[LB] Basic Game Info

edited November 2014 in LadyB
photo Lady_B_zpsb48d8637.png
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.


  • Refresh Scenes... how do they work? Can I refresh Secrets or Conditions AND Pool Dice?
    You can refresh secrets, conditions or Pool. At the start of each session, all secrets are refreshed automatically.

    From the "book":
    You can refresh your pool back to 7 dice by having a refreshment scene with another character. You may also remove a condition or regain the use of a Secret, depending on the details of the scene.

    I hinge on the use of "or" and "also". I take it as the designer saying: "You can refresh pool dice this way. You can also remove a condition this way, if the fiction in the story makes sense. Or you can regain the use of a Secret, as long as the story doesn't disagree with getting it back."

    Which I take as 3 different results a player can choose from a refresh scene. The Condition and Secrets are listed separately because the fiction of the story needs to agree with the refreshment.
  • How do I roll dice?

    To roll dice on this forum, it's really easy, there's an app built in!

    without spaces, you'd roll 6d6 by typing this:

    < roll > 6d6 < /roll >
    I'll do a test roll in the next post so you can see one.

    I highly recommend that when you roll dice, do it in a separate post. Why? Because if you roll dice in a post with your PC talking and then you see a typo, so you go back to fix the type, the forum will detect your edit in that post and throw up a warning that "potential cheating has been detected". If I haven't already seen your roll, I will have to throw it out and ask you to make a new roll in another post.
  • Test roll:
    (Rolled: 6d6. Rolls: 6, 4, 3, 5, 1, 3. Total: 22)
  • edited November 2014
    Test roll 2:
    (Rolled: 6d6. Rolls: 3, 4, 1, 2, 4, 4. Total: 18)

    (I'm going to go back and edit this post to show you the error mentioned above)

    (This is my edit)

    POTENTIAL CHEATING DETECTED. If it appears that dice were rolled in this post, they may need to be disregarded as fabricated.
  • edited November 2014

    Should I write in first person or third person?
    Up to you. I prefer first person because it helps me immerse in character.

    Past or present tense?
    Present tense is easiest to do, since at times you won't know if you do a thing until after dice are rolled.

    Headers? What's that?
    To differentiate when characters are talking, I'll often use what I call "headers". This is blatantly stolen from JRPGs. Feel free to do it yourself. At the very least, list your PC name at the top of each post (it will help until I know which player is playing which PC)

    Oscar walks up to you, Natasha, bowing, "Milady Blackbird, I trust you are unhamred?"

    Font colors?!? Holy crap, Rich!
    I will probably choose different font colors for major characters as they appear. Feel free to use the text as is. I find it easier to pick out "what you say aloud" if you use < b > before speech and < / b > after speech.

    I take hold of the pistol, squeezing the trigger and praying silently to whatever god feels most generous at the moment, saying, "Unhand her, sir. Or I shall give you an extra mouth."
  • edited November 2014
    This will be a list of the rules tweaks we make as we play.
    * At times, I may offer you different levels of success (i.e. 3 successes gives you X, but 5 successes gives you Y). This will be offered before you roll so you can make a decision on how many Pool dice, etc. to use.
    * GM can offer a bonus Pool die for fleshing out a detail during an ongoing scene (like a mini-refresh)
    * GM can also offer a Pool Die for players to flesh out details of a scene as it is opening
  • edited November 2014
    Okay, how does my character talk to other PCs?
    You write out your half of the conversation and I'd recommend leaving an opening for reaction, or an answer. Keep in mind that if you do it on a Friday, you may not get a response for a couple days, so you're "stuck". I think it's worth it, especially in Lady Blackbird, and it might encourage folks to do an extra post here or there.

    Here's an example set of posts between three PCs in an Apocalypse World game over PBP that I played in earlier this year (none of them are my PC. Man, I miss Rue Wakeman so bad!). Note that the player for Robinson chose third person for his writing, but the othet two PCs (Clarity and Cinch) are written in first person.

    "I've asked Thirds to find something for me," Robinson says, looking over his shoulder at Cinch and Clarity while Bish is working on his hand. "If you can find him, he may be interested in a ruins run, too."

    "What's he looking for, Robinson?" Interested, but more interested in the hook to pull in Thirds.

    "A small power source. The kind I use for my detectors."

    Robinson leaves it at that. Something tells him that whatever happens, the glove is going to complicate things in Monroe. The fewer people involved, the better things will be for all involved. Anyone else might wish it had never come, but Robinson... for it to have passed into his hands was an event loaded with meaning. He had to leave his mark on it. It was meant to happen.

    "What, like a battery, right?"
    I nibble on my bottom lip as I think on that, there ain't that many working batteries out there to be found. They can probably see me thinkin' about what I seen. Robinson's maybe gonna probably hafta refit something, mix up the chemicals to make new power... that can't be easy.

    But I answer as positively as I can, "well, maybe we'll score a lucky stash. And I owe Thirds a rematch," I tuck my gloves into a back pocket. He beat me last time out... not going to happen again.
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