A Lady Blackbird FAQ
I'm building this FAQ based on my own experiences (which have been great!). If you have a question, ask me.
This FAQ exists for THIS GAME of Lady Blackbird that we began in November 2014. It does not apply to any other game.What's Lady Blackbird?
Lady Blackbird is a free tabletop role-playing game written by John Harper. Its a 16 page thing of beauty. Go ahead and download yourself a copy here
. The game has five pre-generated player characters and is set up for a series of game sessions rather than a campaign. Uhm... what's a role-playing game?
If none of the sentences you read about Lady Blackbird make sense, I suggest you check out RPGs on wikipedia
or you can check out what Greg Stolze says about RPGs here and here. I'm not terribly good at explaining basic concepts of RPGs, but if the links don't help, whisper me and I'll try my best to get you to smarter people who might teach you how to play.Who starts scenes?
The GM (me) starts scenes. I will open new threads for scenes. Scenes will have your PC's initials in the parenthesis as well as the session and scene number.
Lady Blackbird = LB
Naomi Bishop = NB
Cyrus Vance = CV
Kale Arkam = KA
Snargle = S
I often go with memorable or silly scene titles, they're just a shorthand to help me keep them straight.
For example, if I kick off a scene to start the game with everyone (just an example, mind you), it might be titled:
[LB] Wakey, Wakey (LB 1.1, CV 1.1, KA 1.1 S 1.1, NB 1.1)What about Refreshment Scenes?
Any player can ask for a refreshment scene OR a flashback at any time. This is actually a good idea for times when player activity is out of sync and you want to keep going (as long as I can keep up). Ask for it in Table Chatter
thread and I'll start up a refresh or flashback scene with a new thread. I'm not sure how I'll number them at the moment. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.How do I know the difficulty of an action?
I'll tell you. I'll express it in successes needed and the narrative description. For example, I might say: "That's sounds pretty easy, Difficulty 2".How do we help each other?
If you want to risk a Pool Die giving help to another PC, say so BEFORE THE PLAYER MAKES THEIR ROLL. The player can then add that die to their pool and roll. Remember, if the PC succeeds, you lose your Pool Die and if they fail, you get TWO back (but you also get some consequences for helping on the failed action).What if I'm not in a scene, but I have a cool idea for something to happen? Or, what if I am in a scene and I have a cool idea for something for the GM to do to another Player Character that my character wouldn't do?
First of all, both situations are great! I welcome input and collaboration. Please post the ideas/suggestions in the Out-Of-Character thread. I may ask questions, I may throw it into the In-Game thread whole cloth, I may modify it. But I love the feedback and I will do my best to foster collaboration because this is *our* game, not *my* game.When does a "game session" end?
This is important because several characters have powers that only work once per game session. I will call end of session based on feel, taking into account how much real-life time has passed, how much game time has passed and how many events have occurred. If you feel a session has come to a natural end, please say so on the Table Chatter
thread, I will take it into account.How often do we play?
The game is basically always live, which is for good or ill. I post with relative frequency, but without much consistency (meaning sometimes during weekdays if work is light, sometimes at night unless I have offline fun/responsibilities happening). My weekends are primarily for my family, so expect light posting then. If I am going to be offline for more than two days, I will note it in the Table Chatter
thread.What if I will be away for a couple days?
Note it in the Table Chatter
thread if you'll be away for more than a couple days. If you don't note it and a weekday has passed, I reserve the right to move on and let your character fall into NPC status until you pick it up. NPC status means I will play your character based on my interpretation of how the character sheet reads plus anything I see you have done in the game (that I can remember). You won't get XP, you won't help other PCs, you won't use a Secret. I won't do this lightly. I don't *want* to play your character for you, it increases my workload and steals some of our collaborative efforts. I have two primary goals for taking this action, if I choose to do so: 1) I don't want to keep the majority of the players waiting in limbo 2) I don't want the game to die on the vine: I really want to play this story to its completion.What about PVP actions?
Honestly, Lady Blackbird doesn't have a system built to support full on PVP actions. I'd rather the conflict be a push and pull instead of a full on hit and shoot type of conflict between player characters. Now, as for actual player versus player antagonism, not PC vs. PC, that's a whole thing entirely. Hopefully, we won't have that ruckus, but if we do, well, I'll deal with it.How do I get XP?
When I run Lady Blackbird at a live table, I throw a bunch of poker chips in the middle of the table and tell all the players that the chips equal one XP. If they do something to hit a Key, I'll toss them a chip if they didn't realize they did. As we play, the players are free to catch my eye, either mention a Key or give me "the nod" and take a chip. I ask them to keep the chips out and when they take an advance, they toss the chips back into the middle of the table. Its a really satisfying way of tracking XP. At a live table.
On NGP, if I see someone hitting a Key, I'll respond with a parenthetical note to take an XP for hitting Key of blah. If I miss it, feel free to message me or just out and out state in a parenthetical note, asking "Hey, can I get an XP for Key of the Lush for taking that bottle of Whiskey?" and I'll most likely say (yes, take it). Or, you can just state in a parenthetical note (I'm taking an XP for hitting Key of the Show-Off for doing that thing with the gun) and we're cool. Unless I think you're pushing the limits of the key, and I'll note back (nice try, put yourself at risk for it) or something that points you to getting the XP.What about Snargle? How does he get XP for Key of Banter? I can't hear people laughing on forum!!
Let's try this. If Snargle does or says something in character that makes people laugh or smile while reading it, they can respond with a parenthetical (laughed at Snargle's comparison between a leviathan and his brood-mother) and that's an XP for Key of Banter. Or, the player can handle it in character, noting that their character finds Snargle funny and bam, Snargle has hit his key.