[Lady Blackbird] Conditions with more oomph

edited October 2011 in Story Games
My friend Matt K. and I are discussing how to use LB for a gritty game and I posited that it should be related to Conditions. I'm suggesting to him that the following adjustments be put into play. We haven't tried them out and won't have a chance for a while, but I thought I'd share. Comments welcome!

Adjustment 1: Conditions are a little more free form than those given in the system, but we use those original Conditions as guideline/inspiration.
Adjustment 2: Conditions, when applicable, remove one success from your final roll.
Adjustment 3: After the GM tells the player what level of success is necessary, the player rolls as normal, using whatever resources they can to try to make the roll. If they fail, the GM may offer a Condition to allow a success.
Adjustment 3a: When a Condition is declined, the GM is allowed to make a Hard Move (a la Apocalypse World).
Adjustment 3b: When a Condition is accepted, in addition to Adjustment 2, the number of successes that it gave defines a cost and how permanent it is.

I'll explain the "number of successes" in just a second. Please note that the following bit is completely alterable by GM as to how hard a setting things are to be. Costs can be dropped or increased, no problem.

If you needed 4 successes and only had a total of 1 after everything was said and done, you therefore "bought" 3 successes to make the roll. If the GM is offering a tiered roll (2 Successes gives you X, 3 gives you X+, 4 gives you X++), then the player can decide how many successes they're "buying" with the Condition.

Number of Successes | Cost | Permanency
1 Success | 1 XP | Describe how you fix it in between scenes
2 Successes | 3 XP | Describe it being fixed in a Recovery Scene
3 Successes | 5 XP | Describe it being fixed with a Recovery Scene in this session and the next.
4+ Successes | 10 XP plus a permanent change to your character (Create a new tag!) | Permanent

Please note that Recovery Scenes still function as normal to recover your Pool.


  • edited October 2011
    Could you explain the bit about hard moves a little more? The idea in itself sounds interesting, but then it seems as though you're going "so if you fail the roll, you can either succeed anyway but get screwed with, or fail and still get screwed with".

    Maybe that's what you're aiming for. I can certainly see some genres and playstyles where outright failure is less interesting than how much the player is willing to sacrifice to succeed.

    Edit: I'd also suggest a straight number of recovery scenes = number of successes you bought. For one thing, if something's trivial enough to be fixed between scenes, maybe it shouldn't be a condition. For another, the whole "once this session and once the next" could've gotten really wonky in some of the games I've been in, where a single session might cover weeks of in-game time.
  • The idea for the Hard Move is that whatever is an awful consequence of failure would come true in full effect. In my discussion with my friend, the scenario was a mage battling a spirit which had broken its bond to an idol that it had been trapped in. The spirit, if unbound and unchecked, would quickly start crossing the world, bringing plague with it. The character tried to weaken it to allow it to be bound to a fetish she had brought, but was losing that battle. She then decided to try to bind it to her soul. This is the roll that failed.

    The GM would offer a Condition and use the chart above to determine the cost and permanency of it. This sacrifice would allow the player to get what they wanted, but at a price. The other option is now a Hard Move, and these are the kinds of choices I would expect the GM to make:

    1. The spirit begins to be bound to your soul but breaks free. It takes a part of you with it when it leaves, but you can track it down before it gathers enough energy to complete its goal.
    2. The spirit is nearly fully bound to your soul when you lose concentration. It takes your soul! It is currently satiated on its prize and will not continue with its previous goal, not for a long while at least.
    3. The spirit blocks your attempt and flees! The world is in for it now.

    I guess I would define Hard Move as "fulfill what has been foreshadowed, with as much full effect as makes sense".
Sign In or Register to comment.