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Why Forge in the Dark?

A topic by It's Dan Phipps' Games created Mar 16, 2019 Views: 1,126 Replies: 10
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I'm confident I'm not the only person working on a FitD game out there and I was interested what about the system drew other designers in? I'm a huge fan of the baked-in ability for two-tiered play, and I'm really excited to see what folks do with the "faction game" when taken out of Duskvol.

The faction system, especially faction clocks, is perhaps my favorite element of FitD. I'm not currently designing a FitD game, but I had to do some homebrew with Scum and Villainy to make it fit in the Star Wars universe for a game I'm running and that was mostly faction-based


I enjoy the parameters on rolls that it places with position and effect, but by far my favorite part of the system is how much it encourages players and GMs to perceive time and consequences more fluidly than most games, not just in terms of flashbacks but also with how the resistance roll functions in play. There's a real drive in the rules to explore possibility and pose questions, and agree on what happens rather than just say what happens.


Ooph, where to start. Ultimately I like how well it capture being an underdog. You are constantly outclassed and poorer than everyone else. The tier system captures that really well, and how that factors in to the quality of items and assets you can attain. 

I like how the dice system means you're more than likely to get complications rather than just straight successes or failures. It does a great job of creating fluid sessions with tension and release. 

Also the trauma system creates organic and satisfying character arcs. 

The crew feels like a real place that grows and adapts with the characters and starts to feel like a part of the city as the game continues. 

The details about the factions and the world feel a bit too vague at first. The biggest challenge getting into the game for me was trying to figure out how to use the factions properly. But eventually you figure out that it's like a set of Lego bricks. There's a prescribed way you can put them together, but really it's up to you to put the premade pieces together in a way that's fun for folks at the table. The factions and world are well-designed with just enough details to let you know what they're about without forcing everyone to use them in their campaign in the same way.


I like position and effect as game element, and I honestly hate writing PbtA style moves.  I'm struggling with the faction turn elements in my game, honestly.  Not that they don't feel like they should be there, but that stuff never feels natural to me.

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I love how the crew (or flying ship or kingdom or whatever) is arguably more important than the characters. Even if a player's character dies or goes insane or has to retire, the crew abides. There's a sense of progression there that softens the impact of character loss. Progress clocks are unbelievably fun and useful and dramatic and I've stolen them for pretty much every other game I run. I also have a lot of time for a game that focuses deeply on one specific thing, Rules tightly formed around a solid core. I think this produces interesting mechanics, settings, even characters. Creativity thrives within limitations, after all.


downtime downtime downtime -- especially the relationship between downtime, stress, "vice," & trauma. those mechanics are SO so good at developing character, at giving space for arcs to grow and develop, and for providing mechanics for character change that i've seriously considered hacking stress back into a pbta game where pushing yourself gives you a +1 to a 2d6 roll or something. crews are also a really big one because i think they let you paint with a really broad brush, and i like position/impact a lot too.

Well, I was looking into systems I might use for a French resistance game, and aside from the supernatural elements, every part of the system fits exceptionally well. The crew system is a good way to express building your cell, trauma the reality of wartime espionage, timers for the intensity of missions, and heat for the threat of the cell getting discovered.

Honestly it only needs a few weeks to serve my purpose.

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I tend to hack whatever I'm preparing to run most recently if I'm not doing something more or less my own. My FitD projects all started when I was knee deep in preparing to run Blades for the first time--it's the point when I'm most comfortable with a system and what makes it tick, I very quickly learn to correct various preconceptions I had once I actually start running it, and I haven't had time to steep in things that don't work out for me longterm. Altogether it means I'm primed to think about why mechanics do what they do but I don't fixate on fixing things and can instead focus on poking at the various bits to see if I need them for what I'm doing, and if not whether I can just rip them out or if I have to bother to put something back in their place. If a project doesn't build enough momentum or identity by the time I become more familiar with the ins, outs, pros and cons of running a system, the hack is probably dead unless I port it to my new darling or to something less directly cribbed from existing work--I just can't separate the  game I'm trying to make from the (original source) game I've been playing at that point.


I like a lot of things in BitD, but I’ll choose just one to focus on:

I really love the back and forth that happens during “the conversation.” I love how it encourages player creativity, how it plays with time, and how it allows GMs to broadcast threats that never actually occur.

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