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Jen Bosier
Works at MapQuest
Attended Metropolitan State College of Denver
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Jen Bosier

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We ran our first game this weekend, as a sort of "test run" with our standard D&D group. We're coming up on the end of our current D&D 5e campaign, and we're excited to dive into this.  One of our members is our friend's 14-year-old son, who we figured would be a great litmus test for the system. 

I have to admit, when we first read the QuickStart, I was concerned that it sounded really complicated and as though it had a lot of moving parts. Upon playing, I was pleased to see how elegant it feels. It's not to say it doesn't have a lot of moving parts, but once you really dive into the system, it all makes sense, and keeping track of stuff seems pretty intuitive. We all (including the kiddo) walked away really liking the setting and the system. Huzzah! So, you know, "Blades in the Dark: So Smooth a 14-Year-Old Gets It." Anyway... 

The only "issue" we had was that we, as a group (players and DM included) decided we need to come up with canonical motivators behind actions. That is, a somewhat concrete determination of when you would use one skill over another.

Example: Consort vs. Sway. We ran into a situation where two characters were trying to sneak into a wealthy neighborhood, and were approached by a Bluecoat who, correctly, pointed out they (the PCs) did not belong on this street. PC 1 attempted to sway, in a Risky position, and failed. PC 2, having a Military background, wanted to Consort with the Bluecoat, attempting to distract him by appealing to their common background ("Hey buddy, how about that military work, eh? EH?"). As a group, we were torn on whether or not that was "OK." Half of us felt that "Consort" should be used in a more friendly or casual context/situation. Had he been attempted to buddy-buddy with the guy, in effort to perhaps getting information from him, or distract him from something he had not yet seen, that would be Consort. But since the Bluecoat had already approached the PCs, and had not fallen for PC 1's Sway attempt, we felt that PC 2 was also attempting to deceive, and ergo had to roll Sway. Ultimately, PC 2 had two action dots in Consort, and only 1 in Sway, hence his request to Consort, to begin with. 

I know that a core feature of the game is that the players decide what skills they use, and so long as you are able to successfully explain/demonstrate why you are able to use that action over a different action, it should be "OK." Our only concern (and I saw a post about this same concern, earlier, with some dude trying to use "Tinker" on everything under the sun) is that without having a somewhat concrete understanding of the intent behind each action, it could lead to players trying to break the system, or at the very least, cheese an encounter. 

It's not to say you cannot debate between Consort or Sway, but certain situations (such as lying through your teeth to not get carted off to jail) call for a specific skill, and, likewise, some skills are off limits in that situation. 

</stream of consciousness> 
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Chris O'Keefe's profile photoAndrew Shields's profile photoJen Bosier's profile photoJohn Harper's profile photo
4 comments
 
Thanks for the feedback, Jen! I'm writing a "players best practices" section right now that partially addresses the issue of choosing actions. It's definitely an important aspect of the game, and the text needs to be really clear and helpful on this point.

The solution Chris proposes (using Consort as a setup action in your case) is exactly what the book suggests. :) 
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In her circles
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Kyle Gaddo's profile photo
Chuck Williams's profile photo
Russell Jones's profile photo
Max Parker's profile photo
Robert Workman's profile photo
Diana Martin's profile photo
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    English Linguistics
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