Devil's Bargain

When we started playing Blades, we had some trouble with this mechanic. Chris, for one, did not like it at all. For our group, it fell away for a while. Especially as we were getting a handle on the rest of the mechanics.

As part of my prep for every Blades session, I review some part of the rules for the game, and this time I came back to Devil's Bargain. Getting extra dice in the game is really important, and doing it without getting Stress is even better.

I don't have an official ruling on this, nor did I dig around in the Blades community. Rather I re-read the rules and looked at the examples, and I think I get the crux of this rule. Or at least here is my interpretation of it.

The Devil's Bargain should complicate things tangentially to the ongoing plot. In Blades there is nearly always a cost on a roll (unless you get a 6) and mitigating them costs Stress. So to potentially complicate the immediate situation for a single die, does not always make sense. But introducing a complication downstream is less of a risk.

For instance. Glen's character was trying to sneak through his neighbor's apartment because he was sure something weird was happening in his. I offered him a Devil's Bargain that the lady who lives here has a big, imposing nephew and that he will have some things to say about Glenn sneaking through the apartment, the next time he visits.

Now this did not complicate the immediate scene, and it provides me with some interesting narrative bits to use in a future scene.

This is a bit of a contrast (at times) with a Fate compel, which is often done to complicate things in the moment. This is ok, because Fate has a less harsh failure mitigation (more Fate points) as well as softer fail forward. So complicating the immediate situation is not always a problem.

For instance. Bob may be trying to sweet talk a guard into letting him pass, when I hold up a Fate point and remind him of his Trouble Aspect, Do you know who I am? . He smiles and takes the point, and then brags to the guard about who he is while trying to convince him to let him pass, complicating the scene because now his identity will be known.

Now, I am not sure if I am using Devil's Bargain right, but it seems more right, to me, for Blades. Blades is a darker and grittier game. It does not suit making things worse in the moment, especially during a score. But as a tool for getting future narrative beats and situations, in exchange for an extra die. I am down with that.
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