging stupid disruptive actions and a lack of concern for keeping a character alive.

    It's a game overly preoccupied with showing how Inspired by things it is without much concern for adapting them into an actual game.

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I'm interested in it but never really checked it out, what's it like?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The designer is a bugman and they never make anything good.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Meds

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Nothing he said is schizoid, thou:
          John Harper wears his politics on his sleeve and he never made a single good game in his entire life, just half-baked ideas.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >The designer is a bugman
        He's a Wasp?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      It's kind of Ocean's 11 by way of Thief/Dishonored, where you're a gang who does heists. But rather than actually planning a bunch of bullshit and then discarding three fourths of it when the circumstances change, you start on the heist immediately after deciding to do it and use a flashback mechanic to retroactively set up complicated contingencies and plans. The metaresource you use for flashbacks is the same one you use to avoid getting injured though, so it's finite and becomes less feasible the more conflict you end up in.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        So the flashback mechanic takes the control of the narrative away from the GM?

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          The GM tells you whether or not your flashback is allowed at all, how much it costs to perform, and what rolls are needed . It's the same as any other action in any other RPG, but out of sequence.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          The GM does give up some control, yes, but they still set the difficulty and cost, and not all flashbacks are successful. Same with mitigating damage, the player chooses when to do it, but the GM determines the new result. Sometimes you get away scot free, other times that knife in the gut turns into a knife in the arm and that's that. It really depends on the group being able to describe things well and explain why they should get to do stuff. Definitely not for everyone.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          In theory - no
          In practice, all GM has to do is making sure you still have "mana" to bend reality to your whims and if your rolls match. But he's but a passive observant of the heist.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Use of flashbacks is good. Clocks as a way to structure the narrative unfolding of a situation and define a ticking counter that can be played for tension is good. But, despite these ideas, I have found the game itself to be borderline unplayable.

            BITD's playstyle requires the players to be overly infatuated with playing out the story beats of a movie, without ever thinking deeper than the surface level. If all you do is imitate and react, BITD works fine. The moment you try to THINK about your actions before you do them, however, BITD grinds throws a gear and blames you for breaking it. Its a game for people who like to pretend they are smart by coming up with a post-facto justification for why they already succeeded, and it gives them a juice box and a handjob and a "Me Biggest Thinker" award for doing so. But the game actively discourages you from, and in the rule book basically insults you for, asking questions and planning out things intelligently because it is not designed to be played that way.

            I've never seen people who look before they leap enjoy this game.

            The GM does give up some control, yes, but they still set the difficulty and cost, and not all flashbacks are successful. Same with mitigating damage, the player chooses when to do it, but the GM determines the new result. Sometimes you get away scot free, other times that knife in the gut turns into a knife in the arm and that's that. It really depends on the group being able to describe things well and explain why they should get to do stuff. Definitely not for everyone.

            The GM tells you whether or not your flashback is allowed at all, how much it costs to perform, and what rolls are needed . It's the same as any other action in any other RPG, but out of sequence.

            Reading this has reminded me that about 10 years ago i designed a game I never got around to testing that was basically bitd in reverse. It was based on that show Burn Notice (my little brother loved that show), and the premise was that a heist was 90% planning and getting your ducks in a row, finding out what you will be up against and getting a solution to all your problems like a Rube Goldberg machine, and then when it came time to actually do the heist the players just narrate the team going through the motions they have set up, and they only switch back up to a normal rpg gaming mode if something unexpected happens that they didn't have a plan for and they need to deal with on the fly. So a normal rpg about espionage legwork and then a shift of gears for the climax where the stuff you prepared for you don't have to do any rolling for so dice can't stab you in the back, but any blindspots in your plan have to be played normally. The intention was to take chance out of the stuff that you, a professional espionage guy, had done all the prep work for, which I guess in theory is a similar idea to bitd but it goes about it the opposite way.

            Dunno, I sort of wonder if people would rather play that than bitd.

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              How would that handle knock on effects though? That unexpected guard sounded the alarm when your plan was to be silent. You can't just put everyone back to sleep, the alarm is raised.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                Not sure, like I said I didn't test it.
                I just think it's sort of funny that I managed to come to the opposite conclusion.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I actually like the planning phase and subsequent throwing away of most of the plan, so I refuse to play BITD

  4. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    The only PBTA game that's even remotely playable. Not good, but playable.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      How many more times you're going to ask, Harper?

      It's not a PbtA game, you dumb fuck

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        It's heavily modified PbtA. This makes it playable.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          The resolution system scales on Warden set difficulty not character sheets stats, not solely narrative as PbtA usually is as goals are tangible rather than purely narrative, the players have direction of what they want to do within the sandbox of the city and must make goals rather than make a narrative and the game is very crunchy as opposed to most PbtA games in which rules can usually fit on half a sheet. Anyone who has played both systems can tell the difference between them based on the game-flow. The only similarity between them is presentation of rules to the GM which is good because the only good thing about PbtA 1st generation of games is the fact that they are amazing game master guides despite being poor games.

  5. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Enjoyed the few games I've played of it (and scum and villainy) but the books don't do a great job of conveying a lot of the ideas, and it kind of doesn't work with less than 4 players, which is a problem as I only generally have 3 players.

    Also, a lot of people deeply dislike the authorial voice in the book.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Also, a lot of people deeply dislike the authorial voice in the book.
      Explain more.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Hard to explain without findinf excerpts, which I ain't doing. The book is really trying to sell the play style (no planning, straight to action, low to no gm prep.) Some people find this to either be patronizing or insulting.

        I dunno man, it seems like certain ttrpgers get really bent out of shape about what are, to me, obviously sarcastic asides from Greg Stolze in Unknown Armies. It isn't something that bothers me, but it's something I see brought up a lot.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >dunno man, it seems like certain ttrpgers get really bent out of shape about what are, to me, obviously sarcastic asides from Greg Stolze in Unknown Armies. It isn't something that bothers me, but it's something I see brought up a lot.

          Sorry, I worked a long shift today. I meant this as another example of the authorial voice thing i was talking about. Rereading the post it sounded disconnected and insane.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I think this comes from bad marketing, pbta and its descendants are kinda being sold as the new generation of "light systems" when in reality the philosophy is opposite of that..."light systems" are made to be as unobtrusive as possible so you can fit the rules anywhere as necessary in a freeform way, these systems are completely prescriptive, pretty much every important relation is gamified

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >pbta and its descendants are kinda being sold as the new generation of "light systems" when in reality the philosophy is opposite of that
            Apocalypse world is 300 fucking pages, I don't know where people got this idea that it's rule light from. I think certain kinds of rpg fan think of you don't have rules for different kinds of grenade launcher you are playing a rules light game, nevermind how many actual fucking rules there are.

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              >I don't know where people got this idea that it's rule light from.
              It's because the move system and dice resolution mechanic are fairly simple in theory. Picking a move, rolling 2d6 and adding a very low stat value is extremely easy to grasp which has lead to a lot of people who aren't well versed in game design to make their own. However, a lot of these people don't realize there's a lot more behind a game than just this, which is why you have places like itch.io that are wastelands of severely underdeveloped PbtA hacks.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >It's because the move system and dice resolution mechanic are fairly simple in theory. Picking a move, rolling 2d6 and adding a very low stat value is extremely easy to grasp...
                Yeah, and 3d6, roll under is simple enough, but nobody calls GURPS rules-light.
                I'm fairly sure that PbtA gets classed as rules-light simply because indie art-fag games are traditionally rules-light so anything with that aesthetic gets classed in that category regardless of what the actual 'rules' of categorizing games are.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                Well, its presentation and narrative focus are a lot different from something like GURPS. It doesn't even technically have rounds or an initiative order, and "moves" have more to do with what's happening narratively than what your character is specifically doing. Sniping someone who is unaware of you is a completely different roll with a different stat than shooting someone who can meaningfully fight back, even if you're using the same gun and describe your action the exact same way. And depending on what the focus is, that entire gunfight might be handled with just one roll. If you get high enough, you take them out without being hit in return. If you roll middling, they get you back, but you win in the end, and if you fail, now you might be pinned down with a bullet in your arm or something, and how much time that takes or what the consequences of failure are isn't a fixed rule.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I don't know what you mean about the voice, but what I found strange is that the book seems like a mechanics primer and then there's some barely sketched lore thrown in. Especially classes wise.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I feel like that's on purpose, so every tables version of duskwall is thier own. It speaks in pretty broad generalizations to hit the mood and themes, but allows you plenty of room to fill in.

        Honestly, its the mechanics primer that needs a lot of work.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I don't have a lot of experience with systems, but is the clock mechanic just a gimmick or do you consider it to be something original?

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Once you wrap your head around it, it's pretty great. Obviously it's something GMs have been doing since Arneson and Gygax, counting time till consequences and accelerating when appropriate, or splitting up long tasks into discrete milestones, but formalizing it into a clear system was a good idea. Anything that will happen eventually just gets slapped onto a clock so you can focus on other things.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            I think putting a dice and saying "when it reaches 6 something bad happens" is something people do since forever, but they formalized it and made the game around it, so it deserves some credit

  6. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Use of flashbacks is good. Clocks as a way to structure the narrative unfolding of a situation and define a ticking counter that can be played for tension is good. But, despite these ideas, I have found the game itself to be borderline unplayable.

    BITD's playstyle requires the players to be overly infatuated with playing out the story beats of a movie, without ever thinking deeper than the surface level. If all you do is imitate and react, BITD works fine. The moment you try to THINK about your actions before you do them, however, BITD grinds throws a gear and blames you for breaking it. Its a game for people who like to pretend they are smart by coming up with a post-facto justification for why they already succeeded, and it gives them a juice box and a handjob and a "Me Biggest Thinker" award for doing so. But the game actively discourages you from, and in the rule book basically insults you for, asking questions and planning out things intelligently because it is not designed to be played that way.

    I've never seen people who look before they leap enjoy this game.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      This is the impression I get. It's a game designed for idiots to play at being smart, using the same methods mediocre writers make 'smart' characters for moronic audiences. It takes away all the thinking and replaces it with intelligence as a magic power to cheat by seeing the future, because to stupid people, being clever is basically that, plus lots of incomprehensible science / numbers / long words. The author blatantly despises their audience.

  7. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Has a similar problem to most pbta hacks of adding more and more procedures in overly fiddly ways to the point that it gets in the way of playing the game for the sake of feeling clever.
    I don't like steampunk peaky blinders as an aesthetic so its a double miss there.

  8. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Personally I quite enjoy it. It operates in this zone where it's light enough where I'm not bogged down in bookkeeping and can react on the fly to what my players do pretty easily, but it's also crunchy enough that the players feel mechanically distinct from each other unlike something like Fate. Also I'll fully admit that I let my players make plans before each score because they really enjoyed doing that kind of setup and it fits better with my group's playstyle. It's easy enough to still use the Engagement Rolls and other setup tools, and I found that the system still works out well. I do understand the appeal of just going straight to the action though as someone who has been in games with other groups where planning can take almost the entire session if a player or two begins to get too caught up in things.

    Also for anyone who is curious, there's a nicely organized SRD for the system you can check out. https://bladesinthedark.com/planning-engagement in particular explains how heists are set up.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      first
      >check'd

      But also as someone playing in a blades game currently I agree with your sentiments, the game is a ton of fun, and while you can use flashbacks in sticky situations we still have at least an outline level plan for our scores, and mostly just use flashbacks as a way to avoid getting stuck discussing minutiae for an hour that would largely wind up being irrelevant anyways.
      But I can't comment on lethality or combat much as we play a group of smugglers which means we mostly play using stealth and RP with combat as a last resort, but either way it's been a good time!

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        That's how the book actually portrays it anyway. The only heist you're supposed to literally jump right into is the very first one, to establish your group and push players into the right mindset. Every one after that requires some amount of legwork and an informed decision about entry points and goals. You just don't sit there for multiple real life hours planning elaborate schemes.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        As the anon from

        Personally I quite enjoy it. It operates in this zone where it's light enough where I'm not bogged down in bookkeeping and can react on the fly to what my players do pretty easily, but it's also crunchy enough that the players feel mechanically distinct from each other unlike something like Fate. Also I'll fully admit that I let my players make plans before each score because they really enjoyed doing that kind of setup and it fits better with my group's playstyle. It's easy enough to still use the Engagement Rolls and other setup tools, and I found that the system still works out well. I do understand the appeal of just going straight to the action though as someone who has been in games with other groups where planning can take almost the entire session if a player or two begins to get too caught up in things.

        Also for anyone who is curious, there's a nicely organized SRD for the system you can check out. https://bladesinthedark.com/planning-engagement in particular explains how heists are set up.

        , while we didn't have anyone actually die, most of our PCs got fucked up pretty hard from combat. Having effectively 5 hits before going down fully sounds like a lot, but often the PCs would get Harm from botched rolls or fighting real serious combatants where on 4's and 5's they'd could get lucky blows but opened themselves up for counter attacks. Recovery is also fairly slow once you start getting into the -1D tier, and even getting one of the Less Effect Harms can make your character less capable right out of the gate.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        That does sound better than the experience I had with the game, if the GM and group were both willing to plan more extensively ahead of time.

        In practice, my group's experience was often taking on a job semi-blindly while only be asked for our general approach once we were already breaking in. It felt like every heist simply boiled down to picking a point of entry and then burning Stress for Flashbacks and pushed rolls to just get past an arbitrary number of improvised obstacles from the GM.
        Overall, I really do like the idea of Flashbacks as a mechanic to make heists run smoothly, but the game gives the impression that it should replace actual planning entirely. I can't say whether or not it was just due to how my GM ran things, but the typical heist rarely felt like we were getting past some well-prepared security, and moreso that we'd breeze past each obstacle as it materialized

  9. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >Blades in the Dark?
    Best new game in the last 10 years.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Give me some other examples you like, I'm in the mood of reading about interesting systems.

  10. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    it's a colossal piece of shit with a couple good ideas completely ruined by atrocious execution
    the rules are mind-numbing and there can never be any kind of tension because everything manages to be overwrought and procedural while still depending entirely on player fiat and taking away control from the GM
    improv theater power fantasy made by people who seemingly hate everything good about what they proclaim to love
    if someone told me it's their favorite rpg, I would spit on their shoes

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I mean, every single youtube RPG campaign is just former theater kids trying to finally get their five minutes in the spotlight

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        now imagine those people writing a game
        NOW imagine people not good enough to even get into theater class playing this with a straight face, not for Youtube
        and don't forget, it's the player who has final say on what stats to roll for every action, so everyone can just keep picking their highest scores and operate heavy ordnance using their Charm skill or something equally retarded

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >operate heavy ordnance using their Charm skill or something equally retarded
          You don't have to like the system but making shit up about it is strange

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            same difference, it's a mindless way to play because you're working backwards from what's going to give you the bigger bonus, regardless of circumstances, and it opens the way for endless bargaining with the GM to justify using your highest rating at all times
            I was wrong on the minutia (also I only own Scum & Villainy that's an offshoot that might have ommited that and I don't have the book at hand) but it's still a dogshit system

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              >I don't own it but I hate it

              I've never played BitD, but I own the rulebook. I'm not a big fan of the way the system handles most of the action, but I really like the progression system/ post-mission system. It addresses a lot of things I don't like about D&D, and I'll probably steal a lot of it for my next campaign.
              >Party classes + individual classes is just fun
              >XP for specific actions on a class by class basis encourages playing to their strengths
              >Party levels make losing a character and restarting at level 1 less painful
              >Slow build up of injuries (including mental ones) makes eventual character death way more likely
              >Vices provide some nice roleplay and risk to the rest system
              >"Benders" provide players with an easy out if they need to miss a session and also let you introduce new PCs before the old ones die
              >Downtime actions are actually designed to be meaningful

              >I've never played it but it's a mixed bag

              I've never played, but Friends at the Table has some of their best work in BITD and derivative systems.

              >I've never played it but it seems great
              /tg/ in a nutshell

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >but it seems great
                My only point was that we have a case study of a group of players generating some particularly compelling gameplay and story from within the system. YMMV, obviously, but it seems to me that it's obviously not a garbage game considering what does people have done with it.

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                It's the same everywhere. Go on r/rpg and ask for opinions about any game and you'll get "I haven't played it, but" as the top three replies. RPGs are almost uniquely hard to engage with as mediums go.

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              I have never played the game this way at my table. If you choose an action that obviously requires a specific skill, you use that skill.
              Also, it's codified nowhere in the rules. You can ignore it with literally 0 mechanical consequence to the game, and in most systems GM's are expected to pick and choose mechanics as they fit their group that are more consequential.
              For fucks sake, this is basic GMing shit dude.

  11. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >narrativist games

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The only function of number crunching in TRPGS is to support narrative prompts and even act as them. Sorry not sorry.

      (but do keep crunching, we need you number goblins beneath the hood).

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >takes the game part out of the role playing game

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          The game part is trying to solve an incomplete situation using the tools given. You know jenga is a game too right?
          I would personally delete pbta and its descendants from existence given the chance but they are technically exactly as much a game as any other.

  12. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    If that last passage wasn't clear enough for you

  13. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I've never played BitD, but I own the rulebook. I'm not a big fan of the way the system handles most of the action, but I really like the progression system/ post-mission system. It addresses a lot of things I don't like about D&D, and I'll probably steal a lot of it for my next campaign.
    >Party classes + individual classes is just fun
    >XP for specific actions on a class by class basis encourages playing to their strengths
    >Party levels make losing a character and restarting at level 1 less painful
    >Slow build up of injuries (including mental ones) makes eventual character death way more likely
    >Vices provide some nice roleplay and risk to the rest system
    >"Benders" provide players with an easy out if they need to miss a session and also let you introduce new PCs before the old ones die
    >Downtime actions are actually designed to be meaningful

  14. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I've never played, but Friends at the Table has some of their best work in BITD and derivative systems.

  15. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    The setting's kind of cool, but the ruleset is kind of confusing at times.

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