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Subject: A Small Part of the Pantomime [OOC] rss

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Jim Parkin
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Annowme wrote:
In future instances, as we get more comfortable with the dice system here, everyone should feel free to state your actions and roll according to what dice you think count (based reasonably on your tags). You may do this before I state "this is a challenge X etc..." and I'll respond accordingly. Unlike D&D, Lady Blackbird and similar story games put a lot of agency in the player's hands (I've already appreciated the free-thinking of you all thus far, in just one page of posting!). Basically, that means I'm not the only one doing the description and narrative here, you are, first and foremost.

Think of tags as possibly-applicable to any actions you choose to take, then secrets as special actions only your character can reasonably take, then keys as guiding principles to how your character prefers to act. Let me know if that doesn't come across clearly.
One additional note -- I glossed over this, and am sorry for it, though I don't think it would change all that much thus far.

To roll against a challenge or obstacle, you can first look at which TRAITS would reasonably count, then ALSO the tags under that trait. So Jeff, you did this correctly by adding 1d6 for "Tricky" in your edit.

Thus far, the door was an Easy (2 success) challenge, the lady marine was a Difficult (3 success) challenge, and Jeram, the big dude, is more difficult than that. You can use these examples as a sort of plumb-line when you gauge your rolls up front.

I'll try to describe things accurately without being too blunt about rules ("The big bomb, if you choose to defuse it, is a challenge 5!" etc...). Hopefully the narrative fiction will be a good guide, but if you'd prefer I make it more transparent given the PbF context, I'm happy to do so. My #1 aim is fun for you coupled with quick ease of play.
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Jeff Woodman
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Jim is there an AID type mechanic as well for characters working in tandem?
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Jim Parkin
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Yep! If your character is in a position to help another character, you can give them a die from your pool and they'll add it to their roll when they act against a challenge or obstacle. Say what your character does to help. If the roll fails, you get your pool die back. If it succeeds, your die is lost. As many relevant characters can help a single other character at the same time, so long as it makes sense in the fiction.

Kale's shoving the pistol to someone in the cell is a good example, and this is likely what you were thinking when you had him act that way. Since there is no "attack" action or anything like that in Lady Blackbird, tossing the pistol to another player lets their character get an added die from your help, not the weapon itself, per se. Does that jive?
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Jeff Woodman
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Thanks Jim, it's all staring to gel nicely now. It's a pretty different system from anything I've played before.
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Jim Parkin
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Precisely.

From what I can tell, back in 2010 with Apocalypse World, there was a big paradigm shift from dice/mechanics-heavy RPG towards "story games," or what you just described. There are certainly still plenty of rules and guidelines for how to play, but the seat of agency in the game is filled with narrative and player choices rather than GM fiat. John Harper, the designer of Lady Blackbird, is a big story-game designer, and his whole catalog in the last few years has been comprised of fairly rules-simple titles. All the same, these games don't lack anything for being games, they just ask different questions of players/GM etc...

For instance, I have a very loose idea of what I'd like to accomplish in this game, but my role is very reactionary, rather than trying to winsomely prod players to where I want in the ways I want. This is similar with other games of the same ilk, like the many Apocalypse World derivatives (usually described as "powered by the apocalypse" [PbtA]), such as Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, Monster of the Week, or Dungeon World, though not every story game uses the PbtA engine as a foundation (Lady Blackbird doesn't).

Obviously, I really enjoy D&D and similar games, this is just a different way of looking at RPG, is all.
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Paul T
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Snargle despite making some pretty awesome guesses about the competence of the crew of the Imp ship does not understand the die rolling mechanism at all! No worries though as seeing other players use it will be the best teacher for me.

I'm a watch not read, learner!

Plus Snargle was already a coward in my mind and will be doing nothing but following the others until such time as he gets into a pilots chair. Hopefully I'll understand the rolling by then!

I'd advise against anyone doing any long text of explanation. I won't get it. Watching is best!

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Jeff Woodman
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It's kinda weird Paul, against Snargles wishes I'll explain how I did it:

Kale wants to escape, but there's a guard, so I look under my Traits.

Tricky has some useful skills/tags, so I create a narrative that refers to being: Tricky (using the pipe as a distraction), quick (quickly moving up the stairs to the guard), dirty fighting (the kiss, nerve pinch move), and escape (cause we're, you know, escaping)

This gives me 5 dice (plus I could add from my pool of extra dice if I wanted too): 1 for my Trait, 1 for each of my 3 tags, and 1 free dice.

Now my Traits and skills/tags will be different than yours giving us each different things we can do that will add dice.

For example our Captain has some tags regarding guns...ahem...cough...ahem...
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Paul T
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I think it might all be a little too free-form for me! blush

I'll see how I go on. I have no problems with the story telling bit!
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Jim Parkin
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Jethreal wrote:
It's kinda weird Paul, against Snargles wishes I'll explain how I did it:

Kale wants to escape, but there's a guard, so I look under my Traits.

Tricky has some useful skills/tags, so I create a narrative that refers to being: Tricky (using the pipe as a distraction), quick (quickly moving up the stairs to the guard), dirty fighting (the kiss, nerve pinch move), and escape (cause we're, you know, escaping)

This gives me 5 dice (plus I could add from my pool of extra dice if I wanted too): 1 for my Trait, 1 for each of my 3 tags, and 1 free dice.

Now my Traits and skills/tags will be different than yours giving us each different things we can do that will add dice.
This is a REALLY good way of looking at it, Jeff.

The effects and actions are grounded in the fiction, to so speak. How many dice can you use? Well, what are you good at (traits/tags/secrets/keys etc...)? Now, how does your setting IN THE MOMENT give those terms any meaning? Do that.

Jethreal wrote:
For example our Captain has some tags regarding guns...ahem...cough...ahem...
Indeed. Cyrus is really good at shooting people. A lot. With bullets.

This is a helpful distinction here, too. Kale can use a gun, sure, but mechanically it gives him no bonuses, so that leads to the fiction and narrative pushing him away from using guns. Cyrus, on the other hand, is built to be a gunslinger in terms of traits and tags, so it makes perfect sense that HE uses a gun and in terms of the story being told, OF COURSE he is the gun-toting gritty ex-soldier.
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Andy W
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How do you feel about merging two actions together?

Would they be one roll, or two separate rolls?

For instance, if Natasha tried to pick up the gun and act like she was returning it to Jerem as part of her deception, but then gets close and tries to shoot him.

Would the Athletic and Shooting get added into that one roll, or would the Deception be one, and the Shooting be a separate roll?
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Jim Parkin
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I think it makes more sense from a PbF standpoint to combine one roll using all applicable components, then I, as GM, will gauge the total number of successes against two individual challenge checks on my end.

Following your deceive-then-shoot action, narratively, it's all one fluid thing Natasha is doing, not some awkward step-by-step process, right? Think about it as if it were real. She'd be able to blend the aggression and subterfuge into a single "action." So yeah, you roll all of your applicable dice, then from a mechanical perspective, I either consider that whole "action" as something with a higher challenge rating (let's say, a 5 or 6) or two smaller challenges for each part of Natasha's intent (let's say, a 3 and a 2). It all shakes out in the end.

The bottom line is that I want you to be able to do what you think your character could and would do in the circumstances.

Consider your options, string together what makes sense in the context, then describe it richly. I'll pick up the slack and fill in the details. The die rolls are there to add uncertainly and bend the fiction. Even if I don't respond immediately, if you roll REALLY badly or REALLY well, go ahead and just own it. Tell us what happens. If it seems like you might not be confident in the challenge ratings behind the scenes, I'll arbitrate it. Otherwise, let 'er rip.
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Andy W
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Awesome, thanks.
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Paul T
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Will be at the England v South Africa test match for the next two days and probably won't post much if at all. Bot my character as required!
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Jeff Woodman
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One more question Jim, what are we counting as a "session" as we all have once per session abilities?
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Jim Parkin
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I'm still deliberating on that.

On the one hand, we could say one major scene is a "session" (like, "aboard the Hand of Sorrow") or use the somewhat-standard "one calendar month" of several other PbF games. The former may prove a little OP, but the latter is boring an unthematic.
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Russ Wayfarer
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Annowme wrote:
I'm still deliberating on that.

On the one hand, we could say one major scene is a "session" (like, "aboard the Hand of Sorrow") or use the somewhat-standard "one calendar month" of several other PbF games. The former may prove a little OP, but the latter is boring an unthematic.

What if it were just between "refreshment scenes"? Seems like those would provide a natural break in the story, and thus a way to regain uses of taxing skills.
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Jeff Woodman
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You could make some arbitrary rules and then write it in with the story, something along the lines of: major story point change (like escaping) and a minimum of ____# of pages of posts. Once both conditions are met then reset.
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Andy W
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I'd be in favor of "when it feels right" as opposed to a preset definition, but am fine with whatever is decided.

I grew up with the RPG experience of a "session" running six hours, and you'd get an hour at most of actual gaming in between all the side banter and other off topic nonsense, which would mean we'd get to use those benefits every page or so here.
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Andy W
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Jim, what is your thinking about the Hit a Key bonuses.

Should we be noting when this may have come up, or will you be watching for it?

I doesn't feel like Natasha should qualify after one roll for "Key of the Imposter" (Hit your key when you perform well enough to fool someone with your disguise), but it got me thinking about how you'd like to run this in general.
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Jim Parkin
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Indeed, I think "when it makes sense" counts as a session, likely once per scene break etc... We can play it by ear, but I'm inclined to go with that definition.

Andy, if you think you've Hit a Key in your posts, go ahead and say so in OOC tags. If I read your post and you don't state it, but I think you hit one, I'll point it out.

Either way, you can update your post tags with any gained XP along with your dice pool.
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Paul T
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Back from the cricket. Will start catching up!
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Jeff Woodman
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Paul I love Snargles voice/thoughts! Have to read your posts a few times to make sure I know what you're saying lol.
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Paul T
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Lol Jeff.

Snargle is a full on Victorian cockney guttersnipe
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Jeff Woodman
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and so thankful for the translation on that one Paul, I was just blinking at the...

Withywindle wrote:
"Early doors is best time to show cocky snapperjack birks just who grinds the penny organ?" suggests Snargle.
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Paul T
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That is steampunk gutter goblin for 'better show this upstart who is in charge right away'

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