[Lady Blackbird] Basic Game Info

edited August 2011 in Out-Of-Game
I'm setting this up to store basic info, a primer for this miniseries of Lady Blackbird

Please don't post to this thread. If you have questions (we welcome lurkers) about the game, please whisper me. I'm happy to answer questions as long as the game is active and most likely for some time after.
CharacterPlayer HandlePlayer Name
Lady BlackbirdRustinRustin
Captain Cyrus Vance mease19Marshall
Kale ArkamoctoscottScott
Naomi BishopMax BMax
SnargleChristopher Weeks Chris
The GMorklordRich


  • edited November 2011
    A Lady Blackbird FAQ

    I'm building this FAQ based on my own experiences playing here (which have been great!). If you have a question, whisper me and I'll post it and answer it.

    This FAQ exists for THIS GAME of Lady Blackbird that we began in August 2011. It does not exist for 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. I like how in other games that the scene thread lists the characters and what session/scene they're in. I will replicate that for this game, plus add in tags for the PCs involved.

    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 OOC 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 literative 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 OOC 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 OOC thread.

    What if I will be away for a couple days?
    Note it in the OOC thread if you'll be away for more than a couple days. If you don't note it and a day 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 Snails Pace, 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 whisper 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 a PBF!!
    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.

    Okay, 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.
  • edited November 2011
    People and Places

    Artemis Morgan - former crewmate of Naomi Bishop in the days before she was sold into slavery. They served on The Snipe together, he was throw into the Blue for stealing, on the captain's orders.

    August Pickett - An Imperial High Guardsman, served with Cyrus Vance, was his superior officer. They ran into each other on Haven at a tavern called The Cellar. Vance tricked Tufts the ratling into attacking Pickett and Pickett took a wound to his gut and lost a couple fingers over it. He isn't very happy about it at all.

    Lieutenant Bowen - Guard at the public hangar bay on the Hand of Malice. He knew Whitethorn secret codes, or recognized them when Natasha gave them.

    The Cellar - A tavern on Haven, known for fine brandy and good cigars. Owned by Oscar, frequented by middle-class merchants and lower ranking guildsmen.

    Dreary - old man, nearly ninety, who lives on Nightport. He was a mentor to Kale, encouraged him to leave Nightport and seek his fortune. His warehouse-sized shop located in the shell of an old religious retreat is usually stacked with merchandise of all kinds.

    Dufresne ("Doof-rain") - An Imperial Soldier who recognized Naomi from her days of pit fighting. When he put her in the brig, he told Naomi, "You'll have fun with Lockjaw." He was beaten up and later thrown in that same jail by the crew during their escape.

    Eli the Half-Handed - a pirate and scoundrel, lied about knowing the True Path to Snargle, was a prisoner in the brig of the Hand of Malice. The crew left him there to rot.

    Leah - daughter of Oscar, serves drinks at The Cellar on Haven. She normally flirts with Kale Arkam shamelessly when he visits, but its harmless fun.

    Lucas - Member of the Night Watch in Nightport, charged with making sure no light shines aboveground that could be seen by Imperials. Captain Vance once saved his life and he's favorable to him, even took him on patrol one night, showing him some of the nicest places in town.

    Mandy / Lucille Mooncloud - goblin, one of the three Miss Dixon's, works at Miss Dixon's Exotic Imporium, a high class house of ill repute on Haven. She knew Naomi Bishop from her days as a pit fighter. When she used to pose as Lucille Mooncloud, Mandy paid to have Naomi treat her opponents with extreme cruelty. Naomi was able to give some payback by giving Mandy an hour's worth of pain. Too bad Mandy seemed to like it.

    Mario Soto - first mate on the guild freighter Dionysus

    Master Monmouth - Whitethorn vassal, considerd by some to be the master of spies for the secretive house.

    Mother Larissa - elder ratling, den mother of a horde that resides on an asteroid called Speck, which is an abandoned mine. The Owl visited Speck to try and purchase a new flag to fly so they could remain incognito while the Imperial Navy was searching for them right after the escape from the Hand of Sorrow. Mother Larissa agreed to sell the beacon-flag (a scrounged one from a lost C-12 hauler) for some gems and info on a murder of her kin in Haven.

    Noah the Flood - a white-bearded man with sharp eyes, Snargle recognized him as a cook on many skyships. He was taken out of the brig on the Hand of Malice by Natasha Syri posing as a Whitethorn noble. When asked about the Truh Path, he swore he'd hang before he ever gave up Uriah Flint to the Empire.

    Norway - young and naive ratling and grand-daughter of Mother Larissa and resident of Speck. She traveled with Tufts in the hunting party sent to find Joshua Blackbird and deliver vengeance for his murder of another pack. She witnessed the murder of Scam by Captain Vance and has turned to both Kale and Naomi for protection and comfort.

    Oscar - Owner and proprietor of The Cellar, a tavern in Haven that serves merchants, normally middle class. Oscar favors Vance because his son told him about the Lord's Scepter incident.

    Pale Izzy - Former burlesque dancer, famed for her beauty and sensuous dancing, she was cut up by a crazed fan. She took her money and bought a license to hunt bounties and over a few years has built up a reputation for getting the job done, although she does so causing a ruckus. She also travels with a small band of mercs who do her bidding. Pale Izzy used a biplane to capture Natasha Syri after Ride the Lightning was captured by the Imperials. It appears she is working with Captain Quinn and the Crimson Caliban.

    Pebbles - a series of very small asteroids in Imperial space that have low gravity. The civilians on Pebbles are a poor lot. Its said that on Pebbles, the children have to wear heavy boots to keep from floating off into the Blue.

    Quinn, Captain - captain of the Crimson Caliban, also known as The Callie. Known for his effeminate nature and love of a good wine, Quinn has several times asked Snargle to serve on his crew and is no fan of Cyrus Vance. Quinn is known across the Deep Blue as a pirate hunter and privateer. He evidently has a Mooncloud House consort, a powerful one who could mask his entire gunship with cloud cover thick as pea soup.

    "The Ratlings" - a group of seven ratlings from Speck that were sent by Mother Larissa to hunt down Joshua Blackbird for murdering ratlings on Haven. They are led by Tufts and include three hunters (Masiko, Scam and Norway) and three skulkers (Rizzo, Sprague and Brux). Masiko and Scam are now listed in The Dead.

    S'gunch - A Lizardman gladiator who has a beef with Naomi Bishop. He tried to murder her in her sleep before a match, but failed. She still carries the scar on her leg and a grudge.

    Sonya Torrez - lives on Haven, a fence Kale Arkam used to use but he has since refused to continue working with.

    Tufts - Red-furred ratling who escaped the gladiatorial pits with Naomi Bishop's help. Before his escape, he was a chieftan, but has since joined Mother Larissa's horde on Speck.
  • edited October 2011
    Other Important things

    Kale's Bakery Story
    Posted By: octoscott[Kale Arkam]
    Nothing good ever comes out of a Bakery, nothing. Last time, it was... well, my memory tells me it was Snargles idea, but it could have been anyone's... we had a huge shipment of sky snake vertebrae to smuggle into market. As everyone knows, sky snake trade is illegal due to the narcotic side effects. So, we had this idea...

    Vance was making eyes with this woman in the local bakery, and we got to thinking, why not hide the goods in plain sight? We spent days preparing cakes, sweet rolls and cookies all hiding the little snake bones safely inside. And finally we were off with a shipment of baked goods bigger than the impeller gear from an imperial dreadnought!

    How were we to know we'd be stopped by the pirate Don Salivatore, big Don Salivatore. Huge man... huge appetite. Well, he found our cargo irresistible and before we knew it half our baked goods were being offloaded into Salivatore's galley and the big man insisted that we come aboard for what happened to be his birthday party. What we hadn't realized is that Skysnake bones melt at high temperatures and... had dissolved into the dough entirely...

    We barely made it out in to the Owl before Don Salivatores ship went down into the mist, something to do with a "drunken" pilot and captain... overindulged during his birthday feast they say. Nothing good ever comes out of a bakery, I tell you.
    mit - a mit is a unit of measure, the length of the first Imperial King Mit's right elbow to his pinky. It is often used to measure distances for ship-building and sports.

    Ratlings and The Empire -
    Lady Blackbird says, "Ratlings breathe different. It is not fully understood. However it works, they are immune to the heavier gasses. They can breath what burns the others.
    Nobles have, thus, forbidden them from naval work. Dropping a ship to the lower depths and up again, and a Rattling crew could simply take any ship. The lure of mutiny would be too great for a ratling.
    Nobles simply do not trust and do not think a ratling is capable of loyalty. A citizen must swear fealty to their Lord. A ratling is always and firstly true to their den or hive, almost as though they have a collective mind. The educated nobles theorize that the ratling has no free will, and free will is mandatory for each and every citizen.
    The lazy nobles just call them creatures from the depths that worship the monsters below. That is good enough reason for them to deny citizenship."
    However, ratlings do serve on merchant ships, pirate skyships, privateer vessels and the like. Just never Imperial vessels... officially.

    Ruby Dagger - found in the muck of the bilge of the Hand of Sorrow, Snargle recognized it and thought to herself, "That dagger looks just like the one that Uriah Flint is alleged to be looking for -- some noble family's lost heirloom...the Blackbirds, if Snargle remembers rightly." Snargle convinced Gabbers, the bilge-man who found it, that he could sell it for a huge sum. Snargle had to leave Gabbers behind when she climbed on the ouside of the Hand of Sorrow to get to the engine room. Later, Gabbers showed up in The Owl, claiming the dagger told him where to go to find "her".

    Skyships - the following is a list of skyships featured in the story so far:
    The Owl - the skyship owned by Cyrus Vance
    Breeze Cruiser - a skyyacht, took Lady Blackbird, Naomi Bishop and Snargle to the Hand of Malice in disguise as a Whitethorn lady and her retinue. They sought prisoners who knew the True Path through The Remnants. The crew of the skyyacht was killed during a vicious raid by Pale Izzy and her brigands. It now sits in the hangar of the Hand of Malice.
    Crimson Caliban - privateer gunship
    Dionysus - a guild-owned freighter that Captain Vance and Kale Arkam highjacked so they could hide out with The Owl on board. First Mate is Mario Soto.
    Hand of Malice - an Imperial cruiser that is in orbit over the free world of Haven. Lady Blackbird snuck on board disguised as a Whitethorn noble spy, accompanied by Naomi Bishop and Snargle who poosed as her retinue. The Hand of Malice also captured the Breeze Cruiser and the Ride the Lightning.
    Hand of Sorrow - an Imperial cruiser that captured The Owl at the start of our tale. It was sabotaged and sunk by Snargle and disappeared in the Deep Blue.
    Ride the Lightning - a bounty hunter skyship owned and operated by Pale Izzy. The Ride attacked the Breeze Cruiser because Lady Blackbird was on board and killed the crew. Pale Izzy escaped on a biplane before the Ride was captured by mooring lines of the Hand of Malice.
  • edited October 2011
    The Dead

    Below is a listing of the characters in this story who have met their maker:

    Abel - an ex-Imperial soldier who was thrown in the brig for killing his lieutenant. He followed the crew around in hopes of escaping and made it to The Owl, but was cut down by the ruby dagger wielded by Gabbers.

    Gabbers - A Bilge-man, a broad shouldered fellow who scrapes through the much of the wastes of the marines on the Hnd of Sorrow before the Blue eats everything away periodically when the ship dips down into it. Gabbers found a ruby dagger that Snargle recognized and killed a fellow bilge-man when he thought he was going to lose the treasure. Somehow Gabbers made it to The Owl before the crew and laid in wait for them. He sprung upon Abel and cut him open, then blabbered to Captain Vance about the dagger telling him how to find Snargle before he was gunned down.

    Leo - ax ex-soldier throw in the brig of the Hand of Sorrow for stealing silverware from the captain's table. Wears a scraggley beard, made a pass at Naomi Bishop, trying to get back in Imperial good graces by pretending he beat up Lockjaw to prevent his escape. He most likely died when the Hand of Sorrow went down.

    "Lockjaw"(a.k.a. Jethrow) - Cyrus Vance's cousin, a big burly man in the brig of the Hand of Sorrow. He is huge, all fat and muscle, like a man who worked the bellows most of his life, fingers stained black. He must have been in some scraps because the right side of his face is a ragged mask covering a cheaply made replacement of his jaw. Its brassy under those patches of skin. He once drank and played cards with Arkam at a dive in Haven. Arkam beat him in cards (by cheating), but lost money paying for the man's drinks. Lockjaw was KOed by Vance and left in the jail when the crew escaped. He most likely died when the Hand of Sorrow went down.

    Masiko - ratling who traveled with the crew to Haven to try and find Joshua Blackbird. Captain Vance had told the ratlings of Speck that Lord Blackbird had murdered a pack of ratlings, so Mother Larissa sent Tufts with six others to hunt him down and take vengeance. Masiko was thrown from The Owl during a fight after Vance told the ratlings they were no longer welcome on The Owl. Natasha Syri knew Masiko was a mate to Scam the ratling.

    Scam - ratling who traveled with the crew to Haven to try and find Joshua Blackbird. Captain Vance had told the ratlings of Speck that Lord Blackbird had murdered a pack of ratlings, so Mother Larissa sent Tufts with six others to hunt him down and take vengeance. Scam was gunned down by Captain Vance when he tried to attack him for killing Masiko. Natasha Syri knew Scam was a mate to Masiko the ratling and he was short-sighted and often caused trouble.

    Tahum - Goblin engineer in the Hand of Sorrow. Recognized Snargle when she came into the engine room, said he was a fan of her from the Penny Dreadfuls he's read. Wears goggles with multiple lenses he can wind up or down as needed. He speaks rather intelligently and acts as if he's some kind of supervisor for his goblin kin in the engine room. Their lot is rather pitiful, enslaved by the Empire to work in the engine rooms, eating scraps and only getting one week away from work a rotation. Tahum died trying to undo the sabotage Snargle did to the engines of the Hand of Sorrow. He died when the engines of the Hand of Sorrow were sabotaged.
  • edited November 2011
    Rules Tweaks

    This will be a list of the rules tweaks we make as we play.
    * different levels of success (i.e. 3 successes gives you X, btu 5 successes gives you Y)
    * 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

    Optional rules not in play
    * Marshall suggested adding in condition-specific mechanical impacts (will copy in his ideas later)
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