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Blades in the Dark

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For the magic weapon, see Blade in the Dark.
Blades in the Dark is a game by John Harper in which players work together as a gang of criminals in a dark fantasy setting. It was used to tell the exploits of The Six in episodes 3 through 14 of Marielda. The game was still in beta at the time, and some rules and examples were slightly fleshed out over the course of the season.

Basics Edit

Actions Edit

When a player performs an action, the results are determined not only by their roll but by whether they are acting from a controlled, risky, or desperate position, as well as whether they will have a great, standard, or limited effect. Much like in Dungeon World, actions often partially succeed, with complications.

Enemies or other obstacles are represented by clocks with a number of segments representative of their difficulty; to overcome them, players must complete enough successful actions to fill those segments.

In a particularly difficult situation, the GM may choose to offer a player a devil's bargain, giving them a lifeline in exchange for some lasting negative consequences.

Stress Edit

Whether as a result of the things they witness on heists, their attempts to resist harm, or by pushing themselves too hard, characters accumulate stress as the game goes on. If they build up too much stress, their character will be traumatized, with permanent effects on their behavior and psyche. To relieve stress, characters must indulge their vices, but there is a risk that they will overindulge and bring consequences back onto themselves or their crew.

Trauma Conditions Edit

  • Cold: You are not moved by emotional appeals or social bonds.
  • Haunted: You are often lost in reverie, reliving past horrors, or seeing things.
  • Obsessed: You are enthralled by one thing: an activity, a person, an ideology.
  • Paranoid: You imagine danger everywhere. You can’t trust others.
  • Reckless: You have little regard for your own safety or best interests.
  • Soft: You lose your edge. You become sentimental, passive or gentle.
  • Unstable: Your emotional state is volatile. You become instantly enraged or fall into despair, act impulsively, or freeze up.
  • Vicious: You seek out opportunities to inflict savage violence.

A character who suffers trauma is brought out of action for a time. If a character acquires four trauma conditions, they can no longer continue life as a daring scoundrel and must retire to a different life or go to prison to take the fall for the crew. If a player allows their trauma condition to impede the mission, they gain experience.

Planning scores Edit

To cut down on time spent planning a method of attack, players choose a basic type of plan when pulling off a score, then roll to see how well their plan has started off before adjusting on the fly. They can also use flashbacks to have retroactively set some part of the plan up before the crime was in process.

Between scores, a downtime period takes place during which characters can recover, indulge in their vice, and work on downtime projects.

Goals and principles for the GM Edit

Goals Edit

  • Play to find out what happens
  • Bring Marielda to life
  • Convey the world honestly

Principles Edit

  • Be a fan of the PCs
  • Let everything flow from the fiction
  • Hold on lightly
  • Address the characters
  • Address the players
  • Paint the world with a haunted brush
  • Surround them with industrial sprawl
  • Consider the risk

External links Edit

Games
Dungeon World · Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective · The Sundered Land · The Quiet Year · Blades in the Dark · Follow

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