Before we played Scum & Villainy, even before starting the Lair of Secrets, we played Blades in the Dark. It’s an urban fantasy role-playing game centered on heists and inspired by the likes of Leverage, the Ocean’s movies, Peaky Blinders, Heat, and Reservoir Dogs. Like its successor games, in Blades in the Dark, player characters are documented using playbooks.
The playbooks are like a rule book and character sheet rolled up into one; they explain what a character can do, illuminate future options for advancement, and track experience. Released in 2017, the fan community embraced the game and spawned many, many variant playbooks – some are takes on the core playbooks for the game, others are wholly new fan creations.
Official Blades in the Dark Playbooks
- Blades in Dark Downloads – The game’s official downloads page includes playbooks for all of the core character types (Cutter, Hound, Leech, Lurk, Slide, Spider, Whisper) and crews (Assassins, Bravos, Cult, Hawkers, Smugglers, Shadows). It also has blank character and crew sheets.
Fan-Created Versions of Official Playbooks
- A.D. 1066 Blades in the Dark Playbooks – Fillable PDF versions of the official playbooks.
- Tabletop Simulator: Blades in the Dark Playbooks – Virtual playbooks for the Tabletop Simulator platform.
Variant Blades in the Dark Playbooks
- Blades in the Dark: Fan Creations – The fan creations portion of the official website includes links to a number of variant rule books, as well as variant game types (games involving mutants, boarding schools, Prohibition-era gangs, and noble scheming)
- Itch.io: Blades playbooks – Twenty-five new playbooks including The Mechanist (an inventor/entrepreneur), The Archivist (researcher / librarian), The Dustman (collector of the dead), and Charlatan (a cunning trickster)
- Itch.io: Unusual Suspects: Blades Playbooks – Dozens of new playbooks including The Preacher (Divine Leader), Siren (seductive manipulator), The Driver (the getaway/vehicle specialist) and the Medium (specializing in communication with the dead)
- Reddit: Favorite Playbooks? – A discussion of what makes for a good playbook, as well as people’s recommendations on the best options for play.
Blades in the Dark Resources
- Blades in the Dark SRD – The official rules, available online for free.
- Blades in the Dark: Forged in the Dark – A list of games powered by the same engine as Blades in the Dark (like Scum and Villainy)
Blades in the Dark Blog Posts
- Nuketown: Blades in the Dark – My post providing an overview of our Blades in the Dark campaign.
- Nuketown: Meet Bryce Brogan – An introduction to my Blades in the Dark character, a Slide named Bryce. He’s a fast-talking former journalist with impeccable fashion sense and a taste for the better things in life
- Nuketown: #RPGaDay2018 – Name a game that had an impact on you in the last year – A look back on our time playing Blades and how it impacted my RPG life.
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Cover art for Blades in the Dark. Credit: Evil Hat.