As I have mentioned many times, I am dabbling in the world of tabletop roleplaying games. Like many people, my main awareness of this genre of game was linked to Dungeons and Dragons, the biggest brand name of the TTRPG world. Even if you’ve never played a TTRPG, chances are you have at least heard of D&D. It has gained a lot of popularity right now because of YouTube shows, like Critical Role, celebrities playing for charities, and the somewhat tropey tv episodes.
I have been watching the Oxventure games since they started in 2017. They were my first introduction to actually seeing D&D in action in a way that I would want to play it. Light, fun, and relatively free of consequences – this is because Johnny Chiodini is a master GM and knows when and where to ignore the rules and focus on the act of collaborative storytelling.
I’m starting this off talking about D&D because the reason the Blades in the Dark play-through was so interesting to me was how much it differed from D&D in its entire approach to storytelling and mechanics.
The premise of the game is a group of criminals set in a somewhat steampunk city are called together to perform a heist. There are criminal types they pick from and they have certain skills based on their type. Instead of meticulously planning their actions prior to the heist though, when players come up against an obstacle they can flashback to the planning scene and talk about what they did to prepare for this moment. It’s like every heist movie you’ve ever seen, a smash cut from the group outside the vault to them sitting around a table the day before, building the lockpicking mechanism. It is a very smart design because it keeps the forward momentum of the story while still playing a game.
And, bonus, Johnny gets to play this time and Luke Westaway GMs! Luke does a wonderful job setting the tone, creating NPCs and keeping the consequences interesting when players want to take a risk (another cool mechanic in the game…looks, just watch so you can see it in action!)
What I’m saying is if you’ve only ever played/watched D&D, you might be surprised by the different ways a TTRPG can be played. And if you’ve watched D&D actual plays and they were not your thing, you might still want to give this Blades in the Dark video a try. It’s just 2 hours total for the single adventure and the group has come up with some memorable characters. Perfect for watching on your lunch break or as you are winding down in the evening and need some laughs…and crime.