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Subject: Back-alley Blackbird - OOC rss

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Jack van Riel
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Welcome to Lady Blackbird! This is a game for GeekQuestions regulars trying out a PbF RPG.

Our wonderful players:
Mindy G
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We’ll have two threads: A Story Thread, where we’ll write the story (all your character’s thoughts, actions and conversations), and a OOC (out of character) thread, where we will talk about things like how the game is going, rules questions you may have, letting us know when you’re away for a couple of days, or funny cat pictures. This is that thread. The Story Thread will be posted when we're ready to start can be found here. Quick OOC notes are ok in the Story thread, but please post them in a grey color.

Please subscribe to both threads, and bookmark them!

Other threads you may find interesting are:
Play-by-forum FAQ and Reference
Tips for new users in PBF games

And the Extravajanza geeklist: here

You can download the game here: http://www.onesevendesign.com/ladyblackbird/lady_blackbird.p...
It’s helpful if you do so.

Try to post at least once a day. If you’re away for a couple of days, no problem, but please let us know in the thread.
It can also be helpful to thumb a post when you’ve read it and there’s nothing you want to write in response, so I know if everyone is still following along.
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Jack van Riel
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The story so far:

Quote:
Lady Blackbird is on the run from an arranged marriage to Count Carlowe. She hired a smuggler skyship, The Owl, to take her from her palace on the Imperial world of Ilysium to the far reaches of the Remnants, so she could be with her once secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint.

However, just before reaching the halfway point of Haven, The Owl was pursued and captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow, under charges of flying a false flag.

Even now, Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard, and the crew of The Owl are detained in the brig, while the commander of the cruiser, Captain Hollas, runs the smuggler ship’s registry over the wireless. It’s only a matter of time before they discover the outstanding warrants and learn that The Owl is owned by none other than the infamous outcast Cyrus Vance.

How will Lady Blackbird and the others escape the Hand of Sorrow?

The story reaches a natural stopping point when the characters escape the ship that captured them. At that point we’ll wrap up the story, and maybe post an epilogue. Unless we unanimously decide that we want to continue playing. We can play as long as we all think it’s fun, but don’t feel obligated to keep playing after that first “episode”.
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Jack van Riel
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How the game works:

There are four characters in the game. (Technically there are five, but the goblin pilot isn’t essential to the story, and unless someone really wants to play him we can do without him.) They are: Lady Blackbird, noble sorceress on the run; Naomi Bishop, superstrong fighter and bodyguard; Cyrus Vance, smuggling skyship captain; and Kale Arkam, mechanic and burglar. Each player will play one of these characters. Their character sheets can be found in the download, but I’ll post them below too.

Let me know which character you want to play. First come, first serve.


During the game I will describe the scene, and then ask you questions. This can be about what you do, feel, think, see, or even about things in the scene that you character may or may not be aware of. You may establish facts in your answers; how many guards there are, for instance. Just don’t contradict others. You don’t have to answer all questions. I’m using them to guide the story in an interesting direction, but if you want the story to go somewhere else, that’s fine. You should at least think about them, though.


During play, characters gain and spend experience points, use dice from their dice pool, and might gain conditions such as ‘injured’. I will keep track of this in the first post of the Story thread.


Rolling Dice

Lady Blackbird uses dice; we’ll use the built in randomizer for this. If you click on (quick)reply, you’ll find a ‘roll’ button next to font size. If you enter “3d6c[4]” there, it rolls three dice and counts the number of dice showing a 4 or higher. To roll 7 dice, enter “7d6c[4]”. And so on. When you submit the post, you can see the result of your die roll. Try it out!
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Jack van Riel
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The characters

Each character has four or five Traits, and each Trait comes with a number of Tags. Kale Arkam, for instance, has the Trait “Tricky” with the Tags “Quick”, “Dirty Fighting”, “Tumbler”, “Escape” and “Contortionist”. Those tell you what you’re good at, and they determine how many dice you get to roll when you try to do something. Each character also has Keys, which are things the character cares about. They determine for which actions you get Experience Points; you can use those to get new Traits and Tags, among other things. Lastly, each character has Secrets, which are special cool things only your character can do.

Gameplay

Normally, you simply write what your character does, and that’s what happens. Sometimes though, your character has to overcome an obstacle. You can’t just say you pick a lock or shoot a marine, for instance. You have to roll the dice to succeed. I will sometimes call for a roll; you may also go ahead and roll without waiting for me, when you feel the situation calls for one. I’ll tell you if you’ve succeeded.

You always start with one die, and you may add a die if a Trait applies, and one more die for each Tag listed under that Trait that’s relevant. You can also add dice from your personal pool; each player starts with seven.

When you’ve figured out the number of dice you get to roll, enter it into the dice roller (so 5d6c[4] for five dice, for instance). You need to match or beat the difficulty level to succeed. This is usually 3, but could be higher for difficult tasks; it’s determined by me. If you succeed, you get what you want, but you lose the pool dice you used. If you fail, you get to keep your pool dice and add another one to your pool. I will escalate the situation somehow, and play continues.

If your character helps another, you can give that player a die from your pool to use on a roll. You get it back if the roll fails.

During play you will at times “hit your Key”. What you have to do for that depends on the Key. Kale Arkam, for instance, has the Key of Greed, which he hits when he steals something cool. When you feel that you’ve hit your Key, make a note of it in your post (in grey color), and you get 1 experience point or 1 extra die in your pool, or 2 if you have to go into danger to hit your Key. Five experience points gives you an advance: an extra Trait, Tag, Key or Secret. Each Key comes with a buyoff. For instance, Kale can swear off stealing forever. If he does, he loses the Key of Greed, but gains two advances.

You can refresh your pool back to 7 dice, by having a refreshment scene with another character. You may also use this to get rid of a condition, such as ‘injured’, depending on the scene, or regain the use of a once-per-game secret. If you want a refreshment scene, write it in grey text, and I’ll add the scene to the story if the situation is appropriate. You should think of some questions for the other character, or some things your character wants to tell about their life.

That’s pretty much it for the rules.
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Jack van Riel
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Character sheets:


Lady Blackbird (AKA Natasha Syri)
An Imperial noble, in disguise, escaping an arranged marriage so she can be with her lover.


Traits:

Imperial Noble
Etiquette, Dance, Educated, History, Science, Wealth, Connections, House Blackbird

Master Sorcerer
Spellcaster, Channeling, Stormblood, Wind, Lightning

Athletic
Run, Fencing, Rapier, Duels, Shooting

Charm
Charisma, Presence, Command, Nobles, Servants

Cunning
Deception, Misdirection, Disguise, Codes


Keys:

Key of the Paragon
As a noble, you're a cut above the common man.
Hit your key when you demonstrate your superiority or when your noble traits overcome a problem.
BUYOFF: Disown your noble heritage.

Key of the Mission
You must escape the Empire and rendezvous with your once secret lover, the Pirate King Uriah Flint, whom you haven't seen in six years.
Hit your key when you take action to complete the mission.
BUYOFF: Give up on your mission.

Key of the Imposter
You are in disguise, passing yourself off as commoner. Hit your key when you perform well enough to fool someone with your disguise.
BUYOFF: Reveal your true identity to someone you fooled.


Secrets:

Secret of Stormblood
As long as you can speak, you can channel magical power and do Sorcery. You have a fifth trait: Master Sorcerer, and the Stormblood tag.

Secret of Inner Focus
Once per game, you can re-roll a failure when doing Sorcery.
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Jack van Riel
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Naomi Bishop
Former pit-fighter and bodyguard to Lady Blackbird.


Traits:

Pit-Fighter
Combat Tested, Brutal, Living Weapon, Fast, Hard

Bodyguard

Awareness, Threats, Defend, Disarm, restrain, Carry, Delay

Ex-Slave
Sneak, Hide, Run, Tough, Endure, Scrounge, Nobles

Keen
Insightful, Aware, Coiled, Liars, Traps


Keys:

Key of the Guardian
You are Lady Blackbird's loyal defender.
Hit your key when you make a decision influenced by Lady Blackbird or protect her from harm.
BUYOFF: Sever your relationship with the Lady.

Key of Vengeance
The Empire enslaved you and made you kill for sport. You will have your revenge on them and watch their cities burn.
Hit your key when you strike a blow against the Empire (especially by killing an Imperial).
BUYOFF: Forgive them for what they did to you.

Key of the Warrior
You crave the crash and roar of battle, the tougher the better. Hit your key when you do battle with worthy or superior foes.
BUYOFF: Pass up an opportunity for a good fight.


Secrets:

Secret of Destruction
You can break things with your bare hands as if you were swinging a sledgehammer. It's scary.

Secret of the Bodyguard

Once per game, you can re-roll a failure when protecting someone.
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Cyrus Vance
An ex-Imperial soldier turned smuggler and soldier-of-fortune, Captain of the Owl.


Traits:

Ex-Imperial Soldier
Tactics, Command, Soldiers, Rank, Connections, Maps, Imperial War Ships

Smuggler
Haggle, Deception, Sneak, hide, Camouflage, forgery, Pilot, Navigation

Survivor
Tough, Run, Scrounge, Endure, Creepy Stare, Intimidate

Warrior
Battle-Hardened, Shooting, Two-Gun Style, Pistol, Fencing, Sword


Keys:


Key of the Commander
You are accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed.
Hit your key when you come up with a plan and give orders to make it happen.
BUYOFF: Acknowledge someone else as the leader.

Key of Hidden Longing
You are completely enthralled by Lady Blackbird, but you don't want her to know it.
Hit your key when you make a decision based on this secret affection or when you somehow show it indirectly.
BUYOFF: Give up on your secret desire or make it public.

Key of the Outcast
You got exiled from the Empire.
Hit your key when your outcast status causes you trouble or is important in a scene.
BUYOFF: regain your former standing or join a new group.


Secrets:

Secret of Leadership
Once per game, you can give someone else a chance to re-roll a failed roll, by giving them orders, advice, or setting a good example.

Secret of Warpblood
Once per game, you can teleport yourself or someone you're touching.
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Jack van Riel
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Kale Arkam
A burglar and petty sorcerer, first mate and mechanic of The Owl.


Traits:

Burglar
Quiet, Sneak, Hide, Dexterous, Locks, Perceptive, Traps, Darkness

Tricky
Quick, Dirty Fighting, tumbler, Escape, Contortionist

Petty magic (use one spell tag at a time)
Light spell, Dark spell, Jump spell, Shatter spell

Mechanic
Repair, Engines, Efficiency, Spare parts, Sabotage


Keys:

Key of Greed
You like the shiny things.
Hit your key when you steal something cool or score a big payoff.
BUYOFF: Swear off stealing forever.

Key of the Mission
You must safely deliver Lady Blackbird to the Pirate King, Uriah Flint, so she can marry him.
Hit your key when you take action to complete the mission.
BUYOFF: Give up the mission.

Key of Fraternity
You are sworn to Captain Vance in a bond of brotherhood.
hit your key when your character is influenced by Vance or when you show how deep your bond is.
BUYOFF: Sever the relationship.


Secrets:

Secret of Concealment
No matter how thoroughly you're searched, you always have a few key items with you.
You can produce any common, simple item at a moment’s notice.

Secret of Reflexes
Once per game, you can re-roll a failure when doing anything involving grace, dexterity, or quick reflexes.
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Jack van Riel
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That's it for now! Please download the Lady Blackbird pdf (link in the first post), give it a quick look-over, and post which character you want to play. Any questions?
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Cringing Dracolich
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Dibs on the shiny meknik!

That's Kale Arkam in case it wasn't obvious.

aaaannndd....
Were we actually flying false colours? I'm assuming we were, but just checking...
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Jack van Riel
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Cringing Dragon wrote:
Were we actually flying false colours? I'm assuming we were, but just checking...
Good question! You're the first mate, it looks like, so you tell me!
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purplewurple wrote:
Cringing Dragon wrote:
Were we actually flying false colours? I'm assuming we were, but just checking...
Good question! You're the first mate, it looks like, so you tell me!
Ah well I am a dashing rogue, and my meknik traits include "spare pants". I'm now kind of regretting having swapped the flag for a pair of frilly ladies' bloomers.
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TEST 3d6c[4] = (4, 1, 1) = 1

TEST
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  • 3d6c[4] =
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  • Mon Jan 5, 2015 3:45 pm
Mindy G
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Checking in! I'm good with any character, so I'll wait and take what's left, or if others also don't care, then roll for it or something.
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purplewurple wrote:
Naomi Bishop
Former pit-fighter and bodyguard to Lady Blackbird.


Traits:

Pit-Fighter
Combat Tested, Brutal, Living Weapon, Fast, Hard

Bodyguard

Awareness, Threats, Defend, Disarm, restrain, Carry, Delay

Ex-Slave
Sneak, Hide, Run, Tough, Endure, Scrounge, Nobles

Keen
Insightful, Aware, Coiled, Liars, Traps


Keys:

Key of the Guardian
You are Lady Blackbird's loyal defender.
Hit your key when you make a decision influenced by Lady Blackbird or protect her from harm.
BUYOFF: Sever your relationship with the Lady.

Key of Vengeance
The Empire enslaved you and made you kill for sport. You will have your revenge on them and watch their cities burn.
Hit your key when you strike a blow against the Empire (especially by killing an Imperial).
BUYOFF: Forgive them for what they did to you.

Key of the Warrior
You crave the crash and roar of battle, the tougher the better. Hit your key when you do battle with worthy or superior foes.
BUYOFF: Pass up an opportunity for a good fight.


Secrets:

Secret of Destruction
You can break things with your bare hands as if you were swinging a sledgehammer. It's scary.

Secret of the Bodyguard

Once per game, you can re-roll a failure when protecting someone.

I'll take Bishop.

I'm looking forward to this and appreciate everyone's patience as I stumble through. It has been a long time since I attempted any sort of RPG. In fact, this is my first role-playing game since a regular D&D game in 1980(interesting bit of trivia: my regular D&D game back then was DM'd by Pulitzer Prize and Obie Award winner Ayad Akhtar -- so no pressure, Jack! ).
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Sweetgotham
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/ off character

Two day car ride starting tomorrow to return home from funeral. Will not be able to post until then since on phone.
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Jack van Riel
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No problem, sweetgotham. Thanks for the heads up!
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Jack van Riel
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While we're waiting for sweetgotham to choose her character, are there any questions you have about this game, or PbF roleplaying in general?
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I haven't tried pbf before, but it's all good.

I'm not anticipating any trouble, other than time. I will be on remote minesites on 14-15th Jan, but I have mobile broadband which should work at the first site, and probably also at the second but isn't guaranteed.
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purplewurple wrote:
While we're waiting for sweetgotham to choose her character, are there any questions you have about this game, or PbF roleplaying in general?

I'm the newb's newb. BUT, I'm a pretty quick learner. So, I'll just try to pick it up as we go along and come and post here if I have a particular questions along the way.

I'm looking forward to getting started.

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oldhoss wrote:
I'm looking forward to getting started.
Great! Me too. I sent sweetgotham a geekmail; hopefully she finds the time soon to pick a character and play the game.
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purplewurple wrote:
While we're waiting for sweetgotham to choose her character, are there any questions you have about this game, or PbF roleplaying in general?

I do have a question.

We are using gray font for non-story text.

Do we want to come up with a uniform presentation for dialogue, story text, etc.?

For example (black for story text and blue for dialogue)

Bishop walked down the corridor with Arkam, searching for the source of of the irregular thumping noise that was barely present under the hum of the generators. Bishop had been on edge ever since their last stop. Something was definitely wrong and she hoped that Arkam was ready for whatever it was they found.

Just before the T-junction they stopped. Bishop listened.

Weapon ready? Bishop pulled hers from its holster and Arkam followed suit. Let's go.

They turned the corner.

Also, would this be a acceptable post? Did I do too much, too little? Did I overstep at all?

Should I include my character's internal thoughts or should those remain a mystery to the other players?

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Jack van Riel
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Yes, rules for formatting are a good idea!

Commonly, character speech is "bolded and in quotes". Alternatively, every player "can pick their own color" for speech. Both help it stand out from the rest of the text.

Thoughts can be "in italics", with or without quotes. Character thoughts are certainly fine; the other player will have to separate what they know from what their character knows, but that's usually not a problem.

Your example post is great. You might stop a little earlier (before turning the corner), to give Kale's player a chance to interject. But if she has just posted, then it's perfectly fine.

Usually a post is a couple of sentences long, like your example post. Ideally, it moves the story along, so it's more than just a character's inner thoughts, and it stops at a point where the GM or other characters might want to step in, or a roll should be made (when dealing with an obstacle). Sometimes a post just to add color is fine; if you don't know what else to write that's usually much better than not posting. In that case you might ask another character a question, so that player has something to react to.

Basically, it's ok to describe what your character does next, but not what happens next with things your character has no control over, like other (player or non-player) characters. However, Lady Blackbird gives the players more power to answer what happens next, so if you think of something cool that could happen, it's ok to occasionally write that too. Use your own judgment; if everybody seems quiet and unsure what to do next, go ahead and write something that moves the action along, but if you feel like it's always you who progresses the story, sit back and give others a chance. You can always suggest things in the OOC thread. I will probably agree with any suggestion, but it gives the other players a chance to add their ideas to it.

You will get a feel for how fast the action moves, which depends entirely on the other players, and can be different from scene to scene.
In the first PbF I played, the characters heard gunshots, and while the other players described their characters' initial reactions, like jumping up and asking if others heard it too, one player simply wrote that his character ran up the stairs (for which he had to open the door and run across the hallway to the stairs), so that didn't quite fit.

If there are a lot of characters in the scene, it's usually better to keep your post shorter, so players can react to each of your actions or pieces of dialog, but if it's just you in the scene, then sometimes you can write the entire scene in one post.

Edit: I discovered that the quickest way to write grey out-of-character text is the tag [ ooc][ /ooc].
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purplewurple wrote:
Yes, rules for formatting are a good idea!

Commonly, character speech is "bolded and in quotes". Alternatively, every player "can pick their own color" for speech. Both help it stand out from the rest of the text.

Thoughts can be "in italics", with or without quotes. Character thoughts are certainly fine; the other player will have to separate what they know from what their character knows, but that's usually not a problem.

Your example post is great. You might stop a little earlier (before turning the corner), to give Kale's player a chance to interject. But if she has just posted, then it's perfectly fine.

Usually a post is a couple of sentences long, like your example post. Ideally, it moves the story along, so it's more than just a character's inner thoughts, and it stops at a point where the GM or other characters might want to step in, or a roll should be made (when dealing with an obstacle). Sometimes a post just to add color is fine; if you don't know what else to write that's usually much better than not posting. In that case you might ask another character a question, so that player has something to react to.

Basically, it's ok to describe what your character does next, but not what happens next with things your character has no control over, like other (player or non-player) characters. However, Lady Blackbird gives the players more power to answer what happens next, so if you think of something cool that could happen, it's ok to occasionally write that too. Use your own judgment; if everybody seems quiet and unsure what to do next, go ahead and write something that moves the action along, but if you feel like it's always you who progresses the story, sit back and give others a chance. You can always suggest things in the OOC thread. I will probably agree with any suggestion, but it gives the other players a chance to add their ideas to it.

You will get a feel for how fast the action moves, which depends entirely on the other players, and can be different from scene to scene.
In the first PbF I played, the characters heard gunshots, and while the other players described their characters' initial reactions, like jumping up and asking if others heard it too, one player simply wrote that his character ran up the stairs (for which he had to open the door and run across the hallway to the stairs), so that didn't quite fit.

If there are a lot of characters in the scene, it's usually better to keep your post shorter, so players can react to each of your actions or pieces of dialog, but if it's just you in the scene, then sometimes you can write the entire seen in one post.

Edit: I discovered that the quickest way to write grey out-of-character text is the tag [ ooc][ /ooc].

Thanks, Jack! I really appreciate the input.

Personally, I like "bold and in quotes" for speech better than each of us having our own color. Too many colors can be distracting when reading a whole page of texts.

I can't wait to get started!

I can already sense that if I am going to have a struggle with this game, it will involve me trying to take control of the story line (I have some control issues -- comes with being an attorney whistle). I am cognizant of this and will be doing my best to relinquish control. But everyone, please make sure to tell me if you think I'm overstepping. You won't hurt my feelings.


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