Bastards vs. Blade

Talk about any rules that don't directly fall under personal combat
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Meoring
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Bastards vs. Blade

Post by Meoring » 13 May 2015, 13:37

Hi,

My first post here so first of all let me say that from what I could read about Bastards (from teasers mostly) it seems like very (very) interesting TRoS successor game. I really can't wait to see beta.

Speaking of successor games I bet you know Blade of The Iron Throne by Michael Heider and Phillip Jones. Would you care to point some most fundamental features of Bastards which make it distinct from Blade? I'm really eager to know your thoughts on that.

Cheers
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hector
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Re: Bastards vs. Blade

Post by hector » 13 May 2015, 20:03

Oh, Christ, there's a question and a half. While I'm not working on this game, there are quite a few differences which have been brought up. Firstly and most obviously, it uses a more common die type ;). Also, the target zones are different; one of the teasers on the main site should show what they are, but there are six target zones, which are split into six locations each in order to make targeting more consistent.

Also, instead of adding limelight mechanics, there is now a full initiative system, wherein you choose what kind of action you want to do (movement, quick action or slow action), and you roll a die to determine when you do it - a d6 for movement or a quick action or a d10 for a slow action, where the lower numbers go first. If you enter melee, you use the combat system you're already used to from tros to fight for a round. This adds a little chaos to the battlefield, and it makes ranged characters in a good position incredibly dangerous.

The Edges and Flaws differ from Blade's Assets in several ways; primarily in that they don't add bonus dice or change TNs, but instead affect things in other ways. One example that was given was the Keen Eyesight Edge (at least, I think that's what it was called), which doesn't give bonus dice, but instead changes the ranges at which you can see certain things. Flaws, meanwhile, grant points to your SAs when you are affected by them, while Major Flaws cost SA points to ignore.

Weapons and armour, meanwhile, are limited to a small number of basic types of each, with additional things which can be added to them. To use the bow example given in the update, well:
higgins wrote: Bow (4p, short/medium, instant, draw: St3)

- Ambushes at d6 Sequence
- Reaches up to Long range in a formation
- Damage becomes 2p if Draw Weight requirement is not met

Choose Bow Type:
- Self-bow (+1TN, in a pinch, can be crafted in a day with basic skills and limited tools)
- Recurve (-2DR when wet, composite*, crafting takes often weeks, requiring special tools and glues)

Optional: Change Draw Weight
- Child’s (-2 Damage, requires Strength 1)
- Target (-1 Damage, requires Strength 2)
- War (+1 Damage, requires Strength 4)
- Epic (+2 Damage, requires Strength 5)

Features: Increase Cost for Each
- Long (reaches up to Extended range in a formation; can’t be used on horseback)
- Heavy Draw (+1 Damage, one shot per round, always uses d10 Sequence)
- Whiskers (adds string silencers, subduing the twang)

Examples
Shortbow (4p, short/medium, instant, St3) Recurve
Poaching Bow (5p, short/medium, d10, St3) Self-bow, Whiskers, Heavy Draw
English Longbow (6p, short/medium, d10, St4) Self-bow, War, Long, Heavy Draw
Daikyū** (4p, short/medium, instant, St3) Recurve, Long

* composite and recurve are not separate traits -- the only way to get a recurve bow is to build it out of composite materials. this is contrasted by crafting a bow out of a single piece of wood, which makes a self-bow.

** this asymmetrical Japanese bow made out of bamboo strips is the only historical recurve longbow that we’re aware of
The main reason for this is that by and large, most weapons are very similar both in form and function. Armour is treated the same way, though for both there will be a long list of examples to make arming NPCs easier.

All manoeuvres will be available regardless of your weapon proficiency (though some will have too high a cost to be worth using at low proficiency), and the manoeuvres will be split into basic and advanced to help ease new players into the game.

And I think that about covers it; we'll probably learn more when the beta gets released, but for now that's pretty much everything that's been released.
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Agamemnon
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Re: Bastards vs. Blade

Post by Agamemnon » 14 May 2015, 16:16

That would be Hector earning his 'Dogged Bastard' title. Good work, and thanks for jumping in!

I'll preface this with the politics of it: we're on good terms with the designers of Blade and Higgins got a complimentary copy. Michael has commented on these very forums. Blade is a neat game, and does some very cool things. I don't want anything here taken to be some kind of arguing for our game at the expense of theirs or something like.

There's a few things that are going to sound the same on the surface: They are both die-pool games with split-pool melee combat that uses maneuvers to simulate the blows. They both target locations specifically. They both measure damage in wounds with narrative flair. Both have character creation in a "Priority Table" setup.. the list goes on.

The biggest real difference is going to start at the design goal phase. Both games come out of the original "Enigma of Steel" unofficial TROS2.0 that was floating around on the TROSfans.com forums forever ago. BoTIT was basically designed as a direct successor to TROS, and I believe they marketed it as such.

We started in a similar place but wound up early on abandoning the idea that we were writing a TROS sequel and decided to write a game the way we wanted. To this end, we wound up reconstructing the design choices and goals and felt free to restructure, retrofit and redesign things whole cloth. You'll still see quite a bit of stuff that looks familiar, I'm sure. A lot of the structure of TROS was extremely good for what we were trying to do. In practice though, much of it was thrown out entirely and what remained was heavily modified. Along with TROS, the keen eye can probably pick out hints of FATE, nWoD, Burning Wheel, Apocalypse World, and maybe even some RuneQuest and Twilight 2013 sprinkled in.

Insofar as specifics, Hector got a lot of the mechanical ones.

Die: d10 vs d12.

Difficulties: We have a pseudo "fixedTN" system with difficulty based on the number of successes required. I believe Blade has variable TNs in the way of TROS.

Weapons: we have a slightly more dynamic, freeform system which we wrote about exhaustively when we introduced them. They also do not generally have different TNs for attack, defense, or different attack types. Jake Norwood himself said that if he were to re-evaluate the weapons stats today he would make just about everything a TN6 anyway. I believe Blade maintains a system similar to TROS, albeit with ATN/DTN adjusted for a d12 scale. Check out more HERE.

Maneuvers: I haven't played enough Blade to commit their maneuvers to memory, but we have completely rewritten / rebalanced ours. We also handle the structure of them differently, separating universal maneuvers out as "basic" and proficiency specific ones as "advanced," in addition to an augmentation system that cuts down on some of the redundancies. We also don't bother making you track which maneuvers you "know" and learn them over time. I liked the idea in principle, but to make it work in a satisfying manner would be more complicated than we wanted it to be. So if you have ranks of proficiency in the maneuver, you know all of the Advanced Maneuvers associated with it. This also eliminates the issue of "what if I know a maneuver with one proficiency that I want to use with another proficiency that has it, but I haven't unlocked it yet?" Check out more HERE

Grappling: our grappling system is fairly more robust, and I'd argue more dynamic. We spent a lot of time working out how different scenes in fiction would play out and how to simulate them. If I recall, they had four grapple maneuvers - immobilize, throw, and break.. with the only defense being "break out."

Proficiencies: Our proficiencies list is kind of an oddball. We made our definition of a proficiency "fighting style" - the steps they used, the commonalities in technique, how it looked, etc. So a lot of things wound up being merged for us, because they didn't seem significantly different from the research we could do (spear and polearms, for instance.. or Longsword and Doppelhander, in TROS terms), but others seemed significant enough to actually split back out - so we have Sabers and Messers as two different fighting styles. Defaulting between Proficiencies is also simpler. We removed the table, so everything is defaulting at the same rate, but also uncapped the level at which you default. In most cases, it turned out this only resulted in a point or two of difference anyway, so it seemed like some unnecessary complication.

Initiative: is as hector said, and we wrote about HERE. We went for a full blown skirmish system that keeps noncombatants, sorcery, ranged, etc all relevant and interesting and is just a lot of fun chaos.

Ranged Combat: gets a significant face-lift in our game, and we tried to treat both ranged combat and magic with the same kind of love we give to melee. As mentioned a time or two before, Higgins actually tested our ranged combat system by making one of his alpha campaigns a Fallout clone.

Attributes: Attributes in Bastards are more traditional than those in Blade, and aren't directly bound to skills. If I remember correctly, there was something in Blade about skills being directly capped a relevant attribute.

Edges and Flaws: answered by both Hector, and written about HERE and HERE.

Setting: Finally, the setting assumptions are fundamentally different. Blade tailored toward the Sword and Sorcery genre and has the Xoth setting baked in. If anything, Bastards is more Sword and Scoundrel. We have a very strong low-fantasy grim and gritty theme that can be played as a dark fantasy setting or pure history if you please, but we are functionally setting-agnostic.

We have a microsetting we will be throwing in the release and some other material we want to support the game with to help tailor to more specific campaign types and settings, but at launch the idea is for Bastards to be a ready-to-play toolkit for you to make your own settings or adapt to preexisting ones. To that end, we have a fair bit of material we are including on how to make that best fit our rules, as well as the assumption that you are going to toss our rules out or change them as you need.


Honestly, in many ways it would be simpler to compare the ways in which our game was similar to Blade than Different. Some of the structure inherited from our origins with TROS, some of the design goals: character-focused, nar/sim hybrid, brutal, fast-paced combat.. But insofar as how we accomplish those goals, almost any given rule or process is different, with both games making decisions based on their individual goals and priorities.
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Meoring
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Re: Bastards vs. Blade

Post by Meoring » 17 May 2015, 16:19

Hector, Agamemnon, thank you both for such comprehensive replies!

Just one more point from my side:
Agamemnon wrote: Difficulties: We have a pseudo "fixedTN" system with difficulty based on the number of successes required. I believe Blade has variable TNs in the way of TROS.
Do I get it correct that in Bastards when PC needs 2 successes to accomplish a task TN is, say, 7 but when 3 successes are needed then TN gets higher?
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higgins
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Re: Bastards vs. Blade

Post by higgins » 17 May 2015, 16:30

Agamemnon wrote:Difficulties: We have a pseudo "fixedTN" system with difficulty based on the number of successes required. I believe Blade has variable TNs in the way of TROS.
This is one aspect Agamemnon pretty much glanced over, mainly because we haven't publicly talked about it yet. That said, our pseudo "fixed TN" is probably the most radical game mechanical difference between 'Bastards and BotiT/TROS.

To make that difference aspect more clear, I've written a brand new teaser about it, which is currently waiting for Agamemnon's review. And yes, Meoring, your question will be answered in the teaser. We'll post it soon. Stay tuned. :twisted:
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EinBein
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Re: Bastards vs. Blade

Post by EinBein » 19 May 2015, 02:01

Teasers are great ;) like to see this one.

Any news on the progress of the beta document though?
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higgins
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Re: Bastards vs. Blade

Post by higgins » 19 May 2015, 03:36

There's been some, but not leaps and bounds. My two week fighting trip definitely put a dent in our pacing, but we're slowly building momentum again. :)
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
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higgins
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Re: Bastards vs. Blade

Post by higgins » 21 May 2015, 01:18

higgins wrote:And yes, Meoring, your question will be answered in the teaser. We'll post it soon. Stay tuned. :twisted:
Okay. After editing the teaser turned out to be kind of long, so, it will be the first two parter ever. The TN question wound up in part 2.

Part 1: http://grandheresyforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=94
"You can never have too many knives."
- Logen Ninefingers, The Blade Itself
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