Lady Blackbird: De-railed!

edited September 2012 in Actual Play
Right well, I started to GM a game of Lady Blackbird over on a different site

Things started out swimmingly. We had a sixth player who grafted together a new character, Alistair Pyke, who the Imperials already had locked up in the brig when the Owl's crew and hires were brought on board.

Interactions went well but then things got, er, interesting!

Lady Blackbird is a bossy authorative figure and ordered Kale about a bit, while Kale - who only takes orders from Vance, spat out a few verbal stings and barbs.

The situation escalated once they were out of their two jail cells. Kale nabbed a number of items from the unconscious guards (taken out by Naomi) including some Imperial Code/Message/Map tubes. Lady B turned army major type and told him to hand them over "spit spot" to her. Kale, in his flippant way deferred to Captain Vance and said "they may be rigged to explode, or to trace us where we go. I'll hand them over but she needs to know the dangers".

At which point, because Kale had not done her bidding, Lady B cast high magic and created a bubble around Kale and proceeded to suck out all his air for a bit. She did let him go, attempting to gloss over the situation by directing her verbals to Vance telling him to ensure his crew knew their place and that she was Noble born etc etc.

And then Snargle (being played as a female goblin) took umbridge to Kales punishment and jumped onto her head, acting like a spickey plastic bag, taking her air away but also giving her a small "life story". Snargle explained that she was much like Lady B and had been stripped of her position in life because of it and was now doing penance. She had a choice - play nice, or die.

So now I await Captain Vance (having internet problems so may not post till Sunday) to react and post and Hopefully defuse the situation before Kale kills Lady B or vice versa. And also to stop that happening any time in the future of the story....

And so far we are still in the brig of the Hand of Sorrow....Imperials pounding down the hallway to see what the commotion is.....and the crew and hires bickering and fighting each other.

So we are very close to having a complete derailing of the story, with possible deaths caused by PvP.

Anyone else ever seen a Lady Blackbird game go south? I'm both curious to see how this turns out and also wanting a complete game reboot! lol :}


  • I think the Imperials need to break through immediately, before this gets any further. Perhaps immediately after the Captain says whatever he's going to say!

    If that doesn't work, a reboot and discussion with the group might definitely be in order, as you suggest.
  • General agreement with Paul.

    I attempted to run a PBP pulp game that went a lot like this. I don't really remember who thought is was a good idea to put a hardcore communist and a stuck-up French heiress in the same adventuring party (or to equip both of them with firearms) but it did not end well.
  • Yeah, I ran a PbP Lady Blackbird that went much like this one. They started arguing and it quickly descended to PvP before they even got out of the brig. Kinda fizzled out and died.
  • I'd have a conversation with the players before moving forward. This sounds like a giant charlie foxtrot in the early stages.
  • Oh the conversation is flowing OOC, don't worry Orklord! :)

    I have been threatening such things as "the Imperials turn on a electric knock-out grid in the brig and you all wake up back in your cells but manicled to the wall and with 20 guards standing watch. It's now 100 times harder to escape than before...."

    The more I think on it the Imperials busting in does sound like a nice plan, however I am going to wait to see what Vance posts once he's back in civilization and with internet (in the real world lol).

    He may be able to turn things around, who knows? :)

    Keep the advice coming people, and I'll keep you appraised of how it turns out!

    (BTW - this was my first post to the site)
  • Is everyone having fun? (including you)
  • we were :) but I think the pvp is taking a toll. Hopefully it will turn out well in the end :D

    two of the players have agreed (OOC) that storming the imperials in could well help solidify things. Still want to wait for captain vance though.
  • I'm a big Lady Blackbird fan, could you link me to the site where you're playing? I'd be interested in reading up on it.
  • Out of curiousity, are you doing shared GMing, Sam? Some of the turns of phrase in your posts sound a bit like that to me. Nothing to it in particular, it just caught my attention.
  • Ah, I didn't link to it initially as wasn't sure on this sites rules regarding that.

    Or if that does not work goto and search for "Bifford's Lady Blackbird" (ensure to UNTICK "Only active games requesting players")

    And nope, just little old me GMing :D
  • It sounds like a fun game to me, I'm not sure where the problem is. I mean, how much of the game is preordained to go a certain way and how much of it are you actually playing?
  • all you get is the initial scenario, so nothing much is "preordained" however if Lady Blackbird were to be killed there wouldn't be much of a game left, now would there??? :D
  • Sounds like people are having fun. Unusual, yes. But there aren't any rails.
  • I dunno. The idea of one or more character dying before they even escape the brig is pretty keen! I mean you might have to mentally rejigger what the story's going to be about and pass that player a new character, but sure, the game could roll on. You could even keep the characters and play the rest of the game in flashback to illustrate the series of screwed up events that lead to the clusterfuck of the opening scene.
  • Or if that doesn't work, just end the game there. Not every game has to be half-a-year long campaign. I've run plenty of one-shots that had a structure of simmering hostility in the middle and outright PvP at the end because it's a fine way to end a game. Clear up with the players what they want: If they're fine with two explosive sessions, let them run off the rails. If they actually want to make a decent sized campaign out of it, they can probably see the reason in not outright killing each other's characters off.
  • What Christopher and Vegedus said.

    I don't really see the problem here, except that you're all assuming there are meant to be rails.
  • The interesting thing about PvP in Lady Blackbird is that the rules don't really support it. There are no defended rolls. Just GM set obstacles. It would need some interpretation of the rules.
  • Well the feeling I got was not one of "pvp, kill someone, end the game". Most of them I think wanted a decent length game of it.

    However Vance has now posted (with some Private mail tips as to how *I* would proceed, which he has only partially acted on I'm happy to say) and I think we can pull it back into a full game.

    I think I wouldn't have minded the pvp and death end if it had been a face-to-face game with my group, but as an onliner with strangers I want to give them more than that.

    And it looks as though the player of Lady B may have flown the coop anyway so I'll no doubt end up playing her. I was concerned about her manner right from the request to join so no hardship there if she has gone.

    BTW - tonight saw me GMing a face-to-face game of LB with my rpg group and it's been a blast. Currently on Haven , having escaped the Sorrow, trying to get parts to repair the Owl. But that's another story for another thread LOL :)
  • edited October 2012
    The interesting thing about PvP in Lady Blackbird is that the rules don't really support it. There are no defended rolls. Just GM set obstacles. It would need some interpretation of the rules.
    It's extremely easy to add contested rolls, though.

    OP: You do realize you can't actually die unless you want to, right?
  • Well, it's like anything, you'd roleplay whether something killed you or not.
  • edited October 2012
    Just pointing out that the condition Dead just means presumed dead, unless the player thinks its a good time to die.

    So, it's not really like anything. It's like a specific thing.
  • RIght, well, status update:

    The person playing Lady Blackbird has most certainly disappeared without a by-your-leave so I have taken over her character. I'm trying to play her as faithfully as the other person did, while backing down a bit to allow the game to play on.

    Also the person playing our extra character, Alistair Pyke (who was a friend of the woman) also appears to have bailed. That's no hardship though as we can just leave him in the Brig of the Hand of Sorrow.

    And the rest of us can play on with the rather interesting twist that now now Vance, Kale and Snargle are only doing the run for the money, and if anything happens Kale will most certainly not be worried about getting LB and Naomi out of a fix. Also, LB has (in her mind) sworn vengeance on the three of them once she's reached Uriah Heap's abode, but will play nice until then.

    Naomi still thinks Kale is a traitor.

    So all in all it's a pretty kettle of fish and should now provide some rather interesting roleplay!!!

    game on! :D
  • Glad to hear it worked out. Thanks for the update. :)
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