“Which RPG does the most with the least words?” asks #RPGaDAY on Day 21.
Ah! That’s simple — It’s John Harper’s Lady Blackbird. You get a movie serial opening throwing you right into the action and promising amazing moments, a peek into an imaginative setting, and worldbuilding in the character’s stats. There’s magic, ’cause this person has it. There are fantasy races, because this one is one. There are large beasts floating in the nether because they’re only mentioned in this one diagram. It’s a game that does so much in a tiny little packet where half of the pages have a half-page worth of material repeated on them.
My game of Lady Blackbird? It’s different than yours. The guards on the Hand of Sorrow are people wearing black leather armor in my game. In yours, they were self-winding gold and silver metallic automatons. Your Count Carlowe truly loved the Lady and pursued her relentlessly; mine was scheming with Uriah Flint, both bastards at heart. My Lady was persued by a quintet of bounty hunters, all women because it’s a career that is too strenuous for a man; your Lady ran against a bloody coup by Flint’s first mate, Seraphina Quinn. All these things make Lady Blackbird a great game. There is so much potential packed into the sixteen pages of the game (and honestly, ten of those are character sheets).
Previously on RPGaDAY…
Last year on day 21, the prompt was about the funniest misinterpretation of a rule in a gaming session. I honestly can’t remember any. But I do know a silly thing that happened that’s somewhat tangentially related: So in D&D, there’s half-orcs and half-elves, which led one player’s character say to a fellow adventuring party member — a halfling — “I know what an Orc is. I know what an Elf is. What’s a Ling?”
In 2015, the topic was “Favorite RPG Setting”. I still love Blue Planet’s setting, but I also love Lady Blackbird‘s. Both settings are wide open. Whereas Lady Blackbird hints at what’s there, Blue Planet has a major detailed location, features that are spotlighted, and tons of places to make your own. Blue Planet also starts out on Day One of your campaign, giving you everything in the setting up to the moment your game begins to make the world your own, at a time when RPGs were heavy into the metaplot.
In 2014, the topic was “Favorite Licensed Game”. My favorites haven’t changed, but they’ve flipped a bit, because if I had the option to play in a short campaign of either Ghostbusters, Marvel Heroic, FFG’s Star Wars, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the same GM running the game,1 I would go with Star Wars. As a one-shot, Marvel Heroic.
- Jason Corley, natch [↩]