[Lady Blackbird] Darkening Skies, an Unofficial Sequel

edited March 2010 in Story Games
Inspired by the fact that Lady Blackbird is the first chapter in the Tales of the Wide Blue Yonder, I decided to write the second chapter.

The result is Darkening Skies, a 16-page game with new characters and a few new rules.

Download It Here

I'd appreciate any comments and suggestions you have, on presentation as well as the material itself.

A few thoughts:

Layout: My design was never going to be as pretty as John Harper's, and I'm happy with what I achieved with the tools I had. I used Scribus, an infuriating experience.
Similarities to Lady Blackbird: I used Lady Blackbird as a template for my game, and it shows. The team is led by a female noblewoman who has fallen in with pirates, there's secret identities and unrequited love, there's a goblin with few connections to the rest of the character, the characters have plenty of magic and they're trapped on a 500m-long Imperial battleship. I regret this now.
Differences from My Darn Ex-Wife: One of the cleverest parts of My Darn Ex-Wife is how character growth is written into the traits and tags of the characters. The most obvious examples are the Earth skills that are applied to outer-space - Trucker * [Space Trucker] or Ex-Quarterback * [Tauron Gravball]. But there are other nice touches, like Kind-Natured * [Good Husband]. I should have done something like this, particularly since these are supposed to be less experienced characters than those in Lady Blackbird.

Feel free to comment on these points, or others that occur to you.

I hope you like the game.

Comments

  • This is really cool, Chris.

    I think the similarities to LB are okay. Maybe variations on those elements are the common thread that link all the chapters together My own additional chapter features yet another noblewoman caught up with rogues and villains (her own family, in fact).

    The opening text could maybe do more to set up the situation. I didn't quite understand what the adventure was about until I had read it through a few times. The opening should probably say something about an abandoned ship with creeping weirdness on it and the impending crash of the PCs vessel.

    I'm really excited to see a sequel made with such obvious care. Thanks for sharing it.
  • Very cool. I like the characters although it's initially a bit difficult to understand why they are working together. The layout is fine, better than my own attempts at formatting using MSWord.

    I'd have to echo what John Harper said about the opening text - the initial situation really needs to grab the players and pull them wholeheartedly into the universe. This is one of the most vital points in any hackbird... which reminds me, I need to re-do My Darn Ex-Wife's starting situation so it's grabbier and more in-media-res. I haven't got around to it because my friends refuse to be subjected to any more of my mangling an Alabama accent.
  • Posted By: theloneamigoVery cool. I like the characters although it's initially a bit difficult to understand why they are working together. The layout is fine, better than my own attempts at formatting using MSWord.

    I'd have to echo what John Harper said about the opening text - the initial situation really needs to grab the players and pull them wholeheartedly into the universe. This is one of the most vital points in any hackbird... which reminds me, I need to re-doMy Darn Ex-Wife's starting situation so it's grabbier and morein-media-res. I haven't got around to it because my friends refuse to be subjected to any more of my mangling an Alabama accent.
    Hey, Me, Zorro and Nick would love to. It's the girls who don't like it :p
  • I think you folks are right about not having a good blurb on the front page. I'll see if I can write something that better sets the scene over the next couple of days.
  • I've changed the blurb (and only the blurb) and uploaded Darkening Skies again. You can download the new release here or just read the blurb below:

    Darkening Skies
    over the planet of Haven. An Imperial warship, half-a-kilometre long and heavily armed, lies still and unresponsive. Her shadow falls across continents.

    The Trade Union are spooked. They'll blow the ship to pieces; try to forget it ever existed. But there were people on that ship, soldiers and prisoners, and enough weaponry to equip an army.

    So a rag-tag band approaches the ship in a cheap and collapsing boat. One searches for friends, another for adventure. One looks for love and one looks for profit.

    One looks for answers.


    Hopefully that does a better job of setting the situation.
  • edited March 2010
    Conditions also act like Keys that you can't choose. You get XP or pool dice for hitting them. You don't get any XP or pool dice when you lose them, though.
    Treating Conditions as Keys is an interesting twist on LB, giving Conditions some mechanical weight. Has anyone used Condition XP in play?
  • edited March 2010
    Posted By: Chris PetersonTreating Conditions as Keys is an interesting twist on LB, giving Conditions some mechanical weight. Has anyone used Condition XP in play?
    It's a suggestion I got from one of the many Lady Blackbird threads on Story Games, but I'm not sure if anyone's tried it in play.
  • The new blurb is definitely better.
  • Awesome. I have something to run at PAX this year for returning LB players.
  • Posted By: John HarperMy own additional chapter features yet another noblewoman caught up with rogues and villains (her own family, in fact).
    This. When? (or where if I somehow missed it)
  • Haven't released it yet.

    I have two LB chapters in the works, actually. Unfortunately, paying work has to come first. :)
  • How much do we need to raise for them to be "paying work?"
  • Yeah, I've never contributed to a kickstarter or ransom before, but to help "official" LB chapters be a reality I'd be pretty damn tempted to throw in a $20 or so, personally speaking. (If nothing else, the fun I've had with the original would more than justify the expenditure.)
  • Indeed, John. Take my money. (Opens wallet)
  • edited August 2011
    If I thought I could get away with a "pay John's yearly salary so he can work on games every day" Kickstarter, I'd totally do it. :)
  • I have a feeling you'd be surprised, John. ;-)
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