Flashback for Skulls, Intervention for Crowns



If you’ve ever played Blades in the Dark, this idea might sound familiar, as it’s unabashedly copied from that system.

With this homebrew option, players can use 1 HERO COIN to influence the plot at the cost of crossing off a skill.
Skull players can use Flashbacks; Crown players can invoke Interventions.

These are not character abilities, skills, or anything to add to character sheets. This is a mechanic for the PLAYERS to directly influence the world outside their characters.

To do so, the player describes how the plot changes, selecting a skill relevant to the task, rolling, and then crossing the skill off, regardless of whether the check is successful or not, plus spending the Hero Coin.
If the roll succeeds, the action unfolds as described by the player. If it fails, the action still occurs but with complications or unforeseen twists. Consider adjusting the target based on the player’s description of their action.

Skull players may utilize a Flashback, recounting past actions of their characters that affect the current situation, similar to the flashback mechanich in Blades in the Dark.

Crown players can request an external Intervention, bringing allies to the scene or causing shifts in the battlefield or current scenario.

Some Examples

Skull Flashbacks

  • Brawling: “Actually, I encountered him in a tavern a month ago. He challenged me to arm wrestling, and I won. We spent the night drinking and became pals.”
    Failed check: His friendship was only a mask, and now, resentment fuels his actions.

  • Climber: “Actually, I placed a hidden dart trap in the room before.”
    Fail: “The dart went off target, hitting the wrong person.”

  • Forage: “This morning, I went looking for a poison mushroom, ready for the moment.”
    Fail: “Caught up in the haste, the poison affects you too.”

  • Pickpocket: “I managed to steal the key a few hours ago.”
    Fail: “Trying to unlock the door, the key doesn’t turn. It’s the wrong one, and now everyone’s eyes are on you, including two guards.”

Crown Interventions

  • Evade: “The battle’s turning sour, so I roll on the ground, dodging a deadly slash. Look for my arrival at the first light of the fifth day. At dawn, look to the east, Gandalf’s words return to my mind. I look eastward and see Rohan knights standing on the cliff.”
    Fail: “You see the knights silhouette against the horizon, starting their charge as your vision blurs. You got hit and will fall unconscious at the end of your next phase.”

  • Streetwise: “A group of trustworthy city thugs emerges from the alleys, blocking any escape.”
    Fail: “The thugs’ leader looks at you, grinning, flashing a bag of coins. They’ve been bribed.”

  • Riding: “I just need a bit more time to reach the bridge; once I’m there, I’ll be safe.”
    Fail: “You reach the bridge right on time, only to find it has collapsed.”

  • Oratory: “I rally the crowd, urging them not to fear the barbarians, to stand and fight back.”
    Fail: “A few stand with you, but most flee, abandoning any hope.”


I really like how you split this mechanic in two. It would have been easy to give everyone the option to flashback and call it a day, but the simple distinction between relying on yourself or on others fits neatly into the themes of Crown & Skull.