Actual Play – Jedi Blackbird (2/20/2017)

GM: Adrienne Mueller
Players: James Lawton, Steph Bucks, and Sean Nittner
System: Jedi Blackbird (powered by Lady Blackbird)

Knowing I was going to be home along for a week, Adrienne invited me over to hangout out with her friends Steph and Jeff, eat yummy bagels, play with Jame’s cool VR rig (I was WRECKING those pylons!), and play Jedi Blackbird, John Aegard’s hack of Lady Blackbird. It was so much fun!

Opening Scroll

Here’s the opening scroll for the game.

Three Jedi

Though Franter looked like a cool character (and someone who would know the area) we were all really excited about the relationships between the Jedi. Chani is secretly Ordo’s master, Vaud and Cade were master and padawan. That made for all sorts of fun strings to pull on each other. We also had an all alien crew: Ithorian, Mon Calamari, and Omwati which was a fun departure from the typical human-centric Star Wars stories.

We also interjected a bit of tension between the Jedi. Chani didn’t want anyone to know about his affiliation with Ordo. Vaud was perturbed that she was called to this task as she didn’t feel that Cade was ready to go out on a mission, but she wasn’t going to let anyone else know that. Cade started off pushing his luck, breaking things on their landing and kept hiding the bills from Vaud and Chanil. Overall, we all had some shame we were trying to cover up.

We also got into an early discussion about why Jedi are so prone to falling falling to the dark side. The Jedi order is a little like preaching abstinence. It only works until it doesn’t and then there is no place for you. Don’t fear, don’t hate, don’t feel! And once you give into one of those, justifiably human (or any other species) emotions, there is only one place to go.

Our misadventures

Three republic Jedi stick out like a sore thumb in Outer Rim space but in particular we:

  • Used Jedi mind tricks on Bokka the Bold (eat that one Luke!)
  • Intimidated the landing authorities
  • Sort of crash landed ship (all was fine except that blasted volcanic vent that fried our shield generator… who even uses volcanic vents any more?!?)
  • Talked with the natives and were taken for rubes, but nevertheless found out where Ordo was hiding.
  • Intimidated some of the natives and hired them on to join our team.
  • Procured speeders and weren’t cheated in the process!
  • Dodged rust worm clouds and micro metal shards that floated in the ambient atmosphere.
  • Re-asserted leadership over Riggs, the Rodean leader of the toughs we hired.
  • Force lifted the giant seal off Ordo’s front door.

And controverted a very sympathetic Jedi who had turned to the dark side and just wanted all of us to come along with him… cue lightsaber battle and Rust Worm taming!

What Rocked

As always, one of the most rewarding part of Blackbird games are the reflection scenes. In them we learned about Cades desire to overthrow evil and Chani’s doubts. “Tell me about your character” = Healing is one of the smartest parts of this game. In fact, it’s probably worth noting that John’s frequently (always?) makes games with interesting recovery mechanics:

  • Lady Blackbird = Reflection scenes
  • Agon = Sporting competitions
  • Blades in the Dark = Indulging vice

Good stuff!

Steph is a huge Star Wars fan but hadn’t played a lot of roleplaying games…which was AWESOME. Her instincts were always to get in trouble and then find out what happens. She played Cade like he was a stolen car (speaking of which, where did those droid parts go?) and it was so fun to play off her great ideas for fixing problems (usually by causing more!) Steph reminded me how much I love sharing this hobby with people who are new to it.

Adrienne killed it with this game. From the first moment she mentioned “Rust Worm” I was hooked. And her portrayal of NPCs was so good. Adrienne I have to make you do all the voices for my NPCs in games. And the complications we ran into were so good. I kept having times when I threw a bunch of dice into the pool and succeeded and then thought… oh damn, I bet Adrinne would have made this cooler if I failed instead!

James and I had this “who’s in charge” tension running for a lot of the game, which I liked playing off of as well. My character Vaud was resentful about being on this mission, and she played it up a lot. Chani on the other hand was used to getting what he asked for, and so we had this alpha Jedi thing going for a while. Yes! Also his secret with Ordo, and the dark secret he was hiding. All the feels!

I enjoyed one specifically Mon Calamari affectation that I made up, which pressing the tips of my fingers into a surface so hard that Vaud’s somewhat slimy skin formed a suction on the surface, so when she pulled her fingers away, there was the sound of 10 tiny suction cups being ripped away. That’s how I did intense 🙂

John Aegard’s adaptation for Star Wars is top notch! If you want a one shot Star Wars game or to introduce someone to gaming that like Star Wars, or if you’re a fan of Lady Blackbird, or if you just like good games, I recommend it highly.

What could have improved

We got a little close on time at the end so the final confrontation with Vaud was a little shorter than I think it would have been if there was more time, but we still had some great moments. Lightsaber disarms. Force Lightning! RUST WORM TAMING!



One thought on “Actual Play – Jedi Blackbird (2/20/2017)”

  1. Thank you so much for the write-up! (And the opening scroll! Ah!)

    The refresh scenes were a highlight for me too. As was playing with Steph! Her reactions made me so happy. I think both you and James were deliberately making sure she had opportunities to get Cade into trouble (and to show him off) and it was so wonderful to see her seize those opportunities, smile about Cade’s successes, revel in his failures, and then imagine even more details into the epilogue and other little interactions.

    I also 100% agree with you about Johnzo’s adaptation. The game is very tight. The listed challenges are really helpful. (I would love some sort of primer about SW lore for those of us who aren’t fully versed in it, for this or any Star Wars game I might run. A list of species with pictures. 5-10 planets of note with 3 sentence descriptions. Names of ship-classes. General political layout of the galaxy. Tenants of the Light Side and Dark Side of the Force. Two sides of paper would do it.)

    Notes on GMing this game:
    – I feel like the Jedi were able to use money really easily to solve most of their problems. Maybe should have made that more difficult, or had people try to mug them. (But why not? Why not just take their cash?)
    – Also, as has happened to me before in Blackbird games, it can be hard to make situations challenging enough. There were some ‘difficulty 5’ rolls, but we didn’t see many failures in this game, which made it a little harder to amp up the drama.
    – Sean was like a co-gm! Helping to set up friction with the other characters and priming them to hit their keys, etc. (And reminding them when they might have.) Helping to explain the rules. Insisting on extra information on Ordo and Chani’s background (and defining it). Helping to cut to the action for scene jumps and cut between the action in the final battle. Thank you so much!

    I’m so happy I got to play with some of my favourite people. Steph, James and Sean all know SW really well and are all wonderful folks and this game was so delightful for me.

    Favourite Bits:
    – Vaud’s down-dressing of Riggs and his buddies.
    – Chani’s epilogue scene – repairing STV-8 next to Ordo in the brig.
    – Cade taking every opportunity to be daring on his speeder and when he piloted the ship.
    – All the interactions between Vaud and Cade. (The twitching eye, the suction-popping of Vaud’s finger-suckers when perturbed.)
    – Cade’s slow slide of coin after coin across the table to Jimi.
    – Chani’s awesome non-martial force usage! She never even drew her own blaster. Just channeled the force like a boss.
    – Cade’s gentle (non-Force-based) persuasion of Kipper to get what he wanted. Hot young Padawan’s are impossible to resist!

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