:cracks knuckles:

Challenge accepted.
The first question, of course, is "Is this a job, or is this a downtime action?"

Either one's a reasonable answer, so let's try both.
This is substantially easier as a downtime action, and the easiest answer is "Start a clock". But, honestly, that's unsatisfying because a straight clock does not tell you about QUALITY.
So, instead, you start a *countdown* clock. In a certain amount of time, the production WILL happen.

Then you think about all the things that can make it work, and you create a clock for each one.
Start with the good things. Building props. gettign the amazing tenor out of solitary. Bribing guards for extra practice time.
The secret? You want 6 of these in an ideal world. Because when the time comes and the big clock counts down, the result is based on the state of these clocks. All 6 complete? Same as if you'd rolled a 6.
Now, of course, you ALSO introduce negative clocks. Sabotage. Script rewrites. The Warden's ideas as executive producer. Those count as negative results and need to either be mitigated (filled) or prevented (kept from filling)
If you are really into this, by the time the production rolls around there are, like, 10 clocks in play (some of which probably have interactions) and the whole thing is an exercise in plate spinning.

Which is EXACTLY right.
PS: In this context, I'd loosen the budget on extra actions. Spending coin for extra actions in downtime works most of the time, but for something like this, i would 110% repurpose the devil's bargain mechanic to offer extra actions.
Ok, so what if it's a job?

Easy: Start with the dress rehearsal.
Initial roll will tell you roughly how well things are going, and tell you if the show is looking like it's on track or not. This should be played as a quick narrative of the high points of the show, with each player contributing at least 2, and for the rehearsal, they succeed.
Play continues from there into the actual performance, and now that there's an agreed upon happy path, the GM starts calling for rolls for all the things that just auto-succeeded on the dress rehearsal.
As GM, the main thing you want to do with consequence is THREATEN the performance, but allow characters to ground out the consequences personally. The Prop viking ship stays afloat only because the cutter is injuring himself holding it up when a rope breaks. Stuff like that.
The only remaining variable here is what the ultimate goal of this production *is*. Lots of possible answers and they're all going to depend on the specific game.
If it's to gain rep or turf (because, seriously, how is this not the ABSOLUTE BEST WAY to claim prison turf?) then just play it out, easy peasy. if it's more specific (like trying to make the Warden a bond) you might need a simple clock, but don't worry about getting too fancy.
All of this is made a bit easier if your game includes an alternate currency, since having a payout in social rather than hard currency might make more sense. But if your crew is an opera company, this ALSO works for putting on a show.
Aside: An Opera company crew would be AWESOME, and the main change I'd make to this is to view things through the lens of the opera SEASON.
That is, there will be many performances, and they might influence jobs, or elements of them might drive jobs, but the performance itself is only the job when it's THE BIG PERFORMANCE.
That is, on the night that The Emperor himself attends and everything must be PERFECT, the performance is the job. On other nights, things might go wrong, and there can be complications and shenanigans, but they feed the larger narrative.
Alternately, the critical performance is OPENING NIGHT, and the shenanigans are all building up to that.
Which is to say, Shakespeare in Love is great Blades fodder.

Also a fun way to run it. Each arc ends in the opening night of a show, then we fast forward a year or two, when everyone is broke and hustling again.
Seasonal approach also allows for a nice mix of downtime actions and jobs to drive towards the production, which is probably the most satisfying way to do it.
PS - So it is known, part of the reason I love these threads is because I know perfectly damn well that John has already solved this problem at his table, so it's just an opportunity for me to dump out my brain.

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More from @rdonoghue

16 Oct
There is a thing in Fire Emblem which illustrated why mechanical balancing in RPGs will always be second best for me.
One of the characters is HELLA strong. Like, probably superhumanly strong. Utter whirlwind of death on the battlefield.

The problem is, he wants to be a good king, but all he's good at is killing

(he's REALLY good at killing)
In a mechanically balanced system, something needs to mitigate that combat effectiveness.

In my ideal, hypothetical system, I am ALL IN on a character like this because his capabilities are at odds with his aspirations, which is my jam.
Read 21 tweets
15 Oct
There are days when my calendar feels like a map, and days when it feels like an illustration of oncoming traffic.
The difference, I begin to suspect, is all about mise en place (which is to say, the combination of working environment and tools on hand). When a 5 minute gap comes along, am I in a position to use it to move something forward, or is it just going to be spent waiting?
What makes this complicated is not just the starting, but also the stopping. I can absolutely start working on something 5 minutes before the next meeting, but there's a real risk that I'll miss the start of that meeting as I get sucked into the work.
Read 4 tweets
15 Oct
So, that Rat clock from Blades?

Tonight is the night
This is a gift to the universe, but most especially for @strasa
So far tonight, Pewter has eaten a rune and a lot of hallucinogens, Streak has started a fire, and Packer and Scars teamed up to roll a taser cage onto a cat.
Read 15 tweets
14 Oct
This is awesome for several reasons:
* Fonts!
* Bioshock!
* Return to Normalcy reference
* Responses from people who pretty clearly don't even have a Wikipedia understanding of who Warren G Harding was!
And to subtext further, part of what makes this delightful is that 45's more or less *is* Warren G Harding. Media personality, ran on a slogan of returning things to where they were. And, well, OTHER similarities.
So, yes, if Biden were to lean into that iconography and messaging, it would be genuinely hilarious to at least half a dozen nerds.

(He won't, but he will appeal to the more generic "let's get back to when things didn't suck" which is pretty much boilerplate)
Read 6 tweets
14 Oct
Ok, hypothesis that has been bubbling around in my head ever since @Kiranansi started that thread on co-op.

Mechanical support for player interaction in a TTRPG can be very strongly driven with an emphasis on what characters cannot do.
Specifically, what *individual* characters cannot do but other characters may be able to.

There's an initial layer of this that's fairly obvious - if the group has differing capabilities, then coming together as a group allows that to be addressed. Roles, as it were.
But part of what has had me chewing on this is that the applicability to tactics and teamwork is obvious, but I got more curious as I thought about the interactions within a game like the Amber DRPG, which is *incredibly* lateral (player on player) in its experience.
Read 24 tweets
22 Aug
Thinking out loud through somewhat crunchier Blades in the Dark Style combat. Stepping away from narrative for the moment and thinking about fights and effects.
At the heart of the system we have a 4 tiered resolution system. The 4 tiers map to harm (Minor, Medium, Serious and fatal) in approximately the same way they map to filling clocks. The dual track of health complicated it, but the structure is pretty workable.
So when w treat harm as mechanical, it begins at some level and is modified up and down by circumstance - abilities, stance, stuff like that.
Read 22 tweets

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