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Hi there!

First of all, those colored segments on the Progress Bars are just there to indicate its size and have no mechanical effect (although you can totally create one!).

In the Progress Bars section I present you with 3 types of obstacles (or threats) and I suggest they would be used:

  • when the obstacle is more complex or challenging, thus requiring more effort to overcome;
  • as a countdown for a new danger about to take effect;
  • as a combination of both: while the PCs are working to take down the obstacle (one progress bar), time is running out for them (another progress bar).

In the bouncer fight example, the PCs would be taking actions to take him out. When they succeed, they tick a number of segments equal to their Effect Level. When they get a partial or a failure, it means the bouncer fights back, possibly harming them (Harm Level equal to Threat Level) or alerting security (create a "Reinforcements" Progress Bar and tick segments equal to Threat Level) or even running away - you never increase a progress bar as a consequence, but you can create new ones. When all his segments are filled, King (the bouncer's name) will no longer be an obstacle.

On the other hand, if the obstacle they are facing can be resolved on a single action, don't use Progress Bars. A success would simply overcome it, a partial success would do it so with a compromise and a failure would set them back with a consequence, as usual. For example:

The PC wants to quickly put together a bomb using scraps lying around from a previous fight. The GM confirms this would be possible, considering that there were blasting caps, adhesives, capsules, etc. In other types of fiction this could be considered a long term project, requiring various steps and multiple tests - then it would require a Progress Bar. However, in our action-driven game, this can be achieved with a single roll. The risk here could be it takes too long and the "Reinforcements" Progress Bar advances; or the PC inadvertently uses some strange component and the bomb causes something else other than exploding and so on.

Creativity is important to use Progress bars (which are, in fact, just a "skin" of Blades' Clocks) but you can always listen the players for suggestions! With time you will see that there are even more applications to it.

I hope this makes it clearer for you, otherwise just let me know :)