I recently ran a game of Lady Blackbird and my group had a blast. Lady Blackbird was written by John Harper and a free pdf is available on onesevendesign.com. Each character has traits and key words that describe them. When an obstacle is faced a player will be asked to roll a d6 and are able to add addition dice to their rolls if character has traits or key words that can be applied to the situation. The player has a pool of 7 6 sided dice they may use in addition to the dice they are already rolling. Difficulty of the obstacles is rated from 1-5. If an obstacle has a difficulty rating of 2, when a player rolls his/her dice s/he must have at least 2 dice with a value of 4 or higher to succeed. If this happens they pass, if they fail the obstacle increases in difficulty. The game uses similar mechanics to another game, The Shadow of Yesterday. Pool dice in certain situations are not regained unless there is a “refresh scene”, a refresh scene can be a flashback enriching the character experience.

It is a wonderful game. I am a big fan of free form roleplay. The sky was the limit figuratively and literally.  Everyone in my game played their characters wonderfully. It especially helped that we felt like we were playing a steampunk verison of Star Wars. The game relies heavily on the players rather than the game master. The gm may be able to nudge here and there but it is the players that have to “get into it”.

The only problem is that a game master like me needs at least a little prep for a game. There are scenes where Cyrus Vance, one player characters, will needed a lot, but someone like Snargle, the goblin pilot, will not be as engaged. If you cannot improvise quickly you might have a little trouble. Like any good game master look around the table, see who isn’t engaged/appears to be bored, and try to create an obstacle engage the bored player.

Those who wish for something more structure with rule heavy combat will be disappointed, but everyone lives once. Try and see for yourself and maybe one day I’ll encounter you in the wild blue yonder.