Actual Play – Lady Blackbird (6/3/2010)

GM: Shaun Hayworth
Players: Sean, Travis, Steve and Fattig
System: Lady Blackbird

This game is hot ( It’s got a LOT going for it.

  • It’s free.
  • It’s a complete adventure and system on about a 16 page PDF. The rules fit on about half a page. You could go from download to play in 30 minutes.
  • The game is gushing with cool imagery. Firefly, Final Fantasy, Star Wars. This game has it in spades.
  • The characters are wicked awesome. A goblin shapeshifting pilot, An ex-pit fighter bodyguard! These guys are just so much fun to play.
  • The mechanics are inspired. John took some of the best from The Shadow of Yesterday, Fate, Mouse Guard and put them together in a fun, awesome system. The refresh mechanic, which is engaging like the Agon refresh, is pulled from The Shadow of Yesterday.
  • The game is beautiful. I mean just click on the link above and bask in the splendor of it.
  • The setting, while sparse, is evocative. John is fantastic in his ability (this is evident in Agon on as well) to employ existing knowledge from the nerd collective mind and add a few flourishes to focus and hone that into something that is both reminiscent of so many old favorites and a beautiful creation in its own right. Cyrus Vance is Malcolm Reynolds, he’s Han Solo, but he’s also Cyrus Vance, soldier-of-fortune.
  • The situation is fantastic. You’re in the frying pan about to be dumped in the fire. Things are bad and they are going to get worse. Which means everyone one is going to start moving as soon as the game starts.
  • It’s damn fun. Sometimes a game as a ton of cool elements in it and feels like it should be fun but for some reason that fun isn’t easy to reach. I’ve played games of DitV where at least someone at the table didn’t get what the Dogs were about. I’ve pitched the Shab-al-hiri roach a number of times and felt like people were intimidated (even if they didn’t say so) but the content. I was one of those people. But this game is easy to jump into and fully engage. It’s a whole mess of fun.
  • And I know I mentioned it already, but the with all this, the game is free!
  • For me though, this game did something above and beyond being a great thrill ride. It inspired me. I’ve had a couple very successful con games. Games that are still talked about years later: Office Waste, Exalted Unplugged, and most recently Flagship Atlantis. Looking at this game and looking back on those, I really think I could remake them in a game like this. Here’s hoping that happens.

What rocked

I think I just listed it.

What could have been improved

We only had four players and Lady Blackbird wasn’t present. I’d like to see her present.

I think there is more to mine out of the refresh scenes than I did. I want to try it again with more poignant questions, like “how much is doing this job really worth to you?” My refresh scene was pretty tame.

5 thoughts on “Actual Play – Lady Blackbird (6/3/2010)”

      1. When LBB came out it seemed like there was going to be a trend of ‘micro games’ like this…I was really looking forward to that…so where are they?

          1. Actually the book ‘Norwegean Style’ is all about ‘micro games’ some are LARPs but some aren’t. And the ones that are LARPs aren’t your typical LARPS.

            Mustang seems to be similar to the Norwegean Style category of games called ‘RPG Poems’, which is a very interesting concept. Short games, playable in under an hour…sometimes much less.

            The book is at Endgame.

            They have a site too:

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