Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!
Guys, you know me. I love Lady Blackbird. I mean, why wouldn't you love Lady Blackbird?
But today, I'm here to tell you about a completely* different game, one that's a high action cyberpunk adventure, that sees your characters go around doing things like busting into a data storage facility outside Reykjavík, diving onto a private airship circling over Mumbai, and infiltrating a party set on a converted oil rig that is now the Free City Atlantica.
Always/Never/Now was recently released to the public, after having been kickstarter'd at the end of 2011. The game itself is entirely free to download, all you need to do is go grab it.
It's based on Lady Blackbird (this is what that asterisk above was referring to), in that it uses the same mechanical principles - your character has Traits, under which are Tags. When you are in conflict, you choose a Trait to gain one dice, then name any of your Tags that are appropriate to what you're doing to gain extra dice, along with any stunt dice you choose to use. Roll against a Difficulty set by the GM to do things. Experience is gained by activating your Keys, which are aspects of your character's personality, and influence the way they act. You gain extra experience if activating your key puts you or your party in trouble.
The difference between Always/Never/Now and Lady Blackbird is that while Lady Blackbird is a pretty free-form story, where you're placed into a situation and given essentially free reign to figure out what you do from there, Always/Never/Now presents a well designed and imaginative adventure path of sorts.
The structure is pretty intuitive - there are five Phases to the game, each with a number of scenes. Players get to move between scenes, uncovering information about the mystery they're tasked with uncovering, but they aren't required to see every scene before moving on to the next phase - that's actually recommended against. Instead, they choose the scenes which interest them the most (with scenes given a mixture of Action, Stealth and Intrigue descriptors), and go from there. These are interspersed with Recovery scenes (where you recuperate and consolidate between action scenes) and Interruptions (where the GM pushes the players with a scene from outside the normal structure).
The plot and world is well fleshed out, but leaves enough to be open for the players and GM to strike their own path in this future world. You could also just play a different plot entirely, or do something more open world - the book suggests how to do this, but doesn't give any explicit instructions. It's really more focused on this malleable adventure path.
In short, Always/Never/Now does a good job of taking the Lady Blackbird system and doing something new and really interesting with it. I'd highly recommend giving it a read!