flipping baszo baz

I use two big clocks on a score all the time, where crew races to fill one before the other. Recently though, I tried splitting up the main score clock into a bunch of little clocks and it worked great. I based it on ideas from Rob Donoghue’s long con setup: http://walkingmind.evilhat.com/2017/07/27/the-long-con/

Here’s how it went down: The Assassin’s crew, the Butcher Birds, wanted to flip Baszo Baz. It worked great.

The Friend: Attention clock 4-segments
Baszo was bestie’s with Chance, the Slide, so that filled the first clock for free. That opened up the Interest clock.

The Hook: Interest clock 4-segments
The crew did a series of linked plans simultaneously to flipping Baszo: forging an alliance between the Lampblacks enemies, assassinating one of the street gang leaders and their gang, the second-in-command of the Lampblacks and their master of coin. That filled 3 of 4 on the interest clock. Baszo knows things are going to shit, Chance just needed to show him that things were going to get even worse… tonight. The crew are Bound in Darkness so they communicated intimate details from each linked plan, so Chance could drop enough to hook Baszo enough to shift the conversation from much-needed camaraderie to the bleakest of business.

All this info obviously roused Baszo’s suspicions. How much was Chance actually involved in fucking over the Lampblacks? 3 tock on the 8-segments on the Suspicion clock. Though they resisted that, bringing the consequence down to 1 tick.

Filling this clock, opened up the next clock.

The Option: Confidence clock 4-segments
Now the conversation shifted about how Chance can help Baszo. Baszo thought Chance was doing little more than daydreaming, that Chance couldn’t actually help Baszo get out of the deep shit he’s in.

So Chance laid out that he wasn’t just a street urchin, but a part of the notorious Butcher Birds, assassins connected to some strange and brutal accidents happened to well-connected Nobles in Brightstone. That filled 2-segments.

Chance knew of Baszo’s commitment to the Empty Vessel cult, so he pushed on, revealing that his crew have the favour of Fortuna, a Forgotten God, who grants them the silence of Bellweather (Crow’s Veil). With a little wrangling, that filled the Confidence clock.

That opened up the final score clock as well as the options trust clock (which could reduce the consequences of the suspicion clock.

The Decision: Ambition clock 4-segments
I shortened this clock to only 4-segments. That meant the crew were racing to fill 9-segments faster than 8-segments of suspicion. It worked out to be a good size. For a longer-term con, yeah this could have easily been 6 or 8 segments, like Rob’s article suggested.

This is basically about Baszo making a decision right now. To walk away from the Lampblacks right now.

Chance plied his ambitions to seek revenge against the Red Sashes, the opportunities that the Butcher Birds have to fill the power vacuum, and the possibility of being a secret hand that can swoop down on the Crows and become ward boss after all. Throwing in a little occult membership, and Baszo was ruthless as ever.

So Baszo flipped.

Trust clock 4-segments
Chance never ticked any of these. He ran out of stress and things got extremely tight. But we’re keeping this open, as the opportunity to settle the suspicions Baszo has and bring him totally on board with the Butcher Birds.

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the dreamers, the bridge oracle and kissing the stone

Here’s some of my prep work and notes from my Clay That Woke game earlier this year. Maybe you’ll find them useful.

I particularly enjoyed dreaming up the Raamthi seed used by giant bee colonies to imprint their culture and carry to a new hive. And all the weird jungle encounters.

gm best practices

Make the scoundrels awesome even in failure. Blame the circumstances—not the characters—when creating consequences or complications. Even a PC with zero rating in an action isn’t a bumbling fool. Here’s a trick for this: start your description of the failure with a cool move by the PC, followed by “but,” and the troublesome circumstance. You aim a fierce right hook at his chin, but he’s quicker than he looked! He ducks under the blow and wrestles you up against the wall.

I think the trick is spot on, but the example could be better. The fierceness of the punch is meant to convey how good the action is, but it still kind of looks like they borked it; they look slow or a poor shot. Arguably, the circumstances are the character is facing a faster opponent, which is legit, but also borderline close to the character isn’t competent at Skirmish.

When circumstances are to blame, the failure is because of something the character couldn’t have prevented on their current course of action. Perhaps the fighters are hit by bottles from the rowdy crowd making them slip or slow down, the map is stained or damaged making it difficult to read, there’s a hidden mechanism revealing the lock is more complicated to unlock.

This also gives a different way forward from the failure. Command to disperse the crowd, Tinker to restore the map, etc.