Does anyone have experience with combat/action hacks for Belonging Outside Belonging?

I’m playing Jess Levine’s excellent Going Rogue 2e and really enjoying my first time with a BoB game. The one thing that feels palpably absent is some sort of structure for action sequences. It’s OK hand-waving broader events, but sometimes my group wants to zoom in on, say, a climactic battle, and we tend to flounder in those scenes. So, I’m just wondering if anyone’s come up with or found a system for propelling action that they liked.

I’m not really looking to switch systems whole-cloth whenever we want to focus on a fight/shootout/chase/escape/etc. I’d rather come up with something that integrates nicely with the rest of the game. One idea would be a new pillar (“Blasters and Bullets”?) with moves like “Underestimate an opponent, gain a token,” “Back someone into a corner, give them a token,” “Cut off an escape route, give a token,” “Use a dirty trick to gain the upper hand, give a token,” “Provoke someone into attacking you, gain a token.”

I also have a vague idea for using clocks here to help with pacing. Maybe the players have a clock, and the enemies have a clock, and whoever fills their clock first “wins” the scene (whatever that means in context). A stronger enemy might start with a few clock segments filled in. Maybe these clocks exist in the background outside of action scenes, and certain moves can also trigger clock increments or decrements.

These are just ideas that I’ve brainstorming in the last couple hours, so it’s all untested and I don’t have a great grasp on the metaphors yet, but I think there miiiight be something here.

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A couple BOB games stand out to me as ideas. Sleepaway and This Night On The Rooftops both add minigames to their system. These are basically modified rule sets that run within the larger token economy to give added weight or color to different situations. Sleepaway has minigames for confronting the fates or fighting the Lindwurm’s minions, for example, and This Night on the Rooftops pushes into minigames that could take up whole sessions. In a run I did recently, we spent a whole session drawing and making moves about a tree fort!

The other game I think of is Revolution!, a more PvP bob game by Sam Zimmerman. Because each setting element represents a player faction, you’d have more space to have players creating opposition on the fly without resorting to using clocks and things to represent npc opponents who would otherwise have not much narrative agency.


Thanks, I’ll check these out!

My new game system Tableau (now on Kickstarter) draws a lot of inspiration from Belonging Without Belonging.

A particular aspect of it is that the rules are composable (and are on a poker-sized card), so you can swap put one kind of rule for another.

Related to your topic, there is a class of rules called “Drama Rules”, one of which is basically BoB’s “Drama Tokens” for character vulnerable & strong moves, or setting soft and harsh moves. However, other rules you can swap in are “Risky Moves”, which is more a cross between Archipelago cards and Fate dice Any player can say “That sounds risky!” and some “Yes,and; Yes, but; Maybe; No, but; No, and” and offers a slightly more random form of Karma.

Another alternative Drama Rule card is “Declare”, where you must declare what you fear, and then a PbtA style dice role says if your fear comes true. Another is “Push”, where you can say what it is you want, press your luck if at first you fail. Each is appropriate for different styles of drama in games.

All of these Drama Rules cards are designed to work with each other. So instance, you can ignore a “Risky Move” by using a drama token, or choose to fail and earn one. A “Push” can result in a strong or vulnerable outcome, etc.

There is nothing that says multiple Drama Rules couldn’t be on the table at the same time. So you could take up “Drama Tokens” for most play, but then set it aside for “Push” when you are in a more action oriented sequence.

– Christopher Allen

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(side note: I love the techniques you describe and the playstyle they imply and I want your game. I didn’t see it advertised here and I encourage you to create a topic about it in the Hype section.)


I can’t seem to post to the Hype section as I need to be “level 2”. I’ve sent a request to admins but have not heard back.