Dungeons & Dragons Online

Running a heist

Sorry long post, if you want to skip to the specific question, start at the second to last (third to last if you want to know what the DC is for) paragraph.

I'm thinking about running a heist one shot for my players. I've looked through the reddit and have seen the advice of looking at the 3rd party pdf "Here's to crime: a guide to capers and heists" and the flashback mechanic of games like blades in the dark.

I've had this idea before I heard of blades in the dark, but it got sparked again when I saw it being played recently. I've read the 3rd party pdf and a large part of the book for blades in the dark (BitD), but I have my own approach that I want to ask your opinion on.

Yes, I'm planning on using the flashback mechanic, but my main focus is on how to limit it. For anyone who doesn't know, BitD limits it by an attribute called stress which is filled up by invoking flashbacks and other mechanics. The pdf offers a role in the preparation phase to earn a point of inspiration, which can be used to invoke a flashback.

I wanted to do it slightly differently. Here's my idea: Before the heist, the players get a basic description on how well guarded the target is and how difficult it might be. They can then choose how much time of preparation they're taking, then during the heist they can invoke a flashback and depending on what they want to do and how they roll, this takes a certain amount of time from their preparation time. When they run out of time, they can't invoke anymore flashbacks, unless for example they have a good argument that it could have happened during a previous flashback (but that would be an exception, I'm getting ahead of myself).

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So, to limit the flashback, I was thinking to create a consequence to taking more time to prepare. Money was my first thought in a similar vein as the downtime activities, but this wouldn't be that relevant if it's a one shot, either the characters wouldn't have the money to spend or they'll just spend it all because it doesn't matter if they have money left. To be clear this would be a one shot about something one of the characters did on their own, so the money would be a longer term consequence for one player, but I want the consequence to be immersive for all the players equally.

Currently I'm considering making them roll to hide their preparations from their mark/target. The problem is, that I'm not sure about the DC or how to resolve multiple weeks of preparation. If I just make them roll for each week, I'm just increasing the chance for them to fail, so I've mostly rejected that idea. My current two considerations are either increasing the DC by 5 for each week they take or making them roll for one week, making that roll disadvantage for a second week, and adding a second roll for the 3rd week and so on. The second option also sparked the idea, that if they go right away, they could get advantage and if they succeed the target would be unprepared.

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And if they fail rolls that would mean the target is (more) prepared for the heist and it might get harder or more dangerous. Please let me know what you think.

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